Toyoharu Tanabe the technical director of Honda reflects on the Spanish Grand Prix admitting that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes were the better duo on race day.
With Red Bull and Max Verstappen taking the lead at the start, one they would maintain for a majority of the race, many believed they could topple Mercedes and Hamilton. Alas, a great pit call from Mercedes secured the win for the reigning world champion with Red Bull unable to react. Something Honda's technical director admits there was little Red Bull could do about it.
"Immediately after the start, he (Max Verstappen) passed (Lewis) Hamilton and continued to run at the top from the beginning to the middle," Tanabe told Auto Sport Web Japan.
"However, Hamilton, who came out with a two-stop strategy, caught up hard, and he (Verstappen) was overtaken at the last minute without any means to do it, resulting in second place.
"Regarding the battle for victory, I think that Hamilton and Mercedes' combined fighting power and strategy outperformed Red Bull."
The Honda head also understood that the team's second car driven by Sergio Perez was compromised after qualifying.
"It was difficult to overtake when starting from 8th place," Tanabe said.
"He (Sergio Perez) was behind the top group. At the end, he caught up to 5th place, but the qualifying results still echoed."
Honda and Red Bull will be looking to bounce back in Monaco as they look to close what is now a growing gap to Mercedes.