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Spanish Grand Prix 2021

Winners and losers from the F1 Spanish Grand Prix

The fourth round of the 2021 Formula 1 season was one to remember - but who were the main winners and losers from F1's visit to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?

Analysis
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

The Spanish Grand Prix provided an afternoon of nail-biting viewing as a tense strategy battle played out between title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. It was Hamilton who eventually came out on top, giving the Briton his third win of the season so far.

Hamilton wasn't the only one to experience success at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the race proving to be a turning point for several drivers and teams. For others, though, it was a day to forget. Here are the main winners and losers from the Spanish Grand Prix.

The winners

Lewis Hamilton

An obvious choice, but Hamilton was a winner in more ways than one in Sunday's race. The Briton once again proved his ability to bounce back from any slight error; after losing out at the start to Verstappen, Hamilton kept the pressure on and never looked to be slipping back.

Whilst the win was clearly a team effort given the role that Mercedes' strategy call played, it was down to Hamilton to manage his tyres and he did so to a typically impressive standard. And when the seven-times world champion was tasked with closing a 22-second gap to Verstappen in 23 laps, he managed the feat with six laps to spare.

Hamilton is now 14 points ahead of Verstappen in the drivers' standings and, despite this year's title battle initially seeming the closest in recent years, this is the strongest start to a season for the Mercedes man since his dominant 2015 campaign. It may still be early days but it looks like the momentum is very much with Hamilton right now.

Charles Leclerc

Given the action at the front of the pack, Leclerc perhaps went under the radar during the Grand Prix. But it was a very strong performance from the Monegasque, who equalled his best finish of the year by ending the race in fourth.

Leclerc pulled off an impressive overtake on Valtteri Bottas at the start of the event. The Ferrari clearly was not able to match the pace of Hamilton and Verstappen ahead, but Leclerc still managed to keep Bottas behind for a considerable amount of time.

Given the disaster of 2020, the signs are promising that Ferrari are finally are on their way back, with Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz also putting in a strong showing to finish in seventh.

Daniel Ricciardo

Sunday's race result must have come as a huge relief to Ricciardo. The past two Grand Prix weekends have proved difficult for the Australian, with the lowest point coming in his Q1 exit in qualifying at Portugal. But it was a stronger campaign overall for Ricciardo in Spain, resulting in a P6 finish.

Whilst the McLaren driver admitted afterwards that he didn't have the pace to keep up with Red Bull's Sergio Perez towards the end of the race - as well as facing pressure from Sainz behind - he was left feeling happier overall with his performance.

Ricciardo will perhaps be particularly pleased that he finished ahead of teammate Lando Norris, who ended the day in eighth place. Given that Norris has so far been outperforming him, the result is likely a sign that the inter-team battle is about to heat up.

Esteban Ocon

Alpine continued to show their improved form at the Spanish Grand Prix. Both drivers reached Q3 on Saturday, and Ocon was particularly impressive, having secured P5 on the grid.

Whilst the Frenchman was unable to maintain this during the race, he still managed to hold on to a points-paying position by taking ninth place. Ocon is doing exactly what he needed to quash the doubts that emerged about his ability last year when he was Ricciardo's teammate.

Even more impressively, he is doing this with the vastly experienced and highly rated Fernando Alonso alongside him at Alpine. Whilst Alonso is clearly still adjusting to his new car, it remains a commendable feat from Ocon. So much so that his name his now being linked again to the possibility of a future Mercedes seat.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

For F1 fans, every race is something to look forward to. Yet arguably there are certain circuits that spark anticipation more - or less - than others. Historically, the Spanish Grand Prix has perhaps been in the less category; the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is known for being difficult to overtake on, ultimately meaning less racing.

However, Sunday's visit to the track proved to be perhaps surprisingly eventful. Granted, much of the action at the front came down to strategy and pit calls. But there were still battles to be found throughout the field and there were several notable overtakes, from Leclerc's move on Bottas to various scraps in the midfield.

Who knows, maybe the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is reversing its reputation.

The losers

Max Verstappen

As was the case at the Portuguese Grand Prix, it seems slightly unfair to suggest that finishing in second place is a loss. But in terms of the championship battle, Verstappen and Red Bull will surely be feeling a little more trepidation than they had previously after the masterclass shown by Hamilton and Mercedes.

Verstappen put in a typically aggressive and determined drive and there was clearly not much left on the table, yet it was not enough to keep Hamilton at bay, which is perhaps quite disheartening going forwards.

The Dutchman has previously stated that he always approaches a race weekend with confidence, regardless of whether he is on a winning streak or not. Arguably Verstappen will need to maintain this attitude more than ever if he is to continue to bring the fight to Hamilton, who now has a 14-point lead in the championship.

Fernando Alonso

In fairness, Alonso had admitted prior to the race that he feared it would be difficult to take any points. Alpine have shown improved form recently, and Alonso had a much better qualifying in Spain than at the previous two races, having reached Q3. This all suggested that maybe, despite his doubts, a solid points finish was possible.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be for the Spaniard, who found himself slipping down the order at his home Grand Prix to eventually finish down in 17th, with only the two Haas cars behind him.

Alonso put his struggles down to the decision to try a one-stop strategy, and had no regrets about doing so, having argued that he would rather take the risk to get some points than not try at all. A positive outlook from the double world champion which, like Verstappen, he will need to hold on to if his teammate Ocon continues to outscore him.

Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda really needed a good race on Sunday. The rookie had a difficult qualifying session on Saturday and went on to make comments seemingly suggesting that he and AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly weren't receiving the same equipment.

Whilst the Japanese driver soon apologised for the remarks, this is unlikely to have gone down well with his team, especially so soon in his F1 career. A solid race result may have helped in making up for this, but it was not to be. Tsunoda was forced to retire just six laps into the race due to a mechanical issue.

So far, the youngster has struggled to match the initial promise he showed at the opening event of the season in Bahrain, and it looks like he needs to show improvement both on and off the track.

AlphaTauri

It was a disappointing weekend all round for Tsunoda's team. As well as the rookie's issues, teammate Gasly also had a tough few days in Spain. After qualifying in 12th, the Frenchman was given a time penalty in the race for being out of position on the starting grid.

He seemed to struggle during the rest of the Grand Prix, but recovered enough to score a point with a 10th-place finish. Whilst this is a positive, the result is not what AlphaTauri were hoping for ahead of the season, given the team's aim to reach the top five in the constructors' battle in 2021.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen was the driver to make a error at the previous race in Portugal. This time the bad luck fell on his teammate Giovinazzi, though on this occasion the mistake was by the team rather than the pilot.

Giovinazzi had been performing well in the Grand Prix, but things quickly fell apart at his pit stop. When he pulled up to the box, the team realised that one of the tyres they were about to put on the car was in fact punctured. Hence a frantic dash around the garage to find a new tyre.

The slightly embarrasing incident put paid to Giovinazzi's chances of scoring points.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Spanish Grand Prix

The latest news about the Spanish Grand Prix straight from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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