Five talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix

Well it certainly wasn’t a classic, but it also wasn’t as boring as some people are making it out to be. Let’s get into the talking points from our sixth GP in the last seven weeks.

The midfield battle is the most exciting thing in the sport right now
I have to say, being able to watch the majority of the race from the perspective of the midfield drivers was a lot of fun. This is where the racing is at, and the TV directors this round seemingly finally understood this.

Sure, on the grand scheme of things it’s not a great thing for the sport that the most exciting aspect right now are the teams battling for fourth and fifth in the race.

Far from it. But rather than constantly being my negative self in this first part, I feel the need to applaud what is happening behind the dominant Mercedes duo and Max Verstappen.

It was great to see the pure racing between Lando Norris and Charles LeClerc, two drivers who will dominate this sport well into the next decade. To also see Sainz, the Renaults, the Alpha Tauris and other teams going head to head in what has to be one of the tightest midfields of all time is just fun. That’s what made this race not as boring as everyone claims it to be.

Because I for one thoroughly enjoyed watching those battles, and just ignoring the inevitable result that was happening in the top 3.

Lance Stroll is the best starter on the grid
I always have a smile on my face when Lance gets his weekly point brought up from the bottom, and this week he thoroughly deserves it.

By far he is the best starter on the grid, and honestly has been for some time. Often lauded for his poor qualifying efforts during his career, he has always been able to supersede that by his blinding starts.

Given he is now in not only a much better car but also seemingly fixed his qualifying efforts, he is able to showcase these skills even more.

That was in perfect display this round by vaulting from fifth to third in an amazing start and bold move on Valtteri Bottas into turn one. An incredible effort by the Canadian who rightfully got plenty of praise from Martin Brundle and others throughout the broadcast.

That also adds to him to me being the driver of the day. A mature and measured drive maintained his third position early against Bottas before he was inevitably overtaken, but he kept his head, held off his teammate and then reeled him in when Sergio Perez was given a penalty for ignoring blue flags.

If you aren’t seeing what I’ve been saying about Lance yet, it’s time to open your eyes more.

While I’m here I of course have to quickly mention Mr Nicholas Latifi. Not a whole lot to say on this front. Started second last and finished last on track. In all fairness to him, his esteemed teammate George Russell also struggled for pace, with Williams nowhere this weekend at all. Another finish though is a good result for Latifi.

Lance-Stroll-755x515
Lance Stroll (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Ferrari need to work out what they are doing with Vettel
It’s so frustrating to watch Sebastian Vettel right now. This extremely talented multi-World Champion is just not having a good time of it, and to add fuel to the fire he has a team that not only doesn’t want him, but seemingly want nothing to do with him or want to support him.

This is purely evident by their radio communication over the last few races, as well as the fact that apparently Seb didn’t even talk to Ferrari at all during qualifying on Saturday over the radio. Ouch.

There are rumours floating around that Vettel might be replaced before the season is out, either by 2021 signing Carlos Sainz or even by super-sub Nico Hulkenberg. Now while part of me would love nothing more than to see Hulkenberg drive a Ferrari, the sensible part of me knows that it would be so unfair to Seb for that to happen.

Vettel isn’t a bad driver. Vettel doesn’t deserve to be sacked. He simply needs to have a team behind him to support him and help him through this rough patch.

We’ve seen this before by him. In 2014 he had a very similar situation at Red Bull when Danny Ric came into the team and they quickly favoured the fast new Aussie guy rather than maintaining their relationship with their former favourite son.

This was then fixed pretty rapidly by Seb in 2015 in his stellar first season with the Scuderia in 2015, proving that he is a driver that needs a nurturing team to help him with his exceptional talents.

A certain six-time World Champion at the front of the grid is also very similar if you do remember those final couple of years at McLaren, so it’s not a uniquely Seb thing.

Yes, things are never going to go back to that happy period now at Ferrari, but rather than Ferrari and others blaming Seb for his situation right now, perhaps it’s time for Ferrari to take some of the blame and support him more to allow the exit to end slightly happier and bring them some much needed positive results for the remainder of this dogfest of a year for the team.

Barcelona is a terrible track
Yeah, I said. Barcelona is just boring. I get why the teams use it. It is a perfect combination of circuits to allow the teams to test everything from the high speed to the low speed. But come on. It’s time to move on. Spain is an important destination for the sport to visit, even more so with the rise of Sainz and the return of Fernando Alonso next year.

But can we change it up? Say, by bringing back Jerez? Or hell, let’s be super controversial. Bring back Valencia! Yes the circuit was ugly as sin and produced one good race, but the circuit at least was far more interesting and fun to drive. Just get rid of Barcelona already. Please.

F1 Pre Season Testing 2020 In Barcelona
Carlos Sainz at the Barcelona GP.
(Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Calendar additions are making this season more exciting
Let’s be honest, 2020 isn’t on track to be a classic season. Sure, it’ll be memorable, just like every other sporting competition in 2020, but we aren’t going to be talking about the amazing title battles or races in the future with our grandkids.

However what does make it exciting is the prospect of new additions to the fluid calendar. So far we’ve seen that with the likes of Mugello, Algarve, Imola and the Nurburgring all being added as replacement races to fill the gaps of several cancelled races, and now we have the exciting prospect of races returning to both Jerez (my wish above seemingly coming true quickly) and Istanbul.

Sure we’re missing out on some other great tracks, but hello, Istanbul! While both those races at the time of writing this are yet to be confirmed, can any F1 fan say they are not excited by the return of the Turkish Grand Prix if it happens?

That is perhaps the best track Herman Tilke ever designed, and the infamous turn eight is legendary for all the right reasons. If there is one positive to take from this warped season, that definitely is it.

Well, have to say that was a stretch to get five points this week but I did it! A much needed rest will be had next weekend before we head to one of the greatest tracks in the world, Spa! Bring it on!

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here

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