The 2017 Spanish Grand Prix is officially in the books and with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton winning the race, he moves into second place in the AutoSportsNation Formula One driver rankings, past his teammate, Valtteri Bottas [who had his worse race of the year with an engine failure, knocking out Kimi Raikkonen and making a kid cry] but still well behind the current leader, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
The race was essentially won by Mercedes engineers, who out-strategized their Ferrari counterparts when the race victory came down to a tire selection timing battle as Mercedes chose to have Hamilton use his slower medium tires early on while Ferrari elected to have Vettel use the mandated mediums later in the race – it was a fateful decision that cost Vettel the victory as he got the jump on the pole-sitter Hamilton at the start of the race and zoomed out to a 2.5 second lead within five laps. But the required usage of the medium tires meant the race soon turned into a strategy skirmish and although Vettel won the early battles, Hamilton eventually won the war when Vettel was forced to use his medium tires late in the race and was unable to catch Hamilton on his faster, soft tires. ASN awards Hamilton – via his engineers – the full three points for the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix while Vettel receives two and McLaren-Honda’s pit and Fernando Alonso gets a well-deserved point for getting his car to the finish line for the first time this year.
The Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award goes to Alonso’s teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne, who clobbered Felipe Massa and knocked himself out of the race to boot – the most Maldonado-esque thing he could possibly do.
It was a thin field for the Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award, so we award it to Vettel for his rather tame admonishment of Massa – “Why does it always have to be Massa?” – when he thought Massa was impeding him as he futilely tried to catch Hamilton in the closing laps.
The Bernie Ecclestone Doofus Moment Award is a convoluted decision. The 2017 Spanish Grand Prix is most noted for having their own version of the March Madness Northwestern Crying Kid. The Spanish GP’s crying kid was upset because his hero, Raikkonen, was knocked out of the race on the first turn of the first lap after Bottas had tagged him from behind sending Raikkonen skittering into Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and knocking Verstappen out of the race as well [but you didn’t see the kid shedding any tears over that, obviously]. So not only did he knock two guys out of the race, but he made a little kid cry too – what kind of monster does that? Bottas gets the point.
2017 ASN Formula One Driver Rankings [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Sebastian Vettel – 12 points
2] Lewis Hamilton – six
3] Valtteri Bottas – five
4] Esteban Ocon/Sergio Perez – two
6] Fernando Alonso/Romain Grosjean/Stoffel Vandoorne/Max Verstappen – one
2017 Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Grosjean/Kevin Magnussen/Jolyon Palmer/Perez/Carlos Sainz, Jr./Vandoorne – one
2017 Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing! Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Alonso – two
2] Mercedes pit [Bottas]/Red Bull pit [Verstappen]/Vettel – one
2017 Bernie Ecclestone Doofus Moment Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Ecclestone – two
2] Australian GP officials/Bottas/Mercedes marketing – one