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P3 Max makes it 150!

Highlights

  • At the start Max and Daniel hold their grid positions of P5 and P6.
  • Long first stint helps Bulls to set up possible podium.
  • Vettel pits under VSC giving up P2 to Bottas and P3 to Max.
  • Max scores team’s 150th podium finish.

Max scored our 150th Formula 1 podium finish with a battling drive to third place at the Spanish Grand Prix that saw him fend of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel despite racing the final third of the race with a damaged front wing. Daniel added to the team’s Barcelona points haul with a solid fifth place and Fastest Lap for the race.

At the start Max and Daniel held their grid positions as pole sitter Lewis Hamilton led the field through the opening corners. However, behind him Sebastian Vettel made a good start from P3 and managed to pass front-row starter Valtteri Bottas who slotted into third ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and the Red Bulls.

At the start Max and Daniel held their grid positions as pole sitter Lewis Hamilton led the field through the opening corners. However, behind him Sebastian Vettel made a good start from P3 and managed to pass front-row starter Valtteri Bottas who slotted into third ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and the Red Bulls.

The safety car was quickly called in to action however, as behind the front six Haas’ Romain Grosjean spun in Turn 3. The Frenchman went into the gravel on the outside of the corner but spun back on track and collided with the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly. All three were immediately ruled out of the race and the Safety Car was deployed.

When racing resumed on lap seven the frontrunners all held their position, with Hamilton leading Vettel ahead of Bottas, Räikkönen and the Red Bulls. The race then settled until Vettel triggered the first round of pit stops at the end of lap 17.

The Ferrari driver bolted on a set of medium tyres and rejoined in P7 ahead of Carlos Sainz. Mercedes responded, pitting Bottas two laps later. The Finn also took mediums, but a slow stop, allied to Vettel blasting past Magnussen into Turn 1 meant the Finn had no chance of passing Vettel. Max and Daniel, meanwhile, stayed out and that ultimately would bring the race to Max in the final third of the grand prix.

First though, the Red Bulls received a bonus in the shape of fourth-placed Räikkönen suddenly slowing on lap 25.


OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:

  • 150 – Podium finishes for the team thanks to Max’s efforts in Barcelona.
  • 12 – Career podium places now for Max. Today’s was his first Mexico 2017.
  • 12 – Career fastest laps for Daniel now. His lap of 1:18.441 was logged on lap 61 of the Spanish GP.
  • 80 – Constructor’s Championship points for the team now, with 25 added to our total today. We’re now 39 clear of P4 team Renault.

Max reported that the engine of the Ferrari was having problems and this was quickly confirmed when Ferrari told Räikkönen to stop the car. Max and Daniel blasted past the Finn, who managed to get his car back to pit lane where he retired from the race.

Max then inherited the race lead when Hamilton pitted for medium tyres on the lap of Räikkönen’s retirement and he held P1 ahead of the Mercedes driver until lap 34 when he made his sole stop, for medium tyres, a lap after Daniel had made the same switch.

The Bulls were now on much fresher tyres than Vettel and Bottas and the possibility of a podium finish began to take shape. Then, on lap 38 Force India’s Esteban Ocon pulled over at the side of the track and the VSC was deployed. During the cautionary period Ferrari decided to pit Vettel for new mediums. The German rejoined in fourth place between Max and Daniel as Bottas moved into P2 ahead of Max.

The Dutch driver hit trouble soon after the VSC withdrew, however. Attempting to pass backmarker Lance Stroll he clipped the rear of the Williams and damaged his front wing.

The damage might have given Vettel hope of a return to a podium position, but after being told by his race engineer that his wing was structurally sound despite damage to the end plate, Max drove around any problems and actually stretched his advantage over Vettel to 2.7s.

Daniel’s race had suffered a setback, however. The Australian had spun on cold tyres after the VSC restart and he was now some 18 seconds behind Vettel. Despite claiming his 12th career race fastest lap over the remaining distance, the Honey Badger could only get to 22s behind Vettel at the flag.
At the front, Hamilton was untouchable, powering to his 64th career win with more than 18 seconds in hand over his second-placed team-mate. Despite Vettel’s attentions, Max was faultless over the final laps and claimed the team’s 150th podium finish with 0.7s seconds in hand over the sole remaining Ferrari.

Daniel added 10 points to Red Bull’s haul with fifth place, while Kevin Magnussen finished sixth for Haas ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso took his fifth points finish of the season with eighth place ahead of Force India’s Sergio Pérez. Tenth place went to Sauber’s Charles Leclerc who scored points for the second race in a row.