Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

2019 Spanish Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Spanish Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat’s superb Q2 lap was enough to see him through to Q3, while his team mate was eliminated. He wasn’t able to replicate that pace in Q3, but still started ninth. When the lights went out the Toro Rosso driver stayed out of trouble and stayed in the top 10. During his first stint he stayed behind Magnussen, unable to get close enough to overtake. After he came in for softs he finally had the pace to overtake the Haas driver, and thanks to DRS assistance he had the move done before they even reached turn one.

He stopped as soon as the Safety Car was deployed but the team didn’t have his tyres ready. He sat helplessly on the jacks and lost two positions. By the end of the race he made up one of these to recover to his starting position of ninth. A fine weekend performance which deserved a better result.

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Verstappen beat the Ferraris
Once again Verstappen was untroubled by his team mate and took to the fight to the (slightly) quicker Ferraris. He split the red cars in qualifying and when the two tripped over each other at the start he took advantage and never looked back.

He spent the race all by himself since he didn’t have the pace to challenge Mercedes but was superior to both Ferrari drivers. He kept it clean at the Safety Car restart and filled the last spot on the podium.

Daniel Ricciardo

While his team mate progressed no further than Q1, Daniel Ricciardo dragged the Renault into Q3, but started outside the top ten thanks to his three place grid penalty from Baku.

He was stuck behind Carlos Sainz Jnr for much of the opening stint but eventually found a way by in one of the few passes before the Safety Car period. Unfortunately his team put him on hard tyres at his pit stop, which proved too conservative a move, and he fell out of the points.

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Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Stroll had two crashes in one weekend
Stroll’s weekend began and ended in the same fashion: in the wall. In practice one the Canadian driver buried his car in the Armco, meaning Racing Point had to supply a fresh batch of their latest upgraded parts. The next day in qualifying he continued to struggle to find his one lap pace and was eliminated in Q1 for the ninth race in a row.

In the race Stroll was going wheel to wheel with Lando Norris through turns one and two and left the McLaren no racing room. The pair collided and brought out the Safety Car. The stewards reasonably deemed the collision a racing incident, though it was one Stroll had a greater opportunity to avoid had he shown better awareness.

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault struggled for pace again and Hulkenberg compounded their problems when he locked up into turn four during Q1 and clumsily slid into the wall. Although he was able to make it back to the pits he had to change front wings, reverting to a previous specification, which meant he started the race from the pits.

In the race he played the long game on a one stop strategy that saw him start on the medium and finish on the soft. When the Safety Car came out the team opted to favour track position over fresh tyres and he finished a somewhat flattering 13th.

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Mercedes were just too strong for the competition
Mercedes dominated once again with another one-two in qualifying and the race. Valtteri Bottas took pole by a surprising margin of six tenths of a second after Lewis Hamilton aborted his final Q2 lap early which left him with an under-charged battery. A fractionally better start for Hamilton – Bottas had an unexpected clutch oscillation – put him in the lead, and from there the outcome seemed a foregone conclusion.

Ferrari’s lack of performance at a track where they had seemed strong in testing was a disappointment which does not bode well for the championship. Sebastian Vettel tried to take the fight to the Mercedes drivers at the start but locked up, flat-spotted a tyre, and ended up delaying Charles Leclerc in the first stint. Then Vettel lost time behind Leclerc when Ferrari split their strategies. The Safety Car ended Leclerc’s hopes of one-stopping to third, and he followed Vettel home.

Pierre Gasly showed signs of improvement in the Red Bull, but finished last of the frontrunners once again.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
The fight between the Haas drivers got a bit tasty
Haas were dominant in the midfield battle until the Safety Car brought their rivals within range. Kevin Magnussen elbowed past Romain Grosjean and their subsequent battle left Grosjean vulnerable to Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniil Kvyat, both of which took advantage.

Sainz admitted he made a mistake in qualifying that allowed Norris to out-qualify him but recovered well to score four points in eighth after a forceful pass on Grosjean. Norris sploied his race by running wide at the start before his collision with Lance Stroll.

Kimi Raikkonen was the faster of the Alfa Romeo drivers once again, but got a bit greedy at turn four on lap one and went off, ending his chance of continuing his points streak. Giovinazzi continued to struggle and only managed to beat the Williams in the race after picking up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Sergio Perez flew under the radar for the majority of the weekend since his Racing Point car lacked the pace to compete for points. Williams were stuck at the back of the grid once again with Russell beating Kubica in the race and qualifying.

Video: Every F1 driver’s 2019 Spanish Grand Prix weekend reviewed

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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50 comments on “2019 Spanish Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Well you have to love Ricciardo, because there’s nothing special in what he did, apart from qualifying, he finished Just ahead of Hulkenberg, who started from the pitlane.

    1. My thoughts exactly…if Dan is a star performer than I could think of another few… fe. Gasly… he brought the car home where it was to be expected… doing nothing special.

      For me it’s becomming quite irrelevant how Ricciardo performs, Renault is 8th team on the grid, TR is 9th for being rammed out of races (by fe. that same Ricciardo), leaving only Williams behind as worst team on the grid.
      To my opinion Dan flushed his rather succesfull career down the drain fy chosing a hopeless team wich simply won’t be anywhere close to the top 3 for the times his contract lastst.

      Dan chose money over being competitive, must be shocked realising Renault is P8 in the standings due to DNF’s, drivers and strategy blunders. Dan is on it’s way to become an irrelevant driver in F1…by choice.

      1. Agreed. Ricciardo a star and Hülkenberg a struggler when the former is under a tenth faster in qualifying and one position ahead in the race despite the latter starting from the pit lane? What was impressive in HUL’s performance was that despite making a mistake in qualifying, he was very close to RIC both on Saturday and on Sunday. Yes, he made a mistake, but the result is what counts and there was no big difference between the team mates on either day.

        1. dorisrcharlie
          17th May 2019, 12:05

          “(..) under a tenth faster in qualifying (..)” – So max was also just a tenth quicker than GAS in melbourne and got outqualified by GAS in baku. Does Disagreer agree?

      2. Guybrush Threepwood
        15th May 2019, 13:32

        Dan was able to make the Renault look competitive which not even Hulkenberg is doing. After matching and overall beating Verstappen, Ricciardo is again showing his worth against another top driver on the grid.

        I do think without the favouritism Verstappen and Gasly would be closer than the results suggest.

        1. RebelAngelFloyd (@)
          15th May 2019, 15:42

          “After matching and overall beating Verstappen“
          When did that happen??
          Have al look at the season 2018 score by Keith. And wake up!

          1. dorisrcharlie
            17th May 2019, 12:07

            It happened in 16-18, three years in a row.

        2. He’s not, he didn’t, he’s not and they wouldn’t.

          Other than that I can find no fault with your post.

      3. dorisrcharlie
        17th May 2019, 12:29

        “he brought the car home where it was to be expected… doing nothing special.” – Sounds like a description of max. RIC beat faster cars and would’ve gotten points if not for the bad tyres REN put him on.

        “rammed out of races (by fe. that same Ricciardo)” – Again, sounds like a typical description about max. I’ve never heard anything from you about that though. First time in half a decade or so RIC did it, you jump right on it.

        “due to DNF’s, drivers (..) blunders” – Again, how many points did max lose last year alone due to his double digits blunders? RIC losing just two and you just have to emphasize it multiple times in multiple comments.

        ‘For me it’s becomming quite irrelevant how Ricciardo performs” – Doesn’t sound like it. LOL

    2. And yet one is a star and the other is a struggler. Lol.

    3. They’re probably assuming that Ric didn’t determine his race strategy. How is dragging this Renault *and* passing a faster McLaren with it not a star performance? Without the team’s strategy mistake, he’d have finished 8th.

      1. dragging into Q3

      2. dorisrcharlie
        17th May 2019, 12:15

        “How is dragging this Renault *and* passing a faster McLaren with it not a star performance?” – My sentiments exactly. On top of that, it was SAI, who always goes very well here.

    4. Specially considering that Hulkenberg did not pit under SC as Ricciardo did…

      1. dorisrcharlie
        17th May 2019, 12:11

        That would’ve meant he’d lose places to PER and RAI. The HUL-stay out-call was right.
        Like Josh said, the SC flattered his end result.

  2. Good summary. I think Ferrari collectively might have earned a spot in the strugglers list. On Kvyat’s write up, a specific mention of his overtake of Kimi might have been warranted, that was one of the nice things to see on Sunday.

  3. Mercedes should be on top of the list of Star performers.

  4. Ricciardo got a 6 at Sky. Interesting as always

    1. dorisrcharlie
      17th May 2019, 12:33

      RIC getting people on their high horses. Much more interesting.

  5. In reality, Verstappens performance was greatly inflated by Ferrari’s complete melt down.

    Had they actually made any sensible decisions on the pit wall, the RBR would probably been back in 5th just ahead of Gasly.

    Some normal driving by him and a team that actually does work well got him 3rd, aided by Vettel’s lock up in the first corner. I’d call it a lucky podium, whereas the Toro Rosso drivers drove blindingly good races (given their cars capability) and lost position because of a major error in the pits.

    I was a bit surprised to see Daniel Ricciardo listed as well although I can see that he may have outperformed the cars capability.

    1. @dbradock
      He outqualified his teammate by some margin, split the Ferrari’s, overtook Vettel in the race, drove 66 laps with metronomical precision and actually made it look like he was fighting with Mercedes in what is generally conceived as the 3rd fastest car on the grid. What else can he do?
      And just ahead of Gasly? What race have you been watching.
      it’s ok not to like a driver, but to come up with this nonsense is rather pathetic.

      1. Oconomo +1

    2. If Verstappen makes it look like another walk in the park…we really could question Gasly’s abilities as a driver…not just F1 driver.

      1. Yup, agree with Oconomo, RB13, Matn.

        Max did a phenomenal job, particularly at the start.

        1. At the start? Max got overtaken by Charles. Just Seb doing a Seb and balking his team mate at the first corner allowed Max to go from 5th (down 1) to 3rd (up 1).
          Max still drove well, but he was just lucky at the start.

          1. At the beginning of last year he was too impatient according many. Now he is being patient at the start… And that is deemed lucky…

          2. dorisrcharlie
            17th May 2019, 12:42

            Last year he was called the best starter by his fans and good starts were seen as proof of superior race craft. Now he hasn’t made up one single place, and now he’s called patient, intelligent by them. LOL

            Last years RIC was being called too patient by max fans, now max doing the same, he’s said to have ‘grown’. LOL
            Last years max crashed a couple of times at the start, his fans said he was just unlucky or put the blame on others. Now he hasn’t and just waits, they again say he’s the best. LOL

    3. dorisrcharlie
      17th May 2019, 12:50

      Exactly, FER lost time with their cars (and positions at the start) bc of the intra-team fight, something RB and max don’t have to deal with.

      “Some normal driving by him and a team that actually does work well got him 3rd” – Precisely. Did nothing special, didn’t ‘outperform’ the car in the slightest. I also think the RB is the 2nd car, not the FER. They’re were about dead even in qualifying, and the RB has always been (relatively) better in the race.

  6. I’m missing Russell here.
    He deserves it more IMO than Ricciardo.

  7. If you are going to blame someone for the Stroll/Norris clash surely that one should be Norris

    They weren’t head to head, Norris was behind, quite a bit actually, around 80% of Stroll’s car was ahead. To call that lack of awareness from Stroll is…well lack of awareness

    And to place Stroll as a struggler for it is just another level

    Haas should be a star performer in general, their drivers squabbles aside they were the standout of the weekend

    1. I mean even the squabble. It was hard tough driving from two drivers who could have settled and/or binned it and instead gave us a bit of a show. It’s a shame Grosjean lost two places in the process, but I can’t blame him for trying to get back his place, nor Magnussen for pouncing initially nor defending firmly against his team mate.

      1. fully agree @tango and I’m glad they didn’t enforce team rules. But had they done that they would have probably got away with a 7th and 8th instead of a 7th and 10th

        I prefer the latter for the entertainment factor

    2. Even ignoring this incident, Stroll was a struggler. The midfield is so evenly matched, that Strolls performance will cost the team at least 2 places in the constructers championship. If Ocon was still driving for the team they would be a solid 4th, currently they are 5th but could drop further due to a resurgent HAAS.

      1. @emu55 no doubt Stroll struggled, it started in FP1 with his crash. There are plenty of arguments to use in this occasion, but to blame him for an incident that he had no fault whatsoever sounds a bit biased if I’m terrible honest.

        Norris at best had his front wing on par with Stroll’s front wheels, there was no “side by side”. The radio message played afterwords should be enough to clarify.

        Norris: “Sorry guys, I’m out”

        1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md3cMNQsIEc

          Around 5:46. Norris had a bigger overlap than you imply, his front wheels seemed to be at Stroll’s sidepod. Sure, not COMPLETELY side-by-side, but if you want overtakes you need to give some margin.

          Norris tries to back out the moment he notices Stroll is going for the apex. That’s why he slows down, that’s why the contact happens between Norris’s right front wheel and Stroll’s rear left wheel.

          This incident it’s just the typical F1 bull. Drivers are allowed to take the whole track even when there are other cars besides them, because they are slightly in front.

        2. @johnmilk I don’t think he had ‘no fault whatsoever’. When you look at @casjo onboard, you can see that Norris is about half way and Stroll was fully aware that Norris was there (because he defended on the straight). Whether Norris should have backed out or not is an interesting question, but Stroll should not have turned in like there was no-one there, knowing that there was.

        3. @casjo @matthijs the reasons you are pointing out are precisely the ones that I agree with the stewards decision of deeming it a racing incident. I might have exaggerated on my statement “no fault whatsoever”. Regardless if you blaming someone for it, it is definitely Norris and to use the argument that the blame should be on Stroll, even though it was a racing incident for him to be considered a struggler, is lazy. He struggled, but definitely not the reason to give him that stamp

          And Norris should have backed out definitely, at best half way with Stroll doesn’t cut it

          1. @johnmilk I agree with the stewards’ view and yours: a racing incident. Both parties could have avoided the clash and both did too little to prevent a crash. Sometimes these things happen.

  8. Exactly, but if you almost finished 6th from 17th on the grid, naah, how could that be a star performance.
    13th to 12th, yees , you must be a star performer.

    1. dorisrcharlie
      17th May 2019, 13:16

      You guys really don’t like him, hey?

      “if you almost finished 6th from 17th on the grid, naah, how could that be a star performance.” – Did KUB almost get 6th?

  9. Umm, how exactly Kubica wasn’t a struggler? Made some mistakes in FP sessions, was out-paced by his team mate with over a 1 second gap in qualifying and finished well behind his team mate in the race.

    1. unfortanely, Kubica is struggler of the season so far (even more than Gasly). I know the car doesn’t help, but he’s getting constantly schooled by a rookie.

  10. Don’t agree with the assessment of the Stroll/Norris incident, Norris was massively over-ambitious. He sounded like he thought it was his fault as well. Also, how is Kubica not a struggler? Over a second slower than Russell in Q1 and behind him in the race as well.
    Also, a bit unfair to say Giovinazzi ‘continued’ to struggle – it’s not really been his fault and last time, remember, he out-qualified Raikkonnen by 6 tenths. This race was compromised by the team, again, trying a silly strategy.

  11. Stars: Verstappen, and Kvyat.
    Strugglers: Bottas, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, RP, Alfa Romeo, and Kubica.

    1. If Bottas is a struggler here, Hamilton was a struggler in Baku. This is laughable.

  12. Why is Ferrari always referenced as the faster car vs. Red Bull? Head to head Max had a faster average lap time and had by far more faster laps than both Vettel and Leclerc.

    1. I don’t think people want to admit that the team who gets the most money, by far, than anyone else is being beaten by a soft drink.

  13. Perez once again kept pace with a faster car, this time he stayed with Ricciardo until he couldn’t. Check the lap times.

    1. dorisrcharlie
      17th May 2019, 13:59

      He kept pace bc RIC was fighting/being held up by SAI all race long. By the time the SC came out, PER was already over 8s behind RIC though.
      And after the SC he couldn’t keep HUL on 10L older softs, and RAI behind.

  14. RB is definitly not the better car than the Ferrari’s. RB just has the best driver in the field, the only one in the world who can outperform the Ferrari’s with a lesser car. Who outperforms the whole field by miles doing just that. Number one on Mercedes most wanted list. You all know who I am talking about.

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