Spanish Grand Prix continues ratings rise since 2011

2014 Spanish Grand Prix

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014This year’s Spanish Grand Prix was a slow burner where contrasting strategies produced several contests for position in the final laps – including a tense duel for the lead between the Mercedes drivers.

Despite pressure from his team mate, Lewis Hamilton took the win, his fourth in as many races, and with it claimed the lead in the drivers’ championship.

With Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and the Force India drivers adding to the action during the final stint, F1 Fanatic readers gave the Spanish Grand Prix an average rating of 6.4 out of ten, putting it third of the five races so far.

The scores for the last seven Spanish Grands Prix support the view that the changes made to improve the racing – the introduction of rapidly degrading Pirelli tyres and the Drag Reduction System – have played a significant role at the Circuit de Catalunya, which has always been a difficult track to pass on.

The rate the race results for Spain have been higher since 2011: the average score for the three preceding races 5.111, which has risen to 6.997 since.

Here’s a selection of your views on this year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

‘Not bad for this track’

Many of you were realistic and focused on the positives when scoring the race, based on the track it would maybe be a little unfair to expect wheel to wheel racing in every corner.

As usual for a Spanish Grand Prix, it was quite a technical and somewhat boring race. Mixed strategies and some decisions gave us some exciting last laps. It wasn’t easy to watch and there wasn’t any particular drama to remember from this race. Quite average and will be forgotten soon.

I’ve got to say, though that this year F1 is more balanced than previous years. Not as per team performance, where Mercedes is well ahead, but the tyres are not drawing attention away from the race, the DRS is not overpowering and there are not so many mechanical failures as we feared before the season.
@Dimitris-1395

I gave it a seven. The early part of the race wasn’t that good and I thought it would be a typical Spanish Grand Prix, in other words quite boring. However Vettel and Alonso three stopping and charging the field added enough excitement later in the race. When Rosberg was chasing down Hamilton in the final stint I was on the edge of my seat wondering which way it would turn out, and I thought it would be in Rosberg’s favour. So overall a decent race.
@Pja

I’m here to rate how much I enjoyed this race and due to some very tense inter-team battles, and a storming drive from Vettel.

A slow-burner that turned into one of the better Spanish Grands Prix.
@Racectrl

Television direction

There were some negative comments about some of the television director’s choices in Spain. Monaco is one of the few Grand Prix that has their own director, so we will see how he fares next race.

Yeah exactly when Rosberg is lining up for a pass, let’s show his girlfriend. Stupid thinking!
@Hamilfan

Great race, race director was terrible.
@F199player

The race fails to win over some

Not everyone enjoyed the race. The main reasons being lack of overtaking, pitting for position and drivers often backing off.

I thought it was boring. Only the last few laps we saw actual overtaking, the rest was basically pit-stop overtakes. Fun to watch for strategists, but not me. I want to see on-track action and we didn’t get any today. Monaco will most likely be the same, however it could get interesting if Vettel or Ricciardo snatch pole.
@Rigi

Boring from start to finish and very predictable.

How can this even be called racing? Calling it a race is an insult to racing!

I was watching Ricciardo coming up on Bottas, then his team tells him to drop back to a two second gap to save the tyres! That is not a race.

The whole point of a race is to push yourself to finish first. Isn’t far more effective to get up right behind the next driver and harass him until he makes a mistake? They should be giving these guys tires that allow them to actually do that.

To me, the only reason a driver should have to stop and change tyres is because he was pushing the car to the brink of exploding. The points are only given to the top ten drivers, so then they should push as hard as they can to get into the top ten. I would rather my driver push his car to until it dies on him then finish outside of the points.
@Irejag

Quality over quantity

On a whole, most readers were positive and sometimes defensive about the race and Formula One in general.

‘The overtake’ is not the be all and end all of F1. F1 is a much richer, deeper and more technical sport than possibly any other. It is why I love it. When there’s a (non-DRS) highly accomplished pass, it’s thrilling, exciting and indeed awe-inspiring.

There may be fewer of them in F1 than other motorsport simply because the margins are so fantastically small and the drivers of such a high standard that genuine passing (non-assisted) is rare. It is this rarity that makes it special.

If you have several passes per lap it’s no longer a highlight. They wouldn’t be hard fought over many laps. Passing would no longer be special.
@Psynrg

This is good F1. It really is. Great strategy and build-up, wonderful performances, a fight for the lead, tension, information.

I’ve karted quite a lot, enough to know that not every race is exceptional, and not every race has to be. There were some great races, and others where it was pretty boring, long distance behind and in front of some one. That’s motorsport, and that’s okay. You must love the sport in all its details, not just in a “why isn’t there more overtaking”… that’s just a part, a nice part, but a part nonetheless.

Let’s not try to make this a show people want to watch. Either you love the sport and discuss it on that level, or just go watch something else. Sorry, but it irritates me when people complain about things that are actually part of the sport, and always have been, like strategy. It is not about racing as fast as you can the whole time for 300-plus kilometres, it is about using your brain, and maximising your options.

This was so fascinating about Hamilton, Rosberg, Bottas and Vettel today – they were able to maximise their potential in the different racing situations, and that’s what I like to see. I don’t expect it to be thrilling from start to finish until the end, because I know from own experience that that is not realistic in racing; but it is still fun every time!
@Magon4

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2014 Spanish Grand Prix

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40 comments on Spanish Grand Prix continues ratings rise since 2011

  1. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 19th May 2014, 12:43

    I’m surprised the Spanish Grand Prix scored less than Australia. Yes, it was a slow burner, but it was also a thoroughly enthralling spot of Sunday afternoon entertainment. Patience is a virtue, fellow F1 fans, have patience…

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th May 2014, 12:54

      The first race will often score higher on account of it being the first F1 action anybody has seen for a while, as well as the satisfaction of finally getting some indication of the running order.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 19th May 2014, 13:38

        @matt90 – True, but I would argue the 2013 Australian Grand Prix was underscored – it was probably the best race of the season, not Bahrain. That said, 2012 had set something of a precedent for on-track action.

        • paulipedia (@paulipedia) said on 19th May 2014, 14:06

          If people didn’t like this race, I think they’re missing the point of F1

          • Fumbles (@) said on 19th May 2014, 22:14

            This is the first race of the year that I’ve become tired of the Mercedes domination. That’s probably a factor that will nibble at the race ratings more and more as long as it continues. Admittedly I’d prefer it not to be Red Bull, but I must say I got pretty bored for most of the middle portion. It was a very slow-builder at the very front, but all the points-scorers were the same as the previous race except for Grosjean instead of Kvyat. The race result in the end really was just a continuation of the previous race.

            I just don’t think there was much of a pay-off towards the end. Rosberg got closer, but never actually made a move. Vettel’s move through the field didn’t seem like he fought too hard for the places with one or two exceptions. Imagine how dull it would have been if Vettel was 4th on the grid. The reliability was very high as well, which seems to have become a trend again. I just got bored as the race was unfolding, except for the last 5-10 laps.

            But then again, I miss the point of F1

    • JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 21st May 2014, 8:48

      Patience? when only 6 cars finished on the same lap, Alonso was 3 secs to almost getting lapped.
      It could’ve been only the 2 Merc finished on the same lap. The Merc domination is even worse than Red Bull.

  2. Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven) said on 19th May 2014, 12:57

    Bout right.. Some good inter team battles paticularly towards the end but altogether too measured

  3. Jake (@jleigh) said on 19th May 2014, 14:02

    These results sadden me. The Spanish Grand Prix was probably the equivalent of a strategic (not end to end) 3-2 game of football, yet was only rated 6.4. F1 fans are too harsh on the sport sometimes, no doubt provoked by the constant criticism from the people in charge of it.

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 20th May 2014, 10:29

      @jleigh You say strategic, on the basis that you thought it was going down to the wire, but I personally thought it was a forgone conclusion, I figure ROS doesn’t have the metal to beat HAM this year in a straight fight. So if you take out that component of the race, then what was there?
      The only thing I took away from the race was that RBR are 2nd a long way behind Merc and Ferrari and a couple of other teams are squabbling for the rest of the top 10 slots…

  4. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 19th May 2014, 14:04

    im surprised, i thought it was painfully boring..only got interesting in the last 5 minutes

    • DaveD (@daved) said on 19th May 2014, 18:26

      I don’t see how you can say that? I mean, you could see what it was leading up to the entire race and watching to see what the teams were doing strategy wise was fascinating to me. Once Alonso dove in and tried to undercut Kimi, you knew that fight was on. And you could see the times being tracked back and forth between Lewis and Nico on every lap and when they gave Lewis two bad pits in a row, then it was becoming very tense. You just knew that they were going to be head to head at the end and trying to watch them fight it out (even though they were separated by some distance at the time) was really entertaining to me.
      But my favorite part was watching Vettel drive through the field like a wild man on a three stop strategy. I love to watch someone just drive the tires off and he was doing that.
      I know it’s all very subjective, but I was following all those things plus others so it was fascinating to me.

      • Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 19th May 2014, 21:43

        I totally second this totally blows my mind when people have this sort of opinion on such a race while claiming to be a fan of F1?

        • Ben (@scuderia29) said on 20th May 2014, 13:51

          @kartingjimbo oh i must not be a real fan, ive just been watching every race since i was 4 so i could one day comment on forums….lol, i’d still have rather watched the grand prix than anything else on t.v but by f1’s high standards, it wasnt a brilliant race

      • Ben (@scuderia29) said on 20th May 2014, 14:00

        @daved i love seeing the strategies play out dont get me wrong, it would hard to be a die hard f1 fan without appreciating that aspect. But i want to see a load of wheel to wheel action too! this isnt le mans 24 hours, its a 1.5-2 hour race and i expect to see more racing packed into that time. It reminded more of a 2013 type race where the majority of overtakes were dont under DRS, vettel was the highlight of the race but watching vettel in a red bull go quickly is hardly something to get that excited about after the last 4 years

  5. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 19th May 2014, 14:17

    Given how dull the first half was, I’m not hugely surprised. I gave it a 7 because the first half was worthy of a 4 and the second half a 9, rounded up gives a 7.

  6. drmouse (@drmouse) said on 19th May 2014, 15:27

    Sorry, but it irritates me when people complain about things that are actually part of the sport, and always have been, like strategy. It is not about racing as fast as you can the whole time for 300-plus kilometres, it is about using your brain, and maximising your options.

    Spot on! Comment of the century!

    • Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven) said on 19th May 2014, 16:42

      @Magon4
      @drmouse

      I can’t agree here while F1 is about strategy it’s also about racing wheel to wheel, it’s also about the lifestyle, champagne, money and hot girls, it’s about politics and technical advances.

      This weekend was mediocre on most fronts, don’t try to dictate to F1 fans how they should rate races and for what reasons.

      Besides, this race was medicore at best from a strategy point of view. When I think of good strategic races I think of Mansell backing off Senna to let his team mate wear down his tyres and Sennas ability to withstand this pressure that was a 10, this was a 6 at best.

      • Rooney (@rojov123) said on 19th May 2014, 18:59

        Comment of the millennium!!

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th May 2014, 21:00

        I can’t agree here while F1 is about strategy it’s also about racing wheel to wheel, it’s also about the lifestyle, champagne, money and hot girls, it’s about politics and technical advances.

        This weekend was mediocre on most fronts

        As far as I could see, if those are what F1 is about, then none bar perhaps wheel-to-wheel racing were any lower than normal. How was it mediocre on the other fronts?

        When I think of good strategic races I think of Mansell backing off Senna to let his team mate wear down his tyres

        So your idea of good strategy is one very specific situation which is often too risky to even bother attempting?

        • Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven) said on 20th May 2014, 12:22

          @matt90 When I say it was mediocre that’s just my opinion.
          My example of a good strategic race was just that a single example of what a 10 wouold be in my book from a strategic point of view. I could give other examples but I have a job to do and I though 1 illustrated the point sufficiently. The example could just as easily refer to a past fulling strategy which got peoples strategic juices flowing.
          Again, in my opinion there was nothing spectacular about the strategy in this race.

          Generally though, I felt I needed to comment because the “fanatics” on this site are generally non-biased and objective.. Go to many similar websites and you’ll get to read acres of non sensical, off topic drivel. So these ratings, I think are generally a good measure of the overall quality of a weekend and I don’t like the tone of @magon4 ‘s comment above when he seems to claim that voters should know better as he does in all his glory!

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th May 2014, 21:50

            @twentyseven That’s fair enough, but I still don’t see how it was mediocre on the other fronts you mentioned. The technical advances are rarely particularly spectacular mid-season anyway, and I’d have thought a race with less focus on politics would be a blessing (as it’s rarely good intrigue and more typically irritating whining).

      • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 20th May 2014, 8:08

        This weekend was mediocre on most fronts, don’t try to dictate to F1 fans how they should rate races and for what reasons.

        I was not commenting on this particular race. I was merely agreeing with the point that many people seem to want wheel-to-wheel, flat out racing from flag to flag. This is not, and never has been, what F1 is about. There is strategy, mind games, tyre and fuel saving, amazing tech… F1 is multi-facetted, but all many people seem to want is flat out racing, passing, and noise.

        Personally I couldn’t care less about the glamour side, and the politics bug me, but they, too, are part of F1. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay.

        • dkpioe said on 20th May 2014, 12:22

          watch the Indy 500 next weekend, I feel it will be far more exciting then the Monaco gp. great drivers, wheel to wheel at 220mph, better sound then f1, non stop action and passing. f1 is not as great as it used to be. the alternatives now are actually better, where previous they may not have been.

        • Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven) said on 20th May 2014, 12:27

          @drmouse My point was only that people should watch the sport for whatever facet they choose or multiple differing facets. statements like this from @magon4 ‘s below are a little bossy for my liking.

          Either you love the sport and discuss it on that level, or just go watch something else

          • magon4 (@magon4) said on 20th May 2014, 14:09

            I didn’t write that and I do agree with you @twentyseven. but you do understand where I’m coming from? There are expectations that I see from some (not the majority) that simply don’t meet the history and self-definition of f1.

          • magon4 (@magon4) said on 20th May 2014, 14:12

            ups, I did write that. agreed, too bossy. Guess I was irritated…

  7. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 19th May 2014, 22:00

    Re: the comment above about pushing the whole way.

    A race is not just about who is the fastest over a single lap. It is about who is the fastest over the course of the distance. That means sometimes a driver must preserve certain aspects of the car to ensure it is either stronger latter stages or simply there at the finish. This has always been an aspect of Formula 1. There have been many drivers over the years who have driven the car too hard and suffered retirement. It’s all part of the game of car management. Ask Alain Prost about that. I’m sure a “slower” driver such as him will have no problem illustrating the point with 4 championships to his name.

  8. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 19th May 2014, 22:01

    I really enjoyed it, but perhaps my opinion was swayed unavoidably by tracking the progress of Sebastain Vettel intently up the pecking order.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 19th May 2014, 22:29

      The disparity between my personal ranking and the general consensus of users is generally not so cavernous, so this is quite the oddball. Perhaps I was simply not terribly bored during the phases which lacked track action due to my enjoyment of strategic developments.

  9. Sven (@crammond) said on 19th May 2014, 22:41

    The scores for the last seven Spanish Grands Prix support the view that the changes made to improve the racing – the introduction of rapidly degrading Pirelli tyres and the Drag Reduction System – have played a significant role at the Circuit de Catalunya, which has always been a difficult track to pass on.

    With all the slack those changes got, it really helped those tracks like the Circuit de Catalunya or the Hungaroring, where passing was virtually impossible before. Even if I don´t want any DRS at Montreal or Spa, I´d rather have it at some circuits than all or none. And if for whatever reason (that didn´t really got through to me) it´s only possible to either have it everywhere or nowhere, it would be a hard decision which scenario to prefer.
    As for the tyres, the problem never was degrading tyres, that´s in fact far better than the Bridgestone-wooden-tyres that never allowed any strategy-diversitiy at all (the only strategy-dicersity back then came through refueling). The problem is teams being able to spot minimal fractions of tyre-degradation and coaching the driver around. Take away either the team-radio from team to driver or restrict the tyre-sensors to a standard-device exclusively monitoring the integrity of the tyre (for safety-reasons) and nothing more than that, and degrading-tyres would be really good.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 19th May 2014, 23:32

      They should just impliment DRS at those specific tracks, or change the way in which it is used to be more in line with World Series by Renault’s implimentation.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th May 2014, 0:41

      @crammond, what is wrong with the strategy of driving faster and passing the car in front, why do we have to have a strategy of going slower and avoiding interaction with other cars ?

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th May 2014, 0:43

        PS. Don’t tell me F1 has always been about tyre management and strategy, it hasn’t.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 20th May 2014, 1:43

          @hohum strategy, yes. Specifically tyre strategy, not so much, but it has been a large factor for many years (never to the extent of recent years admittedly).

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 20th May 2014, 2:03

            @vettel1, Strategy if you include (a) driving faster than and passing the cars ahead, or staying ahead, and (b) not overeving your engine in the expectation that the drivers ahead who are overreving their engines battling for position will have engine failure, then you are correct, however prior to the re-fuelling era any other form of tactics was sufficiently rare as to enter into legend when succesful, the majority of races were purely based on options (a) and less often (b).

        • PeterG said on 20th May 2014, 16:05

          PS. Don’t tell me F1 has always been about tyre management and strategy, it hasn’t.

          But it has, Drivers have always had to manage some aspect of the car & there has always been some element of strategy involved.

      • Sven (@crammond) said on 20th May 2014, 7:44

        what is wrong with the strategy of driving faster and passing the car in front, why do we have to have a strategy of going slower and avoiding interaction with other cars ?

        You do realise that you are being polemic?

        I have never said I´d prefer “a strategy of avoiding other cars”. However, without tyre-strategy, that race in Spain would have looked like the first stint, but all race long. There was little to no overtaking when everybody had the same tyre of the same age. And I really liked the three-stopper to work, that was the thing that gave us what was good about that race.

  10. SauberS1 (@saubers1) said on 20th May 2014, 23:15

    There were some good fighting, but I think this race was boring.

  11. JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 21st May 2014, 9:07

    F1 is about speed and strategy, the new F1 is about slowness, strategy has always been there since F1 began. Watched some 2013 races and you could feel the speed especially at the turns, straight-line speed is not noticeable at all. I’m still waiting for the cars to get faster as it’s been said many times that the V6 will be much faster than the V8 with each race. Did anyone notice it’s been getting faster and faster. Ermmmm.

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