You have to go back many years to plan a career in which Lewis Hamilton don’t be the clear favorite to victory. A global pandemic has had to come to knock him out of a Grand Prix, which in turn opens the door to an alternative in victory.
On paper, the first candidate is your partner Valtteri Bottas. The Finn made pole when more pressure was on him, since George Russell wet his ear in free practice and it seemed possible that the newcomer to Mercedes was going to snatch first place on the grid. Logic prevailed, but in the race the situation changed from the start.
Start: Russell escapes and Sainz, 3rd
Valtteri Bottas proved that he is incapable of doing well. On a very dirty track, although if it were clean he would not have done it decently either, he was stuck while his partner George Russell he escaped.
Verstappen got caught between the two, and when he was trying to get into second position, Charles Leclerc over-braked and took on Sergio Perez and own Verstappen. The Mexican could continue in the race, but not the Monegasque or the Dutch, who aspired to everything.
The great beneficiary of this chaotic exit was, in addition to a Russell who escaped, Carlos Sainz, who dodged all incidents and he put third. The safety car resulting from this accident neutralized the race, but with the restart, the Spaniard managed to overtake Bottas and take 2nd place for a few meters … although an exit from the track made him lose that position immediately.
Then a resistance race began everywhere: Russell trying to hold the first position, Bottas trying not to make a fool of himself anymore and Sainz trying to keep third place, with Daniel Ricciardo to your wheel.
A wrong safety car for Sainz
Mercedes’ strategy, different from the rest, forced the mechanics not to make mistakes with either of them. The first to stop, logically, was George Russell, who was leading. Although he initially made the hearts of his fans freeze with a “no power” message, he recovered quickly and when Bottas made his save he did so with plenty of advantage.
As the rest of those who went between Sainz and the Mercedes, it began to come into play when McLaren would decide to bring in the Spanish. In those they were when Nicholas latifi he left his Williams lying on the side of the circuit, with which the FIA ordered the deployment of the virtual safety car.
The ideal thing for Sainz would have been to go into the pits right then and there, but when he rolled out, the Madrid native had just passed the finish line, so he had to wait a full lap. The Spaniard came out 7th from making his second stop, behind all those who, in theory, were going to a stop.