The Citizen (Gauteng)
‘It’s Hungary all over again’
GAME OVER: NO TYRE CHANGE COSTS VERSTAPPEN AS HAMILTON EASILY REELS HIM IN Tsunoda as the new kid on the block needs to watch his mouth.
Once again it appeared the scene was set for an excellent race at the Spanish Grand Prix with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton on pole, just 0.036sec ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
Lights out and it was a close race to turn one, with Verstappen making a brave move on the inside to take the lead and within just a couple of laps opening up a 1.5sec lead over the Englishman.
Sadly, lap 9 saw the deployment of the Safety Car as the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda came to a stop on the outside of Turn 10.
Verstappen had a good restart keeping Hamilton at bay, a position he held until the Mercedes call on lap 42, when the reigning world champion was pitted for a set of soft compound tyres.
There was no response from the Red Bull pit wall, leaving Verstappen on well-worn tyres and 24 laps remaining, the Dutchman became a sitting duck.
From this point on it was “game over” as Hamilton reeled him in at an alarming rate.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was heard to say “it’s Hungary all over again”, a repeat of the same strategy employed by Mercedes to beat Verstappen at the Hungaroring in 2019.
When the Dutchman was asked post-race what the team needs to do to ensure there were no further repeats, his answer was a very definite, “We just need a faster car.”
It was a great result for the Brackley team, extending their lead in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.
It appears the Silver Arrows are rapidly coming to grips with the initial problems of the new season and are going to need more space in the Mercedes trophy cabinet at year end.
What has happened to the young Japanese superstar to be, Yuki Tsunoda? From his ninth place debut in Bahrain he appears to have taken too many rapid steps forward in his F1 career, unfortunately not in driving ability, but in mental attitude. Recently we have heard him over the team radio vehemently complaining and voicing his opinion of fellow competitors, the broadcasters “bleep” machine having to work overtime, and also raising questions regarding the Alpha Tauri strategy calls.
But last Sunday he raised a new issue and it is one that could have dire consequences. Tsunoda suggested his team-mate, Pierre Gasly, has a car differing from his own specification-wise.
This would not have gone down well with Team Principal Franz Tost and must have resulted in a very firm oral communication session on his return to the pits.
Tsunoda must also seriously consider his future as he races for an equipe that not long ago was referred to as the Red Bull Junior Team and Dr Helmut Marko, as overall motorsport advisor for both teams, is unlikely to accept such behavior and comments from the new kid on the block.
He appears to have taken too many rapid steps forward