Rookie of the Race
#55 – Carlos Sainz Jr – Spain – Scuderia Toro Rosso
In his home Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz Jr put in the kind of performance that proved Red Bull were right to take him under their wings, with a superb qualifying and a accomplished race effort at the Circuit de Catalunya.
It all started on Saturday, when he qualified an excellent fifth on the grid, and although he was unable to retain the position during the early stages of the race, he did not panic and when the car came back to him in the closing stages was able to take a very creditable ninth.
His pass on the final lap against Daniil Kvyat was, despite them banging wheels, was impressive, and brought his team their best ever result at the Spanish circuit, and the Spaniard two well-earned points in front of his home fans.
Overall, it was a truly impressive performance by the current Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion, and a result that will go a long way to giving Sainz confidence going forward.
#33 – Max Verstappen – Netherlands – Scuderia Toro Rosso
Like his team-mate Sainz, Max Verstappen starred during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, lining up alongside his team-mate in sixth, but ultimately fell away from the points paying positions in the race.
Neither Scuderia Toro Rosso driver had the set-up to remain in their lofty positions on the grid, and paid the price in the race as car after car drafted past them down the front straight.
Verstappen was running inside the top ten in the closing stages but was compromised heavily by being forced to concede time to allow the frontrunners to lap him, which put him into the clutches of his team-mate, and then made a mess of the chicane just before the main straight to allow Sainz an easy way passed.
Not his worst weekend, but Verstappen was certainly outperformed by his team-mate at the Circuit de Catalunya.
#12 – Felipe Nasr – Brazil – Sauber F1 Team
A relatively quiet weekend for Felipe Nasr and the whole Sauber F1 Team, who seemed to have been out-developed in the run up to the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Brazilian was just about able to get through into Q2 on Saturday, but could do no better than fifteenth on the grid, and in the race could only finish twelfth, helped in part by the McLaren-Honda’s and Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus having issues.
Nasr will be hoping the lull in performance from Sauber is only temporary; else he will be in for a long season.
#98 – Roberto Merhi – Spain – Manor F1 Team
In a car that is two-to-three seconds a lap slower than anyone else, Roberto Merhi only has his team-mate to beat in races, but so far he has not even come close to matching Will Stevens, finishing almost forty seconds adrift in Spain.
Problems in qualifying for the Spaniard didn’t help, with a call to the weighbridge and then a false ERS alarm meaning he only got one lap in during the session, and despite getting ahead of Stevens at the start, could not keep the Briton behind him.
Doubts still persist that Merhi may have raced his final race for the team, especially with his Formula Renault 3.5 Series commitments meaning he’d be doing double duty in Monaco. His performances so far in 2015 would not have helped him.
Rookie of the Race Winners:
2 – Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr
1 – Carlos Sainz
0 – Roberto Merhi