By News Team
Last Updated: 13th August 2020
Formula 1’s second triple header of the 2020 season concludes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
Max Verstappen ended a run of five straight Mercedes victories last week, leading Red Bull to the top step of the podium for the first time this season at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The race also saw issues arise for the Silver Arrows which could have a major effect on the remainder of the season.
Tyre trouble for Mercedes?
Despite taking pole position at Silverstone last week, Mercedes’ tyre troubles continued. Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton suffered punctures during the British Grand Prix a week previously and the pair once again suffered from severe tyre degradation in the heat at Silverstone last weekend.
After suffering similar problems during other hot periods, such as Friday testing in the opening Hungarian Grand Prix, questions have arisen about how well the Mercedes W11 can look after its tyres in warm weather.
The speed and layout of the track at Silverstone will undoubtedly have put added pressure on the left hand side of the car, but with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya offering lap times in the 75 second region and the weather in Barcelona once again expected to be warm this weekend, it would not be surprising to see the Mercedes duo struggle with tyre longevity once again. Hamilton to win the race on Sunday is 8/15, while Bottas is priced at 7/2.
Red Bull back in the race?
The brilliant Verstappen was on hand to take advantage of the Mercedes misery on Sunday, putting in a supreme first stint on a hard tyre that had fallen away for many of his rivals. Red Bull’s decision to run an alternative strategy to the Mercedes in qualifying allowed the Dutchman to win the race with ease after passing Bottas on fresher tyres following his second pit-stop.
Verstappen now sits just 30 points behind reigning world champion Hamilton in the Drivers’ Standings and would undoubtedly have been excited at the prospect of the Mercedes struggling with their tyres.
Neither he nor Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon suffered anywhere near the same kind of degradation as other cars, with Verstappen himself remarking at how well the softened Pirelli hard compound had coped on his RB16. Should this trend continue, the Dutch driver will surely fancy his chances of mounting a serious title challenge this campaign. Verstappen to win on Sunday is 4/1, with Albon at 80/1.
Can Ferrari find another gear?
It’s been a disastrous campaign for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel so far. The four-time world champion finished outside the points last weekend after qualifying a disappointing 12th and spinning on the opening lap.
Teammate Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, drove arguably the race of the day on Sunday, managing a one-stop strategy in testing heat, and with softer compound tyres than the previous week, to finish in an impressive fourth place. Leclerc has clearly had the better of his team-mate on both Saturday and Sunday so far this year, with Vettel sitting a miserable 12th in the Drivers’ Standings at the moment. Leclerc to win on Sunday is priced at 40/1 with Vettel back at 100/1.
Identifying why Vettel is getting less from his SF1000 than his teammate will be key for the Scuderia this weekend as they look over their shoulder in the Constructor Standings following the progress of Racing Point, Renault and McLaren this season.