2023 F1 Spanish GP: 10 conclusions from the weekend as Max Verstappen dominates
The 2023 F1 Spanish GP ended with the familiar face of Max Verstappen at the top of the podium as the Red Bull driver stretched his lead in the championship.
In a race that did feature a lot of action in the midfield, the winner was somewhat decided at the start as Verstappen swept his way ahead of Carlos Sainz and never looked back from that point.
In a race weekend that featured quite a few twists and turns, what could we conclude as the teams pack their bags for Canada? Let's take a look.
2023 F1 Spanish GP: Key Takeaways
#1 Max Verstappen has decimated the Sergio Perez threat at Red Bull
The race was Baku and the way Perez beat Verstappen there were many that raised a few questions.
Many even started drawing comparisons with the infamous Nico Rosberg-Lewis Hamilton rivalry in 2016 at Mercedes. After that race, the gap between the two drivers in the championship was in single digits.
Since then, we've had Verstappen beat Perez in Miami despite starting the race from P9. We've seen him lap Perez twice in Monaco as the Mexican had nothing to show for that weekend and then this weekend, while multiple drivers including Perez made mistakes, Max didn't.
At the end of the 2023 F1 Spanish GP weekend, Max Verstappen leads his teammate by 53 points and there is no championship battle left anymore.
#2 Mercedes has the foundation to start catching Red Bull
First of all, while many Mercedes/Lewis Hamilton fans will be pumped to see this performance, let's take a look at the reality first. Red Bull was still around half a second quicker than Mercedes at the 2023 F1 Spanish GP in race trim.
Having said that, the performance in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP is proof that the upgrades are working. The foundation is laid for the team and now it's time to catch Red Bull.
#3 Ferrari needs a long hard look in the mirror
Either Mattia Binotto's shadow has still got its lingering effects or this is what the Fred Vasseur-led Ferrari is going to look like. In either of the cases, this was a shocker from the Italian squad.
Leclerc's car issues were a major surprise on Friday but what was even worse was the strategy he was put on. Just 15 laps on hard tires was laughable to watch as the Ferrari driver trundled his way in the traffic and comes home with nothing to show for it.
The Italian team needs an overhaul because this outfit in this condition is not winning any title any time soon.
#4 Alpine needs one more step in performance
Alpine has got some of the things sorted when it comes to qualifying and it has shown an ability to outqualify the Mercs and the Aston Martins. It is a long way off in the long run though and that's what needs some serious work.
The 2023 F1 Spanish GP showed that the French team is making progress but it still needs those final steps to contend against the top four.
#5 What the hell is going on at Aston Martin?
Aston Martin was operating out of its sweet spot at the 2023 F1 Spanish GP and that is understandable. Every team, even a top one is due a sub-optimal weekend. What is not understandable is the laughable team radios from Fernando Alonso.
There's a point after which goading the boss' son is not funny anymore. The 2023 F1 Spanish GP was one such race as Alonso, a driver who never gave up an inch was happy to give up a position to his teammate who is, by the way, the boss's son.
It's a strange dynamic at Aston Martin and it's hard to understand what the aim is for all of this.
#6 Lando Norris will be devastated after the 2023 F1 Spanish GP
For a driver like Lando Norris, the 2023 F1 Spanish GP qualifying was a vindication of his ability to truly extract everything possible from a car.
The race start was an entirely different story as the first lap contact with Hamilton ruined his race.
A podium was never on the table but points surely would have been. Unfortunately, this would be his third mistake in seven races and that's just not good luck for the lead McLaren driver.
#7 An early F1 retirement for Valtteri Bottas?
This might sound a bit hard but it does appear that Valtteri Bottas' focus is just not on the game anymore. The Finnish driver has had his off-track adventures and he does appear to be enjoying his life a lot more.
However, all of that comes at a price and that seems to be his performance in the car.
This is not the same Bottas that we saw even until last season and he might need to sit down and ask himself whether he even wants to do it anymore.
#8 AlphaTauri is a deceptively quick race car
Yuki Tsunoda has been a very impressive driver in 2023 but it is far too obvious now that AlphaTauri has made significant gains this season and that car is deceptively quick.
That penalty on Yuki was just not warranted but the Japanese showed once again how he has raised his game this season.
#9 The race had action, but was it fun?
This is an interesting question, especially if we look at the number of overtakes in the 2023 F1 Spanish GP. Did the race have action? Yes, it did. But was it an entertaining race? Probably not as the fights were possible that very low or no stakes whatsoever.
The grid has closed up, without a doubt. Until we see drivers duking it out for podiums and wins, it would be hard to keep the fans engaged.
#10 The new layout is a success
Finally, talking about the new layout then it is hard to deny how much of a success it was. The 2023 F1 Spanish GP had two factors going for it.
The first was the unpredictable weather, the second was tire degradation and the third was the layout.
All of them contributed to adding anticipation to the race and provide some great action for the viewers.