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    INSIGHT: The Stories You May Have Missed in Spain There's a lot to take in du...

There's a lot to take in during a modern-day Grand Prix weekend, so we've rounded up a few paddock tales you may have missed along the way...

Lewis Hamilton: Champion, Legend... Designer?

In line with Formula One owner Liberty Media's intent to expand the sport and take it to destination cities, Miami could be on the F1 calendar as early as October 2019!

Meetings of the City of Miami Commissioners and the Economic Development and Tourism Committee (Miami-Dade County) on May 10 approved F1's race plans, which will now kick into higher gear.

Lewis, who spends a lot of time in the USA, said: "Miami is a super-cool place and I was very, very excited to hear about it...and then I saw the layout."

Initial proposals see a 2.57-mile circuit featuring two long straights. It crosses the Port Boulevard Bridge and takes in the Miami Heat NBA stadium. Without pre-judging, Lewis feels other areas could be included and offered his support and ideas.

"I don't get why, for example, in golf you have all the great golfers designing golf courses, and then you've not got any of the top racing drivers in history who ever designed a race track," he said.

"Miami could be a lot more fun. I dread the thought of a street circuit like we had in Valencia, which wasn't great. Street circuits can be very hit and miss, but maybe Miami is a hit."

Formula One's best-remembered US street circuit event was run between 1976 and 1983 in southern California at Long Beach, where Niki Lauda, won the first race of his F1 comeback in '82.

F1 Piques Gerard's Interest

Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, an F1 fan, took time out to visit the Mercedes pit on Saturday, just before Lewis narrowly took his second pole position of the year from Valtteri.

Sadly the Catalan club's defender could not be there on race day as he had more pressing matters to attend to on the pitch, with what proved to be an eventful match against Levante (Barcelona's unbeaten season came to a shock end with a 5-4 defeat).

A Future Star Shines Ever Brighter

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport reserve driver George Russell goes from strength to strength with a second consecutive Formula 2 victory in Barcelona's feature race on Saturday.

The 20-year-old from Kings Lynn in Norfolk followed up his win in Azerbaijan's reverse grid sprint race with a fine drive on a damp track that was interrupted by no less than four VSC (Virtual Safety Car) periods.

The reigning GP3 champion moves into third place in F1's feeder series after three of 12 rounds, behind McLaren-affiliated Lando Norris and Alexander Albon.

Russell, who drove Friday first practice sessions for Force India in Brazil and Abu Dhabi last year, is scheduled to have his next F1 run for Mercedes in testing at Budapest after July's Hungarian GP.

B*llocks to Blistering

Team principal Toto Wolff denied that thinner gauge Pirelli tyres raced for the first time in Barcelona (with tread depth reduced by 0.4mm), afforded the team any kind of advantage.

The move by F1's official tyre supplier came in response to pre-season testing in Barcelona, when a number of teams suffered blistering, and is relevant to Barcelona, the new French GP at Paul Ricard at the end of June, and Silverstone's British GP. Tread depth was reduced across all three compounds in Spain - the SuperSoft, Soft and Medium - and was a preferred option to harder compounds.

Tyre performance once again dominated much of the engineering discussion in Barcelona and Lewis said, "These tyres, they seem to have the smallest working window. Whether you give us more rubber or less rubber, they appear to be a lot harder than last year. I know they (Pirelli) actually went softer but I think it's more because the working range is far narrower than it was last year - and so you give it everything on an out-lap (in qualifying) and you still don't have your tyres in the window."

After Mercedes had locked out the front row of an F1 grid for the first time in 2018, Valtteri was asked whether Pirelli had made the move to help Mercedes with its blistering issues, as hinted at by rival teams.

"Why would they want to help us?" he responded.

Meanwhile, Toto weighed in with: "Is 'B*llocks' a bad word in English? Okay then... 'Rubbish.' All strong teams had heavy blistering at the test in Barcelona: Red Bull, Ferrari, ourselves, and McLaren, I think. Those tyres wouldn't have lasted in the race, and the ambient and track temperatures at the test were Arctic.

"For that reason Pirelli changed the thickness of the tyre to prevent blistering and they have been successful. I don't know why suddenly this rumour comes out that we have been influencing Pirelli and the FIA to change any tyres. I've never seen anything working like that. Why should they do it? We had the other tyre in winter testing and our performance gap was bigger. I don't think it had an impact.

"When we haven't performed well in the past we have taken ourselves by the nose and looked for performance to be found on our car and not gone the default route of turning around and asking what the others are doing that is wrong. So, it proves that we have had a good day today!"

Thumbs Up for 2019 Aero Changes

After much background discussion and difference of opinion, some aerodynamic changes to F1 cars will be introduced in 2019 aimed at making it easier to both follow a car in front and to overtake.

Formula One owners Liberty Media and the sport's governing body, the FIA, have invested manpower in scientific study aimed at improving those elements for a new set of regulations to be introduced when the current agreements governing F1 expire at the end of 2020. It has, however, recently been decided to introduce earlier changes based on some of the findings, centred around narrower front wings, brake duct revisions and deeper rear wings.

Mercedes and Ferrari were both believed to be initially against any early change. In Spain, however, Toto explained: "We were slightly in favour of staying where we are, maybe 60/40, because these are the rules we know and we seem to be competitive under them.

But then we felt that the study that Nicholas Tombazis and the FIA made was directionally correct and solid. We felt that as the reigning World Champions we didn't want to be in a situation where we would be constantly saying no to everything that came up, and that's why the pendulum swung in direction of voting in favour."

Winning is Never Easy...

Lewis may have looked like a comfortable winner of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Valtteri backing him up well, but in the background there are always tricky strategy calls to make.

Chief among them in Spain was whether a one-stop or two-stop race was the way to go. Barcelona is usually a two-stop and sometimes a three-stop, as seen in the mixed strategy race two years ago when Max Verstappen won his first Grand Prix. This time though, a combination of factors pushed it towards a single stop.

Whereas the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya used to be one of the calendar's more abrasive venues, resurfacing has changed that and, with very little lap time difference between the two softer compounds in Spain, allied to the difficulty a number of teams had in making the SuperSoft work, the option to qualify on the Soft, run a longer opening stint and then go to the end on the Medium, became realistic.

It looked that if any car could make the SuperSoft work, it was the W09. But the team believed that the lap time difference between the SuperSoft and the Soft was about zero. The SuperSoft had a little bit more grip but a lot more rear movement and was rather edgy.

It was tough to know which way it was going to go, with a one or two-stop race dependent upon front tyre graining. At the beginning of the race it looked like the Soft tyre was very consistent - but when graining kicked in around 16-17 laps in, the team expected a struggle to make a one-stop work, although no decisions were required at that point.

If tyre degradation was not such an issue this year, wear of the thinner gauge Pirellis was, and the team could see that there was precious little tread left on the tyres that came off Valtteri's car after 19 laps. Lewis reported his tyres felt fine and so strong had his opening stint been that the team, under minimal pressure at that point, exercised caution by bringing him in after 25 laps to go onto the medium compound.

That put Max Verstappen's Red Bull into a temporary lead, the Dutchman running to half distance before pitting. Lewis came out just over 3s behind and found closing Verstappen down and overtaking much tougher than expected (the overtaking delta at Barcelona was estimated at 1.6s), proving that once more track position was king and swaying the team towards a one-stop with both cars.

It was perhaps surprising, then, when Vettel pitted a second time after 41 laps, letting Valtteri through into second place. The Ferrari came out narrowly behind Verstappen, with Vettel missing out on a podium for the second successive race.

While Ferrari's race tactics were widely questioned, the team strategists had their own view.

"We knew Vettel would be pitting, particularly as he came on the radio complaining about the tyres and his pace was offset. People may look at Ferrari and say they messed up tactically but they looked to have a very different car balance to us, so they may not have been able to go to the end of the race (49 laps) on those tyres."

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