Marquez limited to seven laps at Jerez test after Spanish GP crash

By Sports Desk May 03, 2021

Marc Marquez completed just seven laps at Monday's Jerez test as he dealt with the after-effects of his crash in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The six-time MotoGP champion was involved in a significant fall on Saturday for the first time since breaking his arm at the same track in the 2020 season opener.

Marquez slid off at Turn Seven in FP3, although medical checks cleared him for the rest of the weekend. He also fell in the warm-up but finished a respectable ninth in Sunday's race.

The series has remained in Spain for testing this week, but Marquez's involvement was cut short due to stiffness in his shoulder and arm.

"Today we didn't really test, just one run because on the second run my body was already locking up," the Repsol Honda man said.

"My neck and my right shoulder were stiff; it's similar to after Portimao but I was not as locked up as I was after Portugal.

"The crash I had on Saturday didn't help with my physical condition.

"I thought that maybe today when my body had warmed up it would be better, and I could try but straight away I could tell I wasn't at a good level for riding.

"We spoke as a team and decided to stop the test. We need to understand that we're improving step by step and the next target is Le Mans where we will try to improve again."

Maverick Vinales led testing with a time of 1:36.879 from one of his 101 laps, topping his qualifying effort from two days earlier.

His team-mate Fabio Quartararo, who faded spectacularly from pole on Sunday due to an arm issue, was absent.

Spanish GP victor Jack Miller and championship-leading Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia completed a combined 84 laps.

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    Lewis Hamilton was elated that a "good gamble" from Mercedes paid off and said his Spanish Grand Prix victory was an example of the "great trust" in the team.

    Hamilton extended his championship lead to 14 points with a third win in four races this season despite being passed by Max Verstappen at Turn One on the opening lap.

    Verstappen led for much of the race, but had to settle for second place ahead of Valtteri Bottas after Hamilton overtook him with six laps to go at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

    Mercedes' two-stop strategy worked a treat, with Hamilton called in for a second set of medium tyres on lap 43 of 66 and returning in third place with over 20 seconds to make up on leader Verstappen.

    Verstappen had only pitted once and he was reeled in by the seven-time Formula One world champion, who also had to pass Bottas before regaining the lead.

    Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher's record of six Spanish Grand Prix triumphs by winning the race for a fifth consecutive season and he paid tribute to his team.

    "First I want to acknowledge the fans that are here," said Hamilton. "It is great to see. I saw a British flag out there, which I haven't seen for a long, long time.

    "I feel great after this. I feel like I could go again."

    Hamilton added: "I was so close [behind Verstappen] for so long but just managed to keep the tyres in somehow. It was a long way to come back [after the second stop] but it was a good gamble - a really great strategy from the team.

    "I was about to get a shot to get past him as I pitted. I was really conflicted - 'do I come in or ignore the call'. I did what the team asked because there is a great trust between us. Remarkable job by everyone in this team. What a day."

    Verstappen knew it was only a matter of time before he was caught by Hamilton, who managed his tyres to perfection in another masterful drive that took his tally of F1 wins to 98.

    "In a way I could see it coming," said the Dutchman, who secured another point by clocking the fastest lap after finally pitting again from second place with Hamilton easing to victory. 

    "Already at the end with the softs, he [Hamilton] was faster and when he put on the mediums, he had a lot more pace. There was not much we could've done.

    "Then they went for another stop and I knew it was over because I was already struggling with the tyres and you could see every lap, he was getting closer and closer. Bit of a sitting duck.

    "With the cars behind, you don't want to pit in traffic, but it makes a clear advantage when there is more pace in the car. If we would have jumped for another stop, I'm not sure we would've caught up again. I tried everything I could.

    "We're not where we want to be and we still need to push hard and catch up because at the moment we are a little bit slower. But compared to last year, it has been a jump for us."

  • Hamilton wins record-equalling sixth Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes' strategy pays off Hamilton wins record-equalling sixth Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes' strategy pays off

    Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of the Spanish Grand Prix with a record-equalling victory as Mercedes' two-stop strategy worked a treat.

    Max Verstappen passed Hamilton on Turn One in a dream start for Red Bull after the seven-time Formula One champion had been on pole for the 100th time.

    Championship leader Hamilton was not to be denied a fifth consecutive win in the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, though, passing Verstappen on lap 60 of 66 in another masterclass from the Briton.

    Mercedes' decision to pit Hamilton for a second set of medium tyres on lap 43 paid off, with Verstappen having been kept out at the front and having to settle for second place ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

    Hamilton managed his tyres to perfection to extend his championship lead, as well as matching Michael Schumacher's record of six Spanish Grand Prix triumphs to make it three wins out of four this season.

    A late fastest lap for Verstappen provided a small consolation but he now trails in the standings by 14 points.

    Verstappen had made a brilliantly bold move to pass Hamilton on the inside, the pair coming within a whisker of making contact. Red Bull's start then got even better when Ferrari's Charles Leclerc nipped ahead of Bottas on the outside at Turn Three on the opening lap.

    Verstappen retained his advantage after the safety car was deployed following Yuki Tsunoda's retirement due to a fuel pressure issue on lap eight, but a poor pit stop was a setback for the Dutchman on lap 24.

    Hamilton stayed out four laps longer than his rival on the soft compounds and the Brit returned with a gap of around six seconds to make up.

    The reigning champion was right on the back of Verstappen when he was called in for a second time, returning in third place behind also Bottas - who had passed Leclerc - and 23 seconds behind the leader.

    Bottas allowed Hamilton to go by him on lap 52, but not before the Finn showed a reluctance to follow team orders.

    Hamilton moved back in front six laps from the end, Verstappen unable to prevent him from going around the outside as the Mercedes eased away.

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    Lewis Hamilton is embracing the element of competition in the 2021 Formula One season after taking his 100th career pole in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Hamilton tops the standings three races in having won two of them, victories in Bahrain and Portugal coming either side of Max Verstappen's triumph at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

    The seven-time world champion was involved in another tussle with his rival on Saturday, edging out the Red Bull driver to reach a notable personal milestone.

    Hamilton was 0.036 seconds quicker than Verstappen at the end of Q3, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas making up the top three 0.132s back.

    The Briton is the first F1 driver to manage a century of pole positions, with his first coming back in 2007 in Canada. Racing greats Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65) are second and third on the all-time list respectively.

    He has managed 10 poles in five of the past six seasons, while his haul of 12 in 2016 is his best tally for a single year.

    The 36-year-old has recorded 58 wins when starting from first on the grid, only failing to finish among the points on two occasions, albeit not counting for nine retirements.

    And it is not only the milestone which has boosted Hamilton ahead of Sunday's showdown, but also the challenge presented by Verstappen, who sits eight points behind him in the standings.

    "It's always difficult to assess in the moment but wow, I've been racing a long time and the 100 mark is something I don't think anybody and particularly me thought I would ever get to that number," Hamilton told a news conference.

    "It's been so enjoyable and it's crazy that it is 100 and it felt like one of the first. That for me is even more special. There have been so many qualifying sessions, so many near misses, so many mistakes and so many moments of growth and I love how close it is between us all.

    "I think that's great for the fans and I think that's exciting for me also. And also the people that are only just behind us."

    For his part, Verstappen is confident he can push Hamilton all the way.

    "It's difficult to predict at the moment. I think we were quite decent in the long runs but [Mercedes] looked strong," he said.

    "We know that it's hard to overtake around here and to be following closely, but I'm always optimistic and positive that we can do a good job and have a good race, and I hope, of course, that it's going to be as close as today."

    There was not so much joy for Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, who went spinning in Q3 and could only claim eighth.

    He said: "I just felt a bit weak going into qualifying, and it was just getting worse and worse throughout.

    "I had a bit of an issue with my [left] shoulder through qualifying, and I was just feeling bad, all the way through it. 

    "I've been with the doctors from the team, and it should be all good for tomorrow."

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