Spanish Grand Prix Preview 12-14 May
One of the most exciting races of the season is taking place in Spain this weekend. In Barcelona, Ferrari will try to overtake Mercedes in the constructors’ championship and Hamilton aims to get closer or even ahead of Vettel on the drivers’ championship.
Bottas’ victory in Russia, was a pleasant surprise for the Formula One community, if the Finn remains fast and concentrate during the season, he will play a key role in the championship in his debut year with Mercedes.
Barcelona is a familiar track for most of the Formula 1 drivers as they were driving there during the pre-season tests in winter, but that does not mean that it is an easy track to drive.
Last season, kismet decided that Max Verstappen must win one of the most thrilling races in 2016 and celebrate a victory on his debut with Red Bull Racing. A collision between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton forced both Mercedes out of the race and the safety car was deployed for the first time.
Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen were on a different strategy from their team-mates, they pitted two times while Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel stopped three times. That gave them an advantage and also gave the lead to Max Verstappen. After 66 laps the Dutch became the youngest ever race winner in Formula One.
Circuit De Barcelona – Catalunya
Circuit Length: 4.655 km
Race Distance: 307.104 km
Lap Record: 1:21.670 (Kimi Raikkonen – 2008)
Nominated Compounds: Soft (Yellow), Medium (White), Hard (Orange)
Personal Race Prediction: Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes)
During the pre-season tests in Barcelona, a 1.5 second gap between medium and soft tyre compounds was detected, this is expected to be lower this weekend as the fuel load will be different and most of the teams are expected to present new upgrades on their cars.
It will be Fernando Alonso’s and Carlos Sainz’s home race and it will be nice to see them racing alongside their fans.
Carlos Sainz – “When racing at home, the feeling is so different to any other race – every time you drive out on track you know there’s more people watching and cheering for you, and this makes the whole weekend very special. I’ve been to the Barcelona track since I was nine years old, and now I’m the one racing there, it’s just amazing. Of course the whole weekend is also a bit busier than normal, but you just do everything with a big smile on your face, as I know I’m a very lucky person.”
Fernando Alonso – “I’m really excited about returning to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s my home race, I’ve had some great times there, and the atmosphere is always crazy. We spend a lot of time there in pre-season testing, but there’s nothing quite like the emotion of racing there in front of your home fans. It’s a very special feeling. After a run of difficult races for us, I’m not sure what we can expect from this weekend. We’re expecting some various new parts – which we bring to every race – but we can’t really focus too much on performance until we have solved our reliability issues. That’s always our focus.”
The upgrades which the teams are bringing might play a critical role in the race, but personally, I don’t see Red Bull to be able to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, the new parts will affect the battle between the ‘middle’ teams.
Bellow you can watch Red Bull Racing’s head of Aerodynamics, Dan Fallows, Spanish Grand Prix Preview via Mobil 1 The Grid.
Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion
(Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)