Formula 1 Preview – Spanish Grand Prix Predictions and Podium
It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived at the fourth Formula 1 race weekend of the year already.
And so much has happened: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are locked in battle at the top, with the former edging the Dutchman with two victories to one.
McLaren’s Lando Norris has emerged as the star of the season so far occupying third place in the standings and consistently outperformed his much more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
But the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya is arguably the track that will set the tone for the remainder of the season and provide a clearer picture of the overall competitiveness of all the teams.
The Spanish track is usually used for testing (it took place in Bahrain this year), and therefore most of the drivers know the 4.67-kilometre circuit very well. In the past, it has proved itself as the performance litmus test for teams and this weekend is likely to be the same.
The first Grand Prix took place in 1991 and was built as part of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics development program. It’s known as an all-round track due to its variety of high and low-speed corners and a long straight coming out of Turn 16 to cross the start/finish line. Tricky Turn 3 shows how good the balance in the car is and is an example of why it’s used for testing.
What to Expect in Spain
The circuit is a happy hunting ground for championship leader Hamilton who seeks an almost unbelievable fifth straight Spanish Grand Prix victory. But it won’t be easy sailing for the Mercedes driver this weekend as he faces increasing pressure from Red Bull.
Over one lap, Mercedes has qualified in pole position for the last seven years which is a good indicator of what Verstappen and teammate Perez will be up against on Saturday.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas has shown great form over one lap, clinching the fast lap award in two out of the three races so far and started on pole at Portimao last weekend.
Verstappen’s crutch in qualifying has been track limits. On two occasions, at Imola and Portimao, the Dutchman could’ve snatched pole but had his lap times deleted. This could play into his hands, as the Barcelona circuit isn’t as tight as the others. It’s hard to see Verstappen upending Hamilton’s stupendous form in Barcelona (he has won four of the last Spanish GP), and therefore the seven-time world champion is the favourite, only just.