By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
The Spanish Grand Prix marks Formula 1’s return to Europe after the early season fly away races. It also marks the first big round of updates the teams implement for their new cars.
For many, it is when the season truly begins as Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the benchmark for the teams to find their true place in the pecking order and see if they have moved ahead or fallen behind their rivals since they last visited Barcelona for pre-season testing.
Ferrari has clearly had the car to beat so far, but the last two races have been won by Red Bull and Mercedes. Despite an uncharacteristically poor start to the season, Lewis Hamilton still leads Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings by four points, the same margin Ferrari leads Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.
We clearly have a true three-way fight at the front of the field and with a fifth of the season behind us, every point going forward is going to count. Pirelli’s tire choice for Spain is playing into the hands of Mercedes and Red Bull by minimizing the tire advantage Ferrari has enjoyed thus far, and the practice times have born that out. In FP2, the top six drivers were covered by only half a second, but the Ferrari drivers were not at the front of that pack.
Will Lewis Hamilton win a race on merit this weekend? Will Valtteri Bottas get a second chance after being robbed in Baku? Will Max Verstappen finally have a clean race or will he hold up Daniel Ricciardo yet again? Will Ferrari strike back, can Kimi Raikkonen break his unlucky streak with victory or will Sebastian Vettel stamp his authority on the championship with his third win in five races? Tune in for what will surely be a Spanish Grand Prix to remember.
By the Numbers
What: The Spanish Grand Prix
Where: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain. The circuit has hosted the Grand Prix every year since it opened in 1991 as part of the city’s construction project for the 1992 Olympic Games.
When: Sunday, May 13th 2018
TV: ESPN 2 from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Central Time. Qualifying is Saturday, May 12th at 8:00 AM, also on ESPN 2
Track Length: 2.892 miles
Lap Record: 1:21.670 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008 at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix
2017 Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W08.