Formula 1 | Spain Grand Prix 2017 Preview

 

By James Malleson

  • The fifth race of the season starts in Spain
  • Mercedes and Ferrari look to commence battle once again

BARCELONA, SPAIN – Round 5 kicks-off, as the Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel rivalry continues.

 

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Lewis Hamilton’s Past Record in Spain

The Spanish Grand Prix is a place where Lewis Hamilton has competed in every year of his Formula 1 career. With five podium finishes and one win to his name, it has brought him reasonable success. His solitary win came in 2014. Here he started on pole position and finished just 0.636 seconds ahead of nearest rival Nico Rosberg.

His first taste of the Spanish Grand Prix came in 2007. The race started with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso ahead of team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton respectively. Yet a minor collision between Alonso and Massa at the first corner sent the Spaniard down to fourth position. After several laps, Massa was building a strong lead over the Brit. In fact, this is how the top two remained for the rest of the race. Hamilton eventually crossing the line in second place, in his first Spanish Grand Prix.

The rest of Hamilton’s outcomes are fairly mixed. Last year the three-time world champion had to retire. After starting the race in pole position, (due to a winning lap time of 1:22.000) Rosberg overtook Hamilton at the first turn. However, at Turn Three, the Brit tried to reclaim top spot but to no avail as both drivers’ race was cut short. Their wheels spun causing a collision at Turn Four, ending their race.

With just the one win, Hamilton will surely look to improve on a mixed bag of previous results.

 

How Does Sebastian Vettel’s Record Compare?

Sebastian Vettel has a similar record to Hamilton with four podium finishes and one race win to his name. His solitary win came in 2011 when he was racing for Red Bull Racing, where he finished ahead of Hamilton and Jenson Button. Alonso started well and raced into the lead, however, dropped off when the first round of pit stops was made after lap 18. Vettel took the lead and was closely followed by Hamilton throughout the whole race. He eventually finished 0.6 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Vettel’s only retirement came in 2008. Here a collision between Adrian Sutil and Vettel resulted in both being removed from the race. However, Vettel fared much better last year finishing in a respectable third place behind Max Verstappen (race winner) and Raikkonen. The race was full of close battles and plenty of action between the front runners. After various pit stops Vettel landed third place.

Can Vettel defeat his closest rivals this time and clinch the victory?

 

How About Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen?

Valtteri Bottas has only competed in a handful of Spanish Grand Prix – four to be exact. His highest finish was fourth place in 2015 whilst racing for Williams. The race started with Vettel overtaking Hamilton to move into first place, whilst also coming under pressure from Bottas. After some close battles between the leaders, Bottas eventually finished in fourth behind Rosberg, Hamilton, and Vettel respectively.

Raikkonen has a far more impressive record, claiming two race victories, including five podium finishes. The wins came in 2005 and 2008.

The first win, Raikkonen started from pole position. He finished the race in a very comfortable fashion, completing it over 27 seconds ahead of closest rival Alonso. The second win was slightly more arduous. The Finn held his nerve to stay ahead at the start. Pit stops soon ensued and Raikkonen stayed ahead of his nearest rival, Massa to eventually finish just over 3 seconds ahead.

Both drivers will look to commence battle and finish above one another come Sunday.

 

Drivers to be Kept Along the Straight and Narrow

The Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya plays host to this week’s F1 Grand Prix. A stunning backdrop of Gothic houses and mysterious history, it is a destination not to be missed.

However, drivers will have to be wary of the track which favours the brave when it comes to overtaking. With two DRS zones, it may look easy to overtake, which arguably it is, but care will need to be taken when it comes to the second DRS zone. Here, there is a long straight but if drivers are too ambitious, they could end up colliding with the surrounding cars.

However, that being said, the long straight allows for plenty of time to overtake. So while the scenery is stunning, will the same be said of the driving?

 

Probably No Chance of Rain in Spain

However, there will certainly be the hot sun beating down on the cultural city of Barcelona. Temperatures could reach up to 25 degrees Celcius and the drivers will need to combat this if they are to reign victorious.

Expect Medium and Soft tyres to be used here to grip well especially on a hot track. Drivers will also need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water and they will be hoping for a splash of rain or a cool breeze if they are to win here.

The Spanish Grand Prix takes place between 12-14 May.

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