2016 Track Preview: Spanish Grand Prix; Barcelona

All rights reserved to F1 Mix.

All rights reserved to F1 Mix.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. McLaren and Toro Rosso also managed to achieve points from this race.

The Circuit de Catalunya is also known as Circuit de Barcelona and is situated only 32 kilometers from Barcelona and 18 kilometers from the Barcelona-Maresme Coast. With long straights and a good blend of corners it is seen as an all-rounder circuit. The circuit layout tests every aspect of a cars performance, aero, mechanical and engine. It is very often used for testing during the winter, so the teams know the circuit quite well. This has led to criticism that drivers and mechanics are too familiar with Catalunya, reducing the amount of on-track action.

But the Circuit de Catalunya is a very different kind of circuit. The erratic weather conditions, particularly the prevailing winds, can destabilise the car’s aerodynamic balance, so the teams are continually trying to find the perfect set-up. Even the slightest change in the weather or track conditions, due to the amount of rubber laid down, has a big impact. The tyres are under high loadings, particularly the front left tyre which has to work hard in right-hand corners such as turns 3 and 9. It is very important to find the perfect balance to look after the tyres.

The track is 4.65 kilometers long with a total of 16 corners, 9 right turns and 7 left turns. Minimum track width is 11 meters. The direction is clockwise. The engines will spend each lap of the race at about 57 percent full throttle, so top end speeds are important. This is most crucially on the start and finish straight which will see the drivers flat out for almost 1,000 meters. Overtaking is not easy, therefore a good qualifying performance is vital. Statistically, it is more important to start from pole position in Barcelona than it is at other circuits because many Spanish Grand Prix have been won from the pole.

Here are the facts and figures heading into the Spanish GP…

Facts and Figures

  • Catalunya has hosted the Grand Prix in Spain since 1913, when it raced with touring cars rules. But came back into Formula One in 1991.
  • Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver to win the Grand Prix with six wins.
  • Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are the most successful drivers currently to win the Grand Prix with two wins each
  • Ferrari are the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with twelve wins
  • Race distance: 307.1km (190.82 miles)
  • Number of turns:16
  • Top speed: 310kph
  • Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen- McLaren (2008)- 1.21.670

Past Five winners At the Spanish Grand Prix

  • 2011-Sebastian Vettel
  • 2012-Pastor Maldonado
  • 2013- Fernando Alonso
  • 2014- Lewis Hamilton
  • 2015- Lewis Hamilton

My top five predictions for the Spanish GP

In no particular order, here’s my top five predictions for the Spanish Grand Prix as follows:-

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas

Based on what the top five drivers have managed to achieve in the first four Grand Prixs, I believe that Rosberg is in top form to beat Hamilton this weekend in order to show that he cannot be discounted for extending his lead in the championship and retain his gap on Hamilton.

Hamilton will also want to repeat his performance from last year and regain the small championship gap to his team mate and also keep Sebastian Vettel behind him who I believe could challenge the Mercedes pairing this year; provided that Ferrari keep going in the same direction they are currently. And finally, I believe that Raikkonen and Bottas could both have solid weekends provided that they are able to get the right set ups on their cars over the weekend.

Do you agree with my predictions for this weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every Practice session, Qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and the Channel Four also are showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.45am and 12.45pm, [Replays throughout Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45am and 12.00pm, [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • Channel Four Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.55am and 12.55pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.55am and 12.00pm, Sunday (Race) 12.00pm

 

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