Formula One drivers arrived in Barcelona earlier this week for the Spanish Grand Prix. The fourth event and first back-to-back race for the season takes place at the famous Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Last week in Portugal it was Lewis Hamilton who reigned supreme, taking his 97th victory. He'll go into this race with an eight-point advantage in the championship.
Other than the championship fight, the big news heading into this round is the announcement that Romain Grosjean is set to return (albeit briefly) to F1. Grosjean was involved in a horrific accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, where his Haas was engulfed in flames.
Mercedes-AMG promised the Frenchman a test following his recovery and have held up their end of the deal. Testing will come in the form of demonstration laps at the French Grand Prix on June 27, two days before a full test day again at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Worth a mention, Alfa Romeo will send their reserve driver, Robert Kubica onto the track in FP1, while Fernando Alonso will line up for his first home Grand Prix in Catalunya since 2018 – a track he won at in 2006 and 2013.
Keep in mind that Formula Three returns this weekend for the feeder series' first race of the season.
With a battle on for the championship and plenty of excitement in the mid-pack we should be on for a great race.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is well known to all with pre-season testing held here in recent years. The first Grand Prix occurred back in 1991 with Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna’s drag race down the straight being one to remember, before Mansell took the lead and drove on to victory.
The track is 4.675 kilometres in length and over a 66-lap race, 308.424 kilometres will be covered. It's Valtteri Bottas who holds the lap record, with a time of one minute and 18.183 seconds.
|Free Practice 1||Friday||19:30||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 2||Friday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 3||Saturday||20:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Qualifying||Saturday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Race||Sunday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
2021 teams and drivers
|Alfa Romeo||Kimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi|
|Alpine (previously Renault)||Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda|
|Aston Martin (previously Racing Point)||Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz|
|Haas||Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin|
|McLaren||Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris|
|Mercedes-AMG||Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez|
|Williams||George Russell & Nicholas Latifi|
The Spanish Grand Prix was a favourite of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, who won the race six times, with other multiple-time winners including Jackie Stewart, Mika Hakkinen, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost.
The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix was the very first time in the event’s history, dating back to 2013, that the race had been held in August – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as Pastor Maldonado’s 2012 win being his only victory in F1, it's also the only time a Venezuelan driver has started from pole, finished on the podium or won a race.
Michael Schumacher has the most wins of any driver at the this circuit, with six, while Ferrari are the team with the most wins (8).
It's no surprise that we will yet again see Mercedes up the front, with them locking out the front row last year in qualifying. But Max Verstappen will be looking for another win to ensure Lewis doesn't take a hefty lead in the championship.
From the third down is where the interest arises though. How about our boy Dan? He's been heavily criticised in the media this week, and has lots to prove after a poor qualifying last time out in Portugal.
There's a chance Dan could be on borrowed time with talk of McLaren's IndyCar driver Patricio O'Ward set for an F1 test. Let's hope he shows everyone what he's made of this weekend. His teammate with no doubt be strong again as he's been in tip-top shape. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Lando Norris on the podium.
Pierre Gasly scored a top-ten finish here last year and has also shown great form, so look out for a strong result from the Alpha Tauris.
But, a question – what happened to Aston Martin-Mercedes? After last year's 'pink Mercedes' dispute, the amount of parts the team is allowed to share with Mercedes has decreased significantly, and they just seem to have 'disappeared' from the mid-pack. Let's see if they can have any impact at all this weekend.
I hate to say it but I feel it will largely be a Mercedes and Red Bull fight for the podium again this weekend.
Who will come out on top? Let us know your predictions for the weekend.
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