When my mind turned to the Spanish gp I was thinking that Fernando Alonso was of course the big name there. Then I tried to think of other successful Spanish drivers and I drew a blank. I can name other Spanish drivers of course, but not one who was what you might call successful. So I got auntie google to give me a hand and I was surprised to find that there hasn't been another Spanish F1 champion, ever, not even another gp winner which astounded me to be honest. However Spain has had lots of F1 races at various different tracks over the years, indeed in 2013 they celebrated their centenary of hosting F1 races, yet apart from Fernando Alonso they haven't managed to produce an F1 champion. Then again they've never produced a winning team either, their only team entry being the HRT Team, formerly Hispania Racing and Campos Meta 1 (no, I don't remember them being called Campos Meta either). Sadly the team, started by a former F1 driver who had an unsuccessful F1 career in the 1980s, Adrian Campos, didn't last long and didn't make much of an impression on F1 in their brief stint from 2010 to 2012, though they had some decent drivers. The best result they could manage came in the Turkish gp in 2011 when Vitantonio Liuzzi finished as high as... 13th. Not even in the points, bless them. Even Daniel Ricciardo couldn't get them into anything like contention for a shoey. There was almost a second Spanish F1 team when in 2009 Joan Villadelprat announced his Epsilon Euskadi team, but they never actually made it onto the grid despite doing their best to get there over a couple of seasons. For one reason or another the FIA never granted them the chance to even turn a wheel in anger despite them having a team, a car, a budget, even a wind tunnel and solid plans in place to compete for up to four seasons according to them. Google and I did some more digging then and I found that although we've had other Spanish drivers in F1 they really haven't done that well despite being in some decent cars over recent years, Carlos Sainz Jnr. just hasn't had the impact of his former team mate Max Verstappen, though many say he's his equal if only he'd been given the same chances. Pedro de la Rosa and Alfonso de Portago (mid 1950s) are the only other Spanish drivers to ever to grace an F1 podium. Marc Gene hardly shone in the sport and Jaime Alguesauri, who at that time was the youngest driver in F1, had a lacklustre time at Toro Rosso before he was dropped and that was the end of his F1 career. There were several other Spanish F1 drivers over the years but none of them really made much impact. Most didn't score a single point, one never even got beyond qualifying. Only Paco Godia who raced intermitantly in the 1950s managed a grand haul of 6 championship points. Back then points were much harder to get as we all know so he did fairly well, these days all you need is a 7th place finish and you've equalled his no doubt hard won 6 points. Emilio de Villota was entered for fourteen races over four years and only managed to start two of them which just shows how tough it was back then to even make it to the starting grid. Maybe it is just a lack of interest by the country as a whole in F1 that has held them back, or perhaps it's a lack of money. Other sports seem more important to them like football, basketball, tennis, cycling and golf. They have produced some magnificent football teams and some fine champions in other sports over the years, they've done well in everything they take part in it seems. Everyone has heard of Alonso, also Nadal, Sanchez Vicaria, Sainz Snr., Ballesteros, Olazabal, and Garcia to name but a few. The Spanish football team have won the Euro's three times in all and in 2010 the World Cup as well. The Spanish Roller Hockey team has had even more success, they have won the world championships fourteen times and been second twelve times having done equally as well in the European Championships with fourteen wins and fifteen second places. So it's odd to me that a country of that size, and one that is clearly interested in a varied range of competitive sports, has had so little influence in F1 over the years. There's no doubting that Alonso has been one of those characters that divides the fans. He made several questionable choices and moves in his career and I came to realise he's another one of those Marmite drivers, most people either like him or loathe him. However you feel about him he's currently the only winner of an F1 race in a country the size of Spain with the long F1 history it has. I still find that amazing. To more current matters now. In 2018 your pole sitter was Hamilton and your podium was 1st Hamilton, 2nd Bottas, 3rd Verstappen. Who will be standing there this year? Daniel Ricciardo already has a 3 place grid penalty for his little incident in Baku with Daniil Kvyat, naughty Daniel. Based on last years results it's likely to be another 'exciting' Mercedes one, two result unless Ferrari can finally find that testing form which promised so much but has delivered so little so far.