Grand Prix 2017 Spanish Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Catalonia, made up of four provinces, the capital of which is Barcelona, is an autonomous community in north eastern Spain (Thanks Wikipedia). To explain its long and complicated history would take more time and effort than I currently have at almost 11pm on a Sunday evening. The one fact that should concern us however, is that since 1991 the region has been home to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the Spanish Grand Prix.

It's hard to imagine that Spain has been one of the longest serving fixtures on the F1 calendar. Making its debut as a World Championship event in 1951, it has been in and out of the calendar on several occasions and been hosted by a number of circuits but has been ever present since 1986.

Catalunya which took over from Jerez after 1990, couldn't have got off to a better start in 1991, hosting the famous dog fight between Senna and Mansell. As the years progressed however, and car designs became more overtaking unfriendly, the track has felt it more than most of the older circuit designs. A design change to the final corner took away the sweeping right hander in the name of improving overtaking but had absolutely no effect and actually reduced the risk that the most commited drivers would take to hang the car on the ragged edge to maximise their speed onto the main straight.

Interestingly, despite the circuit's poor reputation, the race has been won by a different driver in every season since 2007. It also featured the debut wins for Pastor Maldonado and Max Verstappen.

This season, clearly there will only be two teams in the hunt for the top spots. Given Bottas' success in Russia it adds a new dynamic to the championship battle that at one stage looked set to be all about Hamilton and Vettel. So long as Mercedes keep picking up the constructors championship points they've shown in the past that they are not too concerned about which driver comes home in front of the other. Can Valteri go on to make a case for the title in his own right?

Further down the field the Red Bull's need to find something. This is the first time in a number of season that they are clearly the third best team by some distance. Of course they wil look to develop the car and have more facility than those around them to push towards the top two but it is clear that something is not quite right with the Austrian fizzy drinks maker.

Sadly, Force India almost certainly don't have the required resources to close their own gap to Red Bull but are by a distance the fourth best team. While Williams, Toro Rosso, Haas and Renault scrap it out for the remainder of the spoils.

Who would have thought, that McLaren would be about to enter the 5th race of the season on zero alongside Sauber at the back of the pack. To say that's an absolute joke for one of F1's most successful teams and one of the worlds largest vehicle manufacturers is an understatement. Like him or loath him, they have one of the best drivers on the grid kicking his heels in a car that on its last run out didn't manage a single racing lap. If you look at the other great names in F1 who have taken that long slide into failure and eventual closure, it was in every case down to a lack of money and resources, Lotus, Brabham, BRM to name a few. McLaren don't have that excuse.

Will Spain throw up another suprise this year? Strangely, the odds are, it just may do.
Thank god after the no overtaking fest of Russia we have a track full of opportunity to come to like Spain.......oh crap.

This is the most likely race of the year to have a Noah's Ark style grid as the teams know it inside out from testing.

Red Bull are bringing an update and have to prey it works. Interestingly Force India are bringing an update claiming there car has been 'rubbish' for then first 4 races. Maybe we'll see then catch the Red Bulls after all cider_and_toast? Perez/Ocon vs Verstappen/Ricciardo would certainly be a great watch.

This will also be the first track we come to on the calendar that Lance Stroll knows and has raced at before. Will be interesting to see if it makes a difference.

My heart still sinks for poor old Vandoorne and I imagine this race won't make me feel better.
The race that you should not waste 2 hours of your life on:sleeping:

In theory Red Bull if they bring the correct update with their superb chassis should be closer than the whopping 1.2 seconds we saw at Sochi

With regards to the home contingent .. this looks like a grim race for both .. Alonso not seeing the flag and no doubt will whip up a media storm to attack Honda once more if they are no improvements

Who would have thought after 4 races and the once mighty Mclaren Honda are officially last in the constructors:o:facepalm:

Sainz - had one of his best races last year which was overshadowed by Verstappen/ Kyvat swapping culiminating in Max becoming the youngest winner. Lets hope he finishes well enough to remind people of his talent

The circuit off course is about aero dynamic efficiency so we will see which teams have the best chassis and the pecking order might change a little
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I'm fascinated to see if Ocon can beat Perez on a track he has raced before now and whether Renault will make any steps forward with their development and we may start to see the customary Williams slide back down
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It would be great if you are right about Force India RasputinLives. They have embraced the spirit of Jordan and are punching well above their resources. Other close battles on track are always welcome.
cider_and_toast Close battles but overtaking on this track is very difficult neither DRS zones work well enough and the new cars this year may make it more difficult to follow another car
Whoa! I'm not taking any bets. :)

Then again, the last time you'd have lost that was the big ol' doughnut in 2003.

How in the juddering **** were there 28 overtakes in the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix? :o
Thing with Monaco and Spain is though that if you get an overtake it's usually a good one or a collision. Drivers have to work for it.

I think drivers will be able to follow much closer in Monaco than in Spain or Russia. The overtaking issues in Spain/Russia are created by the regs. People blame street circuits but dozens of other series race on street circuits and got overtakes all the time.
So I guess Bottas will win this one? (Or Ricciardo if Red Bell gets a miracle upgrade?)
I'm surprised how many people are singing the praises of Bottas all of a sudden, like he is better than Lewis or some other fantasy. He's more likable than Lewis, I'll give you that, but a better driver? Nah
Well to be honest marksawatsky it's only been 4 races so it's hard to say either way. This time a fortnight ago he was being called nothing but a number 2 driver - during preseason people were bemoaning that his signing by Merc meant that Hamilton was certain for the title. The pendulum swings.

I'm just interested to see if he can perform like he did at Russia consistently.
I get the feeling that we're going to see Lewis in "bunker mentality" mode increasingly throughout this season - I can see more Rosberg than Kovalainen in Valtteri.
His celebrations in Russia did all look a bit forced as it appeared to be completely against his nature to show any outward emotions. I did like that Massa had to tell him where to go to get weighed and Vettel sent him back out on the podium after he and Kimi had left to take the applause on his own.

Back to Spain, I think it will be an interesting race but might well be decided on Saturday. Should we run a sweep on how many different engine components McLaren get through?
What do you think he means by this then chase carey. I have faith in him because i feel like ive seen more positive changes in f1 in last 2yrs than ive seen since i properly started to understand f1 2003/2004


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