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.
 

TR

Rookie
So for tomorrow's race: Vettel hits Hamilton in first corner, and Bottas becomes the 11th winner in eleven years?
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Rutherford Anyone who has got spare cash and need a world class driver need to speak to Alonso now not wait until the end tof the season like he said

I think the silly season has just really started

Mclaren Honda needs him more than he needs them and good luck to him.. it seems like Renault could come calling
 

Olivier

Race Winner
Massa 9, Stroll 18. I would have expected some improvement from the Québécois but far from that he seems to have gone backwards. He blame the tires and he's ok with being a few seconds off Felipe's pace ... :facepalm:
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Olivier Everyone has had trouble with the tyres because the track changed temperature but seeing Barcelona was one of the tracks Stroll tested and has knowledge it is disappointing he is only 18th

One wonders if Vandoorne was in the car just how much closer he might have been to Massa
 

olegg

Race Winner
 

olegg

Race Winner
Ideal Lap (sum best sectors) in the Qual:
Qual – No – Driver – Qual Result – Ideal Lap – Flaw
1 - 44 - L.HAMILTON - 01:19,149 - 01:18,914 - 0,235
2 - 5 - S.VETTEL - 01:19,200 - 01:19,172 - 0,028
3 - 77 - V.BOTTAS - 01:19,373 - 01:19,207 - 0,166
4 - 7 - K.RAIKKONEN - 01:19,439 - 01:19,328 - 0,111
5 - 33 - M.VERSTAPPEN - 01:19,706 - 01:19,706 - 0,000
6 - 3 - D.RICCIARDO - 01:20,175 - 01:20,117 - 0,058
8 - 11 - S.PEREZ - 01:21,070 - 01:21,009 - 0,061
10 - 31 - E.OCON - 01:21,272 - 01:21,011 - 0,261
7 - 14 - F.ALONSO - 01:21,048 - 01:21,039 - 0,009
9 - 19 - F.MASSA - 01:21,232 - 01:21,180 - 0,052
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Since FA always excels in the Spanish GP, doesn't that seem to indicate that he doesn't really try anywhere else?
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
Grid is shaping up fantastically to have 3 teams within 1/2 second is a nice change from Some races in 2014-16 when merc were a second at least up the road. Id like to say it was brilliant lap which it was, but ferrari were Strange because both drivers Vettel & kimi lost nearly half second in just the final sector on the final run. 1 interesting fact was how todays qualifying showed the level of Sandbagging that goes on in febuary because kimi preseason did 1:18.6 ultra softs lewis 1:19.1 on the Softs

Palmer i am beginning to feel his days are numbered as we almost got traditonal compliant again. As now for 3rd time austraila russia & spain "i was so quick yesterday & no idea where it went today"

Finally anyone else have that timing screen glitch at the end of Q2. As it had alonso in Q3 which must have been some error. But seriously i know you like him or loathe him but no can deny that is 1 of the laps of the season. How he got that mclaren/honda engine to 7th is nothing short of a miracle. Is 1st time since comeback ive seen anyone from honda be able to crack a smile
 

Rutherford

Podium Finisher
Palmer i am beginning to feel his days are numbered as we almost got traditonal compliant again. As now for 3rd time austraila russia & spain "i was so quick yesterday & no idea where it went today"
Palmers days were counted from day one, he was signed, because Renault couldn't find any other driver. He could have convinced the team to keep him through good performances, but he hasn't got the pace of Hulkenberg and can't extract the true performance out of the car.
Yes, some say I have a reputation of belittling him, but his driving has been s**t all season, and from day two in Australia he always had some excuse.
The last driver I've seen stay in F1 and use so many excuses is Maldonado, but he had freight ship loaded with money. Looking for excuses and blaming others isn't the way to stay in F1, only results matter (and money).

However, it must be said that Vandoorne also didn't feel that the pace of P3 was there in qualifying. Vandoorne also needs to step up his game. Alonso may still be one of the fastest drivers on the grid, but Vandoorne is being shown up to extent were it could impact his career negatively, possibly ending it prematurely.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Must be hard to not be down if your Vandorne though. You've been loyal to Mclaren for years, turning down other opportunities, and then when eventually they give you a car it's awful and barely runs for a few laps at a time. On top of which your teams entire focus is on keeping your team mate happy, a team mate who, unlike yourself, slags the team off constantly and gets media attention everywhere he goes. Add to the fact it's your first year in F1 with brand new cars your trying to learn and it's one hard sell.
 

Bushi

Pole Sitter
According tot the media, Alonso has new bits on his car, a new engine, Vandoorne has to change his driving style a but more as he brakes tot late into a corner and keeps his foot on the Brake (something they learn in other classes) and he struggled for unknow reasons with the car on Saturday. If i remember correctly Alonso was 20kph Faster in the speed trap.
 
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Bushi

Pole Sitter
Seems he gets a few new bits aswell as they have to change a few components in his car. So he falls at the back of the grid.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
A Mercedes team win with Bottas doing his bit to hold Vettel up and taking enough time out of his lead to allow Hamilton to be close enough to overtake later in the race. That said, it's a team sport but the win wasn't just down to Lewis' great driving as Vettel had the faster car.
 

olegg

Race Winner
Yes, Bottas helped Hamilton to win.
But very early second pit due to Vandorne virtual safety car could spoil his tactic.
 
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