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.
 

olegg

Race Winner
Alonso laps:
51
P − 1:30.438
52 − 1:47.351
53 − 1:27.116
54 − 1:24.938
55 − 1:24.640
56 − 1:24.650
57 − 1:24.723
58 − 1:25.394
59 − 1:26.637
60 − 1:25.365
61 − 1:28.430
62 − 1:24.590
63 − 1:31.592
64 − 1:23.894
Yes.
Looks like Alonso on last lap of 5th season race found secret of McLaren-Honda pace
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Alonso suddenly looked a lot faster at the end of the race .

The change in the DRS worked at least for once

Back to Vandoorne.. this is very hard experience for him but he is just not allowed to show if the car keeps breaking down. Mclaren need to build the team around him for the future. I don't see what other options they have post Alonso who probably will not be with the team for 2018
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Alonso was fannying around at the end. He has car turned all the way down for an age and then just wacked it up to have a go at fastest lap. No points but succeeds in making everyone go 'ooooooo'.

Good race - could give either way. Good watch.
 
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