Times – GMT+2
12 May: Practice 1 (10:00) / Practice 2 (14:00)
13 May: Practice 3 (11:00) / Qualifying (14:00)
14 May: Race (14:00)
Track: Circuit de Catalunya
Location: Barcelona, Spain
First race: 1991
Length: 4.655 km/ 2.892 m
Fastest lap: 1:21.670 (Kimi Raikkonen. 2008)
2016 winner: Max Verstappen
After a thrilling start to the season which has seen Mercedes fall from their dominance, Ferrari fight back and a new race winner take the top step we now come back F1’s heart land as the European season kicks off in Spain this week.
Not only is this race famous for being the start of the European season but it is also where most teams bring their first big updates. And none more so than Red Bull.
After a fairly poor start to Red Bull’s 2017 campaign they will be hoping for much better results and to get back in the title fight. It is expected that they will abandon their new low drag approach and revert back to a much more down force oriented philosophy, something they have become famous for in recent years.
Last year Spain was a turning point in the title fight between Hamilton and Rosberg. The two Mercedes drivers colliding on the opening lap after Hamilton tried an overtake and ended spinning on the grass. It let the newly promoted Max Verstappen take his maiden victory, becoming the youngest ever winner of a Formula 1 grand prix.
Mercedes and Ferrari will still be fighting at the front, could Bottas or Raikkonen be in that fight? I hope so, although Bottas is the more likely winner than Kimi. After all the Finn is now a race winner and Raikkonen is still struggling to get to grips with his new car, even if he did get the fastest lap in Russia.
Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat will have high emotions here. After all it here where he was was demoted back down to Toro Rosso from Red Bull after his double collision with Sebastian Vettel in Russia. And as if that wasn’t bad enough it was the aforementioned Verstappen, the guy that replaced him, who went on to take victory. Pretty much sealing Kvyat’s fate for the rest of the year.
It wasn’t until much later in the season that he seemed to have gotten over the situation. Up until then he looked like a broken man and put in more than a few terrible performances. To the point where many thought he would be kicked out in favor of GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, but he was thrown a life line and as a result he is here this weekend.
Top 3 prediction