Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing chose to qualify in silverstone last week. It was a brilliant strategy that...
Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
First grand prix 1913
Number of laps 66
Race distance 307.104KM
Circuit length 4.655KM
Spanish Grand Prix
Winter testing in Barcelona still is fresh in the memory when Formula 1 is back on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the second time of the year. This time it’s for the Spanish Grand Prix, however, the second race of the Formula 1’s European tour and the fifth Grand Prix of the season. With its balance of many turns and few straights, it’s a track where Mercedes have proven extremely successful in recent years.
The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix
The circuit in Montmelo (just outside of Barcelona) has been the place where team bosses, drivers and fans always get their first F1 fix of the year at winter testing. A race lap typically takes a little under 1:20 (Daniel Ricciardo’s track record from 2018 is a low 1:18) which is why the lap count is relatively high at 66 laps. Two straights and also just two DRS zones mean drivers will do most of their overtaking at the end of either one.
What makes overtaking difficult is that every driver knows the Circuit de Catalunya better than any other track. Pretty much every junior racing category has a race in Barcelona, and on top of that, every year, all Formula 1 teams travel to Barcelona to log hundreds of laps on the circuit. Every driver now knows every inch of asphalt and every place where someone might think they can overtake.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Track Guide
The Circuit de Catalunya is known to be very hard for overtaking, but also for being very well-balanced. A combination of straights, twisty technical sections and long-winding corners make it the perfect venue for testing, which is why it’s the host of pre-season testing in Formula 1 as well.
Turn 1 immediately forms the best overtaking opportunity of the track, coming at the end of the long home straight. Turn 1 and 2 form a right-left chicane, with exit speed being crucial heading into turn 3. Turn 3 is a very long, flat out right-hander, followed by a short straight towards turn 4.
Coming out of the slow turn 4 and turn 5, F1 cars build up a lot of speed through a left kink and towards the chicane of turn 7 and 8. Turn 9, a quick right-hander, is one of the most corners of the track, with the apex being invisible on approach. Exit speed is crucial, though, as it’s followed by a DRS straight.
Into the slowest part of the circuit now, with the straight ending with a left-handed hairpin. Turn 11, a kink, leads into the slow, long right-hander turn 12. Another slow right-hander follows, which bleeds into a left-right chicane onto the main straight. The track record, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2018, is 1:16.173.
Last season at the Circuit de Catalunya
Spanish Grands Prix usually aren’t the most exciting races on the calendar, and 2019 was no different. Mercedes made history by starting the season with a record-breaking five consecutive one-two finishes, with Lewis Hamilton beating Valtteri Bottas to the checkered flag despite the latter starting from pole position. Max Verstappen beat both Ferraris to the final spot on the podium, meaning the podium was an exact copy of the 2018 one.
In a rather uneventful race, Vettel tried to overtake Bottas around the outside at the start of the race but had to yield, with Verstappen taking the opportunity to take P3 from the German.
The order stayed like that for the remainder of the race, with a Safety Car caused by a crash between Lance Stroll and Lando Norris bunching the field together but not causing any drama. Although it was feared this would be the last Spanish Grand Prix for the foreseeable future because of the announcement of the Dutch Grand Prix, it was later communicated there would still be a race in Barcelona in 2020, albeit after the race in the Netherlands.
What does the race weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix look like?
The first press conferences are scheduled on May 7th, and the drivers will take place in their cars to drive in free practice one day later on Friday. FP1 is set to start on May 8th at 10:00 UK time, while FP2 will be driven at 14:00. Qualifying starts on Saturday May 9th at 14:00, the race on Sunday May 10th at ten past two in the afternoon, or ten past nine in the morning on the east coast in the USA.
What time does the Spanish Grand Prix start?
As in previous years, the Spanish Grand Prix can be followed live in the live blog of GPblog from half an hour before the start of the race onwards. The starting time of the Spanish Grand Prix is 14:10 UK time (09:10 EST) and the race can also be followed live on Sky Sports and/or F1TV in the UK. All free practice sessions and qualifying will be broadcast there as well.
|Practice 1||14 August 2020||05:00 - 06:30|
|Practice 2||14 August 2020||09:00 - 10:30|
|Practice 3||15 August 2020||06:00 - 07:00|
|Qualifying||15 August 2020||09:00 - 10:00|
|Race||16 August 2020||09:10 - 11:10|
|Times are in America/New_York Timezone|
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