This weekend is all about the Imola Grand Prix. In a few weeks, the circus will move on to Spain. In the middle...
Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Spanish Grand Prix
Normally, winter testing takes place at this venue but this time around the Spanish Grand Prix is the first 2021 F1 event in Barcelona. With its balance of many turns and few straights, it’s a track where Mercedes have proven extremely successful in recent years.
The 2021 Spanish Grand Prix
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 team travel to Barcelona to log hundreds of laps on the circuit. Every driver now knows every inch of asphalt.
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.
Turn 1 immediately forms the best overtaking opportunity of the track, coming at the end of the long home straight. Turn 1 and 2 forms 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.
Recently at the Circuit de Catalunya
Spanish Grands Prix isn't usually 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 2018.
The 2020 version saw the same three drivers on the podium, except Bottas and Verstappen, swapped places.
What does the race weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix look like?
FP1 is set to start on May 7th at 10:30 UK time, while FP2 will be driven at 14:00. Qualifying starts on Saturday, May 8th at 14:00, the race on Sunday, May 9th at 2pm.
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 14:00 UK time (09:00 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||7 May 2021||05:30 - 06:30|
|Practice 2||7 May 2021||09:00 - 10:00|
|Practice 3||8 May 2021||06:00 - 07:00|
|Qualifying||8 May 2021||09:00 - 10:00|
|Race||9 May 2021||09:00 - 11:00|
|Times are in America/New_York Timezone|
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