PRIXVIEW – Spanish Grand Prix & Testing


Round five and the third test of the season sees Formula One return to the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix. The circuit was built in the early 1990’s and was the venue for the 1992 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the road team time trial cycling event.

However, since 1992 it has been home to horsepower of another kind as it became home to the Spanish Grand Prix and winter testing. Both Montjuïc and the modern circuit in Montmelo were both used as venues for the 1992 Olympic and Paralympic games.

The first Spanish Grand Prix was a sports car race held in 1913 ear the capital Madrid before moving to another circuit in Barcelona the Autódromo de Sitges-Terramar. In 2012, Carlos Sainz Sr set the fastest lap in an Audi R8 LMS.

Barcelona and the region of Catalonia is the only place in the world to host Grand Prix’s on three very different circuits. Between 1969 and 1975 the race alternated between Circuito del Jarama and the street circuit Montjuïc circuit. Montjuic was a street circuit around the Montjuïc Mountain.

Barcelona is a proving ground for drivers and teams, throughout the winter this was the base for all the teams as they developed the cars. The circuit has a wide variety of corners as well as straights which makes set up quite difficult to get the set up of the car right.

Michael Schumacher has taken the most wins at the race, including his first win for Ferrari in heavy rain in 1996. Fernando Alonso is just one of two Spaniards to win the race Carlos de Salamanca in 1913 and Alonso in 2006 and 2013, with Spanish speaking Juan Manuel Fangio winning in 1951 as well as Maldonado in 2012.

Since 2014, Mercedes could have won four races however on the opening lap of the 2016 race Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed into each other. That allowed Max Verstappen to take his debut win on his Red Bull debut, becoming the youngest winner and podium finisher in F1 history.

In winter testing, Ferrari looked very strong however it is known that Mercedes didn’t bring there A game. Following Baku, all the teams will be bringing both upgrades for the race and testing, while we will know the winner on Sunday. It will be hard to draw a complete picture until next Wednesday after testing finishes.

Facts and figures

Race 2018 Gran Premio de España Emirates

2018 Gran Premi d’Espanya Emirates

Venue Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Circuit Length 4.655km (2.892 mi)
Laps 66
Race Distance 307.104 km (190.825 mi)
Lap Record 1:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)
Most wins drivers Michael Schumacher (6)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (12)

Fast facts

  • The 0.014-second gap between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell five years later at the Jerez circuit was the closest finish ever recorded at the time. The record stood until the controversial 2002 United States Grand Prix.
  • The la Sagrada Familia has taken around 200 hundred years to be constructed with modern technology The main feature of this building is its height, which equals 984 meters. However, Gaudí believed that the highest point in the city
  • Lella Lombardi is the only woman to have scored a top six finish in the F1 World Championship. She recorded half a point for sixth place in the shortened 1975 Grand Prix at the treacherous Montjuïc circuit.

Event timetable

Session Local BST
P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30
P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying  15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00
Race 15:10 14:10

What happened in 2017?

Lewis Hamilton held of Sebastian Vettel in the closely fought battle to take his second win of the season. The two four times champions looked very evenly matched on track throughout the race, Vettel won the start as his Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen crashed out.

Joining them on the sidelines was Valtteri Bottas as the Finn was third when he suffered a water leak. Fernando Alonso had his best result of the season for McLaren, he finished the race thirteenth but two laps down on the leaders. But, it was not a great start for Alonso, he was forced wide by Williams’ Felipe Massa and had to drive through the gravel.

What to watch for?

Barcelona is the first European race of the season, this means that all of the teams will be bringing upgrades for both the race weekend and the in season test. Barcelona is a race which teams will want to understand the cars, based on preseason testing, Ferrari and Red Bull were very strong.

However all the teams have made progress, you need to ask can the top three teams pull away from the midfield as they will bring upgrades to their cars. This makes the whole weekend and following test, an interesting week. Also, this is the first race of Liberty’s new digital strategy so that will be another talking points.

There will be pressure on both Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr at their home race. I believe they are both in a much stronger position for a good result this weekend. Both teams have made a good step, however McLaren struggled in winter testing but so far the team appears as to have got on top those issues.

Testing as well will be about developing the car, in the winter test the times were close with Ferrari very much on top in terms of lap pace. Testing is about the mileage and understanding the cars and they will be looking towards Montreal, Marseille, Spielberg and Silverstone for development.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2017 01:21.521 01:21.802 01:20.214 01:20.511 01:20.210 01:19.149 01:35:56.497 01:23.593
Diff -2.430 -2.120 -2.864 -2.703 -1.949 -2.851 -06:16.480 -3.355
2016 01:23.951 01:23.922 01:23.078 01:23.214 01:22.159 01:22.000 01:41:40.017 01:26.948

Data Profile

A lap of Barcelona Lewis Hamilton 01:19.149

Lewis Hamilton comes out of the final corner and goes to the outside, gets up to 323kph before break at the 100m board for turn one. he crosses the track driving through the centre of the corner before running to the outside at turn two. Runs to the inside before hugging the apex and then running to the outside, he stays there.

He breaks on exit before opening the car through the exit and heads down the hill, then across the track before breaking for five. Through the centre, before running along the kerb and keeps momentum through six. Breaks as he enters seven, before running through the corner building speed. He keeps that speed for nine when he runs to the outside.

He builds speed as he enters the tricky slow final sector, breaking a 100m before turn ten. Goes through the centre of the corner, then runs to the inside takes a bit of kerb. He then launches himself into eleven before running around the apex of twelve. Runs to the outside breaks before turn thirteen down into fourteen. Hits kerbs at fourteen and fifteen heads along the outside kerb. before going to the apex of sixteen, runs to the outside, stays there and across the line with 01:19.149.



Team Supersoft Soft Medium

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 5 5 3
V. Bottas 5 5


S. Vettel

Ferrari 7 4 2

K. Raikkonen

7 4 2
D. Ricciardo Red Bull – Tag Heuer 6



M. Verstappen




S. Perez

Force India – Mercedes 6 3 4
E. Ocon 6 3


S. Sirotkin

Williams – Mercedes 10 1 3
L. Stroll 9 1


F. Alonso

McLaren – Renault 6 4 3
S. Vandoorne 6



P. Gasly

Toro Rosso –Honda 7 3 3
B. Hartley 7 3


R. Grosjean

Haas – Ferrari 7 3 3
K. Magnussen 7 4


N. Hulkenberg

Renault 8 2 3
C. Sainz 8 2


M. Ericsson

Sauber – Alfa Romeo 7 2


C. Leclerc 7 3



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Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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