5 stories to watch for ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix
The F1 circus rolls into Catalunya on Sunday, Aug. 16 for the 108th running of the Spanish Grand Prix. All eyes will be on Mercedes after they surprisingly failed to win at Silverstone last weekend – although Max Verstappen’s victory hasn’t done too much to dent Lewis Hamilton’s championship ambitions.
Before you settle down on the couch to enjoy the sweet smell of rubber on tarmac, here are the five stories to keep your eyes on in Barcelona.
Formula 1 Spain GP 2020 - Race Winner
Fri, August 14 2020, 9:00 AM
Can Verstappen repeat the trick?
It was a hugely bold move by Verstappen and Red Bull to stay out twice as long on the hard tires, but it paid off brilliantly. As the two Mercedes drivers suffered tire problems for the second week in a row, Verstappen was there to pounce and ended up a comfortable victor.
That ended a run of five Mercedes Grand Prix wins in a row, and it was the first time in eight races that the driver on pole position hasn’t gone on to win.
The question now is can Max do it again? The Dutchman is 30 points behind Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship and Red Bull will need to rely on superior strategy rather than pace if they are to outwit Mercedes again.
Will Lewis Hamilton break the all-time podium record?
The short answer is probably, yes!
Hamilton finished second at Silverstone to equal Michael Schumacher’s total of 155 podiums, and he can overtake him in Barcelona. The six-time Driver’s Champion wasn't happy to finish runner-up last week, but on a day were things didn’t go right for Mercedes, to still finish second is a testament to his ability.
Hamilton has won the last three renewals of the Spanish Grand Prix, so don’t be surprised to see him on the podium on Sunday.
Now whilst we didn’t get the result we’d hoped for, that was such a challenge out there. I actually really enjoyed the struggle. To come back at the end was fun, not enough to stop Max who did a great job today but enough to get good points. Lots to learn from today. #BritishGP pic.twitter.com/rgw6mgSuxD— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 9, 2020
Can Sainz do it for Spain?
It’s been seven years since the Spanish fans saw one of their own on the podium in Barcelona – so all eyes will be on the sole Spanish driver, Carlos Sainz Jr., this weekend.
Sainz was not a happy man over the weekend as he had car trouble once again to add to a long list of issues this season. This time around an overheating engine scuppered his chances in qualifying and he finished the race in 13th. The week before tire failure cost him a potential fourth placed finish, and he’s already had pit stop disasters in Styria and Hungary.
He’ll need a little more love from lady luck in Spain.
More trouble for Vettel
It won't be a fairytale Ferrari ending for Vettel, who sees his contract terminate at the end of this year. He finished out of the points in Silverstone after a spin early on, followed by some poor strategic pitting, leaving the quadruple champ sitting in 13th in the Driver’s standings.
As if that isn’t bad enough, the other Ferrari is flying along with Charles Leclerc finishing in the top four for a third time.
The Spanish Grand Prix could end in more problems for the German.
A Stroll in the park for Lance
Young-gun Lance Stroll is making waves at Racing Point, and last Sunday finished in the points for a fourth consecutive race, the best run of his short career. He’s now scored more Championship points in five races than in the whole of last season.
Stroll crashed out of this race last year, but in 2018 managed to finish 11th after starting from P18 on the grid. Expect the Canadian to be challenging for a top six place this weekend.