The Spanish Grand Prix is next up on the Formula 1 calendar with Barcelona playing host in round five.
And the only hope is that the Circuit De Catalunya maintains what has been a brilliant start to the new season, which has seen three different winners, from three different teams.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed his first victory of the campaign in Azerbaijan last time out, and with that returned to head the Drivers’ Championship – but by just four points from rival Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton won in Barcelona in 2017 and is looking for a repeat, but despite his win in Baku – he knows he was gifted the one following a mistake by Vettel and he insists a big improvement is still required.
There’s been two weird races which have kept us in the mix,” he said.
“But we know that we can’t rely on that for the next 17 races, or however many there are left. We need ultimate performance and confidence in the car.
“I’ve got the pace within me and the car has got the pace, but we’re not unlocking it and we have got to improve in a lot of areas.”
Vettel comes to Barcelona knowing he has not won here since 2011, and Ferrari not since 2013 – but like everyone – they know the track very well as this is where they winter test and the German is confident of success this weekend.
“Barcelona is a very good gauge of where everyone really stands,” he said.
“The most important thing is that we have a good car to work with in qualifying. If we’re in front, we can win because our race pace is good.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 10, 2018
The big result in Azerbaijan was Force India’s third place finish with Sergio Perez claiming a podium finish, and they are hoping their progress can continue in Spain.
“Finishing on the podium in Baku felt amazing. After a few tough races we finally got a result we deserved,” said Perez.
“Barcelona is the perfect place to start this part of the championship. I really enjoy the city of Barcelona and my trainer Xavi is Catalan, so it’s a special race for him.”
SPAIN GRAND PRIX – ROUND 5
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona
Track size: 2.89 miles with 16 turns
Number of laps: 66
2017 winner: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
Lap record holder: Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.593
Race winner odds from Betsafe:
|Lewis Hamilton (GBR – Mercedes)||7/4|
|Sebastian Vettel (GER – Ferrari)||7/4|
|Valtteri Bottas (FIN – Mercedes)||8/1|
|Daniel Ricciardo (AUS – Red Bull)||9/1|
|Max Verstappen (NED – Red Bull)||10/1|
|Kimi Raikkonen (FIN – Ferrari)||12/1|
|Fernando Alonso (ESP – McLaren)||250/1|
|Nico Hulkenberg (GER – Renault)||500/1|
|Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP – Renault)||500/1|
|Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL – McLaren)||1000/1|
|Romain Grosjean (FRA – Haas)||1000/1|
|Sergio Perez (MEX – Force India)||1000/1|
|Kevin Magnussen (DEN – Haas)||1000/1|
|Esteban Ocon (FRA – Force India)||1000/1|
|Pierre Gasly (FRA – Toro Rosso)||1500/1|
|Lance Stroll (CAN – Williams)||2000/1|
|Brendon Hartley (NZL – Toro Rosso)||2000/1|
|Charles Leclerc – (MON – Sauber)||2000/1|
|Sergey Sirotkin (RUS – Williams)||3000/1|
|Marcus Ericsson (SWE – Sauber)||4000/1|
Australian Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Bahrain Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
China Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 70
2 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 66
3 Kimi Räikkönen FIN FERRARI 48
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 40
5 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 37
6 Fernando Alonso ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 28
7 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 22
8 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 18
9 Sergio Perez MEX FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 15
10 Carlos Sainz ESP RENAULT 13
11 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 12
12 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 11
13 Charles Leclerc MON SAUBER FERRARI 8
14 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL MCLAREN RENAULT 8
15 Lance Stroll CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4
16 Marcus Ericsson SWE SAUBER FERRARI 2
17 Esteban Ocon FRA FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1
18 Brendon Hartley NZL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1
19 Romain Grosjean FRA HAAS FERRARI 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin RUS WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
1 FERRARI 114
2 MERCEDES 110
3 RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 55
4 MCLAREN RENAULT 36
5 RENAULT 35
6 FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 16
7 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 13
8 HAAS FERRARI 11
9 SAUBER FERRARI 10
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4
We have also spoken to Betsafe’s Ian Balchin, F1 odds compiler for the Betsson Group, to get his view on the Spanish GP
The surprising Baku win for Lewis Hamilton has now turned the Championship into a two horse race, as Kimi Raikkonen in third, is already 20 points behind the top 2.
Our Betsafe customers have been punting on both Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for the Drivers’ Championship win. I have priced both drivers up as Evens and we will hold this price until the start of the race on Sunday.
The Spanish GP will allow all teams to add major upgrades to the cars which could lead to major shifts in the way the cars work and hopefully how the finish on race day.
Track temperature and wind will affect the cars a great deal here, but all teams test here a lot and they will have detailed knowledge about the track.
I cannot see much to change at the top so I am looking lower down the order for a tip for this week.
I am tipping the Force India cars to finish in the Top 10. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon should have steady races and Betsafe are offering these to finish in the Top 10 @ 4/3