Last Time Out:
Mercedes continued their dominant start to this F1 season in Baku. A record breaking fourth consecutive 1-2 finish saw both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (new championship leader) stretch their championship lead over Ferrari after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Once again for Ferrari it was a case of what might have been. Both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc had the legs on the Silver Arrows all weekend, all weekend until of course the time when it mattered most.
Leclerc had the track on a string until he ploughed his Ferrari straight in to a wall during qualifying. That was his race cooked before it started.
Vettel, much less comfortable in this year’s car, was outpaced in qualy by Mercedes and the same happened in the race.
Red Bull were typically solid without ever threatening to outpace Merc or Ferrari.
Sergio Perez proved to be the midfield master of Baku, not for the first time, the Mexican drove his Racing Point car to a ‘best of the rest’ sixth place.
The Spanish Grand Prix has been held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991.
The track has a nice balance of aero-intensive long sweepers in the first two sectors, and a tight and twisting monaco-esque final sector. There is then a sizable main-straight to test each team’s power unit and straight line speed.
So much so is this circuit an overall test of the car’s capability that it has long been a popular destination for pre-season testing.
Pre-season testing is where we pick up the race preview.
Ferrari were believed to be anything up to three tenths of a second per lap faster than Mercedes throughout testing on this track.
If that pace is or was true, it would put Ferrari 20 seconds in front of Mercedes by race-distance end.
All of what we’ve seen since testing has suggested that that was a false picture and Mercedes, while being operationally superior, have also designed a better car. At least in terms of results.
In terms of performance, I see this season’s scoreline being 2-2 at the moment.
Mercedes were the stronger car at both Australia and China, Ferrari had a pace advantage in Bahrain and Baku.
An inability to maximise their edge over the Mercs has left Ferrari trailing but fundamentally, they have a fast car.
For this race, the smart money goes on Mercedes. They have the best all-round car in the field and their team, engineers and pit crew are firing on all cylinders.
Lewis Hamilton has won this race for the last two years running, allied to that, Mercedes have won four from the last five Spanish Grand Prix.
Spain Grand Prix Race Winner – Lewis Hamilton at 13/10.
Hamilton is priced as favourite, if you’re looking for a value selection for the race win I would recommend Charles Leclerc.
The young-Monegasque has been brilliant this season for the most part and should out-drive his odds of 15/4.
Finally a look the match bets we have on site.
My pick of the bunch is Valtteri Bottas versus Charles Leclerc.
Bottas was 20 seconds of Hamilton by the end of last year’s Spanish GP, he’s decidedly faster this year but I’m quite confident Leclerc will have his number this weekend.
Charles Leclerc to beat Valtteri Bottas at 11/10