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Formula One Spanish Grand Prix Preview

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

Credit: Lluis Gene

Just one week after a surprisingly hectic and entertaining Monaco Grand Prix, Formula One returns for Round Eight, the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.

This is the second time in this season where F1 is racing on an actual purpose-built racing circuit, which you can come to your own conclusion as to whether this is a good thing for F1 or not. Nevertheless, we arrive at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Round Eight of the championship, a circuit which has hosted F1 since 1991, where most people recall Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell going side by side down the front straight.

Circuit Changes

Now, to be honest, this circuit has not delivered many thrilling races in recent times. However, this has been understood by everyone involved, as we will be seeing that chicane sequence in the final sector completely removed, so drivers instead will take the fast right-hander in Turn 13, that flows nicely into that final corner and onto the main straight. Ideally, this will allow cars to overtake much earlier on the front straight, as they should be able to stay right on the back of another driver, and then be assisted with DRS to help them execute the move, either on the home straight, or heading into Turn One.

Drivers to Watch: Max Verstappen - Two-time Spanish Grand Prix winner

Max Verstappen has been nothing short of near-unstoppable in 2023. Already achieved four race victories, he hasn’t finished outside of the Top 2 this season so far, only to be beaten by his teammate Sergio Perez twice in Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia. Verstappen managed to get his maiden win at this circuit back in 2016, which was his first race for Red Bull Racing too. Verstappen also won the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, with a difference in layout compared to prior years. With yet more changes in layout with the removal of the final chicane, could we see a repeat victory in similar fashion for Max Verstappen?

Sergio Perez - Championship Contender

Sergio “Checo” Perez has been in solid form so far in 2023, already winning twice this season. On top of that, Perez has had some interesting comments in regards to fighting Verstappen for this year’s championship, so it seems as though he believes in himself that he can fight for the championship as well. Checo will also be looking to recover from what might have been one of the most brutal weekends of his entire F1 career at Monaco. Monaco should have been a very happy hunting ground for Perez, especially having won previous year’s Monaco Grand Prix, but a catastrophic mistake in Qualifying 1 on Saturday meant that he would have to start towards the back of the grid, and he struggled to make any progress come Sunday. Therefore, this is a chance for Perez to reclaim some of that momentum that he had before Monaco. Will Sergio Perez manage to strike back on Sunday?

Credit: Peter Fox

Fernando Alonso - Home Hero

Fernando Alonso. A man whose name keeps coming up in 2023, as many would very much like to see when and if he can claim his 33rd victory of his career, and his first win in a long while. Of course, It’s Alonso’s home race, and he is expected to put on a show for his adoring fans, who all seem re-energised and excited for Alonso to lay down some pace on Friday. Can Alonso make himself the Home Hero once again?

Nyck De Vries - The Seat Struggle

De Vries is currently fighting for his F1 career at Alphatauri. With Daniel Ricciardo having a seat fit recently with the Italian squad, De Vries managed to finish a somewhat impressive P11 at Monaco. The problem is, he has won an entire championship which mostly raced within street circuits, hence that comes with the expectation that he might be able to claim his first points in F1. Whilst he was incredibly close, it unfortunately didn’t quite happen for the Dutchman. If De Vries is planning to revive this season, he really needs to put some points on the board - or at least not crash. Can De Vries recover his career in Spain?

There has not been a rain affected race at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya, since 1996 - and it looks like we will be in for yet another dry race, which might be welcomed after a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix just a few days ago.

With the Spanish Grand Prix weekend about to get underway, who do you think will come out on top? Let us know in the comments down below.

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