Things to know before the Spanish Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

After a quartet of flyaway races, Formula One returns home to begin its European season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The venue of the fourth round usually turns into a festival of technical upgrades and serves as a top-notch test track in winter.

This will be the 48th Formula 1 World Championship Spanish Grand Prix and the 28th edition at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The circuit first held the race in 1991 and has been the home of the Spanish Grand Prix ever since.

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at the Spanish GP, with six wins (1995-’96, 2001-’04). Mika Häkkinen, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Jackie Stewart all have three wins to their names. Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Ayrton Senna, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi managed to win the Spanish GP on two occasions.
Five Spanish Grand Prix winners will line up on the grid this weekend: Kimi Räikkönen (2005, 2008), Fernando Alonso (2006, 2013) Sebastian Vettel (2011), Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2017) and Max Verstappen (2016).

Of the current grid, home hero Alonso also takes the honours for most podium finishes in Barcelona, with seven. Spain is the venue of his last victory, the Spaniard has not managed to win a GP since his 2013 Spanish GP triumph with Ferrari.

It’s 44 years since Mercedes nonexecutive director Niki Lauda won for the first time in his F1 career, at the 1974 Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama, driving for Ferrari. The Austrian would score a further 24 victories, the final one arriving with McLaren at the 1985 Dutch GP.

Tim Mayer, Derek Warwick and Andrew Mallalieu form the trio of race stewards this weekend.

Inetersting fact about Spain

The Kingdom of Spain, as it’s officially known, is the second largest country in the EU
Spain was once a number of separate kingdoms with different languages – which were unified in the 15th century after the marriage of two Catholic monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile.

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world – with more than 406 million people worldwide speaking Spanish, it comes only after Chinese.
Nudity is legal in Spain – some say all the better to enjoy the country’s mainly Mediterranean-temperate climate with its hot dry summers, mild, rainy winters and more than 3,000 hours of sunlight a year.

The population of just under 47 million is the sixth largest in Europe – with more than three-quarters living in urban areas.

Spain is a constitutional monarchy. In 2015, Spain has the second highest unemployment rate in Europe.

The Spanish love to chill out – according to the 2013 OECD report, on average they devote 16 out of every 24 hours to leisure, eating, drinking and sleeping.

Spain produces over half of the world’s olive oil – more than some 1.5 million tons, and almost all of it comes from the southern region of Andalusia.

Spain was the first country in the world where wind power was the greatest source of electricity.

Spain has produced some of the world’s greatest artists – Valázquez in the 17th century, Goya in the 18th and 19th to Picasso, Miró and Dali in the 20th.

The Spanish are a tolerant society – the European Social Survey in 2010 found that 80 per cent of respondents agreed that ‘gay men and lesbians should be able to free to live their own lives’, compared to less than 40 percent of Croatians, Lithuanians and Russians.

Spain was the world’s third most popular tourist destination in 2013 – after France and the US, attracting a record 60.6 million visitors.