Things to know before the Spanish Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Formula One touched down in Spain this weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix, Round Five of the 2019 FIA Formula One Championship. After the qualifying session, Mercedes seem to be unstoppable, holding a huge performance advantage to its rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

Race facts

634 – Mercedes secured another front-row lock-out for today’s Spanish Grand Prix. On this occasion, Valtteri Bottas outshined his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to claim his ninth pole position. The Finn beat his struggling team-mate by an incredible 634 thousandths of a second.

886 – Sebastian Vettel, the quickest non-Mercedes driver was a whopping 866 thousandths of a second down on the pole position time of Bottas, highlighting the utter dominance of the Mercedes outfit.

Pre-season vs championship – Mercedes and Ferrari were neck on neck in the dying minutes of the pre-season testing. After the winter testing, the Italians led the timing sheets with a 1.16.221 while the Anglo-German team was only a microscopical three thousandths of a seconds behind with a time of 1.16.224. Shockingly, despite to the higher temperatures, Mercedes have found a huge amount of lap time for the GP weekend to claim the pole position with a time of 1:15.406 while Ferrari could not even improve on their testing time with Vettel’s lap-time of 1:16.272.

Midfield – With their upgraded car, Haas-Ferrari produced an amazing performance with both its drivers securing a top-ten starting position. The better of them, Romain Grosjean was only 0.203 seconds slower than the Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly. Yesterday’s qualifying was a sad session for McLaren since both its drivers failed to get into the top ten. Alfa Romeo was also on the back foot with Kimi Räikkönen only securing the 14th position on the grid while Antonio Giovinazzi had to say farewell after the Q1 session.

Williams – While Robert Kubica was 1.1 seconds off his team-mate George Russell’s lap time, the Briton’s performance was definitely a success for the Grove-based squad. Russell’s best lap time of 1m19.072 was only 0.408 seconds down on the 18th best time set by Giovinazzi, indicating that Williams are slowly crawling back towards the midfield.

Fuel – Last year, the driver, who used the least amount of fuel to complete the whole race distance, needed 103.6kg while the most hungry car used up 104.8kg, only 0.2 kg less than the then permitted. Drivers can use a maximum of 110kg of fuel in 2019.

Facts about the track

4.655km – On the 4-655km-long Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is 4.655km, drivers need to complete 66 laps to complete the race distance of 307.104km.

1m18.441 – Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest ever race lap on the frequently visited circuit during the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix.

1m15.406 – That is the lap time which Valtteri Bottas secured the pole position with. The Finn driver set this time in last qualifying session to register the fastest ever lap on the Spanish circuit.

DRS – There will be two DRS zones on the track. The first has a detection point 86m before Turn 9 and an activation point 40m after. The second detection point is at the Safety Car line, with activation 57m after Turn 16.

80km/h – That is the maximum speed drivers are allowed to travel at in the pit lane during the practice sessions and the race.

Historical facts

Almost 50th – Today’s Spanish Grand Prix will be the 49th. Of these races, Barcelona played the hosting roles on 29th occasions. The Spanish GP has been previously held in Jerez, Jarama, Pedralbes and Montjuic.

Michael Schumacher – The German is the most successful driver at the Spanish Grand Prix with six victories beginning in 1995 with Benetton, followed by five victories for Ferrari (1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).

Four – Of the current grid, only four drivers have won in Barcelona. Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen have claimed victory on two occasions apiece while Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen have both won once.

Four again – Four drivers will make their F1 debut in today’s race, however all of them have race experience at the circuit. Alex Albon won the 2016 GP3 sprint race, Lando Norris finished third in both 2018 F2 races, George Russel won the 2018 F2 feature race while Antonio Giovinazzi last raced here in 2016 in GP2, albeit with less success.

Pole position – The first starting position has had an influential role on the race outcome so far as overtaking is rather difficult at this track. Twenty-one of the 28 races held here have been won from pole. Fernando Alosno’s win in 2013 stands out as the Spaniard managed to claim the victory with his Ferrari starting from fifth on the grid.

Pirelli

The sport’s sole tyre manufacturer predicts a single-stop strategy for today’s race, but stopping two times can also be a successful way to complete the entire race distance of 307.104km. In last year’s race, Red Bull opted for a one-stop strategy with Max Verstappen.

During the free practice sessions, the red-striped C3 compound, the softest available in Barcelona was showing quite a good durability which should make it possible for teams to consider to visit the pit only once. However, the fact that Ferrari saved two fresh C3 sets very much indicates that the Italian outfit plans a two-stop strategy.