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Featured 2016 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by R.J. O'Connell, May 12, 2016.

  1. R.J. O'Connell

    R.J. O'Connell

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    esp16_header.png
    It's the start of the traditional European leg of the Formula 1 calendar - the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, which celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year. And my, oh my, something seems different this weekend.


    Those who didn't quite get their fill of traditionally processional races with very little unassisted overtaking at former Olympic host cities after the Russian GP are in luck - the ultra-technical 4.6 kilometer circuit, a staple of F1 pre-season testing, will once again put passing at a premium. Of course, to win here is never easy - just ask Mika Hakkinen - but a good result in qualifying should almost guarantee a victory, with 23 of the last 25 Spanish GP winners starting on the front row.

    That's not to say that the Spanish GP hasn't delivered some memorable moments over the 25 years in Montmeló. Senna and Mansell going wheel-to-wheel in the first race, Michael Schumacher's incomparable first victory for Ferrari in '96, and the time Pastor Maldonado won a dry-weather Formula 1 Grand Prix from pole position just four years ago.



    But why wait 'til Sunday afternoon to ratchet up the Intrigue™ and Drama© when Red Bull decided to do that themselves one week ago?

    In case you've been living under a rock the last two weeks, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso essentially traded Daniil Kvyat for 18-year-old Max Verstappen last Thursday. Kvyat's heavily-scrutinized first lap collision with Sebastian Vettel (which wasn't entirely his fault) basically gave Red Bull an excuse to pull the trigger on a deal to promote Verstappen to the "A" team.

    This is the duality of Red Bull: Every single personnel decision they've made, in F1, within their Junior Team, is backed up by extensive analysis of engineering feedback, intra-team metrics, and a little bit of previous anecdotal evidence, no matter how cold and cruel it is. And my goodness, this one was cold.

    Kvyat, for his part, has remained professional and collected, at least on the surface, once he learned of his demotion. But at first glance, it does seem like a major blow to be "demoted" to Toro Rosso despite scoring 100% of Red Bull's podium finishes this year, and one season after narrowly out-scoring Daniel Ricciardo in the same equipment.

    Given how Red Bull remained patient with Vettel once upon a time, and how the team now operating as Renault remained patient with Romain Grosjean when neither driver was exactly a 100 percent safe pair of hands, it seems even more cruel of a blow to Kvyat-who should already be looking for F1 opportunities outside the Red Bull collective for next season. He will, however, relish the chance to be re-united with his old GP3 Series teammate, Carlos Sainz, Jr, in a car that's more than capable of a solid result here.

    red bull boy band.jpg
    In happier times... (Image © Red Bull Media House)

    For Verstappen, this is his long-anticipated chance to shine with a top team. If he stands on the podium this weekend in his Red Bull Racing debut, he'll have done so at a younger age than any other F1 driver has even started a Grand Prix. Given Red Bull's strength in the aero department, the high-downforce Catalunya circuit could be a place where "The Bandit" could even win the whole thing on his Red Bull debut.

    That's not to say it'll be easy, even for a driver with as much (justified) hype as Verstappen. He'll have to outperform Ricciardo, which is no small task - just ask Kvyat, Vettel, or Jean-Eric Vergne. His tendency to go against team instructions at Toro Rosso, admirable as it is to the old-school racing fan, will not fly at Red Bull if it gets out of hand. Nothing less than an exceptional performance and a positive attitude will do for Verstappen, otherwise the hype will diminish faster than you can say "DJ Squire".

    Oh, by the way - if you can believe it, there are some other storylines worth following this weekend.

    Like the rather small matter of championship leader Nico Rosberg trying to extend his incredible run of consecutive victories to eight in a row - which would put him ahead of the longest streak ever compiled by either Alberto Ascari or Michael Schumacher, and essentially allow F1's greatest "nearly-man" to finally put one hand on a championship title of his own. No big fuss there.

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, will need to strike back now with a victory to keep Rosberg from sailing out into an insurmountable championship lead too early in the season.

    And of course, there's a definitive home crowd hero - two of them, actually - in the race. Fernando Alonso was over the moon when he picked up his first points of the season last time out in Sochi. As he prepares for his twentieth Grand Prix in the country of Spain (including the European Grands Prix at Valencia), the favourite of the Spanish crowd must feel that he has a chance to get ever so closer to where his credentials as a two-time champion deem that he should be - back on the podium, or back to winning races.

    Don't overlook Sainz either - he did well to qualify fifth and finish in the points on his home debut last season, and he is out to prove that if there was a Toro Rosso driver who should have gotten the promotion to Red Bull, it would be him.

    Also, this weekend is the long-awaited start of the 2016 GP2 and GP3 Series' seasons after a twelve-year offseason, and the two premier feeder categories are known to bring the excitement if the main event falls short in that category. And reigning GP3 champ Esteban Ocon will make his return to FP1 with Renault.

    Spanish Grand Prix Schedule (all times GMT)
    Free Practice 1 - 8:00-9:30
    Free Practice 2 - 12:00-13:30
    Free Practice 3 - 9:00-10:00
    Qualifying - 12:00-13:00
    Race (66 laps) - 12:00
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2016
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  2. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    Wah wah. Premium

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    Last edited: May 13, 2016
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  3. Ricoow

    Ricoow
    RedShift Racing RDLMS #6 Premium

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    That is awkward. This post is no longer available. :p

    Also 'twelve-year offseason'??
     
  4. Azure Flare

    Azure Flare
    Forever a backmarker Premium

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    Alonso savage af.
     
  5. Kevin Pheiffer

    Kevin Pheiffer

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    WTF.....you kidding, right? :geek:
    What is it with you guys and Vettel? He is without doubt the best driver on the grid and hardly ever gets a mention, unless it's to say his car broke down or something in passing.
    I read all the race reports at RD and every race is.....so and so had a storming drive to finish 15th! Amazing!:roflmao:
    Share the love a bit guys.:inlove:
     
  6. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    Wah wah. Premium

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  7. Colin O Callaghan

    Colin O Callaghan

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  8. Dmitry Sorokin

    Dmitry Sorokin
    Banned

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    When I saw Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull, I took double the dose to calm the nerves! :mad:
     
  9. paracletus

    paracletus

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    1. NR
    2. LH
    3. SB
     
  10. Johan Top

    Johan Top

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    Erm. Kvyat only did better than Ricciardo last season because Ricciardo had a lot of problems with the Renault engine. Just looking at the result and not at how someone really drove is what we call 'Scorebordjournalistiek' in Dutch. You don't nuance, but only Look at the result. Ricciardo had to replace his engine often leading to grid fall backs. On average he drove better than Kvyat.
    This year Kvyat hasn't been doing anything good except for the Chinese GP.. On average he was far behind Ricciardo.

    Then the stuff written about Verstappen here, which imo can't be taken too seriously at the moment. It even feels like someone's joking here. I don't think hè has a chance to win. And especially the following:
    He doesn't have to outperform Ricciardo in this occasion at all, neither in the next one. First he needs to learn the car. If he is close to Ricciardo, he's doing fine.


    Then the stuff about him going against team instructions, it happened twice.. I think at RB they saw he was right in Singapore and in the qualifying of the Russian GP.. I mean, why would TR suddenly get Booth as racing Director.. Apparently Franz Tost did something wrong in his tactics for qualifying.. It's even said that the coming of Booth is a yellow card for Tost from Red Bull..
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
  11. Blkout

    Blkout

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    Max is killing it in qualifying. Wow!
     
  12. Mark Aalberts

    Mark Aalberts

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    for a first outing Max did great keeping up and staying close to RIC. Im more shocked with the pace of Ferrari :O_o: ,.. longruns didnt seem that great either, will be a long race tomorrow for them.
     
  13. Michael Morgenthal

    Michael Morgenthal
    Gentlemenraceclub

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    Nice job from Max and i think he starts tomorrow from the better side in the grid with more grip. Hope he can place his Red Bull on the podium. :)
     
  14. Jimlaad43

    Jimlaad43
    Nice apex, I'll take it! Staff Premium

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    If anyone wants some proof that the Catalunya circuit is an abysmal race track, just watch the GP3 race from today. 22 laps, and the last overtake was completed on lap 2. 4th to 20th were all pretty much all separated by less than a second, but you just cannot overtake at this track.
     
  15. Mark Aalberts

    Mark Aalberts

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    They said the same thing about F3,... you cant overtake? But well i know at least one driver that thinks and proved otherwise.:p
     
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  16. paracletus

    paracletus

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    good qualifying session, that. race will be interesting - if lh can finally get the car off the line there might be a race up front for a change. shall see.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
  17. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race. Premium

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    At the end of this season either Ricciardo or Verstappen will have a much higher value.
     
  18. Tom

    Tom
    Staff Emeritus Premium

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    MRW I see todays result.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Helmut Skrdla

    Helmut Skrdla
    Premium

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    Wow, just wow. As Niki Lauda said - this is a great day for all of Formula One. Just the kind of excitment and fighting, with a very, very well deserved surprise winner, that makes racing what it should be.

    Congrats to Max... unbelievable.
     
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  20. Mark Aalberts

    Mark Aalberts

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    I cant really comprehend what i just witnessed. I probably should thank Lewis then i guess, but still Max drove like a true champ defending off Kimi for most of the race even on the oldest set of meds.

    These are the best victories, when you win races without having the fastest car.

    Amazing.
     
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