The F1 field heads for sunny Catalunya this coming weekend for what should be a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix.
Normality has been restored with Lewis Hamilton having returned to the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings. The ‘Brit managed to bag his first win of the campaign in what was more demolition derby than F1 race out in Azerbaijan.
Can the Hamilton extend his lead this weekend out in Spain or will Sebastian Vettel bounce back and usurp his rival at the top of the standings
Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Catalunya
Sunday 13 May
Well, it finally happened. Lewis Hamilton managed to win his first race of the season as he took top honours out in Azerbaijan. The ‘Brit was extremely fortunate with Max Verstappen crashing into Daniel Ricciardo which led to both Red Bulls being taken out and Sebastian Vettel losing out on an almost guaranteed race victory due to the two Mercedes pitting during the safety car period.
It actually looked, during the latter part of the race, that Valtteri Bottas would take the Grand Prix but debris from the Red Bulls crash put pay to that with Bottas puncturing a tyre. This ensured that the remainder of the podium would look rather unfamiliar with Kimi Raikkonen taking second and Sergio Perez bringing his car across the line in third.
Sebastian Vettel managed to recover to claim fourth while fifth place was taken by Carlos Sainz and rookie Pierre Ghastly took sixth.
It proved to be a good outing for McLaren with Fernando Alonso taking seventh and Stoffel Vandoorne claiming eighth. Sandwiched between the duo was the Williams’ of Lance Stroll, while young gun Brendon Hartley claimed the final berth in the Top 10.
To Win Outright
Sebastian Vettel 15/10 | Lewis Hamilton 33/20 | Valterri Botas 10/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 10/1 | Max Verstappen 10/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 10/1
The Circuit de Catalunya offers a great blend of high and low-speed corners which really test the reliability of the faster cars on track. While these corners require dexterous braking, they don’t offer much room for overtaking as they are some of the narrowest on the calendar. As such, pole position will be a rather key factor here.
The weather forecast looks rather good for the weekend with clear skies predicted for race day. There is a possibility of a thunderstorm during Saturday’s qualifying sessions, however.
Last year’s race was won by Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel claiming second and Daniel Ricciardo taking third.
Fernando Alonso – Podium Finish – Yes – 20/1
This is certainly one to label under the speculator file but at 20/1, I can’t help but have a strike on Alonso to land a podium finish on home soil.
Alonso’s last race victory actually came back at this weekend’s venue back in 2013. He also won on home soil back in 2006, and in doing so became the first Spaniard ever to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
The veteran also heads into this one off a decent enough result having claimed seventh out in Azerbaijan. He’ll need a few of the front-runners to crash out in Spain but, should that happen, then we may well see Alonso waving from the podium to what would be a rapturous crowd this Sunday.
Fastest Qualifier 37/20 & To Win Race 33/20
The Spanish Grand is generally won by the pole sitter, which means a strike on what will be a confident Lewis Hamilton, on either market, could net a healthy return with the ‘Brit coming into this one at well over even money.
He has the pedigree in Spain having won both the 2014 and 2017 Grand Prix held in the country. He also has a handy qualifying record in Catalunya having claimed pole in three of the last four races.
The smart move here is to get on Hamilton to claim the Fastest Lap accolade as it’s a slightly better price. I can see him also claiming race honours as well.