Spanish Grand Prix: Things to look out for

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

Preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix get underway on Friday at the Circuit de Catalunya with F1 fans hoping for a repeat of the excitement and mayhem last time round in Azerbaijan.

Lewis Hamilton took the points in Baku, but it is hard to say if he can pull off a repeat performance in Spain, the scene of his stunning victory over Sebastian Vettel last season, as the 2018 F1 season continues to prove extremely unpredictable.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some things to watch out for over race weekend.

Red rag to a Red Bull?
Following the disastrous coming together at Baku that put both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen out of the race, all eyes will be on the Red Bull duo in Catalunya. Red Bull tried to play down the incident and made both drivers apologise, but amazingly said that they will continue to allow their drivers to race each other.

It’s pretty obvious that Christian Horner doesn’t want a repeat of the shenanigans in Azerbaijan anytime soon, but Verstappen has already developed a reputation as a bit of a loose cannon. This year alone he has already had more accidents and incidents than podiums, so a trouble-free race from the young Dutchman is something that is hard to guarantee. But that is exactly what he requires. Verstappen needs to remind his team of his driving talent and put on a repeat performance of the kind that saw him become the youngest ever F1 winner here in Spain two years ago.

Time for Bottas to shine
After having to play second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton for the majority of his first season with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas has shown signs in 2018 that he is ready to emerge from his more illustrious team-mate’s shadow. In four races so far, the Finn has racked up two second-place finishes, while he was cruelly denied victory in Baku when he picked up the most unfortunate puncture as he was heading for the chequered flag. With the reigning champion strangely off the pace so far this season, there will never be a better chance for Bottas to make a name for himself, and it is something he needs to do with his contract up at the end of the year.

A real test
Lewis Hamilton may currently be top of the standings following his fortunate win in Azerbaijan, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would say he has been the best driver so far this season. Sebastian Vettel has been far more consistent that his Mercedes rival this season, but somehow finds himself four points behind the Brit. This could all change, however, in Spain as Ferrari’s true pace is likely to come to the fore on the resurfaced Catalunya track, a circuit that is likely to settle the argument over which team has the fastest car. Vettel will be gunning for his fourth pole in succession in Spain, and should he get it then he is likely to be rewarded.

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