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Five ways to prevent boredom at the Spanish Grand Prix

Alpine's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso could be the exciting factor at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Alpine's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso could be the exciting factor at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Published May 20, 2022

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Johannesburg - THE Spanish Grand Prix is usually a boring Grand Prix but Morgan Bolton hopes these five talking points will help it become an exciting race on Sunday…

ALONSO, NE?

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It has not been lekker watching the Spanish Matador in the first five races…

Alpine were expected to be one of the stronger mid-field teams this year, and it is mainly due to Esteban Ocon keeping up his side of the bargain, that the Frenchbased outfit have been scoring points.

The same cannot be said of his teammate Fernando Alonso. Other than the two points he scored in the season-opening Bahrain GP, the 40-year-old has failed to score any more.

Sure, it is not all of his doing.

In Saudi Arabia his car overheated, forcing a slowdown; in Australia there was a hydraulic failure; and in Imola he made contact with Mick Schumacher that ended his race. Miami was an utter, self-inflicted disaster as he incurred two five-second penalties – the first for making contact with Pierre Gasly and the second for exceeding track limits.

ALSO READ: Mercedes take detour for 'secret' test day in France

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The two-time world champion must pull it together at his home GP, lest 2022 becomes a permanent blotch on a stellar career.

UPLOAD! UPDATE! UPGRADE!

Barcelona-Catalunya present the first real opportunity for the teams to install new upgrades and test new packages, so it will come as no surprise whatsoever that that is exactly what will happen this weekend.

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Both Alpine and Aston Martin will bring new upgrades to their designs, as will Mercedes. The Silver Arrows tested a more conventional sidepod design here during pre-season, so it won’t be a surprise if they alternate between that and their ‘zero-pod’ all weekend. Spain might be the clearest indication yet if they continue with their radical design, or revert to a more conservative one.

Moreover, Ferrari are expected to update their car in Spain, installing a brand new floor in the F1-75, among other smaller solutions, and it is believed that they could gain up to 0.4s a lap, which will put serious pressure on Red Bull and defending world champions Max Verstappen.

HAAS SEE A BAD MOON RISING?

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Unlike the majority of the other teams, Haas will not be updating their cars at Spain this weekend.

Instead, the team will push for minor tweaks, changes and solutions on their current package.

Curious, indeed, as they have been one of the surprise packages of the 2022 season.

ALSO READ: Gloom for Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes lost in 'no man's land'

They have been generally competitive, collecting 15 points in the lucrative constructors’ title. Dane KevMag (Kevin Magnussen), meanwhile, is in the Top 10 of the drivers’ world championship standings, while teammate Schumacher has come desperately close to scoring a point or two, only for last lap shenanigans scuppering his chances.

Spain will show just how competitive they are and how long their season could possibly be if they do not have a clear roadmap regarding their updates.

RUSSELL SOME FEATHERS

It is true that Mercedes have struggled this season, but the panic surrounding the Silver Arrows could certainly be argued as being a bit hysterical.

Sure, they are not championship contenders right now, but they are still third in the constructors.

Much of the agitation surrounds Sir Lewis Hamilton, and his indifferent form at the moment. The same cannot be said of his teammate George Russell.

ALSO READ: ‘Incredible Sunday’ for Max Verstappen, Red Bull at physically exhausting Miami Grand Prix

As much as we snigger every time SkySport wax lyrical about the young

Brit, he is proving to be something of a revelation. Russell has wrestled his W13 – which is apparently undriveable – to five top five finishes in as many races, including a podium.

Moreover, he has bested Hamilton in four of those races. Russell does have more to prove than his more illustrious teammate and that could perhaps be the difference between the performances of the lacklustre master and an ambitious youngster.

TAKE ME TO LECLERC

Up until Miami, Verstappen and Charles Leclerc had traded early season blows for supremacy.

Red Bull completely dominated in Imola and had an easy time of it in the US as well and are now hunting a treble of victories. Like the Scuderia, Red Bull are expected to bring updates to Spain, including a massive weight reduction.

Currently, they have the power and speed advantage over the Scuderia, which saw them gobble up the Prancing Horse in the recent races.

Ferrari are also reportedly battling tyre degradation and graining, which has made their push all the more difficult. Nevertheless, they will hope their new solution will aid them this weekend. Spain is a fast track with its sweeping corners, despite more often than not being processional, so they will need all the power they can get.

Their strategy will also have to be on point.

Hopefully, and unlike previous years, there will be closer racing at the event as the new ground effect design comes into full effect at what has been a notoriously difficult track to follow close behind and overtake on.

@FreemanZAR

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