Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and McLaren's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo give a press conference at the Circuit de Catalunya. Photo: Mark Sutton/AFP
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and McLaren's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo give a press conference at the Circuit de Catalunya. Photo: Mark Sutton/AFP

WATCH: Will it be another snoozefest at the Spanish Grand Prix?

By Morgan Bolton Time of article published May 7, 2021

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Usually, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit the Barcelona-Catalunya does not dish up a classic - some will go even so far as to call it a snoozefest.

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That is especially true since 2015 - the Age of Mercedes - where every winner, except Max Vertsappen in 2016, has come from the front-row. Moreover, of the 31 GPS that have been held at the track, 22 pole-sitters have claimed the top step on the podium - that is a whopping 71%. There are a handful of reasons for this dominance. The drivers, pitcrew, mechanics and strategists are intimately knowledgeable of the track, as F1's winter testing occurs at Catalunya.

Moreover, the track layout and the aerodynamics of the cars are such that overtaking is extremely difficult. It does happen, mostly at Turn 1 after a long main straight and DRS-zone, but the dirty air created by the leading car in these maneuvers are so disruptive that the car following can lose up to 12km/h by the exit of Turn 3, and up to 12% downforce. The second overtaking zone - Turn 10 (La Caixa) has been remodelled for safety reasons, and instead of a corner that requires hard-braking, it is now a more sweeping turn. It will, in all probability, not help the drivers.

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The only difference this year that might change that, is the continued battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.

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After his stellar win in Portugal, Lewis Hamilton enters this weekend as the favourite. Currently, he has 1.44 odds to claim the win, to Red Bull's Max Verstappen's 2.60. But, Red Bull has the fastest car in the paddock, especially over a single lap, and if they can lock out the frontrow of the grid, they have the best chance of claiming an important victory.

There is a larger picture that will develop over the weekend: Whoever does the best over the next three days will find themselves in good stead at the next race in Monaco, as the setup at Catalunya is conducive to the requirements of that rack as well.

There is a chance of rain on Sunday, however, which could throw a spanner in the most well-planned works.

@FreemanZAR

IOL Sport

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