Following the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Formula 1 now heads to Spain. Even though the Miami race was quite a spectacle, the quality of racing wasn’t up to the mark. Heading to a more traditional track, we can expect proper racing to resume as well.
Red Bull and Ferrari have distanced themselves from the rest of the grid, but multiple teams including title contenders Ferrari will be bringing upgrades to Spain. It should be an exciting watch, promising competitive racing.
Will Charles Leclerc be able to consolidate his lead at the top? Or will Max Verstappen close the gap to the Monégasque? Let’s look at a few things that might happen during the Spanish Grand Prix.
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The Championship battle has been set and it will be fought only between two teams. The difference between the two up top and the rest of the field is such that it is unlikely that any other team will even fight for wins against Red Bull and Ferrari.
After Red Bull and Ferrari exchanging wins willy-nilly in the opening couple of races, the former have finally put their foot down and are beginning to show signs of dominance. Ferrari know that they have dropped the ball twice in Imola and Miami, and further slip-ups could cost them not one but both the titles. Carlos Sainz has had a couple of poor races but finally managed to get a podium in Miami, and Ferrari need both their drivers performing at the highest level if they want to keep Red Bull behind.
With Red Bull having taken the advantage in the Championship fight, the ball is in Ferrari’s court to fight back or get wiped out.
Pole Predictions: Verstappen / Leclerc / Sainz
Win Predictions: Red Bull / Ferrari
About time Alpine scored big
There probably hasn’t been any other team on the grid that have had as poor luck as Alpine. The French team have shown promising pace almost all of the weekends but have had to deal with various incidents and issues which have compromised their race.
Alpine could’ve gone home with a double-points finish in Miami through Esteban Ocon’s stellar recovery drive and Fernando Alonso’s eighth-place finish, but some poor refereeing from the FIA stewards meant Alonso was handed a harsh five-second penalty, which dropped him out of the points. The two-time World Champion has already suffered two DNFs this season in Saudi Arabia and Imola, which has cost the team crucial points in the Constructors’ Standings.
Despite all the bad luck, Alpine have regularly shown promising pace throughout the weekend. Alonso himself has hailed the season’s start as his best in a decade despite facing two retirements. Alpine’s luck is destined to turn at some point in the season, and there won’t be a better place to do it than in Alonso’s home country in Spain. Expect the French team to go well and score big.
Change in order?
The Spanish Grand Prix will be the first race in the 2022 season that will see the deployment of major upgrades. Teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin are all reportedly bringing in major upgrades to Spain, and this might change the look of the grid or at least bunch them up even closer.
Let’s start off with Championship contenders Ferrari. The Scuderia had the perfect start to the season and were the favourites to take both the Championships up until Imola. After reliability issues in the opening few races, Red Bull came to the party and how. Back-to-back wins in Imola and Miami have now shifted Ferrari from the hunter to the prey, and they have all the catching up to do. The Maranello-based team seemed like they would take the inaugural Miami Grand Prix win after locking out the front row, but it was once again reigning World Champion Verstappen who pipped them. Coming into the Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has confirmed that the Italian team will be bringing upgrades to their cars in attempts to even gain a tenth of a second, which would see them take the advantage away from Red Bull. Ferrari know that, if the upgrades aren’t up for it, Verstappen might just wipe the floor with them to seal his second World Title.
Next up is Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have endured one of their worst seasons till date. The eight-time Constructors’ Champions have fallen horribly off the pace and are getting accustomed to the midfield rather than fighting for wins. The Brackley-based team brought a bunch of upgrades to Miami; it didn’t solve a lot of their issues, but it was a start. Their porpoising issue persists, and although Miami was a step in the right direction for them, team boss Toto Wolff has downplayed the incoming upgrades. It remains to be seen whether the upgrades can help the German team at least take a step towards the top of the grid again.
Finally, we come to Aston Martin. The British team were the dark horses for many prior to the start of the season, but it has been a horrible start for the Silverstone-based outfit. Along with Williams, Aston Martin are quite possibly one of the weakest teams on the grid and in desperate need of upgrades. The team had a shocking start to the season, and to make it worse, their talisman and four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel missed the opening two races due to COVID, and the team did not score any points either. Vettel returned for the Australian race but endured horrible luck and had to retire. However, Vettel and Aston Martin managed to score in Imola, and the German veteran was on course for another points finish in Miami before being hit by fellow compatriot Mick Schumacher that ended his race. Aston Martin have struggled throughout the season, but reports suggest that the new upgrades coming to Spain will ‘effectively see a new car’, which should be a promising sign for the British team.
With multiple teams bringing upgrades to Spain, we could get to see the true picture of where the teams lie following the introduction of new regulations. While it is still a clear two up ahead, Mercedes should be proper contenders for podiums regularly should their upgrades work. Aston Martin, meanwhile, should make progress towards the upper half of the midfield and could possibly be in the hunt for big points.
Podium contenders: Mercedes / Alfa Romeo / Alpine / McLaren
Circuit: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Venue: Montmeló, Spain
Qualifying Time: 19:30 (IST), 21 May 2022
Main Race Time: 18:30 (IST), 22 May 2022
Where to watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar