|Spanish Grand Prix Winner||
- Sebastian Vettel heads to Spain as the in-form driver of the year so far, with two wins to his name in Melbourne and Bahrain. The last two races have seen the German finish eighth and fourth, the former a result of careless driving from another racer and the latter being the case of over-confidence under a safety car. Despite this, Vettel has shown that the Ferrari is able to compete with the Mercedes regardless of the track.
- Lewis Hamilton has had an uncharacteristic start to the year and the reigning world champion doesn’t look himself on track since having the win stolen from him at Melbourne. Hamilton has only taken one pole position so far this year and has frequently looked well off the leader’s race pace, despite being in the more powerful car. Teammate Valtteri Bottas looked dead set for his first win of the season in Azerbaijan until a puncture two laps from the end saw him retire.
- Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have had equal weeks of ups and downs. Taking the win in China was an unexpected but fantastic result for Ricciardo, but driving into teammate Verstappen in Azerbaijan showed just how quickly fortunes can change in F1. Verstappen has been nothing short of reckless this year and needs a good result if he is to have any hope of a solid season following last year’s disappointing campaign.
Despite having such a shocking year so far, Hamilton still finds himself top of the Driver Standings and joint race favourite at 6/4. His win two weeks ago in Azerbaijan is as close to ‘winning by default’ as you can get in F1, leading for the last two laps from a teammate puncture and not committing a single meaningful overtake. Barcelona has been good to Hamilton in the past; last year he qualified in pole position and took the chequered flag ahead of rival Vettel.
Sebastian Vettel has placed third and second in his last two outings in Barcelona, so it’s time for the German to go one better. For the first time all year he is joint favourite with the bookies to win the race at 6/4. On track he has been the best driver and could easily have all four wins to his name had some better decisions been made. If he can get in front of Hamilton he should be able to stay there, as it doesn’t seem the Brit can match his race pace. Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, finds himself in a similar position to Hamilton, having had what seems an up and down year, yet he has three podium finishes to his name and is 10/1 to finally win his first race of the year.
The Red Bulls racing each other has been one of the highlights of the season, but that came crashing down (literally) last week when the two collided and had to retire. You can blame either driver for the incident, but so far this year Ricciardo has a race win, while Verstappen has been an uncontrolled missile, firing off left, right, and centre. Verstappen famously took his first race win here two years ago in his first drive for Red Bull and will likely need to repeat some of that magic to relieve some of the pressure mounting on his shoulders. The bookies see him as sixth favourite at 10/1, with Ricciardo slightly more favoured at 9/1.
Elsewhere, look to Alonso to have a good race in his home country. The Spaniard has had three seventh place finishes so far this year, but McLaren’s struggles in qualifying have been evident, hampering the chances of a top-5 result. The team have had two weeks to tweak the aero setup, so it will be interesting to see if they have sorted the car’s problems. Alonso has the lowest odds outside the top six drivers yet is still 250/1 to win.
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