Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Polesitter Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will form an all-Mercedes front row for tonight’s Spanish Grand Prix, but the German team thinks Max Verstappen is favourite to win back-to-back races. Follow The Roar for live race updates and a blog of the race at 11:10pm (AEST).
The Formula One world championship arrives at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after its historic Silverstone double-header. Typically a race held in May, this event will throw up a unique challenge for teams and drivers: the scorching-hot weather will again test the hardest of Pirelli’s tyres, as was the case for the past two weeks at Silverstone.
The 4.6-kilometre circuit is a demanding one, with its long loaded corners testing the downforce of the cars and putting all sorts of stress on the tyres. The grand prix’s 66 laps will be more challenging than ever before.
Championship leader Hamilton has turned Spain into a fortress for himself and the dominant Mercedes team, having won the last three consecutive races here, though his teammate, Bottas, had pole in 2019.
But after Verstappen and Red Bull Racing broke the German manufacturer’s streak of wins in 2020 last time out at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the prospect of the Dutchman challenging Hamilton again seems likely if the tyre issues persist.
The 22-year-old has fond memories of his own in Barcelona. This circuit was the scene of his first race with Red Bull Racing in 2016, which also yielded a dream maiden Formula One victory.
Only 30 points behind Hamilton in the standings, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes Verstappen is a title threat.
Hamilton claimed pole by the slimmest of margins over Bottas, and with both – and indeed all of the top ten – starting on the same soft compound, the Finn admitted he would have to beat his teammate at the start if he’s in for a chance to win.
Third on the grid went to Verstappen, who’ll look to challenge the two leaders if tyre troubles plague them again.
Negative headlines continue around Racing Point, though they’ve been bolstered by the return of Sergio Perez, who at last returned a negative COVID-19 test during the week. They’ll hope to recoup the 15 points lost to the penalty they received last week or improperly designing brake ducts based on a design bought from Mercedes as the midfield tussle continues intensifying.
Mercedes look mighty again, but will their tyres hamper their race again?
With the championship beginning to heat up in more ways than one, be sure to tune in on The Roar for live blog coverage from 11:10pm (AEST) of what is looking to be an exciting Spanish Grand Prix.
Lights out: 11:10pm (AEST)
Venue: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
2019 winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), 4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
5. Lance Stroll (Racing Point), 6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull Racing)
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
11. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 12. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)
13. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), 14. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
15. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 16. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
17. Romain Grosjean (Haas), 18. George Russell (Williams)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 20. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)