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Formula One’s return to Barcelona marks the sixth round of this compelling 2022 world championship, as focus shifts towards the intriguing upgrades to much of the grid to the Spanish Grand Prix. Be sure to catch live blog coverage of the race here on The Roar from 10:50pm (AEST).
Having witnessed the first running of these revolutionary 2022 cars during the pre-season, the 4.6km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will represent the team’s first chance to compare their updated packages to what they started the season with.
Championship leader Charles Leclerc will hope that Ferrari have brought the right upgrades to this 66-lap race, having been answerless to Max Verstappen and Red Bull in the last two races.
What was a mighty 46-point margin between the Monegasque and the reigning world champion following the Australian Grand Prix has shrunk to just 19 points after just two more events.
Leclerc, despite a spin in his initial Q3 run, went on to clinch his fourth pole position of the season with Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz third. Verstappen in the Red Bull split the Ferraris, but suffered a loss of DRS on his final Q3 lap which cost him a potential pole.
The improved Mercedes saw George Russell on the second row, 0.643-seconds off the pole time and ahead of Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton though was sixth.
Daniel Ricciardo at last made it to Q3 in ninth, splitting the Haas cars of which Mick Schumacher was granted his first berth in the top ten shootout, as a result of Lando Norris’ best time from Q2 being deleted for running wide on the exit of Turn 12.
Barcelona has typically been a circuit on which overtaking has been difficult, with Turn 1 representing the only realistic passing point. However with these new cars being able to follow each other more closely through the corners, perhaps passing will be seen through the fast bends.
Two stops ought to be the winning strategy, given the hot conditions trackside. Red Bull last time out in Miami had the upper hand on Ferrari in terms of tyre management; however, from practice here, it looked to be more even.
Since 2014, Mercedes have won all races in Barcelona bar one, at which Verstappen took his maiden Formula One win on debut for Red Bull in 2016. Hamilton too has won the last five Spanish Grands Prix, so can a bit of red be injected to winner’s circle?
An intriguing race it will be and
Lights out: 11pm (AEST)
Venue: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 4. George Russell (Mercedes), 5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 7. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), 8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 10. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 11. Lando Norris (McLaren), 12. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 13. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 14. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 15. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo), 16. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 17. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 18. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 19. Alex Albon (Williams), 20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)