2021 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix Preview

This weekend is due to see Formula 1 contest the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya. Also set to feature during the weekend is the FIA Formula 3 series which begins its 2021 season.

The FIA Formula 3 Championship has adopted a similar race weekend format for 2021 to that being used by Formula 2 this year. It will therefore mean that Formula 3 will contest three, instead of two, races across the weekend. However unlike Formula 2 which has two sprint races followed by a feature race, Formula 3’s races are all due to be the same duration of 40 minutes.

All eyes will no doubt be on Prema Racing, the team having won the first two Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships in the series. The Italian team took Robert Shwartzman to the title in 2019 and followed this up by taking Oscar Piastri to the title last year.

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For 2021 Prema Racing will field Dennis Hauger, Arthur Leclerc and Olli Caldwell. Hauger is part of the Red Bull Junior programme while Leclerc , brother of Charles Leclerc, is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Both Hauger and Caldwell already have a season’s worth of experience competing in Formula 3, while Leclerc moves into the series having competed in the Formula Regional Championship in 2020.

A quick mention also to another driver set to contest the 2021 Formula 3 season, Juan Manuel Correa. The American will return to competitive racing after a lengthy rehabilitation period. This after being involved in the 2018 Formula 2 Belgian Grand Prix Feature race accident that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert. Correa will be racing for ART Grand Prix alongside second year drivers Frederik Vesti and Alexander Smolyar.

The Barcelona-Catalunya circuit is one of seven the series is, at the time of writing, set to visit this season. The other venues being Paul Ricard, the Red Bull Ring, the Hungaroring, Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and Austin.

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In Formula 1 Lewis Hamilton will enter the latest round of the season with an eight point advantage over nearest rival, Max Verstappen. The two have very much set the pace in this year’s championship with neither driver, despite some scares, finishing outside the top two.

Completing the top three in the championship is Lando Norris who followed up his podium finish in Imola with fifth place in Portugal. The McLaren driver is 24 points behind Verstappen and five ahead of Valtteri Bottas who is fourth in the championship.

Four points behind the Finn is Charles Leclerc who finished sixth in the race prior to this weekend, the Monegasque driver is therefore nine points behind Norris and has a six point advantage over Sergio Perez. The Mexican achieved his best result to date with Red Bull in Portugal where he finished fourth.

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In the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes enters the latest Grand Prix weekend with an 18 point advantage over second placed Red Bull. There is then a 30 point gap between the Milton Keynes based team and third placed McLaren.

McLaren’s main challenger is Ferrari who are currently 11 points behind the British team. There is then a 29 point gap between the Maranello based team and fifth placed Alpine, the French team having moved ahead of AlphaTauri by four points.

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The Spanish Grand Prix was one of the races fortunate enough to go ahead last season, which was won by Hamilton, who also claimed pole position. Completing the top three in the race were Verstappen and Bottas, the latter going on to claim the fastest lap point.

Finishing behind the usual top three in the 2020 race were the, then called, Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

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