This week marks the start of the ‘European Season’ within Formula One, a time for teams to reveal a mass of updates after the opening four rounds. Circuit de Catalunya hosts the Spanish Grand Prix, a race that has seen may epic battles over the years – and the odd procession too. Our resident statistician,@F1StatMan down one last glass of sangria and took a look at the Spanish Grand Prix.
This will be the 27th running of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The circuit first held the race in 1991 and has been the home of the Spanish Grand Prix ever since.
Four other venues in Spain have hosted the Spanish Grand Prix. There are: Barcelona’s Pedralbes street circuit (1951, 1954) and Montjuic (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975). The Circuito del Jarama near Madrid staged races in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, from 1976 – 79 and 1981, while Andalusia’s Circuito de Jerez hosted the event from 1986 to 1990.
Michael Schumacher remains the most successful driver at the Spanish Grand Prix with six wins – all of which came in Barcelona. The first was scored with Benetton in 1995 and then he won for Ferrari in 1996 (his first for the Scuderia) and from 2001 – 2004.
Just two of the current crop of drivers have multiple wins in Spain. Kimi Raikkonen 2005 for McLaren and 2008 for Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (2006 for Renault and 2013 for Ferrari). Four other drivers racing this weekend have stood on the top step in Barcelona: Felipe Massa (2007 – Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (2011 – Red Bull Racing), Lewis Hamilton (2014 – Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (2016 – Red Bull Racing).
Verstappen’s win here made him F1’s youngest ever winner, aged 18 years and 228 days. He took the record from Sebastian Vettel who won for the first time at Monza in 2008 aged 21 years, 74 days.
Just three other drivers have taken their maiden win at the Spanish Grand Prix. Driving for Ferrari, Niki Lauda scored the first of his 25 career wins at Jarama in 1974. Jochen Mass took his one and only F1 win in Spain in 1975 with McLaren and Pastor Maldonado took his only F1 win to date in Barcelona in 2012, with Williams.
Ferrari are the most successful team at the Spanish Grand Prix with a dozen wins, eight of which were scored at the Circuit de Catalunya. McLaren have eight wins, four being scored in Barcelona. However, Williams are the second most successful squad at this venue. Six of the teams seven wins in Spain were achieved in Barcelona. The odd one out is their first – scored at Jerez in 1987.
This weekend marks the 40th Anniversary of the team currently known as Williams Martini Racing. After periods in the sport under the Frank Williams Racing Cars banner – and then Walter Wolf Racing, Frank Williams entered into partnership with the brilliant engineer Patrick Head, setting up Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. The team made its F1 debut at the Spanish Grand Prix in 1977, with Patrick Neve finishing 12th. You can read more about Patrick Neve here.
Two teams have scored their first wins in Spain – March in 1970 and Tyrrell in 1971. Both came courtesy of Jackie Stewart.
Aside from maiden winners here, seven other drivers have appeared on the podium for the first time in Spain. Luigi Musso (P2, 1954), Brian Redman (P3, 1968), Mario Andretti (P3, 1970), George Folmer (P3, 1973), Gunnar Nilsson (P3, 1976), Johnny Herbert (P2, 1995) and Daniel Ricciardo (P3, 2014).
Pole for Valtteri Bottas or Kimi Raikkonen in Spain would be the 50th Finnish pole. Likewise for Lewis Hamilton or Jolyon Palmer. If either of the British drivers capture pole this weekend, it would be the 250th British pole