Mercedes maintain Barcelona dominance, Vettel expecting more

Mercedes maintain Barcelona dominance, Vettel expecting more

If I was Lewis Hamilton there would be just one thing I'd want from this week's Spanish Grand Prix - and that's for it to be a bit boring.

The Ferrari driver has claimed pole in the last three events and topped the timesheets at the Circuit de Catalunya when F1 was last in Barcelona two months ago for winter testing.

Verstappen arrives this time after being cast in the doghouse along with Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo for a collision in Baku.

"I don't get why, for example, in golf you get all the great golfers who design golf courses, and then you've not got any of the top racing drivers ever in history who ever designed a race track", said Hamilton.

"I have no idea how this weekend is going to go - previous year here I had no idea how we were going to go", he said.

There could be changes in the running order up front as teams will start unveiling their most significant vehicle updates in Barcelona. Red Bull showed they should be a real threat this weekend by staying right behind the Silver Arrow of Hamilton - but it seems there's plenty of work to do for Ferrari, especially on Raikkonen's auto.

"We could end up in P1 or P6", said Vettel when asked about qualifying. Turn 1 is a braking zone at the end of the long DRS straight, followed by Turn 2 and the right-hander at Turn 3 taken at full throttle, flat out.

Kimi Raikkonen, in the other Ferrari, was sixth fastest in the afternoon and had to retire late because of an apparent engine problem.

"I'm pushing with this great team to turn this auto into the best vehicle". There's still a lot of unknowns into this season right now and we're still learning and hoping.

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Few drivers get the best of the vehicle and themselves at their home grand prix better than how Fernando Alonso puts in a shift in Spain.

Robert Kubica, Williams' reserve driver, was back in an official F1 session for the first time since nearly losing a hand in a rally crash in 2011.

The team had to make some modifications to Kubica's vehicle because the Polish driver doesn't have full movement of his right hand.

That was one place ahead of Williams' Canadian teenager Lance Stroll.

Sixth in the championship after four rounds, Alonso is demonstrating just what could still be possible were he in a front-running vehicle, and with overtaking in Barcelona notoriously hard, do not be surprised to see the local hero in the mix in some capacity on Sunday afternoon. "Happy I kept it clean, kept it on the road and got my first point".

Pre-season testing seems like a long, long time ago now, but, if you can remember that far back, Mercedes were hotly tipped to be the runaway favourites heading into the season after their performance around this track. "We have been very competitive and have had a chance to fight for the win in most of the races".

"Miami is a super cool place, and I was very, very excited to hear about it.and then I saw the layout", said the Briton. Brendon Hartley and Romain Grosjean also had moments at the same corner, but were able to avoid the barrier.

Behind him, Vettel also improved on supersofts, lapping half-a-tenth slower than Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas behind the pair in fifth having used mediums early on then set his best time on supersofts. Haas' Romain Grosjean will be out to prove his mistake under the safety vehicle was a fluke.

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