Spanish GP: Can 'Karate Kid' Lewis Hamilton chop down Nico Rosberg?


A quick hop to the Catalonia coast. A short drive north to the Valles region above Barcelona. The Pyrenees on the horizon. Going to the Spanish Grand Prix feels a little like coming home for the Formula 1 fraternity.

The place is familiar from thousands of miles of pre-season testing. And 25 years of races, dating back to its famous debut in 1991, when Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell duelled wheel-to-wheel, centimetres apart, sparks flying, down the long pit straight.

That first race on the Circuit de Catalunya was in some ways a misleading debut. Held in early autumn, rather than the since-traditional spring date, it rained, and there was action aplenty.

In its new date, the race is nearly always dry - remarkably, the last wet one was Michael Schumacher's brilliant first Ferrari victory in 1996 - and the racing is rarely scintillating.

The track is a marvellous test for a grand prix car - all long, challenging corners, which put a premium on aerodynamic excellence, and give the tyres a tough time - but that makes overtaking difficult.

No matter.

Bold and beautiful Barcelona down the road. The place packed with fans worshipping their hero Fernando Alonso. Filigree seed pods drifting on the breeze. Some great fast corners - Turn Three, Turn Nine - to watch F1 cars and drivers at their best.

It is a weekend to savour.

BBC chief F1 writer Andrew Benson.

Rain in Spain (is rare on race day)

Spanish Grand Prix
The last wet Spanish Grand Prix was in 1996, when Michael Schumacher scored the first of his 72 wins for Ferrari

Wax on, wax off

Lewis Hamilton
Four races down, four wins for Nico Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton has gone all Karate Kid in his efforts to try and get that first win of the season

Best corner

Turn Three. An uphill right-hander which drivers take as flat out as possible, jumping from 112mph to 162mph

Variety is the spice of life

Spanish Grand Prix
The last nine Spanish grands prix have been won by nine different drivers. From top left to bottom right: Nico Rosberg (2015), Lewis Hamilton (2014), Fernando Alonso (2013), Pastor Maldonado (2012), Sebastian Vettel (2011), Mark Webber (2010), Jenson Button (2009) Kimi Raikkonen (2008), Felipe Massa (2007)

Did you know?

Spanish Grand Prix
There are five multiple winners of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya with Michael Schumacher way out in front with six wins

One to watch

Red Bull
Max Verstappen will make his Red Bull debut this weekend after being promoted from the Toro Rosso team to replace Daniil Kvyat, who moves in the other direction to take Verstappen's vacated seat

Feel the force

Spanish Grand Prix
It is said that Star Wars director George Lucas took inspiration from the Casa Mila in Barcelona when he created the Stormtroopers

Local wildlife

Wild boars inhabit the Collserola hills near Barcelona and they have been known to wander down onto the streets of the city

Local culture

Spain's biggest annual party, La Feria de Abril, took place at the end of April, with many dressing in "flamenca" costumes to celebrate
Spain's biggest annual party, La Feria de Abril, took place at the end of April, with many dressing in "flamenca" costumes to celebrate

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