The Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, home of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, is a track that all teams know intimately and one where conditions can change significantly throughout the weekend.
The current weather forecast for Sunday’s race is partly cloudy skies and a peak temperature of 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).
Humidity levels will be around 57 percent and wind speeds will be close to zero.
The only worry is a slight chance of rain during tomorrow’s qualifying, which may end up being pushed to Sunday’s race. We already saw some of the wet stuff during today’s practice session. These changing conditions make it a challenge for teams when determining ideal setups for cars.
The track layout, with its high average speed and long corners, is particularly severe on the tires so proper management will be paramount during race time. Pirelli has brought a new version of its hard compound, which has been nominated together with the medium compound.
So far teams have taken a liking to the new hard compound. Ferrari proved quickest on the day, with crowd favorite Fernando Alonso posting a time of 1.25.252, ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, who posted a 1.25.455. Third fastest was Jean-Eric Vergne (1.25.667) for Toro Rosso.
Most of the teams have introduced significant upgrades to their cars, so it will be interesting to see if performance varies dramatically from past races.
Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s eventual race, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship points table with 77 points, followed by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen with 67 points and Lewis Hamilton in third with 50 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 109 points, followed by Lotus with 93 points and Ferrari with 77 points.