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The Spanish Grand Prix has been cruel to Lewis Hamilton down the years but one thinks that the Mercedes man is the driver to beat at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2014.
Hamilton has performed creditably in the seven editions of the Spanish Grand Prix since he broke into Formula One in 2007 but the British star has experienced no luck at all.
Runner-up on his Spanish Grand Prix debut in 2007 and fourth in the 2008 running of the race, Hamilton’s first Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya cock-up occurred in 2009 when he failed to make the third qualifying session and had to start the race from 14th position on the grid. In 2010, Hamilton was the third fastest qualifier for the Spanish Grand Prix but he was involved in a third-lap accident that punctured one of his McLaren’s tyres. In 2011, Hamilton took the Spanish Grand Prix chequered flag less than one second after the winner, Sebastian Vettel. In 2012, Hamilton recorded the quickest lap time during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix only for Formula One officials to exclude him for a fuel violation and rule that he must start the race from the back of the pack. And in 2013, Hamilton began the Spanish Grand Prix from the front row but ended up in 12th place.
The Spanish Grand Prix has been one sorry tale after another for Hamilton but he will compete in this year’s edition with the best car and, when all is said and done, three podium finishes in seven years indicates that he knows how to get around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in fast times.
Having a fast car is absolutely critical to win the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. No fewer than 18 of the 23 renewals of the Spanish Grand Prix staged at the track have been won by the driver who started from pole position, including Jenson Button in 2009, Mark Webber in 2010 and Pastor Maldonado in 2012. There are reasons for this. First, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya consists of a very long straight and a number of tight corners, which makes life pretty difficult for anything other than the really quick cars to overtake. And second, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a venue with which most Formula One drivers are extremely familiar because it is a test site.
Mercedes has dominated the Formula One season, racking up every pole position, fastest lap and race victory. Hamilton leads his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, 3-1 in poles and wins, with the German leading the Briton 3-1 in laps. One could back Hamilton at odds-on quotes to win the Spanish Grand Prix but one thinks that odds-against quotes about him doing the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory appeal much more.
Spanish Grand Prix history suggests that Hamilton may need to be the pole sitter to win the race itself and they are two-thirds of the hat-trick equation. That only leaves the fastest lap and, with Hamilton sharing the best equipment with only one other driver, he is odds on in our book to take out that honour. William Hill is offering odds of 4.00 that Hamilton completes the Spanish Grand Prix hat-trick but one thinks that better odds will become available in due course.
For punters who are thinking about backing Rosberg to win the Spanish Grand Prix – the German driver is the only sensible alternative to Hamilton – he started last year’s race from pole position but could only manage sixth spot in the main event. Rosberg’s Spanish Grand Prix race results, starting with the most recent, are sixth, seventh, seventh, 13th, retired, sixth and 11th. So one prefers Hamilton.