In Review

F1 Spanish GP: practice, qualifying, race start time, predictions, betting odds, TV guide

Mercedes will keep their foot ‘firmly to the floor’ as Ferrari play catch-up

2019 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

  • What: race No.5 of the F1 2019 season 
  • When: 10-12 May 
  • Where: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain 
  • Date of race: Sunday 12 May 
  • Race start time: 2.10pm (UK time) 
  • TV channels: live on Sky Sports F1 and highlights on Channel 4

Mercedes will be aiming to secure a fifth successive 1-2 finish as Formula 1 begins its 2019 European season this weekend in Spain.

The Silver Arrows are flying high at the top of the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, with two wins apiece for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Reigning world champion Hamilton trails teammate Bottas by just one point in the standings, but the British driver heads to Spain seeking a third victory in a row at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.  

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff praised his team for their “devotion” and “hunger” after scoring 173 points from the first four races. However, he also urged them not to be complacent in the title race against Ferrari and Red Bull.

Woff said: “Our next stop takes us to Barcelona, where our opponents were blisteringly quick in winter testing, so the Spanish Grand Prix will be anything but easy.

“Despite the good start to the season we remain quite sceptical of our own performance and know that there are a number of areas where we can and must improve.

“We anticipate a tough and competitive weekend, first against our rivals and also between our drivers. Everything is still very much up for grabs this season and we will be keeping our foot firmly to the floor.”

Ferrari’s engine upgrade for Spain

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed that the Scuderia will introduce their first engine upgrade of the season this weekend at the Spanish GP - two races earlier than planned.

Quoted by Sky Sports, Binotto said: “We will have a new power unit that we are introducing ahead of schedule, as the second specification was due to be brought to Canada.

“We are behind in the championship and we have to catch up, which we know means that our development work will be the key to this season.”

After four races, Ferrari are 74 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship and will be aiming for their first race victory in 2019.

Button set for Sky Sports F1 season debut

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button will make his first appearance of the season on Sky Sports F1 at the Spanish GP. The 2009 world champion will provide expert analysis and insight during the weekend in Barcelona.

F1 in focus: see more news here

What the drivers are saying

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, championship leader

“This weekend with the upgrades Ferrari is bringing, they have a new power unit, we see how it works. We have some upgrades, [you] can’t rule out Red Bull at this kind of track, same as Monaco, but it is going to be a lot about development and how we can improve through the year.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

“We need to start scoring points, the sooner, the better. The longer it goes on, the worse it looks. We are slightly behind but we know it is not a long way and things could go our way. Everyone is fired up and willing to fight.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

“Hopefully, the improvements we’ve brought here put us a step forward and then we’ll see for the rest of the season. Normally Barcelona is quite representative track for the performance of the car so hopefully we’re strong here.”

Lance Stroll, Racing Point

“As we return to Europe, we always see a big development race up and down the grid. We’ve got some updates coming and it’s going to be interesting to see how we compare to the teams around us this weekend. It’s been a few months since we were in Barcelona for winter testing, so it’s a good chance to see how much progress we have made with the car – even though track conditions will be very different in May.”

Sergio Perez, Racing Point

“The early-season fly-away races are exciting, but it is nice to be back in Europe getting ready for some of the more traditional races. Of course, Barcelona is a track where we’ve already done so much testing and I don’t think there are any more secrets to discover from the track. Even after two weeks of winter testing in Barcelona, finding the right set-up for the race weekend remains a challenge.”

Robert Kubica, Williams

“The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a track that everybody knows very well, not only from Formula 1 testing, but also from previous categories. Since winter testing in Barcelona, a lot has changed, with the main difference being the weather and track conditions. I think everybody is looking forward to returning to Spain - it is the first typical European race and event where upgrades are brought. Let’s see what we can achieve.”

George Russell, Williams

“I am excited to go back to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as I won there last year in Formula 2. We have got some exciting items to test in Barcelona that we hope will guide us in the right direction for the remainder of the season. We hope they will be positive steps, to try and turn our season around.”

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host the 2019 F1 Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday 12 May

2019 F1 Spanish GP circuit and race guide

  • Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 
  • First grand prix: 1991   
  • Number of laps: 66 
  • Circuit length: 4.655km 
  • Race distance: 307.104km 
  • Lap record: 1:18.441 by Daniel Ricciardo in 2018 
  • 2018 podium: 1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes); 2nd Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes); 3rd Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
When are the practice sessions?

There are three full practice (FP) sessions in Barcelona. On Friday 10 May, FP1 takes place at 10am and FP2 is at 2pm. FP3 will be at 11am on Saturday 11 May. All times UK.

When is qualifying?

Qualifying for the Spanish GP starts at 2pm on Saturday 11 May.

What time does the race start?

The 2019 F1 Spanish GP starts at 2.10pm (UK time) on Sunday 12 May.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel finished second and third at the F1 2019 Azerbaijan GP

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Spanish GP race winner predictions

Joe Krishnan, London Evening Standard: Lewis Hamilton

“​It just doesn’t feel like Ferrari are in this championship at the moment, and having won here three times before, Hamilton must fancy his chances of securing a third straight win in Barcelona. The 34-year-old won’t be too pleased that he’s trailing Valtteri Bottas in the championship, even if it is by just a point, and he can get back ahead with a third race win of the season. Expect a strong challenge from Max Verstappen and Red Bull, given that they won here back in 2016 and have demonstrated good pace with their new Honda engine.”

Anish Vishwakoti, Sportskeeda: Sebastian Vettel

“I hope that a brilliant performance by the four-time world champion will show Mercedes and the world that the Italian outfit is not out of it yet, and can still put up a challenge this season, for the sake of F1 fans worldwide more than anything. This prediction is really just one of hope. I hope that Ferrari can put a race together without putting themselves down. I hope that Ferrari can do so from a bad starting point to show some fighting spirit. And I hope that this year’s drivers and constructors race can have some spice to it, and a good start to that would be a huge comeback drive from Sebastian Vettel.”

The Daily Telegraph: Lewis Hamilton

“At a track where Mercedes have been the class of the field for quite a while, it is difficult to look beyond them. So far we have had four fairly different and unrepresentative tracks, so this one will tell us the most about how a car is performing overall. Ferrari haven’t had a clean weekend so far and desperately need one. Still, they have lost ground to Mercedes in the first four races and it will be difficult to claw that back in one go. The familiarity of the conditions and the track should help them. Still, it looks like another Mercedes 1-2. Podium prediction: 1st Hamilton 2nd Bottas 3rd Leclerc.”

Matthew Atkinson, The Stats Zone: Lewis Hamilton

“On paper, Ferrari should win in Spain, having impressed so much here in winter testing, but Mercedes have led with such dominance and have made a record-breaking start to the season. In terms of prediction, it is hard to escape that Lewis Hamilton won the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix in convincing fashion. Given Mercedes’ operational excellence, better strategic calls, new updates and the fact they are probably sandbagging in the practice sessions and talking themselves down, it seems most likely to be yet another day in the sun in Spain for Lewis Hamilton.”

Spanish GP betting odds

Prices according to Oddschecker, as of 10 May.

Spanish GP race winner odds
  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 6/4 
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 11/4 
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 9/2 
  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 9/2 
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 12/1
F1 Spanish Grand Prix Circuit de Catalunya Barcelona Montmelo

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

2019 F1 Spanish GP TV guide

Sky Sports F1 will show live coverage of practice, qualifying and the grand prix in Spain. Ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button will make his first appearance of the season for Sky in Barcelona.

Channel 4 will show highlights of qualifying and the race.

Watch on Now TV

F1 fans can also watch the action live on Now TV. Viewers can subscribe to a Sky Sports F1 season ticket via Now TV for all race weekends in 2019. A one-off payment costs £195 - the equivalent of £5 per week.

Sky Sports coverage of the Spanish GP  Friday 10 May
  • 9.45am: practice one build-up 
  • 10am: practice one live 
  • 1.45pm: practice two build-up 
  • 2pm: practice two live (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event) 
  • 4.30pm: Spanish GP: The Story So Far live
Saturday 11 May
  • 10.45am: practice three build-up 
  • 11am: practice three live 
  • 12.10pm: Paddock Walkabout live 
  • 1pm: qualifying build-up 
  • 2pm: Spanish GP qualifying live (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event) 
  • 4.45pm: The F1 Show live
Sunday 12 May
  • 9am: The F1 Show on Sky One 
  • 12.30pm: Pit Lane live 
  • 1.30pm: On The Grid live 
  • 2.10pm: 2019 F1 Spanish GP live 
  • 4.30pm: Spanish GP Paddock live 
  • 5.15pm: full race replay 
  • 5.30pm: Spanish GP highlights on Sky One 
  • 8pm: Spanish GP highlights on Sky Sports Main Event
Channel 4 coverage of the Spanish GP
  • Saturday 11 May: qualifying highlights at 7.30pm 
  • Sunday 12 May: race highlights at 7pm

Circuit graphic: Formula1.com

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