F1 hits Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on May 6, 2010 by
Jenson Button leads the championship after his win in China

Jenson Button leads the championship after his win at the Chinese Grand Prix

Spain is the venue for the fifth race of the 2010 season this weekend.

Despite the best efforts of the Icelandic volcano, the cars and teams have made it back to Europe after the Chinese GP. Many have new parts waiting for their cars to improve performance after the opening races in the Middle East, Australia and Asia.

Jenson Button currently leads the drivers’ championship standings for McLaren with two wins from four races. He is 10 points ahead of Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Button’s team mate, Lewis Hamilton, both on 49.

McLaren hopes new front and rear wings will help its cars onto the front row of the grid after qualifying for the first time this season. Fourth place has been the team’s highest qualification position so far, with both Red Bull and Ferrari proving quicker.

Alonso believes Ferrari has race pace, but fears the McLarens

Alonso believes Ferrari has race pace, but fears the McLarens of Hamilton and Button

Barcelona is noted as a circuit where overtaking is difficult, which puts an added emphasis on qualifying performance. The McLaren story will also be notable to see if Button can continue to outperform Hamilton – something many people doubted at the start of the season.

Ferrari believes it has the race pace to take the battle to the Red Bulls, which have been hugely quick but unreliable so far this season. Fernando Alonso told Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera he felt the Red Bulls were on top for qualifying but Ferrari had the edge in the race. However, he tipped McLaren as the team that could challenge them. Red Bull’s Mark Webber highlighted the team’s consistency as the aspect of their operation that needed the most improvement. Despite impressive speed, mistakes and mechanical problems have let Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel down.

Will Schumacher perform better with Mercedes GP's revised car?

Will Schumacher perform better with Mercedes GP's revised car?

Mercedes GP has a new front wing to give more downforce and revised weight distribution, which should suit seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who has so far failed to shine after three years away from the sport. Many will be paying close attention to the German this weekend to see if he can finally start to impress in the way that he used to.

Renault has had an impressive start to the season with Robert Kubica, but the team does not have any upgrades in Spain. Kubica said the team will look to gradually improve the car each race, rather than rely on big package upgrades.

The race is on Sunday (May 9) at 2pm local time (4pm UAE).

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