Spanish Grand Prix: Who will take advantage of the wild Saturday? 7 questions to decide Barcelona's winner (2023)

Qualification for the Spanish Grand Prixit may not have produced a surprising pole sitter, but the rest of the grid experienced an upheaval that left some stunned.

Who had Lando Norris at P3 on their bingo card? Or Charles Leclerc going into Q1 for the first time since 2019? What about Mercedes and Red Bull being knocked out after Q2 (or Lewis Hamilton and George Russell being involved in a pit straight incident)? Or did Fernando Alonso make a critical mistake that affected the rest of his qualifying, putting him on his worst start of the season?


The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya may be a familiar area for the grid, but between the mixed grid, car improvements and a track with a lot of tire degradation, there's plenty to look out for on Sunday. These are the most common questions we ask beforeSpanish Grand Prix 2023.

Starting schedule for Sunday 👀#GP of Spain #F1

— Formula 1 (@F1)June 3, 2023

Can Verstappen capitalize on another Pérez failure?

Sergio Pérez said after a disappointing run to 16th in Monaco, where Verstappen passed him twice, he could no longer afford zero points to have any chance of winning this year's championship.

The Spaniard doesn't exactly look like he has a clean sheet, but after qualifying that put him 11th on the grid, Checo's chances of beating Verstappen to the title seemed to be dwindling. The momentum that was built through the first four races,ending with his brilliant victory in Baku, it failed.

After shutting down at Turn 5, Pérez was unable to get his tires back into the proper temperature range for the final lap in Q2, leading to his early retirement. But he wasn't as dejected as he was last week when a Q1 crash left him last on the grid. "It's frustrating, but it's not Monaco," Pérez said. "It's a race where we can race tomorrow and score a lot of points."

Pérez can certainly fight his way back to the order, given the pace of Red Bull's cars. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz tipped the Mexican to return to second and still give Red Bull a 1-2 finish. But even so, it would be another point swing towards Verstappen, who already has 39 points at the head of the standings.

(Video) F1 LIVE: Spanish Grand Prix Post Race Show

Verstappen has been looking forward to this series of races for some time. Spain marks the start of a series - excluding Canada - of more "traditional" tracks that are more to his and Red Bull car's liking. Pérez must transfer his street track prowess to tracks like Spain if he is to revive his title hopes.

Tire degradation is high in Spain, which opens up more strategic options and perhaps different threats to Verstappen at the front. But the way the Dutchman takes care of his tires is one of his most underrated talents. Even if Sainz could jump into the race by Turn 1, with Pérez so far back, it's hard to see Verstappen not pulling out more of the lead at the top.

Will Sainz or Alonso spearhead Spain's hopes of a home podium?

It really is a waste.

While Carlos Sainz has the better track position with a P2 start for Sunday's home grand prix, Fernando Alonso believes the Aston Martin has "a lot of pace" and looked competitive despite the damage to his car's floor.

Ferrari brought the upgrades this weekend, but the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya doesn't suit the car in terms of fast corners, something the Prancing Horse has struggled with this season. Sainz expects Sergio Pérez to finish ahead of him: "I think as soon as I get back to the engineers they will tell me that the simulation suggests that the Red Bulls should still finish ahead of us." And then there will be a fight with Landa, Mercedes, Astons. I don't know exactly what happened to them today, but otherwise they have a very, very good race pace."

Alonso sees himself progressing upwards, but kept his predictions modest in a conversation withSky Sports, saying: "Maybe the podium is too far...I think the top five is something we should aim for."

Will the upgrades change the order of the competition?

Spain marked the arrival of a handful of improvements to the F1 car, most notably Ferrari, which ditched its "bathtub" side mounts in favor of a more Red Bull-esque design. Aston Martin has also brought a handful of improvements, while Mercedes has its first real chance to read the package that debuted in Monaco.

These updates are highly anticipated for the chasing teams as they try to close the gap on Red Bull at the front of the pack. But it is never a matter of the moment, especially when the deficit is as large as it is now. Both Mercedes and Ferrari have made it clear that it's more about getting a better basis for developing the car, rather than an immediate leap forward.


(Video) 2023 Spanish Grand Prix: Race Reaction

It was clear in qualifying that the updates did not dramatically change the outlook for the competition. Verstappen didn't even need to complete his final Q3 lap to take pole. But Sainz enjoyed his best qualifying of the season so far in P2, saying it showed the updates were a "first step" for Ferrari.

"It was a bit of a tough weekend, getting used to the new upgrades, getting them to work on the sweet spot of the car," Sainz said. "Finally putting it together through qualifying felt like good progress."

The race should give us a clearer picture of what the improvements mean for the standings behind Red Bull and how they may affect the battle for second place in the championship which (without wishing to play party pooper) looks set to be the battle to keep this season. Ferrari will be looking to iron out some of the inconsistencies its drivers have found with the SF-23 cars, while Aston Martin and Mercedes will be looking to build on their already solid Sunday pace.

Can McLaren capitalize on Norris' unexpected P3?

Lando Norris was shocked after finishing third in qualifying and quickly lowered expectations for race day. WhenSky Sportsasked the McLaren driver what his aim would be on Sunday, the British driver said: "Hold on for dear life." Sky followed that up by asking if it was about the P3 position, to which he replied "top 10" - with a smile.

The 2023 season didn't start to plan for the Woking crew, but in the space of two races, Norris jumped from a Q1 exit in Miami to a top 3 finish in Spain. It may have seemed like an improvement on Saturday, but Norris said the car "didn't change much at all", simply that it "suited the conditions". He felt more confident with the backs and said "things started to come alive" in qualifying. But the challenge is to determine what it will look like on race day.

Norris will have Red Bull, two Mercedes and two Aston Martins not far behind him, and he said on Saturday that McLaren is often the fifth or sixth best team on the grid.

"Tomorrow I don't really expect much better than that, but I think we have a chance to race the Alpines and maybe some other cars," added Norris. "I don't think we're necessarily racing the Astons. I think the Ferraris will be difficult... We didn't expect to be P3 today, but we are. But at the same time, (if) I made one tenth of a mistake and fell back five positions, you probably wouldn't be here wanting to talk to us.”

Nicely done@LandoNorris#GP of Spain #F1 @McLarenF1

— Formula 1 (@F1)June 3, 2023

What can Pérez and Leclerc realistically achieve?

The impact of those upgrades will also be reflected in what is possible for Pérez and Leclerc, the two drivers who have moved the most from their usual position on Sunday's grid.


(Video) The Lella Lombardi Story - The Importance of the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix

Even with P11, Pérez will aim for the podium, although overtaking in Barcelona is traditionally quite difficult. The challenge for him will be to get rid of the slower cars as quickly as possible before Verstappen creates too much of a gap at the front of the field. "A lot of cars are out of position," Pérez said. "So it can be an interesting race."

As for Leclerc? The failure in Spain has only added to the string of frustrations he has faced so far this season. Leclerc said there was "definitely something strange" about his car in qualifying, suggesting the problem could go beyond the tyres. Ferrari will work to understand exactly what happened.

Leclerc admitted it will be an "uphill" challenge for him from 19th on the grid, just ahead of Williams rookie Logan Sargeant. But he noted that heavy tire degradation can help matters. "If we do a good job of that, we'll improve our chances," he said.

Bad news for Leclerc? This was not at all a particular strength of Ferrari's car this year. It usually drops from second fastest car in qualifying to fourth fastest in races. Recovering to get some points would be a decent Sunday for him.

Who will capitalize on the shaken top 10?

Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon are two names to keep in mind during Sunday's Grand Prix.

Compared to teammate Alonso, Stroll has struggled more this season, reaching a high point, fourth place at the chaotic Australian Grand Prix. But he did not register a point against Azerbaijan in April. Aston Martin made changes to the settings of Stroll's cars overnight and the Canadian said on Saturday that he had found a solid rhythm as he overtook Alonso in qualifying for the first time this season.

Stroll highlighted how many opportunities are available for Sunday's race, especially with some of the regular top dogs out of place. The margins to P2 were quite close on Saturday with Stroll qualifying P6, clocking a 1:12.994 while Sainz set a 1:12.734.


Ocon qualified seventh with a 1:13.083, but don't count him out of these middle-of-the-pack finishes just yet. Alpine wants to build on its Monaco magic.

What started as a difficult season began to take a turn for the better as Ocon recorded his third F1 podium last weekend. The Alpine is undoubtedly the fifth fastest car, which logically puts eight drivers ahead of Ocon and Pierre Gasly, but with a mixed schedule, Ocon could take advantage of this track position for the second week in a row.

(Video) Our F1 Driver Ratings for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix

Ultimately, strategy will be key on Sunday, especially with how the drivers manage their tires.

Hamilton and Russell are too close for comfort in qualifying 👀#GP of Spain #F1

— Formula 1 (@F1)June 3, 2023

Will track changes improve overtaking?

Everyone is talking about Sector 3 in Spain. The decision to remove the final chicane in favor of two fast right-handers—which was effectively the old layout prior to 2007—was prompted by the hope of improving overtaking at the end of the main straight.

Drivers were lukewarm about whether it would have the desired effect. Although the chicane made it difficult to run into the car in front going onto the main straight, following the fast corners is also difficult. If a driver loses ground on the car in front due to two right handers, by the time DRS is activated on the main straight, the gap may already be too large to get back in front.

One way the last two turns could improve overtaking is by increasing the level of tire degradation. The stresses of driving the tires, especially the front left, through those corners lap after lap will take their toll and cause more wear. Because of this, the drivers will expect a lot of overtaking tomorrow.

"I think you're going to get overtaken because (tyre degradation) is so big," Williams' Alex Albon said. "You will see people at two stations. Maybe some if they're really good at it in one place.”

"Degradation will be the key, (and) tire management," added AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda. "If you manage well, I think it will be different."

But as Lance Stroll said, the new corners are at least "more exciting to drive in qualifying with the last corner on the edge of the flat."

Asked if he tried to keep it straight, Stroll said: "Close, but I had a little nerve that pulled my right foot off the pedal a bit."

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(Lead photo of Charles Leclerc: Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


What was the result of todays Spanish Grand Prix? ›

Max Verstappen has won the Spanish Grand Prix to extend his world championship lead over his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez. Lewis Hamilton came second, followed by his Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Where is the Spanish Grand Prix 2023? ›

The Spanish Grand Prix 2023 takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, located just outside of Barcelona.

Who wins the Spanish Grand Prix? ›

Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix, the seventh round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship. Verstappen dominated the race after fending off a first-corner challenge from Carlos Sainz's Ferrari.

Which player wins Spanish Grand Prix? ›

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen waves after winning the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix race on June 4, 2023.

Is the Spanish Grand Prix sold out? ›

Most tickets for the race are now sold out. Limited tickets remain in our Spanish Grand Prix ticket shop. Join our closed Facebook group for fans attending the Spanish Grand Prix.

What is the Spanish Grand Prix package 2023? ›

Your Spanish Grand Prix 2023 Package includes Barcelona F1 Tickets, return transfers to the Circuit de Catalunya (for race and qualifying), return flights to the airport of your choice (plus transfers), and 3 nights of hotel accommodation in Barcelona.

How much are tickets to F1? ›

Budget fans will spend on average approx. $600 USD to attend a race in 2023. The cheapest races include Hungary, Austria and Imola (all less than $400 USD) while the most expensive races are in Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi, USA and Miami, where you'll spend $950-1,040 USD.

Who wins Barcelona Grand Prix? ›

F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2023 results: Verstappen wins in Barcelona, Mercedes pair enjoy double podium finish. Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed another magical weekend by claiming a dominant victory at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

Who got driver of the day in Spanish Grand Prix? ›

DRIVER OF THE DAY: Hamilton gets your vote for superb second in Spain. Formula 1® Latest What is F1?

Who won the Spanish Grand Prix in a Red Bull? ›

A wire-to-wire victory for Max Verstappen in Barcelona gave Red Bull seven wins in seven starts, and renewed talk of a season sweep.

Who is the king of Spain F1? ›

Alonso: King of Spain.

Who has the fastest lap around the Spanish Grand Prix? ›


Who won the Detroit Grand Prix today? ›

DETROIT (AP) — Alex Palou went from critic to champion in a day.

Who won Barcelona Grand Prix 2023? ›

Max verstappen wins his third DHL Fastest Lap Award of 2023 during a dominant, front-running performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on his way to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

What F1 team did Red Bull take over? ›

Red Bull, an energy drinks company, agreed its purchase of Jaguar Racing on the final day of the sale, 15 November 2004.

Has Red Bull ever won F1 championship? ›

Red Bull - 5 Constructors' titles, 6 Driver titles.

How many times has Lewis Hamilton got driver of the day? ›

Total Driver of the Day tallies
Max Verstappen36
Sebastian Vettel23
Lewis Hamilton13
Charles Leclerc11
18 more rows

Do drivers get anything for driver of the day? ›

While there are no special awards for the driver of the day, the other two have a slightly higher form of recognition.

What is overtake F1? ›

The overtake button is a feature on the steering wheel of a Formula 1 car that gives the driver a temporary boost of power. When the overtake button is pressed, the car's ERS (Energy Recovery System) deploys more power, giving the driver a short burst of extra speed.

Why did F1 leave Detroit? ›

In 1989 the race was replaced by a Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) race that took place on a modified street-circuit, 2.5 miles in downtown Detroit until it was moved to Belle Isle in 1992. In 2001, CART dropped the race because of Belle Isle's narrow raceway and insufficient areas for teams' support activities.

Who won the Detroit Grand Prix Saturday? ›

DETROIT – Alex Palou captured the IndyCar Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix from the pole, fending off several challenges and three late restarts during a chaotic debut for a new downtown track.

Who won the Detroit Grand Prix yesterday? ›


The 2022 Chevrolet INDYCAR Grand Prix featured a third Detroit victory for Team Penske racer Will Power.

Who is favourite to win F1 2023? ›

Max Verstappen is the 1/8 favourite to win the 2023 Formula 1 Drivers' Championship after a convincing victory in the Miami Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Who is changing teams in F1 2023? ›

Piastri replaces Ricciardo at McLaren

It has finally been confirmed that Oscar Piastri will replace the outgoing Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren for 2023. Following weeks of rumour and speculation surroudning the 2021 Formula 2 champion, the current Alpine reserve driver will make the jump into an F1 race seat next season.

What team is joining F1 in 2023? ›

The Scuderia Ferrari team maintains the status quo for 2023 by retaining drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. A charismatic duo, the Tifosi will be hoping the team will be in the title hunt this year after a disappointing 2022.


1. 2023 Spanish Grand Prix Recap
(Formula Bone)
2. 2023 Spanish Grand Prix Race Review | P1 Podcast
(P1 with Matt & Tommy)
(F1 Off The Track)
4. Spanish GP 2023 - Shift+F1 Podcast Episode 230
5. Spanish GP 2023 F1 race review LIVE 8pm (UK time) (ish)
(Missed Apex F1)
6. Full Race: Relive A Chaotic 2008 Monaco Grand Prix
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