Mercedes have made the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya their second home since the start of the V6 hybrid era, winning all but one Spanish Grand Prix in the last five years. The way they have started the season only adds to the strength of their claims when it comes to taking yet another chequered flag this weekend. However, Ferrari performed well at this track in pre-season and will be desperate to throw a spanner in the works.
Bottas sits at the top of the Drivers’ Championship after his victory in Azerbaijan last time out, leading home a record fourth consecutive Mercedes one-two.
Given how strong Ferrari looked in pre-season testing, Mercedes’ start to the year has been very impressive and no one looks like getting close to them at the moment.
Ferrari are introducing a power unit upgrade this weekend which they hope will cut the gap, while their performances at this track during testing give pause for thought.
However, the Italians do not have a good recent record in Spain, with Sebastian Vettel yet to steer his Scuderia to victory and the German is 4/1 to add to his sole Spanish GP win, achieved in 2011 when at Red Bull.
Barcelona is Lewis Hamilton’s hunting ground, winning three of the last five races, while he has been on pole in four of the previous five events.
He is 6/5 to add to his tally of Spanish GP poles as Mercedes bid for yet another front row lock out, but rather than go for Hamilton as race winner, it is worth taking the slightly better value for Bottas to make it three wins out of five this year.
The only man to break the Mercedes stranglehold on this race in recent times is Verstappen, who took full advantage of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg taking each other out in 2016. That was on the Dutchman’s debut for Red Bull and he has gone from strength-to-strength.
Verstappen has finished on the podium in two of his three starts for Red Bull in Spain and, given Ferrari’s recent history at this track, the 21-year-old is fancied to end his run of three consecutive fourth-place finishes.
Racing Point have started the season well and Perez arrives in Spain after three successive points finishes. The Mexican driver has shown an affinity for this track in the past, finishing in the top 10 in six of his eight appearances.
Perez finished fourth in Barcelona not that long ago and certainly has what it takes to add to his points tally for the year.
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