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Spanish GP: Vital weekend for Ferrari as they arrive with upgrades

Sebastian Vettel has stressed the importance for Ferrari to start winning, as they find themselves already 74 points behind Mercedes arriving in Barcelona.

With a one-two in every race thus far, the Silver Arrows dominance has quickly erased thoughts from pre-season that Ferrari will be the team to beat.

When Lewis Hamilton spoke out saying the Prancing Horse is “potentially half a second quicker”, people took note believing Ferrari to be the real deal heading into 2019.

Yet the contrast has played out, with Mercedes remaining the superior team.

However, it is time to return to the track that surfaced those predictions about Ferrari in pre-season, as they looked far superior during testing.

Therefore, Barcelona could be the perfect place for Ferrari to cut the deficit with Vettel highlighting this weekend as the one to get back on top.

“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.

“We need to start scoring points, the sooner the better. The longer it goes on, the worse it looks.

“This weekend will be interesting for us because we had such a good feeling and it was not so long ago. I remember how the car felt, if we can get back to that feeling I am confident we can be very competitive” he said.

To boost such hopes, Ferrari arrive with significant engine and aerodynamic upgrades as that gap needs to be chopped at, sooner rather than later.

But Mercedes arrive with aerodynamic upgrades, too, as they race for their third consecutive victory in Barcelona, with Hamilton winning the most in Spain of any driver on the grid.

With him so strong at the track in recent years, it is the five-time World Champion that arrives as the favourite for victory but will have a strong fight from his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, who currently leads the championship by one point.

Therefore, a large uphill battle is in stall for Ferrari against the team who have won four of the past five races in Barcelona, despite the events of pre-season.

The hopes for Max Verstappen

Barcelona will be quite a fond place for the Dutchman.

Gaining his maiden victory in 2016, whilst becoming Formula One’s youngest ever winner. One shouldn’t be too shocked if he were to repeat such feat considering the form Red Bull possess at this track.

With a podium in each year since that victory, the team have fond memories of the place which could continue considering Verstappen’s excellent driving in 2019.

He finds himself sandwiched between the Ferrari cars in the driver’s championship, which is a tremendous achievement considering the form of his team-mate, Pierre Gasly.

Therefore with a podium in two of the past three years, he sits in a strong position to repeat such result especially with updates on the car set to be implemented in Spain.

So, keep a close eye on the Dutchman in case he spoils the party for Mercedes or Ferrari.

Will Spain witness a new winner?

Following his victory in 2018, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to win consecutively around Barcelona.

With ten different victors between 2005 and 2016, Spain could return to its pattern of a different winner each year, especially considering the form of Bottas.

Despite the struggles of 2018, the Fin currently leads the championship and it wouldn’t come as too much of a shock should he claim his third victory of the season, regardless of Hamilton’s past form in Spain.

Bottas will be determined to keep the fight tight at the top as he has proved thus far that he can go toe-to-toe with Hamilton.

Although, Spain could potentially be the place for somebody’s maiden Formula One victory just like it did in 2016.

Despite the disappointment in Baku, Charles Leclerc could easily bounce back and claim his first victory, which should have already occurred in Bahrain.

But, Spain has also been the place of serious shocks in recent years.

Barcelona 2012 witnessed a certain Pastor Maldanado claim his first and only win in Formula One despite the fact he had only five points in his career, prior to that victory.

It may be a bit far-fetched to expect something similar this time but drivers like Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz have shown impressive form at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Therefore, a close battle looks set to be in place at a weekend which could prove to be so decisive in the fight for the 2019 World Championship.

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