It’s been good to have a bit of a break between races: for us as drivers and also for the team who have been working flat out for so many weeks. But after three great weekends in Malaysia, Bahrain and China I’m obviously keen to get on to the next one and continue that positive momentum into the next leg of the season. Barcelona is a great place to have the first European round on the calendar. It’s a circuit we all know very well – although this is the first time in my Formula One career that I have raced there without testing at the circuit during the winter – and the Spanish crowds are really passionate about their racing. It’s great to see so many people in the grandstands over the weekend. I’ve never won in Barcelona but I’m in a good place right now and I’m hoping that this will be the year, although it’s clear who the fans’ favourite will be! The circuit is fantastic, our car has performed well so far and I’m really looking forward to a good race.
Spain: In the Cockpit with Lewis
The lap begins with quite a long straight that also has a DRS zone. It’s really important to find the right braking point for the first corner and to carry a lot of speed through the apex without running too deep into Turn Two. Then you’re straight into Turn Three which is just mega: so much g-force and taken almost flat out during qualifying. Maintaining momentum through the first three corners is crucial.
Depending on wind direction and how strong the front end is on your car, you can quite easily end up with understeer through Turn Four which may make you run quite deep into the corner. Turn Five is then quite a long corner with a bit of a dip through the apex. Good exit speed is essential here for the run down through Turn Six and into Seven. This is where the track starts to climb and continues to do so through Turn Eight, before levelling out through the high-speed Turn Nine and down the back straight.
After another DRS zone it’s heavy braking into the tight left-hander at Turn 10, which is tough on the rear tyres. A quick flick left again through Turn 11 and you’re straight into the right hander at Turn 12. You have to make a ‘v’ out of this double apex corner before heading into the complex at the end of the lap.
The final few corners are pretty tricky, as by this stage the rear tyres are quite hot. It’s tough to get the car turned in through the Turn 14 and 15 chicane without having too much oversteer and the exit is absolutely crucial. You’re flat out through the final turn and back into that long DRS straight to start another lap, so this is the place to overtake.