In the latest edition of Paddock Press, we recap the Spanish Grand Prix and look ahead to the crown jewel of the calendar in Monaco.
Spanish GP Review
Arguably the best race of the season thus far, Spain had it all. Home town hero Fernando Alonso achieving McLaren's first Q3 appearance of the season, Red Bull's B-spec car debuting with a podium finish and the classic duels between two great champions - what we wanted the season to be filled with.
Drama starting at Turn 1 with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen continuing their rivalry from last season with a collision that took the two out of the race with suspension damage. Valtteri Bottas was also involved but managed to escape with no damage to his car by clinging to the inside kerb and only giving the Ferrari a light tap with his front wing.
It looked like Ferrari was running away with it. Vettel was running 10 seconds ahead of his British rival Lewis Hamilton, until Bottas, having already ruined one Ferrari's race, set about inflicting misery on the second one, backing Vettel into Hamilton and closing the gap by seven seconds.
Towards the end of the race Bottas's engine blew up, meaning no points for the new race winner. Hamilton closed on Vettel and swooped around the outside of Turn 1, cut the track and had to concede the position to Vettel. However, the German's laps in the lead were numbered as Lewis closed in with DRS and took the lead off the German. That was the story of the race: Hamilton winning, Vettel in second and Ricciardo collecting the final podium place for Red Bull over a minute down on the leading two.
Looking Forward - Monaco
The streets of Monte Carlo have thrown up some races over the years. Panis's sole win for Ligier in 1996, Senna's humiliation of Prost and the subsequent crash of 1988, Hamilton's dramatic puncture at tabac in the rain soaked race of 2008 and subsequent drive to victory and Jules Bianchi's heroic first points for Marussia in 2014, some five years after there debut.
Equally it is prone to some dull races and almost ceremonial parades. Last year we were treated with a classic - wet to dry conditions, genius strategies by skipping the intermediate stage and a rare Red Bull error with the vanishing tyres.
Will this year be just as thrilling? We think so. Not only have we got wider cars so more driving skill will be required, but Jenson Button will begin his 309th race, placing him second in the list of most starts ahead of Michael Schumacher whilst Fernando Alonso hopes to win in Indy on the same weekend.
Finally the predictions:
Pole Position - Valtteri Bottas
Race Win - Kimi Raikkonen
Podium - Raikkonen, Bottas, Hamilton
Driver of the Day - Jenson Button
Fastest Pit Stop - Williams
First Retirement - Max Verstappen
This series relies on your contribution and input so please please please put your predictions and answers to our key questions below before race day.
by Matthew Gannon