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2022 Spanish Grand Prix Top Storylines

By Carlos Chacon

The season heads to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, for the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen continue the fight for the title, with the defending champion looking to close the gap and his fourth win of the season. At the same time, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc heads into the Pirelli Spanish GP 2022 as the driver’s championship leader.

The frontrunners are not the only spectacle of this season. Since introducing new regulations, cars, and team lineups, we’ve seen plenty of movement on the table. Haas exceeds expectations, Hamilton struggles with the new car, Alfa Romeo gets a boost with their new driver Valtteri Bottas, and a lot more.

That said, Nitrobetting gets into the nitty-gritty details of the weekend’s race, covering the top storylines ahead of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix down below.

Top Storylines Ahead Of 2022 Spanish Grand Prix

READ MORE: 2022 Spanish Grand Prix F1 Odds, Preview, and Prediction

Title race: Leclerc vs Verstappen

Let’s get on with the hottest storyline of the race. So far, the championship battle went through major swings between Ferrari and Red Bull. The competition went through the roof after the Miami Grand Prix. The Scuderia locked out the front row, but it was the defending champion holding the clear advantage in the early stages of the race.

The two teams were neck and neck, but Verstappen had more in the tank and was determined to close Leclerc’s lead in the standings. The Belgian-Dutch driver made the most of his recent races, bagging points in the F1 Sprint at Imola, and two consecutive DHL Fastest Lap awards.

Charles Leclerc continues to push Verstappen hard. The Monegasque driver scored more points leading up to the Spanish Grand Prix, but we expect Red Bull to close down soon enough. Ferrari banks on their solid showing during testing, where it was the F1-75 that was quickest out of the box.

Can Carlos Sainz Jr. please his home crowd?

The Spanish driver hasn’t had much luck in the last three races, recording a DNF at the Australian GP and the Emilia Romagna GP. Nevertheless, Sainz did well in Miami and bounced back with a P3 and his third podium finish of the 2022 season. The 27-year-old Ferrari driver sits fifth in the driver standings and plays a critical role in his team’s efforts to stay on top of the constructor standings.

Having a race-winning car at the Spanish Grand Prix is good news for Sainz Jr. Having solid support in Barcelona could also play to his benefit this weekend. On top of his two wins for Ferrari, Sainz sat on pole on two occasions and came close to securing his first-ever pole on three occasions.

Mercedes–moving slowly but surely

The inaugural Miami Grand Prix saw George Russell clock in the fastest time in practice. It looks like Mercedes is moving in the right direction in terms of the W13’s development. Their recent stint in the United States was aided by several changes to the car, but when FP3 didn’t go to plan, reverting to the initial setup failed to yield the same results for the German race team.

There are plenty of questions that demand answers. Mercedes packs speed in their latest car and Miami’s practice pace cemented that. However, they remain at a loss as to how to maximize that performance with consistent results in mind. The eight-time constructors’ champions still have plenty of work to do, but once they find that sweet spot, the team has a shot at a quick turnaround with 18 races to go.

Becoming more acquainted with the 2022 cars

Mercedes is not the only team struggling to find traction this season. The rest of the grid continues to try and extract more out of the 2022 cars with the regulations in mind. The development rate is likely to increase in the coming months.

Major upgrades and changes are a common sight in Barcelona. While that trend dipped in recent years as some teams were acquainted with the flow of the cars, parts, and race strategy, the new budget cap encourages a different approach for many. The proximity of Barcelona to the team headquarters means easier logistics when it comes to bringing car parts to the track on a tighter timeline. Furthermore, the track is a familiar venue for testing, giving teams an endless stream of historical data to use as reference.

The new regulations meet the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

In line with the 2022 cars, the sport also witnessed huge updates in its regulations. The intention was to encourage more wheel-to-wheel action, which translates to more exciting racing for drivers and the fans. So far, there’s been drama in the first five races. But, the new regulations are put to another test seeing that Barcelona holds a format where overtaking is more of a challenge for the drivers. More variables are leading up to the race, and unlatching how Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya works with the new regulations and cars is not to be missed.

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