Who Will Reign At Spain? Can 2019 Spanish Grand Prix Show A Special McLaren v Renault?

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2019 Spanish Grand Prix
McLaren

We don’t know what’s going to happen to a McLaren or Renault at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix. But it can be said that following the interesting upgrades that one has seen most teams carry for Barcelona, it may not be a bright idea to discount these two strong midfielders of their possibility at collecting one point too many at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.

Isn’t it? But before we engage in some guesswork, to give ourselves a complete picture of how well have the likes of McLaren and Renault fared at Spain, here’s some rewind into F1’s glorious past.

The 2019 Spanish Grand Prix notwithstanding, one doesn’t quite remember the last time a McLaren driver won the Spanish Grand Prix.

In fact, truth be told, one would have to really knock hard on the memory door to ascertain when that would’ve happened?

2019 Spanish Grand Prix
Raikkonen won his first Spanish GP in 2005 (Maxf1.net)

It was back in 2005, the era of the V10s when Kimi Raikkonen in his McLaren came in from the cold and won a fine contest at Barcelona.

The next year, it would be the ebullience of Fernando Alonso in a Renault that would cast a spell as the Spaniard would take the top step of the podium in his home Grand Prix, beating Schumacher and his then-teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella.

2019 Spanish Grand Prix
Alonso delivered a cracker of a drive in 2009 (Pole Position.wordpress)

But of late, there’s hardly been anyone in the midfield who’s risen and won the contest at Barcelona. A track checkered with both high-speed corners and tricky bends, the 66-lap contest is bound to challenge those with great straight-line speeds and impressive corner-speeds.

To that end, while the likes of Bottas and Hamilton have kept the scorers and time-sheets busy in the first and second practice session, it can be said, not an awful lot are expecting the likes of McLaren and Renault to dominate- right?

But hold that thought for a second, raise down that troubled brow and keep away from mindless meandering.

Given the current form that the likes of Lando Norris in McLaren are in, it can be said that the Zak Brown-led side may come up with something of a good fight on Sunday. Moreover, there’s some extra motivation for Norris’ senior teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. to pull up his socks for the racing weekend. After all, the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix would be the McLaren driver’s first home race in a legacy team.

Having only scored his first points this season, following a strong finish at Baku, can Sainz collect some useful points this weekend? To that end, it’s interesting that McLaren, who’ve brought in some upgrades for Barcelona may be prepped up for a good show. So what exactly is on McLaren’s plate?

2019 Spanish Grand Prix
 Lando Norris pitstop_unbranded

Leading sports media platform Sky was quoted as saying, “McLaren are trialling a new front wing as part of their upgrade package.

The MCL34 was painted with aerodynamic flow-vis paint during several runs in Practice One as the team tried to understand the airflow over the front of the car.”

But in order to end up with a strong finish, McLaren will have to battle a team with which it’s already found some nice competition, even as Baku revealed that Renault drivers- Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg– would fail to score a point vis-a-vis the McLaren of Carlos Sainz, P7 at Azerbaijan.

From a fundamental standpoint, Renault, who’ve got themselves a pretty stable car when compared to the last year and the one before, fare better in Spain than their closest midfield rivals, McLaren. It was back in 2017 where Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg gathered a hard-fought P6, despite having begun thirteenth on the grid. A year later, local-boy Carlos Sainz Jr., then partnering Hulk would collect a decent P9. In that regard, there’s neither any dearth of experience for Renault nor any void in having collected points at Barcelona in the past.

2019 Spanish Grand Prix
Sky Sports

To that end what may lift them in the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix is the very fact that the team are going to introduce a new engine for the event. Should that go anywhere remotely close to being in their favor, it could be said that McLaren’s place on the constructor- fourth at present- could well be in danger.

Ricciardo, in particular, a driver anxious to score points having only made some in 1 race of the 4 held so far, has shown faith in the new engineering piece; slated to be reliable on both performance and aerodynamic functioning. What one can expect on Sunday, therefore, would be a close wheel-to-wheel fight between the two, with not only there being upgrades for both teams but also a possibility of their drivers making the most of their past experience.

Add Alfa Romeo finding itself a respectable starting position on the grid, perhaps Kimi’s car slicing any of these two and we could have a cracker of a contest in the midfield. The ageless Iceman, though, would be well aware of the competence of his two rivals out there.