F1 Power Rankings: Spanish Grand Prix

Four races into the 2016 Formula One World Championship and there is one driver clearly out front of the field. Nico Rosberg has won the first four races of the season and has a near two-race lead over the rest of the field, including teammate Lewis Hamilton. While it’s a great run of form, how much longer will it last? We try to answer that in this weekend’s F1 Power Rankings.

#1 Nico Rosberg
I think Keke’s kid is quite chuffed about running away with the championship: ” It’s not something I could have expected – winning the first four races of the year. It’s been a great start but I’m just enjoying the moment and the form I’m in, doing my best to keep it going and hoping I can carry it through to the end of the season. Sport is all about ups and downs and being mentally prepared to bounce back stronger when they come”

#2 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis still hasn’t given up hope on the 2016 World Drivers’ Championship yet: “Every weekend, we’ve got the car into a great place setup-wise – I just haven’t been fully able to exploit it. So the glass is half full for me. It will be a big challenge but there’s a long way to go with 17 races left and, if the last four are anything to go by, there’s a lot more still to come from us.”

#3 Sebastian Vettel
Sergio Marchionne wants Ferrari to win. Four-Time doesn’t feel any extra pressure: “We don’t feel any special pressure here in Spain. There are 21 races this year and pressure is the same wherever you go.  It’s also true that we’d like to be in a better position in the next couple of races, but for the meantime we have to focus on this one.”

#4 Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi said the thing again: “What we have achieved so far is not ideal, if you purely look at the end result, but that’s not always very truthful. For sure we can do a better job, we’ll keep pushing and try to make up the best of every race. As a team we know what we are doing and that’s the important thing.”

#5 Daniel Ricciardo
Danny Boy feels pretty confident about RBR’s chances this weekend: “It’s a relatively high down force circuit so we can strap most of the things on the car that make it go faster. It’s quite hard on tyres so we are normally a bit stronger than some other teams in that area. It could provide a good opportunity for us to get close to the podium.”

#6 Felipe Massa
As usual, the Williams team will contend for generic PR quotage of the week: “Spain is always a track that most of the drivers know 100% because we are always testing there in the winter. So I’d say that everyone pretty much knows the track. It is a circuit that a good car overall normally goes well because you have a little bit of everything; high-speed corners and low-speed corners. If the car works well here, it will work well on most of the tracks.”

#7 Max Verstappen
Well look who’s moved up to the big leagues: “I’m very excited for the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing and I can’t wait to jump in the car in Barcelona. I have a lot of work to do ahead of the race, lots of data to study but luckily it’s a track I know well because we have driven there so much.”

#8 Valtteri Bottas
And #BO77AS is not better than Phil: “Barcelona is probably the track I’ve driven the most in my life because all of the pre-season testing normally takes place there. It is a nice event, overall, and there are plenty of fans, so it would be nice to have a good result there, especially because testing looked good for us there.”

#9 Daniil Kvyat

#10 Romain Grosjean
Now that Haas is going to a familiar track, Romain discusses what this means for the new team: “The advantage of having data from the winter testing, and going back a few races into the season, is that you can check if you’ve been doing a good job in going in the right direction, in terms of the setup of the car and so on. I’m very much looking forward to getting back to Barcelona and trying the updates we’ve got and the setups we’ve been using.”

#11 Carlos Sainz

#12 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk blames this season on bad luck and the team shakes responsibility: “I felt pretty disappointed about what happened in Sochi. In fact, things have gone against us for the last few races. We know we should have scored more points, but it’s impossible to plan for the bad luck we’ve experienced. I’m looking forward to a weekend where everything goes to plan so that we can show our true potential.”

#13 Fernando Alonso
Alonso summarizes the Spanish Grand Prix pretty succinctly: “It’s notoriously difficult to overtake in Barcelona, so it’s important to get a good start and stay out of trouble on the first lap. After that, it’s a case of getting the strategy right, managing the tyre wear and maximising performance at the right times.”

#14 Sergio Perez
Checo likes the track. Someone has to, I suppose: “The atmosphere in Barcelona is always special and for me it’s one of the best tracks of the year. I enjoy the layout because it’s a true test of your car with a bit of everything, especially long, quick corners, which all the drivers enjoy. It’s a track where you feel the physical demands, especially on your neck, but overall it’s just a great place to experience a Formula One car.”

#15 Jenson Button
Jenson isn’t exactly inspiring confidence this week: “The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is not a circuit that would traditionally suit us, since it’s fairly hard on both the chassis and the power units, but I feel I have a solid car underneath me, and we’re putting in pretty consistent performances on a variety of circuits, even if our results don’t necessarily reflect all the work that’s going on back at base.”

#16 Kevin Magnussen
K-Mag discusses the reason that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is F1’s primary test track: “The reason Barcelona is a test track is because it has almost every type of corner. It has chicanes, it has fast corners, it has slow corners, it has big braking zones, it has corners when you prioritise speed on entry and it has corners where you focus on the exit: it has everything. It’s a perfect test track, but in anything it does have more high speed than low speed corners so you need a nicely balanced car and tyre wear can get a little bit tricky: you can’t really run the softest tyres there.”

#17 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve talks about the impact of the new tyre selection rules on this race: “Any tire compound will suit the cars in different ways. The harder the compound, the less grip you have. Each compound has certain characteristics that are crucial to understand in order to make the tire work as it relates to your car’s setup. For us, we’re going with the mediums and the softs. We only have one set of hards.”

#18 Jolyon Palmer
JoPa talks about the impact of the circuit on the driver: “It’s certainly one of the more physical circuits as there are a lot of long, fast corners, lots of high lateral Gs that put your neck and your core under strain. For the long corners the aero is really important, and with the DRS on the straight and the tyre degradation we see there, there’s potential for a good race.”

#19 Felipe Nasr
Expect some generic PR quotes from the Sauber boys: “In general we and the other teams have a lot of data from the track in Barcelona, as we ran most of our test kilometres there. For the race weekend it will be important to achieve a satisfying qualifying position, because overtaking is, in general, difficult on this circuit.”

#20 Marcus Ericsson
And your favourite pay driver: “We all know the track very well from winter testing. It will be interesting to see how the C35 behaves in warmer conditions compared to the colder ones during testing in February. I am looking forward to racing there and hope we can make another step in the right direction.”

#21 Pascal Wehrlein
Pascal gives us a quick look at the characteristics of the Barcelona circuit: “There’s a good mix of fast, medium and slow speed corners, frequent changes in direction and a nice long start-finish straight, all of which make it really interesting to drive. The track is quite abrasive so with the tyre allocation here we’ll need to focus on managing degradation.”

#22 Rio Haryanto
Apparently Rio’s European home race is the Spanish Grand Prix: “Indonesia is my real home of course and I try to go back there at every opportunity, but the reality is that it’s a long way when we’re racing in Europe, so I have a base here in Barcelona for the next few months. I really like it here; the weather is good and it’s a really cool city with plenty of interesting places for me to train.”

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