10 interesting facts about Adrian Newey: the Chief Technology Officer of the Red Bull team

Cool facts about Adrian Newey

By: Jake Rajala

There may be a mystical bond between man and machine — as the smooth-talking Bernie Mac once stated. Although, there is one mysterious, utterly important factor in the success of a car’s ability: the engineer.

In Formula 1, there are certainly many potent F1 engineers. The greatest F1 engineer is arguably Adrian Newey, who is none other than the Chief Technology Officer of the Red Bull team. It’s clear that Newey has been an excellent mind — as the Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was the 2021 World Champion and currently sits in first place in the 2022 standings.

With that stated, I’m going to simply untwine ten fascinating facts about the Red Bull wiz at this point.

  • He was a rebel in High School

Newey went to Repton Public School with Jeremy Clarkson, but he didn’t last long at the HS. He was one of those stereotypical brainiacs that tested the boundaries to a point that he got in trouble with the school. At the age of 16, he turned the noise up so loud at a school event that he broke the glass. Due to his failed idea, he was asked to leave his high school. Although, he didn’t hold himself back after his dismissal, to say the least. He went to get his national diploma in engineering — which would then earn him a nice seat and career path at university.

  • He studied aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Southhampton

Newey, also known as Tony Stark, was a smart cookie in college. He studied aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Southampton. The University of Southampton is recognized as a Top 100 university in the world. Jon Sopel (former BBC correspondent), Chris Packham (known for the Really Wild Show), and John Iverdale (English broadcaster) also graduated from the university. Newey also isn’t the only global icon to study aeronautical engineering. The first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University.

  • His first project was the March 82G GTP

The first experiment for the new college graduate from Southampton was to design the March 82G GTP. He had guidance under Robin Herd. Interestingly, he created a gaping hole in-between the front fenders that fed air to the underbody. This unique, successful design earned the car the nickname “Lobster Claw” and it certainly breathed fire — as it helped the team two IMSA GTP titles.

  • His first F1 design was the 1988 March 881

Similar to his first-ever design experiment, Newey found success with his first dabble in Formula 1 design. The Italian driver Ivan Capelli took second place at the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix – which surprised the F1 world. He also held a lead against racing legend Alain Prost at the Japanese Grand Prix. Capelli ultimately finished the season in seventh place.

  • Acquittal of Manslaughter

The genius engineer certainly had his challenges in life — as he was once charged with manslaughter. The F1 driver Ayrton Senna tragically died at the San Marino GP in 1994. He and a few others were first initially acquitted in December of 1997. Fast forward to 1999, the acquittal was upheld. Then he was finally given a full acquittal in 2005 — as material errors were cited as the key reason behind the fatal incident.

  • He is also a die-hard racer

He doesn’t only help drivers win races, but he is a competitive driver himself. He raced in the 2006 Le Mans and he even was involved in an accident with his Ford GT40 — thankfully, he only had a cut on his finger. He would then race in the Le Mans in 2007, as well. Michael Fassbender may or may not have found inspiration (and danger) from the gifted mind branching out to race in the Le Mans.

  • He is flat out a winner

The biggest reason why Newey is regarded as a genius: success. The Red Bull designer/engineer tasted Championship victories with Williams in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, and 1997 with Williams. In 1998, he won with McLaren and he also won in 1999. As of late, he found success w/ Sebastian Vettel in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2021. As previously stated, he’s on a path to winning the F1 Championship in 2022, as well. Newey is 63 years old, but his driver is 24 and filled with dreams of being the best F1 driver of all time. It’s safe to say that Newey could earn many more championships if he sticks around the world sport.

  • His son is a racing driver

It’s clear that racing is in his blood – as his son, Harrison, is an ambitious and ascending driver. The 24-year-old finished as a runner-up in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship. He proceeded to race in the European Formula 3 Championship in 2016. Perhaps Harrison can join his dad at the highest ranks in the future.

  • He is the author of “How to build a car”

It’s clear that the Red Bull guru wants his magic in creating cars to rub off on F1 fans and aspiring engineers, as he wrote a book about the creative process of building a car titled “How to build a car”. He talks about his early journey, lessons, and engineering career in the 458-page book that was released in 2017. It should also be noted that the book had remarkable reviews — as F1 Chronicle gave it a 9/10 and 94% of Google users liked the read. I might add that the reviews on this auto-biography stack up well in comparison to the book “Return of the King: Lebron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the greatest comeback in NBA History” — which was liked by 90% of Google users.

  • Newey was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire

The strong efforts from the well-decorated Red Bull engineer were rightfully given Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 New Year Honours. JK Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books) and David Beckham (mythical soccer player) have also received the prestigious award.

3 winners and 3 losers from the British GP

Who are the biggest losers from the British GP?

By: Jake Rajala

The 2022 British Grand Prix delivered excitement, scare, and surprises. With that said, I’m going to simply untwine three winners and three losers from the British GP on Sunday morning.

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

The F1 poster boy and British GP legend, Lewis Hamilton, had a poetic finish in his beloved British race. Charles Leclerc was slightly ahead of Hamilton on lap 48, but Hamilton nicely passed Leclerc on the same lap and kept his third-place spot the rest of the race. Hamilton also had the fastest lap (1:30.510) at the British GP. He is certainly making progress on his Mercedes teammate in the F1 standings.

Winner: Mick Schumacher

I recently expressed how the 23-year-old Mick Schumacher needed to show more potential moving forward. Well, it’s clear that Schumacher had a promising day (8th place) at the British GP — as he scored his first-ever F1 points at British GP. Per ESPN, Schumacher stated, “Finally, I told you guys it was this weekend! Oh my god, you guys are brilliant”. Schumacher’s teammate in Sebastian Vettel also had points (as he finished one spot after him).

Winner: Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. had the best position to start the race and he continued to dazzle at the GP — as he placed first at the GP. It was safe to say that the Ferrari driver made Luigi proud throughout the entire weekend. It wasn’t only his first win in the season, but it was his first career victory. He also placed second at the Canadian GP and second at the Monaco GP. Sainz Jr. is certainly making Leclerc nervous at this point in the season.

Loser: Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, who took first place at the Baku GP and the Canadian GP, appeared to be unstoppable entering this weekend. Well, it’s safe to say that he had an extremely disappointing finish at the British GP — as he finished seventh at the British GP. It was reported by Motor Sport that an endplate from an Alpha Tauri front wing significantly derailed the team’s chances on lap 11. The less inspiring cherry on top for Verstappen is that Sergio Perez finished second.

Loser: George Russell

George Russell was involved in the nightmare-like crash that witnessed Zhou Guanyu flip over a barrier. Luckily, Zhou is A-okay and he expressed that the Halo saved him. Prior to the British GP, Russell ousted a Top-5 finish in each GP since the Abu Dhabi GP. Russell is still at the Top-5 of the F1 standings, but he needs to bounce back to a podium soon.

Loser: Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas certainly took a step back at the British GP (DNF). Bottas was glorified for leading Hamilton in a Silverstone practice, but he didn’t taste success near Hamilton at the race. It was his worst outcome since the Saudi Arabian GP. Bottas and his teammate that dodged a bullet (Zhou) will aspire to have a stronger performance at the Austrian GP.

Sergio Perez praises the F1 leader Max Verstappen

Perez praises the F1 leader and teammate

By: Jake Rajala

The Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez, also known as a pure inspiration in Mexico, witnessed his seven-game racing streak disintegrate at the Canadian GP. The first Mexico driver to win the glorious Monaco GP has lost a bit of his magic, but he still sits in second place and he also carries a humble, hard-working nature.

He recently displayed his generous nature, as he spoke highly of his team-mate, Max Verstappen. Per Planet F1, Verstappen stated, “He has skills that no other driver in Formula 1 has: the ability to be at the limit from Practice 1 to the end, no other driver in Formula 1 has, without a doubt”. It would also be an understatement to say that Perez already feels impressed about how Verstappen compares to any F1 driver to walk this planet. Per GP Fans, Perez also stated, “He is without a doubt one of the best in the history of Formula 1, if not the best, for everything, for his education and because he has skills no other F1 driver has”.

Perez has only edged out his racing pal three times this year. Verstappen has clearly found more gold this season, but he also stacks up extremely well in comparison with his teammate. Perez has three career victories and Verstappen has 26 career victories.

Perez is currently in rehab after a neck injury at hurting his neck at qualy crash, but he gave no indication that he would miss the British GP under any circumstance.

5 winners from the Canadian GP

Who is the biggest winner from the Canadian GP?

By: Jake Rajala

The Canadian Grand Prix may have been claimed victory by Max Verstappen, but there were many unique triumphs that still took place at the Canadian GP. With that said, I’m going to simply untwine three winners from the race at the Great White North.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

If there was only one racer able to beat the determined Ferrari driver today – it would be the F1 leader himself. After retiring in the last race, Carlos Sainz Jr. grabbed an impressive second-place spot in Sunday’s race. He now has two-second place finishes in his past three races – as he reached second in Monaco. He also has 5 podiums on the season – which is tied with Sergio Perez for second in the F1 standings. Meanwhile, Perez retired in the ninth lap today.

Esteban Ocon

The 6’1 driver for Alpine should feel confident about his sixth-place finish – which was his best outcome since the Saudi Arabian GP. He won’t be stressing about Max Verstappen placing ahead of him, but he (39 pts) is quietly making progress on Valtteri Bottas (46 pts) and Lando Norris (50 pts) in the standings. The partner of Daniel Riccardo is slowly, but surely climbing out of his shadow.

Ocon has one career victory and two career podiums.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton shook the rust off and returned to the podium (third) for the first time since the very first GP. It seemed as if Hamilton was on another planet after Monaco. Well, he was able to find a fourth-place finish in the Baku race and then climbed the ladder to third in today’s battle. Hamilton will seek to re-live his magic at home next week (British GP) – as he’s won the British GP in each season from 2019-to 2021.

Zhou Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu is finally on the scoreboard, as he placed ninth at the Canadian GP, which is the best spot in his entire career. As South China Morning Post noted, he threw away his car issues and ranked a spot behind his teammate (Valtteri Bottas). Guanyu had his third DNF last week, but it’s clear the 23-year-old has a new swagger entering the British GP.

George Russell

Perhaps it’s time for Jack Sparrow to say “drinks all around” for the Mercedes team. George Russell didn’t reach the podium, but he did certainly have a modest fourth-place ranking (one spot after his legendary teammate). Russell has now placed in the Top-5 in each GP since Abu Dhabi. He certainly smells blood from Charles Leclerc, who finished fifth today and recorded a DNF last week.

F1: Pre-Canada Power Rankings

By: Samuel Moores

We’ve now seen eight races in this 2022 Formula 1 season, and with the ninth coming this Sunday, it seems only right to rank each driver’s season so far.

I must clarify before we get into this, that these rankings are based on 

what we’ve seen so far this season, how that compares to the past, and to what I expect. That’s usually how power rankings work. With all that out the way, shall we start?

20th – Nicholas Latifi – Williams

Unfortunately for Nicky, things just aren’t going right for him this season, he seems to have regressed if anything. Abu Dhabi has really affected his confidence, which is sad to see. Alex Albon has come in and resumed the dominance as George Russell left it. 

An average grid position of 18.75 is not great at all. He’s only out-qualified his teammate once this year, in the wet at Imola. The gap between them has been over a second at points this year.

19th – Mick Schumacher – Haas

Mick’s 2nd year in F1 is not going to plan. Like Latifi, he’s really low on confidence, resulting in some mistakes when it really matters. Just when it looks like points could be available or a decent quali position, something stops that from happening.

He trails 6-2 to his teammate, Kevin Magnussen, in qualifying. KMag has outshone him since coming back into the team during pre-season testing, due to Nikita Mazepin’s situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Maybe that’s what’s taken him by surprise, who knows, what we do know though is that young Mick hasn’t taken the second-year jump we expected him to.

18th – Lance Stroll – Aston Martin

Sadly for Lance, he’s not taken to the second iteration of this year’s Aston Martin as his teammate has, finishing 15th, 14th, and 16th after a late retirement where he was still classified. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand has achieved an 11th, 10th and 6th place finish. 

It’s hard to compete with a four-time world champion, but it seems like there’s a bigger gap between the two this year than last. Since Seb’s season debut down under, after returning from covid, he leads the Canadian in qualifying. Only being beaten once.

17th – Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren

The Honey Badger’s struggles from last season have continued, leading to quite a bit of public criticism, most notably from his own team. When on form, Daniel is one of the best on the grid, but we’ve barely seen him living up to that during his stint in Orange.

He trails his teammate 7-1 in qualifying, that one occurrence being in Bahrain, with his average grid position being 3 whole positions behind the Brit. That’s a massive gap. We saw him pick it up a little last weekend in Baku, which was awesome, but we need that more often. 

16th – Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo

Zhou has looked like a rookie this season, but that’s no bad thing, it’s what he is, and that’s expected of him. He’s done pretty well in the Alfa Romeo so far in 2022, but particularly recently, luck hasn’t been on his side.

China’s first-ever F1 driver out-qualified his former race-winning teammate for the first time in Baku, being the better driver all weekend and looking destined for the points. Sadly for him, he suffered his third mechanical retirement in a row. Come the end of the season, Zhou could be higher up this list if he carries on the way he’s going.

15th – Carlos Sainz – Ferrari

Carlos had a very strong 2021 season with Ferrari, being on par with Charles Leclerc throughout the entire season, setting up an exciting 22′. Sadly, this year has not gone to plan for the Spaniard.

He had a decent first two races, but two mistake led retirements in a row, in Australia and Imola, started what’s looking like another driver low on confidence. This year’s car is just not agreeing with Carlos, he’s struggling with it, particularly in qualifying, trailing his teammate 8-0. 

14th – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes

2022 has been tough for Lewis, and like with Carlos, not what anyone expected. That Mercedes is just not working for him, that being paired with him being one of a few drivers that are really not on side with luck, is contributing towards a difficult season for the GOAT.

His new teammate, George Russell, has come in and competed right there with the seven-time world champion from the very start of the season, and seems to be much more at one with his car. They’re pretty close in quali, with the newbie leading 5-3 in their head-to-head battle, but unfortunately for Lewis, he’s finished second-best in their past 7 races, sometimes that not being his fault, other times him being literally beaten up by the porpoising in his car. I hope he can get back to his best soon, he’s doing alright, but so many drivers are having decent seasons.

13th – Pierre Gasly – Alpha Tauri

Gasly’s been an interesting one this year, he’s difficult to rank. From the outside, it looks like he’s having more of a down year than he actually is. By the numbers, he’s having a decent season. But so is his teammate. The reason why Pierre’s this low on the list may not even be his doing, it’s Yuki’s.

Last year the Monza 2020 winner dominated his Japanese teammate, but this year Tsunoda’s right up there with him. They’re very close. But Pierre just about loses out on this list. Showing just how high I rate him.

12th – Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri

Since these two have been so evenly matched all year, it makes sense that they are one over the other in this power ranking. It’s 5-3 in qualifying to Gasly, but before Yuki’s DRS chaos and Pierre’s strong result in Baku, it was Tsunoda with the most points. 

He’s really surprised me this season, and I don’t think I’m the only one. The growth from him within a year is huge. He’s a different guy, much more dialled in, and most importantly a much better driver. Particularly in race trim. 

11th – Esteban Ocon – Alpine

The next two on this list, are again, difficult to rank. Ocon is ahead of Alonso in the championship, but his teammate has been incredibly unlucky and is driving on another level right now.

Esteban’s having a great season, like his last, and is right there with the 05′ and 06′ champion of the world. An average race finish position of 8.88 is great in the Alpine. We wouldn’t have expected that after pre-season testing. 

10th – Fernando Alonso – Alpine

Fernando is driving like he’s in his early 30’s, rather than his early 40’s. Had it not been for two unfortunate retirements in Jeddah and Imola, as well as being caught out by the safety car in Melbourne, he’d be a lot higher on the list.

He’s starting to get luckier, accumulating the points he deserves. In his past two races, he’s beaten his teammate, adding to beating him in quali 5-3 over the season, achieving back-to-back 7th place finishes.

9th – Kevin Magnussen – Haas

K Mag came back into the F1 paddock with nothing to lose and started with a bang, achieving 3 points finishes in 4 races in the Haas. Although he’s come back down to earth recently, he was on one at the start of the season.

The Dane is showing exactly why Haas shouldn’t have gotten rid of him in the first place, but unfortunately, money talks. I’ve been most impressed by his qualifying pace, beating Mick six out of eight times on a Saturday.

8th – Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin

Seb is having an outstanding season for a driver that many thought was finished after 2019. He missed the first two races of the season with covid but returned from the virus excellently.

Bar his mistake in Australia, and the Schumacher incident in Miami, he’s beaten Lance Stroll in every single race. He has taken to the new car like clockwork, only being out-qualified by Lance once. I hope he carries on for a couple more years, but if this is it for Seb, at least he’s going out in style.

7th – Valterri Bottas – Alfa Romeo

The ten-time race winner has had an excellent season for Alfa Romeo, there’s obviously been a change in mentality for the Finn, they’re a much smaller team, but one that he needed. He’s been ace this year. Valterri’s the perfect guy to assist the development of Zhou Guanyu.

While his race craft isn’t the best, his one-lap pace is up there, it always has been, and it’s got him in the position to pick up 40 points in an Alfa Romeo this season. Most importantly, his car has been reliable, putting up an average race finish position of 7.43!

6th – Alex Albon – Williams

Alex has been the driver we thought he was when he joined Red Bull midway through 2019. He’s been unlucky when compared to his fellow class of 19′ rookies but was considered just as good as the other two at the time. And look, they’re all in my top 6!

He’s taken over exactly where George Russell left off, the clear number one driver at Williams, achieving four top twelve finishes in eight races. In a Williams. The slowest car on the grid. What a season from Mr. Albon, who’s back in F1, where he belongs.

5th – Lando Norris – McLaren

Driver number 4 is exactly the same guy he was last season, consistent and quick. Who would’ve thought Lando would have six top-ten finishes after what we saw in Bahrain from Mclaren. If it wasn’t for Gasly in Miami it would be seven in seven.

50 points and a podium after the first race didn’t seem anywhere near possible, but it’s happened. In that time he’s out-qualified Daniel in every race, bar Spain. Lando, like the rest of the top 5, is on fire right now.

4th – George Russell – Mercedes

These top 4 drivers have been absolutely on point all season, Russell especially. He’s finished in the top 5 in every single race this season, which is incredible when you think how difficult that Merc is to drive at the minute.

George is capitalising on other drivers’ failings and disappointments each and every week, avoiding any trouble. Most impressively for George, he’s done better than we all expected him to against Lewis. I can’t wait to see how he compares to the seven-time champ when he’s back to his best.

3rd – Sergio Perez – Red Bull

Checo’s been excellent this year, I thought Sainz would be the driver in the front pack to be challenging his teammate this year, as I expect did many others. But the Mexican is going so well at the moment! He’s taken to the 2022 car better than his teammate, and better than many others in fact, being much closer to, and sometimes better than Max this season. 

Sergio has the one win this season (Monaco), with the top two sharing the other seven, but it’s been his qualifying pace that’s been the highlight. His Jeddah pole was a sight to behold, one of three times he’s out-qualified the Dutchman. We all know how difficult it is to beat the reigning world champion, but right now it’s Checo who’s his closest title rival

2nd – Charles Leclerc – Ferrari

I mentioned just then that Perez is Max Verstappen’s closest title rival, which right now is the unfortunate truth. And that’s more Ferrari’s fault, rather than their driver’s. He’s been mostly mistake-free. He’s had more than Max, but he’s been an absolute machine. A machine with only one pole position all season. One. Charles has six. Six of eight pole positions. 

These two are both in their own right in the form of their life. Sadly for Charles, he’s only won two of those races where he’s started on pole, three were by Verstappen and one by Perez. Red Bull’s race pace paired with the unfortunate timing of two DNFs and the Monaco bottle from the Scuderia in the past three races has derailed Charles’ championship fight.

1st – Max Verstappen – Red Bull

That all means that Mr Max Verstappen leads my power rankings after eight races. He’s the driver to beat right now and has been over the past two years, looking set for a second world drivers championship in a row.

He’s doing all this whilst struggling with the new regulations, this car doesn’t suit him. Since the Bahrain retirement, where he was still classified, Max has been on the podium for every single race he’s finished. Winning five of those six.

What Baku means for Charles Leclerc

What does Baku mean for Charles Leclerc?

By: Leona Stewart

Since the season began in Bahrain, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari have been called for the championship, and fans thought it was his year. Yet we are moving onto round 8 and Charles has slipped into second in the championship behind Max Verstappen. 

Following on from a disappointing home race in Monaco, Leclerc moves on to another street circuit in Azerbaijan, which has always been an exciting race. 

Having never had a consistent winner, pole-sitter or fastest lap, Baku is certainly hard to predict for all teams, and with strategy not yet clear the win is anyone. 

Ferrari has never won in Baku, however both Red Bull and Mercedes have. With Perez claiming a win here last year, and Leclerc holding the fastest lap record since 2019, it could shape up to be interesting between the two. 

Looking at previous races here, pole position does not seem to be vital to a race win. with only two drivers, Nico Rosberg and Valterri Bottas, having won from pole in Baku. 

Deemed as a mix of Monaco and Monza, Azerbaijan is littered with space for overtakes across its 20 turns and two DRS zones. One on the pit-straight and the second coming out of turn 1 provides the chance for drivers to fight for positions before being hit with slow tight corners, perfect for the last of the late brakers.

The pressure truly is on Charles to win this weekend. With Verstappen leading the championship, and Perez’ win in Monaco pushing him ever closer up the board, a win is vital to keep his second place. Particularly as Perez is only 15 points away from leading ahead of his teammate, the three-way fight is exciting. 

Max Verstappen is currently the bookies favorite to win the race, particularly as he was set to win last year if it wasn’t for a crash with 5 laps remaining. Charles of course is the second. 

After a disastrous weekend in Monaco for the Ferrari boys which left them trailing behind Red Bull, it truly is hard to predict if Leclerc will be able to regain his lead in Baku. Perhaps the championship will continue to fade in front of him.

5 highest paid F1 drivers

Who is really the highest paid F1 driver?

By: Jake Rajala

The intense Formula 1 sport doesn’t pump out hundreds of top-tier athletes, but they do showcase many, very wealthy athletes. With that said, there is a question that many F1 fans and sports fans have in regard to F1 drivers: who are the highest-paid F1 drivers? Well, I’m going to untwine the five highest-paid F1 drivers.

  1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is unequivocally the golden boy in F1 and he is arguably the best F1 driver of all time. It’s obvious that Hamilton is taken care of by Red Bull, as he is paid $50.4 million per season. The mythical sports figure earns more big bucks than other premier athletes that he hangs around.

  1. Max Verstappen

The 24 year old F1 driver Max Verstappen recently inked a fat contract (March) and earns the same $ per season as Hamilton, per Essentially Sports. Verstappen is proving every penny of his contract this season (first place in standings).

2. Fernando Alonso

The 40-year-old F1 driver Fernando Alonso hasn’t been exactly like a fine wine this season, as he sits at 13th overall in the standings. Hamilton and Fernando aren’t living up to expectations, to say the least.

2. Lando Norris

The shiny 22-year-old Lando Norris has a lot of potential in the eyes of Mclaren, as he is getting a fancy $20 per season contract. Norris and Alonso reel in the same earnings.

3. Sebastian Vettel

The German racer Sebastian Vettel has found success in the league, but he currently sits with 5 pts on the season (15th). Vettel will really aspire to bounce back in 2023.

3. Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren has expressed their patience for Daniel Riccardio, as Autosport has pointed out. The 32-year-old driver reels in $15 million per season.

Spanish Grand Prix predictions

Latest predictions for the Spanish GP

By: Jeremy Trottier

While the next F1 race is two weeks removed from the Miami Grand Prix, there is still time to talk about how this next race can pan out. Two weeks of travel is most definitely necessary as the drivers and teams go from Miami, Florida to Montmelo (Catalonia), Spain. With 4,685 miles to cover, and a week to prepare, every team will be looking to build off of their success in the southeastern US, or create new successes and forget their failures. In this article, I will be going over the 5 drivers who I predict to round out the top 5 spots in Spain, and why I believe they will finish in that respective spot. So without further ado, let us begin with our predictive winner:

Position #1: Charles Leclerc – Ferrari

After a somewhat disappointing last two races in Imola and the US, Charles Leclerc still holds onto the Drivers Championship by 19 points due to an early season surge. One of the main things worth noting throughout Leclerc’s career is his ability to win through adversity. Most notably, his maiden win in Formula 1, which was the Belgian GP in which he dedicated his win to a good friend of his Anthoine Hubert, who had passed away that Saturday in a crash on the same track. While there is nothing that drastic currently happening, he has accrued a lot of doubt in the media as to whether he can hold off the charging Red Bull and reigning WDC Max Verstappen.

If Ferrari wants to show the world they are ready to compete, this is the time to do it, as they need to be able to take race wins at the end of the day while Max Verstappen is driving. Max winning every race in which he finished this season is a concern, and the Monegasque driver in Leclerc needs to pull this one off to create a larger gap in points. With this being a track relatively favorable to the Ferrari all time (12 wins all time at this track, 3 more than 2nd place Mercedes) they need to take advantage of the slower section 3 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and bring home a win.

Position #2: Max Verstappen – Red Bull

Simply put, either of these first two drivers could win the race just as easily as the other. According to betting odds, Verstappen has slight favor at +110 compared to Leclerc at +120, which shows just how narrow this margin is. The next closest driver is Carlos Sainz at +1200 and Sergio Perez at +1600. Verstappen has been absolutely dominant this season, aside from early race troubles in Australia and Bahrain due to reliability issues in the car. This should be a point of concern, even after 2 straight wins, as Verstappen has still failed to finish 2 of his 5 races this season.

Regardless of this however, Verstappen is going to be one of the favorites in every race he is competing in, and the straightaway speed of the Honda engine is extremely hard for Ferrari to match. With this, we should see some dominance in the two DRS straights in Spain, specifically the main straight as it is the length of the whole track. As long as the RB18 and it’s RBPTH001 engine hold up during the race, we should see another tight battle between Verstappen and Leclerc.

Position #3: Sergio Perez – Red Bull

Next up we have the secondary driver at Red Bull, that being Sergio Perez. Perez has had a quietly great season for RB, accruing two podiums (both 2nd place) and 2 4th place finishes. While he also had a DNF on the season, that was due to an engine defect at Bahrain, same as Verstappen. He currently has 66 points, which if you compare that number to last season is a significant improvement as he had 44 through the first 5 races with 0 podiums. This type of consistency warrants recognition, as it shows he has improved as a driver, and as a teammate, giving Red Bull an even better shot at the Constructors Championship in 2022. Perez will gain the same benefits as Verstappen in the power unit department and has some of the more stout defensive capabilities in Formula 1. This combination bodes well for his chances in Spain at another podium on the season.

Position #4: Carlos Sainz Jr. – Ferrari

Rounding out the Red Bull and Ferrari tandems, we have Carlos Sainz, who to say the least has had some struggles in recent races. A podium at Miami was a nice start to getting back on track, but that does not negate the two back to back DNFs at Imola and Australia very early in each race. While he has finished on the podium in every race he has completed this year, it is worth noting that he also has two DNFs under his belt like Verstappen does, as well as a straight line disadvantage that Leclerc shares. It seems like Sainz has had struggles getting the hang of things in the new 2022 Ferrari, but when he does have a good handle over the car, he has been phenomenal this year. Another top 5 would add to this and prove he is back from a short run of races not finished.

Position #5: Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo

A potential surprise entry for some, and not a surprise for others, we have Valtteri Bottas. Bottas has been able to finish in the points in every race he has completed this year, which is all but one (Jeddah due to an engine overheating issue). Bottas has also finished P8 or above in every race this season as well, including one top 5 at Imola. Bringing home points for Alfa Romeo after a relatively poor 2021 campaign is extremely promising, and shows the true driving talent of Bottas. He has always been up there during races this year in the mix for good points, and I fully expect him to be a driver to watch for the upcoming race in Spain.

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