It’s been an unexpected season for Formula One already, and the recent (not-so-shocking) news of Max Verstappen and Daniil Kyvat swapping cockpits has only pushed the excitement a few notches higher.
With the Spanish Grand Prix around the corner, here are 5 things we are keeping our eyes peeled for!
- Max Verstappen’s maiden podium: It’s only a matter of time, really. Max has all the makings of a future world champion – and with his upgrade to the faster Red Bull cockpit, look out for his podium debut any time now! New teammate Daniel Ricciardo has been honing his skills racing against young drivers (Filipe Massa’s adorable son Filipinho) in anticipation of Max’s arrival
- Fernando Alonso, raring to go: McLaren has had a dismal 2015 and the “GP 2 engine” jokes aren’t likely to die anytime soon (admittedly, they’re funny). But the team powered itself to a double points finish in Russia. Fernando Alonso insists that with the new upgrade at the Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren will be fighting for the podium. Whether this is PR talk in the build-up to his home race remains to be seen – but we’d love to have Fernando back to his champion ways!
- Two men with too much to prove: Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat may be the most demotivated drivers on the grid – or the most motivated, with so much to prove. Sainz was overlooked by Red Bull in favour of his more ‘out there’ teammate Verstappen, while Kvyat was unceremoniously demoted to Torro Rosso. Sainz and Kvyat will no doubt have plenty to prove to their team and the world of racing at large – More so since history tells us that drivers who have been overlooked by Red Bull in the past have all but disappeared into racing oblivion. I am also sure that Sainz and Kvyat will bond over Max Verstappen – perhaps by throwing darts at a picture of his!
- Battle for the championship: It’s been a long time coming this season, but all F1 bets are on the table that Spain is where we will see Lewis stage his first blow in his championship fight back. Nico Rosberg has been on a winning spree, scoring a perfect 100 points from the first four races on the season. Lewis has been dogged with ill luck – I’m sure he’s feverishly praying for luck to be on his side in Spain. The good news is that his off-track time has surely given every other driver on the grid envy!
- All on fire: Sebastian Vettel will be eager to have an incident free race (something that’s been hard to come by for him this season) – and perhaps the solution to that is staying miles away from Daniil Kvyat. Kimi Raikkonen, faced with the reality of an expiring contract at the end of 2016, is driving for his life. Valteri Bottas needs to up his game to trade-up cockpits in 2017 (doesn’t help that teammate Massa is driving the wheels off that Williams). Haas continues to run well, giving the other midfield teams a headache (and much to think about).
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