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After rain washing out the San Marino Grand Prix and making the Monaco GP a bit of a mess, surely Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be a dry affair for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix? Well, as it turns out, rain is forecast for all three days in Catalunya, meaning we could once again be given the spectacle of teams being caught not knowing which tire to run and drivers scrambling to stay on the circuit.

As it stands, things look much similar to how they ended at Monte Carlo, as Max Verstappen topped the timing charts after the second practice, navigating the 14-turn, 2.894-mile circuit in 1 minute, 13.907 seconds. Fernando Alonso is proving that Aston Martin is not going to go away, and that he is aiming to give his home race race a thrill with a time that was only 0.170 seconds off Verstappen. 

There were three surprises out of the second practice, the first being the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg being third quickest, and the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. only sixth and seventh fastest. The Ferraris are sporting new side pods that, according to team principal Frederic Vasseur, are "not a complete change," but will be something they can build off of in the future.

"It's not a new car," Vasseur told "We are making a step forward. We are opening some doors for the development for the future."

Finally, Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes looks to be a bit of a handful as he managed only 11th fastest on Friday.

"It's a struggle for me currently to get into the top 10, but hopefully we'll do some changes overnight," Hamilton told "… It's impressive to see all the improvements that everyone seems to have made all around us. 

Teammate George Russell, who ended Friday as eighth fastest, was just the bit more optimistic as well.

"We know that we're not Friday specialists and we often take a bit of a step forward on Saturday and Sunday," Russell said. "… I think a lot of people are bringing updates to the car, we weren't expecting to suddenly set the world on fire, and we just need to learn what we can from the info we've got and try and move forward tomorrow. … It's not going to be easy, that's for sure."

Something to keep in mind is that Pirelli brought a prototype tire for the teams to test, along with the regular set of softs, mediums and hard-compound tires, so some of the practice speeds out of the opening pair of practices may be a reflection of that.

Saturday will have another practice in the morning, but the teams will likely be in qualifying trim for that morning session.

How to watch the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain

  • Date: Sunday, June 4
  • Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2.894-mile (4.657km), 14-turn circuit
  • Time: 8.55 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes
  • Stream: fuboTV (try for free)

What to watch for

Aerodynamic efficiency is key to going fast at Barcelona, a circuit the teams will be well prepared for as it is a popular testing venue during the offseason. In fact, a few teams will be staying on after the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix to conduct a tire test for Pirelli, one of those teams being Mercedes, who are going to flip the keys to Mick Schumacher for the test to give him some seat time in the W14.

Pirelli will supply two sets of the hard compound tires (whites), three sets of the mediums (yellows) and eight sets of the softs (reds) along with a "green" intermediate tire and new rain tires. With a 40% chance of rain forecast for all three days we may get to see those new rain tires first laps in earnest.

There are only two DRS zones for the race with the first coming between Turns 8 and 9, and the second just at the entrance to the final turn before the circuit returns to the front straight, one of the fastest on the calendar.

A good place to figure out who has the right setup and who doesn't is the sweeping Turn 3 section. If the balance of the car is spot-on, drivers can handle this right-hander with aplomb. If it's off, they will not only be slow here but slow everywhere on the track.

As for pit stops,  Verstappen made three in winning the race last year, so expect much the same this time around. The pit window opens for the first time around Lap 13 and again around Lap 28 and the final around Lap 44.