The F1 juggernaut has arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya for the first European race of the 2016 season with Nico Rosberg sitting comfortable at the top of the Drivers' World Championship with four wins in the first four races. The German driver dominated last season's race in Spain taking pole and victory and will be keen to continue his momentum this season and extend his lead over Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton has had four races fraught with problems with the car and on the track. The reigning champion has suffered a series of problems in the recent past and will be hoping for one clean weekend to chase Rosberg in the championship. Ferrari have been equally troubled, but their problems seem to stem from bad luck and poor team management.
The Spanish Grand Prix is always highly anticipated as the track layout and conditions give quite a good understanding of the pecking order and performance levels of each team. All the teams have a good understanding of the track due to extensive testing that takes place during pre-season, with some bringing track specific updates for their cars.
The Circuit de Catalunya has seen nine different drivers win in the last ten races; will we see a different winner with one of the Ferrari cars stepping up their performance this season? Or will it be a battle between the Mercedes duo as it was last season.
The biggest development ahead of this race, however, has been the demotion of Daniil Kvyat from Red Bull to Toro Rosso and the promotion of Max Verstappen in the other direction. The Dutch youngster, who has impressed everyone in the paddock with his abilities will be the driver to lookout for over the race weekend.
Where to watch live
The first practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix starts at 9am BST, with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live coverage in the UK. Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website.
Live coverage of the second practice session starts at 1pm BST.
- Circuit name: Circuit De Barcelona - Catalunya
- First F1 Race: 1991
- Circuit length: 4.655kms
- Number of laps: 66
- Race distance: 307.104kms
- Lap record: 1:21.670 Kimi Raikkonen (2008)
- Most wins: Michael Schumacher (6)
- 2015 winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- 2015 pole: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Drivers' Championship review
Nico Rosberg (100 points) leads teammate Lewis Hamilton by 43 points after a perfect start in the first four races of the season. He has already built a healthy lead and is favourite for the title this season. Kimi Raikkonen (43 points) is third, and will be delighted to be ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel (33 points), who has had his share of bad luck after two DNF's in two out of the four races this campaign.
Daniel Ricciardo (36 points) is in fourth place ahead of the German Ferrari driver after a good start by the Red Bull Racing team, who are not as bad as first feared by Christian Horner. Vettel will be hoping for a clean race at the Circuit de Catalunya, in the hope of catching his teammate and mounting a challenge for the Mercedes drivers.
Constructors' Championship review
Mercedes have already built an 81-point lead over second placed Ferrari with one-two finishes in two races thus far as the Maranello-based team failed to finish both cars in three out of the four races. Red Bull Racing (57 points) are in third place, but Williams have closed the gap to just six points after the Austrian team failed to score points at the previous race in Russia. McLaren (10 points) are in seventh after a confidence boosting result in the previous race when Fernando Alonso finished in sixth place.