The Spanish Grand Prix has delivered some memorable races at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the past 27 years. Here’s six of the best.
1991: Senna vs Mansell
The inaugural race at Barcelona’s new circuit will be remembered for an incredible wheel-to-wheel duel between two titans of the sport, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna. In difficult conditions on a drying track, Mansell lined up a pass on the Brazilian as they raced the full length of the Main Straight just inches apart. Sparks flew from both cars at more than 300kph, but Mansell had the inside line and inched ahead before going on to win the race. Watch the highlights.
1996: First Ferrari win for Schumacher
The 1996 Ferrari F310 wasn’t the prettiest, or fastest F1® car that Schumacher drove in his illustrious career. But the torrential rain that fell during the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix brought the field closer together and allowed Schumacher to show off the wet-weather skills that saw him nicknamed “Regenmeister” (Rain Master). At one point during the race, Schumacher was lapping four seconds faster than his nearest rivals and by the end, only the podium finishers remained on the lead lap. This masterclass from the German was the first of his incredible 72 wins for Ferrari over the next eleven seasons.
2001: Heartbreak for Hakkinen
Mika Hakkinen was on-track for a first victory of the season at the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix when his McLaren died within sight of the chequered flag. Leading by 42 seconds going into the final lap, Hakkinen’s car suffered a clutch failure. Inheriting a fortunate win, Michael Schumacher was quick to offer his thoughts to the unlucky Finn: "I feel very sorry for Mika. We had a very entertaining race and then he jumped me at the last pit stop. It reminds me of the old days, last year, and seeing him retiring on the last lap, five corners from the end or whatever, it's just, I mean, it's shocking.”
2012: Maldonado Wins!
Driving in only his second Formula 1® season, Pastor Maldonado took a shock victory for Williams at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. Starting from pole position, the Venezuelan lost the lead to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on the opening lap, but benefitted from good strategic calls by Williams to leapfrog the Spaniard at the first round of pit stops and win on merit. Maldonado looks highly unlikely to add to his F1® win tally after leaving the sport at the end of the 2015 season, while Williams is still searching for another win six years later.
2013: Alonso’s last F1® win
Fernando Alonso’s second victory at home (he also won for Renault in 2006) was a hard-fought affair for the local hero. Starting fifth on the grid for Ferrari, Alonso moved up to third on lap one, memorably passing Lewis Hamilton around the outside of Turn 3 in the process. Alonso jumped Sebastian Vettel in the first round of pit stops and then passed Nico Rosberg into Turn 1 for the lead, going on to record his 32nd Formula 1® victory. Five years later, the Spaniard is still waiting for his next victory. Watch the highlights.
2016: Max Benefits from Mercedes Misfortune
Heading into the third year of the modern hybrid era, Mercedes still had the most dominant car by some margin. Lewis Hamilton started from pole for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, but team mate Nico Rosberg grabbed the lead around the outside into the first corner. Seeing an opportunity to get past into Turn 4, Hamilton attempted to take the inside line from Rosberg but the German shut the door, forcing the Brit off the track. An out of control Hamilton then crashed into his team mate, forcing the two leading cars off the track and out of the race. Max Verstappen benefitted from Mercedes’ misfortune to take his maiden win, becoming the youngest ever Formula 1® race winner, aged 18 years and 228 days. Watch the highlights.