Columns Motorsport Trentham Sleaves

2014 Spanish GP preview

Article image

F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks forwards to this weekend’s race.

trenthamsleaves1I’m afraid I could never agree with those who accuse the Spanish Grand Prix of being boring. Perhaps those people have never strolled through the paddock at the legendary Circuit de Catalunya, saying hello to Sir Jackie Stewart and soaking up the unique atmosphere as the mechanics prepare for the gruelling race in the Barcelona sunshine. If they had done this, as I have many times, perhaps they would not call the race boring.

Barcelona certainly seemed far from boring last night as I dined alone at the famous Ano del Cerdo restaurant. This place is a legend amongst those within Formula 1 and its walls could tell many stories that I could not repeat here. As I was stepped through its battered doors into the balmy Barcelona evening, I saw none other than my old mate Mika Hakkinen ambling past with some friends. Mika often seemed serious during his F1 days but for those of us who know him well he has a wicked sense of humour, as he demonstrated last night in reply to my eventual success in attracting his attention. ‘Oh please fuck off,’ he quipped and walked off into the crowds! What a true legend.

Of course, here in Barca all eyes are on local hero, Fernando Alonso. I have known the man from Oviedo for a long time and rarely seen him with such focus. As a I approached him for a chat in the paddock yesterday afternoon, he pushed me out of the way and barked ‘no autographs’. An interesting hint of his new drive and determination at Ferrari.

Who will win out here in the Catalan sunshine? Well Alonso surely wants that top step but you would be unwise to bet against Hamilton unless you took a punt on Rosberg though Ricciardo has the power to surprise and Vettel is more determined than ever but be prepared for Hulkenberg and Bottas to do something special. Whatever the result, it’s sure to be a gripping race and, as ever, I’ll be trackside to report on the action. Because remember, I’m here and you aren’t.