The Spanish Grand Prix, first contested over 100 years ago, is one of the oldest motor races in the world. Held frequently throughout the early 20th century, the race was hosted on numerous occasions at the Circuito Lasarte until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The event returned to a new circuit, Pedralbes, in the 1950s. Since 1967, it has retained a spot on the Formula 1 calendar at a variety of venues including Jarama, Jerez and since 1991, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya outside Barcelona. The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, originally scheduled to take place in May, was pushed back to an August date due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was one of many in the 2020 season to take place behind closed doors. In 2021, restrictions on spectator numbers were still in place, with only 1,000 fans able to attend the Grand Prix. At the 2021 event, Lewis Hamilton secured his 100th pole position and went on to take a fifth consecutive Spanish Grand Prix victory.
The Spanish F1 Grand Prix was a favorite of Michael Schumacher, who won the race six times in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lewis Hamilton equaled Schumacher’s Spanish Grand Prix win record in 2021. Other multiple winners of the event include Jackie Stewart, Mika Hakkinen, Nigel Mansell, and Alain Prost, each with three wins apiece. In recent years, the spoils have been more evenly divided. In fact, between 2007-2016, the Spanish Grand Prix was won by ten different drivers! That goes some way to explaining why only three of the current crop of F1 drivers have more than two wins at the circuit. In addition to Hamilton’s six wins, Kimi Raikkonen (2005, 2008) and Fernando Alonso (2006, 2013) have each scored two wins at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Fernando Alonso is Spain’s only Formula 1 champion. He won on home soil three times; twice at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in 2006 and 2013, and once at the Valencia Street Circuit in 2012. Attendance figures soared at the height of Alonso’s success.
Circuit de Catalunya Barcelona also hosts a round of the MotoGP championship. Known as the Catalan Grand Prix, the race has been won five times by Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo. A second Spanish round in Valencia (known as the European Grand Prix) was held for five years between 2008-2012. The Valencia track was due to alternate with Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2013 onwards, but this failed to materialize.
The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix marked the first time in the event’s history, dating back to 2013, that the race had been held in August. It was also the first time F1 raced in Spain in August since the 2009 European Grand Prix. Lella Lombardi is the only woman to have scored a top 6 finish in an F1 World Championship race. She recorded half a point for sixth place in the shortened 1975 Spanish Grand Prix on the treacherous Montjuïc circuit in Barcelona. As well as Pastor Maldonado’s 2012 win being his only win in F1, it also marks the only time a Venezuelan driver has started from the front of the grid, finished on the podium, or won a race. Maldonado is also one of only two Venezuelans to have scored points in the sport, the other being Johnny Cecotto.
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