DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 6th
“I’m happy to be back on the podium today, it’s the first one of the season for me which is nice but actually the race was quite a lonely one. I didn’t have any real battles and my race was more about trying to keep a rhythm and maintain concentration. I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri’s problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I’m still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team. Today we will enjoy the podium but tomorrow we need to understand how to further close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes. I want to take the positives from this weekend, we will keep working hard and chipping away. I don’t think it’s impossible to catch the leaders at some point, maybe it will take a little longer than we had hoped but we will get there. I think I got the maximum out of the car today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step, and at that track it’s fair to say anything can happen.”

MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 5th
“An unfortunate start to the race which ultimately finished it also. I tried to go around the outside as there was plenty of room there. If Valtteri had not touched Kimi, we all would have had enough room to get through that corner. Due to the contact it meant Kimi lost control and slammed into me, but it wasn’t his fault. Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don’t as we can see this year. It was shame to not be able to take part in the race after the incident as I think with this weekend’s upgrades it could have been fun and we could have got a good result. After an unfortunate race for me it’s important to focus and look ahead to Monaco, I’m hoping we can continue to improve and have a good fight there.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “Daniel drove a good race today, quite a lonely race for him and unfortunately we didn’t have the pace to go with the leaders but we obviously benefitted from Bottas’ retirement for him to record his first podium of the year which was great to see. Max made a good start and after committing to the outside of turn one he was the unfortunate victim of Valtteri hitting Kimi who in turn went into him and broke his front suspension causing his retirement, a great shame for him. Looking at the weekend as a whole, we’ve definitely put some performance on the car, as we have done after every race this season but we are well aware we’ve still got a lot to do. Now we look ahead to the most prestigious race on the calendar in Monaco and hope we can continue the performance trend and put in a positive show there.”



Nobuharu Matsushita put himself in the driver’s seat to collect victory in this morning’s Sprint Race at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona with a solid, mature drive to P2 in the opening stages before a mistake by race leader Nicholas Latifi gave the McLaren development driver a clean run through for his first win since last year’s sprint race in Monaco, ahead of DAMS teammates Oliver Rowland and Latifi.

The race opened under clear and warm conditions, and when the lights went out polesitter Artem Markelov bogged down, with P3 starter Latifi making an incredible start to easily lead front row starter Gustav Malja, Matsushita, Luca Ghiotto, Alexander Albon, Rowland, Jordan King and Charles Leclerc past the fuming Russian and into turn one. A few corners later Nyck De Vries and Antonio Fuoco came together and spun in unison, prompting the safety car to make an appearance.

Latifi easily controlled the lap 2 restart before setting off down the road, putting himself safely out of DRS range in the process, while Leclerc started his move up the timesheets with a clean run through King at turn one, with Markelov following in his wake. The Monegasque driver was soon recommencing battle with former GP3 rival Albon, forcing both men forward: Ghiotto was quickly dispatched by the pair, while ahead of them Matsushita and Rowland claimed Malja’s scalp on lap 14 as they put themselves on the podium.

With 6 laps to go Leclerc’s constant pressure finally paid off: Albon’s tyres were shot and he was simply unable to defend anymore when the Ferrari Academy man blasted past at turn one and into the distance, passing Malja a lap later. Out in front Latifi had built a 3.5 second lead, but a moment’s distraction when his mirror detached saw the Canadian run wide, with Matsushita needing no further invitation to blast past and teammate Rowland carefully ensuring the pair didn’t come together as he followed the Japanese driver.

Matsushita flew away, building a 3.3 second lead over Rowland by the time the chequered flag dropped for him, with a gutted Latifi at least bringing home another podium for the team behind the Briton. Leclerc brought home more points for his title fight in P4 ahead of King, who had saved his tyres and sliced through his rivals on the closing laps for 5th ahead of Malja, who just denied Ghiotto on the line, with Albon limping home with the final point for P8.

Leclerc leads the way in the Drivers’ Championship after Round 2 on 73 points, ahead of Rowland on 47, Ghiotto on 38, Markelov on 34, Matsushita on 31 and Latifi on 28 points, while PREMA Racing and DAMS share the honours at the top of the Teams’ Championship on 75 points ahead of RUSSIAN TIME on 72, ART Grand Prix on 52 and MP Motorsport on 26 points as the grid turns its attention to the next round of the championship, in Monaco on 25-27 May.

F1Weekly podcast # 726


NICO JAMIN: I started racing quite late, when I was 15, by seeing my father driving in Europe. Before trying to become a racing champion, I had the ambition to become a tennis professional. I played tennis for 12 years (from 3 to 15 years old), then I had knee problems which forced me to stop. Then I discovered racing and that’s my new target – to become an IndyCar champion in a few years by growing up through the Mazda Road to Indy. Apart from that, I’m an ambitious and competitive driver. I’m always concentrating on my goal during a race weekend, but I like having laughs with my friends when I have the occasion!

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Jack Aitken emerged on top of this morning’s season-opening qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, finding a gap in traffic and soaring to pole in the closing minutes of the session to deny teammate Nirei Fukuzumi and Dorian Boccolacci by just over a tenth.

The Briton squeezed onto the top of the timesheets with a stunning lap of 1:34.187, nailing his lap at just the right time to claim the first GP3 pole position of 2017 in a qualifying session that saw the times tumble throughout the 30 minute period, right up until the chequered flag.

The session opened to dry and sunny conditions, with all of the grid heading straight out on track to make the most of them. Giuliano Alesi set the first competitive time, with his rivals soon on the attack: Santino Ferrucci, Boccolacci, Aitken and Fukuzumi all spent time on the top spot before Boccolacci laid down a challenge just before everyone returned to the pits for fresh tyres, giving his rivals one last time to target.

The field re-emerged for the final 10 minutes and built up enough heat in the tyres for a final push: in the final 2 minutes George Russell struck before ART teammate Aitken displaced him in P1, with first Boccolacci and then Fukuzumi slotting in just behind him as the clock rolled down to zero.

Russell, Leonardo Pulcini, Arjun Maini, Alesi and Alessio Lorandi all improved on their final lap to fill out the top 8, with 15 drivers finishing the session within a second of the pole time: the battle recommences in this afternoon’s race 1.



Charles Leclerc has topped this morning’s free practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, setting the pace early on to grab the top spot despite close pressure in a busy session from Alexander Albon and Sergio Sette Camara.
The Ferrari Driver Academy man topped the timesheets with a lap of 1:29.974 a third of the way through the session, making the most of the warm and sunny conditions to grab P1 by just 0.042s from the Thai driver, reigniting last year’s GP3 title fight as the pair looked towards this afternoon’s vital qualifying session.
With the session opening under glorious conditions the teams wasted no time in getting their drivers on track, looking for any new information they could glean at a circuit where small margins will make a substantial difference, given the amount of testing time at the track they all have under their belts.
The Rapax pair of Johnny Cecotto and Nyck De Vries set the early pace, soon to be dispossessed by Nobuharu Matsushita and Artem Markelov, but when Albon set the pace in sectors 1 and 2 for the top time it looked like he had claimed the honours. But Leclerc grabbed them away a few minutes later with a clean lap of his own: the Monegasque driver didn’t top any sectors, but was close in the first 2 sectors and faster than the ART driver in the final one to nab the glory, with the remainder of the session assigned to race simulation work.
Behind the top three Jordan King, Louis Deletraz, Markelov, De Vries and Norman Nato were all within a second of the top spot and will be looking for more in this afternoon’s qualifying session, to be run in a just a few hours’ time.



A year on from the stunning Spanish Grand Prix drive, the young Dutchman returns to Barcelona for another crack at the tricky and technically demanding Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In this video guide to the circuit, Max explains just what the 2017 cars’ greater downforce will mean for cornering speed, how will lap time be affected, why Turn 4 is “never a perfect corner” and why, for him, it’s Turn 9 that provides that provides the biggest thrills.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast