2024 Spanish Grand Prix preview: timings, how to watch, and more

18th June 2024
Rachel Roberts

After the Canadian Grand Prix delivered plenty of thrills and spills, Formula 1 now returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix, the first of a triple-header. Max Verstappen’s cool head saw him claim his sixth victory from nine races, ahead of Lando Norris and George Russell. While McLaren continued its strong run of form, Mercedes has us wondering whether its resurgence was a one-off or a sign of things to come.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya offers an all-encompassing test of low and high-speed corners, but is not renowned for its overtaking opportunities. It was the venue for Max Verstappen’s first F1 win in 2016, when he made history as the youngest driver to win a grand prix and the first ever dutchman, on his debut for Red Bull. Fast-forward to today and the three-time world champion will be targeting his 61st grand prix victory.

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Hot topics ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix  

Verstappen’s win in Montréal put a dampener on any hopes we had of a title battle. The championship leader has re-established a gap at the top of the table – 56 points ahead of Charles Leclerc. The upcoming triple-header of Spain, Austria, and Great Britain is, on paper, a very favourable run for Red Bull, whose car works best on high-speed circuits. Maximum points will be the target for a team trying to re-establish its dominance.

For Sergio Pérez, however, a DNF in Monaco followed by an anonymous 16th place finish in Canada has been a wretched way to celebrate signing a new Red Bull contract. It’s a run of form compounded by a three-place grid penalty he’ll serve in Spain for driving back to the pits in what the stewards decided was an unsafe car. It may have been a team move to try to prevent a safety car from jeopardising Verstappen’s win, but the team need to be able to rely on him more if he’s to repay the trust of his new contract. He’ll certainly be hoping this trio of races can bring in a change of fortunes.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have consistently delivered for McLaren in 2024. Since Norris’ maiden win in Miami, the papaya pair achieved back-to-back two-four finishes at Emilia-Romagna and Monaco, and a two-five finish in Canada. Contrast this to the up and down form of Ferrari, and it’s no surprise Norris is now only seven points behind Leclerc in the drivers’ championship. The Italian team suffered a double DNF in Montréal, with Leclerc retiring due to an engine problem and Sainz ending his race in an incident with Alex Albon.

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The pressure is on for Sainz at his home race this weekend as we await news of his whereabouts for 2025. It appears likely he will sign for Williams, but he’ll want to make a decision soon, particularly as new talents are making their presence felt in the F1 paddock. Ferrari F2 driver Oliver Bearman has already filled in for Sainz at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix back in March, and scored six points on his F1 debut. This weekend Bearman will be in the Haas garage and will drive in FP1. Another youngster pushing for a seat is fellow F2 driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli. The 17-year-old has been linked to a Mercedes seat in 2025, and it would seem that work is already underway behind the scenes to get Antonelli into F1 at the earliest possible opportunity.

As for Mercedes, Montréal saw a huge turnaround in performance, with Russell securing pole in qualifying but rueing costly mistakes throughout the race. In the end he finished third, winning the battle for position with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth. Upgrades served them well last weekend, and this spell of European races may mean there’s more to come for the Silver Arrows.

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When can I watch the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix?

Action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya begins on Friday, with Free Practice 1 at 12:30 UK time (13:30 local time), followed by Free Practice 2 at 16:00 (17:00). Saturday sees the final practice session commence at 11:30 (12:30) ahead of qualifying at 15:00 (16:00). Lights out for the Spanish Grand Prix is at 14:00 (15:00) on Sunday 23rd June.

How to watch the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Sky Sports retains exclusive rights to all live coverage of F1 in the UK. Every session of the Spanish Grand Prix will be shown live and uninterrupted on Sky Sports F1.

US viewers can catch all the action on ESPN, and Australian audiences can watch on Kayo Sports. The F1 TV Pro app will also provide coverage of every F1 session across the weekend to several countries the world over.

Which series are supporting in Spain?

F1 will be joined in Spain by both  Formula 2 and Formula 3, as well as F1 Academy. A third-place finish in Monaco was enough for Paul Aron to sit at the top of the F2 standings, but opened the door for second-place finisher Isack Hadjar to close the gap to just two points. In F3, Gabriele Minì leads the way after securing victory in Monaco. Luke Browning follows in the championship by just four points, aided by earning the final podium spot at Monte Carlo.

Barcelona is only the third round of the F1 Academy season, but Abbi Pulling is already stretching out a lead at the top of the drivers’ championship having won both races last time out in Miami. She now has a 34-point lead over the only other race winner so far, Doriane Pin.


Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

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