Meet VW's SA-bound baby SUV, the T-Cross

A disguised prototype of the T-Cross, VW's new baby crossover SUV, is being tested on public roads.

WATCH: Bentley's new 467kW Continental GT

The new third-gen Bentley Continental GT boasts 467kW, 900Nm and a top speed of 333km/h.

Hamilton braces for Spanish GP duel

2014-05-08 08:12


ALL FIRED UP: F1 driver Lewis Hamilton hopes he can keep his winning streak at the upcoming 2014 Spanish GP this weekend. Image: AP

BARCELONA, Spain - Formula 1's 2014 European season will open in Spain from (May 9-11) with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton ready to wrestle the championship lead from Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton has never won a Spanish GP but, after racking up three successive victories for the first time, the 2008 Drivers' champion can break boundaries at the Catalunya track on Sunday (May 11).

He said: "I'm in a good place right now and I hope this will be the year. The circuit is fantastic, our car has performed well so far and, I'm really looking forward to a good race.


Hamilton is four points behind Rosberg who leads the championship despite winning three races to his team mate's one - he retired at the 2014 Australian GP and earned zero points. Rosberg won the first race and was second in the next three.

Rosberg was on pole in Spain in 2013 but has never won there.

Barcelona, Round 5 the 19-race 2014 season will end in Abu Dhabi in November 2014, could also see the first big shake-up of the pecking order after the opening races in Asia and the Middle East.

The return to the sport's European roots, and its most fervent fans, will see the teams back in their palatial paddock motor homes and represents something of a fresh start.

All teams plan to bring upgrades and Renault, which powers Red Bulll, is confident it can bring much more to the party after a difficult start to the 2014 season.

Remi Taffin, Renault's head of track operations, said: "There are significant improvements to the software that should further enhance driveability and overall performance.

"With three weeks between China and Spain we've made huge progress and this race might show that the 'engine race' is a lot closer."

If that is the case, then predictions that Mercedes will run away with the season could be premature.


Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won in Spain in 2013 from fifth on the grid and will arrive in Barcelona buoyed by his first podium appearance of the season in China in April when he finished third and way ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Alonso, who won his home race with Renault in 2006, can expect an improved car and huge support from the local crowd but Mercedes has not been standing still.

The dominant team, which has taken every pole position so far and won every race, has also been working flat-out to make its cars even better.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said: "Our aim must be to increase the advantage we enjoyed in China.

"If we are to build a sustained level of success any small advantage must be seen as a platform on which to build a bigger advantage."

While Hamilton and Rosberg have been out on their own so far the gap between the rest of the midfield pack has been far closer and that pecking order could be in for a reshuffle in Barcelona.

The question is: Which of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Williams will make the biggest step?

Rob Smedley, head of vehicle dynamics at Williams, whose solid results so far have only hinted at the car's potential, said: "Spain is a good leveller. We have a big step coming in all areas of the cars."

McLaren hasn't scored a point in its previous two outings despite a strong start in Australia and has dropped to fifth overall. This team also hopes a corner has been turned.

McLaren team principal Eric Boullier explained: "We know the areas where our package falls short and we've taken steps - short-term and long-term - to address them. While not all of those will be in evidence in Barcelona they will mark the start of a fresh push and spirit within the whole organisation."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Spanish F1 GP weekend.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.