Formula One

 
              === F1: Can Hamilton make it four wins in a row? ===
 
 Barcelona,  Spain (SportsNetwork.com)  - The  Spanish Grand  Prix is  he fifth
 round  of the  2014 Formula One world championship, but it begins the European
 leg for the racing circuit.
 
 Mercedes  has  been the dominant team  this season, with Nico Rosberg claiming
 the  victory in the season-opener in Australia and then Lewis Hamilton winning
 the next three grand prix -- Malaysia, Bahrain and China. Rosberg has finished
 second in the past three races.
 
 Hamilton  is attempting  to win his fourth straight grand prix, and he's right
 on  track  to accomplish that feat  based on Friday's two practice sessions at
 Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. The Brit topped the time charts in P1 with a
 lap in 1 minute, 27.891 seconds and had the quickest lap again in P2, doing it
 in 1:25.524.
 
 "It's  been a great  day today, and I'm happy to be back in the car after what
 feels  like quite a  long break," Hamilton said. "I can feel the positive step
 forward  that we've made  with the car, so a big thank you to everyone back at
 our factories for all of their hard work since China.
 
 "Our  two  practice sessions today  went very smoothly.  In fact, I've not had
 such  a good Friday  for a very long time. Barcelona is a difficult circuit in
 terms  of the  tires, so our running was  all about trying to see how long the
 tires  would  last. We  we were able  to make some  positive changes with that
 during P2 this afternoon."
 
 Hamilton  has yet  win a race at this 2.892-mile, 16-turn circuit. He finished
 second here in 2007, his rookie season, and in 2011.
 
 Rosberg,  the current  leader in  the  championship standings,  had the  fifth
 quickest lap in P1 and then placed second on the charts in P2.
 
 "It looks like we are very quick again; however, I personally didn't feel very
 comfortable  in  the car  today, especially  as I had  limited running in P1,"
 Rosberg  said.  "We still  have a  lot of  work to  do, and  I will be working
 closely with my engineers to find my perfect setup for the weekend."
 
 One year ago, Rosberg won the pole position for the Spanish GP. Rosberg ran in
 front  for the  first 12  laps before  Spaniard Fernando  Alonso from  Ferrari
 delighted  his home  crowd by taking the lead. Alonso took command from there,
 as  he  crossed the finish  line 9.3 seconds  ahead of his closest competitor,
 Kimi  Raikkonen  from Lotus. Raikkonen  is now  with Ferrari. Rosberg ended up
 finishing sixth.
 
 Hamilton enters Sunday's 66-lap Spanish GP just four points behind Rosberg.
 
 Alonso  is  third in  the standings,  a distant 38  points behind. He finished
 third  in  the April  20 Chinese  GP, giving  Ferrari its  first podium of the
 season. Alonso was fourth in both practice sessions for the Spanish GP.
 
 "There  wasn't  much grip on  track today, and in  general, we struggled a bit
 more,  which was  down to a series  of factors, including the track being less
 rubbered-in  than  usual,"  Alonso  said.  "On  top  of  that,  we  have  less
 aerodynamic  downforce  than in the  past, and in  my opinion, the tire choice
 here  is too conservative for this track. Now we face a lot of work to try and
 optimize  the  balance of  the car  and get  the most  out of  it, even if the
 circumstances are not that favorable to us."
 
 Alonso  leads all  active drivers with seven podium appearances in the Spanish
 GP. His first victory here came in 2006 when he drove for Renault.
 
 The  start of this weekend for four-time defending F1 world champion Sebastian
 Vettel  was not a  good one, as the Red Bull driver made only four laps during
 P1  due to  an electrical  problem. The  issue continued  throughout the  day,
 forcing Vettel to sit out P2.
 
 "We  had  a simple failure  in one  of the looms  this morning, which caused a
 short  and meant the  car stopped," Vettel said. "We had to change the chassis
 loom,  which is  a big job, so I  wasn't able to go out this afternoon. It's a
 small failure but a big consequence. There was nothing new on that part of the
 car. It was something new that happened in that area."
 
 Vettel's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was third quickest in both sessions.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, May 11. Race: Spanish Grand Prix. Site:
 Circuit de Catalunya. Track: 2.892-mile (4.655-kilometer), 16-turn road
 course. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 66. Miles: 190.825 (307.104 km). 2013
 Winner: Fernando Alonso. Television: NBC Sports Network.
 
 05/09 18:12:51 ET

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