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Barcelona’s newly built permanent facility that replaced the perilous Montjuic Park welcomed F1 two weeks after opening its gates in 1991 and promptly gave the world one of the most unforgettable spectacles in motorsport—Mansell and Senna rushing side by side with sparks flying in a high-speed game of who will brake first into turn 1. With its unique combination of long straights, elevation changes, hard braking zones, and a wide variety of slow, medium, and fast bends, Barcelona is guaranteed to show up any deficit in a driver’s technique or a car’s handling. That and the balmy climate makes this one of the world’s most important motorsport venues for both testing and racing. But just beware of your grid position here: passing cleanly is always a challenge and making a pass stick into turn 1 is a move you’re going to want to watch again and again in slowmo.


They’ve been motor-mad in south-west Spain since back in the 1950s, but it was only in the mid-’80s that gearheads finally got the kind of permanent race facility that their passion deserved. It was worth the wait. The first F1 race here saw Senna beat Mansell by the closest (then) margin in history—0.14s!—and you’ll understand why once you get accustomed to the narrow and challenging layout. This is a relatively flat, smooth, and technical stretch of tarmac that leaves precious few overtaking opportunities. With 13 turns, it’s also simple to learn your way around, but the variety of apex speeds and difficult braking zones makes practice here crucial—the secret to a good lap time is finding the groove and your rhythm. The secret to a successful pass, meanwhile, is a lot more complicated than that.

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