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Idling Hot in Barcelona

Aug 17, 2007
Followers of the 2007 International Grand Prix were treated to yet another great race this past weekend in Barcelona, Spain's Circuit de Catalunya, as 144,000 spectators watched what was expected to be a ho-hum race, not due to F1's exciting race car drivers or because rising Formula One Racing rookie Lewis Hamilton, driving in his fourth F1 race for 2007, but because this particular racing circuit just doesn't pack the punch of excitement that other F1 racing circuits do.

The racing circuit just north of Barcelona, runs just shy of three miles, and contains thirteen turns. Built in 1991, this particular F1 racetrack also shares its turf as home to a yearly motorcycle Grand Prix as well. With the tight turns and long stretches of asphalt in three lengths of the course, the circuit should provide plenty of action for experienced drivers, but such is not the case. The course is routinely used for practice runs and both world-team drivers and their mechanics are extremely familiar with it, thereby spoiling the possibility of daring passes and unexpected moves on the part of drivers. The design of the course makes passing extremely difficult, and the first turn in the course is about the only place along the entire circuit where cars can actually pass one another.

Nevertheless, the 2007 Barcelona Grand Prix offered spectators a display of breath-catching excitement, or disappointment, depending on how each fan decided to take it, when Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso played bumper cars for several breathtaking seconds as they rounded the first turn, and it was there that Alonso lost his bid to win the fourth race in the Grand Prix circuit for 2007. The growing popularity of Lewis Hamilton, who had finished in the top three in the last three GP races, prompted fans, not only at the racetrack, but watching on televisions around the world, to wonder if he could keep up his streak of luck and place in the top three once again.

Against all odds, it appears that Lewis Hamilton is determined to stay near the top. He finished second at Barcelona, and is now the first rookie to lead the World Championship in his first season. Felipe Massa, racing for Ferrari, took first, while Hamilton took second, followed by his teammate, Fernando Alonso, who took third.

Hamilton broke another record in this last race: He's become the youngest driver to lead an F1 Grand Prix championship, and fans around the world are cheering for the fresh-faced youngster with the beaming smile. The question of his performance in next week's infamous Monaco Grand Prix remains to be seen, and that is whether Hamilton can win or place driving his Formula One through the most famous racecourse in the world.

While Barcelona offered the Grand Prix, it also offered a wealth of opportunities for the thousands who arrived in the sun-baked city for the weekend, including narrow streets filled with history, shopping and some of the finest eating establishments in the world. The Old City vies with the New City in attractions, landmarks, hotels and restaurants that beckon to different tastes and budgets. Travelers arriving at Barcelona's El Prat de Llobregat airport, less than 10 miles from the city center are able to connect with trains, buses or taxis to take them to museums, art galleries and hotels scattered throughout the city. The white sands of the Mediterranean are less than three miles away, and offer plenty of sunshine and relaxation for those who wish to wind down from pound of engines and scorched rubber produced at Catalunya.

Whether you come to Barcelona for the Formula One Grand Prix, the attractions, or the warm sunshine, world visitors are guaranteed to be treated to delights that will endear this ancient city to their hearts for years to come.
About the Author
For Barcelona visitors Tribune produce a series of on-line travel guides, including reviews of Barcelona hotels and for closeby holiday island Menorca, Menorca property , and for the winter ski enthusiast visiting from Barcelona, an Andorra map
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