Some 278,000 fans filled the grandstands as Formula One kicked off its European leg of the season at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya may feel like a second home to us Formula One teams, but a lot happened on our weekend in Spain – here's what we learned.
Baking in Barcelona
We suspected we'd need our sunglasses in Barcelona, but everyone was surprised that the heat from Miami followed F1 over the Atlantic.
Every session this weekend was scorching, from FP1 when the track temperature hit the high 40°Cs, to the race when the mercury peaked at 51.2°C
Those who thought pre-season testing might've helped the teams understand what to expect might not have counted on the searing heat.
The Pirelli tyres had to withstand a surface that was often twice as hot as the 7°C-31°C temperatures seen back in February.
We had a case of two Nick's in FP1 – well, nearly, anyway – as Nyck de Vries enjoyed his first Formula One session by driving the Williams FW44.
The Formula E champion swapped his Mercedes-EQ electric power for some F1 hybrid action and looked right at home.
With each team mandated to run at least two FP1 sessions with rookie drivers this year, we were delighted to see Nyck join Nicky in Barcelona as the Dutchman jumped in Alex's car on Friday.
Nyck quickly got familiar with his first-ever experience of current-generation Formula One machinery by setting a very respectable best lap of 1:22.920, which was good enough for P18.
Pit stops aplenty
The searing temperatures meant any tyre strategy predictions of a standard Spanish two-stopper soon sizzled away.
Most of the field chose a three-stop strategy, including Nicky, and Albono came by our Williams mechanics for fresh rubber four times.
Of the eighteen finishers, just four managed to do so with two trips through the pit lane to swap out their Pirellis.
The high number of pit stops surprised many of you playing Pit Wall Predictions, too – just 18% of players correctly predicted Nicky would pit 3+ times, and only 3.5% got it right with Alex.
Find out your results
See how you fared against other fans in the latest round of Pit Wall Predictions, presented by Gulf.
What's quick and red all over?
Since Australia, Alex Albon has been the most-talked-about redhead in the paddock – sorry, Geri!
It should be no surprise that some wished to emulate the Thai driver's new look and go red themselves, at least temporarily.
Fortunately, Alex had just the thing to satisfy that demand with the exclusive Albonos barbershop that popped up at the Barcelona paddock.
Alex showcased how multi-talented he is by giving boss Jost Capito and Sky F1 commentator Crofty fresh new looks – you may have even spotted the FW44 with a splash of red this weekend.
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