The European Grand Prix at Valencia this weekend sees us firmly in the middle third of the season.
It is around this time that teams will have adjusted to updates that were introduced to their cars in the last couple of races. They will know pretty much where they are good and where they are lacking.
It is also about this time that teams are expected to have a firmer handle on getting the most from their tyres.
This means that we should see the big four teams - Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes - start to assert themselves more.
With more understanding of what they need to work on, they can concentrate their greater resources and this - usually - means that they start to pull away from the rest of the pack.
But as we have found out, this season is unusual and it will be interesting to see if the other teams that have been on the podium this year, namely Lotus, Williams and Sauber, can keep pace or even go on to win a race - in Williams case, a second win.
Valencia is a street track similar to those in Canada and Monaco, the venue of the previous two races. It differs slightly in that cars can reach high speeds on the street track with fast sweeping corners through the third sector.
This used to be Red Bull territory and they have won the last two European GPs. But this year I do not see any team having a particular advantage as the other teams have caught up with Red Bull with regard to aero efficiency and medium- to high-speed downforce.
If you want to look for indicators, you would look to the tyres and hot weather expected in Spain. The soft-and-medium tyre, which was last used in Bahrain, will be used. The weather should be similar, too, which means Red Bull and Lotus will look good.
We also saw how good tyre wear was with Lotus and Sauber and, with teams expecting to do one or two stops, this will play into their hands a bit. Still, McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari are also not too bad with the tyre management now.
Let's also not discount Mercedes. Although they have not consistently been as good as the others with tyre wear, especially in hot conditions, Schumacher was on pole in Monaco.
If anyone of the Mercedes drivers put it on pole in Valencia, I expect they will find a way to keep on top of tyre wear to control from the front to get another win. It's not a track that is easy to overtake on and it is easier to control the pace from the front, ala Mark Webber at Monaco.
I do expect a clean race from the front runners, though, because while it is getting to the busy part of the year, failing to finish a race will not be good at this point and all the championship contenders need to rack up points and stay in the mix.
I would not be surprised to see an eighth different winner for Round Eight this weekend.
My personal feeling, though, is that Ferrari with Alonso will be the man to beat this weekend. It's home turf for the Spaniard and Ferrari really do have a competitive car now.
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