Magnificent Maldonado victorious in Spain

Pastor Maldonado becomes the fifth driver in five races to win in Formula One with an incredible drive in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Venezuelan resisted huge pressure from home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso in the late stages of the race to take his maiden victory and return Williams back to the top step of the podium since 2004.

Despite making the better getaway at the start and leading the early stages of the race, Alonso had to settle with second for Ferrari.

Completing the podium is Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. Team-mate Romain Grosjean finished in fourth position ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull.

Alonso had taken the lead at the start by beating Maldonado into the first corner, and then inched into a three-second lead during the first stint, as they pulled clear of the rest of the field.

But the combination of a stunning out-lap by Maldonado and Alonso getting stuck behind Charles Pic’s Marussia on his in-lap saw the Williams leapfrog the Ferrari at the second pit-stops, and then storm away for a few laps until seven seconds clear.

Alonso then started coming back at Maldonado, getting the gap down to 4.2 seconds before the Williams had a slightly slow final pit-stop with a left-rear issue.

A few laps behind Raikkonen, who was running much further before his final pit-stop, meant the leaders were absolutely nose-to-tail going into the closing laps as both tried to keep their tyres intact.

For a while it looked inevitable that Maldonado would succumb to Alonso’s pressure, but it was the Ferrari that started to lose pace in the final stages, and the lead gap began to increase again – allowing Maldonado to take a very unexpected victory by 3.1 seconds.

Raikkonen’s fresher tyres allowed him to gain on the leaders at a ferocious rate as the race neared its end, but he ran out of laps to catch Alonso, finishing six tenths of a second adrift.

Romain Grosjean finished fourth in Lotus, with Kamui Kobayashi producing some bold passes on the way to fifth for Sauber.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel produced a late charge to take sixth after losing ground with a drive-through penalty for not slowing down under the yellow flags and requiring a new front wing at his final pit-stop.

Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes and both McLarens fell victim to Vettel’s surge up the order, with Rosberg then resisted last-place starter Lewis Hamilton for seventh as he managed to make a two-stop strategy work against expectations. His team-mate Jenson Button struggled for speed all day and finished in a disappointing ninth.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg resisted strong pressure from Mark Webber, who lost ground on the opening lap and needed an out-of-sequence pit-stop for a new Red Bull front wing.

Behind the Toro Rossos and the Force India of Paul di Resta, Felipe Massa had another difficult race for Ferrari. Penalised for a yellow flag infringement, the Brazilian finished only in P15.

Retirements included Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna – who tangled at the first corner when the fresh-tyre-shod Mercedes ran into the back of the yet-to-pit Williams – and Sergio Perez.

The Sauber picked up a puncture while trying to attack the Lotus pair at the first corner, and later parked just after a messy pit-stop.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are now joint leaders in the world championship with 61 points. The next race is the most glamorous, the Monaco Grand Prix. Will we see a new winner once again?

Spanish Grand Prix race results, 66 laps:

1.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           1h39:09.145
2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +3.195
3.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +3.884
4.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +14.799
5.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1:14.641
6.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +1:17.576
7.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1:27.919
8.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +1:28.100
9.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +1:25.200
10.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +1 lap
12.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
13.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
14.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
15.  Massa         Ferrari                    +1 lap
16.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
17.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
18.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +2 laps
19.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +3 laps

Fastest lap: Grosjean, 1:26.250

Not classified/retirements:

Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               38 laps
Pic           Marussia-Cosworth            36 laps
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 23 laps
Senna         Williams-Renault             13 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     13 laps

World Championship standings, round 5:

1.  Vettel        61
2.  Alonso        61
3.  Hamilton      53
4.  Raikkonen     49
5.  Webber        48
6.  Button        45
7.  Rosberg       41
8.  Grosjean      35
9.  Maldonado     29
10.  Perez         22
11.  Kobayashi     19
12.  Di Resta      15
13.  Senna         14
14.  Vergne         4
15.  Hulkenberg     3
16.  Schumacher     2
17.  Massa          2
18.  Ricciardo      2

1.  Red Bull-Renault          109
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           98
3.  Lotus-Renault              84
4.  Ferrari                    63
5.  Williams-Renault           43
6.  Mercedes                   43
7.  Sauber-Ferrari             41
8.  Force India-Mercedes       18
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 24-27.

11 thoughts to “Magnificent Maldonado victorious in Spain”

  1. Race winner Pastor Maldonado has commented that he had this Grand Prix under control despite Fernando Alonso closing in. has the story.

    Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado said he always felt like he had the race under control even as Fernando Alonso closed in after the final pitstops.

    Maldonado gave Williams its first Formula 1 victory since the 2004 Brazilian GP as he resisted pressure from Ferrari driver Alonso at various stages to win at Catalunya.

    “It was so close. We were looking to manage the tyre degradation so I couldn’t push that hard, just to keep the tyres alive for the end of the race and Fernando got very close,” said Maldonado.

    “There were some moments where he was so close especially at end of the straight, but I was managing the gap and controlling everything.

    “Our pace today was very strong, the car was fantastic, so was the team. We did a small mistake at the last pitstop but it did not affect our performance.”

    Maldonado said the car underlined how much progress had made since last season, when it endured its worst ever campaign and scored a mere five points.

    “I think it’s a wonderful day, unbelievable for me and all the team,” he said. “We have been pushing so hard since last year to improve race by race and here we are.

    “It was a tough race because of the strategy as well, it was hard especially because of rear tyres, after a couple of laps we were struggling with them, but I need to say I am pretty happy because car was so competitive since the first lap.”

    The Venezuelan has been strong in Monte Carlo – venue for the next grand prix in a fortnight – throughout his career, and acknowledged that expectations for the next race would now be high.

    “It will be a great opportunity for us to be strong again,” said Maldonado. “We need to keep continuing like that to develop it as soon as possible. Consistency will be the most important thing in this championship.”

  2. Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso felt Charles Pic cost him the chance to win the Spanish Grand Prix. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso believes Charles Pic could potentially have cost him a shot at victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix after ignoring blue flags during the race.

    The Marussia driver was given a penalty for having not let Alonso through quickly enough, the Spaniard losing valuable time in his fight for the lead with Pastor Maldonado.

    Alonso finished the race three seconds behind the Williams driver and admitted he was unimpressed with Pic. Although he acknowledged that Maldonado and Williams were ultimately faster, he hoped Pic’s penalty would act as a warning to backmarkers.

    “We were a little bit unlucky,” said Alonso. “We had a Marussia that got a penalty, which is obviously not a solution now, but hopefully people will start to understand that they need to respect the rules and today they didn’t and they got a penalty, but maybe not enough for the penalty which could have cost us a victory.”

    The Ferrari driver, whose team had big hopes of taking a step forward in Spain thanks to the upgrades introduced, admitted he was surprised to be so strong all weekend.

    Alonso now shares the championship lead with Sebastian Vettel, and believes that he has flattered his car so far.

    “Definitely we are a little bit surprised by the quantity of the points we have and surprised by the weekend result,” Alonso said. “We were confident to improve the car, we were hoping for some signs of improvement here in Barcelona and in Bahrain we were out of Q3 and in race, P9 one minute behind the leaders.

    “So we arrived here with optimism about the upgrades but the overall weekend pace has been better than expected because we were quick in qualifying and quick in the race.

    “But this, how I feel after the weekend, I still don’t know where we are. We need to wait for more races for the championship to stabilise a bit. I think we overperform for the car we have and maybe other cars underperform a little. It is very strange, as we saw this weekend.”

    Despite the strong showing, the two-time champion is refusing to believe Ferrari has a car capable of winning everywhere yet.

    “We’ll see,” he said when asked if Ferrari had turned the corner. “When we are first and second in one qualifying and first and second in the championship then we will have the best car. Consistency and ability to develop is important because two tenths can be six or seven positions.

    “But what we can say is we had the most difficult start to the championship with a car that was not competitive at all, and after one quarter of the championship we are leading with Vettel, so we have to be proud of our position. Maybe not so proud of the competitive package we have but we are working on that.”

  3. After finishing in a close third place, The Iceman believed the opportunity to win the Spanish Grand Prix was possible. has the story.

    Kimi Raikkonen is confident that he will break through for a grand prix win for Lotus in 2012, after finishing on the podium at the last two races.

    After following Sebastian Vettel home in Bahrain, Raikkonen was amongst the frontrunners again in Spain, eventually finishing third behind Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso.

    While he was slightly disappointed with the result, the 2007 world champion said that he is now confident that the car is capable of winning races this year.

    “I am a bit disappointed because if we had done everything right in the first part of the race, we could have put ourselves in first place,” he said.

    “There is no issue with the speed of the car, but it is so close between all the teams that if you have a small problem or a small issue it can cost you a lost. Our car can do it, but everything has to fall in the right place to be able to win.

    “If you get the chance you should take it. Hopefully we can keep doing what we are doing now. We will see when we can win but so far it is a good step and the car feels strong everywhere.”

    Raikkonen added that if the Spanish Grand Prix had been 10 laps longer, he would have been capable of fighting Maldonado for the win.

    “I had a very good start and had chance to overtake on the outside, but we did not have enough speed and I hit the limiter in fifth position,” he said.

    “The first stint was okay, but I didn’t have the speed to stay with [the leaders]. It was a bit disappointing. We changed the tyres and it seemed to be pretty good, but we were too far away. We needed 10 more laps and we could have fought for the win.”

  4. Both Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna have blamed each other for their crash in the Spanish Grand Prix. has the story.

    Michael Schumacher reckons Bruno Senna’s defensive driving caused their collision early in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Both drivers had to retire as a result of the incident, in which Schumacher’s Mercedes ran into the back of Senna’s Williams at Turn 1. Senna had not yet made his first pitstop, while Schumacher was on fresh tyres.

    “I just took a minute to watch the video and if you look at the overhead shot you can see that he moves right to defend his inside position, but in the braking phase he moves back left right in front of me,” said Schumacher.

    “Then I tried to avoid to the inside again, but too late. Then it’s done because that’s in the braking phase. Very frustrating. Very much annoyed about that.

    “We’ve had already a strange manoeuvre from him in Brazil last year and a lap before he had a get together with [Romain] Grosjean, I don’t know what exactly happened there.

    “I hope they [the stewards] understand the video pictures good enough to clarify that.”

    But Senna was adamant that he had done nothing wrong and that Schumacher only had himself to blame.

    “Of course he’s not going to say it’s his own fault, but at the end of the day he had much newer tyres than me, I was on very old rubber by then, so I guess our braking points were uneven for Turn 1,” said Senna.

    “I’d already seen Grosjean braking very late and hitting me into Turn 1, and I didn’t want Michael to do the same.

    “When I went to brake, he probably just tried to cross and he hit me, so what can you do?”


  5. Mercedes believes a problem with Nico Rosberg’s car caused his severe tyre management issues during the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The German fell from fifth to seventh late on as his tyres wilted and Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull overtaken him, with McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton doing likewise.

    Mercedes technical chief Bob Bell, who was heading the team this weekend in the absence of the unwell Ross Brawn, said a potential technical problem cost Rosberg downforce and made it even harder for him to look after the Pirellis.

    “We didn’t have the basic pace we needed this afternoon, and we were hampered further with an issue on Nico’s car,” Bell said.

    “There was a clear loss of downforce measurable on the data, which made it even more difficult for Nico to look after the tyres properly, but whether this was down to damage or another factor is something we will have to investigate this evening.”

    Rosberg admitted that he had been baffled by his tyre situation during the race – while also praising his long-time employer Williams for its return to the top step of the podium with Pastor Maldonado.

    “I had no more rubber left on the tyres and I could just see people going by,” said Rosberg. “Fifth place would have been an OK result. It’s not that good.

    “It’s been a strange whole weekend. Fantastic for Williams and for Frank and for Maldonado. All well deserved and it’s great. For us, just strange. Tyre management is an issue and the way our car handles the tyres.”

    Although Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher has been highly critical of the 2012 Pirellis and the style of racing they demand, Rosberg said he had no complaints and was simply confused about how to get the best out of the tyres.

    “I’m enjoying it but scratching my head at the same time. It’s very strange,” he said.


  6. This was a disappointing race for Jenson Button. The McLaren driver lacked pace all weekend and to finished in ninth was far from ideal. has the story.

    Jenson Button says his problems with the McLaren will not be solved overnight after finishing ninth at Barcelona.

    Button started in tenth position, but finished behind Lewis Hamilton, who started from the back of the grid after being penalised for not having enough fuel during his final qualifying run.

    The Englishman was unable to match the speed of his team-mate and has complained of a lack of balance and ultimate pace throughout the weekend.

    “The last few races the pace has been very good in the race but I really struggled with the car itself. It is not just one end, I felt that I just had very low grip,” he said.

    “I am normally good at looking after tyres and having a good consistency, it is something I always work on but I can’t do that at the moment and I don’t know why. I am really struggling with the car at the moment. It is not an overnight fix.”

    Button was initially confident that he could get a good result in Spain after working on his long run pace, but was unable to get the McLaren to work in traffic.

    “It is surprising with long run pace because that is something I always work very hard on so we need to look at the consistency for next race and try and work out why I can’t work with these tyres,” he said.

    “I thought we were on for a better result than that. I am alright in clear air but then as soon as I am in traffic I can’t keep any heat in the tyres. I don’t know why that is, I turn the steering wheel like everyone else does but it doesn’t seem like that at the moment.”

  7. Both Red Bull drivers were forced to make an additional pit-stop replacing their front wings. has the details.

    Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were confused as to why they needed to have their front wings replaced during the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Both Red Bull Racing drivers had their races compromised by front wing changes, despite their being no visible sign of damage on either occasion.

    The mysterious problem was particularly costly for Webber, with the Australian eventually finishing outside the points in 11th.

    Vettel was still able to finish sixth and retain his lead in the championship, albeit now shared with Fernando Alonso.

    “I don’t know [what the problem was], to be honest,” said Vettel. “I didn’t think I had any damage on the nose.

    “I came on the radio and said it felt like damage or something stuck. We know that there is a lot of rubber on the track and it’s likely that maybe a big piece of rubber gets stuck and then it ruins the aerodynamics.

    “I wasn’t sure and I tried another lap, but it wasn’t the right thing to do so we decided to come in and change the nose just to make sure. That cost us quite some time but ultimately it was the right thing because I was told that something on the front left of the wing was actually broken. I don’t know why. I didn’t hit anybody or anything.”

    Webber, meanwhile, blamed the delay for leaving him stuck in traffic and unable to fight for a point-paying position.

    “I don’t know where I got damage on my front wing but I had to pit for a new nose,” Webber added.

    “I lost a lot of time with that obviously, not only that lap but the two or three before when it started playing up.

    “Then when you’re out of position round here, you have to do the longest range stop possible and look after your tyres, and then when you catch people, the tyres just get killed. It’s chicken and egg. If you push past them, you’ve got to pit earlier and commit to another stop.

    “I was out of position because of whatever happened with the nose. I was stuck behind the Force India and you could see the McLarens doing nothing, Seb was just chipping away doing nothing special. It’s amazing. The tables have turned.”

  8. Michael Schumacher will lose five places on the starting grid for the Monaco Grand Prix following his crash with Bruno Senna in Spain.

    The Mercedes driver crashed into the back of the Williams when fighting for position at the end of the straight on lap 13, with both drivers retiring.

    The stewards deemed the seven-time champion was to blame for having caused the collision and he will be dropped five places on the starting grid at Monaco.

    Schumacher believed the accident had been Senna’s fault.

    “I just took a minute to watch the video and if you look at the overhead shot you can see that he moves right to defend his inside position, but in the braking phase he moves back left right in front of me,” said Schumacher.

    “Then I tried to avoid to the inside again, but too late. Then it’s done because that’s in the braking phase. Very frustrating. Very much annoyed about that.”


  9. After winning the Spanish Grand Prix, the Williams F1 garage was on fire due to an explosion. Latest from

    A number of Formula 1 personnel are being treated by medical staff at the Circuit de Catalunya for burns and smoke inhalation following a major fire in the Williams garage after the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Shortly after a team photo was taken to celebrate Pastor Maldonado’s victory, around 90 minutes after the end of the race, it is believed that fuel exploded while it was being prepared for transportation as part of the post-race procedure.

    The explosion filled the garage with black smoke, which poured into the pits and paddock, and personnel from a number of teams as well as track officials moved quickly to put the blaze out.

    A number of team members were caught up in the incident, with those suffering from burns and smoke inhalation being taken to the medical centre.

    While there has been no official confirmation of the number of F1 personnel involved in the incident or the extent of their injuries, Williams, Force India and Caterham have confirmed that their staff members are being treated.

    Williams has said that four of its crew are being looked at in the medical centre, although the extent of the injuries is unknown.

    Force India has confirmed that one of its team members was being treated for smoke inhalation, while Caterham has issued a statement confirming that four of its crew are being attened to too.

    “Caterham F1 Team was involved in a fire that started in the Williams F1 Team’s garage after the end of the Spanish Grand Prix,” it said in a statement.

    “All the team’s employees have been accounted for and four people have been taken to the circuit medical centre for examination; one with a minor hand injury and three with respiratory issues.

    “A further statement will be issued when more details about the incident are confirmed.”

  10. Felipe Massa is confident that he would have finished in the top 10 at Barcelona had it not been for what he believes was an unnecessary drive-through penalty.

    The Ferrari driver was forced to take an unscheduled tour through the pitlane on lap 28, a penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

    The delay meant that 15th place was the best he could manage, with Massa later admitting that he was unsure why he was penalised.

    “Honestly, I don’t think I did anything wrong and I believe it is better to look into the detail of what happened, because I was in the middle of a group of cars and I definitely did not try to overtake anyone,” said the Brazilian.

    “It’s a real shame, because up until then, the race was going well for me and a place in the top 10 was comfortably within my reach. I was in the group with the Red Bulls and the McLarens and I could match their pace.”

    With his team-mate Fernando Alonso finishing second, Massa is confident that Ferrari is now getting to grips with its 2012 challenger.

    “I am happy that Fernando was able to fight for the win all the way to the end, as it shows our car’s potential has definitely improved. We still don’t have the quickest car, but it seems we are going down the right road.”


  11. Following his harsh penalty in which he lost pole position, Lewis Hamilton was forced to start the Spanish Grand Prix at the back. The 2008 world champion was in fighting spirits and came through to finish in a solid eighth. has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton believes that he has proved his doubters wrong after making only two stops during the race at Barcelona.

    Hamilton started at the back of the field after being penalised for running short of fuel at the end of qualifying and was forced to try a different strategy than the rest of the drivers, eventually climbing to eighth, one place ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

    Despite his reputation for aggressive driving, the 27-year-old was able to conserve his tyres far better than Button, who is normally associated with exceptional tyre management.

    “People are always saying how aggressive my driving style is so hopefully this will prove a few people wrong that I can nurse my tyres,” he said.

    “It is very easy just to go 100 per cent and ruin your tyres and kill you race by making silly mistakes so today was about being controlled, calm and collected.

    “I was the only one to do a two stopper, despite everyone always telling me how aggressive my driving style is and how much better my team-mate is on tyres than me. I think today is a good demonstration that they are perhaps wrong.”

    The British driver was pleased with how competitive the McLaren has been and says that the team can bounce back from a difficult weekend with a strong result in Monaco.

    “I think our car will continue to be competitive. Our team has done a great job improving our car and things will come together for us and when they do we will get the results we deserve,” he said.

    “Monaco is a track that I love and I hope that we will have a much better weekend there and it is now my home circuit. The team needs a little bit of a boost, they have been working very hard and they deserve better.”

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