Alonso takes home victory in front of his passionate fans

Alonso Spanish GP race winner 2013

Fernando Alonso sent his passionate fans into hysteria as the Ferrari driver charged from fifth on the grid to take his first victory at the Circuit de Catalunya since 2006.

Kimi Raikkonen emerged as Fernando’s main rival, while Sebastian Vettel and the front-row-starting Mercedes faded in the race.

Despite a three-place grid penalty for impeding in qualifying, Felipe Massa recovering from ninth to take the final podium spot.

In a race full of tyre conservation, Alonso’s approach was to go flat-out.

While Vettel split the Mercedes into Turn 1, Alonso accelerated around the outside of both Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Turn 3 to move into third.

Rosberg clung on at the front of the field through the first pitstops.

By the time they were done, Alonso was his main challenger, having pitted one lap ahead of Vettel and jumped the Red Bull.

Rosberg’s plunge down the race order began on lap 12, when Alonso passed him into Turn 1, with Vettel and Raikkonen further demoted him before that lap was completed.

Once in front, the home crowd favourite began to pull away.

Despite running longer, Vettel turned out to be on the same four-stop strategy as Alonso, but the championship leader was unable to match the Ferrari’s sheer pace.

Raikkonen, however, could pull off a three-stop strategy. The Finn lost time behind Vettel in the middle of the stint, and then raised his pace after overtaking the Red Bull on lap 33.

Lotus had a potential edge going into the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Raikkonen a few seconds ahead of Alonso at a point when both had a single pit-stop left to go.

But on his fresher set of Pirellis, Alonso stormed up behind Raikkonen at a rate of two seconds per lap, breezed past the Lotus then vanished into the distance, swiftly building a 12-second advantage.

Raikkonen was left to fend off Massa, who had been rapid all race and got a green light from Ferrari to try to catch the Lotus. Tyre wear affected this charge and Felipe was forced to back off, so third was the result.

Vettel’s attempts to run longer on his set of tyres ultimately cost him so much pace that he fell behind the earlier-pitting Massa.

The defending world champion had to settle for fourth, followed by his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber.

As for Mercedes, Nico Rosberg finished sixth after running a three-stop strategy while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton dropped right down the order in a lapped P12. His

Force India’s Paul di Resta chased the pole sitter to the chequered flag.

McLaren ended up eighth and ninth after 66 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya.

Jenson Button had tumbled to P17 in the opening laps, but nursed his tyres through three stops and emerged ahead of his early-charging, but four-stopping, team-mate Sergio Perez.

Daniel Ricciardo fended off Esteban Gutierrez to give Scuderia Toro Rosso the final championship point.

It was still a breakthrough day for Gutierrez, as a long first stint meant Sauber’s rookie managed to lead a Formula 1 race for the first time.

Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado struggled home in P14, recovering from a pitlane speeding penalty.

Romain Grosjean was an early retirement with a broken right-rear suspension on his Lotus.

Two pitlane incidents attracted the race stewards’ attention.

Caterham could face sanctions after Giedo van der Garde lost a wheel on his out-lap, while Nico Hulkenberg had an unsafe release penalty following a pitlane clash with Jean-Eric Vergne, prior to which both had been points contenders.

So a great result for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso. This was the Italian team’s 221st victory in the sport and the Spaniard’s 32nd. And yet the talk after the race was all about tyres.

The drivers are forced to race below the limit in order to conserve the tyres. The sport is going through a difficult balancing act between entertainment and sporting this season.

Have Pirelli gone too far in making the tyres not durable? That is the big debate at the moment and yet we don’t want to see dull, processional racing as seen in the last decade. Hopefully the tyres won’t play a major factor in the upcoming races. Monaco could be interesting though as it’s narrow and difficult to overtake.

Spanish Grand Prix race results, after 66 laps:

1.  Alonso         Ferrari    1h39:16.596s
2.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault  +9.338
3.  Massa          Ferrari        +26.049
4.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault    +38.273
5.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault    +47.963
6.  Rosberg        Mercedes        +1:08.020
7.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes     +1:08.988
8.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes      +1:19.506
9.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      +1:21.738
10.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   +1 lap
11.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari      +1 lap
12.  Hamilton       Mercedes     +1 lap
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    +1 lap
14.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault      +1 lap
15.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari     +1 lap
16.  Bottas         Williams-Renault    +1 lap
17.  Pic            Caterham-Renault    +1 lap
18.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth   +2 laps
19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth   +2 laps

Not classified/retirement:

Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14 laps
Van der Garde  Caterham-Renault   45 laps
Grosjean       Lotus-Renault    58 laps

World Championship standings, round 5:

1.  Vettel         89
2.  Raikkonen      85
3.  Alonso         72
4.  Hamilton       50
5.  Massa          45
6.  Webber         42
7.  Di Resta       26
8.  Grosjean       26
9.  Rosberg        22
10.  Button         17
11.  Perez          12
12.  Ricciardo       7
13.  Sutil           6
14.  Hulkenberg      5
15.  Vergne          1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          131
2.  Ferrari                   117
3.  Lotus-Renault             111
4.  Mercedes                   72
5.  Force India-Mercedes       32
6.  McLaren-Mercedes           29
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          8
8.  Sauber-Ferrari              5

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 23-26.

12 thoughts to “Alonso takes home victory in front of his passionate fans”

  1. After winning his home race for Ferrari – his 32nd in the sport – Fernando Alonso says Ferrari still needs to find more pace in order to challenge their rivals, Lotus and Red Bull. has the full story.

    Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari still trails its rivals on pure performance despite defeating Lotus and Red Bull to win the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Alonso led Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus by as much as 12 seconds on his way to victory, while Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull fell half a minute behind.

    Asked if the Barcelona result proved that this was his best shot at the Formula 1 title since joining Ferrari, Alonso argued that there was a lot more work for the team to do.

    “Probably yes it is in terms of the performance of the car, although we should have won the championship in 2010 I believe, when we arrived in Abu Dhabi eight points ahead of Seb,” he said.

    “We lost there, it’s nothing we can change now. Last year we didn’t win – we were one second off, but we managed to fight until the Brazil race.

    “This year we have a package that is still not the fastest but we are working on it.

    “Definitely on Sundays it is a competitive team package. We are not the quickest over one lap, we maybe do not set the fastest time in the race, but we have fantastic pitstops, starts, tyre degradation… many ingredients to have a competitive car to fight for the championship.

    “In many years in Ferrari it is true that we are the one to feel most confident but we are not happy with the performance, we want a good and aggressive development programme for the next races.”

  2. Despite being Alonso’s closest challenger, Kimi Raikkonen says fighting with Fernando was not worth it. has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen said there was no point in fighting Fernando Alonso when the Ferrari star made his crucial pass to win the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Three-stopping Raikkonen led four-stopper Alonso in their penultimate stints at Barcelona, when both had one pitstop left to make, but Alonso used his fresher tyres to overtake Raikkonen and pull well clear before the final stops.

    When asked if he thought that victory had been possible, Lotus driver Raikkonen replied: “Maybe halfway through, when we were leading, but we were on old tyres and [he had] newer tyres.

    “It is too easy to overtake, so no point to really fight again because you cannot hold him behind.

    “I knew if I could somehow stay a bit closer, maybe I had some chance, even if I am already behind them with old tyres. But in the end, they were just too fast.”

    Raikkonen pointed to his poor opening lap, when he dropped a place to Alonso at Turn 3, as a moment that shaped his race.

    “We didn’t have a good start, but I don’t think the end result was decided there.

    “It wasn’t the win, and we are only happy with the win, but [in terms of the championship, with Sebastian] Vettel we are close and Fernando has caught me, but we are still in the hunt and hopefully we can try and win a bit more.”

    Raikkonen is now just four points behind Vettel in the championship, and is looking forward to future battles as he aims to win his second world title.

    “Sometimes you have bad days and make the most out of them and give yourself a chance to fight for wins,” he said.

    “If you can do that often you will have a good chance in the end to fight for the championship. Only five races done… we will see what happens and see where we are at the end.”

  3. After being penalised for impeding in qualifying, Felipe Massa drove a great race from ninth to come home in third position for Ferrari. Though the Brazilian admitted he was still feeling frustrated by that qualifying penalty. has the news story.

    Felipe Massa said his resentment of his Spanish Grand Prix qualifying penalty escalated in the race as he was able to come through from ninth on the grid to third.

    The Brazilian had qualified sixth, but was demoted three places after being adjudged to have blocked Mark Webber’s Red Bull.

    “I’m disappointed because of what happened yesterday,” said Massa. “I didn’t cause any issues for him.

    “So I tried to be aggressive, passing people and I tried to undercut people as well by stopping before them.”

    Once up to third, Massa attempted to chase down Kimi Raikkonen for second place, before wearing out his tyres and having to settle for third.

    “Maybe there was the opportunity to fight with Kimi, but in the end it was a great race, we did a great job,” said Massa.

    “My car was superb for this track and the degradation of the tyres was not like Lotus but we did the best we could do and we showed the performance we expected to have from Friday.”

    He sees no reason why Ferrari cannot maintain its current form, with his team-mate Fernando Alonso winning in Spain.

    “I think it’s an incredible direction,” said Massa. “I hope from now on we are fighting for a podium for the all the races.

    “We’re pushing hard to improve the car in qualifying but we know we have a good car in the race.”

  4. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel believes the tyres was the only reason why Red Bull lost this race. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel is certain Red Bull’s only deficit is in tyre management after slumping to fourth in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The champion team could not keep its Pirellis intact as effectively as Ferrari and Lotus at Barcelona.

    Fernando Alonso got ahead of Vettel in the first pit sequence, and he later fell behind Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa as well.

    Vettel insisted he was content with fourth place in the circumstances.

    “I think we can be happy with fourth – or at least we have to be,” he said.

    “The first three cars were a little too fast for us and in looking after their tyres they did a better job today.”

    He is confident there is no lack of raw pace in the Red Bull.

    “If you talk about race distances, then it’s a different game,” Vettel said.

    “I think the car is quick enough, but there’s something we do to the tyres to make them wear more.

    “Three people did better today so we need to catch up. We are not going to the pace of the car, we are going to tbhe pace of the tyre.”

    Vettel also believes Red Bull make a strategic mistake by initially trying to pull off a three-stop plan before resorting to four.

    “I think we tried to hang on to the three-stop for too long in the race and had to admit towards the end we wouldn’t make it,” he said.

  5. Yet again, the Mercedes started from pole position after an excellent qualifying session but faded away in the race. For Nico Rosberg, this drop off in performance was unacceptable. has the news story.

    Spanish Grand Prix poleman Nico Rosberg has admitted he was shocked at how quickly his Mercedes tumbled down the lap chart after his first pitstop.

    Rosberg led the opening stint of the race from pole, but his drop down the order began on lap 12, when Fernando Alonso passed him into Turn 1.

    He was further demoted by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen soon after.

    The tyre degradation of his Mercedes was such that he dropped to sixth place by the finish, just holding off Paul di Resta’s Force India in the closing laps.

    “I didn’t expect it to be that tough,” said Rosberg. “I thought we would be in a better position.

    “It was really difficult out there, but why? Why on one lap are we so fast and on a long run so slow? It’s strange, and it’s not just one axle, it’s front and rear. Both are struggling and there’s no explanation.”

    Rosberg admitted he was confident after his opening stint that he could hold on at the front of the field, but was shocked when he could not.

    “After the first stint I thought ‘who knows, maybe I can keep them behind all day?'” he added. “I knew they were quicker but I was quite comfortable and doing what I wanted to do.

    “But then I just went backwards so badly. It was unbelievable.

    “It’s so strange, so inexplicable. I’m working with my set-up just towards the race, not even for qualifying, and we’re so fast on one lap and then in the race so slow.”

    Lewis Hamilton fared even worse in the second Mercedes, finishing a lapped 12th.

  6. This was a disappointing race for the other Mercedes driver too. Lewis Hamilton qualified in second position but in the race, dropped down the order to a lapped P12. The 2008 champion admitted that later than he was left feeling baffled by Mercedes’ race slump. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton declared himself baffled by the extent of Mercedes’ tyre struggles in the Spanish Grand Prix, as he plummeted from the front row to a lapped 12th.

    Although Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg managed to salvage sixth place, the 2008 world champion tumbled down the field.

    “It was an experience that I don’t really want to go through again,” said Hamilton.

    “Today I was doing absolutely everything the same as I did in Bahrain.

    “But I had no grip, I couldn’t push, and if I did, the tyre just went off immediately.

    “I’m absolutely lost today. I don’t know what went wrong.”

    Hamilton admitted he had expected Mercedes to have made more progress resolving its tyre troubles since Bahrain.

    “It seems others made a bigger step for this weekend than us,” he said.

    “Even though we brought upgrades, we didn’t make any progress with the degradation.”

  7. Ferrari played down the fact that Fernando Alonso picked up a puncture in the Spanish Grand Prix, saying it never jeopardised his win.

    It emerged after the Barcelona race that Alonso had a cut tyre when he came in for his fourth and final pitstop on lap 49 of 66.

    The pitstop was not slowed at all and Alonso rejoined still comfortably ahead of main rival Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus.

    Asked by AUTOSPORT if the puncture had threatened the victory, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said it had all been well in hand.

    “It was not a serious problem,” said Domenicali.

    “We had the data that the tyre was starting to go down slowly and our strategy was to stop him two laps later.

    “But in order not to risk anything because we were controlling of course the pace of Kimi, we decided to bring him in in order to avoid any stress on certain corners.”

    Ferrari finished first and third in the race with Alonso and Felipe Massa, its best combined result of 2013 so far.


  8. The Caterham team have fined over a wheel incident during the Spanish Grand Prix. has the story.

    Caterham has been fined €10,000 for releasing Giedo van der Garde from his second Spanish Grand Prix pitstop with a wheel not properly attached.

    Van der Garde, who had qualified at the head of the Caterham/Marussia pack, reported on the radio that his right rear wheel did not feel right as soon as he left his lap 20 pitstop.

    The team asked him to bring the car back to the pits, but it shed the wheel at Turn 10.

    The stewards said Caterham should have told van der Garde to park immediately and therefore deserved a punishment.

    A statement from the officials said: “the team instructed the driver to drive the car back to the pits even though they were aware of the wheel not being attached correctly.”

    Van der Garde made it back to the pits on three wheels but his car had incurred too much damage to continue.

    He had been running 19th prior to the incident.

    His team-mate Charles Pic still won the tail-end battle by beating Jules Bianchi’s Marussia to 17th.

  9. Cannot believe the FIA were looking into this… has the details.

    Fernando Alonso will not be punished for stopping to collect a Spanish Grand Prix flag on the slowing-down lap after his home win.

    The victorious Ferrari driver had been summoned to the stewards because by “receiving an object after the end-of-race signal” he risked breaching article 43.3 of Formula 1’s sporting regulations.

    But after investigating the incident, the officials decided the precedent was to withhold any kind of sanction.

    A statement said: “no further action was taken to be consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances.”

    The Barcelona result was the third time Alonso has won in F1 on home ground.

    Although he triumphed in last year’s Valencia street race, which ran under the European GP title, he had not won the actual Spanish GP since his 2006 victory with Renault.

  10. Sergio Perez believes McLaren squandered its chance of a better Spanish Grand Prix result by bothering to run in Q3 on Saturday.

    While his team-mate Jenson Button could only qualify 14th in McLaren’s revised car, Perez made it to the pole shootout, taking seventh place in Q2.

    The Mexican was 1.3 seconds off the pace in Q3 and started ninth.

    He reckoned he would have been better off saving the tyre life used on those laps, having struggled to keep his Pirellis alive on a four-stop strategy on race day, when ninth was again his limit.

    “I think we are paying for doing laps in Q3,” Perez said.

    “We gained positions, but in the end, towards the end of the race we lost quite a lot.

    “Doing a few laps in Q3 really affected us today.”

    Perez was ultimately beaten by Button, who got through the race on three pitstops.

    The Briton achieved that result despite dropping to 17th with what he admitted was a “shocking” start.

    But though he salvaged points, Button fears McLaren stood still in Spain even with its upgrades.

    “I don’t know if we’ve improved, it’s hard to say,” he said.

    “In Monaco hopefully we’ll make another step forward and we can keep progressing.

    “It’s tough at the moment, but we’re making the best of it.

    “It’s a bit embarrassing driving so far back but we’re doing the best we can.”


  11. Without the aid of the DRS, Paul di Resta was unable to pass Nico Rosberg in the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix. has the full story.

    Force India says Paul di Resta’s late chase of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes for sixth place in the Spanish Grand Prix was hampered by an external DRS problem.

    The team had to instruct di Resta when he could use DRS via the radio as he was not getting the automatic signals into his car.

    Deputy team chief Bob Fernley said it had been a complicated procedure.

    “The signalling system at FOM level failed and we were manually trying to tell him where to use it,” he told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was not easy as we had to be sure that we were in the right [DRS] zone and it took a long time to find it on the various pages you need to go through to find out where that is.

    “It happened quite early in the race – after he [initially] passed Rosberg, I think.

    “We had a period of time when we had a bit of clear air so we didn’t have to worry about it, but in the last bit we had to do it all manually.”

    Di Resta, who finished just 0.9 seconds behind Rosberg, added: “It was a very busy race in the cockpit.”

    Force India’s other driver Adrian Sutil had also been a points contender until losing nearly a minute in a disastrous first pitstop.

    “It was a crossed wheelnut,” Fernley explained.

    “Very frustrating as he made a wonderful start. I feel sorry for him because I think he could have had a very good result.”

    Sutil finished 13th, having run eighth in the first stint.

  12. Romain Grosjean’s retirement from the Spanish Grand Prix was caused by a suspension fault. has the story.

    Lotus is sure Romain Grosjean had the pace to help prevent it losing second in the constructors’ championship after the Spanish Grand Prix had his suspension not failed.

    Grosjean was running ninth in the first stint, but had to park with a problem on his car’s right rear on lap eight.

    Although Kimi Raikkonen finished second, Lotus dropped behind Ferrari to third in the teams’ standings as the Italian squad secured first and third with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

    Lotus chief Eric Boullier apologised to Grosjean for the issue.

    “I think we suspect suspension component failure,” Boullier told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was not his fault and we feel sorry for him and for the team as well because we lost second place in the championship, and I think Romain was in good shape to finish in good points.”

    Lotus said it was the first such failure of a well-tested suspension configuration, and would be investigated in the coming week.

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