Vettel resisted Hamilton challenge to win in Spain

Sebastian Vettel fended off the challenge from Lewis Hamilton to take his fourth victory of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Racing driver was under immense pressure from his racing rival following a final pit-stop to the harder ‘Prime’ tyres and it was fascinating to see the world champion battling against the determined McLaren driver.

Jenson Button adopted a three-stop strategy to take third, while Mark Webber – who started the race in pole position – ended up back in fourth. Home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso slumped down to a lapped fifth after gloriously leading the first two stints of the race.

Webber’s pole advantage only lasted a few yards as Vettel was immediately all over him off the grid. As the Red Bulls battled, the fast-starting Alonso picked up the slipstream on both and dive down the inside into Turn 1 and sending the crowd ecstatic by taking the lead of his home race.

Alonso remained in the lead for the first two stints of the race although Vettel, Webber and Hamilton were close behind the Ferrari.

As for the activation zone for the Drag Reduction System at the Circuit de Catalunya – which is situated on the main pit straight – it wasn’t proving as dramatically effective compared to Turkey and that allow Alonso to escape from the chasing pack.

Vettel tried to jump ahead of his rivals by pitting one lap sooner for his first tyre change – but he emerged into traffic. Despite diving past Jenson Button – who had fallen to tenth with a slow start – Massa and Rosberg in the space of one dynamic out-lap, the world championship leader still found himself back behind Alonso when the Ferrari rejoined.

But at the second stops on laps 17 and 18, Red Bull Racing’s strategy worked out perfectly, and an extra lap on new fresh tyres was sufficient to give Vettel a clear lead.

While Webber pitted at the same moment as Alonso and stayed behind the Ferrari, McLaren tried a different tactic and kept Hamilton out until lap 22, which promoted him past Alonso and Webber from fourth to second position.

Vettel and Hamilton then pulled away in unison, as Alonso dropped ever further behind with Webber close behind. Button then passed the Ferrari and Red Bull in quick succession mid-race as Jenson’s three-stop strategy meant it was on softer ‘Option’ tyres while Alonso and Webber were grappling with the harder ‘Prime’.

Webber finally got past Alonso at the final pit-stop, when the Red Bull stayed out a full eight laps longer and had no trouble getting ahead of the fading Ferrari, which began to lap three seconds off the pace late on as it struggled badly with the Prime tyres and was eventually lapped by the leaders.

While Webber proved unable to catch Button for third, Hamilton got ever closer to Vettel in the closing laps. The Red Bull’s radio transmission suggesting that again the Sebastian’s KERS was only working intermittently.

It built-up to a thrilling finale as Hamilton was edging closer to race leader Vettel and with the use of KERS and DRS, the McLaren driver had an opportunity to pass and win the race. But unlike China with the late position change, Vettel resisted the pressure by making sure he made no mistakes and he took the chequered flag by a margin of six tenths of a second.

Among the lapped cars, Mercedes team-mates Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg had a tough race-long duel for sixth position, with the former staying ahead.

Nick Heidfeld was all over the back of the Silver Arrows at the end, making excellent use of a clever strategy and fresh Pirellis to fly through from the back of the grid in the Renault.

The Saubers completed the top ten with Sergio Perez taking his first points finish, while team-mate Kamui Kobayashi doing well to recover from a first-lap puncture.

Felipe Massa struggled throughout the Grand Prix, and after a mid-race spin, the Brazilian finally dumped his Ferrari in the gravel with six laps to go with a loss of gears.

Paul di Resta got as high as fifth with a very strong opening stint on hard tyres, but did not have the pace later on to turn that into points, ending up P12, behind Vitaly Petrov.

Team Lotus showed its best race pace yet and had both cars in the top ten for a while thanks to long opening stints on the ‘Option’ tyres, but later faded, with Jarno Trulli only P18 and Heikki Kovalainen crashing out at Turn 4.

As for Williams, this was a difficult race for both Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello. The former lacked pace and slumped down to P15 while the latter charge from the back never materialised. It certainly didn’t help by a slow pit-stop, which resulted in only P17.

So yet another victory for the reigning world champion with four wins from five Grands Prix. This is an impressive achievement and it will be fascinating to see if anyone can catch Sebastian Vettel. Next stop is the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix in seven days time.

Spanish Grand Prix results, 66 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h39:03.301
2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +0.630
3.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +35.697
4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +47.966
5.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +1 lap
6.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +1 lap
7.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1 lap
8.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +1 lap
9.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
11.  Petrov        Renault                    +1 lap
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
13.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
14.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
15.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
16.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +2 laps
17.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +2 laps
18.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +2 laps
19.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +3 laps
20.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +3 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +4 laps

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:26.727

Not classified/retirements:

Massa         Ferrari                      60 laps
Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault                49 laps
Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth                 29 laps

World Championship standings, round 5:

1.  Vettel       118
2.  Hamilton      77
3.  Webber        67
4.  Button        61
5.  Alonso        51
6.  Rosberg       26
7.  Heidfeld      25
8.  Massa         24
9.  Petrov        21
10.  Schumacher    14
11.  Kobayashi      9
12.  Buemi          6
13.  Sutil          2
14.  Di Resta       2
15.  Perez          2

1.  Red Bull-Renault          185
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          138
3.  Ferrari                    75
4.  Renault                    46
5.  Mercedes                   40
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             11
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
8.  Force India-Mercedes        4

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 24-29.

10 thoughts to “Vettel resisted Hamilton challenge to win in Spain”

  1. update: Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Jaimie Alguersuari are under investigation following the Spanish Grand Prix, having failed to slow down for yellow flags.

    The FIA made the announcement after the race, where Hamilton finished in second, Button in third, Webber in fourth and Alguersuari in 16th.

    Although the FIA did not specify at which point of the race they ignored the yellow flags, it is believed it happened when Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen crashed out with 17 laps to go.

    With 20-second penalties, however, the results for Hamilton, Button and Webber would stay unchanged.

  2. World championship leader Sebastian Vettel admitted that this was hard race as he fended off the challenge from Lewis Hamilton. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel said he was relieved to take victory in the Spanish Grand Prix after being pushed hard by McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton.

    The Red Bull driver crossed the finish line just six tenths ahead of the Briton, after fending off his attacks for several laps despite not having KERS working properly.

    Vettel, who took his fourth win in fives races, admitted it had been a very difficult race.

    “It was pretty tough obviously,” said Vettel. “It was really close, thankfully in last two laps I got quite a good run in the last sector and it was enough to make it stick.

    “On top of that we had sometimes KERS on and sometimes off, so not an easy race, and McLaren and Lewis gave us a very, very hard time.

    “But it is a big relief when open to the main straight and there is chequered flag. I am very happy, a great result and a confirmation we are very strong but surely today was not as not expected by many people. We saw Ferrari there and McLaren gave us a hard time.

    “That is why I am more happy, as we made it with these guys pushing so hard.”

    The world champion, now leading Hamilton in the standings by 41 points, insisted Red Bull must fix its issues with KERS, especially with rival closing the gap.

    “When they told me with six laps to the end not to use KERS, it wasn’t best message I was hoping for. I don’t have to say it here – they know that it has to work in the future. It is absolutely necessary. So after the loss of KERS, surely we are not yet were we want to be.”

  3. As for Lewis Hamilton, who finished a close second in the Spanish Grand Prix, the McLaren driver commented that he was happy to race against his Red Bull Racing rival. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton said he had no regrets over not winning the Spanish Grand Prix as it was encouraging enough just to be able to put Red Bull under so much pressure.

    The McLaren driver finished just 0.6 seconds behind winner Sebastian Vettel after a very close fight in the second half of the race.

    “I don’t think we can be disappointed with today,” Hamilton said. “The team did a fantastic job throughout the pitstops and throughout the weekend, they put us in a fighting position.

    “We got the best start and were able to keep up with the Red Bulls and Mark [Webber] in particular as Fernando [Alonso] was holding the Red Bulls up.

    “As the race went on we had some serious pace but it was very tough to get past Seb at the end, they were massively quick in high speed corners and in the last corner his downforce was incredibly clear.

    “Nonetheless I gave my all and to move forward and score some good points and retain second place is great.”

    Hamilton said there was just no opportunity to get around Vettel when he caught him in the closing laps.

    “We did a great job considering their car is a good step faster than ours,” he said.

    “Our race pace has improved since last race, that was the positive.

    “I wasn’t able to follow through high speed Turn 3, obviously Turn 9 and the last corner, I was never able to get close enough to maintain the gap and then able to use the DRS.

    “But I am very happy with the job both me and Jenson did and to be able to apply pressure to Red Bull considering the circumstances is good.”

  4. Jenson Button was left wondering what he could have achieved in the Spanish Grand Prix if not for a poor opening lap of the race.

    The Briton was starting from fifth but dropped down the order after a poor getaway and was then stuck in traffic for some laps.

    Button climbed up to third position in the end and was happy with the result, but the McLaren driver, who opted to stop just three times, admitted he was frustrated by his first lap.

    “The first lap was a disaster,” said Button. “I got a pretty poor start and three or four cars came past and braking on Turn 1, then cars went wide and the same at Turn 3. It was a frustrating first lap and then initially I could not overtake the cars in front.

    “Once we were up to speed the pace was good. It was a fun race after lap one and it’s great to get on the podium.

    “It proves the job we have done with the team and the strategy, so I am happy with the result but it would be interesting to see what would have happened if I did not have issues at the start.”

    Button said his decision to stop three times, in contrast with all his rivals who opted for four pitstops, was a “no-brainer”.

    “As soon as I knew we were on that strategy I was happy looking at what people were doing. For me to do three stops was a no-brainer really, and it worked out pretty well in the end.”

    The McLaren driver was one of four men under investigation for having ignored yellow flags during the race, but he refused to discuss the mater.

    “Not something to be talked about here, in race situation you see yellow flags and you back off. And I guess Lewis did the same.”


  5. The latest on the yellow flag incident courtesy from

    McLaren’s drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, as well as Red Bull’s Mark Webber, have escaped penalties after failing to slow down for yellow flags during the race.

    Hamilton, Button, Webber, and Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari were under investigation after not slowing down sufficiently following Heikki Kovalainen’s crash.

    McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said the FIA has just given them reprimands, which means the results of the Barcelona race stay unchanged.

    At the time of writing, there was no official confirmation about the result of Alguersuari’s investigation, but he is also believed to have escaped a penalty.

    “We were able to show that they were slower at that corner than we had been,” Whitmarsh told the BBC. “The data showed that they had been [slower] but I think the stewards still felt a reprimand was appropriate, but I think they took a sensible view.

    “Anyway, we move on now. We’ve got to make sure that we stay out of trouble, we do a good job, and it’s only a few days before we get to Monaco.”

    He added: “It was in a part of the circuit where they weren’t on throttle anyway. So that was the difficulty. Ordinarily you are having the debate and you can show a lift but when they are off throttle you can’t show a lift, can you?”

  6. This was a difficult race for Felipe Massa. The Brazilian struggled with the hard ‘Prime’ tyres and in the end, it was a loss of gears that forced him to retire from the Spanish Grand Prix. has the details.

    Felipe Massa said the Ferrari was impossible on hard tyres in the Spanish Grand Prix, but that it was a gearbox problem that eventually stopped him.

    The Brazilian fell down the order as the race progressed, had a spin along the way, and was only set for 10th being parking in the gearbox in the closing stages.

    “Actually the biggest problem in the race was when we fitted the hard tyres,” Massa told television crews.

    “It was very difficult to drive the car on the hard tyres – basically no grip – and I think we lost a lot compared to the other teams.

    “Then I had a problem with the gearbox so I lost the gears. I tried again and then I lost the gears, so it was not possible to carry on.”

    As he believes the tyres were at the root of his difficulties today, Massa is optimistic that he can be in better shape when different compounds are used in Monaco next weekend.

    “It’s not a long time, not even one week,” he said. “We have different tyres, so maybe we can get a good direction to use soft and super soft there.

    “We are looking forward to being in good shape in Monaco compared to here.”

  7. Scoring his first championship points with ninth, Sauber’s Sergio Perez was delighted with his race performance as he tells Read the article in ful below:

    Sergio Perez was delighted with his first points finish in Formula 1 after finishing in ninth place in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

    The Mexican driver had finished in a point-scoring position in his debut race in Australia, but was later disqualified for a technical infringement.

    On Sunday, however, the rookie got his first points after what he admitted was a rough race.

    “It was a tough race today and a hard fight for points,” said Perez. “I’m really happy we made it. My first points in Formula 1 are obviously something special for me, and it is good for the team that Kamui also scored.

    “The team had a very good race strategy and did a perfect job at the pit stops. I feel that for me today is a turning point in this season. We will continue well and score more points.”

    Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also finished in the points despite having to pit for new tyres after a puncture on the opening lap.

    “I lost a lot of time on lap one today,” said Kobayashi, who finished in 10th. “After the start I was pushed into the gravel and then another car touched me, which resulted in a left rear puncture.

    “I had to pit and was relegated to last, which of course cost us a very good set of the soft tyres. I had to do quite a long stint on the harder tyres, which was not easy, but overall the race pace was okay. I’m happy to have scored for the fourth time in a row, and think we are going in the right direction.”

  8. Nico Rosberg believes he could have finished much higher up in the Spanish Grand Prix but for a DRS wing failure that stopped him passing team-mate Michael Schumacher.

    The two Mercedes finished sixth and seventh, with Schumacher ahead, after some close calls between the pair.

    “There were some cool battles, but unfortunately it was a difficult race for me,” said Rosberg.

    “The radio didn’t work so that made it difficult to understand the race because there’s so much you have to do with the settings and fuel saving, so that was a bit challenging.

    “Then my rear wing also broke so I didn’t have the overtaking system and it made it very difficult to overtake. Otherwise for sure I could’ve moved up and I’m sure I would’ve finished a lot closer to the top because I think I had pretty good pace today.”

    He said Schumacher’s car had looked much less competitive than his, but with both drivers lapped, Rosberg admitted that even if he had got past, the frontrunners would have been tough to catch.

    “It didn’t look like he had a good balance,” said Rosberg of Schumacher. “I was pretty happy with my car, it felt good. I think I had good speed.

    “But there’s still a lot of work to do because unfortunately I don’t think we really managed to close the gap yet.”

    Schumacher said he was content just to hang on to sixth on a difficult day.

    “We managed to make the most out of our possibilities today which is good news, especially for our guys who I am happy for,” he said.

    “I had a good start; going right through the middle was tight but fortunately it worked out. Then the race was about holding position from there.

    “We can be happy with the result but other than that, it was just tricky with oversteer, tyre degradation and poor balance to deal with.

    “Still we achieved what we could have, and I look forward to going to Monaco.”


  9. Despite making the perfect getaway from the grid to lead into Turn 1 and staying in front during the first two stints of the Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has admitted it was never possible for a race win. has the story.

    Fernando Alonso said he never believed he had much of a chance of fighting for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix – despite leading the early stages of the race.

    The Spaniard jumped from fourth on the grid to move to the front of the pack at Barcelona, but fell down the order and off the pace when he switched to the prime tyres at his third spot.

    He eventually finished a lap down in fifth place – but thinks his performance looked worse than it was simply because of his strong qualifying form and early position in the race.

    “We were not quick enough,” explained Alonso. “That is the main issue. Yesterday we should maybe qualify eighth and ninth, and ‘unfortunately’ I was fourth. Today, if you start the race eighth, you finish fifth, so it is a great result.

    “We were out of position yesterday, it was a good lap, and we were out of position today because of the good start, so everything looks sad. But that is the way it is.

    “We had a great start and found ourselves leading the race but not with the pace to lead the race, so step by step, lap by lap, you are losing ground.

    “And then, at the end with hard tyres, we were not competitive with them all weekend. And unfortunately, anticipating the stops with the soft, we found ourselves for 40% of the race with the hard tyre, which was a less competitive tyre for us, so we were slow with the soft and very, very slow with the hard.”

    Even though Alonso kept his lead for the first stint of the race, he said he knew fairly early on that he was not going to be able to keep his advantage for the race.

    “It was great, a great experience to lead the race for the first time this year, in front of my people. I enjoyed the first 20 laps of the race, even if there was a lot of pressure from behind.

    “You have to use your strategy, your KERS, everything in the right place to defend the position and I enjoyed, I really enjoyed, those laps.

    “But I was thinking in the pitstops there is nothing you can do, stop one lap early they will overtake you, if they stay out they will overtake you. The only possibility is stopping the same lap as they were doing but, because I had three or four cars behind me, you cannot do that with all the cars – so I had no big hopes for the winning.”

    Alonso said that his spectacular start, which saw him muscle to the front from fourth on the grid, was not particularly special.

    “You try to do exactly the same thing every Sunday, it is the same procedure, the same preparation, the same tyres – sometimes you get everything right so the reaction is right, you find your way into Turn 1.

    “The clutch position with the engineers, they are okay, sometimes they are a little bit out. Barcelona offers you the opportunity of 600 metres of slipstream, so you can overtake thanks to that. A start like this at Monaco you keep fourth, so it was a combination of many things that makes the start very good.”

  10. Nick Heidfeld says he has been encouraged by his recovery in the Spanish Grand Prix, after starting the race from last place.

    The German Renault driver failed to set a time in qualifying after his car caught fire during final practice on Saturday.

    Despite starting from the bottom of the grid, Heidfeld finished in eighth position after a strong drive through the field.

    “I’m satisfied with eighth after starting from last position,” said Heidfeld. “Just like in Turkey, with one or two laps more I could have gained one or two more positions from the two Mercedes, but it’s still a good result if you look at where I started and everything that happened to the car over this weekend.

    “I had a good start then I had to fight through the field with many overtaking moves so it was good fun for me behind the wheel. It’s always encouraging to put in a strong performance, and I’m more happy and relaxed heading to Monaco.”

    In contrast, team-mate Vitaly Petrov was disappointed with his showing in the Spanish race after finishing in 11th, having started from sixth position.

    “I am naturally disappointed not to make better use of my grid position and not pick up some points,” he said. “It seems that my qualifying position had little effect for the race today, so we need to analyse in detail exactly why that happened.

    “I managed to start okay and move up a position into fifth, but it was then difficult to get to the leading pack, which is where we want to be.

    “But, this is one result and one result only and I want to put things right in Monaco, where qualifying will be extremely important. Of that there is little doubt. At least as a team we picked up some more points with Nick, so we must take the positives and move forwards.”


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