Maldonado Seizes Maiden Victory
Race five. Winner number five. Team number five. He has had more than his fair share of critics since joining Williams but Pastor Maldonado had the last laugh with a sensational win in Spain. Beaten off the grid by local favourite, Fernando Alonso, Williams made a perfect strategy call in order to undercut the Ferrari. Once out in front, the Venezuelan withstood the pressure of a two-times World Champion on his tail, Alonso having his own worries in the late stages as his tyres began to fade with Kimi Raikkonen closing in in third.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean had a relatively quiet run to fourth with a minute gap back to Kamui Kobayashi in fifth. Sebastian Vettel was sixth after taking a drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags. He passed Nico Rosberg late in the race who barely held on against Lewis Hamilton who put an impressive performance to recover from the back of the grid as his two-stop strategy took him to eighth and limit the damage. It was one-place better than his team mate as Jenson Button struggled with his car throughout the race while the final point went to Nico Hulkenberg who bravely held off Mark Webber.
Driver of the Day:
An easy one this week: Maldonado was undeniably the man of the moment. Hoisted on to the shoulders of two World Champions on the podium, the Venezuelan has more than justified his place on the grid and sent his own one-fingered salute to those who called him simply a pay driver.
After yesterday’s drama, Hamilton’s mature drive through the field was particularly impressive given how emotional he tends to be about these setbacks. Managing his tyres in order to make one less stop than his rivals, he sent his own message out to his critics.
One driver yet again failing to answer his critics was Felipe Massa who ended up down in 15th. A drive-through penalty didn’t help but it certainly wasn’t the whole story. Still, at least he avoided the embarrassment of driving into the back of somebody – stand up please, Herr Schumacher…
What do you make of this season? It’s certainly hard to predict but is that entirely a good thing? The playing field has been leveled and while that may be great as entertainment, is it truly what Formula One should be about? Are the way the tyres suit a particular car on a particular circuit now dominating the pattern of a Grand Prix weekend too much?
There was some good overtaking, notably from Hamilton and Kobayashi. However, this was a race dominated by the drama of strategy unfolding and a surprise victor rather than all-out action.
|1.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||1h 39:09.145|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||+67.576|
|10.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|11.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+1 Lap|
|12.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|14.||Paul Di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|15.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap|
|17.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap|
|18.||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|19.||Pedro De La Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||+3 Laps|
Fastest Lap: Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault, 1:26.250
Fastest Pitstop: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari – 19.456s (entry-exit)
|Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||Lap 38||Loose Wheel|
|Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||Lap 36||Transmission|
|Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||Lap 23||Transmission|
|Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||Lap 13||Collision|
|Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||Lap 13||Collision|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||61 Points|
|2.||Fernando Alonso||61 Points|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||53 Points|
|4.||Kimi Raikkonen||49 Points|
|5.||Mark Webber||48 Points|
|1.||Red Bull-Renault||109 Points|
What did you make of the Spanish Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Would Hamilton have won without McLaren’s mistake? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Photo: Williams F1/Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic