Pastor Maldonado took a pole to chequered flag victory in Barcelona today, despite many thinking he wouldn?t be able to take the win.
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Maldonado Shines Under the Spanish Sun
Pastor Maldonado took a pole to chequered flag victory in Barcelona today, despite many thinking he wouldn?t be able to take the win. This marks Maldonado?s first victory, a Venezuelan?s first victory and the first victory for the Williams team in eight years. And what better way to do it than with not one but two world champions right behind you?
Fernando Alonso enjoyed a great start; something he?s becoming well known for, and took the lead from Pastor in the run to the first corner. This led to a few more laps of domination before Pastor began to cut down the lead. A successful ?undercut? from the Williams team at the first round of pit stops allowed their driver to reclaim the lead. Fernando may not have won in front of his home fans but shouldn?t be disappointed at all. Whilst a win may have been on the cards, he did well to finish second and fend off Kimi Raikkonen?s advances. The updates Ferrari have introduced have obviously improved their car?s performance and as development in F1 never stops who knows what this team, who had been written off a couple of months ago, could achieve in the future. Alonso is now level on points with championship leader Sebastian Vettel and has proven his raw driving ability. His teammate Felipe Massa finished 15th and is now a staggering 59 points behind Alonso in the standings.
I mentioned above that Kimi Raikkonen was getting close to Alonso in the final stages of the race and, if he had a few more laps, there?s no doubt that the Finn, on newer tyres, could have taken second place. Sadly, it was not to be two 2nd place finishes in a row for him but if he can keep this consistency and Lotus keep pushing forward Kimi will definitely be a contender for a race win in the coming races. His Lotus teammate Grosjean did well to finish in a comfortable fourth despite a few close contact moments in the race. These two drivers are making races much more exciting and it is great to see another constructor establish itself as a front runner this year.
The constructor leading the rest in the standings at the moment is, however, Red Bull Racing. A fairly poor race judging by their usual standards saw Vettel finish 6th and Webber finish 11th. Both had to stop for new noses which cost them some time at pit-stops and Vettel also received a drive-through penalty for failing to slow down for a yellow flag. Taking this into consideration, he did a great job to finish where he did. He would have lost about 16 seconds compared to those who finished around him and managed some sensational overtakes on Button, Hamilton and Rosberg in the last few laps to pick up 8 points and retain his Championship lead.
The big story yesterday was, naturally, Lewis Hamilton?s exclusion from qualifying but today he clawed his way through the pack to finish 8th overall. By running on a two-stop strategy, the only driver to do so, he ensured his tyres didn?t give up on him and as a result finished in the points. Speaking to the BBC, Hamilton made his thoughts on other people?s opinions on his driving style quite clear and his humble approach to what he had achieved showed we will be seeing a new Lewis this season. So far he has made no reckless mistakes but he must make this continue throughout the remaining 15 races. McLaren will also need to reduce their human error if they are to challenge for either of the world titles. Jenson Button finished behind Lewis in 9th in a race that was quite difficult for him. He continued to complain of grip issues today and it is crucial he finds a set-up he is comfortable with for the next race in Monaco, where traction and grip are crucial.
Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna had a collision that ended both of their races but neither was going to accept the blame. I guess Senna should be glad Schumacher took his anger out on his steering wheel. The stewards said they?d investigate the incident after the race and have decided their course of action. Schumacher will receive a 5 place grid penalty in Monaco for running in to the back of Senna. He will have to eat his words after criticising Senna after the race.
Sadly, following the celebrations the Williams team had earned after the race, incredible scenes caught by TV cameras showed a fire breaking out in their garage. There have been injuries reported, although not definitely confirmed, and my prayers are with all those that were present. Initial reports suggest either a KERS-related explosion or an electrical problem caused the fire but that is also to be confirmed. My praise goes out to the brave mechanics and team personnel of all the teams caught up in the incident. Caterham have released a statement saying four of their team members have been injured. 3 have respiratory problems and one has a hand injury.
I don?t think I?ve even covered all the great moments that the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix brought us because there was so much going on. Although the weather remained calm and sunny, varying strategies, cars out of position and magnificent overtakes all contributed to another thrilling Grand Prix. We have now had five different winners from five different teams in the first five races of the season and could a Lotus win next time out make this six from six out of six in Monaco? We will just have to wait and see.
For now though, it?s congratulations to Williams and Pastor Maldonado- a great win after a great race.
Author: Rick McCabe
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