Fernando Takes the Win on Home Turf!

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Updated: May 12, 2013

After 66 thrilling Spanish laps Ferrari have managed to get both cars on the podium, with Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus separating them

The weekend started with both Mercedes managing an incredible front row lockout but there were fears that the cars would not have the pace to hold their lead. At the start both Lewis and Nico had a good start but Vettel’s was better. Hamilton locked his brakes into turn 1, allowing Vettel to sneak round the outside. Meanwhile Alonso had a picture perfect start from 5th. Into turn 2 Fernando was going much faster than Raikkonen and passed him easily, and shortly afterwards flew past Hamilton. In 3 corners Hamilton had gone from 2nd to 4th. Just behind this the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa is cruising forwards as well, going from 9th to 6th.

A few laps later and Vettel and Fernando were all over the back of Nico’s Mercedes. At the back end of the field though Jenson Button was way down. He had a terrible start and finished lap 1 in 17th place. Not often you see a McLaren and a Caterham together, not without a blue flag involved anyway.

Lap 7 and the order was much the same until Raikkonen put a move on Hamilton. The end of the second DRS straight would turn out to be a good spot for overtakes. Mark Webber pulled in for a very early pit stop and rejoined quite far back. On the next lap Massa passes Hamilton in the same place Kimi did. They knew they would struggle but this is a disaster for Mercedes. Some joy for Hamilton though as Massa pits at the end of the lap, allowing him to retake 6th.

 

Lap 9 was the first round of pitstops. Maldonado got it all wrong and nearly drove into the wrong pit, and shortly afterwards he got a drive through penalty for speeding in the pits. What a difference 12 months can make! Grosjean having a worse day though. His right rear suspension has collapsed and the car can barely move in a straight line.

On the next lap the 2 guys at the front dart into the pits. It’s a quick stop for both of them and Nico manages to stay ahead. Fernando was on a charge though and into the first corner he actually beats Vettel. That’s bad news for the Red Bull as he was hoping to stay in front.

In the meantime because of some incredible tyre management the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez actually leads! Magical scenes considering he started 19th! Fernando Alonso pulled of an amazing pass round the outside of Nico, finally getting past. To be honest I think Mercedes were surprised he’d lasted that long at the front.R-R-R-Raikkonen

Gutierrez unfortunately has to end his time in the limelight as he pits for new tyres on lap 14. But this is the second time Sauber has led a race simply by keeping the tyres alive. Match their race pace with a good qualifying and they’ll have a podium in their sights. Meanwhile the Mercedes started to drop like a stone, with Nico losing places to Vettel and Felipe.

Fast forward a few laps and you’ll find the Mercedes’ dropping faster than Felix Baumgartner. Nico is in 5th and even worse Hamilton is in 10th! Ross Brawn must find this just painful to watch. The other Mexican Sergio Perez is having a very good race on the other hand. Running 7th and catching both Mark Webber and Rosberg. Still no scenes of jubilation in the McLaren garage though as Jenson just clings onto 14th.

Fernando extends his lead over Vettel, much to the enjoyment of the locals. Their shouts practically drowned out Alonso’s V8. A 3-way battle between Vettel, Kimi and the 2 Ferraris soon begins. It becomes a 3-way fight soon though as Massa pits for new boots, coming out behind a once again quick Toro Rosso driven by Daniel Ricciardo. Is this guy the next Mark Webber? Two good performances in as many races, his future certainly looks bright! A lap later though and Massa is back with the big boys, having passed both Perez and Ricciardo for 5th.

Lap 22 and Fernando changes his tyres, gifting Vettel the lead. Alonso comes out fighting though, and he soon cruises past Nico. Although that is hardly even a challenge today! At the same time Kimi is screaming towards Vettel at a rapid rate of knots. Today both Lotus and Ferrari are on fire, whereas the other big guy are struggling with tyres. On a more humorous note Giedo van der Garde appears to be driving a tricycle. He crabs back to the pit after his rear left tyre vacated his car. It seems that all the pit crews should read ‘How To Attach A Wheel For Dummies’

A few laps later and Vettel pits, granting Kimi the lead. Unfortunately for Raikkonen Alonso is closing the gap, and fast! Vettel comes out of the pits behind Rosberg and Massa. Unsuprisingly he gets straight past Nico, but Massa is more of a challenge, and he just can’t find a way past.

Considerably further down to field Hamilton sends the team a message, expressing his sheer disbelief at competing with one of the Williams cars. He is having quite possibly the worst race of his career (apart from maybe Monaco 2011) and you can certainly feel his frustration. He manages to get past Maldonado but at this point he’s a whole minute down on Alonso.

Lap 32 and Jenson pits and comes out next to Hamilton. Two British world champions battling for 13th is not what we like to see! Miles ahead though Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are having an epic fight for 3rd. Kimi moves back and forth looking for the pass but he just can’t find it. Down the main straight he sees his opportunity. Using his DRS he squeezes up the inside of the Red Bull into turn 1. Vettel sees him coming and gives him room. Finally some sportsman like behaviour. Kimi then sets off chasing

down Massa for 2nd.

On lap 35 Nico Hulkenberg has a crash in the pits. The pit crew release his Sauber just as Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso is pulling in. The mishap causes Hulkenberg to lose his front wing, and he is pushed back to have it replaced. The replacement and the inevitable penalty means that his race more or less over though.

On the other hand Button’s race is improving tenfold. By conserving tyres he’s managed to get up to 7th. Nico Rosberg seems to be controlling the damage and he sticks to 6th but Hamilton is still having a poor race, languishing in 12th. A few laps later and Perez is up behind Button, twice in two races. This time though the team gives him some very subtle team orders. Saying something along the lines of ‘manage the tyres’ i.e. ‘Don’t do what you did in Bahrain’.

On lap 50 Alonso pits, but he’s so far ahead at this point he comes out still in the lead. A few laps later and his team mate pits in, and emerges just behind Kimi. Ferrari would have liked a one two finish but 2 cars on the podium looks like it’ll have to do. Further back Jean-Eric has to make an emergency pit. The tyre that Hulkenberg hit has exploded spectacularly, sending fragments of Pirelli everywhere.

Sergio Perez is all over the back of his team mate’s McLaren but wisely he is keeping his distance. After all he doesn’t want a repeat of Bahrain, especially since Jenson has worked his way up from 14th. A double points finish would more than suffice after their recent performances.

Esteban may not be leading any more but that doesn’t mean he’s had his 15 minutes. He promptly sets the fastest time of the race and begins to chase Ricciardo for 10th.

On the last lap Fernando comfortably cruises round to take victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. He does some of his trademark celebratory weaving. Can only imagine how good it feels to win at home! Kimi Raikkonen comes in second with the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa finish third. A few more laps and it probably could have been a Ferrari 1-2.

Final finishing order is as follows:

  1. Fernando Alonso-Ferrari
  2. Kimi Raikkonen-Lotus
  3. Felipe Massa-Ferrari
  4. Sebastian Vettel-Red Bull
  5. Mark Webber-Red Bull
  6. Nico Rosberg-Mercedes
  7. Paul Di Resta-Force India
  8. Jenson Button-McLaren
  9. Sergio Perez-McLaren
  10. Daniel Ricciardo-Toro Rosso
  11. Esteban Gutierrez-Sauber
  12. Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes
  13. Adrian Sutil-Force India
  14. Pastor Maldonado-Williams
  15. Nico Hulkenberg-Sauber
  16. Valtteri Bottas-Williams
  17. Charles Pic-Caterham
  18. Jules Bianchi-Marussia
  19. Max Chilton-Marussia
  20. Jean-Eric Vergne-Toro Rosso-DNF
  21. Giedo van der Garde-Caterham-DNF
  22. Romain Grosjean-Lotus-DNF

Next race is the illustrious Monaco Grand Prix, catch it on the 26th of May!

F1 Article

By Harry Wright

Some handsome fellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter-@hazzwright

 

Email-hazz_wright@hotmail.co.uk

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