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GP Week : Issue 220
21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPAIN PARTNERS: expected. The balance at the front end of the field appeared to have changed in Spain; Mercedes had pulled ahead while Williams too had made ground, giving the impression that if anything Ferrari had fallen backwards slightly. It meant Valtteri Bottas was able to offer a genuine challenge to a Ferrari, as he'd done in Bahrain against Vettel, with Raikkonen able to close on the Williams but unable to find a way through. Perhaps Raikkonen should have done more, especially given the two Toro Rosso's which had started ahead of him were dealt with soon after the start, but overtaking simply proved far too difficult - he lacked the traction he needed out of the final chicane to maximise DRS down the front straight to make a move under brakes. Brakes were a problem for McLaren, Alonso sailing well into the run off area at the first turn before bringing his car into the garage to retire - promptly sailing through the pit box though thankfully those waiting to receive him had jumped clear. There was no similar fault on Jenson Button's car, but perhaps that was because he simply had no need to use them since he had no pace. Where Alonso had looked like he could challenge for points if things fell the right way later in the race, Button was unable to do better than 16th at the flag - the last man across the line but for the two Manor's after enduring what he descriped as the scariest thirty laps of his life. Mercedes pace has raised concerns. Having returned to Europe and bolted on its latest developments the silver team looks to have taken a step for ward. Ferrari had development parts too, a lot of them (perhaps too many) but failed to hold station with Mercedes and if anything has fallen back into the reach of Williams. The leading three teams look to have opened the gap back to the midfield; Red Bull had a weekend it'll want to forget, especially Saturday, while Sauber and Force India have already begun losing pace as the development race really begins. Nico Rosberg won the race on track, Mercedes has taken a victory in the development race off it. Ferrari has a new engine coming for Canada, but with Monaco to come between then and now it seems difficult to predict anything but another silver win around the Principality.