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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
I’M really proud and happy that the Spanish Grand Prix weekend was such a success. I didn’t like what I saw on TV with those guys making jokes about Hamilton and his family earlier in the year. But I think it was overhyped. Spain is not a racist country, and I think it was unnecessary to start an anti-racist campaign here in Spain, because it’s really not a problem that we have. I don’t know where the motivation for Max Mosley to start this campaign lay. Of course I am against racism and I, like my countrymen, will do whatever I can to help to stamp it out, but I think you cannot blame one country. You cannot threaten one country by saying they are racist and so we will take away your Grand Prix. I think it was unfair on Spain. I think the problem is that Formula 1 is still a very new sport for a lot of Spanish people. Before Fernando, maybe 70 percent of the fans at the Spanish Grand Prix came from other European countries. But now the grandstands are full of Spanish fans, who are maybe more used to being at football matches. In Formula 1 you see a guy with a Super Aguri cap, and maybe his girlfriend has a McLaren cap. It’s not like football where all the fans of one team sit together, and maybe there is still a small misunderstanding about the respect that every driver on the grid deserves. I think the abuse would have been the same for Hamilton had he been from Colombia, Germany, China or wherever. It was not about his race, but because he was, and will now always be Fernando’s arch rival. They were the biggest story of last year. Forget spying, forget Kimi winning the title. The biggest news in Spain was Fernando and Lewis, just like Senna and Prost. But two weeks ago it seemed that the Alonso effect was not pushing people to come to the circuit. The results so far this season were not very good. Flavio always said the team would improve at the test, and I have a theory that at that Barcelona test they were showboating. Maybe the car was running on low fuel in an attempt to push people to go out and buy tickets for the race … So we came to the test and Fernando did well. But then on Friday Renault was on top. Wow! Then in qualifying Renault was at the top again and, for sure, I think they will have sold more tickets on Sunday than the other days. While it’s a shame Fernando couldn’t finish the race and give the fans the result they’d been dreaming about, we did find out that he maybe wasn’t quite as light as most people thought. Two weeks ago we were pessimistic and now… it’s changed a lot Pos # Driver Team Laps Time Grid 1 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 66 1:38:19.051 1 2 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 66 +3.2s 3 3 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 66 +4.1s 5 4 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 66 +5.6s 4 5 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 66 +35.9s 7 6 16 Jenson Button Honda 66 +53.0s 13 7 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 66 +58.2s 12 8 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 66 +59.4s 8 9 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 66 +63.0s 9 10 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 65 +1 Lap 19 11 12 Timo Glock Toyota 65 +1 Lap 14 12 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 65 +1 Lap 17 13 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 65 +1 Lap 22 Ret 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 41 Mechanical 15 Ret 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 34 Engine 2 Ret 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 34 Accident 11 Ret 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 21 Accident 6 Ret 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 8 Radiator 21 Ret 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 7 Accident 16 Ret 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 6 Accident 10 Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 0 Accident 20 Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 0 Accident 18 FORMULA 1 | Round 4 BARCELONA Points – Drivers: Raikkonen 29, Hamilton 20, Kubica 19, Massa 18, Heidfeld 16, Kovalainen 14, Trulli 9, Webber 8, Rosberg 7, Alonso 6. Manufacturers: Ferrari 47, BMW 35, McLaren-Mercedes 34, Williams-Toyota 12, Toyota 9, Red Bull 8, Renault 6, Honda 6. F1 BARCELONA >> The Fernando Effect JACOBO VEgA GP International (Spain) o p in io n 27