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GP Week : Issue 45
> F1SPAIN> Spanish denim and a hissy fit ... IT’S good to be back in Europe. The Circuit de Catalunya felt like a comfy pair of old jeans. Whereas the newer circuits, like a new pair of trousers, may be flash and stylish, there’s nothing that really beats a worn in pair of slacks. Sure they may be a bit tatty around the edges, but they just fit better. The paddock buzzed as it always does in Europe. Time to catch up with those who hadn’t made it out to the fly- aways, time also to sit down and talk with people who’d been hiding from the heat or the rain at the earlier races. Everything is just more accessible, be it people, friends, or a decent beer. Then there are the events. The Spanish Grand Prix by tradition is the occasion of the annual Bridgestone karting challenge. This year saw my first invitation, and I took to the track in a team comprising Adam Hay-Nicholls and Justin Hines (two fellow scribes) and Gabriel Mortara, brother and manager of GP2 racer Edoardo Mortara. OK, so he was a bit of a demon karter himself, but in a competition where the Belgian journos ran Bas Lienders and the BBC ran Anthony Davidson, we felt comfortable with our driver selection. It was a 90 minute endurance race, and a hell of a lot of fun it was. Competitive too. There really weren’t any slow teams, and almost everyone would have managed to finish on the same lap, but for the super-impressive Mr Lienders and his team of Belgians who romped to the win. We should have come home on the podium but for a piece of savage over- officiating in the pits that saw yours truly lose 10 seconds arguing with the organisers that yes, I had signed in, and yes they really needed to get out of the way. I’m embarrassed to admit I threw a proper girl-like hissy fit when I got WiLL BUxtON GPWeek Editor back to the pits, throwing my gloves and helmet away and kicking the garage panels. But to be honest, we were robbed! Still, we managed to beat Davidson and the BBC lot, so we left with our heads held high. The GP2 Series was back in full effect, the racing was spectacular, and in F1 the motorhomes were back, meaning regular trips for espresso at Ferrari and stunning Full English breakfasts at Williams and McLaren. So hooray for Europe. It’s always around this time that the general feeling that the season has properly started kicks in. Next stop Monaco and this thrilling season’s next instalment. But behind it all is the politics and talk of division, teams quitting and F1 falling apart at the seams. On a weekend when F1 came back to its emotional heartland of Europe, it would have been a shame if all the good things were washed out by discontent. But thankfully this season, the racing’s just too exciting to let the politics win out. Pos # Driver FORMULA 1 Round 5 BARCELONA Team 1 22 Jenson Button 2 23 Rubens Barrichello 3 14 Mark Webber 4 15 Sebastian Vettel 5 7 6 3 Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa 7 6 Nick Heidfeld 8 16 Nico Rosberg 9 1 10 10 Timo Glock 11 5 12 8 Lewis Hamilton Robert Kubica Nelson Piquet Kimi Räikkönen Brawn-Mercedes Brawn-Mercedes RBR-Renault RBR-Renault Renault Ferrari BMW Sauber Williams-Toyota BMW Sauber Renault Ferrari Laps 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 66 McLaren-Mercedes 65 Toyota 13 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 14 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 65 Ret 4 Ret 2 Ret 9 17 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 7 Jarno Trulli Toyota Ret 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari Ret 11 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari Ret 20 Adrian Sutil 0 0 0 Force India-Mercedes 0 65 65 65 65 Time 1:37:19.202 +13.0s +13.9s +18.9s +43.1s +50.8s +52.3s +65.2s +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap Hydraulics Gearbox Accident Accident Accident Accident Grid 1 3 5 2 8 4 13 9 14 6 10 12 11 20 16 18 7 15 17 19 Points – Drivers: Button 41, Barrichello 27, Vettel 23, Webber 15.5, Trulli 14.5, Glock 12, Hamilton 9, Alonso 9, Heidfeld 6, Rosberg 4.5. Manufacturers: Brawn 68, Red Bull 38.5, Toyota 26.5, McLaren 13, Renault 9, BMW Sauber 6, Ferrari 6, Williams-Toyota 4.5, Toro Rosso 4. 31 opinion