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GP Week : Issue 153
33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: World champions Red Bull were brought back to earth with a bang after their success in Bahrain three weeks ago as they failed to make the podium and finished the race with just one car in the points. Both Vettel and Webber had to get their front wings replaced during the race because of damage, while Vettel also had a drive-through penalty to deal with after failing to heed yellow flags. The problems only cost the German a single place however, as he took the flag in sixth. Team-mate Webber slumped to 11th place after his strategy was knocked out of kilter by the early pitstop for a new nose. All was looking rosy for Mercedes in the opening laps of the race, with Rosberg and Schumacher having gained two places off the start each to lie fourth and sixth, but tyre wear problems coupled with a race-ending crash would cost the Silver Arrows dear. Rosberg was overtaken by Grosjean for fourth place early in his second stint before a long 26-lap final stint resulted in him losing two places in the closing laps on worn tyres. Schumacher retired on lap 13 after smashing into the back of Bruno Senna, a collision for which he was given a five-place grid penalty for Monaco. Hot on the heels of their nightmare weekend in Bahrain, things failed to improve hugely in Spain at the weekend as they left the Iberian peninsula with a meagre six points, but still losing only minimal ground to Red Bull in the constructors’ championship. Hamilton started from last after being excluded from qualifying on Saturday evening, but recovered well on a two-stop strategy to finish eighth, ahead of team-mate Button in ninth. Jenson had traffic and poor grip to blame for his disappointing result. Mid-way through the race Raikkonen would have been content with a second consecutive podium finish, but after closing a 20-second gap to Alonso in 17 laps, the Finn was frustrated yet again to have lost out on victory. Unlike Alonso and Maldonado, both Lotuses took on another set of soft tyres at their first stop, costing them valuable time, before it was then too late to recover when they fitted the hard tyres for the second half of the race. Raikkonen’s result lifts him to fourth in the championship, while Grosjean took the flag in fourth place, 11 seconds behind his team-mate. Fernando Alonso said taking second place at home in Spain was like a victory, after finishing almost a minute off the lead in Bahrain three weeks’ ago, with the result catapulting him into the joint championship lead with Vettel. He led the first half of the race but was leapfrogged by Maldonado at the first round of stops and couldn’t reel him in thereafter. Massa finished outside the points for the fourth time this year thanks largely to a drive-through penalty for failing to heed yellow flags. He then lost over five seconds trying to overtake di Resta and took the flag in 15th place, 17 seconds outside the points. Nico Hulkenberg outraced his team-mate for the very first time this year and kept his points tally ticking over after climbing from 13th on the grid to tenth place at the chequered flag. The timing of the German’s second pitstop proved pivotal in his points-scoring success as, by pitting four laps earlier than di Resta, he was able to leapfrog his team-mate and three other drivers. He kept his position through the final phase of pitstops and fought off Mark Webber to secure the final point. Di Resta ended the race fending off Ferrari’s Felipe Massa after struggling with the hard tyres on his penultimate stint. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: SPANISH GRAND PRIX F1 >>> SPAIN