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GP Week : Issue 153
34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Kamui Kobayashi matched his best ever F1 finish in Spain on Sunday as he brought his C31 home in fifth place from ninth on the grid. The Japanese driver was still disappointed however, as he believed he could have finished on the podium had he not coast to a halt at the end of Q2 on Saturday, ruling him out of Q3. He spent the majority of the race behind his rivals, but overtook and broke free from Rosberg in the final five laps to secure fifth. Team-mate Perez had a luckless race in the sister car after starting fifth on the grid. He was tagged by Grosjean on the first lap, requiring an unscheduled stop to fix a puncture, before then having to retire with a transmission failure after 37 laps. Caterham continue to occupy no-man’s-land behind the main midfield group but well ahead of their chasing rivals, as Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov finished 16th and 17th. Petrov outqualified his team-mate for the first time this year on Saturday, but couldn’t keep the advantage on Sunday as Kovalainen pounced at the start. Although they were able to keep tabs on the midfield early in the race, they fell behind soon after, but Kovalainen was still within 30 seconds of Massa at the finish. Both Toro Rosso drivers spent the duration of the race bottled up in traffic, failing to turn their Q2 grid positions into a points finish. After outqualifying his team-mate for the first time this year, Vergne made a blistering start from 14th to 10th on the first lap but continually lost places during the pitstops to finish 12th at the flag. Ricciardo’s race was the complete opposite, as he failed to make places at the start, but kept position during the pitstops. He was overtaken by Vergne during the final stint, and took the flag in 13th place. HRT enjoyed a moderately successful home Grand Prix, with local hero Pedro de la Rosa reaching the chequered flag but well adrift of his nearest rivals. Good starts by both drivers put them ahead of Marussia’s Charles Pic early in the race, but it didn’t take long for them to slip to the back. Karthikeyan only lasted until lap 22 before retiring with a wheel nut problem after his second pitstop, while de la Rosa opted for a four stop strategy to cope with a huge tyre wear on his way to taking the flag three laps behind the winner. An genuine fairytale weekend for the Williams team in Barcelona as Pastor Maldonado ended an eight-year winless streak on the same weekend team principal Frank Williams was celebrating his 70th birthday. The Venezuelan had to work hard for the win after being passed by Alonso at the start, but drove a truly faultless race to lead across the finish line. He even had to cope with a slow final pitstop and a 25-lap final stint, but took it all in his stride. Team-mate Senna only made it until the start of lap 13 before being punted out of the race by Schumacher. He had qualified only 17th and was unlikely to feature strongly in the points. Balance problems with the MR01 hindered Timo Glock in Barcelona, as the team raced their much-anticipated upgrade package for the first time. The German struggled with rear-end instability and took the chequered flag just under 50 seconds behind Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov after losing over 11 seconds during a rough couple of laps in his final stint. Team-mate Pic, after outqualifying Glock on Saturday, only made it as far as lap 35 before retiring with a driveshaft failure. He was running 8 seconds behind Glock at the time. Sauber Caterham Toro Rosso HRT Williams Marussia TEAM-BY-TEAM: SPANISH GRAND PRIX F1 >>> SPAIN