by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 182
A front row lock-out came to naught for Mercedes, in a Spanish Grand Prix that was dominated by the incessant charge of Fernando Alonso. Despite a decent start to the race for Nico Rosberg, Mercedes’ hopes of success in Barcelona had faded to nothing by lap 13, when the pole sitter was passed by Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Felipe Massa. Two laps later, Rosberg fell to the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen. Getting past Rosberg in that early stint proved to be crucial, and the four men who managed it were the top four finishers in Sunday’s race. As soon as Alonso was given clean air to play with, the Ferrari driver began to pull out an impressive lead on his rivals, especially pre-race favourite Vettel. With the gap between the two drivers extending by around a second a lap, Vettel’s only hope was to run longer than the Spaniard, with a view to using strategy to undercut Alonso in the pits. But it was not to be – Vettel returned to the track behind his rival in red, and the Red Bull’s unusually high tyre degradation levels meant the defending world champion was not able to deliver the sort of pace that has seen the German racer collect title after title. Vettel was first warned to preser ve his rubber on lap 15, less than a quarter of the way through the race. Rubber preservation was the name of the game for the bulk of the pack on Sunday, but podium sitters Alonso, Raikkonen, and Massa were seemingly trouble-free. While race winner Alonso’s afternoon was characterised by long stints of increasing pace in clean air, teammate Massa had a rather different task on his hands. Following a three-place grid penalty for impeding in qualifying, the Brazilian racer started the Spanish Grand Prix in ninth place, but a great start and some early purple laps soon put Massa up at the front of the pack and in line for a podium finish. After making quick work of Lewis Hamilton in a smooth move around the outside of Turn 10, the Paulista dove into the pits for fresh rubber before making his way back up the order. From early on it was clear that there would be a four-way fight for the podium between Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, and Massa, although it took until the mid-point of the race before it was clear that the Red Bull driver’s tyre issues were slowly putting him out of contention. While many had predicted that the Spanish Grand Prix would be a battle of tyre strategies, when push came to shove, preservation proved to be more important than pit stops. The three- stopping Raikkonen was unable to get ahead of the four-stopping Alonso in the final stint, as the double world champion had given himself enough of a margin that he was able to pit from the lead without losing position. Raikkonen had been lapping the Circuit de Catalunya much faster than his rival, at some points besting the Spanish racer by five seconds a lap, but when Alonso emerged from the pits on fresh rubber he turned the tables on the Finn. Raikkonen gave good chase, and eventually crossed the finish line 9.338s behind Alonso, and 15 seconds later Massa completed the podium. The Red Bull pairing of Vettel and Mark Webber were next across the line, after an unremarkable race for the beleaguered Australian. Rosberg followed them home as the highest- placed Mercedes, chased by Paul di Resta, Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, and Daniel Ricciardo. Just out of the points was Esteban Gutierrez, who responded to his critics by setting the fastest lap of the race. Early on, a long first stint saw the Sauber lead the Spanish Grand Prix for four laps, a career first for the rookie racer. 18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BARCELONA