Fernando Alonso celebrates his Formula One victory on his home turf
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has made the dreams of his home crowd come true after cruising to victory in the FIA Formula One 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. The Spaniard has picked up his 32nd career race win so far and second one at the Circuit de Catalunya following today’s action on the track.
Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen did not have to improve too much on his qualifying position from yesterday once race day came. The Finnish driver could not quite catch Alonso to take the victory but ended the Grand Prix in second place.
The Red Bull duo seemed to be slightly off the pace compared to their closest Championship rivals this weekend. Sebastian Vettel still had the upper hand over his team mate in terms of finishing higher in the top 10 point scoring positions. The reigning World Champion missed out on a podium spot and had to settle for fourth place in the end. Vettel’s Australian team mate, Webber kept up with him though as the race came to a close and he finished just behind in fifth place.
Sadly the statistics historically in Barcelona did not favour Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg who secured pole position yesterday or even his team mate, Lewis Hamilton with both drivers locking out the front row of the grid after qualifying. Rosberg failed to maintain the lead and lost it early on in the race to finish in sixth place. Hamilton was slightly worse off as he did not manage to pick up any points today. The 2008 World Champion ended up in 12th place for the final race classification.
Force India’s Paul Di Resta did well to improve on his starting position of 10th place and picked up a respectable seventh place finish for himself in the end. The Scotsman’s team mate, Adrian Sutil was not as fortunate and he could only achieve a spot outside of the top 10 point scoring positions. The German driver did experience a delay during an early pit stop in the race. It has not yet been confirmed as to what the cause of this was and whether it had a knock on effect for the rest of his Grand Prix.
After a mixed start to the weekend and qualifying in 14th place, McLaren’s Jenson Button appears to be moving in the right direction now and is making steady progress as the season goes on. The 2009 World Champion picked up some valuable Championship points for himself as a result of finishing the race in eighth place. Button also kept his new team mate, Sergio Perez at bay who failed to catch the Englishman as they completed the final few laps of the race. The Mexican driver ended up just behind Button to take ninth place.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo was left flying the flag for the team when Jean-Eric Vergne was forced to retire around lap 54. There was contact in the pits between Vergne and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg on lap 36. Hulkenberg had to pit again for a new front wing due to the damage caused from the incident, and he was issued with a 10 second stop and go penalty by the stewards for an unsafe release in the pits. Vergne initially appeared to race on unscathed from the incident until his car suffered rear tyre delamination. The French man did make a pit stop for a tyre change to hopefully cure the problem, but was forced to retire from the race soon after and his car seemed to be beyond repair then. Vergne’s Australian team mate, Ricciardo went on to finish the Grand Prix and secured the final top 10 point scoring position for himself.
Prior to Vergne’s unfortunate exit from the race, Raikkonen’s team mate, Romain Grosjean was the first of the three retirees in total. The French man reported that he suspected there was right rear suspension damage and the wheel had become loose on that part of the car. This concern soon developed into retirement and Grosjean was out of the race from around lap eight.
The third and final driver who failed to reach the chequered flag was Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman experienced a scary moment when one of the wheels suddenly came off his car and rolled across the track. Fortunately, van der Garde was able to nurse his car back to the pits but was sadly out of the race from then on.
In addition to the incidents already mentioned that caught the attention of the stewards, they also investigated Williams’ driver Pastor Maldonado on lap 11. The Venezuelan driver was suspected of speeding in the pit lane and the stewards issued him with a drive through penalty to face the consequences of his actions.
Maldonado joined the likes of Hamilton, Sutil and Hulkenberg, to fight over 11th to 19th place with the rest of those that managed to make it through their battles in Barcelona.
Despite Vettel causing problems for the Mercedes duo in the early stages of the race, surprisingly he was not the man on the top step of the podium today. Instead it was Alonso who seemed to thrive under the pressure of pleasing his home crowd, and as well as rewarding them with a good show, he also had reason to celebrate for taking the victory for himself, the team and particularly in beating his closest Championship rivals in the process.
The drivers and teams now have two weeks until they participate in the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix. It is known for being a challenging circuit due to the lack of overtaking places, which more often than not makes it a hard task for the drivers. Alonso proved today that he can deliver when there are high expectations of him like the support and hopes of his home crowd, and if he puts similar principles into practice in Monte Carlo then he could be a strong candidate to take the race victory there. Alonso may not have an easy ride though, as many of the top title contenders strive to win that Grand Prix. It is certain that his closest rivals will also have their sights set on success there and will be likely to put up a good fight for it.