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Spanish Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?

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Spanish Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
May 14, 2012, 1:38 AM

Pastor Maldonado secured the first victory of his career at the Circuit de Catalunya and gave Williams their first victory in 132 races but there w...

Pastor Maldonado secured the first victory of his career at the Circuit de Catalunya and gave Williams their first victory in 132 races but there were a number of good performances all the way down the field. So who was your driver of the day?

Pastor Maldonado

Wasn't really on the radar in the Friday practice sessions, however the team could see that the race pace was strong. Showed good pace in final practice on Saturday to lead many drivers to suggest Williams would be strong in the race. Kept a cool head to comfortably make it into Q3 and then produced the best lap of his career to provisionally hold pole before Lewis Hamilton usurped him at the end. Was promoted to pole position after Hamilton’s penalty. Tried to hold off Fernando Alonso at the start, but the Spaniard was able to get down the inside at Turn One. Kept his head, and looked after his tyres in the early part of his race before the team tried the undercut at the second round of stops. By pitting earlier, he managed to leapfrog Alonso. Was impressive as he looked after his tyres in the final stint after intense pressure from Alonso and held on to secure his first victory in F1. A popular win.

Fernando Alonso

Appeared in good spirits on arrival at the venue of his home race and gave the fans something to cheer about by topping the times in first practice. Easily made it into Q3 and held pole position until Maldonado and Hamilton bettered his time. Was promoted to second as a result of Hamilton’s penalty and made a great start to lead into Turn One for the second time in two years. Stopped two laps later than Maldonado at the second round of stops, a move which saw him lose time and the lead. Pressurised the Williams driver for the lead but lost ground in the closing stages before holding off a fasting finishing Kimi Raikkonen to finish second. As a result, he retook the joint championship lead alongside Sebastian Vettel on 61 points. Given the car he's had to work with that's some achievement.

Kimi Raikkonen

Arrived in Barcelona as one of the favourites for victory after a supreme performance in Bahrain to finish second. Showed strong race pace in Friday practice but struggled to find the right set-up and qualified fifth, which turned into fourth after Hamilton’s penalty. Passed his team-mate at the start but couldn’t keep up with Alonso or Maldonado during the first three stints. By making his final stop later than those in front, he had more life in his tyres and was able to reduce a 20-second gap to 0.6 seconds at the end however it was not enough to gain a position and he finished third for his second successive podium. The Finn is now 12 points behind joint championship leaders Alonso and Maldonado.

Kamui Kobayashi

Made it into Q3 in qualifying, but was forced to watch on the sidelines after stopping out on track with a fuel leak. Started ninth after Hamilton’s penalty and made a good start to run seventh early on. Looked after his tyres well but was baulked by traffic and struggled to make progress. As the race wore on, he put good moves on Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to lift up into fifth – and equal the best finish of his career - but admitted after the race that a podium was possible.

Lewis Hamilton

Solid in practice but came into his own during qualifying. Eased through Q1, got everything right on his first run in Q2 so was able to save a set of tyres and then blitzed his final lap in Q3 to secure his third pole of the season. Described his lap as one of the best he’d ever driven. However, he ran low on fuel on his in-lap and was told by his team to stop on track which resulted him getting disqualified and sent to the back of the grid. Remained in good spirits and a good start saw him make five places up on the first lap. Showed he could look after his tyres by doing a 31 lap final stint, making a two-stop strategy work – everyone else did three – and finished eighth to score valuable championship points.

Nico Hulkenberg

Struggled for pace in qualifying and could only manage 14th, one place behind Force India team-mate Paul di Resta. Had a good start, but struggled to make much progress early on. A good, clean strategy from the team helped him rise up the field and into the points and then spent much of his race holding off the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Produced some great skills to keep the Australian behind and held on to score a point for tenth – his second points scoring result of the season.

Who was your Driver of the Day in Spain?

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