After succeeding in taking his second pole of the season, Mark Webber had no troubles around the Circuit de Catalunya as the Australian took the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. He led from start to finish in winning the second Grand Prix of his...
After succeeding in taking his second pole of the season, Mark Webber had no troubles around the Circuit de Catalunya as the Australian took the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. He led from start to finish in winning the second Grand Prix of his career.
Fernando Alonso gave his home crowd something to cheer about by taking second -- albeit thanks to Lewis Hamilton's late-race misfortune -- while Webber's Red Bull teammate, Sebastian Vettel finished third.
"It's special - I'm absolutely wrapped, but it's still very early doors," said Webber afterwards. "We know there are some very competitive cars at the front, in particular Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, and with some pretty decent drivers as well."
The race itself started off with no problems, as most of the top qualifying grid drivers were able to maintain much of their pace with Webber. Only Vettel, who started second, had no problems keeping up with his teammate, but when the race began to come down to the closing laps, things started to happen with the top of the grid.
Vettel encountered front-wheel problems just laps from the end and dropped back down the order. Meanwhile Hamilton, who began in third when the race lights went out, was in contention in second place when one of the Englishman's tires punctured and sent the McLaren driver off the track at turn three. This gave the opportunity for Alonso, who had been patient all day, to move into second place. Vettel had by this time had recovered, and finished third when the checkered flag finally fell.
"A lot of things went wrong today," said Vettel. "The start was okay, there was no chance to get past Mark and not worth taking the risk. It was quite slippery where he was so I didn't want to go around the outside. I was not quick enough, I struggled with the balance. Mark was in a league of his own today."
Hamilton was not pleased with his result, after coming so close to a podium that could have put him into second place in the world championship.
"It was disappointing. It was quite a good race for me," said Hamilton. "I had really good fun out there. It was nice obviously to take a step forward and split the Red Bulls. The team did an incredible job."
Alonso on the other hand, was pleased with his finish, knowing that the Red Bulls were much quicker all weekend.
"Now I feel extremely happy after the result today and when you gain two positions in last part of race, unexpected positions, it feels great, and you have a fantastic feeling right now," said Alonso. "Overall the weekend has been so-so for us, but in terms of result fantastic weekend for us. Fourth in qualifying, second in the race is fantastic for the team."
Micheal Schumacher took his best result of the year by finishing in fourth, just ahead of current World Champion Jenson Button, when the Englishman botched a final pit stop, giving the German the chance to place ahead of him after both of them had been fighting each other for position.
Felipe Massa took sixth and looked like he would make it a fight along with Schumacher and Button, but the Brazilian damaged his front wing earlier in the race, running into the back of HRT's Karun Chandhok while trying to lap the Indian driver. However, Massa held on with the damaged wing to take the points for his Ferrari team.
Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica finished seventh and eighth respectively, while Rubens Barrichello showed his experience as the Brazilian took ninth after having to start way back in the grid following a disappointing qualifying session. Jaime Alguersuari took his Toro Rosso to finish in the last point position in front of his home crowd.
In spite of his victory, Webber realizes that there is still a long way to go in the season.
"There's a long, long way to go, so we're waiting to see how cars perform at different venues - cars are pretty sensitive at different tracks. There's a lot of things to see how it all shakes out over the next few months. You need to have a quick car and one that is always there for you."
The Formula One teams will have only one week until they race in a very different venue: the streets of Monaco, on May 15th.