Archive for the ‘Spain- Barcelona’ Category


Webber Wins in Spain, While Puncture Robs Hamilton of Second

May 9, 2010

Mark Webber became the first driver to turn pole into a win in 2010, in this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton suffered a front-left puncture with just two laps to go, and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel came close to suffering brake failure.

The top six made a clean getaway off the start line, and it was Fernando Alonso who attempted to make the first overtaking manoeuvre of the race on Lewis Hamilton, with the latter holding on to third, catapulting himself down the pitstraight, attacking pole sitter Webber and second-placed Sebastian Vettel. By the end of the first lap, Webber had the lead over Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, with Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher also retaining their starting positions.

Nico Rosberg was the driver who lost out in the opening corners, running wide onto the grass and dropping down from eighth to eleventh, with seventh place starter Robert Kubica also heading backwards through the pack, losing three places to Felipe Massa, up from ninth, Adrian Sutil, up from 11th and Jaime Alguersuari on the attack from 16th. Kubica found himself in 10th, with Rosberg 11th, and Rubens Barrichello up to 12th from 17th, with Pedro de la Rosa falling back with a puncture, Nico Hulkenberg holding on to 13th, and Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Vitantonio Liuzzi all moving backwards.

The top twelve stayed where they were until the first round of pitstops, with Schumacher and Massa the first to pit from the front runners on lap 15. Rosberg came in next, but had to be pushed back into his pitbox after his front-right wheel started smoking.

On lap 17, Vettel pitted, losing two seconds in a fairly slow stop. Alonso was next in, followed by Button, whose mechanics had a problem with the wheel nuts, costing him fifth place to Schumacher.

On lap 18, Webber was the next to pit, with Hamilton following close behind. While Webber rejoined in the lead, Hamilton found himself fighting with Vettel into turn one, with the latter having to run wide through turn two after the back marker of di Grassi got in the way. Vettel’s trip off the track cost him second to Hamilton.

During the laps that followed, the action was between Schumacher and Button in their fight for fifth, and after the pair lapped Karun Chandhok on lap 25, Massa, who was following the pair past the HRT driver in the last few corners, found himself dislodging his wing following contact.

From then on, the race was Webber’s to lose, and while the Red Bull driver continued to pull out a gap to Hamilton, Vettel found himself running wide into turns seven and eight on lap 54, after problems with his front right tyre. The Red Bull driver was forced to pit, gifting third to Alonso, but managing to keep fourth from the clutches of Schumacher.

In the laps that followed, Vettel was repeatedly told to slow down after it became apparent he was suffering with brake failure, but on lap 65, it was Hamilton who was dealt the heavy blow, suffering a front-left puncture into turn three, seeing the end to his race, and waving goodbye to a possible 18 points to move him to within just a point of championship leader Button.

Hamilton said after the incident: “These things happen, I don’t know what it was. This is motor racing and you just have to keep your chin up and look forward.”

It wasn’t to be for Hamilton, and just over a lap later, Webber crossed the line to take his first win of the season, with Alonso finishing second in front of his home crowd. Vettel took the final podium position, nursing the sister Red Bull into third. Schumacher scores his highest finish of the season, in fourth, with Button settling for fifth, unable to get past the Mercedes driver. Massa, despite his broken front wing, was able to put in some faster laps following contact with Chandhok, to finish in sixth, holding on to the back of Button. Sutil finished seventh for Force India, with Kubica eighth, Barrichello ninth and Alguersuari taking the last point in tenth.

Button retains his lead in the championship, heading into next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix with 70 points, with Alonso just behind on 67. Vettel’s podium finish sees him in third on 60 points, with Webber in fourth on 53, and Kubica fifth on 50. Massa and Hamilton both hold sixth in the standings together, on 49 points each, but with 21 points separating them from Button, the 2008 rivals have some catching up to do in the coming races to hold on to their title hopes.

In the constructors’ standings, Hamilton’s retirement means McLaren are now only three points ahead of Ferrari on 119 and 116 respectively. Red Bull are close behind on 113.

After a three week gap between China and Spain, the next race is just days away, in Monaco next weekend. Free practice will be held on Thursday, instead of Friday, with qualifying on Saturday 15th May, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 16th.


Webber Takes Red Bull’s 5th Pole of 2010 in Spain

May 8, 2010

Mark Webber claimed Red Bull’s fifth pole in a row this afternoon, in qualifying for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Aussie driver was a tenth of a second quicker than teammate Sebastian Vettel in second, and a second faster than McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in third.

Webber had been fastest in all three qualifying sessions, proving Red Bull are the team to beat on pure pace.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the fourth fastest time in front of his home crowd at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, completing a former-champions second row, with current champion Jenson Button and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher on the third row in fifth and sixth respectively.

Schumacher out-qualified teammate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season, with the young German driver in eighth alongside Renault’s Robert Kubica in seventh. Alonso’s Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, and BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi round out the top ten.

Further down the pack, Vitaly Petrov, who qualified 14th, will start tomorrow’s race in 19th after a five-place grid-drop penalty was issued for changing his gearbox. Karun Chandhok and the two Virgins receive similar penalties and will start the race from the back of the grid.

Rubens Barrichello, who led last year’s Spanish Grand Prix for Brawn, missing out on the win after teammate Button’s strategy was changed, received the biggest blow of the day, dropping out at the end of Q1 in 18th after failing to set a fast enough time. Petrov’s penalty, however, means Barrichello will start from 17th.

With the pole sitter failing to win any of the four races this season, Webber will be hoping that the historical pole-to-win conversion in Barcelona over the past nine races will see him taking his first victory of 2010, however, Vettel will be hot on his heels, with Hamilton in the hunt for his first win of the season as well.

The race starts at 1pm on BBC1 tomorrow.


Jenson Makes it 4 Out of 5 For Brawn

May 10, 2009

Jenson Button has made it four out of five at the Spanish Grand Prix, and edged his way ever further into the lead of the driver’s world championship, in a race where Ferrari failed to fuel their sole remaining driver long enough to get him comfortably to the finish, and McLaren struggled for grip throughout.

Button started the race from pole, but soon found himself staring at the back of teammate Barrichello, as the Brazilian claimed two places into the first corner. Felipe Massa made a quick getaway from fourth making up one place to position himself in front of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Further down the field, contact between Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli ended up putting the latter out of the race, taking the Force India of Adrian Sutil and the two Toro Rossos with him.

The safety car was quickly deployed after the carnage that was turn two, and at the restart, Barrichello led Button away from Massa and Vettel.

Heikki Kovalainen saw his third retirement of the season shortly after the restart due to gearbox failure, and Kimi Raikkonen ground to a hault on lap 18 with suspected electrical problems, after having spent the previous laps since the restart hunting down the BMW of Nick Heidfeld.

Barrichello led Button through the first round of pitstops, however, a stategy change by Button’s engineers from three-stopping to two, saw the Brazilian fall back behind Jenson after his second stop, despite his second-per-lap advantage over his teammate in the second stint. An early stop and a switch to the hard tyres by Massa and Vettel allowed Barrichello to make up time on his softer tyres and he came out of the pits for the third time ahead of the fighting Ferrari and Red Bull. Despite losing out to Button by three-stopping, the soft tyres proved to be the best compound and brought Barrichello home in second to make it a Brawn one-two.

Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber also three-stopped, pitting for the final time behind Rubens, and he too leap-frogged Massa and Vettel to get his second podium this season.

Lewis Hamilton had a less-lucky race, being forced to run onto the grass at the start, after getting caught up behind the Toyota of Trulli, and narrowly escaping the crash in turn two as he made his way round at the back of the pack. Hamilton said: “I drove my heart out as I always do” adding, he just didn’t have the grip to get into the points-scoring positions, narrowly missing out in 9th.

In the closing laps of the race, it soon became apparent that Massa didn’t have enough fuel on board to push to the end of the race, and subsequently he had to allow Vettel through, and later Fernando Alonso, to at least ensure he finished the race. After crossing the finish line in 6th, he parked his F60 on the circuit, having finally run out of fuel.

For Brawn, they have dominated the Circuit de Catalunya all weekend, with Barrichello pushing Button all the way, at one point looking set to take his first victory since 2004. However, it was Jenson Button who proved that you certainly have to be on the front row of the grid to win in Barcelona, and having made it four wins out of five, he seems to be in a league of his own.


The next race will be in Monaco in two weeks time.


Button Takes Pole as F1 Heads to Europe

May 9, 2009

Jenson Button has recorded his third pole of the season in sunny Spain today, as Formula One heads north for the Spanish Grand Prix, with the European leg of the season hopefully leaving behind the heavy monsoon rains and heated temperatures that were the opening four races. 

It wasn’t just Jenson leading the way in qualifying, in fact the Brit was pretty quiet up until the final lap in quali three when he recorded a lap of 1:20.527 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Button started his flying lap with two seconds left on the clock, and ended up pushing Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and teammate Rubens Barrichello, who had both been hot on the pace the whole session, back down to P2 and P3 respectively.

Ferrari couldn’t have had more of a mixed bag of results if they tried, with Felipe Massa leading the way in quali one, and securing P4 in quali three, and Kimi Raikkonen being ousted out in the first round thanks to his engineers making a blundering error by assuming he was safe and through to round two – did they not learn from that mistake with Massa in Malaysia? Still, at least it would have given the Finn the possibility for another choc ice if needs be.

For McLaren, Heikki Kovalainen was another of the usual front-runners failing to make it into quali two, a trend that is increasing this season as the mid-field and back-markers bunch up the grid. He will start tomorrow’s race in 18th. Lewis Hamilton failed to make it into quali three, placing himself 14th on the grid.

Button will be hoping to make it four wins out of five when the race starts tomorrow, and considering the Spanish Grand Prix has always seen a front-row sitter take victory, (bar Michael Schumacher’s victory from third), it is looking ever more likely it will happen. At least, if previous victories are anything to go by, we will still only have two winners so far this season. However, when the lights go green tomorrow, watch out for the Brazilian in the red Ferrari on the second row. With a long run down to turn one, Massa will be hoping to make it a victory from fourth, getting his championship campaign off to a start after a somewhat testing start to the season.

With many saying it will be the new start to the 2009 championship, with new aerodynamic upgrades coming from most of the teams, it is set to open the competition up once again.