Webber dominates at Spanish Grand Prix

Mark Webber had a dominant performance to take his first win of 2010, at the Spanish Grand Prix today. He led the entire race, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who suffered several problems during the race.

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

At the start, Webber was forced to defend his position against Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton, who all took different routes to try and take the lead. However, none of them prevailed, and the top four kept their starting positions. At the back, Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa collided, meaning the Sauber driver punctured his back left wheel, and was forced to pit. Also, Bruno Senna crashed into the barriers at Turn 3, although it is unclear what caused the incident. Sebastien Buemi lost his front wing in a separate incident.

Heikki Kovalainen never even started the race, as before the formation lap, his car’s gearbox was unable to select a gear, even with the help of the team’s laptops. A quick fix was impossible, so the Finn sat out the race.

Jaime Alguersuari and Felipe Massa made good starts, while Robert Kubica fell down to 10th. At the front, Mark Webber pushed on, and set fastest lap after fastest lap to push away from team-mate Vettel. Until the first set of pit stops, gaps appeared between the top 10 runners, while the back markers battled amongst themselves.

Nico Rosberg was doing reasonably, until his pit stop ruined his race. He left his box before his front left wheel was securely fitted, and he was forced to stop, and have his car pushed back for his wheel to be fitted again. He fell to 16th place, and never really recovered after that.

Many of the drivers pitted around Lap 18. The two who benefited from these stops were Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, who got up to 2nd and 5th respectively. Lewis had to work for his position though, as he battled with Sebastian Vettel, while Lucas di Grassi lended a hand. The Virgin driver slowed to let them past at Turn 1 while Hamilton was exiting the pit, and Vettel was forced to run wide to avoid Di Grassi, which handed Hamilton the position.

Meanwhile, a fight was developing between Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. The German was lapping very slowly after his switch to the harder tyres, in the 1.28 zone. While Button was considerably faster, he was unable to make a pass. This was mainly down to Schumacher’s excellent defending, meaning Jenson couldn’t make a move, as we saw so many times at Turn 1.

An incident soon occured between the frontrunners and the backmarkers. While Felipe Massa was trying to get past Karun Chandhok before the final chicane, he lost control and clipped his front wing off the HRT. While Felipe initially wanted to pit, he soon started setting personal best laps.

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

But, as soon as one backmarker incident was over, another happened. Jaime Alguersuari had just lapped Chandhok, and swerved straight in front of the HRT. Jaime lost control and lost a lot of time, while Karun was forced to pit for a new front wing. It was a dangerous and pointless move, and Alguersuari swiftly received a drive-through penalty.

On Lap 41, Lewis Hamilton asked his team how his tyres were, and whether he should pit or not. The team opted to keep him out, something which may come back to haunt him later. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was told that his front wing flap adjuster was stuck, which hampered his performance for the rest of the race. On Lap 45, Sebastien Buemi pitted for a long time, then soon retired.

As the race entered its final stage, it became clear that overtaking was still incredibly hard around this track. Button was still stuck behind Schumacher, and a large train of cars was forming behind him. Nico Rosberg couldn’t make progress up the field, and was stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg for a huge portion of the race.

On Lap 54, Vettel pitted for the second time, which confused many people, as his tyres seemed to be OK. He switched to the softer tyre, and everyone soon saw the problem: his brakes were absolutely destroyed. The Red Bull team urged him to conserve his brakes, by backing off considerably before heavy braking areas. He struggled until the end of the race, and kept Michael Schumacher at bay, as he only lost 10 seconds to him until the end.

In the last few laps, Webber was leading, with Hamilton second, Alonso third, Vettel fourth, and Schumacher still leading the train of cars behind. But, with only 2 laps to go, disaster struck for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton’s front left tyre deflated at Turn 3, meaning he undesteered and smashed into the barriers, throwing away his potential podium finish. The upside (for the spectators anyways!) was that local boy Fernando Alonso was promoted to second, while Sebastian Vettel, despite his ailing brakes, clinched third position.

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Mark Webber crossed the line first, 24 seconds ahead of Alonso, who was a further 27 seconds ahead of Vettel. Mark was delighted with his first win of the year, Fernando pleased the crowd with the most popular second place ever (probably), and Sebastian was happy to get a podium considering all of his problems. Further back, Adrian Sutil did well to get 7th, Rubens Barrichello improved well on his qualifying to get 9th, while Jaime Alguersuari got another point to add to his collection, despite his previous drive-through penalty.

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

The drivers’ and constructors’ standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Pictures, gallery and stats and facts will be added as soon as possible.

Full result from the Spanish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Gap # of laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.0 56
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 51.3 56
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 62.1 56
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 63.7 56
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 65.7 56
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 72.9 56
8 Robert Kubica Renault 73.6 56
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1 Lap 55
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1 Lap 55
14 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 2 Laps 54
17 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
18 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 4 Laps 52
20 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 24 Laps 32
21 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 39 Laps 27
22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 48 Laps 18
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 0 Laps 0
24 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth DNS DNS

2 responses to “Webber dominates at Spanish Grand Prix

  1. timsculthorpe May 9, 2010 at 14:51

    I’d missed the Sutil performance today after he had a less than great qualifying. The Force India is a solid car again, I’m looking forward to seeing Sutil have a crack at Spa this year.

  2. Pingback: Dunkin' Donuts Returns to Russia After '99 Retreat | Coffee Pods -- A Great Way to Start Your Day

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