Vettel holds off Hamilton in Spain

Alonso pushes the Red Bulls out of the way at the start

Alonso pushes the Red Bulls out of the way at the start

Sebastian Vettel held off a resurgent Lewis Hamilton in the final 20 laps of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.

It wasn’t a straightforward win, however – Vettel had to fight his way back to the lead, after Fernando Alonso snatched the lead from Mark Webber at the start. Mark lost out to his teammate at the first corner. Kamui Kobayashi suffered a puncture after a trip into the gravel.

A roar of approval from the Spanish crowd wasn’t enough for Fernando though, as he struggled to shake off the Red Bulls and Hamilton.

An early pit stop for Vettel on Lap 8 prompted a dive into the pits for Alonso and Webber. Lewis delayed his stop, and emerged behind Webber in 3rd.

The same strategy worked much better at the second stop, with Vettel taking control of the lead, and Hamilton dispatching of Webber. Alonso resigned the lead, and slowly began to slip down the order.

A torrid race ended prematurely for Massa with a gearbox failure

A torrid race ended prematurely for Massa with a gearbox failure

Jenson Button made the call to retain a 3-stop strategy, putting him out of sync with the frontrunners. After the others’ second stops, Button made a daring pass on Webber at the first corner to move into 3rd place.

Vettel and Hamilton began to tear away, while a switch to hard tyres proved disastrous for Alonso, as he began to slide away from the leaders, eventually becoming lapped near the end.

An intermittent KERS problem put Sebastian under huge pressure from Lewis. A DRS advantage wasn’t enough for the McLaren though, as the difficult final sector of the lap gave the Red Bull enough breathing space.

Fernando was unable to stem the massive loss in time under the prime tyres, and succumbed to Webber by the end of the race. His teammate was even worse off, spinning and being passed by Nick Heidfeld and Sergio Perez.

Schumacher and Rosberg were unable to match McLaren and Red Bull, and quietly toured the circuit in 6th and 7th. Heidfeld and Perez were 8th and 9th, while Kobayashi recovered well to take a point.

Vettel was superb and on the pace all day long

Vettel was superb and on the pace all day long

Vettel held on by 0.6 seconds to Hamilton, and took a well-deserved win. He now holds a 41-point lead over Hamilton, who is the only driver to finish ahead of him in any race this year.

Massa eventually retired with a gearbox issue, joining Vitantonio Liuzzi (gearbox) and Heikki Kovalainen (crash) on the sidelines.

Pastor Maldonado slumped after his top 10 start, and was 15th. Meanwhile, Perez became the first Mexican in 30 years to score points in Formula 1.

Also, I apologise for the late updates this week. I was away during the weekend, and was in Dublin for Barack Obama’s visit. Well worth it though.

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