OK, first things first. I totally forgot about the British GP in my last post race report so allow me to formally say “my bad”. Now on to business. Over the weekend Formula 1 returned to the Silverstone Circuit for the British Grand Prix, the home GP of the McLaren team (and both their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button) as well as the Red Bull Racing team. However with all the British pride on the grid it was Ferrari putting on a show for the crowd as Fernando Alonso was kicking butt all weekend. He started by qualifying on pole in the wet, then on race day the skies parted and sunshine hit Silverstone, to which he took full advantage of. On a dry track it seemed like he would be unstoppable as he was able to brilliantly manage his tires despite the fact that his team was a bit thrown off by the sudden run of good weather.
Fernando pushed and pushed and it looked like he was well on his way to earn his third win of the season but as the race started to wind down, so did his tires. Mark Webber, who was on fresher tires was able to capitalize on Fernando’s misfortune and grabbed the lead away from the Spaniard and continued to drive on to a victory at Red Bull Racing’s home GP. Fernando took second (retaining the points lead), and Sebastien Vettel earned third place.
For a full post-race wrap up, watch the guys from SPEED make sense of it all.
[Photo: Andrew Hone/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2012BritishGP, 2012BritishGrandPrix, BritishGP, BritishGrandPrix, F1, FernandoAlonso, Ferrari, Formula1, FormulaOne, JensonButton, LewisHamilton, MarkWebber, Mercedes, Motorsports, News, PastorMaldonado, RedBullRacing, ScuderiaFerrari, SebastienVettel, SergioPerez, VodafoneMcLaren
Over the weekend Formula One returned to Spain for the second time this year on the streets of Valencia and the talk of the weekend remained the phenomenon of seven different winners in seven races. With Sebastien Vettel throwing down a blistering fast lap during Qualifying and taking the pole position most were starting to think the 2011 champion would end the streak. When the race started Vettel had an excellent start and returned to old form as he shot out and built a hefty lead over Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean. It was starting to look like Vettel was going to indeed become the first two time winner of the year until his car mysteriously shut-off on lap 34 of 57 in a rare mechanical failure which ended his day.
Vettel’s mechanical issues allowed hometown hero Fernando Alonso to take the lead in front of an absolutely roaring crowd, but he faced serious pressure from the Frenchman Romain Grosjean. Grosjean was hard charging and chasing Fernando down until his car also shut-off on lap 41 which took an immense amount of pressure off the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Over the radio the Lotus team informed Romain that the alternator failed which caused an electrical failure, thus shutting down the motor. Since Lotus runs a similar Renault engine set up as Red Bull, it was speculated that the alternator was possibly the culprit in Vettel’s shut-down as well. With Romain out, points leader Lewis Hamilton took over second place but had a four second gap to Alonso. While Lewis was figuring out how he would close on Fernando, his rear view mirrors were full of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen who was smelling blood, or more likely the quickly degrading tires of both Hamilton and Alonso.
As the race closed in on the last 10 laps Lewis was stil working on closing that 4 second cap on Alosno but Kimi began to ease off of Hamilton, perhaps he was worried about pushing too hard and having the same alternator failure as his teammate. As the race got down to the last 6 laps McLaren was hoping that Fernando’s tires would begin to fail, which would allow Hamilton to steal the win in the end. However with Lewis suffering his own tire troubles Kimi Raikkonen took Hamilton down and grabbed second place on lap 55 of 57. Lewis then almost lost third place to Pastor Maldonado right after falling to Raikkonen but Lewis held him off for a few turns until Pastor got a little too aggressive and punted Lewis Into the wall with only two laps remaining. The hit took the front wing off Maldonado which put him out as well allowing Michael Schumacher to take over third place and Mark Webber moving up to fourth.
At that point it was all she wrote as Fernando Alonso finally won in Valencia becoming the first two-time winner of 2012, followed by Kimi Raikkonen taking second place, and the great one Michael Schumacher grabbing third.
Fernando’s win shoots him up to first place in the points, with Mark Webber moving up to second past Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. Now the F1 grid gets about a month break as next on the schedule is the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim starting July 20th.
To get another take on the European Grand Prix check out the SPEED post-race report.
[Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2012EuropeanGP, 2012EuropeanGrandPrix, EuropeanGP, EuropeanGPValenciaSpain, EuropeanGrandPrix, F1, FerandoAlonso, Formula1, FormulaOne, KimiRaikkonen, LewisHamilton, Motorsports, News, NicoHulkenberg, PastorMaldonado, PaulDiResta, RomainGrosjean, SebastienVettel, spain, Valiencia
This year Formula 1 has been a bag full of shock and awe as so far up until the Spanish Grand Prix there has been a different winner from a different manufacturer for each race which was a nightmare for all the math geeks calculating points. The weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix had fans wondering if we would see yet another new winner or if one of the old pros would step up for a repeat win. For a while it looked like Lewis Hamilton was going to earn his first win of the season as he had a stellar performance during qualifying and earned the pole, for a few hours anyway. For some reason right after Q3 was over McLaren radioed into Lewis and had him stop his car while it was still on track. The reason why they did this is still unknown but leaving your car on track is a penalty so officials threw out Lewis’ fast lap and put him in the back of the field for the race.
With Lewis kicked off the front row, Williams driver Pastor Malonado inherited the pole which marked the first time a Venezuelan driver has ever held a pole position in Formula 1. While Pastor was happy with that I am sure he was worried when he came back to Earth and realized Fernando Alonso would be next to him! When the lights went out Pastor attempted to intimidate Fernando by nearly driving him off the track by defending his position going into turn 1. That turned out to be a rookie mistake since Fernando is not easily intimidated! The Spaniard held his ground and passed Pastor for the lead and immediately worked on building a sizable gap. Although, to everyone’s surprise Pastor did not fade away. The young Williams driver managed to stay with Fernando Alonso (granted at a distance) for the first half of the race.
Things took a turn during the close of the second stint as Fernando needed to come in for new tires and at first he had enough of a gap to swap rubber and still come out in front but those hopes were dashed when he got held up by lapped traffic, costing him valuable time. When Fernando came in for tires Pastor took over the lead but his tires were starting to go fast and he had Alonso’s hard-charging Ferrari right behind him on new tires. The crew at Williams pleaded with Pastor to do his best to maintain the lead but to also save the tires as coming in for new rubber would throw away all hopes of a win.
For about 15 torturous laps the Pastor held off the Spaniard with degrading tires and took the checkered flag, becoming the 5th different winner in 5 races and also becoming the first Venezuelan to win a Formula 1 race. Fernando Alonso took second place and Kimi Raikkonen nabbed third.
Everyone in the Williams camp was on top of the world but the celebration was literally burned out as their garage caught on fire! There were a few injuries to pit crew but nothing serious and everyone is ok. What a weekend huh?!
For a full race recap check out the SPEED trio talking it over.
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
Tags: · 2012SpanishGrandPrix, 2012SpanishGrandPrixResults, F1, FernandoAlonso, Formula1, FormulaOne, KimiRaikkonen, LotusF1Team, Motorsports, News, PastorMaldonado, ScuderiaFerrari, SpanishGrandPrixResults, WilliamsF1