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Paddock Postcard from Barcelona 09 May 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren unveils his World Champion plaque with Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer (Left) and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 7 May 2010 Derek Warwick (GBR) FIA Steward for the Race Weekend.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 7 May 2010 The podium (L to R): Giacomo Ricci (ITA) DPR, second; Charles Pic (FRA) Arden International, race winner; Dani Clos (ESP) Racing Engineering, third. GP2 Series, Rd 1, Race 1, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 8 May 2010.

The paddock in Spain is always bustling with familiar faces, and the race calendar this year was even busier than ever with GP2, GP3 and Formula BMW events showcasing the talents of upcoming drivers.

On Friday Jenson Button uncovered a plate commemorating his achievement in 2009 in the Circuit de Catalunya’s Avenue of Champions, which pays tribute to all the drivers and riders who have raced there and have won at least one world championship.

The full list reads: Jenson Button, 2010; Casey Stoner, 2009; Nicky Hayden; 2009; Lewis Hamilton, 2009; Jorge Lorenzo, 2008; Nelson Piquet, 2008; Dani Pedrosa, 2007; Mika Hakkinen, 2006; Fernando Alonso, 2006; Nigel Mansell, 2005; Mick Doohan, 2004; Ayrton Senna, 2004; Fermi Velez, 2003; Angel Nieto, 2003; Sito Pons, 2003; Michael Schumacher, 2003; and Alex Criville, 2002.

On the racing side, rallying champion Carlos Sainz was there to watch 15 year-old son Carlos race in FBMW, while other old friends included steward-for-the-weekend Derek Warwick, Ron Dennis, Jacques Laffite, Christian Danner, Marc Surer, Roberto Moreno, Randy Mamola, Ralf Schumacher, David Kennedy, Dave Price, Ian Phillips, Harald Huysman and Luis Sala.

In GP2 Arden International’s Charles Pic drove a strong, intelligent race on Saturday and after the mandatory pit stops held just enough of a lead over fast-closing Giacomo Ricci of DPR to win, as Racing Engineering’s Dani Clos overtook Rapax’s Pastor Maldonado to claim a home podium ahead of a bitterly disappointed Sergio Perez of Barwa Addax who pushed the Spaniard hard for the second half of the race after leading initially.In an incident at the start Christian Veitoris had touched the Mexican and then collected polesitter Jules Bianchi, eliminating himself and the AET driver immediately.

In Sunday morning’s sprint race Swiss driver Fabio Leimer took a win from his very first GP2 meeting, holding off a hard-charging Luiz Razia in the closing laps to finish under a second clear of the Rapax driver, whose team mate Maldonado joined him on the podium in third.

In GP3 Saturday’s inaugural race resulted in victory for Norwegian Pal Varhaug, driving for Jenzer Motorsport. Canada’s Rob Wickens brought his Status Grand Prix car home second, fending off ART’s Esteban Guiterrez, whose team mate Alex Rossi was eighth and thus started Sunday’s race from pole. Rossi took full advantage, dominating the sprint event to finish over ten seconds clear of Carlin’s Lucas Foresti and Guiterrez.