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Spain analysis - joy and frustration for Red Bull 10 May 2010

Race winner Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 on the grid: F Duct cockpit opening is visible.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 8 May 2010 The damaged car of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM03 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010

Their qualifying speed, fine weather, and the difficulty of passing in Barcelona meant the odds were heavily stacked in favour of a dominant Red Bull one-two in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. It wasn’t to be. Their race pace was not as quick as expected, and although polesitter Mark Webber won as he pleased, technical gremlins again struck the RB6, meaning Sebastian Vettel had to rely on others’ misfortune for his podium finish. We take a team-by-team look at Sunday afternoon’s events…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P1
Sebastian Vettel, P3

The result looked good for Red Bull, with Webber an excellent first after a superb race, and Vettel third. But while the Australian enjoyed a trouble-free Grand Prix that he controlled at will, the German said his RB6 had poor balance throughout. Then on the 54th lap failure of the left front brake put him off course in the esses, and a pit stop for fresh rubber and a quick visual checkover did not help him to regain lost pace. He was lucky that Hamilton crashed out with two laps to go.

Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P6

Ferrari lacked real pace, and Alonso admitted that he was very fortunate that both Vettel and Hamilton struck trouble late in the race, promoting him from fourth to second. Massa said his F10 still lacked rear-end grip in sector three, and could not pass either Schumacher or Button. His cause wasn’t helped when he clobbered Chandhok while lapping him, generating understeer after damaging the left-hand endplate on the front wing.

Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher, P4
Nico Rosberg, P13

The race proved that Mercedes are not fast enough, but Schumacher looked his tough and resolute old self as he robustly defended against Button on his way to a lucky fourth place. Rosberg got bundled down the order at the start when Kubica would not give way and he found himself on the grass, and later his pit stop was botched when he had to be pushed back to have the right front wheel nut retightened. His run of points-scoring finishes was ended by a 13th place.

Jenson Button, P5
Lewis Hamilton, retired lap 54, accident

McLaren still lead the constructors’ title chase, but they would have been further ahead had Hamilton not suffered that tyre problem. He drove brilliantly to split the Red Bulls, and set fastest lap, but crashed out in Turn Three on lap 64 when, the team suspected, he suffered a similar incident to Kovalainen here in 2008: it is thought that a stone jammed between the left front upright and the wheel, machining through the rim so that the tyre exploded as the wheel collapsed. Button ran right behind Alonso initially, but lost his dashboard display early on. That meant he had to judge gearshifts, and could not activate the launch control system in his pit stop, resultant in clutch drag and delaying wheelspin. That put him behind Schumacher, and he could not find a way past thereafter. Nevertheless, he still leads the championship for drivers.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P7
Tonio Liuzzi, retired lap 66, power loss

Sutil made a great start and was always in the hunt for points, and did a great job to stay ahead of hard-charging Kubica without making any mistakes. Seventh was just reward. Liuzzi struggled with his car on the soft Bridgestone rubber and was the first to switch to the harder primes, after which his car became good enough to match his team mate’s lap times. Right at the end, however, he stopped out on the track when his engine suffered power loss, but it did not affect his finishing position.

Robert Kubica, P8
Vitaly Petrov, P11

Renault had a rough opening lap, with Kubica coming together with Kobayashi and losing two places, and Petrov being too cautious. While the Pole then spent most of his race chasing Sutil, en route to eighth, the Russian hounded Kobayashi to finish 12th. Interestingly, they set near-identical best lap times in 1m 25.466s and 1m 25.470s respectively.

Rubens Barrichello, P9
Nico Hulkenberg, P16

Initially the two Williams ran nose to tail in team order, but whereas Barrichello was able to convert 17th place on the grid to a solid ninth place result, Hulkenberg lost pace and ground after an off-road moment following his pit stop robbed his FW32 of downforce.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P10
Sebastien Buemi, Retired lap 43, hydraulics

Alguersuari had a messy race, running right behind Sutil and ahead of Kubica early on before a sticking front left wheel nut lost him a lot of ground in the first pit stop. Later he carved up Chandhok when he misjudged a lapping move, and got a drive-through penalty for his troubles. A point on home ground was thus welcome, but he was disappointed that he could not convert good race pace into something better. Buemi walloped De la Rosa on the opening lap and needed a new nose at the end of it, later got a drive-through for an unsafe release into Trulli’s path, and then retired with hydraulic problems.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, P12
Pedro de la Rosa, retired lap 18, collision damage

Both drivers were involved in first-lap incidents, Kobayashi with Kubica, and De la Rosa with Buemi. The Japanese driver lost ground, and the chance for points; the bitterly disappointed Spaniard had to pit to have a shredded left rear tyre replaced, and retired soon afterwards with undertray damage which could not be repaired.

Jarno Trulli, P17
Heikki Kovalainen, did not start, gearbox software

Lotus lost Kovalainen as his car was fired up on the grid and a software glitch promptly selected two gears at once. But Trulli drove a strong race, albeit it in a car that he said did not have the same edge that it did in practice, to finish best of the new teams just ahead of Glock’s Virgin.

Timo Glock, P18
Lucas di Grassi, P19

Virgin got both cars home, and Glock really charged after Trulli’s Lotus and kept the Italian honest throughout the race. They finished just 1.4s apart. Di Grassi showed great presence of mind to keep out of the way of Hamilton and Vettel in Turn One on the 18th lap.

Karun Chandhok, retired lap 28, collision damage
Bruno Senna, retired lap 1, accident

Senna’s undertray had been repaired after damage was discovered that had lost him downforce all through practice and qualifying, but he got caught out in Turn Four on the opening lap after a spectacular start, and crashed out. Chandhok started at the back after a gearbox replacement, but made good progress until he was assaulted by Alguersuari and had to pit for a replacement nose. Soon after, further damage sustained in the incident forced him out.