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Spain analysis - and then there were five... 14 May 2012

Race winner Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34 celebrates with his girlfriend Gabriella Tarkany and his Father Pastor Maldonado SR (VEN) and the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 in the post race press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Sauber C31 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 May 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 May 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2012

Pastor Maldonado had been quick throughout final practice and qualifying, but few seriously expected him to win the Spanish Grand Prix. Those in the know were tipping Lotus for glory and the black and gold cars did ultimately prove quickest, just not - critically - over 66 laps. Instead Maldonado defied his critics - of whom there have been plenty since he entered F1 - with a faultless maiden victory. In a superbly balanced Williams FW34, the Venezuelan kept his cool after losing the lead to Fernando Alonso at the start of the race and then withstanding huge pressure from the Ferrari near its end. We review an immense race, team by team…

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, P1
Bruno Senna, Retired lap 13, accident

What a fabulous day for Williams, as Maldonado had a trouble-free run to his first and the team’s 114th Grand Prix victory, making him the fifth winner in 2012’s five races. The FW34 performed faultlessly, and was the class of the field. Senna was nowhere near as competitive, having spun in qualifying, and was then taken out by Schumacher as they collided in Turn 1. That, and a fire in the team garage after the race, were not sufficient to spoil what was a wonderful day for one of the most popular teams in the paddock, which found itself back in Victory Lane for the first time since Montoya won in Brazil back in 2004.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P15

For a while it looked as if Alonso had it made after his lightning start, but tyre wear got him in the end after a valiant chase after Maldonado and he had to settle for second. That’s enough to move him to joint top position with Vettel in the drivers’ championship, though he was under serious pressure from Raikkonen in the closing laps and would likely have been overtaken had the race been over 67 laps. Massa had yet another miserable race, stuck in the lower midfield after getting a drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P3
Romain Grosjean, P4

Lotus had great pace - enough for the two fastest laps of the race for Grosjean and Raikkonen - but it came far too late. Neither of them was able to go fast enough at the start, and Grosjean damaged his front wing in a first-lap clash with Perez which cost him further pace. They thus fell more than 20s behind Maldonado and Alonso by their final stints. Then they flew, but Raikkonen needed another lap to get Alonso. Third and fourth places, however, move Lotus to third overall in the championship.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, P5
Sergio Perez, Retired lap 38, transmission

Sauber’s high hopes took a dive when Perez collided with Grosjean between Turn 1 and Turn 2, and was delayed in the ensuing pit stop at the end of the opening lap. Later he dropped out with transmission failure. Kobayashi, however, was one of the men of the match, fighting past Button and Rosberg to take an excellent fifth place. He believed that had he been able to qualify better (he didn’t run in Q3 because of a hydraulic issue), he could have been a podium contender.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P6
Mark Webber, P11

Both drivers needed to have their car’s noses changed after sustaining damage to their front wings, though neither knew how they had incurred it. Vettel also got a drive-through penaltyfor ignoring yellow flags, so his eventual sixth was even more meritorious as on fresher tyres he caught and passed the McLarens and Rosberg in the closing laps. Webber fell into the lower midfield because of his nose change, and could not unseat Hulkenberg from the final points-scoring position. The team’s performance bore out Christian Horner’s post-Bahrain suggestion that they would not necessarily dominate thereafter the way that they did in 2010 and 2011.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P7
Michael Schumacher, Retired lap 13, accident

Rosberg fought hard on a strategy that called for two runs on soft Pirellis and then a long 26-lap stint on the hards, but by the end he was powerless to fend off Kobayashi and Vettel and just held off Hamilton. Schumacher was angry after his collision with Senna, and angrier still to learn the stewards have given him a five-place grid penalty in Monaco.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P8
Jenson Button, P9

McLaren’s strategy in putting Hamilton on a two stopper paid off handsomely, but only because he drove so delicately yet quickly even though he did a 31-lap run on hards at the end. He only just failed to grab seventh from Rosberg, which was superb given that he’d started 24th. It was confirmation that he doesn’t take as much out of his tyres as is popularly thought. Button had an awful time, stuck in the upper midfeld where the traffic and turbulent airflow ahead of him destroyed his tyres and promoted massive understeer. Eighth and ninth for McLaren counted as a disaster that compounded their problems in qualifying.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, P10
Paul di Resta, P14

Hulkenberg emerged to grab the final point after an excellent drive, but thought he looked very strong at times a frustrated Di Resta had to be content with 14th, watching his mirrors for the attacking Massa in the second half.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P11
Daniel Ricciardo, P13

Both drivers put in strong performances which, in better circumstances, could have seen them contending for the final point. Instead, they suffered from being mired in a brutal fight with the Force Indias.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, P16
Vitaly Petrov, P17

Kovalainen won his race against team mate Petrov this week, as Caterham took a double finish. At one time the Finn was running in the top six as the varying pit stop strategies played out, before dropping back to the team’s usual place. Both men felt they got the best from their machinery.

Marussia
Timo Glock, P18
Charles Pic, Retired lap 37, driveshaft

Pic spun on the opening lap, and was later given a drive-through penalty for missing blue flags. He later retired with driveshaft failure but Glock brought his MR01 home 18th, suffering from the same rear-end stability problems that had troubled him in practice.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, P19
Narain Karthikeyan, Retired lap 23, wheel nut

De la Rosa kept the Marussias honest for a while. But Karthikeyan fell victim to a wheel-nut problem during his pit stop on the 23 lap, and did not finish his team’s home race.

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