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Paddock Postcard from Barcelona 12 May 2013

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 9 May 2013 Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari President, right.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 11 May 2013 Alain Prost (FRA).
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 at a Burn Live Art Event.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 9 May 2013 Burn Live Art Event.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 9 May 2013 Fabio Leimer (SUI) Racing Engineering. GP2 Series, Rd3, Barcelona, Spain, 10-12 May 2013.
 Stefano Coletti (MON) RAPAX Team.. GP2 Series, Rd3, Barcelona, Spain, 10-12 May 2013. Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Carlin. GP2 Series, Rd3, Barcelona, Spain, 10-12 May 2013. Race 1 podium and results: 1st Robin Frijns (NDL) Hilmer Motorsport, centre. 2nd Felipe Nasr (BRA) Carlin, left. 3rd Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Carlin, right. GP2 Series, Rd3, Barcelona, Spain, 10-12 May 2013. Grid girls.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Formula 1 Gran Premio de España 2013 kicks off Formula One racing’s European season, and signals a gathering of the clans that always fills the Spanish paddock with familiar racing faces from across the world.

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo made one of his rare visits, as did Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche. Former world champions Alain Prost, Alan Jones, Sir Jackie Stewart and Jacques Villeneuve joined Carlos Sainz, Sebastien Loeb, Adrian Fernandes, Allan McNish, Luis Perez-Sala, Oliver Turvey, Derek Daly and Maria de Villota. Former Brabham, BMS Italia, Fondmetal and Sauber designer Sergio Rinland took up his new role with MP Motorsport in GP2 and hooked up with his old partner Joan Villadelprat, Enrique Scalabroni and Giancarlo Minardi, whilst former Marlboro sponsorship guru John Hogan, driver manager Julian Jakobi and Dave Spence, the father of racers Jamie and Daniel, visited McLaren.

With most teams bringing major updates to the Spanish round, technical preparations dominated the build-up, but there was also time for some off-track frivolity at the Circuit de Catalunya.

On Thursday Kimi Raikkonen tried his hand at spray painting as part of a Lotus team sponsor event in Barcelona at the regenerated Astilleros shipyards. As part of the inaugural ‘burn yard live’, the Finn helped to ‘re-livery’ a Lotus race car under the guidance of world-renowned street artist, M-City. It was the first of a series of such workshops designed to bring together leading innovators from the worlds of youth art, music and sport.

“It looks cool,” said the Finn about his work. “And it fits perfectly with the team’s philosophy of being that extra bit creative. Would I like to race a car designed like this? To be honest, the livery or the colour is the least of my concerns. It has to be fast - that is all that matters.”

Down at Toro Rosso, the team’s Spanish oil company sponsor CEPSA staged a press conference featuring Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Red Bull Young Driver Carlos Sainz Jnr. The three drivers answered questions posed by a select band of Spanish media before playing a round of Batak, a game used by many athletes to speed up their reaction time. On Friday, meanwhile, Sauber hosted a birthday gathering for team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

Saturday’s gripping GP2 race fell to reigning World Series by Renault champion and rising star Robin Frijns, who showed his class with a tremendous tyre-conserving drive to give himself and Hilmer Motorsport their first success in the category.

Polesitter Marcus Ericsson seemed to have things wrapped up for DAMS until he got squeezed just after his pit stop between Kevin Giovesi (Venezuela GP Lazarus) and Russian Time’s Sam Bird and was eliminated. Earlier a clash on the start line between Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer and ART’s James Calado eliminated the latter and delayed the former.

After the first pit stops began on the sixth lap, with Frijns, Carlin’s Jolyon Palmer and Caterham’s Alexander Rossi all starting them off, followed by Ericsson, Bird and Hilmer’s Jon Lancaster next time around, Bird re-emerged just behind Frijns as points leader Stefano Coletti (Rapax) and Carlin’s Felipe Nasr pitted on lap eight. Meanwhile, Arden’s Johnny Cecotto, Bird’s team mate Tom Dillmann and Cecotto’s partner Mitch Evans, all of whom were on hard tyres, moved ahead but would of course still have to pit.

Frijns continued to head those who had made their stops, keeping clear of Palmer, Bird, and Coletti who were running nose to tail. The Dutchman finally took the lead on Lap 28 when the three leaders made their belated stops. As Frijns maintained his advantage, Nasr started to slash through the field, passing team mate Palmer but clipped the rear of his car. Palmer then tapped Bird into retirement with a spin, and soon Lancaster jumped ahead of Coletti whose tyres were finished. Dillmann then ran outside the Monegasque in Turn Three and inside Lancaster, but when he tried to run round Palmer a lap later his luck ran out and he ran off course and dropped back.

Up front, Frijns never put a wheel wrong to win by 3.3s from the impressive Nasr, with Palmer third from Lancaster, Coletti and Dillmann who were nose-to-tail behind him, Further back Rossi, who had been in the five-car fight for the lead initially after a brilliant drive, was seventh as his tyres faded and just kept Trident’s Kevin Ceccon behind him. Cecotto and Rio Haryanto (Barwa Addax) took the final points places.

Subsequently, Palmer and Bird were penalised for their collisions. A 20-second time penalty dropped Palmer from third to 10th and elevated Lancaster to third on his return to the formula, while Bird received a five-place grid drop for Sunday’s event. That sprint race saw Coletti take his second victory of the season from fifth on the grid to extend his lead in the standings to 17 points from Nasr, who finished in third behind Frijns.

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