Faultless Webber wins with style in Spain 09 May 2010
Mark Webber drove the race of his life in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon, leaving Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel behind on the way to the third Grand Prix victory of his career. The Australian won the race to the first corner as Vettel tucked into second place ahead of McLarens Lewis Hamilton and Ferraris Fernando Alonso, and steadily set the pace as he pulled away.
By the time they had all made their first pit stops, Webber was more than nine seconds ahead of Hamilton, who had outfumbled Vettel in the tyre changes. The German got held up waiting for Alonso to come by to his pit, and then Hamilton went one lap longer than Red Bull had expected. As Lewis rejoined, Sebastian was heading for the outside line into Turn One, but as Hamilton had to jink round one of the Virgins which was hugging the inside line to let them go, Vettel had to run wide into the run-off area and that cemented Hamiltons position.
As Webber controlled things at the front, Hamilton drove like a demon to keep Vettel at bay, while further back Alonso established himself in a comfortable fourth ahead of a three-way scrap for fifth between the rejuvenated Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes, McLarens Jenson Button (who had lost out to the German in the stops) and Ferraris Felipe Massa.
While there was always the threat that something might shake out of these various groups, there wasnt much action as stalemates set in, and it was not until Vettel ran wide in the Turn Seven esses on the 54th lap that things came to life. The German pitted at the end of the lap for a fresh set of Bridgestones soft tyres, but thereafter never set the pace that might have been expected of fresh rubber, suggesting that his RB6s handling problems were more serious than worn rubber. It transpired that the balance was never good, and that subsequently the brakes had lost their edge.
He was lucky to drop only to fourth behind Alonso, and another slice of fortune awaited him as, 10 laps later, Hamiltons left front Bridgestone gave up and sent him into the wall in Turn Three. That was a bitter blow for the Englishman, after a fantastic drive in which he had really taken the fight to the Red Bulls.
Now Alonso was second, and as Vettel claimed the final podium position, Schumacher led a beaten Button home with Massa sixth.
Adrian Sutil drove a great race for Force India to claim seventh after resisting huge pressure from Renaults Robert Kubica, who lost out at the start in a collision which sent BMW Saubers Pedro de la Rosa to the pits with a tattered right rear tyre.
Behind them, Rubens Barrichello put in a superb performance for Williams to move from 17th on the grid to ninth place, and Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari claimed a point at home despite a drive-through penalty for clobbering Karun Chandhoks HRT in an odd accident in which the Spaniard passed the Indian but turned in well before hed cleared his car. Chandhok subsequently lost his front wing but retired with associated damage after pitting for a replacement. With HRTs Bruno Senna crashing in Turn Four on the opening lap, it wasnt a great outing for the Spanish team.
Renaults Vitaly Petrov and BMW Saubers Kamui Kobayashi finished 11th and 12th, separated by eight-tenths of a second after a race-long scrap, while Nico Rosberg was a lowly 13th after getting bundled back in the infighting on the first lap and later having a bungled pit stop which required his Mercedes to be pushed back to its pit for a wheel to be retightened.
Hamilton was classified 14th ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who had an oversteering afternoon in a Force India that stopped out on the track on the last lap. Then came Nico Hulkenberg who had several good fights before losing ground in the second Williams. Three laps down, Jarno Trulli took a narrow new teams victory for Lotus with Timo Glock challenging him all the way for Virgin and finishing only 1.4s adrift. Team mate Lucas di Grassi was a further lap down, the final finisher in 19th.
Sebastien Buemi had a poor start and was later given a drive-through penalty after Toro Rosso released him into Trullis path. He was the final retirement after Chandhok. De la Rosa didnt make it either, thanks to the damage sustained early on; Senna crashed; and Heikki Kovalainen was denied a start after his Lotus developed mechanical problems on the grid formation lap.
Thanks to the revised points system, Webbers victory throws him back into contention again. Button still leads the drivers championship with 70 points, followed by Alonso on 67, Vettel on 60, Webber on 53, Rosberg on 50, and Hamilton and Massa on 49.
McLaren still lead the constructors with 119, with Ferrari second on Ferrari 116 from Red Bull on 113, Mercedes GP on 72 and Renault on 50.