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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2012   |  1:38 am GMT  |  206 comments

Pastor Maldonado secured the first victory of his career at the Circuit de Catalunya and gave Williams their first victory in 132 races but there were a number of good performances all the way down the field. So who was your driver of the day?

Pastor Maldonado

Wasn’t really on the radar in the Friday practice sessions, however the team could see that the race pace was strong. Showed good pace in final practice on Saturday to lead many drivers to suggest Williams would be strong in the race. Kept a cool head to comfortably make it into Q3 and then produced the best lap of his career to provisionally hold pole before Lewis Hamilton usurped him at the end. Was promoted to pole position after Hamilton’s penalty. Tried to hold off Fernando Alonso at the start, but the Spaniard was able to get down the inside at Turn One. Kept his head, and looked after his tyres in the early part of his race before the team tried the undercut at the second round of stops. By pitting earlier, he managed to leapfrog Alonso. Was impressive as he looked after his tyres in the final stint after intense pressure from Alonso and held on to secure his first victory in F1. A popular win.

Fernando Alonso

Appeared in good spirits on arrival at the venue of his home race and gave the fans something to cheer about by topping the times in first practice. Easily made it into Q3 and held pole position until Maldonado and Hamilton bettered his time. Was promoted to second as a result of Hamilton’s penalty and made a great start to lead into Turn One for the second time in two years. Stopped two laps later than Maldonado at the second round of stops, a move which saw him lose time and the lead. Pressurised the Williams driver for the lead but lost ground in the closing stages before holding off a fasting finishing Kimi Raikkonen to finish second. As a result, he retook the joint championship lead alongside Sebastian Vettel on 61 points. Given the car he’s had to work with that’s some achievement.

Kimi Raikkonen

Arrived in Barcelona as one of the favourites for victory after a supreme performance in Bahrain to finish second. Showed strong race pace in Friday practice but struggled to find the right set-up and qualified fifth, which turned into fourth after Hamilton’s penalty. Passed his team-mate at the start but couldn’t keep up with Alonso or Maldonado during the first three stints. By making his final stop later than those in front, he had more life in his tyres and was able to reduce a 20-second gap to 0.6 seconds at the end however it was not enough to gain a position and he finished third for his second successive podium. The Finn is now 12 points behind joint championship leaders Alonso and Maldonado.

Kamui Kobayashi

Made it into Q3 in qualifying, but was forced to watch on the sidelines after stopping out on track with a fuel leak. Started ninth after Hamilton’s penalty and made a good start to run seventh early on. Looked after his tyres well but was baulked by traffic and struggled to make progress. As the race wore on, he put good moves on Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to lift up into fifth – and equal the best finish of his career – but admitted after the race that a podium was possible.

Lewis Hamilton

Solid in practice but came into his own during qualifying. Eased through Q1, got everything right on his first run in Q2 so was able to save a set of tyres and then blitzed his final lap in Q3 to secure his third pole of the season. Described his lap as one of the best he’d ever driven. However, he ran low on fuel on his in-lap and was told by his team to stop on track which resulted him getting disqualified and sent to the back of the grid. Remained in good spirits and a good start saw him make five places up on the first lap. Showed he could look after his tyres by doing a 31 lap final stint, making a two-stop strategy work – everyone else did three – and finished eighth to score valuable championship points.

Nico Hulkenberg

Struggled for pace in qualifying and could only manage 14th, one place behind Force India team-mate Paul di Resta. Had a good start, but struggled to make much progress early on. A good, clean strategy from the team helped him rise up the field and into the points and then spent much of his race holding off the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Produced some great skills to keep the Australian behind and held on to score a point for tenth – his second points scoring result of the season.

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  1. Church says:

    Pastor’s 1st F1 win was great to see! Williams, with their long history in F1 racing really worked hard for this one. As an asside, I hope all who were injured in todays fire in the Williams garage fire recover well from their injuries.

    1. Mark says:

      Mark my words, Lewis is about to dominate the rest of the season…..
      You read it here first :)

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        His first 2 races in the fastest car of the season yielded 2 3rd places.
        The others will catch Mclaren up, and with Sam Michael running the team, I can guarantee Lewis may get 2 or 3 wins at most.
        Heard that here first:)

      2. Nathan Jones says:

        You seem quite certain that the others will catch McLaren up. How about Mclaren stay ahead of everyone?

        Two or three wins may be all it takes this year. As long as you’re always there or thereabouts, you’ll be a contender at the end of the season.

      3. MookF1 says:

        Good to see Lewis remaining so positive about the race even with his penalty although I think in his post race interview he let the mask slip in how much he can’t stand Button getting the better of him in anything
        “someone told me that I was only the person on a two-stop, so I think that considering everyone keeps telling me that I am hard on tyres and how much smoother my team-mate is, I think that should show them.”
        Thats why although I much prefer Button I have the upmost respect for Hamiliton as he just wants to beat everyone and everything so badly, great racer.

        Really strange to not hear any of the fans on here complaining about the tyres and how much of a farce it is for the real racers like Lewis etc etc etc (not directed at you Mark by the way). I wonder why that is??!

        I personally feel while it’s painful in some respects to see great drivers struggling on occasion with the tyres it is all part of the game and set up at the moment has never been so significant those engineers are really earning their money!

        Well done to Lewis and Maldonado so hard to choose a driver of the day but has to go to Pastor for his first win.

      4. TheBestPoint? says:

        Hope you also saw Button’s post qualifying interview which i thought a bit snide towards Hamilton.

        Personally glad there is no more pretend lovey dovey between the two which is how it should be (although I would advise Button not to forget to put team interests after or around his own rather than forming alliances with other team drivers to the detriment of his own team http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/04/unanswered_questions_for_rosbe.html)
        I’ll bet you it was sources – Webber and Button who were arguing that Hamilton should have received a penalty for Bahrain)

      5. MookF1 says:

        I didn’t see that and can’t find it so can’t comment how was he snide? He never normally comes across like that. He was pretty honest in his post race interview when asked about lewis and his 2 stop, he said he wouldn’t of been able to make the tyres last for a 2 stopper.

        To be honest thats why I like Button he just comes across as straight and up front none of this it is everyone else’s fault syndrome. I suppose though it is all about subjective perspectives when listening to individuals speak.

        Some see it as a weakness I think with Button and a strength in others that they are so arrogant they cannot accept the bad times. I think it shows Buttons character though and that he is a realist he realises somedays he wont be as good as the others but rationalises that knowing at other times they wont be able to touch him. Its refreshing in F1 although I think Webber is the same and possibly blunter in his delivery.

        I don’t think what Button or Webber said was underhand they said it openly so no problem there just think it is mugs like Andrew Benson stirring to be honest, I read his articles but can’t stand some of the things he says. The piece on Schumacher being mediocre today is rubbish and out of order I think.

  2. Lewis remains the star of the season, all things considered, especially if we take into account that he is always there and his speed is clearly unmatched. He made the most out of the situation in Barcelona, reaching the point of no further progress with those Pirellis. You can go up the grid, but there’s a limit.

    Can’t think this victory will be for long elusive. Monaco should be his treat.

    1. Alberto says:

      I dont understand why to put Hamilton ahead of Pastor. Im Venezuelan and Im proud of what Pastor has achieve. A underdog car vs Mclaren’s car that is well known to be one of the fastest. Compared to Brunno’s performance, he did micracles. And yet you say Hamilton was driver of the day.
      I guess brittish people all about their own stuff =D.
      Im not saying Hamilton had a bad race, he drove the wheels out of that Mclarens, but this time it has to go for Pastor.

      1. Stuart Houghton says:

        I am British and happily have voted for Maldanado, a great drive and a great result has been coming but never expected a win!!

        He is great on street circuits… First double winner of 2012 in Monaco??

      2. Jeb Hoge says:

        I think Pastor earned his vote from me today because I saw how visibly nervous he was before the race start, but he drove a solid race and earned the victory for sure. Lewis’s drive was exceptional as well, again especially considering the mental/emotional hit of making pole and then getting booted to the back row; I think this year Lewis is showing a new maturity and patience that will serve him well.

      3. Well, first of all I’m not British, but that’s not important. You should be proud of your countryman and he was a well deserved winner. However, I think what Lewis did was more exciting, judging from what I was expecting before the race and the way he moved up the field without any contact (taking also into account the starting position and the car performance).
        In any case, if everyone had the same opinion, there wouldn’t be a reason for having multiple choices in this vote! :-D

      4. Phil Harben says:

        I am British, but I too, voted for Maldonado. To keep his nerve steady, even when he was swamped at the start and later with a charging Alonso behind him gets my recommendation.

        Lewis performed really well to pick up some points and limit the damage. If, however, at the end of the season he loses the championship by a few points, he will rue the mistakes that McLaren have made with several botched pitstops and the lack of fuel which destroyed his (good) chance of a race win.

      5. Paul says:

        If he wins the championship by a few points, he’ll point out this performance as an important one

    2. Pat OBrien says:

      The driver of the day should be someone who took an extraordinarily unworthy car and did extraordinary things with it.

      Surely, Lewis had the, by far, best car of the season, and did a very nice job and got where? 8th? That’s a big deal? Its merely what one should expect!

      Pastor did a splendid job. He took a very good car and and drove it very well. He made a mistake at the start trying to keep Alonso behind, but then drove flawlessly.

      Alonso, on the other hand, took a car that everyone on this board has been happy to thumb their noses at, and drove it nearly to victory. And if it hadn’t been for Pic, who knows?

      There were very good drives this weekend, but Alonso has consistently demonstrated he is the class of the field.

      1. Paul says:

        That’s quite short minded to say that Mclaren had by far the best car, when you look at where button finished from much higher up in the grid.

      2. KRB says:

        Going from 24th to 8th is to be expected?!? At Barcelona??? Am I missing something here? Yes, the McLaren is fast, but it is not the clearly fastest car in race trim. It might be a smidge faster during the race at some circuits, but behind at others. In Bahrain they were all at sea, racing with the pre-update Ferrari’s!

        Pat O., that Ferrari looked pretty good this weekend, qualifying ahead of the Bulls and one McLaren. I agree that Alonso has been stellar this year, probably most so in the first two races, when the car was clearly lagging (yes, rain was fortuitous in Malaysia, but still).

        In Spain, he started 2nd, ended 2nd. Surely that was to be expected from Alonso. A decent drive at best.

        I think if LH was on pole, that he probably would’ve won that race. But it’s useless to speculate. It was a great race & win from pole for Maldonado. As others have said, he remained calm as Alonso took the lead, and then when leading and needing to save fuel with Alonso behind, he played it perfectly. So glad for Williams to finally get back in the winners’ circle.

        After waiting so long (the longest I believe in terms of number of intervening GP’s) for a different GP winner, we now have another only 4 weeks later. Now 11/24 racers on the grid have won. Anyone know if that’s the highest ever percentage on that score?

  3. Jagan says:

    This is one time I wish I had two votes, it was tough making a call between Maldonando and Lewis. I’ll give it to Lewis, his drive through the field and making his 2nd set last 30 laps despite fighting and overtaking so many drivers wins it for him.

  4. Glennb says:

    I went with Maldanado but found it hard to split him and Lewis. I’m not Lewis biggest fan but that was a stonking drive to recover something from nothing.

  5. chaitu says:

    kimi all the way

  6. Qiang says:

    Hi James,

    Can you share with us your thoughts who at current Williams team are making the differences?

    1. James Allen says:

      Clearly the three tech heads whom Adam Parr brought in: Jason Somerville on aero and Mike Coughlan on packaging and design. Mark Gillan is a brilliant operations guy.

      Plus of course a lot of it is the Renault engine.

      1. Andreas Myrberg says:

        James,

        Would you agree with me, result based, that cars with Renault Engine seems to be faster on tracks with high rear tyre wear and Mercedes Engines not. Where as its the opposite on tracks with high front end tyre wear and longer straights..?

        Having China with Mercedes upfront and Dubai and Spain with Renault in mind?

        If so, that puts on to wonder where the Ferrari is in comparison

      2. Steve Zodiac says:

        Renault power doesn’t seem to have helped Cater-ham much

  7. Dave Aston says:

    Maldonado, but Hamilton and Kobayashi drove superbly too.

  8. One lunger says:

    I did not think Pastor would withstand the pressure from Nando. Superb drive!

  9. Richard says:

    Has to be PM but Alonso runs him close. It’s amazing what Fernando is achieving in THAT car considering Massa’s points tally.

  10. House says:

    James,

    or anyone.

    Who is “your driver of the first 6 races”?

    1. House says:

      I mean 5.

    2. James Allen says:

      Alonso and Hamilton tied.

      Both are on top form this year.

      1. Mingojo says:

        I guess you didn’t take into consideration what Fernando is achieving in a bad car in comparison to Lewis ;-)

      2. James Allen says:

        Sure. But Hamilton’s set backs have been inflicted by the team. He’s coped with that, while Alonso has coped with a poor car but has been helped by slick operations by Ferrari

      3. Phil says:

        Guess you didn’t take into consideration what Lewis is achieving in a bad team, compared to Fernando ;)

      4. Nathan Jones says:

        I’d say it is precisely because Hamilton has had so many issues (none of his own doing) that Alonso, and others, have managed some of the results that they have. Otherwise he’d be further ahead and others would be further behind. Not all of the results, just some.

        If Lewis had been on pole would Alonso have been second. Possibly. And possibly not.

      5. Aey says:

        Alonso have done a good job, but nothing excellent.

        Ferrari is just bad qualifying car, not a bad race car, so it not totally bad, Ferrari and Alonso know this too. In Malaysia, Alonso win is nothing special form him, his car is very fast in that situation, and he have won by the bad pit of Lewis. Second in spain, his car is fast, who can argue Ferrari is bad and Alonso make it fast in the race. In some circuit that Ferrari don’t have the race pace, Alonso can’t do anything too. How many time Alonso do soemthing specaial on track, nothing much. Alonso is absolutely outstanding only when compare to his teammate.

        Alonso always very fast driver, but his win and second is not yet show Alonso magic. Both time his car is obviously fast.

        One thing I saw Alonso is so good is he always be a good starter and good 1st lap racer, he always gain a lot of place in 1st lap, but nothing much progress in the race.

        McLaren is obviously Fast Q car, but not fastest in the race. And Lewis always deliver the perfect lap on saturday, nothing much on Sunday either good or bad. When he is in front he didn’t do any mistake and always lose in the pit.

        I think Lewis is the most overtaker outside the DRS zone.

        The one that I really surprise is Kimi, how he didn’t lose any speed in 2 years, he is back to full speed in no time with full of racecraft. He is look even beter than when he was at Ferrari.

        All of them do a very good job. I like Alonso, being Lewis fan, but the driver of this season for me go to Kimi.

      6. **Paul** says:

        Interesting view James. I think Vettel is one that people are overlooking this season as he’s not run away with the Championship as he did last year.

        The Red Bull hasn’t had vast speed in qualifying bar Bahrain this year (so he’s had to overtake, it seems he’s quite good at it..), yet he still leads the Championship with Alonso.

        Without the HRT hitting Vettel in Malaysia he’d comfortably lead the standings. That is the only race this season where Vettel hasn’t gained from his grid slot, and he was on for a fairly stone wall 4th place that day, hunting down Hamilton in 3rd.

        So for me, it’s Alonso and Vettel who are the stand out drivers thus far (no surprise as I rate them as the two best ‘race drivers’) – not Hamilton, who proves he can consistently deliver in qualifying but rarely achieve in race trim.

    3. Antti says:

      I have to go with Alonso and Kimi. Alonso for the results he has gotten from the car that was way behind at the beginning of the season, and Kimi for the stellar comeback he has done. Who can tell that he has not done any racing in 2 years?

      1. Phil Harben says:

        @ Antti,

        I totally agree with you that Kimi’s pace is surprising and welcome. However, he HAS been racing in the two years away from F1. He has had drives in everything from rallying to Nascar, so whilst it isn’t F1, he has been driving competitively while he’s been away.

      2. Antti says:

        Sure, he has done rallying. By racing I meant wheel to wheel, man to man racing, not driving against the clock as in rallying. I forgot about his nascar trial, but that was just a two-time deal so certainly it wasn’t enough to keep his racing instincts up-to-date.

    4. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Hamilton is doing most of the poles, so breaking Red Bull dominance in that feel,
      and also he is responding to Button’s followers with his 2 stop strategie yesterday in Barcelona, he is saying like ” you thought that nurse the tyres is mastering by Button, look at my erformance here, I can do it, so now let me RACE!”

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        So now Hamilton can do:

        - Poles
        - race flat out
        - nurse the tyres if necessary
        - wave the head in pitstops but saying nothing different later to “the team did a fantastic job”

        I don’t know if other driver can do all of this, and I hope the first win will be soon…

      2. PaoloC says:

        I like Hamilton, being a Ferrari fan, he’s always been the most spectacular driver since his debut in 2007, now I think he is approaching the breakthrough to become dominant.

    5. KRB says:

      I’d agree with David Hobbs of Speed … he had Alonso first, Hamilton 2nd. Then I’d put Vettel 3rd, then Kimi, Button and Webber. How many more times can McLaren demo’ Hamilton’s chances?!?! It’s uncanny!

      Some stats:

      Points: Vettel leads on 4th countback (they each have a 1st, 2nd, 5th) with a 6th vs Alonso’s 7th

      Podiums: LH3,SV2,FA2,JB2,KR2,NR1,PM1,SP1,RG1,MW0

      Points Finishes: FA5,LH5,SV4,KR4,MW4,JB3,NR3,RG3,KK3,PdR3

      Podium streaks:
      KR2,PM1,FA1

      Points Finish streaks:
      FA5,LH5,SV3,NR3,RG3,KR2,PM1,KK1,JB1,NH1

  11. Andrew says:

    The Williams was clearly fast around this circuit because Maldonado’s qualifying lap was rubbish, he was all over the place and still managed second place.

    Hamiltons qualifying lap was flawless and I have no doubt that he would have run away with this race had he started where he was supposed to start. He ran a flawless race with quality overtakes and uncharacteristicly outstanding tyre management (30 laps on primes!).

    It has to be Hamilton for me.

    1. Owen says:

      If Maldonado’s lap was rubbish, what was Senna doing?

      1. Andrew says:

        The same as Button and Massa I guess.

      2. Owen says:

        Whatever he was doing, Maldonado outqualified Alonso on merit. It was a tiny margin, but it made a statement that the Williams and its driver were faster on the day. That translated into race pace and we had a superb race result. What’s so hard about that to digest? Everywhere on blogs and forums people are referring to this season as the “Pirelli lottery” simply because their favourite driver (typically Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel) isn’t winning everything. It’s frankly tiring reading all of the whinging and complaining. Last year the races were boring for everyone (except some Vettel fans I suppose), this year the races are exciting for everyone (except those people who think a particular driver has a god-given right to permanently place on the top step).

    2. Martin says:

      Maldo’s lap in Q2 (or early lap in Q3) was scruffy but his actual fastest time that won him pole was not, take another look.

      1. Andrew says:

        He missed the apexes at the slow turns (5 and 10) by a mile and nearly lost it completely at turn 16. Pretty scruffy.

      2. Martin says:

        He did miss a couple of apex’s true but your original comment was “Maldonado’s qualifying lap was rubbish” he didnt nearly lose it, he knew when he activated DRS he would get a bit of snap oversteer or whatever there, it was great driving.

      3. KRB says:

        Perhaps Williams set the car up such that it would behave that way (for some overall performance gain of course). Would explain Senna spinning off near the end of the lap on the softs.

        Hamilton’s Q3 lap wasn’t perfect, he had to catch the car a couple of times. I think that all the teams are having to make the cars a little skittish out front, to reduce the rear tyre wear.

  12. Steve Zodiac says:

    Not a great fan of Maldonado but he did an excellent job today and I’m very pleased, as seemingly are most people, to see Williams back at the front. Lewis has probably been best driver of the weekend, but, what’s happening at Mclaren? It seems that Williams got a Mclaren man working for them and they are winning again whilst the man who presided over their slide down the grid is now working his “magic” at Mclaren. They need to get themselves sorted out. And I guess, nice man as he seems, the buck stops at Martin Whitmarsh

    1. Enoch says:

      McLaren gave A. Newey away so that he can win championships with Red Bull. McLaren seem to have problems handling experts matters.

    2. Graham Clarke says:

      In the interview he gave on Sky yesterday he looked quite ill, I think this job was a promotion too far for him

      1. Phil Harben says:

        I think that the schoolboy errors that McLaren keeps doing really is costing the team. If the job is too much, tap up Ron Dennis again. Say what you like about “Big Ron,” but I don’t remember the team fumbling the ball as much with him in charge.

      2. KRB says:

        How he could seriously argue “force majeure” with a straight face is beyond me … how would the FIA police that, when all you’d say is that it was a mistake by one of our guys?

        Why aren’t they giving 1 litre samples after every qualifying session? Can’t spare it? Ha! What really burns (pun intended) is that Hamilton had 1.3 litres in the tank! Who knows if he’d’ve made it back > 1L, but wouldn’t you expect F1 cars to have fuel gauge sensors capable of being accurate to a centilitre?

        Just do a once-over gas tank check before the car leaves the garage next time!! Seriously, is McLaren’s structure such that it produces unthinking automatons just going thru the motions, or what?!?!

  13. Andrew says:

    Not sure why Vettel isn’t in here, I thought he drove an excellent race – far more impressive than Alonso, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      I don’t know… look for example were Kobayashi started and where he finished compared to Vettel, yes he had a problem with his front wing but it was his fault to ignore the flags and get a penalty

      1. KRB says:

        About the flags and the penalty, JA would you know what was the sector distance upon which SV was adjudged to have been going over? It was on the straight … was probably all down to having DRS deployed thru the early part of that sector, before seeing the flags maybe?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes it was using DRS when yellow flags were out. Indicates an intention to overtake, which isn’t allowed in that condition

        DRS location was the put straight

  14. Raymond YZJ says:

    The Finn is now 12 points behind joint championship leaders Alonso and Maldonado – James this surely is a typo.

    On another note – I thought Vettel drove a brilliant dogged race and realistically, his drivethrough and wing change pitstop only really cost him a single place – even if you adjusted for both items timewise, he would still be some 40+s behind Grosjean, so I don’t think he would have outfinished Grosjean even in “normal” circumstances

  15. David Hastens says:

    Can I vote for Pirelli Tyres.

  16. Michael says:

    How could it be anyone else but Pastor? Alonso was impressive, made an excellent start and drove well but couldn’t pull the gap on the Williams. Even if their respective drives were flawless, Pastor got the win so it sneaks him over the line here.

    Lewis is the other contender. He did an excellent job but once again, against other flawless drives, unfortunately his final result didn’t stack up. Superb pace, however.

    1. Phil says:

      I think gaining 16 places, and finishing ahead of your “kind on their tyres” team-mate who started 14 places in front of you would qualify as a flawless drive. Add in being the only person to do a 2-stopper, and making his final set of tyres last 31 laps, despite “being hard on his tyres”, chasing down Rosberg to boot!

  17. Ghayth says:

    do you think vettel deserve to be on your list 3 stops with nose change and drive through penalty and some great passing in the third stint , I think he should on it instead of hulk

  18. IP says:

    Maldonado kept a cool head even after the slow pitstop. There were many great drives but his was by far the best of the day.

    I think, though, that something needs to be done about people saving tyres during qualifying for the race. Give them all a chance to do a quick lap and penalise those that deliberately choose not to run.

    We all want to know who is the quickest driver/car combo, so maybe for each Q session that a driver makes, they get a set of tyres to burn and give back. make them submit a secret ballot that nominates their tyre choice for the race before quali starts.

    As for Monaco… hoping for 6 from 6 in the winner stakes! :-)

    1. KRB says:

      Yeah, I agree that Q3 was ridiculous there for the first 7 minutes.

      As for 6 different winners at Monaco, I could totally see it (Lewis & Kimi are solid bets, and I would’ve said Schumi before his grid penalty). Kimi would also mean 6 different winning constructors, something which has NEVER happened before in F1 (not from the start of the year that is).

      The Mercedes looks good with the low speed acceleration, so they could do well at Monaco.

  19. JPS says:

    Pastor Maldonado anyone who can deal with Alonso for that many laps and not make mistakes, brilliant. I can see what Shuey was talking about with the tyres. I would have loved to see Alonso really push but it seems you can only do it for a couple of laps before the “egg shells” give up. James in a sport where they have the best techology and materials (kevlar, carbon fibre, etc). Why have tyres that which are not?

    1. John says:

      Strange comment.

      I am sure I heard Alsonso’s race engineer telling him to go for it and chase Maldonado down using his engine to the full – and on tyres that were 3 laps newer.

      Pirelli are doing a great job – long may it continue.

      schumacher obviously needs some driving lessons from Lewis! What a brilliant drive making such fragile(?) tyres last so much longer than every other driver.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Those transmissions are usually delayed by around three laps. As soon as we heard it, Alonso started loosing time, where as he had been gaining before.

        So, push for 3 laps, then it’s game over.

      2. John says:

        and your problem is?

        I love the way that this is another skill the drivers need. The drivers need to think about how much to take out of their tyres and when it is wise to punish them or not. When we had the tyre wars between Michelin and Bridgestone they had exactly the same problems – to an even greater extent.

        Back then the Michelins would work best after a few gentle laps. Work them hard in the first few laps and they went off rather than improve. The Bridgestones were more consistent over their life. This meant a Michelin shod car would have to work around the tyre’s performance – we often saw some fascinating battles which were a lot less false than refueling.

        Alsonso’s few fast laps were as much to do with conserving engine life as tyre performance.

        We often hear that current cars are so much easier to drive than they used to be. Surely Pirelli tyres require more thought from a driver making the racing more about the driver.

    2. Phil Harben says:

      Not sure I see where you’re coming from. Pirelli CAN make tyres that will last, but they have been asked to provide a tyre that degrades early, so that there can be more drama and pitstops.

  20. JPS says:

    Sorry last line should read.
    Tyres that are not the best.

    1. Liam says:

      Perhaps because Pirelli were specifically asked to produce tyres that do exactly as they are doing?

  21. F1 Fanatic says:

    Driver of the day? Maldonado.

    Driver of the weekend? Hamilton!

  22. nelson says:

    Very well deserved win for maldonado, superb and very mature drive for lewis. If the team put all the pieces together lewis can be the champion this season. Ferrari bounce back with a updated car…they re un the right track. Alonso, simply one of the best.

  23. eric weinraub says:

    So another tire induced snore fest in Spain. Please James, i realize you have a website to run and a job to attend to, but really, isn’t it time you joined the rest of us and said ENOUGH! Who was your Tire Manager of the day? C’mon………

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t agree and nor do many people inside the sport and outside it.

      It’s different, the balance isn’t quite right, too much importance on the tyres yes, but how you could call that a snorefest?

      Maybe you should take a break from F1 for a bit and see how much you miss it.

      1. Andrew says:

        Agreed. F1 is a almost perfect at the moment. Tyre management has always been part of F1. The likes of Prost/Lauda/Piquet won many races coming through the field because they set their car up for the race.

        Remember the Mclaren 1-2 in Long Beach coming from the back of the grid? All because of the tyres.

        You could overtake “naturally” then because the aero wasn’t so powerful. Kers and DRS are necessary to restore the overtaking that aero developments destroyed.

        Some people obviously prefer to watch processions. Rather than complain Schumi should drive faster in qualifying when he doesn’t have to worry about the tyres but he doesn’t seem capable of doing that.

      2. Dom Jones says:

        During the 80s another type of management was an issue: managing the fuel. During the turbo days I recall quite a few times when drivers would get to the last few laps and simply run out of fuel because they had pushed too hard with the turbo turned up.

        I would prefer the race to be all about speed rather than management of tyres (or fuel). A lot of the teams now seem to end up with very similar strategies. If the teams could use whatever tyre compound they liked and were allowed to refuel then the races would be even more unpredictable. Drivers could blitz short stints with low fuel and soft tyres, or fuel up and put on hard tyres for long stints with track position.

        This season is fantastic though. I just hope my number 1 driver comes out on top in the end.

      3. Kidza says:

        To quote Stefano Domenicali “We had an issue with the last set of tyres, we were not able to maximise the performance. In fact there was a moment when I thought we could have beaten Pastor Maldonado because we were closing him down very quickly, but then unfortunately we lost the tyres and we had to manage them because Kimi [Raikkonen] was coming up behind very quick.”

        So by trying to race for the win, Alonso almost lost 2nd place to a guy he was miles ahead of. What is your view on that James?

        Speaking for myself, I would have wanted to see them race all the way to the finish, and I am sure most fans would agree. I want to see a fight to win the race based on skill and pace, not to see who will out tyre-manage the other.

        When one driver is following closely behind the other, as he must do if he is to overtake, it is obvious who has the advantage in terms of tyre management. The driver behind only has a small window in which to pass before he burns his tyres. Not only does the driver behind destroy his tyres tying to catch up, it gets even worse for his tyres once he gets there. That is not racing to me. It’s all about tyres!

      4. DingBat says:

        I don’t think it’s just the tires are are the problem when following the guy in front. I think that teams need to find away to clean up the dirty air they leave behind which is what I believe to be the major cause of degradation when tucked up behind as traction, downforce and balance is lost. If they can figure out a way to keep the air less turbulent the tires would not degrade so fast. Then again, teams won’t do that willingly as it is to their advantage and helps them maintain the position for longer. Maybe and FIA ruling forcing them to clean the trailing air up a bit would work? Just a thought..

      5. Jean-Paul says:

        Well James,
        I have not taken a break from F1 for 16 years, and yet I miss it…
        It’s definitely not a snorefest, but it also is not F1…

      6. Jason C says:

        Absolutely, James.

        Do the people complaining not remember Spanish grands prix from before the current Pirelli era?

    2. Craig D says:

      Please! The type of racing you want with everlasting tyres would mean races need be no longer than 20 laps, since you want sprint racing. Any longer and you’re just left with mostly tedious processional races like a few years ago.

      You’re effectively saying you dislike strategy in F1 as that’s what the tyres provide.

      And while I agree perhaps the tyres need adjusting to allow teams to push a little more, but the more you swing it to reduced degradation, the less variability and strategy you will have. If the tyres degraded less, you wouldn’t have had Kimi coming back at the leaders, for example.

      Also, I argue they’d be less overtaking not more, if drivers could push for longer, since all defending drivers would be also able to push harder.

      People complain but as soon as we have another static race like Valencia last year, folk will cry how dull that race was.

      And it’s the same for everyone. Of thing were utterly pot luck now we wouldn’t have Alonso and Hamilton being the best performers this year.

    3. Jenny says:

      A Spanish GP with that much action and you call it a snorefest?

    4. AB says:

      isn’t it time you joined the rest of us and said ENOUGH!

      You don’t speak for all of us. This has been a great season

    5. Gareth Taylor says:

      This was not a snore-fest! It is interesting how many people are convinced by Schumacher’s comments regarding the tyres and fail to reach their own conclusion.

      The racing is more exciting with the Pirelli tyres and DRS. The problem clearly isn’t anything to do with either of these attributes.

      In my opinion, the real barrier lies with the complex nature of the various strategies. Perhaps broadcasters need to have a think about other ways to present this information.

      This website already has a ‘Strategy Calculator’ to help get under the skin of some of the strategy considerations; perhaps other content providers need to embrace this type of interactive content.

      The current tyre talk acts as a kind of smog, a distraction to the exciting on track action. Is their a thirst for this information or does the media’s reporting of tyre degradation exacerbate this smog of confusion?

      For the majority of us spectators who tune in regularly for the purpose of being entertained, perhaps we should just sit back and remember to enjoy the spectacle that is F1.

      1. Silver says:

        If you want manufactured excitement, why not randomly send a pole shoot out driver to the back of the grid…..er hand on one minute, have n’t we seen that one already? :)

  24. Heinzman says:

    How could you not vote for Pastor

  25. Craig in Manila says:

    If I was voting with sentimentality, my vote would go to Pastor. But I’m not. So it won’t.

    Well done Lewis for driving a carefully planned yet attacking race. Getting from deadlast to 8th whilst almost-everyone else just (basically) finished where they started was an excellent result. Similar congrats to Kamui and Hulk.

    Now, why did Red Bull have to change front wings on both cars ? Let the conspiracy theories begin !

  26. SK Anand says:

    Dear James,

    Undoubtedly, it was Maldonado.

    But i voted for Kamui Kobayashi. For the stunning overtaking move first on Button and then on Rosberg. He is perhpas the best talent to emerge from Asia, and he is destined for better things.

    Sincerely,

    SK Anand

  27. Nathan says:

    Has to go to Pastor. He drove an Alonso style of race which is the highest complement I can give. Alonso, Kimi and Lewis were very good too.
    James a quick question. A few seasons back in the post race press conference they had a TV screen with some highlights of the race and asked the drivers for their opinions on what happened and what they were thinking. Why did they stop this?

    1. James Allen says:

      I know, it’s a shame. It was linked to a sponsor as a try out but it didn’t happen in the end

      1. SK Anand says:

        Dear james,

        This really opens up the spots for 2013 seats if and when they become avaialble.

        Perez, Maladondo, and Kobayashi should be very high among the talent scounts

        Sincerely,

        SK Anand

      2. Nathan says:

        Thanks for clearing that up for me James. As an Australian i realling enjoy your pre race report. Thanks again

      3. Warwick says:

        Yes I’ve been wondering that for ages. That was a brilliant idea – it gave you great insight watching the drivers commentate on their moves while the adrenalin was still pumping. This is absolutely something they should bring back.

  28. Trixie says:

    Completely agree with your list James – Pastor for Driver of the Day and voted so, even though my sentimental vote would’ve normally gone to Kimi but I’ve been getting a distinct feeling that Lotus are just happy finishing 2nd/3rd, 3rd/4th. What Alan Permane said after the race baffled me – if they can finish 3rd & 4th for the rest of the season, they’ll be very happy??!! Are they scared to set their sights too high ? Kimi knew they let 2 opportunities slip by when they should’ve grabbed their chances wherever possible. For that I think he did the best he could and deserved to be 3rd on the list.
    Cracker overtaking from Kobayashi! He’s a wild one. Perhaps he can teach MS a move or two…!

  29. Mat says:

    Easily Maldonado

    great drive, looked after the tyres, had the speed, and didn’t crack under Alonso’s pressure.

    Although i have to say, i think the tyres are starting to have too much say in the outcome of races, not the degradation, but rather the operating window the the tyres work in.

  30. Doobs says:

    The Williams was in the zone but PM still had to bring it home.

  31. Davexxx says:

    Glad to see that Pastor is getting his fair rating from the fans, rather than many people voting him out in favour of their personal favourite driver. A Great Drive. Good for him!

  32. William says:

    Again, if you win your first race you’re the driver of the day.

  33. Jeevan balan Manoj says:

    Sir, Championship leader Vettel, not Maldonado.
    “The Finn is now 12 points behind joint championship leaders Alonso and Maldonado. “

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks, late night typo!

      1. ColinZeal says:

        I doubt you ever typed ‘Maldonado’ as often in one day before!! :)

        Fair play to him, put some critics to bed yesterday with a cracking drive. personally I was unsure of his temperament but he did a great job this weekend.

        Delighted for Williams.

      2. James Allen says:

        Felt good to do so. I never saw him as top class, but he drove yesterday as he did sometimes in GP2. He’s inclined to mistakes and I doubt he’ll ever fully get out of that. He is also a driver who needs to be on the edge all the time, but he showed some pace and quality yesterday

      3. Phil Harben says:

        Agreed.

        Have to say though, I am so happy for Williams for the win. I can’t believe it’s been nearly 8 years since their last one. I hope that Senna can get with it and bring them another one before the end of the season.

  34. Hendo says:

    Has to be Pastor – good on him.
    Pity that no one can pass on this track – not even the great Alonso with DRS can pass a Williams! This was a shocking race – most boring of the year so far.

    1. Tom says:

      I’m sorry, but were you watching the race? There were multiple passes yesterday, many of them without the aid of DRS and at some unusual points on the circuit. Personally I was suprised how many passes there were considering the normal races at the Catalunya circuit.

    2. CraigD says:

      [mod]You’ve missed the key point that the Williams was the better car! Williams and Sauber have strong cars this year and you can’t keep viewing things as the traditional big 3 or 4.

      It was a great race, especially when you compare to a few years ago when everyone would groan when we came to Barcelona. All there was to talk about was the car upgrades for the European season, since everyone near they’d be little in the way of race action and overtaking.

      Every race this year has been a treat so far compared to say 6 or 8 years ago. A treat I say!

      1. Martin says:

        I agree this has been the most exciting season so far (and I see no reason for that to change) for years and I have been watching F1 since the early 80′s when it was really exciting. Remember the Schumacher years on his specially made bridgestones that no one else had, boring the pants off everyone for about 5 consecutive years, give me this F1 any time.

        Also someone said about the traditional top 3 or 4 in F1, I assume they mean Ferrari Macca RBR and Merc, but how long have they been the top 4 ? about 3 years thats all and Merc have won 1 race, up until about 2006 the traditional top 3 had for about 20 odd years been Ferrari Macca and Williams, then Williams faded and RBR more or less took their place at the top table but RBR have only been a top team since 09 and who knows what the future holds for them.

        It’s just wonderful to see Williams dining at the top table again though,long may it continue.

    3. Liam says:

      I’m pretty sure that Maldonado was driving the last sector of the lap so as not to allow Alonso to get close enough for DRS. It’s no coincidence that lap after lap Alonso couldn’t get close enough yet plenty of other drivers pulled off DRS passes through the race.

    4. Phil Harben says:

      @ Hendo.

      Seriously, I don’t understand what you are talking about. I suggest you watch Barcelona replays from the mid 2000′s and then tell me that this was a boring race.

      Did you not see Hamilton’s thrilling drive through the field? Maldonado’s composed battling against Alonso?

  35. Justin says:

    Great choice of picture for Hulkenberg hahaha

  36. Iwan says:

    Can only be Pastor.

    For one he put a brilliant qualifying lap together. He then managed the race and his stints in a calm and mature manner that belies his experience and reputation. Both he and Williams kept cool and calm (well, during the race at least!) and played their own game.

    Lewis: nice job coming through the field
    Alonso: as always in it to win it. Must be a bitter pill to swallow to see a first time winner cross the finish line ahead of you.

  37. Panayiotis says:

    Despite being a Ferrari fan I vote Maldonado.

  38. Dmitry says:

    I can’t vote for anyone else other than Lewis.

    Despite all the bad things which McLaren continues to throw at him he somehow managed to keep cool, determined and focused more than ever. His drive is faultless and his performance is brilliant.

    And I can say I am really proud for what he did yesterday. May be it is not such big thing, but making a 2 stop strategy work is something special.

    If I was asked to vote for someone else, I would have voted for Maldonado. He was also superb yesterday.

    1. Liam says:

      +1 on Lewis. I voted Maldonado but Lewis really has his head in the right place this year… Couple that with the fact that he’s lost none of his natural talent and I think he has to be favourite for WDC this year.

  39. daphne says:

    Pretty easy to judge. Quite a drive from PM. From “naughty boy” last year, for having a swipe at another competitor, to “Marvellous Maldonado” this year with a win, and a long desired win at that for Williams. Wow and great.

  40. Alistair says:

    Pastor deserves to be driver of the day, today. He soaked up the pressure in the final stint and drove a flawless race.

  41. stuart briggs says:

    Hi james,been a williams supporter since alan jones so a very special weekend to say the least.Have been watching pm all season and thougt monaco was his and the teams best chance for a result.Do you think its a flash in the pan or serious move forward in terms of other teams.Thougts with those injured in the pit fire!

  42. Santiago says:

    James you made a mistake on the Kimi part, “The Finn is now 12 points behind joint championship leaders Alonso and Maldonado.” sould it be Vettel? by the way.. i love the new connect page..

  43. Andy says:

    Maldanado gets it for me. Yes he started from pole, but considering his experience, the pressure he was under from Alonso, to hold it together and deliver your maiden win is exceptional.
    Hamilton drove well and proved how much a better frame of mind he’s in by the way he dealt with his demotion to the back of the grid.
    Considering their awful season last year, how fantastic was it to see a Williams win, and a genuine win that they earned fair and square. So sad that it was blighted by the fire.

  44. Doohan says:

    I voted for Pastor. First win, holding off a determined Alonso & not succumbing to the pressure. It was a near perfect drive.
    Lewis proved alot of people wrong by running a two stopper a strategy that would be more suited to Perez then Hamilton we would’ve thought but he made it work and deserved to win if he’d not been penalized.
    Kimi drove an amazing final stint. If I were Kimi, I’d be sitting down with my engineer, the team Prinicpal and anyone involved in dictating his strategies and go with human instinct and stop relying on what seem to be computer simulations. It was obvious to everyone the prime was the race tyre. Sergio & Mark proved that early on. Hopefully they can have the perfect race that’s illuded him so far and he’ll shake the Princes hand at Monaco.

  45. Absolument! says:

    Pastor Maldonado was the star of the week-end !

  46. Paul says:

    Obviously Pastor.

    I’m surprised Vettel wasn’t an option. After a drive through and nose change he fought his way through to 6th.

  47. That’s easy :)
    Maldonado deserves the label of the best driver this weekend, for me, primarily because he was able to capitalize his strength – tire management.
    Had excellent Q session, maintained superb race pace and managed to withstand Alonso’s serious attacks, which he failed to do in the past.

    Kudos to Alonso and both guys from Lotus for putting large gap between rivals behind, great drives from Kobayashi and Hamilton, too.

    Overall, pretty exciting race.

  48. Jdoo says:

    Honorable mention to the entire crew of every team that put their own health and safety at risk in fighting the fire in the Williams garage.

    That said, how can it be anyone besides Pastor?

    Worst drive of the day is Schumacher for his “idiot” mistake.

  49. Andrew S says:

    Surely Pastor has to get 100% of the votes?
    Alonso got ahead into turn 1/2 but for Pastor to keep his head towards the end when Alonso was catrching him showed real maturity – lesser people could have cracked with Alonso hunting them down. Clearly Alonsos tyres were giving up meaning he couldnt sustain a hard challenge to the end
    kimi has to be looking at a victory sooner rather than later?

  50. James Enocre says:

    It really should have been Hamilton. Consider: Schumacher rams Senna of the track 5 place grid drop. Hamilton has 1KG too little fuel for 1 qualifying run, 23 place grid drop. His drive from the back was superb, and no-one thought he would make a set of tyres last for the final 30 laps.

    Honourable mention to Vettel, who’s proving he CAN overtake.

    BUT
    Maldanado. The guy who hadn’t got a clue about cars around him last season. The guy who threw it off the track following Alonso in Australia. The guy that plenty of people thought was a waste of seat. Season after Season I hope for a Williams revival, and I expected his only contribution to be money.
    AND THEN. He goes fastest in Q2. Second to Hamilton in Q3, his front row was no fluke. Out-started by Alonso – he defended right to the limit – but the Maldonado we though we knew would have caused a first corner accident or gone off the track before the first stop trying to chase. The guy we saw before would not preserved his tyres while Alonso ruinned his in the final stint. The Maldonado we saw this time belonged on the top step of the podium as much as anyone else who’s been there this season.
    A Williams win for Frank’s 70th Birthday : F1 really does produce fairy tales. I just hope not to wait 8 years for another.

  51. Geenimetsuri says:

    It has to be Pastor – From ‘nobody’ to F1 weekend dominator in 3 weeks.

    Impressive, especially when you compare to his team mate. I wonder how long until it’s Bottas & Maldonado instead of Senna & Maldonado…

    However, the “real stars” of the weekend were the Pirelli tires…

    It is downright asinine to have tires as the most important aspect of race & Q performance, instead of…gee, I don’t know…racing skill (see eg. Räikkönen early and late in the race)!

    They might as well allow refueling as even fuel load wouldn’t have as big an impact as the current on/off tire debacle.

  52. Martin says:

    Only going to be one winner in this poll and he deserves it, awesome drive.

  53. Phil says:

    Has to be Maldonado. Yes he inherited pole but had front row pace so deserved to be up there. Drove flawlessly and took all the pressure Alonso could throw at him. We’ve seen many young drivers crack at the front so for him to hold it together under pressure and prove the doubters wrong is worthy of much admiration.

    Thought Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi also did great.

    Best race I’ve seen at Barcelona for a long time.

  54. JB says:

    I think this is the year where n00bs can win. 5 winners in 5 races. “What-if” it will end up with a unique winner in each GP throughout the year? That means 20 winners! Almost every driver gets to win.

    Anyway, congrats Maldonado for making William’s win again. The critical pitstop strategy worked.

    I think teams must be more aggressive with their strategy and try to force the opponent’s hand, take a risk.

    1. GWD says:

      Lol! I dunno about 20, but 10 different winners by season’s end seems more than plausible: How about Kimi (Monaco), Perez (Canada), Kobi (Europe) [or change those 2 around], Webber (Silverstone) & even Grosjean (Germany). Now that would be freaky…

      James & everyone, are we seeing something that could be called strategy ‘safe-guarding’ going on? Teams appear to be by and large adopting straightforward strategies they would’ve used on last years tyres to give statistically high performing results. This, of course, goes out the window on Sundays when the reality of the race and the prevailing conditions apply, and predominantly higher performing cars find themselves out of the points because they couldn’t get everything to work together on the day. But there’s also teams doing some serious playing around with their options, probably even trying radical ideas, trying to hit a very small target within the scope of a ‘net’ very similar car performance (given you can’t run ‘all-out’, each car is reduced to a sum that is potentially very similar to the others), and some teams engineers have managed to find that target, thus the Williams win from practically nowhere. Anyone back him via a bookmaker and pick bucketloads of money as a result??? lol.

      Is it they just did the right work and found the sweetspot/target? So given this hard to find target, is there realistically a chance a new driver’s engineer finds it and we have ourselves a new race winner?

      1. James Allen says:

        You’ll find an indepth analysis of this here later today in the Strategy Report

  55. Rob Newman says:

    It has to be Pastor no doubt and I am happy to see most of the poeople have voted for him.

    Alonso lost the lead (not the race) while waving and exchanigng pleasantries with Charles Pic on the track. Lost the race because Pastor was too good and managed his tyres very well and controlled the race like a seasoned driver. The moral is respect fellow drivers; don’t bully. I saw Pastor getting blocked by Karthikeyan (who blocks every lead runners in every race) but unlike Alonso, he handled the situation calmly without waving and gesticulating. Alonso was continuously running wide, locking his tyres and never was a threat to Pastor.

    There were some fantastic overtakes by Vettel but unfortunately he got a drive thru which is a shame.

    Hamilton did a great race but he had the best car on the grid.

    1. Jan De Boer says:

      Had the best car? Tell that to Jenson!

  56. Eduan says:

    I just would like to mention here about the Schumacher/Senna crash. I believe that both men should have been given a penalty. I do feel that Senna weaved off the racing line and back on again and I think Micheal could have avoided it.

    To just punish Schumacher i think is unfair. I think Jamie Algesuari’s analysis was a bit bias toward Senna

    1. James Clayton says:

      I don’t think you can give both drivers a penalty for an incident that only involved themselves. either one gets punished, or it gets called a racing incident and nether get a penalty.

  57. Dan Orsino says:

    Freudian slip James, you must think Maldo will be a championship contender with Alonso.

    Personally I feel a bit uneasy about these ugly ducklings turned into swans. Lets forget Perez, it’s Maldo now for Ferrari….. Until Kartekian leads Alonso and Kimi home. It’s jbound to happen!!

  58. Ken says:

    I’m going with Lewis Hamilton. A superb qualifying lap where he touched all the apexes and kept it smooth and fast to blitz the field to pole.

    Didn’t let his head hang when he received the penalty but knuckled down and drove with controlled aggression and racecraft making overtakes where and when necessary (some quite brilliant like the dual moves on the Torro Rossos in succession) and managed to put lie to the “can’t manage his tyres” myth by pulling a 2-stopper and keeping his tyres in shape while maintaining pace. His laptimes in his 31 lap final stint were remarkably consistent.

    All this and he managed to bring home a solid points haul that kept him in the hunt all the way from last on the grid.

  59. HFEVO says:

    When being harassed by a driver of Alonso’s stature it’s all too easy for a relatively inexperienced driver to make a mistake and lose out.

    Pastor Maldonado obviously learned from his experience at Australia and didn’t put a foot wrong yesterday.

    That’s why I rated him as Driver Of The Day in Barcelona.

    A brilliant result for the Grove Team and a fitting reward for Sir Frank who I’ve supported since the days when Williams worked out of a scruffy little workshop next to a cinema in Cippenham, just outside Slough.

  60. **Paul** says:

    Pastor Maldonado without a shadow of doubt.

    Yes he had a good car this weekend, but he had to work for that win yesterday with Alonso pushing him for it all the way and the pressure of starting on pole. To be able to cope with that pressure when your first podium, first win and first victory for a Venezuelan in F1 ever must have taken some doing.

    Frankly the above absolutely blitzes everyone elses achievements yesterday. When the pressure was on Pastor delivered with a faultless performance. Credit where it’s due.

  61. Dave says:

    If it had been any other result, I’d have gone for Lewis – was really disappointed to see him dropped to 24th but enjoyed watching him work through his field – including a great double pass on the Toro Rosso’s.

    But, you can’t look past Pastor Maldonado. He didn’t really put a foot wrong, and I didn’t see him locking up or letting the pressure get to him at all.

    Superb drive.

  62. Matt Devenish says:

    Maldonado for me. He drove a superbly measured race. To lose 1st at the start, but to maintain and even close the gap to Alonso before the pit stops and to then managed two stints in the lead while the number one Ferrari came back at him, shows how much he’s developed as a driver. It really was fantastic to see a blue and white Williams fighting with a Ferrari at the front of the field and a reminder of how well the team have done to get back to the top step. It wasn’t a lucky win, there was a great call on strategy in the second and third stints, the mechanics and driver were calm when the second stop was slow – which was probably the only flaw in the race. A fantastic result.

    What a shame the day ended so sadly. Glad no one appears seriously hurt. It served as a reminder than even though safety as never been as good, it can always be better and we should never underestimate fire. By coincidence BBC4 showed the Grand Prix Killer Years again last night at 9pm. A must watch if you’ve never seen it.

  63. Simon Morris says:

    A great drive by Pastor, but I have the feeling that had Hamilton not been disqualified, he would have disappeared at the front, leaving Pastor, Fernando et al scrambling about for the minor places.
    Excellent to see Kimi back and in a competitive car, what happened to Button? and Kobayashi was insanely brave as always. An excellent GP but for me, coming from the back and securing some valuable points made Lewis driver of the day, just edging out Pastor who gets a very close second driver of the day prize.

  64. Phil says:

    Well who would have predicted that result? The bookies must be loving Formula 1 this season.

    A shame that Hamilton was sent so far back by the stewards as it could have been a real thriller with him on form and in the mix for the podium as well.

    There must be a lot of engineers scratching their heads at the moment.

  65. Dan says:

    Just a comment on the McLaren. I was watching Lewis’ onboard feed for most of the race and that car was working extremely well around the fast right hander turn 3 (and turn 12 too). Lewis actually pulled a few overtakes there by being able to keep a much tighter line and power through the exit

    This same corner was used as a barometer of the Red Bull’s aerodynamic prowess last year.

    Provided McLaren can fuel the car in the future and fit four wheels at the same time I think they ought to be bringing home this championship.

  66. LD01 says:

    I voted Maldonado. First GP win and it was no walkover. Holding off an Alonso lap after lap. Many have buckled in such circumstances.

    Also great drives from Lewis and Vettell having to work through the field due to different penalties / change of nose.

    Koby made it an exciting race too.

  67. Jason C says:

    What no Vettel? He had some work to do after getting the drive-through and made some good moves.

    Also, I must note the disproportionality of punishments: Schumacher has been penalised 5 places for destroying a competitor’s race, but Hamilton was penalised 23 places for a technical infringement whose benefit was easily calculated.

  68. Zack says:

    Great drives from Pastor and Lewis.

    Interesting that Stefano Domenicali specifically mentioned Lewis during his post race interviews with both the BBC and Sky, but not reading too much into that of course;-)…

    1. F12012 says:

      I picked up on this too, not often a team principal picks out another drivers performance, but doubt if we will see Hamilton at Ferrari next year with alonso

      1. Phil Harben says:

        Ha ha! That would be amazingly funny. Can you imagine Alonso’s face as Hamilton is revealed as his team mate? “Oh no, not this guy again!”

        Not going to happen though. I think that Ferrari would be happier with even a rookie driver rather than try to manage two raging bulls in their garage.

  69. vvipkho says:

    THE HERO IS F1 PERSONNEL PUT DOWN THE FIRE ..
    NOT THE DRIVER…

    1. James Clayton says:

      Agreed. But this is driver of the day, not hero of the day.

  70. CurlyPutz says:

    Has to be Pastor, thought Lewis had a blinder too.

  71. TimB says:

    I went for Maldonado, although I think you could also make a case for either Alonso or Hamilton.

    Unless one of the teams gets a big jump on the others on tyre usage in the next few races, looks like the championship may go to the driver who copes best with the bad weekends when the tyres aren’t working for them. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton have all done well so far at minimising points damage on the off weekends. Jenson has been good when the car is working, but his troubled races haven’t brought good results. Webber on the other hand hasn’t really maximised results when the car is there.

    McLaren keep making silly mistakes, so Vettel and Alonso look the likeliest contenders, I think.

  72. Jon Wilde says:

    Driver of the day for me was Lewis, but I am a Lewis Fan. 24-th to 8th. Fantastic! who else made a two stop strategy work?

    Team of the race without question was Williams. It was so refreshing to see the a team leading on strategy, we’ve become used the reactionary and often incorrect strategic pit stops from teams like Mclaren, Red Bull, & Ferrari, that is was almost expected from Sauber and Lotus this year. (when they have had the chance to win)

    Williams saw the chance to win and took it. The confidence of the team was evident in the strategy calls.

    Also in the team radio messages at one point Pastor was told the corners in which Alonso was a threat, he then ensured maximum traction out of those corners. namely the final corner to minimise the impact of Alonso’s DRS. for me it was very reminisant of Schumacher failing to get past Alonso at Imola in 05 or 06 (sorry can’t remember the year)

    The post-race fire was a terrible way to end a magical weekend. I hope everyone is OK and that the team are in good shape for Monaco.

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      It was Schumi attacking Alonso in 05, and then the other way around in 06.

  73. Andrew Carter says:

    Maldonado, but excellent drives from Alonso, Kobayashi, Vettel, Hamilton and Hulkenburg as well.

  74. Paul H says:

    Undoubtably Maldonado, he was flawless through both qualifying and the race. And yes, I have repeatedly labelled him rubbish and not worthy of a drive. But hands up, he has started the season well and really stepped up. This race make me need to re evaluate. Be interesting to see if it was a one off with Williams lucking into the perfect conditions for their car or (hopefully) they are genuinely fast.

  75. Jenny says:

    I vote for Maldonado too, but Lewis is in the form of his life. Shame the team are letting him down. He should be head and shoulders above the rest by now.

  76. AH Jordan says:

    Maldonado, not because he won the race.

    Because when the fire broke out he carried his cousin to safety.

  77. Micael says:

    Lewis Hamilton gets my vote. By far the fastest driver in qualifying and then to recover like that with a 2 stop strategy and conserving tires better then Button was just amazing. How many times can you say that Hamilton conserve tires better then Button? hehe.

    It was a hard decision though since Maldonado did an awesome job as well. Keeping his cool and claiming first F1 victory shows that he has grown incredibly much since last season. Remember his driving in Abu Dhabi last season? That was a complete disaster and I think most people started wondering what the heck he was doing in F1…

  78. Maldonado all the way. I always knew he had the speed to succeed in F1 (you don’t drive Monaco like he does without being good), but I was never convinced he had the mentality or temperament for it. He’s had a fair few incidents and lapses in concentration in the past, which made the maturity and composure he showed yesterday all the more impressive.

    You have to wonder now just how far he can go. Not bad for a pay driver. Not bad at all.

  79. Richard D says:

    My vote for Maldonado was a no brainer! Some other good drives and I wonder how Hamilton might have got on with a 3 stop strategy but he presumably didn’t have the tyres after using more in qualifying.

  80. gondokmg says:

    Let’s be clear about what is meant by “driver of the day”. Is it about where a driver finishes the race or do we also have to consider how he got to that finishing position?

    If it’s based simply on the outcome, it’s Maldonado.

    If one looks at whole race, including all the challenges the drivers had to face, it’s Lewis Hamilton.

    1. Andrew says:

      Totally agree, ‘driver of the day’ on this site often seems to revolve around novelty value. This year that means race winner (as there has been a different person in every race), last year it was race winner unless the race was won by Vettel.

      I don’t see how Maldanado’s drive was anything particularly special, he got overtaken at the start and only got passed Alonso because of the pitstop phase. As I have already pointed out, the Williams was clearly very fast because the quality of Maldanado’s qualifying lap was pretty poor and he still managed second on the grid.

  81. Adam says:

    James, what are your thoughts on Lotus? Both drivers are producing great drives, and the car seems to be the most consistently competitive of all the teams. However, the results from the last two races could have been even better. In my opinion they are missing some strategic talent during the races, which is costing them places. With other teams being so inconsistent, Lotus could be a dark horse for titles if they can get their strategies sorted.

    1. James Allen says:

      The win isn’t far away now

  82. Rishi says:

    Lots of good drives to report from the list but it has to be Pastor Maldonado. Since the mid-1990s (and maybe before) I’m struggling to think of a win that’s been so out of the blue (I can think of candidates, but also of caveats). Barely two months ago Maldonado threw away a top finish at the Australian GP with a costly mistake on the last lap. Here he was imperious and showed grace under pressure in the closing stages. A great result for Williams too after a trying 2011 season.

  83. Gareth Taylor says:

    Without a doubt in my mind: Maldonardo. This performance will raise a few eyebrows and no doubt help fuel a new rumour about him replacing Massa next season.

  84. S2K says:

    In a positive way, Maldonado. He showed maturity and he didn’t crack under pressure. A well-deserved win after winning the Q2 and nearly winning Q3 (we’ll never know if Hamilton’s fuel was as per the rules)…

    In a negative way, Schumacher. Not only that he made a mistake but by calling Bruno Senna an idiot he is not giving a good example.

  85. Peter Craven says:

    I trust Patrick is enjoying his retirement..

    Top marks for whomever put Frank’s current team of engineers together, and to Pastor for keeping his cool.

  86. Wu says:

    Bruno Senna, for changing direction twice just before breaking early just as a much faster car with DRS open was about to pass him, then somehow convincing the stewards he was innocent.

    What is it about the word SENNA that excuses poor driving etiquette?

    On the side note, these tyres are making the season farcical. There is absolutly no way Williams jumped Red Bull, Mclaren, Merc and Ferrari. It’s like every race is a wet race, and that’s not what F1 is about. Let’s go back to fastest driver in a fastest car wins please. I’d rather be bored than switching off entirely.

    1. S2K says:

      On the tyres, I think this season has been and is going to be even more exciting than 2011. I do like the unpredictability and the show that it is put together at every race.

      Why would you prefer a early/mid – 2000′s procession-style race? I remember a friend telling me how he “watched” F1 in those days… He watched the start and the first couple of laps, then he took a nap and he woke to check online who won…

      Thank God, gone are the days when drivers like Damon Hill won races and championships simply because he was sitting in the fastest car on the track. To win in 2012 a driver needs the perfect balance of speed, driving skills, mental skills, engine, aerodynamics and tyres.

    2. Phil Harben says:

      @ Wu: I don’t think I could agree with your comments less.

      At the point of impact, Schumacher was already in the braking zone. He wasn’t going to get the move completed anyway. No, Senna shouldn’t have moved at all at that point, but Schumacher was wrong (as was Webber at Valencia a year or so back) in thinking that Senna was going to brake where Schumacher was going to.

      I assume that the stewards looked at telemetry and ruled out Senna brake-testing Schumacher, therefore it was all on Schuey.

      Also, I would much rather have these tyres than the non-degrading tyres of old, whereupon there was not much management required.

    3. Wu says:

      Phil

      I thought this year’s rules prohibit change of direction more than once when defending, and Senna was defending.
      Schumacher thought Senna was defending the inside line, so he went to the racing line where there’s more grip and you can brake much later. When Senna moved back to the racing line the crash was inevitable.
      If the stewards thought Senna’s two moves were ok, then it was a racing incident, Senna thought Schumacher was going to go on the inside so he moved to the racing line for grip, while Schumacher thought Senna was defending on the inside and went to the outside to overtake through better braking and grip (Senna was on used tyres and Schu on new). It would have been a simple misunderstanding between drivers.

      The problem I had was the change of direction. If what he did was really ok then the rules haven’t really changed and I suppose that’s good for the sport, but it is confusing. Clarification is needed. But to penalise Schumacher for the next race? Why?

      P.S. I tried replying to your post directly but for some reason I couldn’t click on it.

  87. Wheels says:

    Hello James! Great to see the Williams Team back on the top step of the podium. Many years back, along with a friend of mine, I met Frank Williams once, just an hour or so after the USGP at Watkins Glen during the 1979 season. We had stopped off at a 7-Eleven store to pick up a few things and there was Frank picking up a few of the same items. My buddy and I both said hello, but Frank just went on chatting to us as if we were all old High School buddies or something…. He seemed to be a wonderful person. I’m really happy for him. Following the Chinese GP I wrote to your sight how I thought Lewis Hamilton was doing a superb job of adjusting his race-craft to suit the Pirellis. His drive yesterday was total vindication of that approach. Due to his pace and speed, with the right strategy, I think he would have blitzed the field if he had started from pole and made it to the first corner in the lead. Well James! What do you think of the next Monaco GP? I say, keep an eye on Maldonado a confirmed Monaco master from the lower formulae. If I’m not mistaken, I think he was running in sixth place, late in the race last year, when he and Hamilton had that coming together at St. Devote. Along with Lewis, who should be absolutely flying in controlled anger, at the thought of all those lost points so far this season–I’m looking for Lewis on pole and a supremely confident Maldonado somewhere on the first three rows. Can’t wait for qualifying!

  88. Nil says:

    How long before we start hearing rumors of Pastor going to Ferrari? :D

    Btw, Kobayashi seems to have improved on his qualifying performances. What do you think James? Driver improvement or just a manifestation of the car’s improvement?

  89. Ginger says:

    Pastor – It has to be. Great from Lewis but it was a real wow moment when Pastor qualified and won the race under pressure from Fernando and we all know whether we like him or not he is a top top driver.

  90. Elie says:

    Couldn’t split Lewis from Pastor .Kimi a close second. As for Schumacher running up the back of Senna which idiot here blamed Senna ?? Come on man wake up! MS had a cars width either side of Bruno even veering left then slowly back to centre. I see the tension building in MS and karma coming back to get him. He should retire permanently! At least get Kamui show him how it’s done- next best driver in Spain !

    1. GWD says:

      I can understand your thoughts on MS, but remember there’s a ton of ‘marbles’ off the racing line, and taking that line would have just given back the position back 2 corners later in most likelyhood. I’m still divided on it, though, as I think it brings out an issue with the current rule that hasn’t till now surfaced at braking points at ends of long straights. But, then again, MS’s racecraft should know about the rule, the marbles, and be prepared for all the potential circumstances. I did feel Senna’s move was a tad late, but MS was going for the move regardless of the issues that restricted it.

    2. Phil Harben says:

      I agree with this completely. I was a big fan of MS’ return to F1, but to be honest, after nearly 2 1/2 years in the saddle, I am yet to be wowed.

      I think that he is in full damage control mode, blaming Senna for MS running up the back of him! He knows that Rosberg has won Mercedes’ first race and that has put a ton of pressure on him. I’m sorry, but complaining about tyres is all smoke and mirrors to deflect his own shortcomings.

      1. Elie says:

        Yeah the silly thing is – he has outperformed Nico many times. It’s not like Fermando / Felipe . I actually think MS has done well all things considered. I just hate his attitude & what he has gotten away with in the sport its very very wrong. He is not getting h

      2. Elie says:

        Oops ! He is not getting his way anymore and it will bite him hard if he dont accept that. Even an underperforming Nico is ahead. I don’t get the lack of fight with Nico he can be outstanding some days and just gives in other times.(despite tyres)

  91. Peter Rix says:

    Pastor was fantastic but we need to see that happen more often. As such my vote goes to Alonso, that Ferrari is clearly difficult but Fernando continues to push it up higher in the points than it really deserves. This is a quite scary/impressive performance….. Massa is not that slow!!

  92. DouglasJ says:

    James, Since Lewis Hamilton was essentially treated like he did not come on the track to qualify on saturday, was he given new tires to race with on sunday? Or did he have the double whammy of starting from the back with some sets of used tires?

    1. James Clayton says:

      Used tyres.

    2. Myxomatosis says:

      He didn’t receive any new tires, he started from the back with the tires he qualified with.

  93. Andrew M says:

    Maldonado all the way, pretty simple decision, had a strong car and made the most of it, holding off Alonso for 20-odd laps when he could have buckled.

    Alonso did well too, Raikkonen looks on great form and makes a mockery of the notion that drivers can’t leave the sport and come back after a couple of years away. Hamilton did a solid job with a genuine back-of-the-grid drive, not assisted by stacks of new tires like all the others we’ve seen.

  94. xvohi says:

    Alonso. Not only for this race but for all the season until now.

    I cant see any driver who would get so many points with such a car.

    1. Phil Harben says:

      “I cant see any driver who would get so many points with such a car.”

      How about his team mate, Massa? Oh wait….:D

  95. Lachlan Mackinnon says:

    Great to see Lotus in the hunt after 5 races, however I can’t help but think they haven’t maximised on their opportunities with the machinery they currently have at their disposal. James (or anyone who can tell me), who at Lotus is ultimately responsible for strategy decisions?
    Thanks!

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s not just that. These decisions are finely balanced

  96. I love your site James Alien.

  97. Sam says:

    There was no one else but Pastor. Lewis drove the race i expected him to. I honestly expected to see a shaky error filled drive from Pastor and his control astonished me.

    Having watched F1 religiously for the last 20 or so years I have to say i’ve never loved it more. I look forward to each race weekend still really having no idea who is going to make it work. These guys are all in the same boat now and it’s really highlighting how many talented drivers there are in the field this year. I really have no issues with the rubber going away, or the fact people can overtake each other, it’s creating fascinating battles across the field and giving the director a lot of options to keep us entertained. This was not a boring Spanish GP and I certainly don’t miss the years of the Schumacher Procession.

  98. sagi58 says:

    Although I am a Ferrari fan and proud of it, it was a tough decision between Alonso and Maldonado!! The F2012 has not been what we were hoping for; but, Alonso takes it places we never dreamed! Maldonado’s totally unexpected win comes on the day of Frank Williams’ birthday and that’s a great thing! In the end, I went with Maldonado; but, by a verrry slim margin.

    By the way, I find it interesting to read the comments regarding the “exceptionality” of Hamilton’s drive! Yes, it was a very good drive; but, as has already been expressed, he has one of the better cars on the grid, to fight with. Yes, he has shown maturity; but, it’s been a long time coming! What is very entertaining is the short-sightedness of his fans who seem to believe he is the only driver in the history of F1 who has overcome all the odds stacked against him!

    In fact, I would venture to suggest that most of Hamilton’s fans were not nearly as complimentary of Schumi’s performance when he started in the pitlane and finished sixth, way back when. Then again, some his fans don’t realize that F1 had heroes before Hamilton came on the scene!

  99. Kidza says:

    James, did Schumacher have a problem with his DRS in the race?

    With the famed double DRS of the Mercedes, why did Michael fail to make the pass on Senna earlier on the straight? Senna was after all struggling on his tyres and I’m pretty sure did not have use of DRS on that lap.

    1. James Allen says:

      I didn’t hear them say anything about DRS problem

  100. usman says:

    my vote goes to vettel for making some great moves after getting drive through pealty and getting the nose change…..can anyone tell me that what was the issue with two red bulls nose which had to be changed????did it touched some part of road at turns???(saw tht in some pictures)….also tell me hats wrong with the red bull speed and whats the developments red bull doing ???

  101. usman says:

    can you tell me james?

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