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Webber untouchable in Spanish Grand Prix
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Webber untouchable in Spanish Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2010   |  3:23 pm GMT  |  160 comments

Mark Webber won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona today, crushing the opposition in a Red Bull car they had described all weekend as ‘untouchable.”

It is his third Grand Prix win and was one of those weekends where no-one could get near him either in qualifying or the race.

It was the 10th time in a row this race has been won from pole position and Webber is the fourth different winner in five races this season.


But it wasn’t a perfect day for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel’s race was compromised by losing a place to Lewis Hamilton at the first stop and then late in the race going off track and being forced to make an unscheduled stop for tyres. He also had brake problems, with the team asking him to come in and retire the car at one point, but he kept going to finish third. But the problem reminds the team that although they have an unbeatable car, it is also a fragile one.

The unscheduled tyre stop promoted Fernando Alonso to the podium. The Spaniard was running third behind Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren, but then on the final lap the left front tyre exploded on the McLaren, sending him hard into the barriers. All runners were marginal on tyre wear, asking the hard tyres to do over 50 laps.

“It’s a very special day for me, unfortunately I can’t get too drunk tonight because I’ve got to be back at work on Wednesday,” said Webber. “It was my day today. Is started on the pole and controlled the race. It was nice to throw my helmet into the crowd because they don’t always get the best treatment in F1.”

Webber held on to the lead at the start, despite a serious attempt by Vettel to pass. Meanwhile Hamilton, starting 3rd, resisted Alonso, who had the better initial getaway.

Further back Jaime Alguersuari took advantage of the confusion around Pedro de la Rosa’s Sauber as it punctured a tyre, to leap from 16th to 9th. Rubens Barichello followed him through and went from 18th to 12th. Alguersuari later blotted his copybook when he was given a drive through penalty for chopping the nose cone off the HRT car of Karun Chandhok. He recovered from that to finish 10th.

Rosberg dropped from 8th to 11th at the start and later lost more ground with a messy first pit stop, while Massa gained two places from 9th to 7th. He damaged his front wing in the middle stint on a slow moving Chandhok in the HRT car.

Webber controlled the pace in the first stint, opening up a gap over Vettel while Hamilton shadowed the second Red Bull. Alonso struggled to stay with the McLaren and was 3.4 secs behind after 10 laps.

At the first round of pit stops, where everyone switched to the hard tyre, Schumacher jumped Button for fifth place, largely thanks to the Mercedes mechanics doing his tyre change in 3.8 seconds.

The hard tyres lasted remarkably well with over 50 laps covered on most cars. Rosberg, who started the day in second place in the championship, made a second stop and switched back to soft tyres for the final third of the race. But he lost track position and got into a battle with Hulkenberg, whom he passed for P15 on lap 51.

There was one dramatic moment on lap 18 when Hamilton exited the pits straight into a fight with Vettel. There was a Virgin car on the apex of Turn 1 and as the pair went around it, Vettel was pushed wide and drove off the circuit. He rejoined behind Hamilton in third place. So one McLaren gained a place, one lost a place.

Button attacked Schumacher for lap after lap but the 41 year old fought him off. Button was losing two seconds per lap behind the Mercedes compared to team mate Hamilton’s pace. They finished fourth and fifth.

Webber was able to attack again on the hard tyre in the middle and opened up a 10 second lead over Hamilton, often as much as 7/10ths of a second a lap faster.

Vettel radioed in around two thirds distance to say that his front wing adjuster was stuck, which was hurting his ability to manage the tyres. On lap 54 he went off track across the gravel and was forced to make a stop for new tyres, which promoted Alonso to the podium.

Adrian Sutil gained places at the first stop to take 7th place and more points for a consistent Force India team. He finished ahead of Robert Kubica and Rubens Barrichello.

There were some big gaps showing the relative performance of the cars. Before the run in to the flag, the Red Bull was 22 seconds ahead of the Ferrari and the Mercedes was a minute off, showing that their advantage is not just in qualifying trim.

It wasn’t a classic Grand Prix, with little incident beyond the Vettel/Hamilton confrontation and Alguersuari hitting Chandhok, we had the Button/Schumacher battle to sustain us, but it wasn’t a gripper.

It was a bit like staying in a bar all night with only a half of shandy for company.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX -BARCELONA, 66 Laps
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h35:44.101
2. Alonso Ferrari + 24.065
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 51.338
4. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:02.195
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:03.728
6. Massa Ferrari + 1:05.767
7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:12.941
8. Kubica Renault + 1:13.677
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
14. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 2 laps
15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps
16. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth + 3 laps
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
19. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth + 4 laps

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2

Well done Webber but really, the race was his to lose. Hamilton and Alonso were far more impressive given what they had to work with.

And what was up with Vettel? Yes, front flap wouldn’t work, but why on earth did he choose to go off track and let Hamilton through? He might want to watch the Button/Schumacher confrontation at the same spot to see how it should be done.

Webber’s a very good driver but come on now, he’s not going to end up in anyone’s all time top 10. Given that, I have to wonder if Vettel is the superstar some are saying. If he’s as good as some say, he should be burying Webber. And he blinked big time against Hamilton. I’m a Vettel fan but I’m reserving judgment a while yet.

3

Funny how many of you people attribute anything good that Mark Webber achieves as his team mate being crap. He’s been consistently faster than all his 7 team mates he’s had prior to being teamed up with Vettel. The fact that Vettel can match Webber indicates that Vettel is indeed a superstar.

Hugo Boss, please move to the BACK OF THE BUS.

4

Webber and Vettel demonstrated in Barcelona how good the RedBull cars are.

Webber won without pushing, he was teasing Hamilton and Alonso during the race, he was capable to drop half a second per lap yesterday if necessary.

Vettel was able to come third with a car with no brakes for about 15 laps.

What it is very important to understand is the following:

Accordingly to the telemetry, RB were about 20 km/h faster in turn 9, apparently they are capable to use less fuel than Ferraris and McLaren, they were 9 km/h slower than Ferraris in the straight and overall faster each lap about half a second in race trim.

Moreover Vettel used his aero and engine/gearbox to slow down the car when he had no breaks left during the race.

The overall package of the RB is capable to produce more downforce with less weight in the car giving them an advantage because they can use softer suspension and dampers while having less fuel on board.

This will allow RB to have less height difference between full load of fuel and empty tank, optimising the aero performance of the car during the race.

It is astonishing to have a car so far ahead from the rest, a difference of 20 km/h in turn 9 is incredible.

But still the RB have demonstrated that they are as reliable as the rest and with 19 races and 25 points for a win, dnf will be very important

5
Alistair Blevins

Well done Mark. Superb drive.

Otherwise, a typical Spanish Yawn Prix.

6
Derek Lorimer

James. It may not have been a “Classic” race for you but it is great to see Mark Webber win. I have been following his progress since 1993 where a local radio show touted him as a future world champion.

Go Mark

7

It was a dull race, but it could have been a lot worse. Most of the time there was someone trying to make up a position, even if no-one really managed it… And there was at least a bit of last minute drama, with Vettel’s problem and Hamilton’s failure.

As for Hamilton’s failure, it’s very tempting to attribute this to him taking too much out of the car when that is not needed: Alonso puts in a couple of quick laps, and Hamilton puts in a super-quick one – right decision or wrong decision? Alonso could have carried on lapping 0.6secs a lap faster than Hamilton and still not caught him by the end. Other drivers might not have been provoked into such a reaction, but rather have continued to coax the car at 8/10ths to the finish line.

But of course the jury’s still out on the reason for the failure: apparently, it doesn’t look like the tyre was overworn, but even if it was a failure of a component near the wheel, that too could be caused by overaggressive use of the punishing kerbs. Or a Spanish-fan with an air-rifle in the crowds…? 😉

Button v Schumacher: not all that unexpected to see Schumacher chop accross Button as he exited the pits. Clearly at the limits of fair driving, but not clearly over the limit and that’s what Schumacher’s all about. Drivers of a different mould to Button might not have backed out of it, but a collision would be one likely result. ‘Live to fight another day’ is pragmatic and sensible, but it gets stored in the databanks of a driver like Schumacher. Button did manage to put some pressure on Schumacher after that but he was compromised by worse traction in the corner onto the straight and again Schumacher’s car placement was right up to the limits of what the regulations allow, but again probably not beyond (e.g. a couple of times, Schumacher adjusted his line twice into the first corner, first positioning himself in the middle of the track, then waiting to see which way Button was going to try before covering the inside or the outside – this seems all to be OK provided that only one move is in the braking zone, but obviously this gets quite marginal). Button was criticised for not trying the inside line, but Schuey would have just chopped across if he had.

All nicely set up for Monaco. Pressure’s definitely on Hamilton at a place where he is capable of excelling or producing an embarrassing mistake. If Button can outscore him at Monaco, Hamilton’s championship deficit will start looking quite serious.

8

I agree about Button yielding and it getting stored in the Schumi databank. I remember a race from a few years ago when he and Webber were contesting a position. He tried an intimidating move on Webber and Webber held his line. The result being that they crashed into each other and out of the race. Admittedly Webber was not in contention for the WDC but you show that you can’t be messed with.

Very happy for Webber. I was dreading another poor start (he has a propensity for them) but he did not put a foot wrong all day.

Go Aussies!!

9

A perfect drive by Mark Webber, probably the best in his career. I feel a little sorry for Lewis Hamilton, because he put in a fantastic drive only to be let down by a wheel or tyre failure. Lewis will do everything in his power to win in Monaco. I think Jenson’s honeymoon at McLaren is about to come to an abrupt halt.

10

Great to see Webber come to life at this GP. Hope he continues to do so throughout the season. Webber has to be one of the nicest drivers in F1 and allthough getting on a bit, still showing the hunger and ambition.

11

All those haters who reckon Mark Webber is not one of the best drivers, please move to the BACK OF THE BUS.

How about Alonso’s luck? In Bahrain, Vettel has a problem and he gets a bonus 7 points. Then in Australia, Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton pit gifting him 6 points. He then has his reliability issue in a race where he qualified so badly that it didn’t matter. Then in China, a bewildering safety car makes him go from 8th to 4th (another bonus 8 points). And now yesterday, he benefits from Hamilton and Vettel issues and gains another 6 points from that.

So without looking into how many points his rivals have lost, such as Vettel and Hamilton. He has gained 27 points from other peoples misery and a safety car tailor made for him. Can Alonso please screw up in Monaco in the interests of keeping everyone’s luck the same? Because at the moment, he is the luckiest driver out there by far, and luck often decides a championship. It’s looking like it’s going to be Alonso’s year.

12

Yep Alono’s had some luck… yet tempered by his engine issues. His drive, with the dodgy gear-shift etc before the engine blow (in Malaysia) was incredible.

Button was miffed post-race, as he missed a potential podium spot… he was on Alonso’s tail and would have benefited in the same way as ‘nando did, with Vettel and Hamilton’s issues, if it were not for his own issues.

Webber: a great lights to flag race… and just what he needed to keep him in the Championship fight.

Newey seems to design fast cars… but with reliability issues. Macca had this issue previously with a Newey design. From the WDC point of view their reliability issues have kept everyone else in the hunt… so far!!!

13

Alonso has always been ‘lucky’ in that way through his championship years. Hes one of those drivers like Schumacher who is a master at putting himself in a position to always profit from others misfortune. He has had a a very messy start to the season yet is only 3 points off the wdc lead. I think hes still my favourate despite the ferrari being 2nd or 3rd best.

14

Well done Webber. Great effort. But the Red Bull is clearly still fragile.

Alonso drove just like Prost all those years ago, doggedly conisistent, maximising whilst conserving. His better tyre wear came back to him in the latter stages,and one wonders if he teased Hamilton into setting a faster lap in the closing stages when he set a 1 24.6, I think it was, which Hamilton then bettered with a 1 24.2! Bingo, a little later on the last lap, Hamilton had a puncture. Had Hamilton pushed his tyres harder and the quick lap was now one lap too far!!?

15

It was an impressive win by Mark Webber but it was very boring…

It is recognised by the drivers that it is almost impossible to overtake at Barcelona – one of many circuits where this is the case. Watching a number of racers yesterday with faster cars unable to pass slower ones, I have a simple question…why continue to hold races at circuits where “racing” is not possible? Entertaining? Exciting? Riveting? …err….no.

16

“It was my day today. Is started on the pole and controlled the race. It was nice to throw my helmet into the crowd because they don’t always get the best treatment in F1.” – HOW TRUE, thank you so much Mark for the thought. Really appreciate it even though I didn’t get the helmut. Uncle Bernie, you there?

Overall it was a BORING race.

Did Vettel mess up his brakes?, it happened in Barhrain. I’m wondering if that’s his weak point like Lewis’s bad tyre management.

Alonso drove a controlled race based on what his Ferrari could manage. Congrats for his podium finish.

Most dramatic part was when Lewis’s tyre exploded and slided into the gravel then the tyre barriers. You want drama, you got it.

17

Why would RBR have any interest in Massa? RBR has one of the best driver pairings. I can’t see Massa still in a Ferrari seat next year. If the red cars can’t get Kubica, I think they’ll put a young Jules Bianchi on the seat. Or how about Nick the quick?

18

Regarding Button’s complaint, I enjoyed Schuey’s hard move on Button out of the pits. None of this new millenium polite driving that we see a fair bit between the current youngsters worried about penalties. It was just an old school Schuey 90’s style chop – a bit of mongrel. When defending Button it was also Schuey of old, placing his car every time into T1 on the inside and just pushing Button wide on the exit. Enjoyed that.

19

I want to know live what the stationary pitstop times are.

20
David Turnedge

I feel asleep mid race and woke up 10 laps from the end… great to see fellow Aussie winning easily… now a few more like that Mark… last Aussie WC was 1980…

21

Lets not get to defensive when posters discuss the LH tyre failure. There is always two sides to the story – the right one and the one the official team statement! So we wait for McLarens press release. I dont think anyone can argue with that. I can see how some jump to LH tyre management issues cos of past performances (2007 Turkey, 2008 Turkey, where he was told by bridgestone to change setup or do an extra pit stop).

Personally the only fact that made me think about tyre management is if it was a random puncture it could have affected any of the other 3 tyres. That it happened to the left front, (and in Turkey 2007 the loaded right front) which at this track is the one under the most stress is whats interesting. As for a rim failure i am not an engineer at McLaren to know whether the bit we saw on tv flying off LH’s tyre was rim wrecking tyre or tyre wrecking rim but its fun to speculate!!!!

22

Did anyone else notice how much Hulkenberg was weaving on the start-finish straight when Rosberg was trying to pass him? Surely that’s not allowed…

Also, I think that the layout of Barcelona is actually pretty good – especially the fast bends and blind corner section. I think if they just made it wider at a few parts, overtaking would be possible.

23

hi james. – nice to hear you pre race on australian tv. Can’t they give you a video link like they used to with Peter Windsor?

Is there an ongoing issue with front end of the Red Bull?

Ferrari are scoring good points even when they’re not quite quick enough.

Is Massa suffering from the speculation about Kubica?

James Key seems to be improving the Saubers.

What’s happening at Williams? Looked to me like team members arguing in public.

I think the FIA need to reconsider their stance re Monaco quali. Those back markers are just too slow and will cause problems in quali. Other motorsports categories manage to split the field in qualifying to ease traffic problems. eg ozzie V8 supercars.

24

Thanks. I did a load of in vision stuff, perhaps you missed it.

25

Vision was on One HD, they don’t show this all on Ten.

26

When the season started Ferrari were a team to beat, slowly like recent years, Ferrari seems to lose motivation. Yes Red Bull may have teething problems there and there, Mark did a superb but we may never have seen the true pace of Mark, if he was challenged he could have pushed more. But in the end F1 is a 750 000 blame game, only time will tell. Even the best lawyers in the world can get things wrong and lose. The season is long and you can never predict anything in F1.

I wish the FIA could control some of the fans, F1 is global and car makers have huge markets in China, middle east and elsewhere and these places dont tolerate any negative vibes as drivers change all the time at the top. I know emotions can run very high, but we should know when something can hurt someones feelings.

27

Hamilton is due a bit of luck soon. Here’s hoping for a win in Monacco. He really is one of those drivers who either wins a race with spectacular, superlative driving or crashes out in a cloud of smoke and debris due to a trivial mechanical failure or driver error.

Being a Hamilton can be so infuriating sometimes!

28

Well done to Mark, you can’t ask for much more than he delivered over the whole weekend.

I did like his line about everyone in the team having worked so hard and the driver did his little bit. To me, it shows he has perspective.

I also heard that there is talk of Massa being in talks with Red Bull. If this is accurate, I hope the talk is not too serious, as I think the Vettel/Webber combination is outstanding.

29

One question from me, not sure if anyone is still reading this far down.

The TV coverage of Vetel’s first pit stop was verbal only, no pictures, and included a comment that his right front tyre had stuck…

Does anyone know if this is true? If so, what is it with the RB right front during pit stops? It caught out Webber twice already, and now Vettel.

Also, congrats to MW. When he wins, it looks just like it looked in Spain, totally dominant.

30

I wonder if it is something to do with the narrower front tyre this year. Then again, I don’t recall seeing any problem with the left front wing

31

His first stop was 24 secs compared to 20 for Webber, Massa, Schumacher etc.

32

Thanks James. Enjoyed your previews before the race (Ch 10/Australia). I had also noticed that, in the past, RB seemed to make the second car on the track hold off pitting until the driver in front chooses. It didn’t happen this time, I wonder if it was because MW was in front?

33

I guess if it wasn’t for Shumacher half the viewership would have switched off. Mercedes’ investment in Shumi goes beyond F1 and I think it’s worth it.

34

Why do you think schumi provided the entertainment yesterday. He was a moving roadblock. Good defensive driving but not entertaininment in my view

35

Well Schumi is credited with 40% increase in viewership across continental EU and Asia. Not his defensive driving but rather his star appeal, I meant.

36

Hi James

whats going on at Williams, a few angry senior team members having a go popped up on the tv this weekend..

37

I know, the pressure is building there a bit

38
David Jerromes

Hi James,

Yes this was very evident, especially the finger-pointing (literal..) from the guy with what looked like a blonde’ish pony-tail towards the garage from!

We know YOU know, but are you at liberty to put any meat on the bones so to speak?

39

I would love it if James could shed some light on this.

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