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Vettel holds off Hamilton to win tense Spanish Grand Prix
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Vettel holds off Hamilton to win tense Spanish Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 May 2011   |  3:12 pm GMT  |  218 comments

Sebastian Vettel won his fourth race of the season – and extended his championship advantage to 41 points – in today’s Spanish Grand Prix, holding off a charging Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps.

Vettel: 41 points clear in standings (Red Bull)

It was Vettel’s 14th career win and one of his most hard fought with Hamilton’s pressure very intense. Vettel did not have KERS for much of the race, yet another reliability issue which he had to deal with in qualifying and the race. Sooner or later that is going to really start costing them, especially as McLaren are right there on race pace.

But he used the advantage of the Red Bull in the faster corners to keep Hamilton at bay in the crucial DRS zone. It was a great display of defensive driving.

It was a very tense battle, two young world champions both at the top of their game.

The Red Bulls had qualified a full second ahead of the McLarens but in race trim there was nothing between them, with the McLaren seemingly more comfortable on the hard tyres.

Jenson Button was third over half a minute behind, the only font runner to do just three stops rather than four, with pole sitter Mark Webber fourth and Alonso a distant fifth. Michael Schumacher had his best race this year in sixth, staying ahead of his team mate Rosberg having passed him with a superb start.

The start was sensational. Both Red Bulls got off the line well, but on the long run to Turn 1 they didn’t have a strong second phase when the KERS kicked in at 100km/h. Vettel weaved a couple of times to block Alonso, but the Spaniard dived down the inside and squeezed past Webber to take the lead. It was a very determined move and gave him the tactical advantage of track position at the start.

Jenson Button had a poor start to drop to 10th, while Michael Schumacher who started on soft tyres made a great start to sixth, ahead of team mate Rosberg, although his pace wasn’t great in the opening laps.

Expectations that the DRS wing would encourage overtaking on this track which has been notoriously difficult to pass on, were dashed early on and there were only a handful of DRS passes today, while the tyres did produce plenty of overtakes.

The first round of stops came early, with Vettel the first of the leaders to come in on lap 10. Alonso and Webber covered him on the following lap, making their stops. Vettel had to pass Button and Massa on his out lap and did so decisively to keep his challenge alive.

Webber wasn’t so lucky, hitting traffic and losing third place to Lewis Hamilton in the undercut. This was where his strategy went wrong and he didn’t recover from it.

Button went to lap 14, the optimum time to stop for a three stopper. He made quick progress on his new soft tyres, passing Schumacher on lap 17.

Vettel stopped again onto his set of new soft tyres on lap 19, an attacking strategy which immediately paid dividends as he passed Alonso on the undercut when the Spaniard pitted a lap later.

Hamilton took the lead when Alonso pitted and had great speed on his worn tyres setting the fastest lap of the race to that point on lap 21.

He stayed out and managed to make his older tyres work for him to lap faster than Alonso and when he pitted on lap 24 he was ahead of Alonso and Webber.

On tyres that were four laps fresher he pulled away from the Ferrari and got to within 1.6 seconds of Vettel by lap 31, when Webber and Alonso stopped again.

Button made his second stop on lap 31, and rejoined in fifth place. He closed up on the battle between Alonso and Webber, who were much slower on the hard tyres.

They passed and repassed each other on lap 34, as Vettel came in for his third pit stop.

Hamilton retook the lead and then pitted a lap later, coming out right behind Vettel.

Button passed Webber for fourth place on lap 36 his soft tyres making all the difference and he passed Alonso later on the same lap.

He then set about building a margin over them, which he would need in the final stint when they would be on soft tyres. He made it work perfectly and took his podium; a great result after a poor start and 10th place on the opening lap. He made his three stop strategy work brilliantly

In the closing stages Hamilton was right with Vettel on the hard tyres, doing all the details right, but he couldn’t get close enough in the middle sector to make it count across the pit straight.

“It was pretty tough,” said Vettel. “I don’t understand where Fernando came from at the start. We got him at the first stop. Lewis was very strong (on hard tyres). He gave us a very hard time. But we made it. A great result. ”

Hamilton said, “I don’t think we can be disappointed. We had some serious pace, but it was hard to get past Sebastian they were massively quick in the high downforce. I gave it my all.”

Four drivers including Hamilton, Button and Webber were investigated by the stewards, which included Mark Blundell as the driver steward, after the race for not slowing under yellow flags. They were not given a punishment, instead they given a warning not to do it again.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX, Barcelona, 66 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1h39:03.301
2. Hamilton McLaren + 0.630
3. Button McLaren + 35.697
4. Webber Red Bull + 47.966
5. Alonso Ferrari + 1 lap
6. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
8. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
9. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
10. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
11. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
13. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
14. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
15. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 2 laps
17. Barrichello Williams + 2 laps
18. Trulli Lotus + 2 laps
19. Glock Virgin + 3 laps
20. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 3 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT + 4 laps

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James – can you give any insight to why the Red Bull’s KERS seems so unreliable compared to others? Is it to do with cooling the system? Or perhaps the structural integrity of the installation? Has Adrian Newey’s ‘no compromise of the Aero’ made for a difficult solution to one of the fundamentals of rechargeable on-board power supplies (speaking as someone involved in such a development for a rechargeable battery pack for a road car, they are several and substantive).

Thanks for any snippets you can share so we cn better understand why they more than others haven’t got KERS seemingly nailed. Chris.


Yes it seems it’s a bit of an afterthought, rather than a priority, so the packaging is compromised and it overheats. It’s also not standard as used by Renault but modified.


Great races by several drivers which made it a very enjoyable race. Sadly I cannot say the same about many of the comments here. It seems favoritism/patriotism is becoming more important than rational discussion.


That’s the Internet for you!


That was the best Spanish GP in decades! A really good tactical battle and the track looked great.

BUT, what on earth is going on with the FOM TV directors?

They keep making bizarre choices on who to follow during the race, missing overtakes and pointlessly following every pit stop.

I have to say the FOM TV directors this year are really not doing the best job they can.

Quite honestly there were some bizarre cut aways from great on track overtaking to inconsequential pit stops!

This was especially bad in Spain but also bad in Turkey.

Why is this happening? I thought FOM got rid of regional TV host directors to avoid this kind of thing.

Hopefully someone will notice that the TV director is not doing a good job and get someone who can…


I was offline for most of yesterday so didnt get a chance to comment, but for whats its worth I thought it was a good race.

I still think there are better places to race than this track, but maybe that is mainly to do with the overally aero reliance of the cars and the exacerbation of current trend that cars cant follow each other.

It looks like Kers is going to continue to be the achilles heel and only chance for the others to catch up.

Excellent drives by Kamui, Lewis, Seb and Nick yesterday. And a good recovery from a poor position for Jenson.


On 4.655km Curcuit with 1047m straight, the only chance of any cars to be able to get pass Bulls is only in about 20% part of the circuit (the straight). 80% of it is Bulls’ teritory.

Thus, even you can get close to Bulls on the straight, you’re left counting “I N F I N I T Y” on the rest part of the circuit.

So, it’s more like great display getaway driving rather defensive driving as you mentioned, James. Since Vettel was not really driving defensively :).


They say they keep doing everything possible to “give a better show” for the fans. But today I saw for a moment exactly the show I’ve been waiting for – Alonso P1, Vettel P2, Hamilton P3 – a World Champion sandwich, separated by little more than a second. Finally a chance to see if Vettel can overtake. A battle between rivals Hamilton and Alonso. It was glorious seeing the three of them so close and imagining the various scenarios that could unfold. Then Vettel pitted. Then Hamilton pitted. And position changes occurred in the pits, no different than years ago. Except now it’s tires, tires, tires. Talking about tire preservation is about as interesting as talking about fuel economy, which is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Today we had a chance to see three world champions take each other head on… and instead, they pitted for tires. How exciting. How wonderful for the show.

So I’m still left wondering, can Vettel overtake? If I recall, he tried one time and ended up spearing Button’s radiator. He should try again sometime.


Yeah I guess it is not to hard to overtake someone on old tires whereas you are on fresh ones. So he has not yet proven to be good overtaker. At least not to me.


5 world champions in the top 6. Almost perfect!


virtuoso performances by both Seb and Lewis, showing why they are both considered at the very top of the pyramid.


What a spectacular start from Alonso but only to be gobbled up gradually. And what happened to Webber, he just couldn’t get up to speed as well as Vettel did.

Ferrari need to work 48 hours a day. Alonso’s proof of pushing the 150 to it’s limits can only go that far. How many more illusions can Alonso pull off from the ‘panting horse’. They were more than 1 sec behind Red Bull. Schucks. Finishing one lap behind the leaders was really awful.

Vettel too drove very well, and my fear is that he will wrap up his 2nd WDC way before the final race. Hope I’m very wrong here, but feels like it this year. 4 wins out of 5 races, what else is there to say unless more issues pop out which seems to be the problematic KERS. Red Bull is too reliable this year.

Lewis as usual muscled his way up, you can’t doubt this man with a blink that he’s not a deserving world class racer.

This was the best Spanish Grand Prix for a long long time. Overtaking was more genuine from tyre degradation and thank god DRS didn’t work well at all. REMOVE DRS!, we don’t want and don’t need it.

Oh yes, twinkle toes Button once again looming around and placed himself on the podium, That was great drive and strategy and he only needed 3 stops.

Practice 1 – Monaco.


The RB 1-2 snoozefest never transpired thanks to HAM pushing the envelope and ALO’s incredible start. Poor WEB.

I think this is one of VET’s greatest victories as he really had to put some effort into winning and proved that he has some overtaking skills tucked away.

I think we really have to acknowledge Pirelli and the working group for finally resolving the problem of boring race days. We also seem to be suffering a lot less from safety cars.

Presumably Montezemolo will be announcing the team restructuring imminently

Looking forward to next weekend already!


Great race, my favourite of the season, partly because it proves we don’t need DRS. Also, it was Vettel’s fifth win Jamees


Fourth, Hamilton won in China.


sorry, i had imagined an extra race betwen China and Turkey


The best Spanish Grandprix I have ever seen.

After a long time I saw two cars fight for the lead for more than 10 last laps.

I don’t understand why people are so convinced that Seb’s race craft has increased over the year. Today, of all days, was not about great defending. Infact, if Alonso’s Ferrari was able to keep the Red Bulls and the Mclaren from overtaking it for more than 15 laps, and then disappear once overtaken, I can see it was fairly easy for Seb to keep Lewis behind for 10 laps.

I still believe that the track characteristics play a massive role in the outcome of the races, for the forseeable future too.

I think that Red Bull gain massive advantage due to their DRS. It would be interesting to see if DRS is banned for the next weekend. I think I will confidently bet for Mclaren to take pole if the DRS is banned.



18 – Interesting new. – What do you make of this James? Thanks.



Great race! What a start from Alonso! How did he *do that?

It was really great to see Lotus up in the standings, with that new second per lap that they found… er, wait… ok, nvm.

And some of you guys really should go back and actually *look at your predictions for this race. I won’t name names but a couple of you are just hilarious.


Best Spanish GrandPrix I have watched since I got into F1 in 1988. One used to rely on engine/car failures to provide excitement for an otherwise processional race. Unlimited and unrestricted engine developments, ultra octane fuel admixtures, and varying tire supplies only allowed a dominant team at any particular time; dominant. Now the cars are super reliable with fixed engine/fuel/tire specifications and every tier of car performance categories are truly competitive and exciting to watch. This for me is the renaissance following the Schumacher years. Pirelli, DRS and KERS are the icing on the cake of the long running efforts to make F1 exciting. Bravo FIA!.


Much better spanish grandprix

Vettel deserved the victory

Disappointed to see ferrari falling back hugely

What a drive from Fernando alonso throughout the weekend

Stunning and best lap in quali for years easily in a sub-standard ferrari, then again in Race today showed is mettle

Being a alonso fan felt unhappy and disappointed (God is still driving the red machine)

This weekend clearly showed the true picture of a driver like felipe massa

What’s happening at ferrari, i wish and hoping for improved performance from ferrari (In terms of car and tyre management) atleast for rest of the season

Excellent frive by nick heifeld well


Toss up between Vettel and Hamilton. Extraordinary pace, skill, toughness and fairness by both.

Chump of the day? Mark Webber. When the previous ten pole-sitters in Spain win the race, finishing fourth (especially in the fastest car) is an embarrassment. He’s already 51 points behind his teammate.

scottie doesn't know

Webber’s pace and driving was fine. Refer to nsx’s post.


Very nice race compared to what spain usually give us.

Driver of the day: Vettel.

For the first time i think that the Maclaren was the fastest, at least the Hamilton’s Maclaren was fastest. He was almost every time recovering ground to Vettel in the dirty air, damaging more his tyres (not taking into account the difference between the cars effect on deggradation) because he was in dirty air,and chasing, and had DRS plus KERS all the time (even if KERS may have failed to deliver full power)

He even had the yellow button that the pitwall allow him to use in last laps 🙂

Nevertheless it was a great display of driving from hamilton too, always on the limit. While i found that Vettel while being a good driver it is easy to drive at the front with clean air, and the fastest car, today we saw a new guy in that RB. Huge ammount of pressure and he cope well with it.

I’m very young to remember well Senna’s days or anything behind that and the best i can recall in F1 is Schummi dominance era, so for me its very exciting too see 3 pilots head and shoulders above the rest, in a dimension of their own, and i only wish that Alonso had a good car to fight with. I still think that Vettel in a Maclaren couldn’t do what Hamilton does, neither what Alonso does, but for the first time i can put im in the same bag as those two.

While it is sad for me to see Maclaren fail to win WDC again this year, just thinking about the number of years that we will have to enjoy this 3 great drivers, especially the 2 younger ones it makes my day!


This race was close, very. Think McLaren are closer to Red Bull in race trim


We’re seeing good races but a boring championship. Qualifying needs a complete overhaul. I don’t see why the drivers should be allowed to use an overtaking device, DRS, in qualifying. It doesn’t make sense and the only result is to reward the cars with greatest downforce and make their advantage even more exaggerated. If Red Bull are able to open their wing in the middle of the corners while no other cars can, then they will continue to have this massive qualifying advantage all year and the championship will never catch fire. I don’t think they should be punished for being the best, but there’s no logic to DRS in qualifying and it’s hurting the show.

Also the tyre saving situation in quali is ludicrous. People pay to sit in the grandstands on a Saturday and increasingly teams aren’t bothering to run, or are running as little as they can. It makes sense for the teams – Heidfeld showed that. But it doesn’t make sense for the fans. The teams should be given a qualifying allowance of tyres so there’s no disadvantage to trying as hard as possible and putting on a good show.

Rather than concentrating on blown diffusers, the FIA should overhaul qualifying, and quickly. They’ve got the races right, now they just need to sort out quali and in so doing hopefully save the championship from tedium.


You echo my comments on a ‘rival’ site,

‘I find it almost paradoxical that we celebrated last season because of the 5-way fight, even though many of the races were fairly one-sided/processional, yet this year we have a good mix of overtaking and tyre wear and people now complain that it’s becoming a one horse race!’

You raise a very good point about fans paying for Saturday tickets and not treated to a proper show. I wonder if there will be another Fan’s Forum in London at which this point can be raised. To pay for ‘qualifying’ and have 7 minutes of silence in Q3 is taking it a bit far, then again in the old 1 hour sessions you might not see a top runner until the end..

However I’m not sure the issue is Red Bull putting it on pole all the time. We’ve seen in the races how close the McLaren is.

But yes – the ‘tyre saving’ situation demonstrated by Heidfeld is ridiculous – imagine what Petrov was thinking!

What would you suggest – 2 ‘qualifying’ soft tyres and a hard tyre for the top 10, and 1 soft and 1 hard for 10-17? It would incentivise teams to go for Q3 to ‘get’ an extra set of tyres and grid position.


There will be another Fans Forum in UK this summer. We’ll let you know more soon


This was discussed previously. Making more than one move to defend is forbidden EXCEPT AT THE START OF THE RACE!


After five GPs I think we may just have enough data to deliver some sort of verdict on DRS, Kers and Pirrellis as an overtaking package.

Many people say here they would like to see the DRS dropped, I am going to say however it would be better to make a bit more durable tyres.

DRS works or doesn’t work depending on where and for how long it is available to drivers, and we have seen that when it’s done right it gives us good racing. Apart from that it is one of the things contributing to the teams being in most caces a tad closer to RB during the race.

As to Pirrellis, well, it seems to me they are the reason why we see so much ‘sitting duck’ style overtaking.

I suggest DRS and kers should assist overtaking and tyres should last longer to give us better qualifying show and less ‘look after your tyres’ racing. Also it would be good to scrap compulsory two compounds, that should help too.

What do you guys think?


Hello Mario – I think it’s all swings and roundabouts really. To go from a dearth of overtaking to an abundance is perhaps a big shock for a lot of us!

– Echo your comments on DRS – Turkey was a bit much, Spain/Australia we didn’t see the potential. This 2 straight DRS might finally answer the question either way.

I think historically many of the best overtakes have been on ‘sitting ducks’ – but that doesn’t take away from them. Mansell on Piquet 1987 – fresh tyres vs. Piquet’s fading tyres – yes we all remember the brilliant dummy but surely without Piquet’s tyres going off Mansell would not have caught him so easily.

Modern aerodynamics seem to be such that ‘real racing’ or side-by-side overtaking is not really going to happen unless stimulated by degrading tyres, DRS, KERS. 2011 is definitely a compromise, but a msjority of fans seem to prefer this over what we’ve had before.

– I like the 2 compound rule – teams have to think very strategically. I like the ‘Chess’ element of F1 this year.

– Another complaint has been the number of pitstops. I wonder if this is partly because the FOM show every single pitstop – perhaps if they didn’t we wouldn’t notice so much.

In laps and out laps are as important as the stop itself but we rarely see those – and often they are where the positions are gained/cemented.


Without benefit of the data, I would say that McLaren and Lewis had two chances to get ahead of Seb.

The first chance was during the 2nd round of stops. The lap after Seb stops, Lewis had 16.6secs in hand. The pitstop delta is about 17secs. If McLaren had been able to do their best stop, they might have been able to put Lewis out, alongside Vettel into T1. Instead, McLaren had Lewis do 4 laps more, where the gap dropped to 11.6secs. By then, there was no chance to get past, obviously.

The 2nd opportunity for McLaren to get Lewis past was in the 3rd round of stops. While Lewis stopped 4 or 5 laps later than Seb in the 2nd round of stops, he stopped only 1 lap later in the 3rd round. In other words, a short stint. Perhaps, this was a used set of softs, or they had lost their grip, but Lewis’ laptimes still looked good. If he could have kept going for a few more laps, then his hard tires would have fewer laps to do, and be quicker, relative to Seb’s. It doesn’t seem like much, but we’ve seen that a tire that is a few laps fresher can make a difference this year between being able to make a pass or not, and seeing how close Lewis was to Seb, it would have been fascinating to watch.


My thoughts exactly! Hamilton managed 4 extra laps on his first set of tyres compared to Vettel without falling behind. That was a maginificent effort and an advantage that should have been made to count.

If McLaren had let him run at least as long as Vettel on his other soft tyre stints then he could have had:

1) at least 4 laps on softs when Vettel was on hards and also

2) hards that were 4 laps newer than Vettel (which should be good for maybe 4/10ths a lap advantage).

I think that would have been enough to give Hamilton the victory.


Obviously, McLaren didn’t seem to believe that they were actually faster than Red Bull. They expected/wanted to cover Alonso more than anything! If they thought they were faster than RB they would definitely have done things differently!


Good point.


I’d wager the team were never concerned with Alonso. During, the 2nd round of stops, Lewis was always 20secs or more ahead of Alonso, before he stopped. That gave him 3 or more secs in hand. Only Seb was lapping faster than Lewis, on new softs, that’s why the gap dropped from 16.6secs to 11.6secs in about 4 laps.

McLaren have a screen showing where a pitstop would theoretically put their driver. If the team were at all concerned with covering Alonso, that was a strategic error and may have cost them the victory. I highly doubt it. If I can see the gap at 20secs or more giving Lewis 3secs in hand, then I’m sure McLaren can see it too.


I thought weaving was forbidden this year. Does what Vettel did at the beginning of the race not count as illegal? Or are the rules on weaving for the purpose of blocking different at the start of the race?

Great race all round.


Basically it’s every man for himself at the start of the race.


An unofficial rule, but apparently it’s impossible to police weaving at the start.


WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! The Spanish grand prix was one full of surprises.

Surprised to see Alonso have such a great start & hold up the faster Red Bulls

Surprised to see Vettel win a hard fought for race

Surprised to see Schumacher finish ahead of Rosberg

And more importantly surprised to see Hamilton push Vettel for all his worth.

I wanna take this opportunity to thank all the brave lads at Woking that have made this possible & turned an slow snail into this monster that is the MP4-26.

Also am really surprised by Mclaren this year in that they’re proving to be the best team when it comes to strategy & quick thinking of the pit wall

Honestly, there’s so much action that goes on during the race that it always shocks me later on to find out who finished where below the top Six.

As for the driver of the day, I will have to go with Brundle & say it was Hammy for if it wasn’t for Hammy’s relentless pursuit, we would have another race with a Bull disappearing off into the sun set.

In my view, the characteristics of the Spanish track saved Vettel for if it was any other track (apart from the usual suspects – Monaco, Hungary etc) Hamilton would have passed Vettel – Easy.

But anyway, fair play to Vettel, he is ticking a lot of boxes of late – Can win even though he didn’t make it first into the first bend, can keep his cool, can overtake (somewhat).

As for Alonso, we saw a glimpse of that old feisty Fernando from 05/06 unfortunately he didn’t have the pace.

Webber must seriously be thinking of retiring now for Vettel is firmly inside his head.

Happy to see Schumi being his old dare devil self at the start, I also enjoyed his defending against Rosberg.

Anyway if this season is anything like the 2009 season, Vettel has another race win in Monaco then from then onwards, the tide will turn.

Have heart people


There’s something magical about seeing the top four cars only separated by 3 or so seconds & more so to see the current best drivers on the grid (Alonso, Vettel & Hamilton) go at it, only separated by a second.


Personally, I felt McLaren made one, possibly two bad strategic calls. The first being not calling Lewis to make his 2nd stop, right after Seb, as his gap was 16.6secs. The second being short-stinting Lewis’ 3rd set of softs, when he might have extended it, and had fresher hards, relative to Seb for the last 2 stints.

Lastly, I think it was pretty remarkable that Lewis and Seb were able to lap the whole field, except for their teammates. I don’t recall that ever happening in the last 20 years where two drivers from different teams were able to lap a field, let alone lap a driver that led the first 10 laps, who didn’t suffer a mechanical issue.


James, why wasn’t Vettel penalised go weaving at the start. He clearly moved more than once and in a dangerous way ….. Is it that they are allowed to do that off the start? I think not, it seems to me he got off lightly there


You want half the grid penalized? Because half was doing exactly that.

It has been agreed amongst them and race control it is allowed.


Hmmm if that’s true, then why no allow blocking all the time? After all the start is the most dangerous time with Los of cars bunched up together… If there’s going to be an accident then it’s going to be bad with 20 other cars right behind… You can’t use slow sped as a result as by the time they are weaving they are at full speed. I think typical FIA supposed to be safety orientated, but as with DRS and the Monaco tunnel can’t think for themselves except to ban hot blown diffusers on safety grounds???? Batty


I recall a previous complaint about Vettel’s starts earlier this year, apparently they are allowed to move more than once at the start.



Is there any way you can feed this back to FOM, the tv directing this season has been..well frankly terrible.

They really need to learn that every single pitstop does not take precedence over whats happening on the track.

When Webber passed Alonso and was then re-passed all we got was a cut to the pitstop of Vitaly Petrov, and why!? There was no great importance of it on the outcome of the race, the only reason they cut to it was because it was a pitstop!

They really need to learn that whats happening on the track is what matters, not some insignificant pitstop.

It’s really ruining the viewing enjoyment of what has otherwise been some great racing this season.


I think they wanted the race to look busier not racier.


I concur – Turkey the editing/directing was particularly terrible.


Agree with you so much on this, i’ve said all day today that the BBC should take over directing duties.





Surely Picture in Picture or half split screen for pitstops would be more sesnsible?


Hello James

What do you think of Hispania threatening to take action in regards the Diffuser row.



Thanks, otherwise I thought it was a a very good and intriguing race today.

Was a big day for Webber’s season and he looked like a beaten man afterwards, very downbeat.

Wonder what effects today’s race will have on the rest of his year.


If there is going to be any chance of another driver competing with Vettel for the WDC, Webber needs to start taking points away from Vettel. That means stepping up rather than looking like a regular also ran in one of the best cars!


Speaking of beaten drivers, Massa had a horrible race and season. What are they waiting for? Why is Luca giving him words of support? They need to scoop up Kobayashi, who had another fantastic race, and put him in the Ferrari, and let Massa go back to Sauber, where he started!


Not SO much overtakings as in previous races, but nevertheless wonderful race.

As a big opponent of DRS I am glad it didn’t spoil the fun of the race, and almost everything was decided by cars/drivers and tires.

Anyway right at the end of the race I’ve come up with another point against it – if FIA likes DRS so much and would not consider scrapping it all together, why wouldn’t they at least ban it during qualification? What’s the point of DRS during qualification? To prove that 2 particular cars have the best aero package? Or what?

I think it would make sense to ban it (in qualification at least) as we (fans) will get more exciting sessions and actually on pole will be the best car suited for the race… I think without DRS we wouldn’t have seen RBR so many times on pole this season.


I’m not a big DRS fan, but …

… 2011 cars were designed with 2011 rules in mind. Why should RBR be punished because they exploited the rules in the best possible way. Maybe this was the ‘master plan’ by Adrian Newey since they started the RB7 design, to be able to use DRS more during qualifing and therefore to secure pole positions.

You can’t change the rules during season, that’s all I’m saying.


Webber was every bit as fast as Vettel in the race. He got screwed over in strategy big time. Why Red Bull pitted him the lap after Vettel for the first stop is incomprehensible. Later in the race, why Red Bull pitted him early when he still had plenty left in his brand new options is incomprehensible. Why he did not do the opposite of Alonso for stop 3 is also incomprehensible. He simply got screwed over on strategy. In Turkey – yes Vettel was faster. Here in Spain, too close to call. It’s obvious Red Bull just care about Vettel and seemed to not want to risk Webber getting a strategic advantage. Only solution for Mark, is to do a Jenson – that is, make a big contribution to the strategy calls himself.

Well done to Jenson. Fantastic drive to go from 10th to 3rd. Always thinking about how the race is unfolding and prepared to change his strategy to suit. Button, Rosberg and Vettel seem to be the three smartest drivers on the grid. The question is how smart is Mark Webber?


I completely agree! I dont know what the RBR strategists were doing with Marks car today. First of all, they pitted him on his second stint when he had his only brand new set of softs on after 8 laps on the tires! He followed alonso in, and followed him straight back out! If your following someone like Alonso who is so hard to pass on track, you have to do something different in strategy. He could have also run an extra 7 or 8 laps on those tires which would have given him 15 seconds or so more pace by the end of the race (assuming that the hard tires were 2 seconds a lap slower). Also, the fact that they kept following alonso in, following him out cost him big time! The one time he did not follow him in, not only did he jump him in the pits, but in only a handful of laps, he put about 15 seconds on him! Being stuck behind alonso cost him 30 or 40 seconds overall too! We have also seen time and time again that Webber is good at catching peoplke he can see. It is a different story to pass Hamilton or Vettel, but at least he would have been there or there abouts. His race today was lost due to extremely poor, and may i say stupid calls from the RBR strategists. Not happy RBR!


You’ve hit the nail on the head. But the average F1 fan is not smart enough to realise it. I just hope that Mark realises that this poor result was not his fault. He drove well, but his team let him down with some incomprehensible and bizarre strategy calls.

It was already risky Red Bull calling in Vettel so early on, on Lap 9. This required Vettel overtaking two cars quickly, but it did not improve his track position, all it did was mean he pitted earlier than necessary. Once Vettel pitted early, I was thinking Webber would now have a great opportunity to run longer, then when I saw Alonso pit on the timing, I thought Webber is going to be in great position to WIN the race. Instead, RBR made Webber do something stupid, they put him back into traffic and hence he lost position to Lewis. I felt the early call to pit Vettel was too risky for Seb, but to then pit Mark early was just, let’s be honest, stupid.

For stop 2 Webber still had plenty of life left in his tyres. And was again called in early, ditto for stop 3. Yet there was little sense in doing this, he had to focus on the end game. There was scope to get the hard stint(s) out of the way early too. There is so much scope for strategy if one is behind on the track now with the regs this year. Yet RBR seemed as if they did not want to risk Webber possibly jeopardising Vettel’s race.

As I’ve said, Mark can hold his head high. He drove well today and his pace was very good. He has to realise he is still the best driver in the world. He can still win the world championship, but he is going to have to take some more responsibility in terms of his race strategy planning as he cannot trust every member of Red Bull to do what is in his best interests.


Okay, so perhaps the strategy was poor, but that DOESN’T explain why Mark was still slower than Seb after he had gotten past Alonso by lap 40. Here are the gaps:

Lap 40: 0.3 faster

41: 1 sec slower

42: 1.2 slower

43: 0.9 slower

44: 0.8 slower

45: 1.7 slower

46: 2 secs SLOWER

47: Mark pits

48: Seb pits

49: outlaps

50: 0.6 faster

51: 0.1 slower

52: 0.7 faster

53: 1.2 slower

54: 0.5 slower

55: 0.5 faster

56: 0.2 faster

57: 0.6 slower

58: 1 sec slower

59: even

60: 0.4 slower

61: 1.3 slower

62: 1.2 slower

63: 1.4 slower

64: 1.5 slower

65: 2.3 slower

66: 2.8 slower

Okay, so he probably was coasting at the end, while Vettel was under pressure, but still, one cannot say Mark was “every bit as fast as Vettel in the race.”


I agree, Mark drove better than his result indicated. But the stategy he had to use tends to support the conspiracy theories, it is strange that he often seems to be ‘dumped on’.

Lets hope that he can keep his chin up for the rest of the season. He had a good win at Monaco last year…….


I can’t remember a single instance where Vettel actually had to pull a defensive manouver, the Red Bulls absurdly good traction and speed in the high speed corners was such that he was never actually in danger of being overtaken.

Yes, Hamilton was able to draft up to him on the straight each lap – but never truely threatened.

Vettel didn’t make any mistakes, but I don’t see how it was a masterful defensive drive.

Just the media trying to add spice to a season which is more or less already over.


There was one moment, 3 or 4 laps before the end of GP.


You have to feel sorry for Alonso, the guy did a miracle in saturday and he did one of the greatest start in recent years plus a good job holding Vettel and Hamilton for some time. It’s sad to watch a driver like him in his prime driving a bad car, it’s not only a disservice for Ferrari but for F1 fans.

Please Ferrari react once and for all.


Greatest start in recent years? It wasn’t even the best on the day.


Good Race. But a dreadful and demoralizing Result for Alonso after that scintillating Start he had. Can’t believe that he led for 1/4th of the Race and then got Lapped in the end. Shameful. I think the Ferrari Strategy again cost him. If they already knew that their Race Pace on the Hard Tyres is bad, then why did they follow Vettel’s Strategy and pit him as soon as he did. Alonso was in clean Air. So, he could have run more on the Soft Tyres and probably made a 3 Stop Strategy work. Surely he wouldn’t have won the Race with that but at least he could have been on the Podium. Worst Case he would have still ended up 5th. Your Thoughts, James ?


Today he wasn´t going upper than 5th no matter the strategy.


Which makes Ferrari the third fastest car yesterday. Why do the Tifosi insist that their car is the Fourth fastest on the grid?

They are still faster than Mercedes most of the time.


Alonso overworked his softs on his first stint in order to stay out front, so he was never going to make your 3-stop idea work.

Sufyaan Patel

Great race! I always knew Vettel could race (whilst in a pack) and today he proved it. His passes on Massa and Button in my opinion were very good.. especially on Button, he came from quite a way back but he made it stick.

Ferrari’s biggest mistake was trying to cover Vettel. It was never going to work! Firstly Alonso didnt have new soft tyres, secondly, the Red Bull was faster and thirdly, I’m sure the team are aware they are weak in the pit stops. So trying to cover the ‘undercut’ just wasnt going to work. Ah well, it was a mega start from Fernando and I really hope Ferrari can sort out the car quick! (Note: Hope!)

Also glad the DRS was placed where it was. Today showed that we dont need it 😀

Finally, something to keep in mind for the next race: If you recall last year, Alonso started from the back and pitted early for the prime tyre. As those ahead were huddled up in a pack, they too had to pit early to cover Alonso… and rightly so as I think he ended up somewhere around 5th! So yeah, the Monaco GP shall prove to be very interesting 🙂 May see a few Mansell vs Senna battles like in the ’92 Monaco GP 😉

James, sorry for bringing this up so late but I was expecting a copy of your book after coming runner up in the Abu Dhabi competition… but didnt receive anything. It could be that the person who nominated me may have missed an email notification.


Send me the the note we sent out at the time to remind me, thanks


Thanks for the promp response. Would that be a note which would’ve gone to the email address? Only thing I have is a screenshot of the announcement :$

As I’ve got your attention, just two more things I’d like to mention:

Firstly, its coming off from your article on Alonso extending his contract with Ferrari, but slightly off topic – What is your opinion on Kimi Raikkonen returning to F1? I am a big fan and would love to see him return… but maybe with some more dedication and commitment (was he really lacking in that dept. or was it just bad press?). I was hoping he would return but seems unlikely after hes committed another year and also taking part in Nascar. Really is a shame he left as he was a seriously quick driver. I guess I’ll have to keep on hoping.

Next point, is there a place for us fans to let our voices be heard in relation to what we want for the sport? I have a few recommendations to bring back some further excitement to racing 🙂

Thank you for your time!


* commited another year to rallying



I also think Lewis should have gone longer just before his last stop to create more of a performance gap between his tyres and Vettels. That way he may have had more traction relative to vettel and may have helped him get past.

I do think the Season is far from over. Hamilton will win more races


Heidfeld / Petrov, or why should they qualify ?


As you were writing your post Petrov must have asked himself why did Heidfeld exhaust crack and not mine ?

This is the 2nd time, the driver starting at the back manages such a performance after Webber almost beating Vettel despite starting among the newbies.

The question of ignoring qualifying altogether will further be vindicated by ForceIndia performance despite their Q2 strategy, so are we going towards a situation where a driver fakes an issue on his car to avoid taking part in Qualifying ?

Qualifying have lost their “Crescendo” as “Look but never stare” suggested but are we going to loose them altogether.

If we are heading towards that, what should be the solution, increasing tyre allocation, having special qualification tyres,… I don’t know but we are loosing Saturday magic.


Are you suggesting it would be no good if some of the fast cars chose to start at the back? I think that would be awesome!


Well, how about qualifying now is about fighting for the last place on the grid instead of the pole? The fastest car on quali will be actually starting from last place on the grid… Problem solved !!


Yes , for me that´s the bad part of the season so far, that special thing called Qualifying that was magical last year and this year is vanishing but that also happends because of Red Bull being so fast in Quali.


I was going to say Koba in last race but James already brought that up, but if i recall right, koba got 10th and turkey had a easy overtake tool.

I think too that the Qualification is starting to lose its importance, especially for those who have a fast car. Webber could have got 2nd place in some laps more in China for example, against the world champion and the all around fastest man, in the same car, all just because he had that fresh soft tires, if he hadn’t lost so many time during 1st stint could he have won?

I would like too see a guy like Hamilton start from the back, or Alonso if Ferrari gets faster (Turkey fast should be enough) and see what they could get…

I’m thinking of 1 extra soft tyre for those who advance to Q3 and set a competitive time in soft tyre during Q3. Or maybe the amount of tyres they have to give back after practices should be reduced.

Wasn’t the tyre allocation for the weekend the same last year? Seems a bit strange that we get 3/4 stops race, and we have the same ammount of tyres of 1 stop race (1 stop because it was mandatory, most of the races some of them could do it all in 1 pair).

Anyway i want the qualification place to be an strategic advantage to those who perform well, even if it means vettel getting more wins…


Why people care so much about Saturdays? F1, just like any other motorsport, is all about the race. Saturday qualifyings are just there to define the starting order. I wouldn’t mind, in fact, if grid positions were decided by drawing sticks…We would save fuel, tyres, and more than often we would get to see the faster cars start from the very last grid slots!!


Third time – Kobayashi did it in Turkey


Stunned that Alonso lead the race and then just vanished.


Yesterday’s position as well as today’s first stint were pure fiction. Maybe using a little more the soft tyres would have been good but the result would have been basically the same. The Ferrari is not bad on soft tyres but it is terrible on the hardest ones, they didn’t got temperature…


What a bore. If you think that was good racing, you’ve lost sight of the wood and see only the trees. Who cares about the overtaking that is gadgetry-assisted to favour the overtaker and near-impossible for the car in front to defend against? Who cares about strategy which is founded on how many good sets of tyres you saved from qualifying? This isn’t Formula One.


There were very few DRS overtakes here. McLaren and RB had the same number of new tires. What is your point?


But there were overtakes purely due to the massive difference in tyre wear / compound. Webber and Alonso didn’t even bother defendig against Button.


It was an enjoyable race, although an odd one. It built up to an overtake that, unfortunately, was never attempted but still proved exciting.

Another thing it proved, I think, is that a poor circuit will remain a poor circuit no matter what you do to try to mess with the rules. The final corner needs to be modifed. This would be cheaper than KERS and DRS.

It showed promise for the balance of the season – once Monaco is over – as the McLarens’ pace is closer to that the the Red Bull, but it also showed that despite the qualifying, Ferrari still has some distance to go.

Massa was a bit of a disappointment. I like the bloke, my respect going back to the way he handled himself when beaten by Hamilton for the WDC. His comback after his accident was impressive but something appears to be wrong there.

Button was good to watch. I thought his overtakes on Webber and Alonso showed some aggression has returned.

I’m still a little concerned about tyres going off in the run out of the pits. Call me old fashioned but drivers being able to stroll past cars which are capable of lapping much faster seems wrong. Perhaps I’ll get used to it.

But with DRS and KERS, Hamilton was still unable to go past Vettel. So what is the point of them?

One of the best races at that circuit. It is a shame that, like Ferrari, there is still some distance to go.


Watching the onboard cameras on Hamilton’s car yesterday I noticed the Maclaren’s front wing was flexing as much if not more than the Red Bull’s. It wasn’t just wobbling over bumps either. When the brakes went on at the end of the straights the top plate could be seen to pop up by about two or three centimeters.

It didn’t do the trick though. After the race Hamilton could be heard talking to Vettel about “You had so much downforce in the last corners”. It was plainly obvious watching as well, Vettel came onto the pit straight almost a second clear of Hamilton after Lewis was under his diffuser going into the final section.


anybody else think the drs was perfect here. i much rather a hard battle to overtake that a driver turning up and going past the other cars like there in a different category.


I’m starting to agree that it should be removed.

I thought it was perfect during the race since it basically just allowed drivers to claw back time lost in the dirty air during the final corner BUT once again during qualifying it gave a huge advantage to the teams that have their blown diffusers maxed out who could open the wing during high speed corners.

Or perhaps just ban it during qualifying.


Maybe you are right.

Everybody was complaining about how easy it was to overtake in Turkey and now their saying that this DRS zone at Barcelona was unifective (me also)because it wasn´t easy to pass.

I think it was unifective in terms of provading a easy oportunity to overtake like in other races, but the overtakes that we had felt more normal and not artificial like many people been complaining.

Maybe we need something in between Turkey(DRS) and Barcelona(DRS)!


again i think the drs was made to look much more effective in turkey was because the previous corner was harder with the tyres going off and into turn 12 in turkey u can pass both sides so harder for driver to defend and in barcelona turn one in very hard to pass into.


My thoughts as well. I think the DRS negated the loss of downforce for the following car but didn’t tilt the balance to an artifical level.

I thought the hard fought battles between Webber/Alonso and Hamilton/Vettel were great to watch. The coverage by FOM also gave an added dimension of the ‘thinking game’ behind the scenes – when to deploy KERS, how to overtake back markers and also how the team can offer suggestions.

It wasn’t a mindless button pushing drag race.


‘Mindless button’? That’s a bit hard,surely?


I think the DRS was a tad too little effective here, then again we did not see that manyexamples of faster cars being incapable of overtaking faster ones either, just not in the DRS zone. Hard to tell.

It definitively didn’t allow for gratuitous overtakes though. Which is good… It is supposed to help faster cars overtake slower ones after all.


Perfect if you believe it shouldn’t feature in the race. It seemed quite ineffective.

Not sure where the correct balance is between assisting and making it too easy but in Barcelona it didn’t make any difference at all.


i think it was that turn 1 is simply to fast a corner to overtake into no matter what you do. i think if it was turn one in say even malaysia where havy braking is required it was perfect. i dont want to see the driver past before the braking point which happened in malaysia, china and turkey.


As for which was the faster package… the DC vs. Brundle argument.

Lewis ran for 10+ laps within 1 second of Vettel. Surely the MP4-26 must have been suffering from the dirty air and still it was able to keep up.

Could Lewis do faster sector times if he ran in clean air during those final 10+ laps??

If so, are we seeing a turning point in race pace?


I think the race pace advantage could change from track to track, look how good Ferrari was in Turkey and Mclaren not , now it was the opposite. At the moment it seems still Red Bull because their car is good everywhere and their quali speed combined with good starts will always give them the upper hand on strategy for the race.


I think the McLaren was the faster package this Sunday, because Hamilton was comfortably following Vettel all the way despite dirty air spoiling his pace and degrading his tyres.


I think being so close helped Hamilton, allowed him to use his DRS and keep up. I think if you put Hamilton out in front, Vettel would have passed him.


Was the best Spanish GP for a long time!(Although personally I think they should go back to using Jerez…)

Good to see Vettel win from behind with some good passes and some great defensive driving. And what a fantastic start from Alonso.


What a joy and excitement from the race starting!

What a sad and depressing whatching Alonso was laped by the top two drivers at the end of the race.

I can’t believe the Ferrari was so slow when took on hard tires.


For once I wished we had a more DRS-active race! Great jobs by both Lewis and SebV!

Alonso reminded us how spectacular F1 race starts can be. From 4th to 1st, and then keeping it so long at the front.


Great race. It seems that Mclaren on Hard tyres has the Red Bull for pace. Just that dirty air stopped Hamiltons progress.

Just a thought but had Hamilton gone say 2 or 3 laps longer before his last stop the difference in tyre quality may have allowed him to get past as he would easily have caught him in the 16 or so laps he had left even if the gap was a fair bit bigger?!?!?!


The Saubers deserve a mention too, Perez his first points and Kobayashi coming back from 20s behind Karthikeyan on the first lap to 10th, just 4s behind Perez!


Can’t see Ferrari being a contender anymore this year. It’s between Vettel and Hamilton.


It’s between Vettel and his finger. Hamilton is the favorite for best of the rest


Awesome race lead by Vettel. I must give to Lewis, put up a really good fight, keep the spirit going buddy. Both the mercedes cars didi well for themselves. This circuit really surprised me there was a huge lead between Lewis and Jenson almost 28s at one point of time. The same way between Webber and Alonso.

Finlaly red bull’s KERS saved the day but Vettel better watch out!

Renault team really making waves and pushing hard.


Vettel did what was to be expected from the Red Bull (despite Webber falling short by such a huge margin).

But where did Hamilton come from? Astonishing race pace and he too distanced his team mate quite clearly. A phenomenal drive from him.

Heidfeld coming from the back to 8th and finishing ahead of his team mate who started 6th deserves a tip of the hat too.


Exactly. I was thinking the same… Quick Nick did really well.

At the front, the RB and the Macca are obviously the better cars, with Seb and Lewis making the best use of that. I was quite disappointed by the Ferrari’s too, Alonso seemed to be in rather good form, but the car just didn’t work once they switched to hards…

Interesting race though.


[mod] With each race this season my respect for Alonso grows while my respect for Ferrari dwindles. Why is Montezemolo and the Ferrari PR wasting our time with ‘news’ about being open to hire Hamilton or vettel when they can’t even bring a competitive car to a race? Those two won’t want to drive for this Ferrari team at this rate. So sick of the same storyline (Red Bull dominance, Ferrari impotence, Mclaren resurgence) that I spent the race rooting for a man that was my most hated F1 driver, Schumacher, and glad to see he did not disappoint. Go Michael!


i think for the first time ever, instead of trying spending millions trying to sign any driver on the grid, i’d say just sign adrian newey!!!


It’s not just about Newey, Ferrari thrashed the competition out of sight from 2000-2004 without Adrian Newey. Since Rory Byrne retired and Todt and Brawn left, it looks as if the new design department lacks a clear direction or ‘philosophy’ with the car.


Yes, they seem to be going with the others philosophy, they are following the others instead of being bould and inventive.


They tried and Newey told them to sling their hook.


If LdM doesn’t fire Dominicali this year, I’ll go to Maranello and kick him out myself.


Firing Domenicali won’t end Ferrari’s woes. I’d start with a new chief design engineer.


A much more enjoyable Spanish grand prix. At least the different tyre compounds proved the defining factor in overtaking and overall strategy, rather than the drs.

Surprised how quickly alonso fell away after leading to start with, same as webber as well.

Well deserved win for vettel, and kudos to Hamilton as well.


Ineffective DRS settings by FIA at Barcelona compared to all previous races this season saved Vettel in the closing laps. FIA are effectively deciding the outcome of races with the DRS zones (whether they are too generous or otherwise).

Grayzee (Australia)

Of all the replies to this post, it surprises me that no one has has picked up on the fact the cars were banging on the rev limiter half way down the straight! Lewis and co even said post race. They simply could not go any faster, wing open or not!


He would of reached top-speed earlier though which probably would of been enough to at least attempt a pass.


DRS should have been just on exit. It was not at the beginning of the straight more like grid position 15 or so. Hamilton only needed an extra 50m (which if DRS was earlier) would have allowed him to pass Vetell. It would have been a hard pass not an easy one though.


I am sure if your man won you would have another opinion


DRS so far is on the bigger straights and its the same for everybody.Instead of pointing that it saved Vettel you could be saing that the great speed of the Red Bull on the fast corners and traction at the last corner keeped Lewis from being close to overtake.

Lewis had arround 20 km faster speed than Seb and a fullfunction KERS so i don´t know what FIA did wrong here.


If Lewis was so much faster than Vettel then Barcelona clearly is not an overtaking circuit even with DRS!


Do you want DRS allowed in run-off areas. They had DRS for the whole main straight, what do you want more ?


From the finish line onwards isn’t exactly the “whole main straight”. No need to exaggerate or insult our intelligence. We’re all F1 fans here.


Actually Jo DRS was only activated a 3rd of the way down the main straight after the start finish line.


I thought DRS was after the start-finish line here which looked at least a third of the way down the straight.

I don’t think it was in a bad position, the red bull was just far superior through the final corner.


If the drs activation zone started another 50 to 100 yards sooner then a lot of cars would be able to get level with the car in front. Still a learning curve how to set up the zones. The 2 zones in the valencia and Canada grand prix’s could be interesting.


It didn’t work did it!

If we have DRS, it should work. If not, get rid of DRS completely.

DRS is becoming a lottery from race to race where sometimes it’s too generous and completely ineffective at others (aka Barcelona because of the fast sweeping bend into the straight – the activation line should have been earlier!)


It did work, It’s just that Vettel had more traction out the final corner beacause he had more downforce. Unfortunately for Lewis it was the only place on the circuit to pass (when you have the same tyre wear) and he didn’t have the car under him in that final corner to keep close enough to the Red Bull.

Also without DRS, each time Seb came around that final turn he’d have pulled a couple of tenths out that Lewis wouldn’t have been able to close up on the straight. The DRS helped him to claw those tenths back every lap (along with KERS). But alas not enough to pass.

Without DRS Lewis had no hope at all of passing. With it at least we all felt there was a chance. But the truth is Seb was too fast and didn’t make a single mistake. Which is very much to his credit.

I believe the circuit and his lack of high speed downforce stopped Lewis taking the win. On another circuit things might have been different. The Red Bull and McLaren seem very close in race pace. The McLaren faster in low speed and the Red Bull faster in high speed. This is how it was in 2009 once the McLaren had it’s upgrade and Lewis took a couple of great victories with it.


A good race, a fight for the win, two very competitive first stints between 4 drivers and a good number of overtaking throughout the race.

The DRS zone didn´t prove to be very efective as some cars in front ( like SV and others) come out from the chicane and the last corner very quickly not giving many chances to the following car to come close and pass.

I wasn´t expecting Mclaren to be so good on the hard tyre, that´s what surprised me the most after practice where they seemed to struggle more than Red Bull. In fact i think that it´s on the harder tyre that you really see the most capable drivers. That´s when you see the bigger diference between teammates!!

Ferrari as to react very quickly, they were terrible on the hard tyre ( like most teams ), leading the race about 20 laps and than being laped it´s something very discouraging and painfull.The good thing for them is that the tyre to be used in Monaco and Canada are the range of softs and not very important the aerodynamics at Monaco.

Finally, F1 should be more open to the fans, it´s like a Ballroom where everybody has to wear a smoking, very boring. The drivers can´t even celebrate on track with a doughnout or a burnout, even on the parc after the race they are rushing the drivers to the podium they can´t even salute their teams and friends for a moment. It as become very strict over the years and it´s not good for the sport.


The rush after the finish, is all down to the sharp dressed gentleman who hands out the towels, hats and watches. I reckon the watches must be out on loan and he needs to get them back to the shop. He must have the best job in the world, I read somewhere he trains the grid girls also!


Sounds like a great job yes, LOL!!


“Trains the grid girls” ?

I wonder how much he had to pay for that job !


It was Vettel’s 14th career win, not his 13th.

Great drive—greater still to see McLaren keeping Red Bull honest.


Think it was a big for Webber in terms of this season and he crumbled, he looked a beaten man afterwards. Think Seb has broken him somewhat 5 races in.


Webber wasn’t able to overtake slower cars, unlike Vettel who took them in his stride. I don’t believe Webber is a broken man, he’s just gone right over the hill and isn’t the top line driver some think he is.

Unfortunately, that could mean he’s going to return to knocking the opposition out of way, something he’s avoided so far this year.


Vettel overtook Webber off the line, Alonso in the pits, and slow cars not frontrunners. Webber had a poor start and a very bad pit strategy.




First time this season I felt the race was really boring, I even changed channels to watch Dr. Oz for 10 minutes and I don’t even like that show.

I think previous races have been super exciting, so now when there’s average race it feels extra boring.

Also Vettel winning once again, didn’t make things better. I wanna see this championship being exciting, fight going till the last round, not another Schumacher years, when we have a winner 3-5 rounds before the end.


You mustn’t have seen previous Spanish GPs then! Barcelona is normally not the most exciting of races so given what we had this year compared to others, I loved it!


Agree, this was the most exciting Spanish GP in years! The start was great, and there was a good amount of overtaking. This would have held up as one of the more exciting races if it was 2010.

Button dominated the opening races of 2009 and almost lost the championship in the end. Mclaren is giving Red Bull a run for their money. I expect Ferrari to close the gap too. This should make for an exciting season. The Red Bull isn’t as dominate in the race because the cars behind can use DRS, and their KERS isn’t up to par. I bet the title comes down to the last race again!


That’s motor racing. Every once in a while you get a very fast driver who makes no mistakes in a very fast car which is reliable and bang goes the championship…

If you like motorsport then you just have to accept it’s going to happen.

I don’t understand people complaining about it i’m afraid.

Besides, i’m not sure it’s all over yet. Today was great because Lewis was faster in most of the circuit, but slower in the one part of the track where you can pass! Frustrating, but hopefully this will not always be the case at all the other circuits.


I hope you are right otherwise we will be watching the fight for 2nd. This was a boring race. They really need to look at fixing the track to make better racing. DRS did not help that much this race. Lewis drove that car where it should not of been today.


Great comment and very true.

But asks you say it’s not over yet, still 14 races and only 41 points lead, less than two wins


A great race, i just wish the TV director would show less pitstops, i am sure we missed a few overtakes involving alonso etc. A few years ago most of the action happened in the pits, these days its all about the action on the track! Unless it is critical pitstop i.e the webber & alonso stop, i don’t think we need to see it. Rant over.


Here here, I also think that like for like Hamilton is better than Vettal, he just has that natural Senna aggresion when driving. I have watched F1 for over 40yrs and seen many great drivers, I put Hamilton in that bracket. Put them in the same car and I know who my money would be on.

Andrew Woodruff


I also couldn’t understand why, 8 laps from the end, instead of watching Vettel and Hamilton like a hawk until the end, we cut to Heidfeld for about 3 laps to see the momentus event (and many replays) of him overtaking Perez for 8th place. I understand that Heidfeld started from the back, but really?!


This is the second race where the tv director wasn’t up to the job. I don’t want to see artistic shots of the pits, when there’s something happening out on the track.

Is there any way to let Bernie know FOM’s telly isn’t up to scratch and he’s upsetting viewers across the world? TV is Bernie’s bread & butter, yet it is apparently impossible to contact FOM to let them know how badly they’re doing.


Well, things are a lot better than they used to be. I remember the French director used to always stay on the race leader, regardless of what excitement was happening further down the field. And for half the coverage he used onboard footage – I suspect that’s the easy way out for a lazy director.

I also recall in 1994, the Benetton onboard camera used to point straight at the rear vision mirror, totally obscuring the view. Even last year, on the Ferrari onboard cameras were pointed too high, so you could not see the driver. Small, but annoying things for which you can not email/write to anyone to express your feelings.

You’re right, a few things were a bit lacking in the Spanish coverage. I would be happy if they learnt that action on track always comes before footage of pitstops. At least give us some picture in picture – that technology has been around since the 70s!


oh i quadruple that! the director was TERRIBLE! i mean for God’s sake you can see in the corner of the frame that a car is tucked behind another one READY to overtake, and he just cuts off somewhere.. random!

this was a terribly confusing race due the director – spent more time watching LT rather than the race!


Spanish !!!!


Well, what’s left to say for this season. Vettel is in a league on his own. Quite enjoyable race anyway. But the championship is really over unless we see some miracle. Great drive by all top 10 drivers really. Particularly Jenson and Schumacher, both were fantastic to watch. Webber suffered for the bad start obviously, but well drive throughout the race.

This is pretty fair to say that Vettel is really the only driver might challenge Schumacher’s record of 7 world championship. New Schumacher is born for sure!! If not with Red Bull he will still do it with some other team. In my life time I heard more German anthem than my own!!! Incredible driving by Vettel, but becoming incredibly boring. All the teams now should either concentrate on next year’s car or fight for the 2nd place. Anybody should put their house on Vettel winning the championship. Inevitably boring season ahead as far as race win goes. Hopefully the championship will start becoming close someday soon.

Anyway James, I thought the top teams had an extra set of soft tyres left for the race. Then how come they ended up using hard tyres on the last stint?


Championship is nearly over? Bit of a strange conclusion after that race, on a track that’s supposed to favour red bull fairly heavily.

Will be interesting to see how much solving the KERS problem will compromise the Bulls in other areas.


Because they stopped four times, which means five sets of tyres. And they’d done three stops by half distance


Interesting to hear JB say that he planned to do 3 stops as opposed to the 4 stop strategy adopted by the other front runners. Will we see more split strategies, and does this mean that Mclaren let him make his own decisions, within reason of course?.


Martin Brundle today was lost, he picked the Leggard syndrome. He was wondering why Alonso didn’t use a set of softs at his last stop.

People tend to forget, n pitstops means n+1 sets of tyres.


Brundle should simply ask Murray Walker for permission to use his catch phrase. It was to the point and got the race started with a bang. These days the moment of the start is a bit of a whimper.

“And IT IS GO! GO! GO!”

Andrew Woodruff

True, but imagine what Legard would have been like this season trying to make sense of a thousand pitstops and even more overtakes!

I think Brundle is actually excellent as the lead commentator, and DC is good too. I’m also becoming an increasing admirer of Ted Kravitz’s pit lane pieces, which are always calm and informative. Humphries is great as well, I just don’t understand why anyone gives Jordan the time of day! The man can’t even form a sentence, let alone a coherent question!

Has anyone else noticed Brundle’s new signature: “Look but never stare”?


It’s the name of a Take That song isn’t it?


Same thing by SpeedTV’s announcers. They were wondering what tires were going on in the 3rd and 4th stops, forgetting that after the 2nd stops, there are only prime tires left, for the frontrunning teams.


How can pole sitter end up 47 seconds behind the winner? Terrible day for Webber.


That’s nothing. How does the leader of the race for the first 10 laps, on merit, get lapped, without a mechanical problem, without an extra pitstop, without a spin, or offtrack excursion? Alonso was lapping 2 to 3 secs slower on his last set.


Yeah but great for Mclaren.

Webber will fade this year, the start aside both Mclaren’s seem strong. Button needs to step up to a Lewis strategy though to win a race in my opinion. Still Mclaren can now push hard for both titles. Forget Webber aim the boys directly at Vettel and WORK ON YOUR STARTS!!!!!

I am surprised they were so close to RB but am happy even though I was not supposed to see this great race until tonight.

Thanks Steve for having to work today lad :<( next weekend is on you!!!


Not bad for a second dr….no, nevermind.

Andrew Woodruff



BRILLIANT WIN!!!!!!!!!!!

I am going to sream if I hear “Hamilton was better, Vettel had the better car, blah blah blah” Vettel had almost no KERS and drove his tail off…. Both the Maccas beat Webber who was on pole(only due to Vettel’s lack of qulay KERS)

time for people to start giving Seb some credit


Vettel was the driver of the day head & shoulders above the rest. He dictated the strategy, he took a risk by having to overtake Button, Massa it took him less time than if they were being lapped.

Not only that but McLaren was the fastest car. Lewis couldn’t help but say in front of the cameras, and mainly the microphones something like “you have a lot of downfoce”. Lewis you had a lot of KERS worth 0,3s per lap and a tool to help overtaking.

Vettel nonetheless manage to beat you, so be a gentleman (or try to) and recognize his superiority today !

Mahmood Bello

Why are you being highly critical of Hamilton. He drove an amazing race.


I think everyone rightnow waiting that when Mclaren can have the car that knock out Redbull car.

otherwise, the season going to be boring with Redbull dominance car.

Mclaren car is up and down by some track, Redbull is fastest on any track by average.


“you have a lot of downfoce” . . . that exactly right. everyone know that Redbull have the most downforce on track.

when the car with the same downforce, the car behind still lose downforce in high speed corner.

with RBR higher downforce in the clean air, for sure no one can get close to him in that corner. Vettel have higher downforce as protection tool

some said Vettel don’t have KERS, is wrong, Vettel have KERS when Lewis attack him.


Bit frustrated at finishing 1.5 laps behind??? LOL!!


I prefer to read the transcript of the drivers press conference for a more balanced view of what was said:


Some still manage to find fault in anything and everything Hamilton says.


I am with Jo Torrent on this way.

Vettel was without KERS for 16 laps, which is reckoned to be worth 0.4 secs per lap at Barcelona. Additionally, the Renault engine has a bhp deficit when compared to the M-B unit which, based on figures published last year in Race Engine Technology magazine, gives the McLaren somewhere between 0.1 and 0.25 secs per lap at Silverstone.

So for 16 laps Vettel was losing well over 0.4 secs per lap due to his bhp deficit, but he never claimed that this was the reason why Hamilton was able to catch him.

This is the sign of a true sportsman.


Do RB have Kers or not? Does it work or not? It all seems rather FISHY if you ask me!


They had KERS. It overheated. They stopped using it and turned the regeneration off until it cooled down. Then they started using it again. Simple.


Hamilton was better, Vettel had the better car.


Everyone watching the race agrees the Mclaren was faster in race than the RBR…except the Hamilton fans.

Odd, isn’t it?

I mean, it hurts so much to admit that Vettel defended and beat Hamilton with a slower car, malfunctioning KERS and a DRS disadvantage, they need to downtalk the fact the Mclaren was faster.

Pretty surreal stuff.


The Red Bull was much faster than the other cars around 3 important corners. According to another report it was 15mph faster out of the last corner. Hamilton needed to use the DRS to keep up with Vettel, otherwise he’d have lost 1/10 or more each lap.


Spot on.

This was Vettel’s day. The McLaren was not slower on race pace.

Both sets of fans should be proud of their driver. They were the cream of the crop today.


If I may remind you to Vettel’s first race win back in 2008, in a Torro Rosso.

Well for some reason, the Torro Rosso was the fastest car on the day as shown by the fact that Vettel posted the fastest lap plus his teammate had the second fastest time before he crashed out four laps from the finish.

But till this day Vettel fans say, he performed a wonder because he won in an inferior car

Ha, fans, go figure


It was also raining pretty hard


I disagree – I think it’s impossible to say who was “better” under the circumstances. What we can say is that in the final laps, the speed comparison graphic had Vettel at 302/3 KPH to Hamilton’s 317/8 at the end of the pit straight. It also appeared quite clear that Vettel had better grip through fast corners.

Both drivers did a great job – Lewis looked a bit quicker at the end but Vettel did what he has so often been accused of failing to do: getting a result with race craft, by holding off a faster driver. When Schumacher and Alonso were doing that to each other at Imola in 2005/6 they were both praised for winning great races, as Vettel should be here. Likewise, the pursuing driver was given the credit for quite clearly pushing so hard and never giving up on the win.

What this race did show, yet again in my opinion, is that the top 3 teams now have each have top drivers (if only unofficially). Alonso spanked Massa; Hamilton out-classed Button. Frankly, though, this really backs up what I said after Quali yesterday – Mark Webber only beat Vettel because Vettel didn’t have KERS. When Vettel has the same equipment he beats Webber; when Webber doesn’t have a clear car advantage the McLarens beat him. I am pleased about this – I like to see talent (rather than luck, as was the case yesterday) get the results.


Vettel has lots of credit but also an incredible car. Today (and this year) he is being flawless so he is deserving the victories. If you support him you will be happy as he will get this championship unless a catastrophe happens. He is very fast, has full support of the team and the best car (I think we all agree on this). But the WDC can’t be decided by July, so you should expect some FIA decisions against Red Bull to provide some thrill (this is called “sport” by some). Anyway, the advantage is enough in my opinion, and this victory would be more deserved even than last year’s


But Hamilton is better – he just is. Although Seb is better this year than I ever thought he was, I still truly believe that Hamilton would beat him consistently in the same car. And the fact is that Seb DOES have the faster car – the GP community almost universally agress on this and a second difference in qualy trim does not just vanish come the race. Hamilton was the factor that bridged the gap today.

Genuinely was a great win from Vetell this time round though. He had to pass cars and defend. That should silence a few critics who said he could not do this (including me).


Wayne – I don’t believe the GP community ‘almost university agrees’ with you on that.

Yes, on a one-lap pace the Red Bulls are comfortably in a class of their own, but not on race pace, and this has been the case for pretty much all of the season now.

The one second advantage did vanish in the race because the context of fuel level and tyre management came into play.

I’m not sure why people have taken so long to cotton on to the fact that the race pace between the two is pretty comparable. I can only conclude that setting up the McLaren as the ‘underdog’ somehow diminishes a Red Bull win (due to car superiority) and thus makes a McLaren victory/podium seem like an impossible feat which is then to be celebrated.


But lets be real. Even during the race, the Red Bull (in Vettel’s hands) is in a class of it’s on.

Look at all of Vettel’s wins, he has won so much ahead infact all he’s been doing in cruising around maintaining his LARGE gap to the second driver without pushing his car to the limit.

Spain has been the first race where Vettel was pushed to the max because not only did Mclaren get it’s updates, Vettel too wasn’t able to run away at the front because Alonso altered the Red Bull strategy

But make no mistake, in clear air, that car is still a rocket all you have to do is remember China where Webber came from the back & ended just 7 seconds from the race winner


Actually the reason why the Red Bull lose their qualifying advantage is because they’re no longer able to open their wing, mid corner where ever during the race – JamesallenonF1 says so


Correct, Vettel drove really well today, and as good as Hamilton is, I don’t subscribe to “Hamilton is better – he just is”. I think they are both very comparable with a different balance of strengths.


A second advantage in qualy does not just vanish entirely! That would be completely unheard of, never seen before in F1. Some of that advantage must surely remain. I can only think that people talk down the rbr in race trim because to do so somehow diminishes the efforts of other drivers and enhances those of the rbr drivers.


You are correct, sir

matthew cheshire

Vettel was driver of the day. Hamilton had KERS and a competetive car. A great drive from Vettel to get to the front and to stay there.


This had to be one of the best races in Barcelona in a decade. Not so much (artificial)overtaking than two weeks ago, but very close racing. It was very much like last years Turkey GP, with four cars within 3 seconds in the first stint.

Congratulations to Vettel, I think he proved he doesn’t have to lead from start to win the race. After first pit-stops he wasn’t losing time behind Button and Massa as Webber did. He also dictated the strategy even when he wasn’t leading the race – everytime he pitted, somebody tried to cover him (unlike the last race, where he always pitted last and controled the race).

Also congratulations to Hamilton, he really pushed Vettel to the limit today! It’s difficult to decide who was driver of the day – him or Vettel. I’m for Vettel because of the KERS issue …. again! If someone from RBR is reading this – I think it’s really time to fix this, if you want to hold off McLaren in the following races.

But Ferrari … Alonso being lapped after leading the race until 2nd pitstops – WOW! They are really behind now … Too bad, because I really enjoyed the first stint. Three best drivers in three different cars, battling for the lead. Would love to see this again this season. and in the seasons to come …


The hard tire is quite different than it was last week, and the Ferrari seems to be godawful using the hard tire. There’s a reason they had to use softs on Q1.


People have to stop with these best car debates.

A car can be inherently better, with better downforce to drag ratios, but on a given day, the setup could be slightly off, the track conditions in combination with these tires can work differently than expected, etc. Rarely do these cars work to their optimum given so many variables on race day. That’s why they race, and don’t do this all on the simulator.


Hamilton: What a truly great drive in a car that is still recognised as being off the rbr’s mark. Is anyone faster than hamilton on his day? I really do not think so.

DRS: Pointless frills that adds nothing to the spectacle. This year is all about the tyres so get rid of DRS! We really do not need this ‘soundbite’ gimmick. We definitely do not need races with two activation zones – come on! This is not supposed to be Wacky Races!

Tyres: let’s not go too far with this degredation and margin between the options and primes shall we? Calm it down a bit. Just half the impact the tyres have had this year would still have made for some great races.

Exhaust gas debate: This is madness. With F1 threatening to bring in little tin pot turbo engines or going all electric in the pit lane for so called ‘green’ reasons, WHY THE HELL ARE THE CARS NEEDLESSLY BURNING FUEL WHIHC IS NO WAY PROPELS THE CAR FORWARD. This is gross wasteage of a finiate global resource that is sickening.

RBR: Surely the rbr car has some form of device whether passive or active (which I am sure is entirely legal) that comes into play in qualifying. It really is about time the other teams caught up after a season and a half of this….

Vetell: is proving himself to be a better driver than I personally have ever given him credit for in the past (that hurt to say 🙂 Although I still say it is easy to do so in such a brilliant car. For me he is a different driver this year from last when I still believe he was a touch sub standard by Alonso and Hamilton’s standard.

F1 2011: jury is still out for me, there are some massive positives and but some nagging drawbacks to the regs this year.


Hi Wayne,

One further thing, the 1s second advantage in qualifying disappearing in race is was quite common up until the late 1990s when the tyres became much better. The Bridgestones were rarely a limiting factor on performance, and that is why the outright downforce level pretty much used to set the grid and race order in grooved tyre days.




Hi Wayne,

The answer, apart from driver ability, as to where the 1 second comes from and goes, is downforce. If you have two well balanced cars going around the same corner at the same speed, the higher downforce car will wear its tyres more. Even when the car isn’t sliding, in a corner the contact patch is being rotated, causing wear. More downforce = more wear. With long corners Spain is one of the worst tracks for tyre wear.

Because of this the Red Bull drivers have to manage the tyre wear more. In the slow corners where mechanical grip dominates, the McLaren was faster for most of the stint. In the quick corners the Red Bull was faster due to the aero advantage.

Ferrari had the problem of an unbalanced car, so that meant it was sliding and causing wear. An unbalanced high downforce car would be even worse. In Instanbul, Ferrari didn’t have this balance problem, so the car was quite competitive.

A further thing in the 1s gap vanishing is probably in the engines. I believe, though without the physics or evidence with the tyres, that the Renault engine is close to the power of the Mercedes in qualifying/overtake mode, but not as close in race trim.

I’ll leave the argument on relative driving ability overall to another day, but Lewis had a much easier time in the race than Sebastian, as the Red Bull had a much more complex tyre management issue to look after and off/on KERS situation to manage. All Lewis had to do was optimise his tyres. He didn’t have to pass anyone on the track as he stopped later and hence didn’t have the same issues of getting past Massa and Button. But equally, apart from minor brake lock-ups he made no errors.




It seems as of late Vettel is getting there,and this is coming from a huge Lewis fan.

Vettel didn’t flinch once with Lewis putting tremendous pressure on him.

The kid is becoming a man race wise,but he annoys the heck outta me in interviews.

Lets see how he does in Monaco

Grayzee (Australia)

Yep! “he’s annoying in interviews” is spot on. He can’t say anything in 10 words or less….mind you, that’s better than Raikonnen, who said EVERYTHING in less than 10 words! 🙂


“Is anyone faster than Hamilton on his day”? Depends if they are driving the same car doesn,t it.


I think it is BIG stretch to conclude that Vettel had the better car in race conditions. Webber finished behind both McLarens (and seemingly could not trouble Button and Vettel had to contend without KERS for significant stretches. Hardly a Red Bull whitewash. I think McLaren may actually have been the better car on the day.


kbdabies: the advantage reduction of the Red Bull in the race could easily be 1 sec so that they and the McLarens would then be similar in race trim. Also the McLarens handled better on the hard tyre than the Red Bulls, that was clear for both drivers.

Cars can be set up to be better in race trim than quali so just cos Red Bull nails everyone in qualifying doesn’t mean they can’t be raced against, as is evident.

Also don’t underestimate the advantage Red Bull are getting from their DRS in quali. Getting it open earlier than the rest is massively beneficial for their straight-line speed. Red Bull and McLaren also have differing philosophies of rear wing design. Red Bull rear wing element has a shorter chord than McLarens. This means they can get their element flatter when using DRS (since the rules specify a maximum slot gap not maximum angle the wing can open). This means Red Bull can shed more drag on DRS activation, greatly helping their quali pace. In race trim through, McLaren with their longer chord wing element, is comparatively more downforce efficient, helping them perform closer to Red Bull in the race. Of course Red Bull still has plenty of downforce in general though! Sorry if got too techy there. I think James mentioned this a few weeks ago. Also check out scarbs F1 site for further info.


I’m a McLaren fan. But I think it’s fair to say that webber got held up by Alonso. Allowing Lewis to pass them both.


It is ridiculous to suggest that McLaren had the better car on the day. Lewis clearly flatters the car immensely and is the only reason Macca are close to RBR on race pace.

The Red Bull is a downforce beast, and even without KER in quali, it was almost a full second faster than the McLaren.

You simply do not lose second a lap advantage into thin air – DRS mid corner or not.

In race trim, the Red Bull’s advantage is simply reduced, NOT eliminated. You could clearly see where the Red Bull had the advantage in the fast corners during the race.


I think it’s clear that the RB car has a clear advantage in qualifying because they can use the DRS halfway through corners because their car has far better downforce than the other cars. They can take some corners with the wing open on entry.

Come race day and they can only use the DRS on one straight and so their advantage (and the gap to the rest of the field) is cut.

Grayzee (Australia)

Got it in one, James F.

Why ARE the cars allowed to use the DRS anywhere they like during practice and qualifying anyway?. Iv’e yet to see a valid good reason for this from the FIA.


This is my read exactly. I’m surprised it’s not been mentioned in the media whilst addressing the question (post race, commentary, BBC coverage etc.) as I thought, even with my limited tech knowledge, that this was a fairly obvious explanation?


Exactly! No-one on the BBC seemed to remember this today.


Wayne, Hamilton was very good in a car that was equal to Red Bull on softs and a bit faster on hards. I am talking the race. Plus…Vettel did not have KERS


if one said ” Vettel is better because he can defend Lewis ” . . . that not true , Lewis car is as fast as Redbull at most, not faster.

So, Alonso should be much better than Vettel . . . Vettel can’t do anything with Alonso for 20 laps in clearly much much faster car in everywhere.

Lewis can’t pass Vettel = Vettel is better

Vettel can’t pass Alonso (in much faster car) = Alonso is the best, isn’t it.

all of them is good.


So a second advantage in qualy just vanishes come the race? That is utterly unheard of in F1. Some of that advantage must remain, even if it is only in part. Why can it not possibly be that the driver is the difference?

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