F1 Winter Break
Maldonado makes Williams winners again with brilliant win in Spain
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2012   |  4:15 pm GMT  |  290 comments

Pastor Maldonado gave Williams its first F1 win since 2004 with a brilliantly judged victory in the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.

It was Maldonado’s first win in his 24th Grand Prix start and the first for a Venezuelan. He is the fifth winner and car combination in five Grands Prix, the first time that has happened since 1983.

“We are getting better race after race,” said Maldonado. “This is a dream for Venezuela and a great moment for our country.”

Maldonado started from pole position after Lewis Hamilton was demoted to the back of the grid due to a refuelling irregularity after he set pole position. He lost the lead at the start to Alonso, got it back by undercutting the Ferrari driver at the second stop and then held on to the flag. On slightly older tyres than Alonso he saw the Spaniard close up on him, but his ability to drive Sector 3 of the lap, with the slow chicane leading to the high speed final corner onto the straight, meant that he was able to measure the gap to the Ferrari and stay out of reach in the DRS zone, in much the same way as Vettel did with Hamilton here last season. It was a brilliantly judged win.

Hamilton managed to come through the field on a two stop strategy, whereas everyone else did three stops. He finished in 8th place, ahead of team mate Jenson Button, managing his tyres through two long stints of 21 and 31 laps respectively. After a huge disappointment after qualifying, it was a very strong drive by Hamilton to limit the damage. Romain Grosjean finished fourth with Kamui Kobayashi making sure the updates to the Sauber yielded a good result in fifth place. Vettel was sixth with Rosberg seventh.

It was an entertaining race with plenty of action throughout the field. Tyre strategies were fairly standard in comparison to last year’s race here, with three stops the choice of most drivers, except Lewis Hamilton. The harder Pirelli tyre seemed to be the better race tyre on the day.

At the start Maldonado was jumped by Alonso, who steamed up the inside into turn one. Raikkonen also made a good start, moving ahead of team mate Grosjean, who fell behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Alonso held a steady gap of three seconds to Maldonado until the second phase of pit stops. At this point Williams opted to pit early, and a combination of very fast in/out laps from Maldonado and Alonso being held up by the Marussia of Charles Pic allowed Maldonado to take the lead. It stayed this order for the remainder. Maldonado was able to with-stand sustained pressure from Alonso in the final 20 laps of the race and conserve his tyres sufficiently, finishing the race three seconds clear of second place.

Raikkonen followed closely home in third position as the pre-race favourite for many had a fairly quiet race, making his way in to third at the start and never being troubled from then on. The sister Lotus of Grosjean made a poor start and he found himself behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel on the first lap. However, Grosjean was able to re-pass those in front and set the fastest lap on the way to another high points scoring finish.

Kamui Kobayashi drove a great race to fifth position, the Sauber driver starting from tenth and making some characteristically brave moves to make his way through the field towards the end of the Grand Prix. He headed home Vettel, the double World Champion having a frustrating day consisting of traffic and a drive-through penalty for not respecting yellow flags. Although, he will be quite satisfied to increase his points lead over the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Hamilton had run as highly as fourth in the race, following his exclusion from qualifying, and an ambitious two-stop strategy paid off for the Briton as he closed ever closer to the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in the latter stages, just missing out on seventh place by 0.2 seconds. Mercedes gained only seven points from the Grand Prix after Michael Schumacher collided with Bruno Senna at Turn one, causing both to retire. Button meanwhile had another forgettable race, complaining of grip issues on both sets of tyres and finishing in ninth position.

Completing the points was Nico Hulkenberg, the Force India driver was another to absorb sustained pressure as he denied Mark Webber a points scoring finish. Webber had lost a lot of ground at the start of the race due to a front-wing change.

It was another race that gave a different picture of the state of play in F1 today, the field is so close on performance and the management of the tyres is important, we see different winners and different teams competitive at every round.

Alonso lapped the Red Bull of Mark Webber here, for example, a strange turn around given that he finished almost a minute behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain three weeks ago. Ferrari brought six major changes to its car here and they’ve certainly made some progress. But the picture is still confused as to the peacking order of the cars as it changes from track to track. It is however clear that McLaren has had the fastest car at every race and yet is not leading the championship.

“When are are first and second in qualifying and race we can say we have the best car,” said Alonso, when asked about Ferrari’s progress. “This year it’s hard to have a pace advantage or to be happy with the car because it’s so close. Consistency will be important this year. We have had probably the most difficult start to the championship and we are leading the championship with Vettel so we have to be proud. I’m a bit surprised by the result, we were hoping for some signs of improvement, so we arrived here with optimism, but the pace this weekend has been better than expected. I still don’t really know where we are. Maybe we overperformed a little bit with the car we have and some other teams underperformed.”

Raikkonen was third for most of the race and pitted later than the leading pair and was on a charge in the closing stages, another lap and he would have passed Alonso for second place. His start set him up for a good race, but the choice of the soft tyre at the first stop was probably a mistake, which cost him the second place. Raikkonen knows that he again had the car to win the race.

“We ve been doung some small things not correctly and there have been some mistakes on my side and it’s going to cost you a lot,” he said afterwards. “As long as you give yourself the chance to fight at the front I think our car can do it.”

Michael Schumacher was penalised by stewards after the race for colliding with Bruno Senna. The stewards gave him a five place penalty at the next race in Monaco.

There was drama an hour after the race as a fire broke out in the Williams pit garage, the fire brigade had to attend as thick, acrid smoke plumed out across the Catalunya paddock. Four members of staff from Williams, four from Caterham and one for Force India were treated for smoke inhalation and there was believed to be one case of burns, for which the person was taken to hospital for checks, but team sources said that no-one was badly injured.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX, Barcelona, 66 Laps

1. Maldonado Williams 1h39:09.145
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.195
3. Raikkonen Lotus + 3.884
4. Grosjean Lotus + 14.799
5. Kobayashi Sauber + 1:14.641
6. Vettel Red Bull + 1:17.576
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:27.919
8. Hamilton McLaren + 1:28.100
9. Button McLaren + 1:25.200
10. Hulkenberg Force India + 1 lap
11. Webber Red Bull + 1 lap
12. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1 lap
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1 lap
14. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
15. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia + 2 laps
19. De la Rosa HRT + 3 laps

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Fantastic, amazing result. Well done, Williams.After last year, a stunning turnaround. What has changed, I wonder? Ah yes - Sam Michael's gone.

Dreadful weekend for Mclaren, after being so good last year. Whats changed, I wonder? Ah yes - they've aquired Sam Michael.

double eyepatch

If this is what you believe about Sam Micheal then you should equally give praise to his replacement at Williams, the man who's pretty much the whole reason Spygate happened, and screwed McLaren more than Sam has thus far.


@double eyepatch. I don't really see your point. Notwithstanding his role in spygate,and making no excuses for his behaviour there, Coughlan seems to have overseen a huge improvement in the fortunes of the Williams team.

Sam Michael oversaw a dreadful decline for the team, from second in the constructors behind Ferrari in 2002 and 2003. Of course, it was not all down to Sam. Top management took very poor decisions - including the loss of BMW.

But the fact is that Sam has now gone, and the Williams team is performing much better. And as far as I understand it, his role at Mclaren is to oversee precisely the areas in which they are now failing.

So yes........I will give praise to Coughlan. Not as a man, but as a Chief Engineer.


Prof Mark Gillan and Mike Coughlan share the role



I do wonder why Macca rate S.M. so highly even though for his 6-7 years at Williams he's shown nothing strong in particular.


Spot on mate, Since Sams arrival everthing operational wise within the Mclaren Team is clumsy and not even the teams at the back of the grid are making these silly mistakes...Way to go williams, been a long time coming. I know Pastor is bringing a lot of oil money but storing crude next to a kers battery is a no no..unless literally buring the house down is a new cause for celebration.


Haha 🙂 great comment!!


May I remind you that Patrick Head is gone from Williams, too.


S.M was promoted to Tech Dir. in May 2004, last time Williams won a GP was Brazil 2004...

And also a dis-service to P.Head, after all he led the team from the mid70's till 2004. He moved aside to work on R&D projects for road car use



Will Bruno Senna continue to be forced to sit out Free Practice 1 at all future races? I know its in his contract and he had to accept it to be in F1, but still a frustrating situation for all Senna fans and Bruno.




Senna has fans? What has he done till now that he actually has fans?


Well better than not getting a drive at all =)


As I understand it, he loses 15/20 FP1 sessions this year, and it was written into his contract. Still don't think it's very fair, but it is what it is. Must be frustrating for him to be constantly playing catch up nearly every weekend.



- So happy for Frank and his team, I always respected them. A very quality drive from Pastor, despite missing the Sunday service

- Still not clear where Ferrari is. They have no clue either. It was not a normal weekend, but Alonso is getting absolutely everything possible and impossible from the situation. Massa is co pletely off the pace, a big mistery

- McLaren the worts team of the year so far. They should be comfortably leading the championship.

Overall....an interesting race. I like Pirelli....good for the sport.

Poor Schumacher....he should stay with the family. Enough is enough. Career is not everything.


Also happy for Williams & Co but if the car on pole had been a McLaren or Red Bull we would all be saying 'what a boring race'.

We are quick to blame Tilke for boring circuits but not even Vettle, Webber, Hamilton could really make much progress through the pack. Even Alonso couldn't pull off a DRS pass!



To be honest I think Massa is the B Spec car, testing parts for Alonso and maybe even developing next years car. He is always off the pace and the only time you see him is when he is holding of someone before going into the pits. I think he has been completely destroyed by Fernando. He used to be good and has never been the same since the spring incident, needs to go to GP2 to sharpen his tools, I see more drivers in that Formula that can drive better than him.


If there are any differences in parts between the cars, the photographers would sure be the first to spot and they'd end up all over the internet and magazines.


Maclaren, second in the WCC maakes you the worst team so far, where does that put the 10 teams below them? Mistakes/errors rather than car performance has cost Mclaren this season.


I have a clue where Ferrari is at the moment:

they are leading one of the championships.


I was with Schumi about the tires a few weeks back.

Then I was against Schumi with the tires a few days back.

Now I'm back with him again.

Quali was all about tires and so was the race.

William Wilgus

Yes, exactly! Tires are determining the race winners. Welcome to NASCAR's International Division --- just another 'roll of the dice' (tires) to determine the winner. This is NOT what racing should be about!


Exactly William, these tyres are ruining the racing.


Nonsense. It's not a roll of the dice. Williams, Ferrari, Lotus, Sauber, Red Bull and McLaren had been strong all weekend.


It's hardly a roll of the dice! It's the same for all the teams and it's about who can extract the most from their package - Exactly what racing is all about.

It's unpredictable, it's exciting and the cream always rises to the top. Despite not having the best car Alonso and Ferrari have maximised their package and find themselves at the top of the championship. Alonso and Hamilton have been the stand out drivers this year in my opinion and Hamilton would probably be leading the championship if Mclaren weren't doing their best to throw the championship away!

People moaned that the races used to be processional, with the best car qualifying at the front of the grid and with little variables walking off into the distance.

The Spanish Grand Prix was often painfully boring a few years ago, now even there we have a belting race. It's giving talented drivers the chance to show their class which was almost impossible before unless you were in a Mclaren or a Ferrari.

I suppose some people will always complain, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but personally I think this is a golden era of F1 with great drivers, competitive teams and great racing and I think we should enjoy it while it lasts!



+1. The story of F1 this year....especially when no teams has had any convincing adavantage in raw pace.


All of those people who called Maldonado a pay driver, and there were lots of you, where are you now?


Yep - I hold my hand up. I was one who thought he was just a pay driver.

Thought he'd be like Hulkenberg the other year and be unable to convert a good pole lap into victory.

We'll see if he can have a consistent season first though before I eat my words about letting Rubens go.

Miss Barrichello but this was a great result and Pastor didn't crack under the strain.


He made me eat my words, well done!!

I was cheering him on today, and seeing a williams renault win was superb.

Now get me some Mclaren Hondas on the grid 🙂



McLaren Mercedes are doing very at the moment tho..


Its ok to be a paid Driver, just dont bring too much of that crude to store in the garage. My position is simple, if you have a sponsor backing you with loads of money then it compliments some teams that need the money to develop. Paid or not, he derservs the seat and its not like he's not quick.


A pay driver has grown up.


I'm here! I admit it, I never thought Maldonado up to the job... So glad he proved me wrong, may he do it many more times.... Now, someone pass the salt, these words I'm eating need a bit of spicing up...


Similarly - all those who claimed Hamilton can't manage his tyres as a matter of fact - his last stint was almost 30 laps and he almost jumped Rosberg at the end.


I think it was 31 laps. Rosberg did 26 laps. 5 laps older and he still would have had him if there'd been one more corner.

That'll show the nay-sayers. Well done, Lewis. The length of the stint and the message it sends to everyone that Lewis CAN manage tyres, if he has a mind to, was the best thing for me in Hamilton's performance.


Totally agree, and also pulled a gap on the master of tyre management jenson even though jenson was on fresher tyres.


+1 completely agree there


He managed the tyres but got fortunate that four or five of his rivals got out of his way. Vettel, Massa and Webber had to go through the pits extra times and some others crashed out.

With the pace of the cars, there's no way he would have made any strategy work without that kind of help.


+1 =)

Credits gotta go to Hammy for a brilliant fight back.




Waiting for confirmation that Venezuela will pay even more money into Williams, which will hopefully result in more wins. You see, winning in F1, as un-romantic as it sounds is mostly about money.


I'm stunned to silence, almost...

I was thinking before the race that even if he came second to Alonso, that would have gained him just as much respect. Even after a pole position, I was assuming(!) that he wouldn't win!

It was an impressive drive. Credit where it's due. Maldonado is a winning driver.


Here I am.

Yeah, I admit that last Season I didn't think that Pastor had what it takes. He lacked consistency but also he was learning; he didn't have the best car availiable but very often he made silly mistakes where he spun off circuit too often. He stands out at street circuits but this amazing pace also translates to more conventional circuits, as today showed. I was cheering him on the whole weekend, and to be honest Pastor has grown on me. He's a relaxed, easy going guy who's quite honest and mature; just shows you should never let the media cloud your judgement about a person.

I am a big Williams fan through the thick and thin and I'm just glad that so far, nobody has been hurt. I hope their equipment isn't damaged to an extent to stop them competing at Monaco. It was a massive shock when the motorhome blew up; Mike Coughlan and many others looked in a terrible state. I feel really sorry for them that that should happen to them, right at such a great moment for the team.


Without taking away credit where it's due, Maldonado is anything but relaxed and easy going - evidenced by the 'track rage' incident with Hamilton during qualifying in Spa last year.


@ Ed H - maybe it is time again to think about this now as the issue isn't quite as trivial. Another example of 'track rage' and unnecessary aggression costing the team dearly. More than that, given we all despise such people on the roads, I can't see how there's a place for such drivers in F1 (a bit harsh, but I really do wonder).


In the car I was reffering to his conversation with his engineer just after he won in which he seemed quite relaxed, and his general off-track demeanour. On track at times, particularly last year he seemed to get frustrated with his situation and make embarassing mistakes. I admit that I did worry about him a lot last year and it didn't look good but he has clearly learned from those mistakes since.

I actually think the Stewards did the right thing at Spa, and even though Spain was a harsh descision on Hamilton, it's a team sport and the team messed up. It is pointless to suspect another "Anti-Hamilton conspiracy theory", even the man himself has done that and it didn't get him anywhere. I remember when Lewis won the championship in 2008 there were people claiming the reverse; that the sport was being manipulated (Glock "moving aside" on the final lap at Brazil) to Lewis' benefit... There is obviously no manipulation of any kind, only facts and judgement.

I can see why you would think that it was out of order but that's not fair on the Stewards or on Maldonado. For now, I think it wiser not delve into this sort of discussion as it's really trivial and doesn't lead us anywhere.


That was a truly disgusting event. I still can't believe he wasn't excluded from the race. Oh, then again, he's not Hamilton.

Come up a litre or so short on your fuel, head to the back of the grid. Smack your car into someone in a pique of rage, head to the back of the grid. Yeah, that sounds fair, doesn't it.


Right here! Admittedly it was a superb drive from Maldonado but that still doesn't remove the fact that the key reason he's in the team is because of the vast amount of money he brings with him; the same can be said of Petrov and several other drivers.

I'm not saying they can't drive in F1, it's just that, all things being equal, they probably wouldn't be in the same cars.


So that makes Alonso a pay driver too, because he's bringing a lot of cash from Santander, isn't he?

In this days you need not only talent but you have sponsors who back you up, nevertheless, Maldonado showed that he is a great driver and has a extraordinary talent.

And remember that he just won a trouble free race, no rain, no safety car, nothing weird... just pure speed and talent, and in a midfield car, holding a two-time champion at his home grand prix from pole!.



The key question is, if Alonso and Maldonado brought no money with them, which would you choose? A two-time world champion who is arguably the most complete driver out there, or a guy who yes, has pace but not exactly a shining star?

I have no issue with pay drivers, it's the nature of the sport but a win (with a team clearly challenging since the start of the season) is not a reason to ignore the key reason he's in the team.


I think Santander's cash goes straight into Fernando's pocket.

If you want Alonso driving your car, you have to paint his sponsor's name down the side.

Oh, and you have to top up his wage packet as well!


Yes but Alonso is also receiving a very fat pay cheque from Ferrari =)


Oh come on! Maldonado was GP2 champion, so he's got pedigree.

Today was a brilliant drive from him, especially soaking up pressure from Alonso in front of his home fans, and superbly managing his tyres to then pull away from him at the end.

As Bernie says, what is wrong with a driver who brings money? It's a bonus. Pastor is quite clearly a talent.

So pleased for him and Williams.


@ James,

I believe he was part of the deal to take the Honda engines to McLaren, i.e. Honda insisted on Macca taking on Senna.


I think Ron Dennis had his eye on Senna long before that. He was clearly going to be one of the best, if not THE best drivers ever.

I could see that, when I was 16 watching him in Formula Ford, for heavens sake!


Lest we forget, the fastest driver of all time, was the ultimate "pay driver". Senna went to McLaren because of Honda sponsorship. And I believe Marlboro and other corporate sponsors were also placing a lot of top drivers in particular seats in the 80's.


Maldonado was the GP2 champion and was as fast as Barrichello in his first season and arguably showed more pace than Hulkenberg.

He is clearly a very fast driver. Who deserves a Williams seat more than him? Di Resta or Anthony Davidson I suppose.

Many of the British drivers get seats purely because they are British. Do think it is harder to get into Formula 1 coming from Venezuela or the UK?


What is a shame is that Williams ask to a gp2 champion to pay for the drive.


Ferrari could have won the face if not for the first pit stop. Williams won the race by pitting Pastor ahead of Alonso.

Ay clues why red bull had to change nose cones in both cars?

So....in Monaco...will it be Kimi or Hamilton? It looks like a 6th different winner is a possibility.


I think Pireli is playing tricks with its tyres in every race. They have normal ones and "special" tyres which dont degrade and have better performance. They give the special ones to a different team every week! This week Williams got them. Lotus maybe next week in Monaco?


That's funny but I wonder how Kimi was catching Pastor at over a second a lap if Pastor had the 'special' tyres?


Easy answer to this: Pastor had the special tyres but Kimi was "the special one"!


Interesting point. Could you imagine thinking this about another sport? That's F1!


Yes Hilarious!!!! LMAO


I think Vettel's was damaged on the left side.


I can't believe McLaren can mess Hamilton's race up 6 in a row...........could they?


Unless they are playing chicken with Lewis...shocking!

William Wilgus

Perhaps it's Hamilton messing up 6 races in a row.


Are you really saying that Lewis was responsible for not putting fuel in his car? Or not putting the wheel on correctly? Twice? Get real!


On what basis?


Yes, since it was Lewis that re-fuelled his car and it was Lewis that messed up his left rear tyre changes. What did Lewis do wrong this year?


How was it Hamilton when it was the pit crew who short-fueled him?!


Well done Williams and Pastor, great drive. Maybe I’m doing Pastor a disservice, but never really rated him highly. Today, I didn’t see him put a wheel wrong and he soaked up serious pressure from Alonso.

Another great start and drive from Alonso. After five races to be joint leader in the championship with that car is quite an achievement. Ferrari and Alonso have probably gotten close to the maximum out of the equipment at there disposal. Unlike McLaren who have seriously been letting their drivers down this season.

Kimi and Lotus seemed to have the fastest package out there at the end. Not sure why they weren’t able to show that speed at the start. Still good to see Kimi on the podium again. With the way this season is going, can’t see why Kimi can’t be a championship contender.


Fastest are McLaren, it's just Macca's been shooting themselves in the foot.


I'm with you on that; I'd always seen Maldonado as an accident waiting to happen but he's shown us what he can do today! Clearly the Williams is a much improved car this year. It's great pity that they dumped Rubens in favour of Senna who is proving to be a bit of a liability. Last year Rubens was significantly better than Maldonado so it would have been interesting to see how the very experienced and proven race winner would have fared in this year's car


Spot on.


Last year Rubens wasn't significantly better at all. He scored more points because of what happened at Monaco. Maldonado's debut season was more impressive than Di Resta's or Perez because he was up against a proven benchmark in Barrichello.


Well deserved Maldonado and Im heartened to see Williams win again.

Another race that was all about tyres though. Left me feeling flat.

Grayzee (Australia)

"flat'....hehe..good 'un.....tyres leaving you feeling flat.....oh dear....

Soumya Banerjee

Yes,and while its heartening to see Pastor win,the novelty of these weird tyres is beginning to wear out. Its all too unpredictable to be funny..


But unpredictable is better than predictable surely ?

I'm a veteran F1 fan of more than thirty years and I am loving this season it's wonderful, F1 to a certain extent has always been about tyre management but Bridgstone in their last few years made their tyres far too durable, I would sooner have the current brand of F1 than what we had between say 2005 - 2008 when about only three different teams won a GP, what say you James after all you were commentating for TV back then ?


Congratulation to Maldonado!

I just read there's fire in the pit of Williams (or somewhere there), hope no one is injured!

Returning to race - I am still shocked and frustrated by McLaren and their superb ability to blow chances.

As, James, you have rightfuly noticed - they had faster car since the beginning of season, but from my point of view they can't perform as a team... I mean can't deliver the quality performance in team operations when it counts the most - at races.

I am not sure how that has happened, what changes happened during winter brake... but I can surely say - in races operation - they are the worst team in F1 right now.

To prove that we need not to look anywhere else, today Lewis' first pit stop was again!!! hampered by something...

And actually all their pit stops were slow.

I am fully behind Lewis, but McLaren surely needs to change something within. And quick.

Because in this highly competitive season (we have top 7 drivers in 20 points) the performance they show is unacceptable.


Oh, man... I just remember what has happened.

Sam Michael joined McLaren... to take "responsibility for developing and managing their race operations"....




Allot of names have been bandied about as possible replacements for Philipe Massa; but Kobayashi hasn't been one of them. He's a real fighter, mature, quick and would push Fernando hard. Is a driver swap between Sauber and Ferrari even being discussed in the paddock? Sergio Perez is defiantly a future star for Ferrari, but he is young and not experienced enough to take on the pressure of driving for the marque.

Secondly whats with the thermal degradation of these tyres? Assuming that Alonso is a better driver than Maldonado; his tyres fell 'off the cliff' by being stuck behind a competitive car. I feel like the outcome was altered by a variable not consistent resulting from the skill of the driver, engineers or strategist. Webber had the same problem with Hulkenburg.

Regardless im stoked with the result for Sir Frank, Pastor and the team.



If Kamui had the Japanese version of Carlos slim $$$ backing than it would be a different story for Kamui.

It is what it is ...... business$$$$ = F1


Yes, but the car he's just finished 5th in at Barclelona is funded by Slim and his partners, so Kamui benefits from that anyway


If you're behind another car, in dirty air, you're always going to wear your tyres quicker. That's just physics.


Agreed but the 'rate' of the decay seems to be greater. Instead of seeing two drivers battling it out lap after lap, the tyres seam to dictate the terms of the outcome. There has always been the problem of dirty (or worked) air affecting the aerodynamics of the trailing car and the hot air increasing engine temperature. But in this Pirrelli era the tyres are now extra affected. I can't help but feel that Alonso and Webber lost points for trying to hard to gain a position (ie, racing hard). Neither were able to get DRS to work for them, regardless I'm not complaining about tyres degrading, it's just they are too fickle and when worn don't reward a talented, determined driver.


Secondly whats with the thermal degradation of these tyres? Assuming that Alonso is a better driver than Maldonado; his tyres fell ‘off the cliff’ by being stuck behind a competitive car.

>> Nothing new there. One of the many effects of driving in wake of dirty air of a leading car.

One reason why F1 race is all about quest to qualify on pole, drive in clean air from flag to flag.

Its good to see that Williams car had real race pace that helped Pastor to keep driving in clean air and get the best of the FW34


Kamui did well today, for sure


Agreed! James is he considered ''marque" driver material within the paddock? Or is he too inconsistent?


agree with f1fan.

sucks to be born a nationality not liked by big companies 🙁


@F1fan - spot on mate!! Commentary is another good indicator how turf is protected, drivers defended( or lambasted) based on same factors.

Both covertly and overtly. Its called circus for nothing 🙂


It's all about nationality and marketing, you know


Funny thing with Maldonado is, his sponsors pay $39m to allow him to race for WIlliams. Kimi might have had a stab at the win if his team had brought him in 3 Laps earlier. And Schu blaming Senna is just ridiculous.


How much money is bringing Alonso with his Santander deal with Ferrari? Is out of case


If Kimi had been brought to pits 3 laps earlier he would not have had the advantage in lap time against Maldonado and Alonso. His advantage actually came from having fresh tyres when M and A had put half a dozen laps on theirs.


Yeah I'm against the whole paid driver situation, regardless of the economics. But in Pastor's case he is a GP2 champion and deserves to be there on merit. The financial arangent is one convenient to all parties. Certainly the injection of funds are helping restore Williams performance this year.


Wow, Maldonado was truly awesome today, so cool under pressure, and from Alonso too. I reckon every racing fan will be thrilled for him and Williams. As an aside, I've been watching the F1 for over thirty years, and think Nigel Mansell is the best exponent of the overtaking move I've seen. But, Kobayashi is right up there! He takes chances, implements the team's strategies well, and rarely brings the car back in pieces. Two and a half seasons since an excellent debut for Toyota, he's shown he is consistently good. It's time he got a top drive.


Re. Kobayashi, I fully agree. The only sector where he could perhaps Improve is one-lap speed, as he is often out-qualified by his teammate. Other than that, I think he really deserves a top car. Plus, he's up there with Hamilton as best entertainer of the field.


i think the sauber is getting there, they have certinally made a big step forward recently. keep it up sauber !


Great Result for Pastor and Sir Frank

As a Jenson fan many congrats to my 2nd favorite team - can those who bored muchly about Pastor being a paid drive and not worthy to drive for a great team please now aplogise




Great Race!

I am thinking what if every 20 races would be won by 20 different drivers. Even a chance for Karthikeyan specially if he wins in India... I know I am dreaming. 😀


keep the faith!!


Sorry apologies


No, you got it right first time!


Wow, my money was on Lotus! But congrats to Maldonado and Williams, qulaity performance (unfortunate fire in the garage there to have spoilt the atmosphere, hope all well).

Quality race, with still an uncertainty in the last 10 laps whether Alonso could have claimed a home victory. It's likely Hamilton would have had a very strong chance if he'd have stayed on pole. For shame McLaren.

Could Lotus have won? It seems going to the options at stop 1 was wrong. I think they should have brought Kimi in a lap earlier on his last stop too. That could have got him second at least since he still had tyre performance over Alonso at the end and wouldn't have dropped back so much if he'd pitted sooner. But it's clearly a challenge working out strategy. Lotus do appear a little conservative on the strategy front these past too races though.

Terrible performance from Button but Hamilton showed great form. Again, this race flies in the face of the stereotypical fan boy talk, which is brought up time and again, and that I've critised before - that Hamilton can't look after his tyres, that the tyres are unfair and impede him, etc.

Top drivers can master nearly all conditions, and if a driver struggles it's often due to a weak car or setup. F1 is too complex for simplistic, uneducated tags to be applied too often. Hamilton mastered his two-stop strategy beautifully, making his tyres last, unlike Button on a 3 stop, the guy people laud as so great with tyre life. It does there's a trend that Button has a problem keeping temperature in his tyres in traffic though.

When people churn out tiresome lines of Hamilton can't look after his tyres, or Button can't make aggressive overtakes, it's often uneducated tosh!


Another sterling performance by Lewis.



"McLaren has had the fastest car at every race"

With this do you mean all weekend or mainly qualifying?

What Hamilton's pace could have been if he started from pole? Do you think the actual podium finishers could have challenge him?


They wouldn't need to challenge, only sit and wait for him to pit and his team muck it up!


Brilliant win for Pastor and Williams... never thought he could stay that strong with those tires that had more laps than FA's


Congratulations to Williams F1 and Pastor Maldonado - extremely well deserved, well driven too.

I have to say given Maldonado's propensity for throwing the car at the scenery and having contact with other drivers (I'm thinking Hamilton in Monaco and the foolish attempt at driving Hamilton off the track during Spa qualifying) I have been a detractor of Pastor.

But, he has been very strong this season, improving all the time. Reinforces Williams' belief in Pastor over Nico Hulkenberg.

Was watching the F1 Forum live when I heard about a KERS-related explosion in the Williams garage whilst Sir Frank Williams was giving a victory speech to the team - I hope everybody is okay, and hope to be updated through your website James.


Anyone who blames Maldonado for Hamilton crashing into him in Monaco is way out there. Yes, also Brundle with his bad calls every race.


Well if you look closely at the replay and compare it with other laps that Maldonado drove it looks suspiciously like he turned in very early for the first corner. Hamilton VS Schumacher at the same corner shows that passes can be made cleanly there.

Anyway, it was a perfectly judged drive from Williams and Pastor. I'm expecting him to be very strong in Monaco in two weeks time as well. Likewise Hamilton, lets just hope those two don't meet on the same piece of track again!


And what of his revenge at spa??



Puts sport into prospective today, on top of the world and then a KERS explosion in the garage. Hope the injured people are not too seriously injured. Well done Pastor for winning the GP, but that doesn't matter too much at the moment for the team.


Brilliant race.

Some "notes"

1. Schuey...

2. Massa...

3. Senna will have to pic up his qualifying pace

4. McLaren need to pull themselves towards themself quite quick

5. It's only a matter of time before a Lotus wins

6. Vettel CAN race and overtake

7. The tyres are great


Agree with that especially number seven.


And Hamilton CAN manage his tires big time !


Yeah. He's the only guy I can think of who should be leading the championship by quite some margin had it not been for all the mishaps.

But...coulda, shoulda, woulda


I was on the edge of my seat. Like it or loath it, this season is a tough one to predict.


I only caught the last few laps. All I can say is, WOW!


Congratulations to Pastor! He soaked up the pressure like a champ and didn't put a wheel wrong.

James, any update on the condition of the FI mechanic who was taken to hospital?



So surprising that after 5 races it is still not clear who will finish the year with the crown.

Look like Hamilton is the likely candidate, but McLaren needs to stop making mistakes at every race.

Red bull is good, but not the best.

Ferrari might have a chance to win win Alonso, but the car has to be fighting for wins and podiums at every race.

I think it is Hamilton who will win this year, but I wish it is going to be Alonso.


Kimi it will be. The team made mistakes at every weekend, they should have won at least 3 races by now.

Their race pace is unmatched.


Could be. I'm just waiting for the day he comes in seventh or eighth and tells the media, "yes, I could have won it". When he was second he 'could have won it' and now he's third he still 'could have won it'.


Hi James

It looked like everybody started with the soft tire, would you know why? I reckoned that with the soft tire degradation being high, the right thing to do was start with hards (to better withstand the car's weight). This would allow a slightly longer stint on softs at the end of the race giving each car the possibility of going faster longer.

Would you please explain



you will get extra grip from the soft off the line, you're probably less likely to lose places in that way


Thanks Paul - this makes sense when you're up in the first few rows but if you're not anywhere near there, why even bother drag racing everybody around you? I reckon running the softs much, much longer because the car is lighter more than compensates the "very short duration" extra grip you'd have at the start.

Warren Groenewald

Absolutely awesome to see Williams win again, though disappointed FA couldn't hold on to the win. Also great to see another driver get his maiden win this year - what a season!


Williams wins!

Meanwhile, Red Bull have reverted to give you wings instead of wins.




Biggest loser this weekend: Button.

His team-mate has to start from the back of the grid and Lewis still hands him a spanking.


Quite. But remember the reasons;

1. Hamilton was "lucky"

2. Button couldn't get heat in his tires

3. Button's car was not in "balance"

Expect to see more excuses to explain the performance differential over the course of the season. JB has powerful allies.


How was Hamilton "lucky"??

That was Hamilton with skills and his quali P1 came with no fluke.

Button requires everything to work in his favour, which doesn't offer a very wide window to get right. Hamilton just gets in and drives.


Can't agree more. I was just highlighting some of the "reasons" put forth on behalf of Jenson for being so behind his team mate this past weekend. When Jenson finishes ahead of Lewis, its all about his "smooth" driving style and how he's gotten into Lewis's head etc...But, when as we know, Lewis has a trouble free performance and shows his superior skills, its written off with those things I mentioned above.


I don't think Vinola was suggesting Hamilton was lucky, he was sarcastically listing the reasons that will be used to justify Button's poor performance in relation to Lewis.


Completely agree.


james WE NEED YOU BACK COMMENTATING on the telly. The present incumbent is a good chap and DC is knowledgable but they're not setting the scene on fire. Too much laconic reaction and not enough anticipation.

did someone at the BBC order Jordan to stop putting down Kimi?


What did Jordan say this time?


Ben Edwards gets excited prematurely and leaves himself nowhere to go.


"Ben Edwards gets excited prematurely "

....and we all know where this leads to 😉


David croft (I think that's his name!) does the same on skyF1!

Grayzee (Australia)

Crofty sounds like he is calling an horse race the way he rabbits on. Enthusiasm is what the great Murray Walker had..... this guy is just nuts....and he doesn't know his subject!

thank god MB is there to correct him.

Get him off...come back Mr Allen.......


Can't stand Croft. I think Edwards and Coulthard are pretty descent.


Hear, Hear !

We were at a boat show today so were listening on the radio but while you do a brilliant job of dealing with the constant interruptions from the football matches, there are so many of them that the coverage of the race is disjointed.

The BBC should put you on their TV coverage

and stream your commentary on the radio - without interruptions !


no more talk of Pastor being a pay driver now hey.


More pay-drivers please.


+1. Its just the current economic situation that, just being talented is not enough for getting a F1 drive. Every driver has to sponsorship (either personal or team sponsors) money to the F1 teams in some form or other.

uninformed F1 fans are being unnecessarily snobbish in insulting "Pay drivers".


True and there are avenues for talented youngster to get there on merit alone a la Vettel, Buemi, Verne and Riccardo.


make that avenue - singular.


Like Perez and Maldonado you mean? Exactly!


Wasn't the same way that Lauda started in f1?

Stone the crows

I think Raikonnen was a pay driver at first too.


haha brilliant 🙂


i wasn't able to see the race and seeing the results, I feel I missed a good race. I am so amazed by the variety of teams in a position to win races. We have 5 teams with a win each and Sauber and Lotus has real possible winner as well. For all I know, one of the remaining teams might rise to the same level. Simply amazing.

This race results added to the previous one, won't make James' job of making sense of the season to date and give us his feelings about the true order amongst teams in terms of pace. McLaren seems up there but make hard work of it. After that I can't tell.

Williams back on the top step will please most F1 fans I am sure. It looked at some point last year only, that it was not impossible to see the williams team out of F1 in the near future. Adds to this crazy season for sure.

The winner in Monaco is..........



Congrats to Maldonado and Williams!

Very happy for Sir Frank Williams, the man behind the only non-manufacturing team to dominate the world of F1. He is a true F1 legend.

This win is like a spectacular Hollywood script for Sir Frank. What a present!

One of the best Spanish GP that i have watched.


The very much manufacturer-backed back in a day when they were dominating.

I wouldn't call this race a domination.


Great race.

Madonado - congrats and well deserved.

Alonso - Great race.

Lewis - Great race to keep calm and work his way through the field after a penalty.

Vettel - Another great fight back from a drive through penalty and a change of nose.


Had to laugh at the penalty system......

1. Not slowing under yellows - quite dangerous driver error - penalty - a few seconds for the drive through.

2. Driving into the back of someone ending their race - very dangerous driver error - penalty - 5 places at the next GP

3. mechanic putting in not quite enough fuel - no driver error - penalty - DSQ from session.


Well, if you think about it, you could say that if a team made a mistake (e.g Sauber in Melbourne 2011) and a car was deemed illegal, then it isn't driver error, but the car would be DSQ from that session.


You should be comparing it to cars not completing their in laps (and gaining an advantage) in the race, such as those multiple drivers in Bahrain.

Vettel in particular gained a huge advantage, who knows if he would have been able to defend against Raikkonen in fuel saving mode.

It's very strange how no new rule has been made after the Bahrain incident as apose to Hamilton's qualy lap in Canada where there was a massive fine for the Mclaren team (despite there being no rule) and a new rule was immediately written up.


The tires are killing grand prix. In this, one of the most competitive eras between teams of F1 the inability for drivers to maximise their machinary, to chase down another driver to go faster and faster lap after lap.... its killing the sport.

Schumacher is right on this one.

Stone the crows

What difference does it make? Schumacher's races seem to always end with a wheel coming off or a damaged wing. Next GP he will start with a penalty. I think he has more problems than tyres at this stage of the season, given he has what, one point, while his team mate has a win?


Ha ha, love your sarcasm Thommo! You kill me!

Probably the most exciting Spanish GP ever, thanks in large part to the tyres. Some people are never happy.


I must admit that its entertaining

--but - its not Formula 1.


This. Seeing a Redbull not posting a time in Q3 in order to save tyres, a joke. No longer a race more a lottery.


"It is however clear that McLaren has had the fastest car at every race and yet is not leading the championship."

That is a harsh comment given that McLaren had barely a marginal advantage and it's the tyres and finding the sweet spot under changing track temperatures that is having a decisive influence on results.

Stone the crows

It is not at all uncommon in motorsports to have the fastest car on the track and still not be able to translate that performance into a win. That's why we keep going to races. Bungled pitstops, mistakes in fuel levels in qualifying etc. etc. all make a big difference, its not just tyres.

Soumya Banerjee

Qualifying's probably the most accurate indicator of the true potential of a car,and McLaren have done brilliantly there...they were a lot quicker than the others in Australia,Malaysia and Spain(though Button's lack of pace all weekend was a mystery). The only races where they have been bested at qualifying are Bahrain and China,though they were quite quick at China as well. Certainly the best package overall,but they've thrown away loads of points.


I'd really like to know how this is a 'fact'. Maybe in qualy but their race pace is far from it.


Fastest car in qualifying in Hamiltons hands!


“It is however clear that McLaren has had the fastest car at every race"

This is true except for Bahrain. Lotus had the fastest car there. It was quite visible how slow Mclaren were compared to Lotus and Red Bull.


I'd argue that they were not faster in Malaysia, particularly post restart where Hamilton's pace was way off the Ferrari and Sauber.

The Mercedes was clearly quicker in China.

In conclusion, they have probably been quickest in two out of five races.


So have the drivers underperformed or are you disregarding how the cars deal with the tyres when calling it the fastest?


so they had the fastest car in bahrain,it didnt look like that to me



please tell us how that conclusion has been arrived at for China and Bahrain... and also what, in your mind, constitutes a fact

How could you possibly argue that any car was faster than the Mercedes in China?


oh... and David Coultard of the BBC is rapidly becoming my fav commentator, he was hilarious today ( the quips about Button " about to radio in ref understeer/oversteer".....classic.)

James Clayton

I really miss the Brundle/Coulthard team; why did we get teased with such a fantastic lineup for one year just to have the rug pulled from under 🙁


Yeah I miss that duo... This year in Australia we get Martin Brundle and (i think his name is) David Croft, and Brundle is great but the other guys gets really annoying... It often sounds like Brundle dismisses half of what he says and moves onto something else because even he can't work with his excitment and random comments. Brundle/DC, that's the dream team and also James Allen was awesome when we had him commentating.


Great drive by Pastor and a long overdue win for Williams. One can't help but wonder what Lewis would have achieved from pole however.


I agree.

Lewis is a man on fire -- driving the pants off that car. Unfortunately events are conspiring against him. However, thanks to the nature of this year's racing, he's a close second in the points; so I think he stands a good chance of taking the title this season if things continue as they are. His bad luck cannot continue for ever.


Hi James,

are you actually enjoying this season?!

It is so unpredictable, it is almost a farce.

It seems that Schumacher was right in that tyres now play too big a role. Small changes in track temperature seem to favour one team over the other. Was the Williams so fast this weekend because of clever engineering, or simply by chance?


I wouldn't say it's by chance. The teams have designed cars to the best of their ideas and calculations. They will all have strengths and weakness depending on their design philosophies, including how they behave in different environmental conditions. It's simply that the way the tyres are this year means that the strengths of each team's car are very sensitive to how the tyres behave in different conditions.

Also, remember the field is very tight this year. The midfield teams (namely Sauber and Williams) are much closer to the leaders this year. The Williams didn't beat the Ferrari and Lotus by luck but because the performance of their car was as good as there's, especially on tyre wear.

The tyres are not unpredictable, as Adrian Newey said, it might seem that way but they have consistent behaviour, it's just that they still don't know how to extract their performance and bend them to their will! It's a challenge and should be welcomed.

The tyres are perfect in my opinion - though I would like to see some changes to the sporting rules.


Sorry but it seems to me that you say that because your favorite driver isn't winning, yes it is unpredictable but is not a "farce".


Totally agree, people moaning about the tyres are truly biased. There is no randomness, the teams are very close this year. The fail to give credit to the winners, they fail to enjoy the best formula1 in a lot of time. Too bad for them.

The only problem right now is the rule about tyre allocation in Quali and the race. It's not neccesary with the pirellis.




Chance has become a significant factor this year as has been proved by the spread of results. Clearly different tracks and different conditions has allowed different cars and drivers to come to the fore.


Yes, but the races are pretty complex to follow aren't they? Lots happening everywhere, maybe a bit too much! Certainly a lot more action than 10 years ago, so for that reason it's good.

James Clayton

Just because you had a difficult job commentating 10 years ago, doesn't mean that fans like us didn't really enjoyed the racing... and your commentating!


Agreed. I do not mind the races themselves being complex to follow. But I think what most fans struggle with is to try to explain (let alone predict) how the pecking order of the teams changes from one race to the next.

Off-topic: What is your championship outlook after the first five races? To me it looks like a three-way fight between Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel, with an outside chance for Alonso.

What a prospect!!!


I think Alonso and Ferrari are good enough to fight now. Hamilton would likely have walked it this weekend but Ferrari were up there on performance alone.

I don't think you can rule many drivers yet. 20 points covers the top 7 drivers (just over a 2nd place)! After the first race many thought it was simply going to be a fight between the McLaren pair!


But James are the drivers or engineers determining the outcome. Luck and reliability have always been a part of F1 with reliability at almost 100% have we lost an opportunity to let skill, judgement and talent determine the outcome?


It's a team sport, the drivers are just a cog (albeit a very important one) in a much larger machine.


Look at the performance of Maldonado compared to Senna this weekend, and Alonso compared to Massa in general, to answer your question! Of course drivers' talent still matter. Alonso and Hamilton have driven the best this year (but McLaren have hampered him far too many times). The best are still able to show it.


Congratulations to Maldo...

I'm a big fan of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari but this season is really weird.I'm all for cars being closely matched but the tires are making it more a lottery than a test of skill (of the individual and the tea

Unless Ferrari have magicians for engineers they had no business being in second place.

You now seem to just need a reasonable overall package and just focus on exploiting tires. Gone are the days of aero, the days of tires are now here.


"Gone are the days of aero". Ha, of course it hasn't but isn't that what everyone wanted?!!

How can you say Ferrari had no right being up their. Their package and improvements gave Alonso (there's only one Ferrari on the grid to be honest) the performance to fight for the win.

Tyres are a dominant factor for sure and each teams' car is highly dependent on the circuit type and environmental conditions, but best are still able to shine. Hamilton would have dominated this on pole. He never got to show his 3 stop pace.

McLaren do have the best car I think overall (though Button seems to be struggling on set up), but their operations are a joke!


Sure, but having said that, the two constants seem to be Alonso and Kimi. They are consistently there or thereabouts in the races. Don't blame everything on the tyres, they are the same for everybody and as the best drivers in the world (supposedly) they should be able to adapt. Alonso and Kimi certainly seem to be able to adapt to the conditions. What's the other drivers excuses?

Ibrahim Patel

Great race, just wondering if vergne got a penalty for having started the race on three softs and one hard tyre 😛

I noticed it when he was holding off massa.


Yeah, it was quite surprising race direction nor Ferrari not noticing.


Why did Kimi's team choose softs for second stint? Kimi said that was a mistake. Was that hindsight as he made that decision or he was throwing the blame at the one who made that decision?

Also I think Lotus wanted Maldonado to win as Alonso is Championship contender for Kimi and hence even though it was obvious that Kimi would not be able to race Alonso after Maldonado has passed him, he persisted only to slow Alonso down. If that was the thinking, then Lotus strategy was good considering the Championship. If that was not the thinking, then they seriously need to check their strategy!

This Championship can as well be decided by a throw of dice with about 10 drivers able to win. You may have a WDC winner in the end who never even won a race in the season (Kimi or Hamilton in top-4)!


Kimi was referring to the tyre choice being the wrong choice in hindsight. I get the impression that it was a joint decision.

Kimi also mentioned, i beleive in 1 interview that I read, that they didn't have any more sets of the hard tyre, though if this is true, I'm not sure why... Everyone else seemed to have 3 sets of the hard tyre avail to race with...?


Kimi never throws blame at anyone, never in the past and not even now.


btw.."Also I think Lotus wanted Maldonado to win "



Although I'm a neutral fan, this was the first time I've shed a tear after a race, especially seeing Sir Frank being present at the circuit. Mega result for Williams and F1!



Any word on the cause of the Williams fire? Is it too early to tell how much has been damaged?

Thank you,


Great result for Alonso considering that for whatever reason the F2012 seems to get more unbalanced in the later stages when it is running on less fuel. Ferrari have made tremendous strides but the car still needs work. I expect to see a 6th winner in 6 races come Monaco. Most likely Hamilton from pole, but possibly Kimi.


Hi James,

• I feel Lotus lost the race by waiting too much to call Kimi for the second and even 1 lap for the last stop. Interesting to see how many teams are making small but costly mistakes from the beginning of the season. Looks like beeing very difficult to put it all together as the field is so close and everybody is so competitive. Hope these won't regret those lost opportunities.

• Great drive from Kobayashi. Hope he'll have a shot at a potential victory later in the season.

• Any idea why Red Bull had to change both cars nose? Only a change of front wing? I don't feel it changed much for both drivers...


James, do you think, given the fact that the races are so complex this year, the talent of Alonso and Neil Martin making the strategic calls, they don't need to have the fastest car to take the title.


That's like saying it's better off making lives harder for themselves... o_O


Ha,ha,no, what i mean was, Alonso and Martin could prove to be key factors, as an compensation for not having the fastest car.

Offcourse having both would be even better.



How can you argue that Mclaren had the fastest car at China and at Bahrain?


Slightly off topic James but have noticed anything interesting between Hamilton and Ferrari?

I'm starting the rumour mill, Hamilton to Ferrari next year. The interaction between alonso and hamilton at the weigh in yesterday and stefano talking about hamilton for no reason has got me ......

You heard it here first, Hamilton to Ferrari next year :).

Excellent news for Ferrari fans and mclaren haters like myself.


I thought that myself. Hamilton saying in the post Q3 press conference that it was great to have his old team-mate alongside him (or words to that effect) and then Domenicali complimenting Lewis' drive from last place, unprompted - makes me wonder. Clearly Massa's tenure is coming to an end and Ferrari need another top driver to win the Constructors' championship. Maybe Lewis is looking wistfully at Ferrari's incredibly slick pit-stops!


No, they won't work together again, but I can tell you behind closed doors, when they are together in drivers briefing or in TV interview room they are very convivial with each other and there is a lot of respect, it's clear.


I like your style, James. A nice clear answer re: Driver interactions and some paddock insight on it. The fans crave this sort of detail about how drivers get along.

Personally, I wouldn't be able to even look at a guy who'd pole axed me the week before or heavied me on an overtake.


Not to mention at the post Quali interview Hamilton saying "nice to see my old teammate up here".


Team bosses talk to drivers at the end of the races whether they are the same team or not. A simple congrats to a quick chat, it's happened since I don't know when, nothing new here.


I dont know whether I am enjoying this season or not...

On one side its great going into a weekend knowing it isnt a foregone conclusion.

On the other side something strange is happening, it feels like F1 is becoming more like Nascar with equal cars, all I want to see is the cream rising to the top. Luckily the standings still reflect that.

Great to see Williams winning again though


In the F1's official report, "......the race he became the fifth different winner this season and the seventh in seven races when he steered it to the British team’s first victory since Brazil 2004." My question is what is the seventh in seven races?

Someone can help me?


Hamilton and Webber won the final two races of last year making it seven different winners in the last seven races.

Sufyaan Patel

James, looking towards Monaco. I know its hard to tell but which cars do you predict will be strong in high downforce configuration? I'm expecting Mclaren to be a force. RB and Williams not too far behind.

I wonder if looking at the times from the final and slowest sector here in Spain would give an indication. Of course, cars were set-up differently due to the nature of the circuit.

Also, who is your driver of the season so far? For me its a close call between Kimi and Alonso. Kimi wouldve been leading the standing had it not been to lost points and opportunities. That would have made for some big headlines!


Too many ifs and buts.

If McLaren hadn't cocked up in as many races, they'd also be leading.

If Newey or Coughlan went to HRT instead of where they belong now, even pigs would fly!


Mclarens cock-up have been due to several factors, both from the team and driver/s. Jenson has been nowhere since his 1st win and to be honest, Mclaren havent always had the pace.

Whereas with Lotus, they have shown good pace at all venues, its down to just the strategy that they've missed some great opportunities. They need to address the issue very soon. In contrast, look at Williams. A team that has been down in the doldrums, got a sniff of victory yesterday and they took it, out-foxing Ferrari in the process with the undercut.

Either way, I'm still pleased to see Kimi in 4th and only 12pts off the lead. Not bad for someone who has been away for 2 years 😉


Congratulations to Pastor and Williams team. Very well deserved win. The team has finally delivered competitive car and the drivers are delivering performance on track.

On related note can't help but thank McLaren team for firing Coughlan, hiring Sam Michael and being dumb enough to be repeat offenders for same cockup that resulted in penalty and reprimand 2 years back.

If there is one team that can beat McLaren, its McLaren.

Stone the crows

Too true.


Sorry but I for one am starting to get a bit turned off by this season already as seems to be turning into a bit of a lottery. With all due respect to Paystar as it was a good drive but he's not in the top class of drivers which shows how random this season is. It may be 'entertaining' and drive up the numbers for Bernie's Float but it's not Formula 1.


So what exactly is Formula One? A series of sprints between pit stops with little actual overtaking? Schumacher domination with a tyre tailored to his car? Unreliable cars creating unpredictable results or reliable cars making predictable results? Bridgestone in 2010??

Formula One has been a lot of things over the years and I, for one, am enjoy every minute of this particular variety!

Stone the crows

Everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences. I'm more turned off by fans who want more overtaking, who want someone else besides Vettel on the podium, etc. etc. etc. and when they get what they want complain that its contrived. (this isn't directed at Darren by the way) It just is annoying when Formula tries to give the spectators what they want the fans complain even more.


Congratulations to Maldanado. I certainly was among those that really felt for Hulkenberg when Maldonado took his seat as a "pay driver" and didn't rate him at all. He's certainly come good now, Ruebens must be seething.

Alan Camilleri

Congratulations to Williams F1 and Pastor.

This is the day us Williams fans have been longing to experience. I have to say that I am still amazed by Maldonado's drive and composure when pressed by Alonso.

Also a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the person who started it all, SIR FRANK WILLIAMS.

I hope that no one has been injured in the pit fire accident that followed.




Great race and a deserved winner Maldonado.

It was good to see Williams be aggressive for the win. Perhaps Sauber (and possibly a lesser extent) Lotus will rue the past races in not being aggressive enough with strategy. Williams echoed the Williams of old ie only in to win.

Very pleased for Lewis thou. Keep his cool and drove a very mature headed race. Monaco will be a great chance for him to become the 6th winner in 6 races....


Aero and tyres are the key factors. At any given weekend, Whomever deal better with tyres wins. Management that critical resource is the name of F1 now... And I like it a lot!


That was an eye opening drive by Maldonado.

I was particularly impressed by his last stint where he managed his tyres and the Alonso challenge with the aplomb of a multiple GP winner.

Had Hamilton's McLaren been on the front row, however, I think it would have had the measure of the Williams. As Alonso pointed out, the Ferrari just isn't that quick yet.

I think it's maybe a little early to see Williams as a title contender.


Never thought i would see another williams victory



Not a fan of Williams, but great news and congrats to them. Everyone at Williams must feel extremely emotional for this win.


Have to say that's probably one of the best Spanish Grands Prix from Catalunya - certainly the first I've sat all the way through for a while. I will readily admit that I didn't rate Maldonado very highly after last season, but that was a mature and very impressive performance indeed. Also credit where it's due to Alonso, he never gave up on the win and it was a very entertaining duel. Raikkonen's pace in the last stint, meanwhile, was incredible and I really thought he had a chance of getting past Alonso towards the end. Surprised that both Red Bull and McLaren were nowhere in terms of pace - very good recovery from Hamilton, and probably one of his best drives for some time, and Vettel had a strong recovery after his drive-through but otherwise not a good race for either team. Better than Senna and Schumacher's, though - having looked at the replays again there was clumsiness on both sides, so I'm not sure why Schumacher was penalised and Senna wasn't. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why Grosjean/Perez wasn't investigated along similar lines. Consistency seems to be lacking in these decisions. But I digress.

After the results of the races so far, I honestly have no idea who's going to win at Monaco...


NEVER put your money on race predictions announced on a Friday ==> " It’s going to be a very closely contested Spanish Grand Prix, with McLaren looking like the pace setters but Red Bull and Mercedes there on qualifying pace"



Schumacher receives a 5 place grid drop for the next race at Monaco after the dangerous driving incident with Senna at Barcelona and Hamilton gets a drop all the way to the back of the grid for something that was arguably not his fault nor dangerous.

Nice one FIA!


Driving an illegal car will always disqualify you, even if you managed not to hit anyone. You do realize that it is not allowed to qualify in an underweight car, no matter how clean and safe you drive it?


Every race Karthikeyan holds up leading drivers while getting lapped but hardly gets penalised. Charles Pic momentarily blocks Alonso - a Ferrari, and then gets a drive thru penalty immediately. Shocking!


Agree with that.

James, does the FIA rule book give any clear guidelines on what penalty to hand out for various penalties? It seems like the FIA can give whatever they wish.

Just as an example, for the same offence:

MSC rams someone off. 5 place penalty drop for next race

HAM rams someone off. Gets a slap in the wrist

ALO rams someone off. Gets a drive-through

VET rams someone off. The team gets fined US$50,000

It's happened over the years.

Michael Grievson

And nico didn't get any penalties in the last race


Very disappointed with McLaren today, but I'm very happy for Williams...especially Sir Frank! Well Done to all at WGPE.



5 teams have won the first 5 rounds. But which team is the strongest of all according to you?

I think on Sundays, Lotus is the strongest package and on Saturdays, Mclaren is the strongest package. Strange that these are the two teams who are dishing out terrible strategies to their drivers.


Hi James,

What do you think of Mclaren making so many human errors? How much blame lies on Withmarsh?

Is his job at risk?


The buck stops with him, but the race engineers take the rap for what happened on Saturday.

Pit stops are an operational issue, but they are in a transition from what they had before which wasn't good enough to where Ferrari and Red Bull and Mercedes are. They're not there yet!


Hi James just wondering how do you think Massa will be feeling right now? Teammate Alonso battling for wins and the championship to come home second while Massa trails home in 15th! Must be ruining out of excuses, even Ferrari have their limits with drivers.


Well there goes the neighborhood.

The concept of "pay drivers" actually *winning races is just... just anathema.

Maldonado simply cannot be allowed to continue this.


I just can't wait to hear how those cursed Pirellis cost Schumacher the race.

When will his news conference be held?


Haha, this comment made my day! 🙂


I, like many, don't like this tire management circus. This is not a racing. I'm not and never was a Schumacher fan but I think he is right on this one. Tires should be important, but not this much. Today's situation, where a top teams with top strategists and top money involved are unable to find a normal tire management pattern is just and simple ridiculous. I feel sorry for the drivers, like they do not have plenty of work without this tire issues..

Imagine skiing with the ski-degradation issue (or sometinh similar)- of course all the competitors would have the same conditions as well, but they couldn't give 100% in races because they would have to "manage" the skis..

Or what if a football ball has the shape-changing characteristic and is prone to become oval at the end of the game.. both teams would also have the same ball, yes, and both could win or lose because of that, randomly.

With all of this we would see even more ENTERTAINING skiing and football than it is today - the common excuse of those who advocate today's F1 tire management lottery.

Btw congrats to Maldonado and Williams team, and to my favourite driver Alonso who somehow, so far managed to lead this weird and unpredictable season.



At the moment, the tire issue is like footballers wearing soccer boots that have their rubber / studs fall off at you-don't-know-when and you expect them to score goals.


Today, Hamilton managed one set of tyres for 29-laps, made great overtakes AND tussled with Rosberg at the end. Considering that he'd used his tyres to achieve pole position AND had to start from complete LAST on the track, what effect does this have on the normal narrative of how wonderful and 'intelligent' a driver Button is and how he's SO much better than Hamilton in 'managing' tyres?

Advice to Button for free: stop whining and drive!


I have to say that I am not a Pastor fan. I think he is a very good driver, but I just cannot see a kind face when I look at him. You can see the arrogance in vettel and others as well, but in Pastor the effect is extra. Well my personal opinion of course.

Anyway he flirted with a good result in previous races and blew it up a few times, but as it proved, he kept learning from his mistakes and this times he handled well the pressure. I believe that Williams got their win thanks to a very aggressive strategy of an early undercut. This strategy could work only with 2 cars of the same level as ferrari and williams were at that point. But also because Pastor could make a faster third sector than Ferrari. That enabled Pastor to stay ahead of Alonso despite the DRS and a small advantage that Alonso had on top speed (If I remember correctly).

I think that it would be nice if the strategy report got an update after qualifying, letting us know what tyres each driver has left as this fact plays a pivotal effect on the races these days.

Finally I want to say that Hamilton just outperformed himself. He is different with a clearly different mental attitude and actually any drawbacks he had as a driver, are not there any more. Thumbs up to him.


Well Kimi gives people the impression of I-don't-give-a-dump or dozing off impression, yet that's not what he is.

Never judge a book by its cover.

Stone the crows

It would have been quite a different race had Hamilton been anywhere near Alonso or Maldonado, I think he certainly would have spoiled one or both their races. Most drivers have a game face, notice Hamilton when he gets in the car just before a race, his demeanor changes as well.


The whole thing has become a lottery. It now appears to be less about the driver and more about the set up which teams, more often than not, appear to luck into.


Schumi having a torrid time. His fault today but his luck in the previous races this year has been atrocious. Feel for him and keeping fingers crossed.


Hi James and other F1 fans,

Can someone help explain what Kobayashi was adjusting with his left hand down close to his knee just prior to overtaking Button?



Kobi + all other drivers were trying to adjust their radio channel to JA's commentary, not an easy thing when driving at 300kph+ with lots of turns and cars around ya know 😉


Brake bias moving it forwards or rearwards


Congrats to Pastor and Williams. A win totally well deserved and I'd vote Pastor as driver of the day the way he kept Nando behind him after the undercut.

Nando was full of grin knowing Ferrari has improved and he's second now with the same points as Vettel.

With many overtaking moves it didn't feel like the typical procession at Catalunya.

What a season!

Oh yes, Schumi was wrong the way he just whacked Senna.


James - I'd like your opinion. Now that we've passed the season's "aero benchmark" circuit, and started the European leg - who do you think will be the title contenders? I have a feeling it will be between Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel. I think Raikkonen, Button and Webber will be locked in a big battle for the "best of the rest" though.

Maybe you could write up a piece on that? Would love to get your opinions in detail. Cheers.


Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel would be my choice too.

Hamilton and Alonso are driving beautifully at the moment, while Vettel isn't able to get the most from himself with the car and tyre set up he has currently. If that locks in and if Ferrari make another couple of steps then it will be a fierce 3 way fight.

Hamilton's had pole at 3 races but they've not made the most of it as a team. So he needs to consolidate speed into points

Stone the crows

Well done Williams and Pastor Maldonado, more tan winning their first race since 2004, he held his own against one of, if not the best driver of the current era. Outstanding result. What a shame it was overshadowed by a fire, Williams always seems to have a bit of tragedy to go along with the joy.


Williams and Pastor gotta thank Mike Coughlan for this huge turn around and chance to win =)


"Vettel, the double World Champion having a frustrating day consisting of traffic and a drive-through penalty for not respecting yellow flags."

Typical him, reminds me of Australia 2009 I think he was when he was driving with only 3 wheels and ignoring pit call to come in as well as flags.

Ignores flags and take other drivers as if they weren't there. Where is the respect for the rules and other drivers from this guy man?!


Yes, pick on Vettel, as if no-one else was penalized.


I think this need to brought to attention:

Williams FW34, a car designed by Mike Coughlan, has just beaten an Adrian Newey designed RBR.

During Newey's latter years at McLaren (post 2000) their designs have screwed up one way or the other. Since Newey's departure, Coughlan's designs were winners.

Seems like this is the start of another decline for RBR / Newey =)


What do I think?

Well- in any sports, there is cream, in boxing we have Manny, Mayweather etc..

So in short, this is turning into a complete joke.

Tires are picking the winners like lottery.

This is as fake as it can be.

I might as well go and sit at the bus stop to see overtakings.


Congratulations Pastor and Williams. Fantastic race.

I don't think Schumi deserves a five place grid penalty. Senna too has to take some blame. He didn't know where he was going.

Am I the only one who is getting irritated by Eddie Jordan's comments on BBC? I switched to BBC this week but from qualifying to race day, it was the same. If Eddie has problems with certain drivers, he should keep his opinion to himself instead of jabbering on telly.


Watched the replay of the Schumacher and senna incident again and again, senna makes too many moves. Not a huge schumacher fan but this time the penalty was bang out of order! At the worst should of been a racing incident. Reminded me of the webber and kovi mishap a while ago and there wasn't a penalty then!!!


Have another look. Senna doesn't move just before Schu hits him. It's clear relative to the white pit lane exit line. I think they got it right


It maybe a bit deceptive from some angles but, as Schumacher was closing upto him, schu started to move to the right so did senna, then schu went to the left, then senna did. Yes schu did have a lot of speed and grip, and may of not expected senna to brake that early but if senna stayed on the right there may of not been a problem. As some would suggest schumacher has to bag all the blame is nonsense.


Hi James,

Where did Lotus go wrong in terms of strategy?

Rumour is Lotus are being conservative so they can gather Constucters points.

Look forward to you're thoughts.


It'll be in the Strategy Report


Hi James,

did you notice the tyres fitted by the toro rosso in front of massa during the first stint? I think I saw 3 softs and one hard, the rear left one I think.



As a die-hard Williams fan, it was fantastic to see them up on the top of the podium again today. Brilliant drive, and that car is really going well.

I have to admit that I was waiting for Pastor to fail, and was even thinking that anything in the top 6 would be good enough! He drove brilliantly, though, didn't put a foot wrong... I tought it was all over when I saw them bubmle that second pit stop! And, if I was leading my first ever Grand Prix for a team that hasn't won in 8 years, the VERY last thing I would want to see in my mirrors is Fernando Alonso in front of his home crowd!! How's that for pressure?!

Great job Pastor, thanks for proving me wrong 🙂

Steve Selasky

Congratulations to Williams and Pastor Maldonado. Win was long overdue and a compliment to the hard work the team has put in.

You gotta be good to win in F1.

Ok, it is early in the season. At this rate - I see the title winner victorious in only 3 to 4 races.

Kinda, gives Alonso a shot?



Hi James,

I looked at qualy Q3 best sector times and found that both the Lotus's were only matching Lewis in s1, two tenths slower in s2 and three tenths slower in s3.

Did they setup for straight line speed in the race, or did they perform poorly(Kimi s3 very slow)?



They were top of straight line speed charts. Grosjean 323km/h, Button & Hamilton 318km/h

Richard Diamond

Hi James

I have been trying to find out (but cant) if the new wing you fit to the car must have the same settings as the one coming off? (Angles etc) If you can then if it was raining on either of the days (quali or race) you could swop the wing at one pit stop to get extra or less downforce. Also, as RB did late in the race, the car is lighter so perhaps they needed more wing to get the front to grip & therefore heat in the tyres? I am aware though, from Ted Kravitz comments during the race, that they were damaged so this appears not to have been their modus operandi!

Thanks for the great insight & look forward to the strategy report.



At a pit stop you can put on a different setting, yes. Because you lose time doing it so there's no unfair advantage.

But you'd have to be careful it worked with the rest of the car.

if you look at Webber's front wing as it comes off, on right side, main flap is literally flapping ie broken!

Richard Diamond

thanks James

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