Pastor Maldonado (Williams Renault), 1:22.285 = 203.658 km/h
1st: Pastor Maldonado (Williams Renault), 1hr 39min 09.145sec
2nd: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 3.195s down
3rd: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus Renault), 3.884s
Fastest Lap:Romain Grosjean (Lotus Renault), 1:26.250 = 194.295 km/h on lap 53
Welcome back Sir Frank!: the Spanish Grand Prix in 10 quick bytes
1. Williams has won a Grand Prix for the first time since Brazil in 2004 – but the man to do it for Sir Frank’s resurgent team was not Brazilian Bruno Senna but his fellow-South American Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan is the first man from his country to win in F1, driving a beautifully controlled race from an inherited pole position to win by just over three seconds from Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus Renault.
2. “An unbelievable feeling”, said former GP2 champion Maldonado after his 66-lap triumph, made possible by a final pit stop two laps earlier than Alonso’s which allowed Maldonado to control things from the front. This is the 114th GP victory for Williams and their 64th with Renault, an early reward for renewing the partnership which last scored a race victory in 1997.
3. Maldonado took over pole position when McLaren Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton saw his pole-winning time excluded for an infringement of the fuel regulations. Each driver is expected to complete qualifying with a litre of fuel in his car but thanks to a team mistake that was not the case with Hamilton, who started form the back of the grid. It would have been McLaren’s 150th pole position.
4. With Alonso second in front of his adoring home crowd, Lotus demonstrated their hugely improved performance level in 2012 with third and fourth for Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. The Finn was disappointed: “If everything had gone right in the first part of the race, we could have won,” he insisted, but he simply ran out of laps as he charged for the line. Grosjean survived a first-lap tap with Sergio Perez’s Sauber to record fastest race lap.
5. While Perez was forced into early retirement, Sauber teammate Kamui Kobayashi produced a brilliant cameo drive – passing cars galore through corners because he didn’t have the straight-line speed – to come home fifth, his best result since Monaco last year. The Japanese too was disappointed: “I absolutely believe I could have made it onto the podium today if I had not been so unlucky in qualifying yesterday,” said Kobayashi, who started from ninth on the grid.
6. On a difficult weekend for Red Bull Renault, Sebastian Vettel came home sixth thanks to a couple of late-race passes that rescued valuable points after a drive-through for a yellow flag offence. Both Vettel and teammate Mark Webber had to pit for new front wing assemblies, Webber after a first-lap touch that compromised his entire afternoon. It was compounded by what team principal Christian Horner called “a mystifying lack of pace” that saw Webber bottled up behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and condemned to 11th position – the first time Webber has failed to score after completing a race distance since 2009. “When you’re out of position here it’s tough,” observed the Australian.
7. Mercedes too suffered contrasting fortunes, with Nico Rosberg seventh and clinging on desperately through a 26-lap final stint on what he called “a difficult day and a very strange race”. Meanwhile Michael Schumacher was an unhappy man after running into the back of Senna’s Williams on lap 13 and into retirement. The former World Champion claimed Senna moved right, then back left as Schumacher lined up the pass.
8. After starting the weekend with high ambitions McLaren had to swallow the disappointment of eighth and ninth places for Hamilton and Jenson Button respectively. As promised, Hamilton drove his heart out from the back of the field and ran a two-stop strategy that took him as high as fourth before a 31-lap final stint penalized him. “Today was all about damage limitation,” he admitted – and he is still only eight points out of the title lead.
9. Despite a topsy-turvy weekend Vettel still leads the Drivers’ Championship, jointly with Alonso on 61 points. Hamilton is on 53, but Raikkonen has slipped past Webber into fourth spot on 49, one ahead of the Australian. Webber’s compatriot Dan Ricciardo suffered a testing weekend in his Toro Rosso and remains on two points in 16th place. Red Bull still lead the Constructors’ table by 11 points from McLaren.
10. For the first time in 30 years we have seen five different race-winners in the opening five races of the season. Small wonder Button says “the Formula 1 form-book is very mixed up at the moment” as they prepare for the next round in Monaco…