Monday, 23 May 2011

Spanish Grand Prix - 22 May 2011

The Spanish Grand Prix took place earlier today, the Barcelona track being one of the most notriously difficult to overtake on. In fact, for every F1 race here in the last decade, the pole sitter has gone on to win the race.

This was the first race of the season which reigining World Champion Sebastian Vettel was not starting from pole.
Another recurrence of Red Bull's KERS gremlins meant that he was marginally slower than his team mate Mark Webber in yesterday's qualifying session.

However, the neither Red Bull's would have been expecting what happened as the lights turned green. Home hero Fernando Alonso darted, from fourth place, past first Lewis Hamilton, then Mark Webber (who had slipped behind the faster starting Vettel), and then managed to find the inside line into the first corner, passing the race leader.

Jenson Button had a polar opposite start from the Spaniard, spinning his wheels from the line, and dropped behind both Mercedes' cars, Felipe Massa and Sebastien Buemi.

At the first round of pit-stops, Ferrari, in a move reminiscent of the Championship losing events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, tried to match Alonso's pit strategy to the strategies of the Red Bull cars.
This appeared to work, as Vettel was released into the back of a pack of midfield cars. However, in one and a half race defining laps, Vettel - admittedly on fresher tyres - managed to fight his way past Button, Massa and Nico Rosberg, moving the young German back to the leading pack.

Once again, the more pit stops seemed to be the better, with most drivers pitting at least three times, making it difficult to follow the action on the track.

A good inter-team battle was raging between the Mercedes cars, with Michael Schumacher refusing to yield to Rosberg, who was lapping slightly quicker than the former Champion.
Nick Heidfeld had started the Grand Prix in last place, the German had been unable to qualify as his car had caught fire in dramatic fashion in the last practice session on Saturday morning. However, just as Webber had shown a couple of races ago, the Lotus-Renault driver was able to make good use of his larger choice of tyres and move gradually up through the field.

Moving into the final stage, Sebastian Vettel lead the pack, but had Lewis Hamilton hot on his heels. Third place Jenson Button was almost 20 seconds further back, but he in turn was fairly comfortably ahead of the rest.
Vettel's KERS system appeared to work only occasionally during the race, as apparent overheating issues meant it was unusable for several laps at a time.
Hamilton, making good use of KERS and his DRS, was able to catch Vettel at the end of the long start/finish straight, but Vettel defended smartly and Hamilton was unable to pass. This routine continued for several laps, but Vettel drove well and took the checkered flag for the fourth time in five races this season.

Provisional Race Results:

1. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull - Prediction 1st
2. Lewis Hamilton - McLaren - Prediction 8th
3. Jenson Button - McLaren - Prediction 3rd
4. Mark Webber - Red Bull - Prediction 2nd
5. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - Prediction 4th
6. Michael Schumacher - Mercedes - Prediction 7th
7. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - Prediction 11th
8. Nick Heidfeld - Lotus-Renault - Prediction 6th
9. Sergio Perez - Sauber - Prediction 17th
10. Kamui Kobayashi - Sauber - Prediction 12th
11. Vitaly Petrov - Lotus-Renault - Prediction 9th
12. Paul di Resta - Force India - Prediction 16th
13. Adrian Sutil - Force India - Prediction 15th
14. Sebastien Buemi - Toro Rosso - Prediction 13th
15. Pastor Maldonado - Williams - Prediction 18th
16. Jaime Alguersuari - Toro Rosso - Prediction 14th
17. Rubens Barrichello - Williams - Prediction 10th
18. Jarno Trulli - Team Lotus - Prediction 20th
19. Timo Glock - Virgin - Prediction 21st
20. Jerome D'Ambrosio - Virgin - Prediction 22nd
21. Narain Karthikeyan - Hispania - Prediction 24th
DNF Felipe Massa - Ferrari - Prediction 5th
DNF Heikki Kovalainen - Team Lotus - Prediction 19th
DNF Vitantonio Liuzzi - Hispania - Prediction 23rd

Not a bad result for the Formula One Results Predictor. However, it was primarily Hamilton and Perez’s strong performances that it hadn’t accounted for!

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