Aussie Grit: Webber converts pole into a win in Spain
Mark Webber became the first man to convert a pole position into a race win this year as the Aussie took the third chequered flag of his career. Home boy Fernando Alonso took advantage of other people's problems to finish 2nd, with Vettel nursing his car over the line for 3rd.
Both Red Bulls made good starts as Webber quickly closed the door on anyone trying to make a move down the inside into turn one - clearly not wanting a repeat of his mistake in Malaysia. Hamilton got a great start and arrived at speed on the inside into the thick of it, but Alonso took a wider line and held his former teammate off.
Not so lucky was Nico Rosberg starting 8th, he was pushed wide onto the grass by Kubica where he lost traction and several positions, compounded by a botched pit stop where the front-right wheel didn't go on properly and he had to be pushed back into the pit box.
Robert Kubica also got caught up with Pedro de la Rosa through the long turn three, costing the Pole time and the Spaniard a trip to the pits for a new set of tyres. A few laps later Pedro retired, citing damage from the first lap incident as the reason.
The first - and only - round of pitstops saw Lewis Hamilton gain a place on Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull drivers pit stop took several seconds longer than the Brits because of congestion in the pit lane. The German then took the outside line into the first corner as Hamilton exited the pits, and Timo Glock parked his Virgin right on the apex. Three into one didn't go, and Vettel took to the run off, surrendering the position.
A rejuvenated Michael Schumacher also gained a place during the pit stops on the other McLaren. And that's where Jenson Button stayed for the remainder of the race as the German comfortably dealt with anything that Button threw at him.
From there it was a two-pack race. Webber, Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso at the front, and Schumacher, Button and Massa for fifth. The Schumacher/Button battle held up the second pack which brought Sutil and Kubica into the mix.
The Catalan circuit lived up to it's reputation with little in the way of overtaking, but there was plenty of action. And Karun Chandhok was on the receiving end of most of it. First Feilpe Massa damaged his front wing when he tagged the back of the Indian driver's HRT while overtaking the backmarker. And a few laps later he was on the receiving end again as Jaime Alguersuari took the Indian drivers front wing off in an ill-timed move under blue flags.
Around 15 laps from the end Vettel ran wide through turn 7 and again at turn 13. He pitted for new tyres and over the radio the team said that his RB6 had brake problems. A message that was repeated to him a number of times as he nursed the car home.
Two laps from the end Lewis Hamilton was pitched into the wall when his MP4-25's front-left wheel delaminated. An incident of similar fate happened to Mika Hakkinen in 2001, where he suffered an engine failure on the final lap.
Vettel and Hamilton's incidents promoted Alonso to the second step of the podium in an otherwise quite race from Ferrari.
Adrian Sutil got the best of the rest, beating Kubica for 7th. Rubens Barrichello and local boy Jaime Alguersuari completed the top ten points paying positions.
It was fantastic to see Webber on top form today, he looked untouchable from the moment he hit the track in qualifying. He's had a couple of mistake strewn showings recently most noticeably in Australia, hopefully this will kickstart his championship challenge.
Jaime Alguersuari had an entertaining drive and finishing 10th and scoring points in his first home grand prix. He did get a big black mark for his clumsy incident overtaking Karun Chandhok, but it was careless more than anything else. But he didn't let his drive through penalty get him down and to recover to 10th was another encouraging race for the young Spaniard.
Largely missed by the television coverage both Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello had spirited drives. Sutil getting Force India back in the points after a disappointing Chinese Grand Prix. It's a far cry from last year for the Silverstone based team fighting for their first points, they've scored in every race bar China. Rubens made something from nothing today, he came through the field from 17th on the grid to 9th - while his rookie teammate fell from 13th on the grid to 16th at the finish.
But the Hulk wasn't the only driver having an anonymous race, there were a list as long as my arm! Ferrari, the both of them. Massa was absent all weekend wasn't he? Qualifying over six tenths slower than Alonso - not for the first time this year either, he will have to pull his socks up to ensure the rumours about a replacement don't come true. And Alonso, in his home race, I just expected something from him. He just never looked racy all afternoon, true he kept up with the front three's pace and inherited a podium from Vettel and Hamilton's problems, but really I expect more from the guys in scarlet.
The German chaps in silver were a bit of a let down too. To be honest everything that could have gone wrong in the race for Rosberg did, but at no time did he show much in the way of a flash of speed that the former Brawn guys promised. And neither did Schumacher.
Yes it's great that the seven-times world champion got the measure of his teammate, but how slow was he going in the race?!? It was almost laughable, especially as Button still couldn't get past him. Oh dear.
Well with first practice for the next race only four days away, and that race being no less than the Monaco Grand Prix, these big named drivers should be able to make a mends. Surely?
|1||M Webber||Red Bull||1:35:44.101|
|2||F Alonso||Ferrari||+24.0 secs|
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull||+51.3 secs|
|4||M Schumacher||Mercedes||+62.1 secs|
|5||J Button||McLaren||+63.7 secs|
|6||F Massa||Ferrari||+65.7 secs|
|7||A Sutil||Force India||+72.9 secs|
|8||R Kubica||Renault||+73.6 secs|
|9||R Barrichello||Williams||+1 lap|
|10||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|11||V Petrov||Renault||+1 lap|
|12||K Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||+1 lap|
|13||N Rosberg||Mercedes||+1 lap|
|DNF||L Hamilton||McLaren||+2 laps|
|DNF||V Liuzzi||Force India||+2 laps|
|16||N Hulkenberg||Williams||+2 laps|
|17||J Trulli||Lotus||+3 laps|
|18||T Glock||Virgin||+3 laps|
|19||L Di Grassi||Virgin||+4 laps|
|DNF||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+24 laps|
|DNF||K Chandhok||HRT||+39 laps|
|DNF||P De la Rosa||BMW Sauber||+48 laps|
|DNF||B Senna||HRT||+66 laps|
|NC||H Kovalainen||Lotus||+66 laps|
|2||R Barrichello||Brawn||+13.0 secs|
|3||M Webber||Red Bull||+13.9 secs|
|4||S Vettel||Red Bull||+18.9 secs|
|5||F Alonso||Renault||+43.1 secs|
|6||F Massa||Ferrari||+50.8 secs|
|7||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+52.3 secs|
|8||N Rosberg||Williams||+65.2 secs|
|9||L Hamilton||McLaren||+1 Lap|
|10||T Glock||Toyota||+1 Lap|
|11||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+1 Lap|
|12||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+1 Lap|
|13||K Nakajima||Williams||+1 Lap|
|14||G Fisichella||Force India||+1 Lap|
|DNF||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+48 Laps|
|DNF||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+57 Laps|
|DNF||J Trulli||Toyota||+66 Laps|
|DNF||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+66 Laps|
|DNF||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+66 Laps|
|DNF||A Sutil||Force India||+66 Laps|
|2||F Massa||Ferrari||+3.2 secs|
|3||L Hamilton||McLaren||+4.1 secs|
|4||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+5.6 secs|
|5||M Webber||Red Bull||+35.9 secs|
|6||J Button||Honda||+53.0 secs|
|7||K Nakajima||Williams||+58.2 secs|
|8||J Trulli||Toyota||+59.4 secs|
|9||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+63.0 secs|
|10||G Fisichella||Force India||+1 Lap|
|11||T Glock||Toyota||+1 Lap|
|12||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+1 Lap|
|13||T Sato||Super Aguri||+1 Lap|
|DNF||N Rosberg||Williams||+25 Laps|
|DNF||F Alonso||Renault||+32 Laps|
|DNF||R Barrichello||Honda||+32 Laps|
|DNF||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+45 Laps|
|DNF||A Davidson||Super Aguri||+58 Laps|
|DNF||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+59 Laps|
|DNF||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+60 Laps|
|DNF||A Sutil||Force India||+66 Laps|
|DNF||S Vettel||Toro Rosso||+66 Laps|