Spanish Grand Prix – Race

The first of the European races could be interesting thanks to Alonso’s comments (see Practice notes) and a strange grid (Qualifying notes)

Provisional grid: LH, PM, FA, RG, KR, SP, NR, SV, MS, KK, JB, MW, PRe, NH, JV, DR, FM, BS, VP, HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK* (*outside of 107% time)

My GridBids picks for this weekend: JB, LH, FM, FA, NR & NH

Air temperature 22°C, track 33°C; windy again but not as strong as it was in Qualifying.

LH stopped his car on track after his qualifying lap; he was excluded from qualifying because “the F1 rules require the car to return to the pits with one litre of fuel on board – running less fuel gives a performance advantage.” [source: BBC]

Revised grid: PM, FA, RG, KR, SP, NR, SV, MS, KK, JB, MW, PRe, NH, JV, DR, FM, BS, VP, HK, CP, TG, PRo, NK, LH

Expectation is 3 stops, with the options only lasting 12-15 laps

PM leads everyone away on the formation lap … once he passes FA who jumped off the grid very quickly
Radio for JB – everyone is starting on options

01/66: FA takes P1 in to Turn 1
Contact – SP has a puncture
SV down the inside of KK

02: FA, PM, KR, NR, RG, MS, SV, JB, KK, JV (LH P20)
MS takes a look as RG locks up into Turn 1
SP has made it back to the pits
CP spins – fortunately everyone misses him

03: FA not opening much of a lead over PM
PM fastest lap 1:30.597
LH attacking BS – passes him for P17
Replay from lap 1 shows SP cutting back onto the track right in front of LH, who has to dive off track to avoid hitting him

04: FA f/lap 1:30.202
SP f/lap 1:29.533 on primes

05/66: FA, PM, KR, NR, RG, MS, SV, JB, KK, JV (LH P17)
Radio for FM encouraging him to pass JV to get in the points
LH takes P16 from HK

06: Radio from FA says left front tyre is graining

07: MS pits – early stop for primes

08: SV pits – primes – rejoins just ahead of TG
MW locks up as the HRT of PRo in front of him brakes early for a turn

09: KK pits; rejoins ahead of MW
LH attacking NH for P12
NH runs a little wide and the McLaren steals the spot

10/66: Pit stops for NR, JB, PRe

11: FA pits from P1 – clean stop
RG & MS stop too, as do JV, FM, NH, VP, PRo

12: PM pits from P1 – slow into his box
KR pits from P2
RG shoulders his way past BS – contact

13: FA f/lap 1:29.149
MS runs into the rear of BS – MS off into the gravel – BS’s Williams badly damaged, trying to limp back to pits

15/66: LH pits from P4 – runs over rear wheel gun!
McLaren still have problems with the pit crew 🙁
Replay shows it was the old rear wheel which hadn’t been moved out the way!

16: RG uses DRS to take P4 from NR
Radio from LH asking what he hit in pit lane – told it was a tyre, don’t worry

17: Replay of MS ploughing through the back of BS – definitely MS’s fault, but will the stewards investigate/penalise him?
PRe passes MW for P9 – looks like the Red Bull has a problem
JV, FM & LH all pass MW
Red Bull pit crew getting a new nose cone ready

18: MW pits – rejoins P17

19: Radio for JB – moving to “Plan B”

20/66: FA, PM, KR, RG, NR, SV, JB, KK, PRe, JV (LH P12); retirements BS, MS
FA laps NK (22)
MW f/lap 1:29.140

21: SP f/lap 1:28.605

22: FA has a 1.5sec lead over PM
LH closing on FM
Incident involving cars 1 and 6 (SV & FM) under investigation

23: NR pits
Incident involving MS and BS will be investigated after the race

24: LH right on the gearbox of FM, taking a look in to Turn 1 but has to go round the outside, can’t make the pass

25/66: BBC interview MS – the liar claims BS was weaving under braking and MS (the hero in his tale) tried to avoid him; yeah, sure

26: NK parked at end of pit lane
Radio from JB – big flat spot on front left
JB pits from P6 – options – rejoins P10
FA shakes his hand as he laps

27: FA pits from P1 – rejoins P2
PM f/lap 1:27.906
RG pits, as does KK
Replay shows JV trying to pass round the outside of PRe; Force India uses whole track and JV has to run wide

28: KR and SV pit
LH still trying to pass FM
Drive through penalties for SV & FM – failing to slow for yellow flags

29: FM serves drive through penalty, releasing LH

30/66: PM, FA, KR, RG, LH, SV, NR, JB, KK, NH; retirements NK, BS, MS
PM has 7.0sec lead
JB right up under the wing of NR’s Mercedes
FM pits

31: SV serves his drive through penalty

33/66 = half distance

34: KK dives down the inside and steals P7 from JB
Radio from LH – tyres are going off badly now … but then he’s the only one to have only stopped once so far

35/66: PM, FA, KR, RG, LH, NR, KK, JB, SV, NH
KK closing on NR

36: LH pits – primes – with 30 laps left, surely he has to stop again
Drive through penalty for car 25 (CP) – ignoring blue flags

37: Radio for PM, reminding him to look after his tyres
Radio for LH says they’re not stopping again (or is that a bluff?)

38: CP serves his drive through penalty … except he parks it in the garage

39: SV attacks around the outside and takes P7 from JB
KK still hounding NR for P5
JB pits – primes – rejoins P15

40/66: LH fights his way past DR and JV
Replay of SP pit stop – shows rear right mechanic slips, pulled clear of car by teammate; they wave SP away … but then he parks the car part way round the lap

41: JB pushing FM hard for P13
FM dives past PRe and JB follows him through
JB outbrakes FM and takes the position

42: PM pits from P1 – slow stop – rejoins P3, but that should be his last stop
KK pits

43: SV pits – new nose cone = slow stop – drops from P6 to P10

45/66: FA, KR, PM, RG, NR, KK, LH, JB, FM, SV; retirements SP, CP, NK, BS, MS
FA pits from P1 – rejoins behind PM
MW f/lap 1:27.857

46: PM is stuck behind KR, which is helping FA catch up – the Lotus should pit soon, surely?
FM pits

47: PM uses DRS to reclaim P1
FA f/lap 1:27.390 – he’s about 1.5sec behind PM
Now FA is looking to pass KR, so in the meantime PM is re-opening his lead

48: FA uses DRS to pass KR and take P2

49: KR pits

50/66: PM, FA, RG, KR, NR, KK, LH, JB, SV, NH

52: FA is under 1sec behind PM
KR f/lap 1:26.938
RG pits from P4 – rejoins still P4

53: FM jumps out the way and let the leaders lap him

54: RG f/lap 1:26.250

55/60: PM’s lead is 1.3sec

56: FA closes to 0.9sec, which means he can use DRS if he can maintain that gap to PM

57: KR is closing on FA by about 1.5sec/lap so he should just about catch FA on the last lap

58: Radio for FA – use “press to pass”; “keep it on until I tell you” – which (I think) means he’ll have full power to attack PM

59: SV makes a fairly easy pass on JB to take P8

60/66: PM, FA, KR, RG, NR, KK, LH, SV, JB, NH; retirements SP, CP, NK, BS, MS
PM’s lead has opened to 1.4sec; KR still closing on FA but the gap is 11.4sec

61: KK takes a look down the inside of NR – tap wheels
KK has another look – this time he takes P5 from the Mercedes
MW attacking NH but can’t make it stick

62: SV closing right up to LH
Radio for LH telling him to look after his tyres
SV pushing hard

63: LH looking tidy, holding off SV but the Red Bull can use DRS and that’s an easy pass for P7

64: FA falling away from PM – 2.4sec gap now
Looks like FA is struggling with his tyres

65: KR has closed to 4.4sec behind FA
SV storms past NR to steal P6
Radio for KR encouraging him to push … in case that hadn’t occurred to him!

66=final lap: PM has 3.3sec lead over FA, who has KR just 2.3sec behind him
PM takes the chequered flag – first Venezuelan to win a Grand Prix – 5th winner in 5 races this season – first Williams victory since Brazil 2004
FA stays ahead of KR to take P2
P4=RG, 5=K, 6=SV
NR only just fends off a late attack from LH

Provisional result: PM, FA, KR, RG, KK, SV, NR, LH, JB, NH; MW, JV, DR, PRe, FM, HK, VP, TG, PRo.