Hamilton sent to back as Maldonado takes pole
12 May 2012 – Pastor Maldonado has been promoted to a career-first pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. Following a lengthy and tense stewards’ investigation on Saturday evening, it was deemed that original pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton was not carrying enough fuel for a sample. Williams therefore takes its first pole since Brazil 2010.
Sensationally, an already dramatic grid has been reshuffled, with stewards deeming that Hamilton was not carrying enough fuel for an FIA sample. Sporting regulations clearly state that all cars must have at least one litre of fuel left in their tanks after qualifying and that they should be able to return to the pits without assistance.
Having stopped on his slowing down lap after clinching McLaren’s 150th pole position, the team reported that the reason was a technical problem. However, as the evening continued members of the squad all but admitted that a fuel-related issue was the sole reason for the investigation.
Although Hamilton had 1.3 litres remaining in his fuel cell, F1 governing body the FIA has explained that the 'technical problem' suggested by the team was not an excusable reason for stopping. Many argue that this is a basic error from McLaren, who at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix were fined for purposely stopping on the slowing down lap in order to save fuel; Hamilton had taken pole on that occasion as well.
As Williams celebrates the 70th birthday of Team Principal Sir Frank, the Grove team is on its first pole position since Nico Hülkenberg did the honours in Brazil two years ago. To the delight of the Spanish crowd, Fernando Alonso is elevated to a front row position for Ferrari, with Romain Grosjean and Kimi Räikkönen making up an all-Lotus Row 2. All other runners also move up by one position.
Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report