Maldonado ends Williams drought in Barcelona

Maldonado ends Williams drought in Barcelona

13 May 2012 – Extending the remarkable start to the 2012 season, Pastor Maldonado has triumphed for Williams in the Spanish Grand Prix. He becomes the first Venezuelan to win in F1 history, having held off the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso as Kimi Räikkönen completed the podium for Lotus. The result marks Williams’ first victory since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix and five winning teams from as many races this year.

Alonso delights the crowd by leading again in Barcelona

Neutral Formula 1 fans could not have dreamed of such a start to the campaign, with any solid predictions for winners remaining impossible. At half past seven on Saturday night, Lewis Hamilton was disqualified as not enough fuel remained in his car for an FIA sample; this left Maldonado on a career-first pole position. Rain containing sand then hit Barcelona over night, threatening for a dusty off-line track today.

Under overcast skies but with rain holding off, the European season began with Alonso doing exactly what he had done in Barcelona last year – leading the race by the first corner, much to the delight of the Spanish crowd and despite a strong defence from Maldonado. Behind, Sergio Pérez was tagged by Romain Grosjean at Turn 3, resulting in a left-rear puncture and unscheduled pit-stop for the Sauber. Further back in the pack, the third corner was also the scene of a spin for Marussia’s Charles Pic.

Schumacher takes Senna out at the end of the main straight

Each making three stops, Alonso and Maldonado began their race-long duel with the Spaniard heading the pack; both sustained a strong pace, with the latter jumping ahead by pitting one lap earlier for his second stop. On the third visit to the pits, Williams made a small error but the 2010 GP2 Champion was still able to hold his advantage, then having to defend as Alonso moved in and out of DRS range. Following Grosjean’s final stop, the Frenchman dropped to fourth and released team-mate Räikkönen who doggedly zeroed in on the pair of leaders; the Finn was just sixth tenths of a second behind Alonso by the time the chequered flag fell.

Elsewhere in the race, Michael Schumacher was initially furious after slamming into the back of Bruno Senna’s Williams at the first corner. The seven-time World Champion, who last won in Spain eight years ago, appeared to dramatically misjudge his braking point when attempting to pass the Brazilian, who had been yet to pit and was running with significantly lower levels of grip; as Schumacher ended his race in the gravel trap, Senna was forced to stop with a puncture. Both men blamed one another.

A solid drive for Kamui Kobayashi included forceful moves on Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to bag a top five result in the closing stages; also making ground in the final third of the race was Sebastian Vettel, managing to overhaul Rosberg and prevent losing his now shared championship lead. The World Champion's day was hindered by a drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags; a punishment also taken by Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Both Red Bulls took on new front wings during the race, but Mark Webber was worst off and sunk back into the pack; despite his efforts, he could not steal the final point off Nico Hülkenberg’s Force India.

Bitterly disappointed to lose pole yesterday, Hamilton fought in determined fashion to rise to as high as fourth place from the very back of the field, prior to his first stop. Later in the race, despite hitting an errant wheel when leaving a pit-stop, he would begin to suffer for adhesion but was still able to beat team-mate Button; his charge ended in eighth position, just metres behind Rosberg’s Mercedes. Joining Schumacher and Senna on the sidelines were Narain Karthikeyan and the aforementioned Pic, as well as Pérez who suffered a loose wheel after a pit-stop and was forced to pull over.

Before today, the best F1 finish for a Venezuelan had been sixth place for Johnny Cecotto, driving for Theodore in the 1983 Grand Prix of Long Beach. As Alonso’s tyres went off the cliff in the closing minutes, the winning margin extended to 3.1 seconds which comfortably allowed for Williams’ 114th Grand Prix victory; an ideal way to end the celebration weekend of Sir Frank’s 70th birthday. 27-year-old Maldonado is now ninth in the drivers’ standings, with his team moving up to joint fifth position with Mercedes-Benz. The fight for the 2012 titles is still wide open.


The dramatic and unpredictable 2012 Formula 1 season continues on the legendary Monte Carlo street circuit in a fortnight’s time

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Friday 24 October 2014

  2. Caterham handed over to administrators 12:10

    Caterham handed over to administrators

    The Caterham Formula 1 team's management has decided to step back and hand over to administrators, in the wake of a public...

    F1
  3. Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race 09:41

    Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race

    Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg take part in a different kind of battle.

    F1
  4. 09:39

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  5. Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang 09:38

    Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang

    Dani Pedrosa set the standard on the first day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The Repsol Honda rider...

    MotoGP
  6. F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test 07:28

    F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test

    Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon has completed his maiden Formula 1 test with Lotus after receiving two days of running in...

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight 05:03

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa picks his fondest Malaysian Grand Prix memory ahead of this year's event.

    MotoGP
  8. Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut 04:16

    Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut

    Roy Nissany described his first experience of Formula 1 machinery as "amazing" after enjoying a day of testing with the...

    F1
  9. Thursday 23 October 2014

  10. Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims 19:39

    Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims

    Caterham buyer Engavest "strongly refutes allegations" made by Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald,...

    F1
  11. Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer 15:58

    Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer

    Tony Fernandes says the Caterham F1 team's buyer is fully responsible for the ongoing problems at Leafield, claiming that it...

    F1
  12. Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief 15:00

    Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief

    Ramon Aurin will replace Mike Leitner as Dani Pedrosa's Race Engineer next season. The Repsol Honda rider confirmed...

    MotoGP
  13. Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1 13:21

    Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1

    The consortium that purchased Caterham F1 at the end of June has insisted that Tony Fernandes did not transfer the relevant...

    F1
  14. Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory 11:54

    Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory

    Further doubt has been cast over Caterham's ability to contest the remainder of the 2014 Formula 1 season after staff...

    F1
  15. MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015 10:55

    MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015

    The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has published a provisional entry list for the 2015 MotoGP season, with the...

    MotoGP
  16. Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia 10:13

    Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia

    Adderly Fong completed his maiden Formula 1 test on Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Sauber's two-year-old C31 in...

    F1
  17. Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up 09:43

    Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up

    Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez have been confirmed on the line-up for the upcoming Austin Fans' F...

    F1
  18. Video of the Day: Racing without a driver 05:08

    Video of the Day: Racing without a driver

    A driverless Audi RS 7 was recently sent out to tackle the Hockenheim circuit. Find out how it fared.

    Misc
  19. Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia 04:47

    Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia

    Amlin Aguri has confirmed that António Félix da Costa will partner Katherine Legge for the second round of the Formula E s...

    Formula E
  20. Wednesday 22 October 2014

  21. Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit

    Caterham's new bosses have warned that they could be forced to step away from the F1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes...

    F1
  22. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  23. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  24. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  25. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  26. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  27. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  28. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  29. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  30. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  31. 16:03

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  32. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  33. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  34. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  35. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
  36. Video: Miami welcomes Formula E 09:30

    Video: Miami welcomes Formula E

    Watch as the track layout for the Miami ePrix, scheduled to take place on March 14 next year, is revealed.

    Formula E
  37. Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout 09:22

    Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout

    Miami has become the latest Formula E host to reveal its track layout for the electric championship. Produced by track...

    Formula E
  38. Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season 09:07

    Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season

    Pons Racing has confirmed that Óscar Tunjo will remain with the team in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next year. The...

    FR 3.5
  39. Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C 05:11

    Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C

    Williams reserve Felipe Nasr sampled Keke Rosberg's 1983 FW08C at the team's Partner Day at Silverstone.

    F1
  40. Monday 20 October 2014

  41. Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel 17:54

    Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel

    Former Formula 1 team bosses Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali have joined the FIA's new Accident Panel, which has been put...

    F1
  42. Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races 17:14

    Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races

    Moscow Raceway has been granted an FIA Grade 1 licence, allowing it to stage Formula 1 races. The track, located some...

    Misc
  43. Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions 15:04

    Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions

    Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to compete at the Race Of Champions after signing up for this year's event...

    F1
  44. De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS 14:43

    De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS

    McLaren junior Nyck de Vries will compete in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with reigning champion team DAMS next...

    FR 3.5
  45. Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin 13:58

    Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin

    Lotus will test a new nose during practice for the United States Grand Prix, as the team looks to finalise its design for...

    F1
more news