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. Monday 1 September 2014

  2. 11:13

    Photos: 2014 VKV City Racing Rotterdam

    F1
  3. Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion 11:07

    Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion

    Álex Márquez, the younger brother of reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc, will step up to the Moto2 class with the Mark VDS R...

    MotoGP
  4. Force India duo confident over Monza chances 10:37

    Force India duo confident over Monza chances

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez are hopeful of putting together a more competitive showing at this w...

    F1
  5. Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013 09:14

    Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he had a "score to settle" with Jorge Lorenzo at this year's British Grand Prix, having...

    MotoGP
  6. Monza memories: Button caught out at restart 05:00

    Monza memories: Button caught out at restart

    Relive the drama as Jenson Button is caught out by a slow Safety Car restart at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix.

    F1
  7. Sunday 31 August 2014

  8. Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable 15:57

    Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable

    Mikhail Aleshin will remain in hospital but his condition has been upgraded to stable following his huge IndyCar practice...

    Indy
  9. Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run 15:42

    Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run

    Dutch youngster Max Verstappen has had a minor crash during his first public Formula 1 outing at the VKV City Racing event...

    F1
  10. Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley 14:31

    Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley

    Williams Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley says the team plans to retain current drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri...

    F1
  11. 13:51

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  12. Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014 13:50

    Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014

    Marc Márquez came out on top in a battle with Jorge Lorenzo to claim his 11th victory of the season in the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  13. Lotterer open to more Caterham outings 11:49

    Lotterer open to more Caterham outings

    André Lotterer says he is open to more Formula 1 outings with Caterham, having made his debut in the sport with the team at...

    F1
  14. Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes 10:09

    Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes

    Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi is adamant that there is 'plenty to look forward to' at Lotus, despite the squad...

    F1
  15. 06:00

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Fontana

    Indy
  16. Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana 05:54

    Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana

    Will Power's voice cracked audibly as he spoke to his team on the cool-down laps at Fontana on Saturday night.  Three times...

    Indy
  17. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault 05:00

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault

    Renault drivers receive an unexpected, special welcome whilst arriving at a supermarket car park.

    F1
  18. Saturday 30 August 2014

  19. 18:24

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  20. Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole 15:01

    Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions...

    MotoGP
  21. Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend 13:18

    Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend

    Pastor Maldonado is anticipating a tough time for Lotus as Formula 1 heads to the high-speed Monza for next weekend's...

    F1
  22. 12:30

    Photos: Red Bull's 50 Formula 1 wins

    F1
  23. Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone 10:48

    Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone

    Marc Márquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before...

    MotoGP
  24. Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition 10:09

    Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition

    SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin is in a 'serious but stable' condition following a violent accident during practice for...

    Indy
  25. Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy 05:00

    Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy

    View the winner's trophy for this year's Singapore Grand Prix, inspired by the Singapore Airlines logo.

    F1
  26. Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash 04:50

    Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash

    Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California after a violent...

    Indy
  27. Friday 29 August 2014

  28. Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole 23:57

    Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

    Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the...

    Indy
  29. 23:57

    Latest IndyCar photos: Friday at Fontana

    Indy
  30. IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport 20:17

    IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport

    IndyCar confirmed today that the Houston street course would not be a part of the 2015 schedule.   Twice a sight of...

    Indy
  31. Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight 19:51

    Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight

    The MAVTV 500 at Fontana will be the ninth consecutive time that the last race of the year will determine the champion, and...

    Indy
  32. 16:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  33. Márquez stays fastest in second practice 15:26

    Márquez stays fastest in second practice

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez remained in charge during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  34. Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks 14:53

    Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks

    Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have publicly responded to the clear-the-air talks staged at the team's...

    F1
  35. Ex-Caterham staff start legal action 14:26

    Ex-Caterham staff start legal action

    Ex-Caterham staff have started legal action against the F1 team's new owners, claiming unfair dismissal. Having...

    F1
  36. Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam 14:04

    Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam

    Max Verstappen made his first public outing in Formula 1 machinery on Friday, the 16-year-old getting behind the wheel of a...

    F1
  37. Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash 13:07

    Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash

    Nico Rosberg has "acknowledged his responsibility" and apologised for clashing with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at last...

    F1
  38. Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice 11:08

    Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice

    Marc Márquez set the pace during Friday morning's opening practice session for the British Grand Prix at...

    MotoGP
  39. Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso 09:44

    Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso

    Newly-signed Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen, son of ex-Formula 1 star Jos, claims that his driving style is closest to...

    F1
  40. 09:30

    Photos: Kovalainen drives DTM car

    DTM
  41. Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test 09:29

    Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test

    Ex-Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen made his DTM testing debut with BMW on Thursday, getting behind...

    DTM
  42. Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood 05:00

    Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood

    Watch highlights from Lewis Hamilton's visit to this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    F1
  43. Thursday 28 August 2014

  44. 16:11

    Photos: Márquez crosses the River Thames

    MotoGP
  45. Accident at Toro Rosso construction site 14:53

    Accident at Toro Rosso construction site

    Toro Rosso says two construction workers have been injured while working on a new factory building. The outfit reports...

    F1
more news