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. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Monday 20 October 2014

  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory 13:23

    Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory

    Valentino Rossi says choosing the extra-soft Bridgestone front tyre was crucial to his second victory of the season at...

    MotoGP
  17. Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015 10:08

    Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015

    Force India has confirmed that Nico Hülkenberg will continue to race for the team next season. Hülkenberg, 27, returned t...

    F1
  18. Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar 09:19

    Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar

    The World Series by Renault package, which includes Formula Renault 3.5, will return to Silverstone and Le Mans next...

    FR 3.5
  19. Sainz Jr. elated by championship success 07:22

    Sainz Jr. elated by championship success

    Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. hailed his "incredible" season after he succeeded Kevin Magnussen as Formula Renault 3.5...

    FR 3.5
  20. Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title 05:04

    Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title

    Mercedes celebrates its first Formula 1 Constructors' success at its bases in Brackley and Brixworth.

    F1
  21. Sunday 19 October 2014

  22. DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test 20:39

    DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test

    Marco Wittmann will receive a Formula 1 test with Toro Rosso as his reward from BMW for winning this year's DTM...

    DTM
  23. Verstappen ends F3 season in third place 17:11

    Verstappen ends F3 season in third place

    Future Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen has finished his sole FIA Formula 3 European campaign in third place after losing...

    F1
  24. Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream 14:30

    Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream

    Robert Kubica says he has not yet given up on the prospect of returning to Formula 1 at some point in the future and will...

    F1
  25. 13:38

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Jerez

    FR 3.5
  26. Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez 13:37

    Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez

    Oliver Rowland claimed victory in the final race of the Formula Renault 3.5 season as he controlled proceedings throughout...

    FR 3.5
  27. 09:20

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Phillip Island

    MotoGP
  28. Márquez 'not on the limit' before crash 09:19

    Márquez 'not on the limit' before crash

    World Champion Marc Márquez says he was not riding on the limit when he crashed out of the lead in the Australian Grand Prix...

    MotoGP
  29. Rossi wins incident-packed race in Australia 06:50

    Rossi wins incident-packed race in Australia

    Valentino Rossi claimed his second win of the year in an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix after World Champion Marc...

    MotoGP
  30. Video of the Day: Pedrosa on Phillip Island 03:00

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa on Phillip Island

    Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa chose his fondest Phillip Island memory ahead of Sunday's race at the track.

    MotoGP
  31. Saturday 18 October 2014

  32. 13:52

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Saturday at Jerez

    FR 3.5
  33. Stevens wins, Sainz Jr. clinches title 13:51

    Stevens wins, Sainz Jr. clinches title

    Carlos Sainz Jr. clinched the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 championship at the very first corner of the final round in Jerez...

    FR 3.5
  34. Ecclestone: Las Vegas targeting Formula 1 race 09:32

    Ecclestone: Las Vegas targeting Formula 1 race

    Bernie Ecclestone says a Formula 1 race could be held on the streets of Las Vegas in the future. Ecclestone has long seen...

    F1
  35. 07:54

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Phillip Island

    MotoGP
  36. Márquez flies to pole position in Australia 06:21

    Márquez flies to pole position in Australia

    MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island ahead of Ducati...

    MotoGP
  37. Video of the Day: Bottas let loose in FW18 05:07

    Video of the Day: Bottas let loose in FW18

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was given the opportunity to drive the FW18, Damon Hill's World Championship-winning car...

    F1
  38. Friday 17 October 2014

  39. Button will only stay in F1 with 'competitive' car 16:13

    Button will only stay in F1 with 'competitive' car

    Jenson Button could move to endurance racing if he fails to land a competitive Formula 1 seat for 2015. Fernando Alonso,...

    F1
  40. Andretti: Vettel can return Ferrari to the front 16:03

    Andretti: Vettel can return Ferrari to the front

    Former F1 World Champion Mario Andretti believes that Sebastian Vettel has what it takes to galvanise Ferrari and end the...

    F1
  41. Status GP takes over Caterham GP2 team 14:23

    Status GP takes over Caterham GP2 team

    Status Grand Prix has acquired the Caterham GP2 outfit from ex-F1 team boss Tony Fernandes. The squad will continue to...

    GP2
  42. Pirelli changes Brazil tyre nomination 12:15

    Pirelli changes Brazil tyre nomination

    Pirelli has altered its tyre nomination for next month's Brazilian Grand Prix, amid fears over safety. After initially...

    F1
  43. Fong, Nissany to test Sauber F1 car 11:36

    Fong, Nissany to test Sauber F1 car

    Adderly Fong and Roy Nissany will test a two-year-old Sauber Formula 1 car in Valencia next week. The team has set aside...

    F1
  44. Video: Räikkönen clinches 2007 title 11:32

    Video: Räikkönen clinches 2007 title

    Kimi Räikkönen celebrates his 35th birthday on Friday. To mark the occasion, look back at the moment the Finn clinched the 2...

    F1
  45. Räikkönen says he could continue into 2016 11:21

    Räikkönen says he could continue into 2016

    Former World Champion Kimi Räikkönen says he will "probably" remain at Ferrari for another two seasons, reaffirming that he i...

    F1
more news