Alonso storms to victory in Barcelona
12 May 2013 – Fernando Alonso delivered a dominant performance during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix to claim victory on home soil. The Ferrari driver, who pitted four times, jumped from fifth to third on the opening lap and progressed to take the chequered flag ahead of the three-stopping Kimi Räikkönen and team-mate Felipe Massa.
Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg enjoyed a smooth getaway when the lights went out, holding his lead into the first corner. Just behind and having been slightly boxed-in, team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered a lock-up, losing out to Sebastian Vettel in the process. Moments later, Alonso surged past both Hamilton and Räikkönen around the outside of Turn 3, in what turned out to be a pair of decisive passes as the race developed.
As Hamilton continued to fall down the order, Rosberg did his best to keep the rampant Vettel and Alonso behind. The German succeeded until the first series of pit-stops, but a rapid turnaround from the Ferrari mechanics allowed Alonso to progress to second and apply a massive amount of pressure for the lead.
Alonso ultimately found a way past Rosberg with the use of DRS on Lap 13, pulling a bold move around the outside at the first corner. From this point onwards, the two-time World Champion never looked back, with his position being further secured when Massa progressed through the field to second.
Räikkönen’s opposing three-stop strategy allowed him to move back ahead of Massa in the closing stages, but Alonso was simply untouchable. Behind the top three finishers, Vettel experienced a quiet afternoon and fell away from the leading battle amid increased levels of tyre degradation, while Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber produced a spirited fight back to cross the line fifth after ending a disastrous opening lap back in 11th position.
The biggest battle in the closing stages was between Rosberg and Force India's Paul di Resta. The Mercedes driver managed to hold on for sixth at the chequered flag, but was clearly hindered by the high levels of tyre degradation that the team had been so wary of prior to the race start. Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez collected valuable points for McLaren in eighth and ninth, while Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten.
The race saw three retirements, with Romain Grosjean the first to fall as a result of suspension failure. Having led the Williams duo early on, Giedo van der Garde's day was ended shortly before half-distance when the left-rear wheel fell off his Caterham, while Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne picked up severe damage when Sauber rival Nico Hülkenberg was released into his path in the pits.
In the championship standings, Vettel still leads on a total of 89 points, but Räikkönen and Alonso have closed in significantly as the Formula 1 circus moves on to Monaco.
The sixth round of the 2013 season takes place in Monaco from 23-26 May, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report