Alonso cruises to victory in tyre dominated Spanish Grand Prix

Alonso cruises to victory in tyre dominated Spanish Grand Prix
Red is the dominant colour on the Spanish GP podium

Alonso cruises to victory in tyre dominated Spanish Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso took control early in the race as the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg fell away after leading in the opening laps. Alonso made a good start and was soon in control at the front after which he executed his four stop strategy to perfection to cruise to a comfortable victory over second placed Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus E21. To make Ferrari’s day complete Alonso was joined on the rostrum by team mate Felipe Massa who recovered from a grid penalty to drive a solid race into third place.

The race was dominated by tyre strategy almost to the point of creating a boring procession in which the drivers were unable to exploit the machinery at their disposal to race against each other. Rather they were forced to drive at a pace that preserved their fragile tyres. An indication of this can be gained by the fact that the fastest lap set by Esteban Gutierrez of 1m 26.217s on lap 56 was over 5 seconds slower than Rosberg’s pole position time.

The Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were powerless on this occasion to fight at the front against the Ferrari’s and Alonso with Vettel finishing 38 seconds adrift in fourth place and Webber fifth a further 10 seconds down the road.

Pole position man Nico Rosberg rounded out the top six unable to sustain his qualifying performance in race trim. For team mate Lewis Hamilton the situation was far worse as he finished down in 12th place and heard to utter over the radio that he ‘couldn’t drive any slower’.

Paul Di Resta finished a creditable seventh in the Force India VJM06 and has begun to outshine his team mate Adrian Sutil who made such a strong start to the season but on this occasion could only manage 13th place. Despite their obvious woes with the errant MP4-28 Jenson Button and Sergio Perez did at least manage to make it into the top ten in eighth and ninth places bringing a small smile to the faces of the team in the process, there is however a very long way to go. You have to wonder if McLaren will cut their losses soon and ramp up development of their 2014 car as this year’s championships look to already be well beyond their reach.

Daniel Ricciardo closed out the top ten for Toro Rosso collecting the final point in the process.

Today’s result moves Raikkonen to within four points of Sebastian Vettel’s 89 point total with Alonso in third place on 72 points. ¬†Lewis Hamilton is fourth but looking increasingly distant on 50 points. Red Bull retains a comfortable lead in the constructors race with 131 points to Ferrari’s 117.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said after the race that Pirelli will be making changes to the compounds as today’s four stop race was not what they had envisaged although it is unlikely the changes will happen before the British Grand Prix.

Certainly Pirelli has helped to spice up the show by introducing tyre strategy but I have to say after this race it has now gone way too far. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and no one wants to see the best drivers in the world ambling around the circuit trying to conserve tyres to the extent that they are truly in a performance comfort zone. Something has to change and fast!

2013 Spanish Grand Prix Result

2013 Spanish Grand Prix Result
Grand Prix of Spain | 12/05/2013 | Circuit de Catalunya | Circuit Length 4.655 Km | Laps 66 | Total Distance 307.23 Km
PosDriverTeamTimeGapPoints
1Fernando AlonsoFerrari1h, 39m, 16.596s25
2Kimi RaikkonenLotus1h, 39m, 25.934s18
3Felipe MassaFerrari1h, 39m, 42.645s15
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull1h, 39m, 54.869s12
5Mark WebberRed Bull1h, 40m, 04.559s10
6Nico RosbergMercedes1h, 40m, 24.616s8
7Paul Di-RestaForce India1h, 40m, 25.584s6
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1h, 40m, 36.102s4
9Sergio PerezMcLaren1h, 40m, 38.334s2
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1h, 39m, 22.402s1 Lap1
11Esteban GutierrezSauber1h, 39m, 02.706s1 Lap
12Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h, 39m, 27.565s1 Lap
13Adrian SutilForce India1h, 39m, 28.040s1 Lap
14Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1h, 39m, 45.740s1 Lap
15Nico HulkenbergSauber1h, 39m, 47.162s1 Lap
16Valtteri BottasWilliams1h, 40m, 36.040s1 Lap
17Charles PicCaterham1h, 40m, 37.441s1 Lap
18Jules BianchiMarussia1h, 39m, 20.860s2 Laps
19Max ChiltonMarussia1h, 39m, 48.230s2 Laps
20Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1h, 20m, 56.042sRetired
21Giedo Van Der GardeCaterham0h, 34m, 58.166sRetired
22Romain GrosjeanLotus0h, 12m, 59.356sRetired

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