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 Result2013 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
|1||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1h, 39m, 16.596s||25|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus||1h, 39m, 25.934s||18|
|3||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||1h, 39m, 42.645s||15|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1h, 39m, 54.869s||12|
|5||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1h, 40m, 04.559s||10|
|6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1h, 40m, 24.616s||8|
|7||Paul Di-Resta||Force India||1h, 40m, 25.584s||6|
|8||Jenson Button||McLaren||1h, 40m, 36.102s||4|
|9||Sergio Perez||McLaren||1h, 40m, 38.334s||2|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1h, 39m, 22.402s||1 Lap||1|
|11||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||1h, 39m, 02.706s||1 Lap|
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1h, 39m, 27.565s||1 Lap|
|13||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1h, 39m, 28.040s||1 Lap|
|14||Pastor Maldonado||Williams||1h, 39m, 45.740s||1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber||1h, 39m, 47.162s||1 Lap|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||1h, 40m, 36.040s||1 Lap|
|17||Charles Pic||Caterham||1h, 40m, 37.441s||1 Lap|
|18||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||1h, 39m, 20.860s||2 Laps|
|19||Max Chilton||Marussia||1h, 39m, 48.230s||2 Laps|
|20||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1h, 20m, 56.042s||Retired|
|21||Giedo Van Der Garde||Caterham||0h, 34m, 58.166s||Retired|
|22||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||0h, 12m, 59.356s||Retired|