Well, before we even saw them line up in the grid on Sunday, we had already seen that Qualifying has become a total farce. Cars doing one lap because they have to save their tyres for the race! Schumacher has gone down on record to say that the “racing” is no longer full on, but just tyre management. I agree, and so do millions of other spectators. It is the difference between “racing” and a high speed parade.
It is impossible to write about the Spanish GP without heaping praise on Pastor Maldonado in his Williams. The Venezuelan has shown speed before, but rather erratic, but this time he drove an exemplary race, able to stay in front of Alonso’s Ferrari quite comfortably, as the Spaniard’s tyres went off song (see the opening paragraph!) and he was unable to mount a challenge. His team mate Felipe Massa may as well have been in some other team as he did not provide anything for Ferrari, other than embarrassment. Massa must go, and he should fall on his sword before he gets given the DCM (Don’t Come Monday) by Ferrari.
Maldonado’s team mate was another dragging the chain, qualifying amongst the hopeless tiddlers and finally getting rear-ended by Michael Schumacher on lap 12. This is the second time Schumacher has done this and I wonder if his depth perception is going off. Quite possible at his age. However, the stewards were not impressed and Schumi has been given a five grid place penalty for the next Grand Prix (Monaco May 27). Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes trundled round and round finishing seventh before falling asleep.
The Williams team celebration was cut short on the Sunday night when there was a fire in their garage. The weekend was also Sir Frank’s 70th birthday. Perhaps an errant candle from the cake?
“Lotus” (nee Renault) is certainly now in the top group, with laughing boy Raikkonen keeping everyone amused with his quips in the post-race interviews. When asked what he said to Finnish viewers he replied, “It’s Mothers’ Day in Finland. I had nothing else to say to Finnish viewers.” Third and fourth (Grosjean) shows that they are now very close to a win.
Sauber had a mixed day, but Kobayashi’s fifth place was the result of KK’s usual spirited driving. Sergio Perez did not have a good day. A mechanic tripped over a tyre during a pit stop, delaying his release and then the transmission failed.
Normally front running McLaren did not have a good weekend. Lewis Hamilton was demoted after qualifying on pole as he did not return to the pits under his own power, to line up for fuel sampling. OK, so it is an FIA rule, but in my opinion, a stupid one (to add to the other hundred or so nonsensical rules) and the penalty far too heavy. Hamilton’s running mate Jenson Button had more than a bad hair day, it was a bad hair weekend. Was it the car? Was it Jenson?
And what happened to the famous Red Bull finger? Current WDC Sebastian Vettel was another of the trundling team. Always in the top 10 but not shining in any way, and collecting a drive through penalty for not slowing for a yellow flag. Team mate Mark Webber did another of his now famous reverse gear starts and then slowly made his way towards the top 11, but could not pass a Force India.
The rest were never really in the race, and Charles Pic in the Marussia won’t be getting a Xmas card from Alonso after holding the Spanish driver up for one complete lap.