Pastor Maldonado was a surprise but popular winner at tonight’s Spanish Grand Prix. It’s the first win for Williams since the 2004 Brazilian GP and the return of Renault power to Williams has taken just five races to bear fruit. Maldonado is now the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One Grand Prix.
Following the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton from pole position, Maldonado inherited P1 on the grid. When the race began, though, he was powerless to stop a determined Fernando Alonso off the line. Maldonado had surrendered the lead by the end of the first corner.
However, the Williams still had good race pace and the decision by the team to bring in the 27-year-old early for a tyre change proved to be the race winning move. Alonso came in a full lap later to cover Maldonado’s but had lost crucial time behind backmarkers, while Maldonado enjoyed a clear run on his out lap.
After the final pit stop for the leading pair Alonso brought his Ferrari within one second of Maldonado but could not find the pace to take the lead. In the end Maldonado won by 3.1 seconds.
Third place was claimed by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, who had managed to use his fresher tyres to close within just 0.6 seconds of Alonso by the end of the race. Although, a move into second place was never likely for Kimi, but with another lap or two it would have been a different story.
The first three enjoyed a mostly trouble free race; the action was mid-pack with plenty of close running throughout the field from P4 down.
Early in the race Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna came to grief when Michael collected the rear of Bruno’s car trying to overtake at the end of the main straight. Schumacher claimed Senna moved across him and the stewards will sort out the aftermath.
Red Bull had their hopes for a climb through the field thwarted by front nose cone trouble. Both drivers had to come in to have their front nose/wing assemblies changed. Vettel did manage to recover to finish in sixth place, while Webber was just out of the points in P11.
Daniel Ricciardo was also beaten by his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, with the Toro Rosso duo finishing out of the points in P12 and P13.
In the fifth race of the year, then, Maldonado and Williams become the fifth driver/manufacturer to taste victory. That’s the first time that has happened since 1983, as this riveting 2012 F1 season continues.
Full results and championship standings available after the break.
2012 Spanish Grand Prix final placings
- Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 66 laps
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +3.1
- Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen (Lotus) +3.8
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +14.7
- Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) +64.6 secs
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) +67.5
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) +77.9
- Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) +78.1
- Jenson Button (McLaren) +85.
- Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +1 lap
- Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) +1 lap
- Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) +1 lap
- Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) +1 lap
- Paul di Resta (Force India) +1 lap
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +1 lap
- Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham) +1 lap
- Vitaly Petrov (Caterham) +1 lap
- Timo Glock (Marussia) +2 laps
- Pedro de la Rosa (HRT) +3 laps
Sergio Perez (Sauber) +29 laps
Charles Pic (Marussia) +31 laps
Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) +44 laps
Bruno Senna (Williams) Accident damage
Michael Schumacher (Mercedes AMG) Accident
Fastest lap: Romain Grosjean (Lotus), 1:26.250 (lap 53)
2012 World Championship (Drivers’ top 10) â€“ Round 5
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) â€“ 61
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) â€“ 61
- Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) â€“ 53
- Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen (Lotus) â€“ 49
- Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) â€“ 48
- Jenson Button (McLaren) â€“ 45
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG) â€“ 41
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus) â€“ 35
- Pastor Maldonado (Williams) â€“ 29
- Sergio Perez (Sauber) â€“ 22
2012 World Championship (Constructors’) â€“ Round 5
- Red Bull Racing-Renault â€“ 109
- McLaren-Mercedes â€“ 98
- Lotus-Renault â€“ 84
- Ferrari â€“ 63
- Mercedes AMG â€“ 43
- Williams-Renault â€“ 43
- Sauber-Ferrari â€“ 41
- Force India-Mercedes â€“ 18
- Toro Rosso-Ferrari â€“ 6