Maldonado’s victory in Spain makes 2012 the tightest season in memory

Podium (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, race winner Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrate on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday 13 May 2012.

Pastor Maldonado joins the elite club of grand prix winners after his victory in Spain

May 14 (GMM) Formula One’s unpredictable season became “strange” in Barcelona, according to Fernando Alonso after finishing second on Sunday behind Pastor Maldonado who, not long ago, was derided as a mere pay-driver.

Now after his triumph in Barcelona, Maldonado was hailed by French-language commentator Patrick Tambay as “a new champion” and reporters could hardly believe that they were asking the Venezuelan with braces on his teeth if he is a contender for the 2012 title, and then struggled further to believe the Williams driver when he answered seriously in the affirmative.

“Some of the results that we saw this weekend feel very strange,” said Ferrari‘s Alonso.

Even until Spain, it had been strange – McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull had shared the winning spoils, mainly due to the tyre situation, as teams struggle to understand the product Pirelli is supplying.

Now, after Barcelona, minds have to go back to 1983 for the last time five different winners won the first five races of a season.

“At one race one team is there [at the front] and then suddenly they are tenth in the next race, so it’s bit of an odd situation,” agreed the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished behind Alonso in his Lotus on Sunday.

Pastor Maldonado

Many thrill-seeking spectators are hailing F1′s unprecedented uncertainty, whilst the purists join the engineers in scratching their heads.

Asked if he is enjoying it, former double world champion Alonso admitted: “I don’t know. I don’t know how to answer.”

On the one hand, uncertainty is good for a sport, but the teams and the drivers are just lost at sea.

“With seven laps to go I got to a curve and suddenly the grip was gone. I even radioed the box to see if the car had been damaged,” said Alonso.

His countryman Jaime Alguersuari has a clearer view.

“This is the most even Formula One we have seen for 20 years, so it means you really see the work of the driver, especially with the tyre management,” the former Toro Rosso driver told AS newspaper.

“From my point of view this is the best F1 we’ve had for a long, long time, with the best man winning each time.”

Reigning back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel, however, joined Alonso in the head-shaking.

“Three weeks ago Williams was nowhere, now they’re beating everyone into the ground,” he is quoted by spox.com.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34. Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 11 May 2012.Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Mario told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: “If we knew why, we’d be very happy.”

Some think the magic recipe is the ability to look after tyres, but in Spain arguably F1′s best driver at tyre management – Jenson Button – was lost.

“I work hard at it,” the Briton is quoted as saying, referring to his famous driving style, “but right now it’s not working and I have no idea why.”

Shanghai winner Nico Rosberg added: “Two races ago we were at the top and now everything is changed. What’s up with Formula One?” he is quoted as saying in German-language reports.

From a purely sporting point of view, however, 2012 is a compelling tale.

“I think it’s going to be a big fight right to the end with some very close racing. Anyone can win,” Lotus’ Romain Grosjean is quoted by RMC Sport.

  • Butterfly

    Jesus! You win a race in the fastest car (in Barcelona) and suddenly you’re a Champion?

  • fawxx

    monaco will be kimi. hopefully!

  • Harsha

    I say this is the Worst season for Drivers in their Perspective
    It was exciting for the Viewer’s to watch but This is F1 the Team with Best package needs to win Like RBR in 10 & 11 or Mclaren in 08, Ferrari in their Years, Renault in 05,06
    This is Formula 1 where Fastest Cars go wheel to wheel in races for Wins
    Not like Some one who manages Tires best can win
    The Cars cannot go with their Full speed and they call it was fighting
    Lot of people want to see The wheel to wheel racing not Fighting for one lap then go for Preserving tires for 10 laps and then use the Tires for one more shot
    Mr.Paul Himberly bring back the 2011 Season tires and see how tight the season could be

  • Guest

    Butterfly, let him enjoy his moment, at least he is thinking positive. Williams had a good car during the winter testing and then lost out. Now they have got their act together. Let’s see in the next ace.

    This tyre management is a nuisance. Maldonado was repeatedly to look after his tyres over the team radio. After the last pit stop Alonso was catching up fast and was right behind Maldonado till his tyres degraded. Kimi was over 20 seconds behind Alonso after his third pit stop and he almost caught up Alonso. Another 2 laps and maybe we would have seen a different result. It is all about tyre management and not racing full throttle.

    Button was praised but Lewis withered criticism that he is hard on his tyres and bad tyre management. They are forgetting he is there to race and not tyre management. He showed them by deed coming in 8th from P24 ahead of Button on a 2 pit stop strategy managing his tyres and racing at the same time. Excellent drive

    Anyone witnessed Lewis’ first pit stop. They bungled again by leaving tools in front of his left rear tyre. He went over and landed with a slight bump getting him confused and losing around 2 seconds. Had this not happened he would have been ahead of Rosberg. On his second pit stop there was an applause from all the commentators on Starsports for getting it right this time which made me laugh. The pit crew should see this for themselves. It is embarrassing and a damn shame. When will they get it right. If I was Lewis I would ask for divine intervention each time I come into the pits. Imagine his mindset knowing their capabilities.

  • visz963

    Never mind, Butterfly is pissed off with Alonso losing against Maldonado. LOL even Alonso is not pissed off, actually he is quite happy.

    For Butterfly, everyone who wins only wins because he had the fastest car, but if Alonso wins in the fastest car then it is masterful driving.

    14 year old dumb thinking.

    Maldonado did well and was strong enough to fend off Alonso with ease and save the tires for later on. Alonso was never close enough.

    At the same time Alonso attacked in the last stint with all what he had, which was Also logical.

    The only question is, why was the Ferrari team so primitive that they did not call Alonso in when they saw Maldonado was coming? Or why did they not make an early stop to keep the place? They could have done much better. They have simply no strategy.

  • Butterfly

    OMG, the troll cavalry has arrived.

  • fawxx

    actually i think viz made a valid point. why did ferrari keep him out when they know that they should have brought him in? that lap of pic killed him. terribly.

  • Alonsofan

    Pastor drove a fantastic race.he would have taken the lead from the start,had he got a mercedes engine behind him cuz its romoured that Renault engine is a bit down on bhp compares to Ferrari and Mercs..Ferrari was no where near in actual pace of the race.Williams had a tenth or two every time Alonso came close.But good driving from both and kimi has been pretty consistent so why are people ignoring him from WDC.

  • Stewy33

    Regardless of all the negative comments, I enjoy the thrill of the unpredictability. Keep those Pirelli tires coming!

  • Butterfly

    @fawxx:

    Maybe they kept him out because they thought he could do *two* very fast laps, but Pic killed all that. Maybe they should have called him in after the first lap, but, whatever, it happens.

    Ferrari have been inch-perfect on strategy this year and for most of last year, so that was just a glitch.

    And I’m not trying to take anything away from Pastor’s victory – he fully deserved it – I’m just saying his car hit the sweet-spot on the tires and aero around Barcelona and that’s why he could win.

    If Alonso were driving that Williams and Pastor the Ferrari I’m not sure it would have been the same as we saw on TV…

  • fools

    Superb driving by Pastor, Alonso and Kimi.

    Alonso lacked downforce in his rear tires and was struggling to keep the slow horse tame. Although he out drove everyone but Pastor. Hence, while the chasis is much stronger through turn 10, 12 in the Williams which lest Pastor manage his tires best.

    The Ferrari had better top line speed though which shows there aero packaged has helped. Like Alonso said. Update here, then, there and slowly close the gap. He certainly did what he needed to do. Now leading the WDC with Vettel.

    He even smoked Pastor off the grid for the first turn and put Pastor in the first 6 laps making a gap of 7 sec. (Masterfully Sweet) and Pastor almost ran off Alonso to the grass. Glad nothing dirty happened.

    I’m seeing alot better results from Ferrari. They are pushing hard. I see it from pits. The Charles Pic traffic really lost Alonso almost 3 seconds hence Alonso losing by 3seconds. Could of been a different story on podium. However in the end my driver Alonso is leading the WDC. Thats even better honestly.

  • visz963

    Formula1.com poll of the week:

    Which of the podium finishers impressed you most with their race performance in Spain?

    Pastor Maldonado 42.57%
    Fernando Alonso 27.72%
    Kimi Raikkonen 29.70%

    Alonso has the weakest publucj assessment of the podium finishers. LOL

  • me262

    @visz963

    you have have a weak dik

  • joputa

    @visz963

    Thats because Alonso impresses every week…

    @butterfly

    Maldonado is GP2 champion

  • Evel

    @viz963
    Yes we all get it, you don’t like Alonso. You’ve made your point very clear post after post after post.
    Now please stop acting like a child.
    I am not an Alonso fan but I have the maturity to acknowledge that he’s a damn good driver!
    Pastor obviously impressed the most because noone was expecting Williams to win.

  • visz963

    @Evel: no you dont get it. It more than liking/disliking someone. Alonso is fully overrated and overpaid and I will provide arguments for this as long as I see the ‘Alonso best’ bullshit.

    I am always delighted to see smart things beat big names and money. Young drivers outscoring old fools. The best of that was when the young Schumi was ruling the 3x champ Piquet by 1 second a lap everywhere.

    I am very excited to see Massa replaced. We are on track, and Alonso will be declassified soon.

  • Butterfly

    @joputa:

    Yes, I know he is, he won the GP2 title in the year after Hulkenberg won it – so Williams replaced one champion with another.

    Regardless, he’s good, but he’s not Alonso-good. Only Kimi and Lewis are in that league.

    Question: What’s going on with Schumacher?

  • joputa

    @visz963

    didnt Alonso win Malaysia? mustve been just luck huh

    @butterfly

    Schumacher needs glasses in his old age

  • visz963isaloser

    @visz963 how can you be such a moronic loser? seriously what is wrong with you? OBVIOUSLY Maldonado will get more appreciated than Alonso or Kimi because he’s a rookie compared to giants like Alonso or Kimi. If there’s a race between a cheetah, tiger and a rabbit, and the rabbit wins even though the other two were super fast, OBVIOUSLY the rabbit gets more appreciation. And there’s hardly a 2% difference between Alonso and Kimi, and also because of Kimi’s last stint. Are you trying to suggest that Kimi also has low public assessment? How ignorant and dumb can you get! jeez.

  • visz963isaloser

    @visz963 i think you should go suck some cock and be gay and happy! your stupid dumbass comments have no value! I havent seen ANYBODY agree with you, till now. NOBODY. That just goes to show what kind of a loser you are.

  • visz963isaloser

    @visz963 i think you should S U C K some C O C K and be G A Y and happy! i havent seen ANYBODY till now who supports your arguments or agrees with you. NOBODY!

  • visz963

    @obviously_idiot:

    enough people support my opinion on these forums, and I dont need to be rude like you or comment under various names like you.

    You suck.

  • Butterfly

    @visz963:

    Maybe the local Troll community agrees with you, but those guys are trolling. The worrying thing is that you really think you’re right here, that is, not trolling.

    Girl, that’s called being nuts.

    Live long and prosper.

  • Butterfly

    @visz963:

    Aren’t you also trolling under the name ‘alonso_is_slow’ or something like that?

  • visz963isaloser

    @visz963 hahaha I think you got your answer about people supporting you! (thanks to butterfly for making it clear that nobpdy does) I ask everyone who’s already on this forum, to let me know if they support you and your shitty argument. I’m so sure nobody will come fwd to do that, unless you troll under another name and praise yourself. I’m using different names to insult you cuz you deserve it, and I’ll have at least one person who would agree with me on that, besides it’s a lot of fun doing that to you lol. I can’t see even one person agreeing with you. None till now. Moreover you are still a dumbass and you still suck and you’re still wrong!

  • visz963

    @obviously_idiot: Anyway, have you already learned where Columbia is? Is it different from Brazil? Do you even know their language?

    Fool US boy, knows nothing about the world.

    @Bitterfily:
    I was commenting under a new name in an open fashion, just for the fun. Not like this guy.

    if you mean everybody is you and your obviously idiot friend than you have to learn the meaning of ‘everybody’ first. Both losers. One is an uneducated US child, the other one is a cognitive dissonance syndrom patient. You make a nice team together.

  • justme

    @visz963

    You’re nothing but a biased and frustrated troll with no sense of reality and not worthy of even getting replied. You’re most probably a schumi fanboy who just can’t stand that Alonso is proving time and time again that he’s the most complete driver while schumi is proving he can only be superman in a superior car with little resistance within or outside his team. The sad part is that even schumi believed he was superman, otherwise he wouldn’t be so stupid to come back. Well, at least his fanboys can always you the age excuse…