Date:Monday May 14 2012
Fernando Alonso went into the Spanish Grand Prix with an outside chance of taking the victory in front of his adoring Spanish public.
As the weekend went on, his chances appeared to be improving with every session, to the point where he was one of the favourites to stand upon the top step of the podium.
In practice, the Ferrari looked to have improved following the testing sessions at Mugello earlier this month.
Alonso topped the timing sheets following Free Practice One to the delight of the Spanish crowds who had turned up on Friday morning. The Ferrari driver was 0.378 ahead of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and a second clear of team-mate Felipe Massa.
In FP2 he dropped down to 14th position 1.201 seconds behind the McLaren of Jenson Button, while in FP3 he ended the session sixth 0.639 off the pace.
But overall the Ferrari looked strong and instead of worrying about getting through to Q3 like in previous races, Alonso looked good going into qualifying.
The Spaniard might not have had the one-lap pace to compete with the likes of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, even if it was carrying the right amount of fuel, but a time of 1minute 22.302 was good enough, initially for third, but subsequently second place following Hamilton's exclusion.
For Alonso his pace was a surprise, on merit, his Ferrari had out qualified both Red Bull's with Mark Webber going out in Q2 and the McLaren of Jenson Button who had also failed to make it through to the final stage of qualifying.
“This third place is not what we had expected. We were counting on making a step forward that would allow us to get into Q3 with less difficulty than in the first races of the season and we managed it. But we certainly did not think we could be so high up the grid. I don’t know if this position is a true reflection of our car’s performance - it’s definitely not normal for a Red Bull and a McLaren to be eliminated in Q2 and that the other Red Bull gets into Q3 with no sets of new Soft tyre available – but what is certain is that the new parts we have brought here have resulted in us taking a step in the right direction.' Alonso told formula1.com following qualifying.
The race got under way with Alonso on the front row of the grid behind the unlikely pole sitter of Williams driver Pastor Maldonado, but the experience of Alonso gave him the advantage going into the first corner and the Ferrari driver took the lead of the race to the roar of the Spanish fans.
Alonso led the first stint of the race, but Maldonado was able to use the under-cut in the first round of the pit-stops to re-take the lead.
Going into the final pit-stops it looked like it would be advantage Alonso, with the Williams team pitting a lot earlier than Ferrari.
With a few extra laps of fresh rubber for Alonso and the knowledge that Maldonado's tyres were likely to lose their grip Alonso hunted the victory, but couldn't quite get close enough, eventually slipping further and further back as it was the Ferrari that lost the performance of its tyres and almost losing second place to Kimi Raikkonen in the final stages of the race.
The chance to win his home race was gone, but for Alonso, he was delighted with the overall outcome of the race.
“This second place feels like a victory. Having finished the race in Sakhir almost a minute off the winner, today we overtook one of the two Red Bulls and we fought right to the very end for the win. On top of that, we have made up a lot of points on the Red Bull and the McLaren drivers, which makes the outcome of this weekend even more positive. At the end of the second stint of the race came the key moment: maybe Maldonaldo pitted a bit early and we stayed out on track, but we lost time behind a backmarker for a whole lap, partly because there was a yellow flag on the last part of the main straight. Then, with seven laps to go, I suddenly lost grip at the rear: I asked the team if something was broken because the handling of the car changed from one moment to the next, for no apparent reason. However, in the final stages, the Williams was still very quick and, right at the end, we were also lucky to hang onto second place as Kimi was coming back at me.
As Alonso alluded too in his post-race comments, the points for finishing second puts him joint top of the Formula One World championship with reigning champion Vettel.
Date:Monday May 14 2012
Hamilton working hard to catch Rosberg (Thursday April 17 2014)
Hass might join F1 grid in 2016 (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Red Bull lose appeal (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Brawn to return to Ferrari? (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Domenicali quits (Monday April 14 2014)
NASCAR owner confirms Formula 1 entry (Monday April 14 2014)
Red Bull appeal begins (Monday April 14 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 4 (Sunday April 13 2014)
Who will win the Chinese GP? (Sunday April 13 2014)
Mercedes hit out at Ferrari (Saturday April 12 2014)
Perez nearly quit F1 (Friday April 11 2014)
Mercedes stay on top in Bahrain (Thursday April 10 2014)
Red Bull & McLaren in legal row (Thursday April 10 2014)
Blog: The Battle of Mercedes (Thursday April 10 2014)
Mercedes on top in first test (Wednesday April 9 2014)
Formula One should celebrate new era (Wednesday April 9 2014)
F1 cost cap plan abandoned (Tuesday April 8 2014)
Two new teams to join Formula One? (Tuesday April 8 2014)
Maldonado punished (Monday April 7 2014)
Formula One puts on a showcase (Monday April 7 2014)
Blog: Bahrain GP Report (Monday April 7 2014)
2014 - Bahrain - Race (Sunday April 6 2014)
Blog: Sakhir Qualifying (Saturday April 5 2014)
2014 - Bahrain - Qualifying (Saturday April 5 2014)
2014 - Bahrain - FP3 (Saturday April 5 2014)
2014 - Bahrain - FP2 (Friday April 4 2014)
2014 - Bahrain - FP1 (Friday April 4 2014)
Cautious optimism for Schumacher (Friday April 4 2014)
Williams resolve team orders row (Friday April 4 2014)
Hamilton & Rosberg on par (Thursday April 3 2014)
Sauber have identified their issues (Thursday April 3 2014)
Sauber & Caterham make driver changes (Wednesday April 2 2014)
Alonso finds the positives (Tuesday April 1 2014)
Fuel-gate rumbles on (Tuesday April 1 2014)
Red Bull are closing the gap (Tuesday April 1 2014)
Massa defiant after ignoring team call (Tuesday April 1 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 3 (Monday March 31 2014)
Who will win the Bahrain GP? (Monday March 31 2014)
Hamilton dominant in Malaysia [w/VIDEO] (Monday March 31 2014)
Blog: Malaysian GP Report (Sunday March 30 2014)
2014 - Malaysia - Race (Sunday March 30 2014)
Blog: Sepang Qualifying (Saturday March 29 2014)
2014 - Malaysia - Qualifying (Saturday March 29 2014)
2014 - Malaysia - FP3 (Saturday March 29 2014)
2014 - Malaysia - FP2 (Friday March 28 2014)
2014 - Malaysia - FP1 (Friday March 28 2014)
Lotus trying to put two and two together (Thursday March 27 2014)
Sutil unhappy with weight issues (Thursday March 27 2014)
Video Feature: Malaysia Preview (Wednesday March 26 2014)
McLaren pushing hard (Wednesday March 26 2014)
Red Bull owner slams F1 (Tuesday March 25 2014)
Lotus hoping for improvement (Monday March 24 2014)
Date set for Red Bull's appeal (Monday March 24 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 2 (Sunday March 23 2014)
Who will win in Malaysia? (Saturday March 22 2014)
Red Bull looking to improve (Friday March 21 2014)
Kimi points finger at brake-by-wire system (Thursday March 20 2014)
F1's new sound (Thursday March 20 2014)
Williams delighted with Bottas drive (Wednesday March 19 2014)
Lotus problems down to MGU-K component (Wednesday March 19 2014)
Ferrari unhappy with Australia performance (Tuesday March 18 2014)
Perfect debut for Magnussen (Tuesday March 18 2014)
Disappointing weekend for Red Bull (Monday March 17 2014)
Bittersweet weekend for Mercedes (Monday March 17 2014)
F1 Blog: Australian GP: New dawn (Sunday March 16 2014)
2014 - Australia - Race (Sunday March 16 2014)
2014 - Australia - Qualifying (Saturday March 15 2014)
F1 Blog: Rain clouds have a silver lining (Saturday March 15 2014)
2014 - Australia - FP3 (Saturday March 15 2014)
Rd 1 - F1 Fans Forum Prediction Competition (Friday March 14 2014)
2014 - Australia - FP2 (Friday March 14 2014)
2014 - Australia - FP1 (Friday March 14 2014)
Stewards to be lenient in Australia (Thursday March 13 2014)
Chilton targets maiden point (Thursday March 13 2014)
Video: A closer look at Red Bull's RB10 (Thursday March 13 2014)
Video: Ferrari's internal battle (Thursday March 13 2014)
Small and encouraging signs for Schumacher (Wednesday March 12 2014)
F1 Blog: The Braces Are Off (Wednesday March 12 2014)
Lotus depending on Renault improvements (Wednesday March 12 2014)
Mercedes & Hamilton favourites say Horner (Wednesday March 12 2014)
Who will win the Australian Grand Prix? (Tuesday March 11 2014)
Williams positive ahead of new season (Tuesday March 11 2014)
Ecclestone targets Azerbaijan (Tuesday March 11 2014)
No change for Schumacher (Tuesday March 11 2014)
Qualifying tweaks confirmed (Monday March 10 2014)
F1 Prediction Competition - Round One (Saturday March 8 2014)
Lotus will recover (Saturday March 8 2014)
Ferrari behind Mercedes & Williams (Friday March 7 2014)
Pirelli announce tyre compounds for opening races (Friday March 7 2014)
Vettel concerned with lack of pace (Thursday March 6 2014)
More to come for Mercedes (Wednesday March 5 2014)
Where do McLaren stand? (Tuesday March 4 2014)
Red Bull will overcome problems, but when? (Monday March 3 2014)
FOTA folds with a whimper (Saturday March 1 2014)
Williams looking solid (Friday February 28 2014)
London Grand Prix takes step closer to reality? (Thursday February 27 2014)
2014 Formula One Prediction Competition (Thursday February 27 2014)
Smedley's Williams move confirmed (Wednesday February 26 2014)
New Pirelli tyres more consistent & durable (Tuesday February 25 2014)
Wolff to drive two practice sessions (Tuesday February 25 2014)
|7.||Push The Button||426|