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
Video: Schumacher reviews F1 2013 (Sunday December 8 2013)
Red Bull confirm reserve drivers (Friday December 6 2013)
Mexico Grand Prix can happen says Perez (Friday December 6 2013)
19 race season confirmed for 2014 (Thursday December 5 2013)
Hulkenberg returns to Force India (Wednesday December 4 2013)
What next for Ross Brawn? (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Bahrain to host night race (Monday December 2 2013)
Strategy Group propose ideas (Sunday December 1 2013)
Di Montezemolo calls for strong sporting authority (Saturday November 30 2013)
Lotus confirm Grosjean & Maldonado pairing (Friday November 29 2013)
Hamilton targets F1 title (Friday November 29 2013)
Brawn confirms Mercedes exit (Thursday November 28 2013)
Vettel equals 60-year-old record (Thursday November 28 2013)
Hamilton disappointed over Bottas incident (Wednesday November 27 2013)
Massa hits out at race stewards (Wednesday November 27 2013)
2013 Vital F1 Prediction Comp - Final Standings (Tuesday November 26 2013)
Will Brawn switch from Mercedes back to Ferrari? (Monday November 25 2013)
Hulkenberg set for Force India return? (Monday November 25 2013)
2013 - Bra - Race - Result (Sunday November 24 2013)
2013 - Bra - Qualifying - Result (Sunday November 24 2013)
2013 - Bra - Free Practice 3 - Result (Sunday November 24 2013)
2013 - Bra - Free Practice 2 - Result (Friday November 22 2013)
2013 - Bra - Free practice 1 - Result (Friday November 22 2013)
The time is right for me to quit F1 says Webber (Friday November 22 2013)
Mad scramble for F1 seats continue (Friday November 22 2013)
Massa proud of Ferrari career (Thursday November 21 2013)
Di Resta forced out of Formula One? (Wednesday November 20 2013)
Alonso hopes to feel better in Brazil (Wednesday November 20 2013)
Chilton closes in on 2014 deal (Wednesday November 20 2013)
Who will win in Brazil? (Tuesday November 19 2013)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 19 (Tuesday November 19 2013)
Could Lotus miss out on Hulkenberg? (Tuesday November 19 2013)
Lotus deal to be done 'next week' (Monday November 18 2013)
Another record for Vettel (Monday November 18 2013)
Should Alonso race while injured? (Monday November 18 2013)
2013 - USA GP - Race (Sunday November 17 2013)
2013 - USA GP - Qualifying (Saturday November 16 2013)
2013 - USA GP - Free Practice 3 (Saturday November 16 2013)
2013 USA GP - Free Practice 2 - Result (Friday November 15 2013)
2013 USA GP - Free Practice 1 - Result (Friday November 15 2013)
Kovalainen replaces Raikkonen (Friday November 15 2013)
Magnussen confirmed at McLaren (Thursday November 14 2013)
Maldonado happy to be leaving Williams (Thursday November 14 2013)
Perez announces McLaren departure (Thursday November 14 2013)
Lotus offer seat to Schumacher (Thursday November 14 2013)
McLaren continue to keep options open (Wednesday November 13 2013)
Kubica return nearly impossible (Wednesday November 13 2013)
Williams ambition (Tuesday November 12 2013)
Massa agrees Williams deal (Monday November 11 2013)
Who will win in America? (Monday November 11 2013)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 18 (Monday November 11 2013)
Raikkonen's season is over (Monday November 11 2013)
Video: Every race is a challenge – Horner (Sunday November 10 2013)
Video: Horner&Newey reflect on incredible year (Friday November 8 2013)
Video: Vettel looks ahead to Ricciardo rivalry (Friday November 8 2013)
Ecclestone makes court appearance (Thursday November 7 2013)
New Lotus investors have no regrets (Wednesday November 6 2013)
Perez to lose McLaren seat? (Tuesday November 5 2013)
F1 Prediction Competition - Round 17 Results (Tuesday November 5 2013)
Alonso cleared to race (Tuesday November 5 2013)
New Jersey & Mexico to drop off F1 calendar? (Monday November 4 2013)
Williams interest in Brawn? (Monday November 4 2013)
Di Resta wants Force India decision (Monday November 4 2013)
McLaren to confirm driver line-up imminently (Monday November 4 2013)
Hulkenberg set to beat Maldonado to Lotus seat (Monday November 4 2013)
2013 Abu GP - Race - Result (Sunday November 3 2013)
Webber denies Vettel pole (Saturday November 2 2013)
2013 Abu GP - Qualifying - Result (Saturday November 2 2013)
2013 Abu GP - Free Practice 3 - Result (Saturday November 2 2013)
2013 Abu GP - Free Practice 2 - Result (Friday November 1 2013)
2013 Abu GP - Free Practice 1 - Result (Friday November 1 2013)
Maldonado holds the key (Friday November 1 2013)
The importance of experience (Thursday October 31 2013)
Brawn set to leave Mercedes (Wednesday October 30 2013)
The Blue helmet's take on Abu Dhabi (Tuesday October 29 2013)
Massa out of running for Lotus seat (Tuesday October 29 2013)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 17 (Tuesday October 29 2013)
Who will win in Abu Dhabi? (Tuesday October 29 2013)
Vettel is the best (Monday October 28 2013)
Difficult to put things in perspective for Vettel (Monday October 28 2013)
Vettel clinches fourth successive Drivers’ Crown (Sunday October 27 2013)
2013 Ind GP - Race - Result (Sunday October 27 2013)
Vettel destroys the opposition on his way to India (Saturday October 26 2013)
2013 Ind GP - Qualifying - Result (Saturday October 26 2013)
2013 Ind GP - Free Practice 3- Result (Saturday October 26 2013)
2013 Ind GP - Free Practice 2 - Result (Friday October 25 2013)
Massa in talks with Williams (Friday October 25 2013)
2013 Ind GP - Free Practice 1 - Result (Friday October 25 2013)
Video: Formula One's charm offensive on Russia (Thursday October 24 2013)
Kubica will not return to F1 (Thursday October 24 2013)
Video: Lotus showrun - Thriller in Manila (Thursday October 24 2013)
Concerns raised over F1's new Strategy Group (Wednesday October 23 2013)
Daniil Kvyat clinches Toro Rosso drive (Tuesday October 22 2013)
Second place would be amazing for Lotus (Monday October 21 2013)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 16 (Monday October 21 2013)
Who will win in India? (Saturday October 19 2013)
British duo face axe (Friday October 18 2013)
Sauber target top six (Thursday October 17 2013)
Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes chase Button (Wednesday October 16 2013)
Brawn will be number one at Mercedes, if he stays (Wednesday October 16 2013)
|7.||Push The Button||416|