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
Clear & Bell to swap Mercedes for Ferrari (Monday December 22 2014)
Trio depart Ferrari (Friday December 19 2014)
Ecclestone to propose v8 return (Thursday December 18 2014)
20 stolen Red Bull trophies recovered (Wednesday December 17 2014)
Gutierrez joins Ferrari (Tuesday December 16 2014)
Hamilton wins SPOTY (Monday December 15 2014)
Best option for the future is McLaren says Alonso (Friday December 12 2014)
Dennis does not anticipate any issues with Alonso (Friday December 12 2014)
McLaren confirm Alonso return (Thursday December 11 2014)
McLaren confirm Button on multi-year deal (Thursday December 11 2014)
Button stays at McLaren (Thursday December 11 2014)
Ricciardo surprised himself (Wednesday December 10 2014)
Red Bull factory ram-raided (Monday December 8 2014)
McLaren board meeting fails to decide (Friday December 5 2014)
Force India to use Toyata's wind tunnel (Friday December 5 2014)
2015 - Formula One's biggest season yet (Thursday December 4 2014)
FIA file report on Bianchi crash (Thursday December 4 2014)
Virtual Safety Car to get debut in 2015 (Wednesday December 3 2014)
Vettel completes first day at Ferrari (Tuesday December 2 2014)
Caterham could run old cars in 2015 (Tuesday December 2 2014)
Toro Rosso announce Sainz Jr for 2015 (Monday December 1 2014)
Williams announce Wolff as test driver (Monday December 1 2014)
Teams fail to agree on engine regulations (Friday November 28 2014)
Formula One scrap double points round (Friday November 28 2014)
Vergne announces Toro Rosso departure (again) (Thursday November 27 2014)
Problems for McLaren Honda continue (Thursday November 27 2014)
Successful season for Williams (Wednesday November 26 2014)
McLaren Honda manage 3 laps (Wednesday November 26 2014)
Caterham takeover complete 'in weeks' (Wednesday November 26 2014)
Ferrari announce third team principal of 2014 (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Audio: Abu Dhabi Recap (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Mercedes and Hamilton to re-open contract talks (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Alonso's new project will challenge Mercedes (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Force India confirm Perez place (Tuesday November 25 2014)
Wolff praises Mercedes team-mates (Monday November 24 2014)
Greatest day for Hamilton (Monday November 24 2014)
Rosberg wins friends in defeat (Monday November 24 2014)
Blog: Abu Dhabi GP Report (Sunday November 23 2014)
Lewis Hamilton - 2014 Formula One World Champion (Sunday November 23 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - Race (Sunday November 23 2014)
Blog: Abu Dhabi Qualifying (Saturday November 22 2014)
Red Bull DQ'd from Abu Dhabi Qualifying (Saturday November 22 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - Qualifying (Saturday November 22 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - FP3 (Saturday November 22 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - FP2 (Friday November 21 2014)
2014 - Abu Dhabi - FP1 (Friday November 21 2014)
Audio: Hamilton v Rosberg - The Decider (Friday November 21 2014)
Caterham receive helping hand from Bernie (Thursday November 20 2014)
Grosjean to remain with Lotus (Thursday November 20 2014)
Bianchi 'out of coma' (Wednesday November 19 2014)
McLaren delay line-up announcement (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Ecclestone to hold talks with teams (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Force India hands Palmer chance to impress (Wednesday November 19 2014)
Chilton to join Caterham? (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Carlos Sainz Jr to test for Red Bull (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Kobayashi retains seat for Abu Dhabi (Monday November 17 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 19 (Monday November 17 2014)
Who will win in Abu Dhabi? (Monday November 17 2014)
Caterham will return in Abu Dhabi (Friday November 14 2014)
Wolff plays down engine war fears (Friday November 14 2014)
Honda to debut new engine (Friday November 14 2014)
Ericsson terminates Caterham deal (Thursday November 13 2014)
Button not chasing big bucks (Wednesday November 12 2014)
Horner threatens engine war (Wednesday November 12 2014)
Alonso to sign £25million deal (Tuesday November 11 2014)
Crowd-fund project set to give Caterham reprieve (Tuesday November 11 2014)
Lowdon still fighting for former Marussia team (Tuesday November 11 2014)
F1 politics overshadow Brazilian Grand Prix (Monday November 10 2014)
Record setting day for Mercedes (Monday November 10 2014)
Hamilton reflective (Monday November 10 2014)
Fantastic weekend for Rosberg (Monday November 10 2014)
Blog: Brazilian GP Report (Monday November 10 2014)
2014 - Brazil - Race (Sunday November 9 2014)
Blog: Interlagos Qualifying (Sunday November 9 2014)
2014 - Brazil - Qualifying (Saturday November 8 2014)
2014 - Brazil - FP3 (Saturday November 8 2014)
2014 - Brazil - FP2 (Friday November 7 2014)
Marussia cease trading (Friday November 7 2014)
2014 - Brazil - FP1 (Friday November 7 2014)
Double points is artificial says Rosberg (Friday November 7 2014)
Button on the brink (Friday November 7 2014)
All change at Sauber as Nasr joins (Thursday November 6 2014)
Caterham aiming for Abu Dhabi return (Thursday November 6 2014)
Formula One's financial crisis (Wednesday November 5 2014)
Double points could overshadow season for Wolff (Wednesday November 5 2014)
Vergne gets backing from within Toro Rosso (Tuesday November 4 2014)
Blog: The perils of the Party of Five (Tuesday November 4 2014)
Ericsson makes Sauber switch (Tuesday November 4 2014)
Blog: United States GP Report (Tuesday November 4 2014)
Alonso edges closer to McLaren return (Monday November 3 2014)
Hamilton proud to hold British record (Monday November 3 2014)
Perez handed seven-place grid drop (Monday November 3 2014)
Rosberg not giving up on title quest (Monday November 3 2014)
Vergne demoted to tenth (Monday November 3 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 18 (Monday November 3 2014)
Who will win in Brazil? (Monday November 3 2014)
2014 - United States - Race (Sunday November 2 2014)
Blog: Austin Qualifying (Sunday November 2 2014)
2014 - United States - Qualifying (Saturday November 1 2014)
2014 - United States - FP3 (Saturday November 1 2014)
|7.||Push The Button||441|