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
Could F1 pull Russian Grand Prix? (Thursday July 24 2014)
F1 return to Mexico confirmed (Thursday July 24 2014)
McLaren and Mercedes target Vettel (Thursday July 24 2014)
FIA set interesting precedent says Horner (Wednesday July 23 2014)
Wolff predicts Abu Dhabi showdown (Wednesday July 23 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 11 (Tuesday July 22 2014)
Who will win in Hungary? (Tuesday July 22 2014)
Blog: German GP Report (Tuesday July 22 2014)
Accident wasn't scary from cockpit says Massa (Monday July 21 2014)
Alonso loved Ricciardo tussle (Monday July 21 2014)
Button backtracks (Monday July 21 2014)
What a week for Rosberg (Monday July 21 2014)
2014 - Germany - Race (Sunday July 20 2014)
Blog: Hockenheim Qualifying (Sunday July 20 2014)
Hamilton bruised but ok following shunt (Saturday July 19 2014)
2014 - Germany - Qualifying (Saturday July 19 2014)
2014 - Germany - FP3 (Saturday July 19 2014)
2014 - Germany - FP2 (Friday July 18 2014)
Wolff enjoys fantastic practice session (Friday July 18 2014)
2014 - Germany - FP1 (Friday July 18 2014)
Mercedes play down FRIC ban (Friday July 18 2014)
Rosberg plays down importance of next race (Friday July 18 2014)
Possible change to unsafe release penalties (Thursday July 17 2014)
Video: Rosberg signs Mercedes extension (Thursday July 17 2014)
F1 title chase starts now (Wednesday July 16 2014)
Oh FRIC, teams fail to find agreement (Wednesday July 16 2014)
Force India confident for good German performance (Tuesday July 15 2014)
McLaren confident in upgrades (Tuesday July 15 2014)
Schumacher's health 'slowly improving' says wife (Monday July 14 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 10 (Monday July 14 2014)
Who will win the German Grand Prix (Monday July 14 2014)
Red Bull have failed to close the gap (Friday July 11 2014)
Bianchi impresses for Ferrari (Thursday July 10 2014)
Blog: What a difference a day makes (Thursday July 10 2014)
F1 teams could face suspension systems ban (Wednesday July 9 2014)
Massa quickest at Silverstone test (Wednesday July 9 2014)
Rosberg plays down Hamilton row (Wednesday July 9 2014)
Bottas finish surprises Williams (Tuesday July 8 2014)
I'm at the top of my game says Button (Tuesday July 8 2014)
I was lucky says Chilton (Monday July 7 2014)
Raikkonen ok after horror smash (Monday July 7 2014)
Rosberg reflects (Monday July 7 2014)
Perfect day for Hamilton (Monday July 7 2014)
2014 - Britain - Race (Sunday July 6 2014)
Blog: Silverstone Qualifying (Sunday July 6 2014)
2014 - Britain - Qualifying (Saturday July 5 2014)
2014 - Britain - FP3 (Saturday July 5 2014)
2014 - Britain - FP2 (Friday July 4 2014)
2014 - Britain - FP1 (Friday July 4 2014)
Button hits back at Dennis (Friday July 4 2014)
Video: Hamilton hoping for home glory (Thursday July 3 2014)
Pirelli boss defends F1 2014 tyres (Thursday July 3 2014)
Caterham sold (Thursday July 3 2014)
Beating Vettel gives Ricciardo confidence (Wednesday July 2 2014)
McLaren boss critical of Button (Wednesday July 2 2014)
Bernie wants three car teams (Wednesday July 2 2014)
Kobayashi ignores Caterham rumours (Tuesday July 1 2014)
Blog: Silverstone Memories (Tuesday July 1 2014)
Renault progress limited until end of the year (Monday June 30 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 9 (Monday June 30 2014)
Who will win the British Grand Prix? (Monday June 30 2014)
F1 drivers speak out on rule change (Friday June 27 2014)
Ugly noses banned from F1 (Friday June 27 2014)
Standing restarts approved for F1 2015 (Friday June 27 2014)
Ecclestone slams poor teams (Thursday June 26 2014)
McLaren make Hamilton & Alonso approaches? (Thursday June 26 2014)
Standing restarts proposed (Wednesday June 25 2014)
Video: Schumacher medical data stolen (Wednesday June 25 2014)
Red Bull boss slams Renault again (Tuesday June 24 2014)
Williams maximised result in Austria (Tuesday June 24 2014)
Damage limitation for Hamilton (Monday June 23 2014)
Rosberg pleased with increased points lead (Monday June 23 2014)
2014 - Austria - Race (Sunday June 22 2014)
Blog: Austrian GP Report (Sunday June 22 2014)
Blog: Red Bull Ring Qualifying (Sunday June 22 2014)
2014 - Austria - Qualifying (Sunday June 22 2014)
2014 - Austria - FP3 (Saturday June 21 2014)
2014 - Austria - FP2 (Friday June 20 2014)
2014 - Austria - FP1 (Friday June 20 2014)
Force India challenge Perez penalty (Friday June 20 2014)
Red Bull challenge (Thursday June 19 2014)
Does Rosberg hold psychological edge? (Thursday June 19 2014)
F1 strategy meeting to be held (Wednesday June 18 2014)
Red Bull are not a one man team (Tuesday June 17 2014)
Austria could suit Lotus (Tuesday June 17 2014)
Ferrari remain committed to F1 (Tuesday June 17 2014)
Vettel wasn't committed says Marko (Monday June 16 2014)
Schumacher 'out of coma' (Monday June 16 2014)
Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 8 (Monday June 16 2014)
Who will win the Austrian Grand Prix (Monday June 16 2014)
Pirelli boss pleased with racing (Friday June 13 2014)
Chilton takes the penalty (Friday June 13 2014)
Newey to step back from F1 and enter America's Cup (Thursday June 12 2014)
Hamilton remains confident of title run (Thursday June 12 2014)
Horner congratulates Red Bull driver programme (Wednesday June 11 2014)
Hass all set to name engine supplier (Wednesday June 11 2014)
First win surreal for Ricciardo (Tuesday June 10 2014)
Williams & Force India go public (Tuesday June 10 2014)
Perez & Massa continue battle post hospital (Tuesday June 10 2014)
Blog: Canadian GP Report (Monday June 9 2014)
|7.||Push The Button||432|