Penalties, Tyres, Explosions And Fires
Round five of the Formula One championship, took us to beautiful Barcelona Spain to the Circuit De Catalunya where we had one very interesting weekend.
We couldnít possibly have guessed the outcome of the race based on any of the times set in the free practice sessions.
Saturday Qualifying was equally as misleading. Sundayís race was a nail-biter, full of excitement, frustration and jubilation.
Williams ended an eight year winless drought and Pastor Maldonado took his maiden F1 victory making it five different winners in five races this season.
A few notes that are valid in mentioning; Ferrariís updated F2012 was a definite improvement as Alonso was able to challenge for the lead in the dry, which previous to the Mugello tests was unlikely.
Lotus has emerged as a serious contender, if nothing else, a reliable points stealer and regular podium threat to its rivals. Kimi took third comfortably and had the race lasted a few more laps, may have actually been standing on the top step. Romain Grosjean walked away with a solid fourth and fastest lap. PENALTIES:
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap to snatch Pole, however a penalty incurred for a breach of article 6.2.2 saw him relegated to the back of the field. This may have been the event with the biggest impact of the weekend. From this starting position, Lewis drove an inspired race to finish ahead of team mate Jenson Button.
During the race, both Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa were hit with drive through penalties for ignoring the caution flags, but neither were in position to win so this was not a make or break penalty for either of them.
After the race, Schumacher was handed a five place grid penalty for Monaco for failing to avoid a collision with Bruno Senna. Senna on old tyres braked early and Schumacher did his best imitation of a raging Spanish Bull as he rammed Senna from behind. I suppose if you want to look at it from a different angle, it was similar to what happened to Schumacher in the tunnel in Monaco in 2004, when he braked behind the safety car and Montoya crashed into him. What was it they said about Karma again? TYRES:
By far, the overall factor with the biggest influence in this race if not the season, has to be the Pirelli Tyres.
While they have come under fire for their properties, degradation and sudden drop off in performance, they have made this 2012 season extremely exciting and unpredictable.
As fans of the sport, what more can we really ask for.
True, drivers canít push their cars to the limit because they have to manage tyres and fuel, teams need to strategize and plan their pit stops and setups. The conditions however, are the same for everyone. Under these conditions, itís not always the fastest car that will win, but it is the driver/team combination that makes the best decisions and runs the best race that will benefit most.
Hats off to Pirelli for providing exactly what the FIA requested of them and for delivering some of the most interesting Spanish GPs weíve had in a while. EXPLOSIONS AND FIRES:
Celebrations in the Williams garage were cut short due to an explosion and fire.
It is said that the explosion occurred in the fuel area but that the root cause has not yet been established. The fire burned and black smoked billowed out of the garage.
Several people were effected, some injured and hospitalized. The numbers vary and at the time this was written, I did not have any solid figures to report other than what was reported by the FIA which was that 31 team members were seen by circuit medical centre staff and that 24 were released. This included members from Force India and Caterham.
Many rivals offered the Williams team assistance for which Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer, publicly exclaimed the teamís appreciation.
Author: Ernie Black
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