We all have our favourites. We cheer for them, feel their losses, and celebrate their successes. That’s just how fans work. Though every once in a while, something changes. We find ourselves cheering for a rival. Not because we like him any better, or that we are changing loyalties. It’s because that rival sparkles and shines through, overshadowing everyone.
Post Melbourne, I said Lewis Hamilton needed an attitude change. I called him a spoilt brat in some forums. I take that back. The Lewis I saw today was someone very different.
Pastor Maldonado gave the Williams team its first victory since Brazil in 2004. Fernando Alonso battled a bad Ferrari to come second in his home race. The Ice Man fought a worthy battle to bring Lotus home to a third place. But the Catalunya circuit saw Lewis Hamilton push his way to the top today; he was the rock star.
It all started last night. The Qualifying finished, laced with disappointment. There was a McLaren, a Williams and Ferrari at the top of the grid. But that’s Formula 1. I was getting over my surprise at seeing Maldonado at the second place, when Hamilton’s car stopped on the track. His car didn’t have enough fuel to return to parc ferme. The stewards later said in a statement, “A team member had put an insufficient quantity of fuel into the car, thereby resulting in the car having to be stopped on the circuit in order to be able to provide the required amount for sampling purposes. As the amount of fuel put into the car is under the complete control of the competitor, the stewards cannot accept this as a case of force majeure.” Read the complete story here.
As a result, Hamilton went from leading the race at pole to the back of the grid, behind Narain Karthikeyan, 24th on the grid. In an interview with Autosport, Hamilton did not spout excuses, kick up a fuss, or throw a tantrum. Instead, he said, quite calmly I imagine, “I think it’s clear that it’s going to be an incredibly tough race for us. Even so, as always, I’ll never give up and I’ll give it everything I’ve got. It would mean so much to me to get a good result here in Spain: it’s such a pleasure to come here and the support I get is amazing. As I always say, and as I always do, whatever grid position I start a grand prix from, I’ll always race my heart out.” Read the entire story here.
And he did race his heart out. He climbed his way to the top steadily, going from 24 to 19 by the end of the first lap and finishing the race at the 8th position, even as he avoided Sergio Perez who went off the track and then came back on. Then there was the infamous McLaren pit-stop issue, when he went over a used tyre while leaving the pit. Let’s not forget, though, that this 66-lap race takes place on a circuit where overtaking is a rarity. By the end of the race, Hamilton was on Nico Rosberg’s tail, pushing on. But Rosberg managed to hold on to his position by 0.2s. In all this, unlike other teams, Hamilton maintained a two-pit strategy, holding on to his tyres for 31 laps.Later, he told F1.com, “It was a huge challenge to come through the field from the back, but I never gave up for a single second, right up to the finish line. Before the race, I said I’d race my heart out, and that’s exactly what I did. For me, that’s what racing is all about.” Team Principle Martin Whitmarsh said Hamilton “drove an absolutely storming race”. “Like Jenson, he won’t be content with the four world championship points he earned this afternoon, but in truth he should be immensely proud of his performance here…pulling off some sensational passing manoeuvres on a circuit on which overtaking is notoriously difficult.” You can read more here.
No matter what any one might say, in fact, I never thought I would say this, but Lewis drove a champion’s race. So, this one’s for you Lewis. Fight on!
How’s this for back-to-back excitement? F1 never ceases to surprise me. There were several races well fought, but it was Pastor Maldonado who silenced critics by winning the race and giving Williams a breath of fresh air. He held off a very determined and an extremely talented Alonso to win the race. Though the race for 1st was breathtaking and heartstopping. The Ice Man, Kimi Raikonnen is a prime example of how sometimes returning from retirement is the best idea ever. It was good to see him on the podium once again.
But what happened to Jenson Button? His mojo is slipping and he ended up with a 9th spot, one step behind Hamilton.
Of course, Kamui Kobayashi stunned everyone as always, sweeping past Button, holding off a desperate Sebastian Vettel, and ending up 5th on the grid.
The classic however, was the Michael Schumacher–Bruno Senna clash. I am Button girl and a Senna girl (no, I am not confused). So, I was extremely disappointed to see a DNF next to Bruno’s name. Both blamed each other. This is what Senna and Schumacher had to say.
The stewards however didn’t seem to agree with Schumacher’s take on the collision. They have awarded him a five-place grid penalty for the next race.
Meanwhile, as the Williams team celebrated their victory, a massive fire following an explosion broke out in their garage. It is reported that four Caterham mechanics, one Williams team member, and one Force India team member sustained minor injuries.