The Spanish Grand Prix report

I love the Spanish Grand Prix.  Everybody always complains about this track, saying it’s too difficult for cars to pass each other here but I don’t care.  I really like this race.  Why?  I don’t know exactly.  There are a few reasons:

  1. It’s usually the first European race of the season, which means the first round of fly-away races are over.  Now the races are on at about 6:30 in the morning instead of the middle of the night.
  2. It’s in Barcelona, and I have always wanted to go to Barcelona.
  3. Fernando Alonso is Spanish, so this is his home race.  That means he usually gets a lot of face time on TV.  I like that.

On to the race!  Red Bull locked out the front row once again.  Really, guys this is getting kind of selfish and boring.  I think it might be time to give some of the other teams a turn.  This time, it was Mark Webber on pole, and Sebastian Vettel second.  That Lewis Hamilton was third.  Fernando Alonso lined up fourth.  Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button was fifth and Michael Schumacher was sixth in his new and improved Mercedes racecar, now with longer wheelbase!

It was a real corker of a start.  I love the start of a Formula 1 race.  It’s a standing start.  So all the cars line up and people swarm all over them.  Then after a while the cars roll off to do their formation lap.  While they are gone everybody, all the mechanics and VIPs sprint off the track back to the pit lane.  The cars come back and sit in their starting positions, the engines are whining like crazy; they don’t like to sit still.  You sit and watch, waiting for the series of five lights to turn red.  When all the lights are red you lean very far over in your chair and wonder if this is the time your heart will actually explode out of your chest.  Then the lights go out, the race is on!   The cars surge forward and you scream “GO GO GO!” at the television.   Or at least that’s what I do.

It was a clean start, at least at the front of the grid, and pretty much everybody was still in the same position they had when the race started.  Lewis Hamilton got the jump on Vettel and took second place from him, and Felipe Massa managed to jump from ninth place to seventh.

The race was, even for me, not very exciting.  After the first round of pit stops Michael Schumacher emerged ahead of Jenson Button.  The best part of the race from then on was watching Button try to get around Shumi, and Shumi was having none of it.  He may have taken a three-year break from driving and F1 car, but he still has mad defensive skills.  Or, as F1 fans say, he drives a wide car.

So the Red Bull cars are charging along and aside from watching Button and Schumacher things are not very interesting.  Unless of course like me you think watching these machines hurl themselves around a track at breakneck speeds is always interesting, even without much passing.    Then suddenly, on lap 52 out of 66 Vettel pulls into the pits from third place.  “Oh no!” say the Vettel fans.  “Woo hoo,” say the vast majority of the Spanish crowd and your correspondent.  This put Alonso in third place!  And you know what that means?  It means he will be on the podium and in the post race press conference.  More face time for me!

I felt terrible for Vettel though.  And it gets worse.  He came back out, and managed to limp home in third place, but his brakes were failing and his race engineers were on the radio with him more than once telling him to slow down.

So I was happy.  It looked like Alonso had been handed third place, but it gets even better.  On lap 65, the second to last lap people, Lewis Hamilton has a tire failure and the car is thrown off the track into the tire barrier.  Happily, despite some pretty nasty looking damage to the car, Hamilton was unhurt.  Whew!  I hate it when people get hurt.

Now Alonso was in second place!  Awesome.

Mark Webber won for Red Bull.  Alonso was second and Vettel managed to miraculously hang onto third.

Next up:  Monaco!

As always, please consult a real F1 news site for more accurate and slightly less biased information.

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