Spanish Grand Prix summary


Another Grand Prix and another win for Button. He may have lost a place to team-mate Barrichello at the start, but the Brit got his head down and gave us another remarkable display of driving and getting the most out of the car and tyres. A large shunt at the beginning finished Trulli’s, Fisichella’s, Sutil’s, Bourdais’ and Buemi’s race but the other talking point of the afternoon was just how wrong it all went for Ferrari. Again.

Here’s how they all stacked up…


Jenson Button (1st)
On finishing the race, just before going onto the podium Button asks “sorry, where do I go”? A sign of just how many times the Brit has visited the podium in Barcelona. Another great day, even though he lost first place to Barrichello at the start, he proved that when a driver is at the top of their game nothing can stop them. Or indeed go wrong – he crossed the start/finish line 1.6secs before the end of the Q3 session to start his flying lap that got him pole. Changing to a two-stop strategy in the race (rather than three) certainly helped. 9.5/10

Rubens Barrichello (2nd)
“I don’t know how I lost that race man.” He was quicker than Button throughout the weekend (bar Button’s stunning qualifying lap) and humbled the Brit at the start. However, he couldn’t get his tyres to work in the second and third stints meaning that almost certain victory slipped through his hands. A good sign for Brawn though when one of their drivers is disappointed with second. If he can’t pin Button back in the next few GPs it’ll be like Ferrari all over again where he had to play second fiddle to Schumacher for so long. 7/10

Mark Webber (3rd)
He’s so far been outclassed by his team-mate Vettel this year and this weekend looked to be going along the same depressing lines for the Australian. As soon as he tussled with Alonso in the opening stint though we knew we were watching a man on a mission. A great drive and one which heralded receiving the ‘Drive of the Day’ award from Coulthard. Anyone else notice how he always backs the Red Bull drivers? Funny old world… 9/10


Sebastian Vettel (4th)
Tipped by Coulthard to win the race. The German’s afternoon effectively ended when Massa ‘KERSed’ him off the line. If Red Bull need any information on the Ferrari rear-end though, I’m sure Vettel will be able to tell them exactly what it looks like after staring at it for an hour and a half. 6/10

Fernando Alonso (5th)
All he had to do was overtake a back marker and the crowd would erupt. Which is exactly what they did when he fortuitously took fifth in the dying laps when Massa had to slow because of a lack of fuel. Probably would have won if he was being powered by the support for him during the weekend. As luck would have it, he was in a Renault and was lucky just to get points. Solid drive. But that’s the least we expect from him… 7/10

Felipe Massa (6th)
Ferrari has certainly improved ­– the car that is rather than their general running of the team – but I suggest Massa flattered them somewhat today. A catastrophic error in the final pitstop meant that he didn’t have enough fuel to finish the race, so had to give up fourth to Vettel and then fifth to Alonso. Only managed to keep Vettel behind him for that long though thanks to KERS. At least his car didn’t come to a grinding halt. Ah, of course it did, it ran out of fuel just before the end. 7/10

Nick Heidfeld (7th)
A pretty quiet race for Heidfeld although he did well to keep Räikkönen behind him in the opening stages. The BMW is faster, but definitely not fast enough. Had the measure of Kubica though. When you drive reasonably well, only 14 cars finish, you’re in a car that was fighting for the World Championship up until the last few races the season before and you don’t even get a point you’ve got to struggle to see the point of it all. 6/10


Nico Rosberg (8th)
Continues to excel in Friday practice, but that doesn’t really help a team get points on the board. Could be worse, he could have a team-mate who pushed him more… Good, long first stint though after punting Trulli off on the first lap. 6/10

Lewis Hamilton (9th)
“What did you feel when Jenson Button lapped you near the end of the Grand Prix?” Hamilton, deadpan face: “nothing”. I very much doubt that Mr Hamilton. It must have felt like one last kick in the tender area after another weekend of having no grip whatsoever. This season is going to feel as long as 2008 was exciting for the current World Champion. 5.5/10

Timo Glock (10th)
Qualified well but just slipped further and further back in the race. He out-drove Trulli, but only because his team-mate’s race ended on the first lap. An afternoon Glock will want to forget. If Hamilton is as unhappy as he is with ninth then Glock in a Toyota – which, lest we forget, is supposed to be one of the fastest cars in 2009 ­– finishing behind him must be as painful as being stuck with a Toyota Prius as a courtesy road car (I’m sure he has something a lot more interesting). 4.5/10

Robert Kubica (11th)
He’s never sought out the limelight and even when he was battling for the World Championship last year he was quiet. Now though, he looks positively rock star noisy last year compared to how he is now. We know he’s one of the most naturally quick drivers on the grid, but you might as well put him in a soapbox at the moment judging by how fast the BMW is. An improvement, but an improvement to 11th can’t put his mind too much at ease. 5/10

Nelson Piquet (12th)
Crasher Piquet didn’t crash, and drove a solid – if uninspiring race – to finish where he did. However, it does look as though he’s happy to just coast round the track, but with Alonso – one of the most exciting and aggressive F1 drivers around – as team-mate, he isn’t going to look like Senna is he? The last two races haven’t been bad, but his likely replacement, Romain Grosjean, only went and took pole, a race victory and a second place in the GP2 round this weekend. News about as welcome as a kick to the head you feel. 5/10

Kazuki Nakajima (13th)
‘Copy’ and ‘paste’ first sentence of Piquet’s report here. Pitted early after contact at the start, rejoined at the back, but drove a long, solid second stint to move up the order. End of the day though, he finished in 13th. With only 14 runners at the end of the race. 4/10


Giancarlo Fisichella (14th)
Qualified last, and was last in the race (out of the finishers). The Force India is not the fastest car out on the track at the moment – quite the opposite in fact – but you have to ask yourself whether the Italian is the right man to push this team forward. Personally, I think this is his last season. Here’s hoping he can go out with a bang. I.e. points, not an explosion. 3/10

Kimi Räikkönen (15th – RET)
Some say he lacks motivation, but how can you have any motivation when your team doesn’t persuade you to set another time in Q1, to make sure you make it into Q2? Out he went in Q1, and then started the race complaining that his KERS wasn’t working. He seemed to be all the better for it though after making up six places in the opening racing laps. Oh, and he also couldn’t see the lights at the start because the new rear wings are so big. All this then his car came to a grinding halt on lap 18. You could argue that he should have made the call to go back out in Q1 but when you have this much bad luck on race day it doesn’t really matter at all. A sentiment I am sure Raikkonen shares. 6/10 (for making up places at the start) 1/10 (Ferrari’s management of the Finn) 10/10 (for bad luck)

Heikki Kovalainen (16th – RET)
It wasn’t a day for the Finns was it? A lacklustre qualifying performance followed by gearbox failure. He seems very relaxed for a man that has been completely outperformed by his team-mate this season, even if he has admittedly only finished two races thanks to a healthy dose of bad luck. 3/10

Jarno Trulli (17th – RET)
Nudged off by Rosberg at the start and then rejoined the track, facing sideways. Cue a pile up that took out all the drivers below. A racing incident but not what Toyota need. 1/10

Sébastien Buemi (18th – RET)
Taken out on lap one. 1/10

Sébastien Bourdais (19th – RET)
Taken out on lap one. 1/10 (Level of anguish at Toro Rosso after both cars need collecting on a truck after not even completing one lap? 10/10)

Adrian Sutil (20th – RET)
Went wide at turn one, only to rejoin the track at turn two, into Trulli. Not really his fault but when you don’t even make it round one turn successfully… 0/10

On an unrelated note, did anyone notice that the podium looked quite, umm, ‘old’ this weekend? Button, Barrichello, Webber… A combined age of 97 must be some sort of a record in recent years.

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