Sunday, May 9, 2010

Webber takes Spanish Grand Prix with ease

Mark Webber cruised to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, as his pursuers hit trouble in Barcelona.

Mark Webber confirmed the Circuit de Catalunya's reputation for rewarding polesitters by becoming the first driver to win from the front of the grid in five races in 2010.

While the poleman struggled to find the top step of the podium during the four 'flyaway' races, Webber lived up to the Spanish circuit's record by becoming the tenth man to lead from lights to flag, claiming a comprehensive victory to open his account for 2010.

The Australian held his hard-earned qualifying advantage off the line and then pulled comfortably away from Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Likewise Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso held station in third and fourth, leaving the action to the rear of the field, where Sebastien Buemi clipped Pedro de la Rosa, forcing both to pit for repairs - and, ultimately, head into retirement.

Bruno Senna also departed the fray, on the opening lap, while Heikki Kovalainen didn't even make the start, after gearbox problems hobbled his Lotus. Karun Chandhok completed the casualties making it a bad day for 'home' team HRT.

As well as continuing to crown polewinners, Barcelona also lived down to its reputation of providing a largely uneventful race, with only the pit-stops and unreliability helping to shuffle to order. Vettel suffered with a slow stop, allowing Hamilton to vault him for second as the pair came across Lucas di Grassi entering turn one, while Michael Schumacher was also able to swap places with Jenson Button after the Briton similarly suffered during his tyre change.

Neither Hamilton or Vettel was able to claim the reward their grid position suggested, however, with the Briton suffering a penultimate lap rim failure that sent him into the turn three tyre barrier, and Vettel's brakes gave out, forcing the Red Bull team to urge the German to calm his pace after a precautionary second pit-stop.

The late drama promoted home hero Alonso to second place, with Vettel soldiering on to complete the podium in third. Schumacher also benefited, confirming his best result since returning from retirement in fourth place, one ahead of a frustrated Button, who was unable to find a way past the Mercedes.

Felipe Massa overcame a damaged front wing for sixth, coming home ahead of Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello - despite the Brazilian's poor qualifying - and Jaime Alguersuari, who ensured two point-scorers for Spain.