Click above for high-res gallery of the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix
Formula One is fast, and fast is dangerous. That's the assumption formed on the basis of decades of fatal crashes in the sport when the slow advancement of safety measures couldn't keep up with the ever-increasing speeds of grand prix racing. But those assumptions and those safety measures were again put to the test this weekend in Spain, where McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen crashed at 220 km/h (137mph) into a wall of tires, resulting in an estimated impact force of 26 Gs. The crash, which occurred on the 22nd lap of the race, was attributed to a wheel/tire malfunction, and Kovalainen is expected to return in two weeks to race in Turkey.
As jarring as it was, Heikki's crash was only one of the many times the safety car was deployed in a race that was dominated by the color yellow of the caution flag. The next most dominant color at Catalunya, however, was surely red, as Ferrari dominated the race virtually from start to finish, with Kimi Raikkonen sailing to an easy checkered flag with his team mate Felipe Massa close behind. Towards the end of the race, Kovalainen's teammate Lewis Hamilton was closing in on Massa, but ended up taking the third step on the podium, giving defending champion Raikkonen a commanding nine point lead over Hamilton. The perfect finish for Ferrari likewise gave the team a commanding lead in the constructors' championship, leading 47 to BMW Sauber's 35 and McLaren's 34. BMW, which entered the race with the lead for the constructors' title, didn't fair as well as hoped, with Kubica finishing an admirable fourth while his teammate Heidfeld came in outside the points in 9th after suffering a drive-through penalty. However, that wasn't nearly as bad as second-tier rival Renault did under the Spanish sun, with neither local hero Fernando Alonso nor his teammate Nelsinho Piquet completing the race. All in all, a shocking nine drivers retired before the last lap, including Nico Rosberg (Williams), Rubens Barrichello (Honda), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri), both the Toro Rosso drivers (Bourdais and Vettel) in addition to the Renaults and the aforementioned Kovalainen.
Follow the jump for the full results, current standings after four rounds of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship and a video of Kovalainen's crash.