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2010 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

"Horrible, quite bad race." That's how one of the championship front-runners described the results from today's Spanish Grand Prix. We're not about to tell you who summarized his day with such frustration – for that you'll have to read through to the end, or at least click past the jump and scroll down. But the circumstances he described came as one of a few surprises in an otherwise largely processional race this weekend in Barcelona. Follow the jump to read how it unfolded.


  • BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing leads team mate Sebastian Vettel (R) of Germany and Red Bull Racing and the rest of the field into the first corner at the start of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Webber;Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber drives at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (C) of Britain leads Red Bull-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel (L) of Germany and Force India-Mercedes driver Adrian Sutil (R) of Germany during Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 18, 2010. Hamilton finished in second place, with Vettel in sixth and Sutil in 11th. AFP PHOTO/GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Mercedes GP's German driver Michael Schumacher drives ahead of Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber drives ahead of Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: (L-R) Red Bull Racing Chief Mechanic Kenny Handkammer, second placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari, race winner Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing and third placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium following the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Webber;Kenny Handkammer;Fernando Alonso;Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber celebrates on the podium of the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, after the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber won the race ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)


Saturday's qualifying session placed Red Bull on the pole once again for the fifth time in so many races so far this season, but instead of the young Sebastian Vettel leading his veteran wingman Mark Webber to pole, it was the other way around. The world champions dutifully lined up behind them: Lewis Hamilton in third, followed by Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. Three highly-rated young guns subsequently fell in line, with Robert Kubica in seventh, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in eighth and Ferrari's Felipe Massa in ninth. The rest of the midfielders and back-markers took their places on the rest of the grid, the only big surprise was seeing Rubens Barrichello fail to make it out of Q1 for an 18th-place starting position.



Unlike some of the previous rounds that have seen surprising shake-ups as early as the first corner, the parade proceeded from the start in a largely orderly fashion, with few noteworthy collisions or passing maneuvers to speak of. Vettel tried to squeeze past Webber, and Alonso on Hamilton, but each maintained his position.

By lap 10, gaps of several seconds were already opening up between the race leaders, Webber pulling away from Vettel, who in turn stayed in front of Hamilton, with Alonso likewise following a couple of seconds behind. Four laps later, just before the first round of pit stops, the order remained largely the same, the only major shake-ups resulting from Kubica having dropped in the opening stint from seventh on the grid to tenth in the race, and Rosberg – who'd been having a stellar season so far after two consecutive podium finishes – dropping down from eighth on the grid to eleventh.



Driving the newly revised Mercedes, Schumacher was among the first into the pits, along with Massa. When the seven-time world champion completed his first post-pit "out lap," defending world champion Jenson Button was just pulling his McLaren out of pit lane. In the first bit of notable drama in the race, Schumi completed an impressive passing maneuver at the start of lap 17 on Button to snag fifth place. A race-long battle would follow as Button refused to give in to the returning veteran, and Schumacher in turn holding on to position for dear life.

The following lap after Schumi's pass on Button, Hamilton managed a similar move on Sebastian Vettel for P2. Making the best of a Virgin car moving aside to let the race leaders, already lapping back-markers, get by unimpeded, Hamilton squeezed by Vettel and promptly shut the door on him, forcing Vettel to fall in line behind.

Further back, the battle between Schumacher and Button raged on. By lap 25 they headed into heavy back-marker traffic and Felipe Massa closed the distance from behind to intensify a now three-way battle for positions five, six and seven. A back-marker moved aside under the passing flag to let the champions by, but evidently didn't see Massa joining the fight as well and shut him down, sending the Brazilian into the rear of the back-marker and slightly damaging his front wing. The impediment, however, turned out to be anything but, as Massa managed to squeeze off even faster times as his front-left winglet fluttered in the slipstream out of position, in turn forcing the Ferrari mechanics to wonder if their driver hadn't inadvertently stumbled upon an aerodynamic improvement.



Come lap 30 – nearly halfway through the race – Webber remained in the lead, well ahead of Hamilton in second, and Vettel close behind in third. Alonso trailed still in fourth, and Schumacher lagged some 20 seconds behind in fifth as he fought to keep Button at bay, who in turn was forced to defend against Massa in seventh. Adrian Sutil showed once again how far Force India had come with his eighth place position, ahead of Renault's Kubica (9th), Williams' Barrichello (10th), Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari (11th) and William's Nico Hulkenberg (12th). Renault's Petrov, Sauber's Kobayashi, Force India's Liuzzi, Mercedes' Rosberg, STR's Buemi, Lotus' Trulli, Virgin's Glock and Di Grassi rounded out the order, while HRT's Chandhok, Sauber's de la Rosa, HRT's Senna and Lotus' Kovalainen were already out of the race.

The grand prix proceeded largely without incident for the following laps. Still in P4 by lap 42, Alonso was setting the fastest times, but was still four seconds behind Vettel ahead of him, and naturally even farther adrift race leader Webber.

A fight ensued farther back, however, between the Nicos, dueling it out for P15. Rosberg had managed to pick his way through traffic to catch up with Hulkenberg in the Williams, finally passing him in his faster Mercedes on lap 51.



Three laps later, Vettel surprised by running wide through a sharp corner. He managed to recover and get back on track without losing his third-place position behind Hamilton and ahead of Alonso, but proceeded directly into the pits for fresh tires, falling to fourth behind the two-time champion, a local favorite, in the process. As it turned out, his Red Bull was suffering from failing brakes, and his technicians advised him over the radio to slow down as the situation deteriorated to a critical level that endangered his chance of finishing the race altogether. With four laps to go, Vettel was noticeably slower, but with 21 seconds separating him from both Alonso in front and Schumacher behind, he stood little chance of either gaining or losing position.

The tear-jerking surprise, however, came for Hamilton on the penultimate lap. Holding on securely to a vital second place position, the McLaren blew a tire and skidded off the track and – somewhat ironically – into a tire wall. His race was finished with only one lap to go.



Hamilton's misfortune propelled everyone else up a position, catapulting Alonso to second and Vettel, despite his malfunctioning brakes that held together to the finish line, to the podium.

Schumacher finished an entirely respectable fourth place, his best result so far this season (doubtlessly thanks, in no small part, to the revised chassis) and outperforming his young team-mate for the first time since his return. Button followed across the finish line in fifth, Massa in sixth, Sutil an impressive seventh, Kubica eighth, Barrichello ninth and Alguersuari picking up the last championship point in 10th place.



The race results leave Button still in the lead for the championship with 70 points, ahead of Alonso in second with 67. Vettel trails with 60, Webber with 53, Rosberg with 50, Hamilton and Massa with 49 apiece and Kubica with 44. Schumacher, meanwhile, lies ninth in the standings with 44 points. McLaren likewise leads in the constructors' standings with 119 points, just ahead of Ferrari's 116 and Red Bull's 113.

In the post-race press conference, Webber was suitably elated after a flawless and unrivaled performance, scoring his third career victory and his first this season. Alonso was suitably satisfied with his performance as well. But Vettel, despite having landed on the podium and brought in a 1-3 victory for his team, was practically despondent, characterizing the day with our opening quote. Imagine, then, how Hamilton must have felt. Guess it's all a matter of perspective.


  • BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing leads team mate Sebastian Vettel (R) of Germany and Red Bull Racing and the rest of the field into the first corner at the start of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Webber;Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber drives at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (C) of Britain leads Red Bull-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel (L) of Germany and Force India-Mercedes driver Adrian Sutil (R) of Germany during Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 18, 2010. Hamilton finished in second place, with Vettel in sixth and Sutil in 11th. AFP PHOTO/GOH CHAI HIN (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Mercedes GP's German driver Michael Schumacher drives ahead of Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber drives ahead of Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drives ahead of McLaren Mercedes' British driver Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, during the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: (L-R) Red Bull Racing Chief Mechanic Kenny Handkammer, second placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari, race winner Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing and third placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium following the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Webber;Kenny Handkammer;Fernando Alonso;Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber celebrates on the podium of the Circuit de Catalunya on May 9, 2010 in Montmelo, near Barcelona, after the Formula One Grand Prix of Spain. Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber won the race ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)



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  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      anyone knows from where one can download recordings of ongoing season's races? (not the live streaming).
      I read that BBC F1 site has them but could not find them
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please do not post a picture of the podium in the gallery thumbnails on the front page.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "But Vettel, despite having landed on the podium and brought in a 1-3 victory for his team, was practically despondent, characterizing the day with our opening quote."

      Well, yeah. Sure, he finished the race. But Webber's dominance aside, Vettel was nearly canned by another mechanical failure. I imagine it's quite frustrating to drive a car that seems unwilling to let him exercise its superlative potential for the entirety of a race.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Nateb123: So the faulty spark plug socket that kept him from winning in Bahrain was somehow his fault.
        Or the defective lug nut in Australia. Because certainly lug nut failure, like tire wear, is a sure sign of driving too hard. Please...

        Nice theory, not connected to reality, though...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then Vettel should start learning that the car is not indestructible. He's been devastating to every component you can think of at this point: engines, gearboxes, wheels, suspension pieces, the chassis itself, brakes, the cooling system. The kid breaks EVERYTHING. He's got no respect for the car and thus his car simply can't deliver what Vettel wants. And I don't see him developing a softer touch and smarter approach to driving until his seemingly unending brashness is gone. God knows when that will be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Put that way, I'd imagine no time soon, either. There's little incentive to when his car is capable of dispatching just about everyone else wih ease.

        That said, isn't it obvious that I'm just getting back into the habit of following F1? I had no idea that Vettel was behind his own maladies, though it could've been evident through that fact that Mark Webber's has yet to cook his brakes in the races I've observed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @nateb

        Vettel broke the spark plug in Bahrain? Yesterday I think it was whatever adjusts the wing failed and ended up blocking off the brake ducts causing the brakes to overheat so he had to back way off. That was his fault too?

        I guess you could also say that Hamilton broke his left front wheel thus causing him to slam into the wall on the second to last lap.

        Some things are definitely the driver's fault but then other things are pure mechanical failures. To say that Vettel breaks EVERYTHING is just a little too much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This circuit should be banned from F1. F1 races on it have proved to be insanely boring over the years. I've watched the start and got back to sleep.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think that's because all the teams do the winter testing on this circuit, they know it so well...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. No reason to watch the race, even. The past 10 years in Spain showed that whoever starts first finishes first. Lame.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The thing is that this circuit is SO good. Just not for viewing. It's a blast to drive, is tricky without being aggravating and yet is still taxing on the cars and drivers. The real issue with overtaking on this track isn't a lack of boring straights where poorly engineered cars that just happen to have less drag (and way less downforce) can gain places. You can overtake on Turn 1, 8, 10, and do some interesting things at the end of the lap that can set you up nicely.

        The problem is that most F1 drivers haven't had stones for a long time. Button for example just pussed out and was shown what's what by Schuey. Rosberg made a similarly Button-esque showing against Hulkenburg which was appalling. Technically speaking, most F1 drivers are certainly able performers, but exceptionally spirited they're not.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well done Schumi.

      That's a great improvement and I hope to see him compete for the top three soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      But other than that, you're doing much much better on the whole spoiler thing. I'm so impressed I'm going to read autoblog after next weeks race... even before I get a chance to watch it!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ever since FOX bought Speedvision and renamed it Speed, I see it as the Nascar Channel.
      It was pretty good back then with WRC, etc...
      Speed has to serve the interest of Big FOX.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Speed does cover NASCAR a bit to much, but they still seem to cover a lot of other racing. Unfortunately I tend to tune in at the hours when NASCAR is on, so I miss the good stuff, like Rolex series, ALMS, and F1.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I understand that F1, IndyCar, and Nascar are all popular in their own right. Although F1 and IndyCar aren't exactly popular in America, Nascar maintains a relatively large fanbase. What I don't understand is why other types of racing haven't caught on. I would much rather watch regular cars, such as souped up Lancers and Civics, etc, race around road courses then see bland racing with low passing potential. Why can't we get a Rally Series Championship or something similiar to it. I'd love to see races pitting Ferraris and Maseratis and Lambos going against each other.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can watch it, just not on TV. European GT1 and GT3 races can be watched live online, or if you are busy on race day, you can go back and watch any previous races. It is great racing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I record FIA GT 1 and 3 on Bloomberg TV,u just need to check the scheduling
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok. Thanx for telling me that. I need to try it soon. I just hope my slow internet doesn't ruin a good race. I still dream of the day when the U.S. appreciates true road racing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is often Touring car racing on speed, especially on Sundays after a Saturday night NASCAR race, but it really is nowhere near as popular. I enjoy watching it though, with recognizable cars and shorter races. Speed also shows a lot of Le Mans and ALMS, which are also fun to watch. I just wish either touring car or ALMS could gain more traction in America so my friends who thinks auto racing is dumb will realize there is more to it then making left turns.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem with Speed is that it is not considered a major network. Standard Cable does not carry it. I wish it did. The only way touring car racing could catch on in America would be for a prime-time race to show live on ESPN, FOX, NBC, etc. There is already a fan-base for racing, the Daytona 500 constantly is watched by millions of Americans. It would be a good experiment for any broadcasting network. All it takes is an opportunity and some personalities driving the cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This result just shows how good Webber can be when he doesn't get stuffed around, an absolutely amazing performance and one of the biggest victories this year, no one could touch him all through qualifying and racing.

      This is his year, ill vouch for Webber anyday over Vettel.
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