Notes taken during the SPEED broadcast of FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA SANTANDER 2012 (Spanish Grand Prix), Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on May 13, 2012.
Happy Mother's Day. pressdog® DRINK, ye BASTARDS™ Beer of the Race is Flanders Dirty Bastard Scotish Ale ...8.5% alcohol. Label says "Not for the wee lads." Get your opdog DRINK, ye BASTARDS drinkware HERE.
The only acceptable reason for such stoppage is a mechanical or technical issue (it blows up, for example, something stops working), known as "force majeure" in F1 speak. Unfortunately, Lewis stopped on the course to save fuel (and have the one litre required) and therefore did NOT drive to parc ferme and therefore broke the Sporting Regulation. The stewards ruled any claim of technical issue rubbish (I am paraphrasing), so Mercedes got penalized (or "penalised," if you are outside the U.S.).
That makes Pastor Maldonado, much maligned as a "ride buyer" since he brought a sponsor with him to Williams, your pole sitter. BAM.
The cars are rolling, so let's hit the DRINK, ye BASTARDS starting lineup ...
Maldonado, Fernando Alonso, Roman Grosjean, Kimi Räikkönen, Sergio Perez, Nico Rosberg, Sabastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayshi, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Charles Pick, Timo Glock, Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan and Lewis Hamilton.
Karthikeyan failed to meet the 107% requirement in qualifying, but raced at the stewards' discretion, probably because his practice times were much closer to or even better than 107% of the leader.
David Hobbs (insert tinkle of scotch on the rocks here), Bob Varsha and Steve Matchett are in the booth. Will Buxton is on the grid.
Story lines ... Hobbs- no idea who will win in this nutty F1 season, Matchett -- festival of tire choices, Bob -- McLaren having issues lately.
For this race (perhaps given Barcelona's reputation for a Festival of Parade-like Races -- Pirelli brought two tires that are a step apart on the hard-to-soft spectrum. In other words, the hard tire for this race is two steps harder than the soft tire. Usually they are just one step apart. Theoretically that should make performance and (Matchett voice) Deg-ra-da-tion more pronounced between the two.
Were gridded for the standing start. Lights are on ... we're GREEN.
Alonso INHALES Maldonado on the start into turn 1. Kimi jumps Grosjean to get P3.
In the old days we could just turn it off here and go about our business, secure that the order going into turn 5 on lap 1 was the finishing order, but now we gotta watch, because we got nutty tire differences, DRS zones and Maldonado up front.
Oh, and when Alonso takes the lead the Spanish fans go APE SHIT. Audible roar from the fans.
Lap 2 -- Perez got a flat tire from the kerfuffle at the start. Team says Grosjean is to blame. Replay of start. Pic goes ass around. Massa gets a monster start. Matchett is chagrined that Maldonado tried to defend (slide over in front of Alonso) going into turn one. If he had just shot for the corner in a straight line, Matchett thinks he gets there first. Steve is quite exercised about this point.
Hamilton is inhaling people from the green.
Lap 6 -- Webber pits to get the harder of the two tires. Harder tires allegedly last longer but don't go as fast as soft tires. Both teams have to use at least one set of both types of tires during the race.
Lap 8 -- Vettel pits. Alonso, Maldonado, Räikkönen, Rosberg, Grosjean, Schumacher, Button, Kobayashi, Vergne, Massa.
Lap 9 -- Hamilton is P12. Up 12 from the start. Festival of First Stops here.
Matchett is all over the tire differences, how fast the softs go to shit, etc. Fully deployed on the difference track temperature makes on tires as well.
Alonso pits from the lead. Maldonado stays out. Grosjean pits. Maldonado needs to FLY on this lap to gap Alonso in the pits so he can pit and come out in P1.
Lap 12 -- Maldonado pits. Räikkönen pits. Mald back out in P2, Räikkönen in P3.
Cue the circus music! Senna and Schumacher have contact. Senna is toast. Replay ... Schumacher PUNTs Senna from behind. Festival of Rear Spearage. Looks like Schumacher was closing fast from the rear, Senna swerved left either to 1) set up the corner 2) give Schumacher the inside or 3) throw a block party. Three, two, one ... contact. Both end up off in the gravel.
A miniature Gator vehicle pulls up and 19 clowns jump out and start punting officially licensed F1 footballs into the stands.
Lap 15 -- Hamilton runs over something coming out of the pits. We think wheel gun originally, but then we see he ran over his own old left rear, which was not moved out of the way by any of the estimated 192 people on an F1 pit crew.
Replay of Schumacher blowing up Senna again.
Lap 17 -- Webber getting inhaled by everyone. Matchett says may not be the tire compound. Webber will pit for a new nose. Some kind of down force issue which they can detect from telemetry. I swear the telemetry on an F1 car is so advanced it can tell how full the driver's bladder is and predict within a lap when he or she will piss.
Alonso, Maldonado, Räikkönen, Grosjean, Rosberg.
Hobbs gives a big shout out to Maldonado.
Lap 22 -- Stewards reviewing something involving Massa and Vettel. What that is is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Overhead of Hamilton working on Massa. Massa playing defense here.
Lap 25 -- Karthikeyan car dead at pit out. Local yellow.
Alonso inhales someone, gives them the "why I oughta" hand gesture. Not the bird, for the record. Matchett says Alonso's pace was falling. Alonso pits shortly after the hand gesture. Alonso in the pits ... Maldonado INHALES him on the track. Pass for for the lead in the pits. Alonso comes back out and will cycle to P2. Maldonado went purple (fastest lap of all) during that lap.
Räikkönen leads but will pit soon. DiResta and Hulkenberg have a mutual hip check moment.
Lap 28 -- Räikkönen pits from P1. Hamilton trying to inhale Massa. Launch the Alert 5 aircraft! Massa is totally defensive.
Massa and Vettel get a drive through for failing to slow for a local yellow. Dogs and cats, living together, MASS HYSTERIA. I do not recall this happening ever (Note: that does not mean it has never happened, just that I don't recall it.)
Lap 31 -- Maldinado leads by 7 seconds. Alonso, Räikkönen, Grosjean, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Button, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg.
Lap 35 -- Onboard Kobayashi under button and clear. Bumps him on the way for good measure.
Tire DEG-ra-dation is playing a role in this race. Purist demand a return to single-file, parade like "real" racing here.
Lap 37 (of 66) -- Pic gts a drive through for ignoring the blue passing flag! Holy shit. WTF? Festival of Penalties. Apparently Pic was the guy that Alonso was motioning discourteously to earlier. He failed to yield to the leader when the blue flag was presented.
Stewards are NOT INTERESTED IN TAKING YOUR SHIT, OK? Actual radio transmission to Pic here.
Vettel overtakes Button on the outside who didn't put up much of a fight. Bob says the lap times are coming down in the front of the pack.
Lap 41 -- Perez has pulled it in for good. Button goes around the outside of Massa.
Lap 42 -- Maldonado pits from the lead. Bad stop! Rear issues. Out. Matchett is all over the pit crew. Maldo comes out in P3. Alonso leads Kimi.
Lap 43 -- Vettel pits and gets a new nose. May be the same issue that Webber had. Matchett goes grand mal on the tech speak including "cascade flap on right at front apex..." this is the kind of tech speak that Steve loves so well.
Lap 45 -- Alonso pits. Räikkönen and Maldonado fly by. Räikkönen leads Maldonado by 0.8 seconds, but has to pit.
Lap 47 -- Maldonado inhales Räikkönen for the lead. Pass on the track for the lead. Cue the "tire DEG-re-day-tion" talk.
Lap 49 -- Räikkönen pits. Rejoins in P4. All leaders have pitted now. Now it's on like donkey kong. Alonso charges Maldonado who is trying to manager his rear tires well enough to hold on. Alonso has fresher tires.
Lap 51 (of 66) -- Räikkönen goes purple. (Fastest lap of the race) on his fresh tires but he's many many seconds back from the lead.
Lap 52 -- Promo for two weeks from now, Monoco, possibly the most famous Festival of Non-Passing in sport.
Massa lets the leader by. Class. Maldonado, Alonso, Räikkönen, Grosjean, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Hulkenberg.
Lap 53 -- Maldo is +1.2 seconds on Alonso. Alonso's charge has stalled a bit but Räikkönen is still racing toward P2.
Lap 57 -- Räikkönen is -16 seconds back of Alonso with 9 to go. Even carving 1+ seconds per lap off the lead it's not going to happen.
Lap 58 -- Alonso still working on Maldo. Räikkönen closing by 1.5 seconds PER LAP on the leaders. Driving angry. Only 8 laps to go though.
Lap 59 -- Vettel overtakes Button.
Alonso is 1.4 back but can't use his DRS (Drag Reduction System) since he is not within the 1 second behind required to deploy same.
Lap 62 of 66 -- Räikkönen is flying. Plasma coming off his wings he's going so fast. Wings are back in the delta and he's supersonic. "RäikkönenSupersonicI'llBeTherein30Seconds" Räikkönen has the gap down to 8.2 from 20 some. Maldo is 2.3 seconds up on Alonso. Should win barring air strike.
Vettel and Hamilton in a knife fight for P7.
Lap 63 -- Vettel goes around Hamiton .. CLEAR. This pass brought to you by tire DEG-ra-day-tion.
Lap 64 -- Alonso is -2.3 from leader. Räikkönen is -6.8 from Alonso. Not going to happen.
Last Williams car to win was 2004 Brazil with Juan Pablo Montoya.
Lap 65 -- Alonso -3 from leader, Räikkönen -4.3 from Alonso. Kimi is CARVING 2 seconds a lap off Alonso's lead.
Lap 65 -- Räikkönen now only 2.5 seconds back from Alonso. Declares himself a big fan of the green-white-checkered in NASCAR.
White -- Räikkönen still taking 2 seconds a lap off the lead. Webber lets the leaders through. Class move there. Räikkönen's car may be superheating it's going so fast. Hulk lets leaders by. Impressed wit this getting out of the way here. Ups to all involved.
Checkered. Maldonado wins. First EVER Venezuelian to win in F1. Räikkönen finishes in P3, just 0.6 behind Alonso.
Maldonado pit: "Very good job. Good drive." Maldonado "Very good job, guys. Very good job guys." Guy sounds more like he won a checkers match than his first F1 GP. Hobbs: "Very good drive? That's a bit of an understatement."
Podium. Kimi gives the P3 presentation a smirk. Pretty much cut off 20 seconds of lead in 10 laps. Insane charge. Five more laps and he's got P2, I would think. But the race is only 66! So Alonso gets P2 and the Spaniards are frothing.
Räikkönen and Alonso hoist Maldonado up on their shoulders. May be some kind of first-time winner thing. Festival of champagne.
That's it from Barcelona. Tune in to SPEED for Monoco on 6 a.m. Eastern May 27.