Spanish F1 GP 2013 Wallpapers – Until Sunday, the racetrack outside Barcelona where the Spanish Grand Prix has taken place every year since 1991 had a very fan-unfriendly statistic: For 21 of the 22 years a driver who had started from the top two spots on the grid won the race.
In short, because it was so difficult to pass, it was mostly processional racing and the result was almost decided during Saturday qualifying. The only driver to have won from farther back was Michael Schumacher, who won his first race for Ferrari in 1996, starting from third on the grid.
Even despite changes in recent years to the series’ technical regulations to facilitate overtaking, the drivers on the front row won — usually the man who started on pole.
On Sunday, all that changed in the most fantastic way for the Spanish fans who came to watch their local hero, Fernando Alonso, drive a superb, gutsy, intelligent race in his Ferrari in the balmy, sunny weather to take the victory, despite starting only fifth on the grid.
Kimi Raikkonen of the Lotus team finished second, and Felipe Massa, in the other Ferrari, finished third after starting from the even more distant position of ninth on the grid.
Since the series’ leader, Sebastian Vettel, of the Red Bull team, who won the Spanish race last year, finished only fourth, the results tightened the battle for the drivers’ title. Vettel now leads the series with 89 points; Raikkonen is just four points behind and Alonso is third with 72 points.
It was Alonso’s second victory of the year, after he won in China last month, and the 32nd victory of his career. It was also his second victory in Barcelona, where he won driving a Renault in 2006, and his third in Spain, after he won the European Grand Prix in Valencia last year, when he started 11th on the grid.
“This is very special winning at home,” said Alonso, “and it doesn’t matter how many times you can do it and how many times you can repeat it, it is starting from zero and you have a very emotional last lap.”
On the wind-down lap after his victory, Alonso slowed to take the Spanish flag handed to him by a track marshal so he could wave it as he returned to the victory podium.
Alonso has single-handedly turned Formula One into one of the most popular spectator sports in Spain after he won the drivers’ title in 2005 and 2006 for Renault. An hour before the race on Sunday, during a parade of the drivers around the track to wave to the fans, Alonso made the unusual move of jumping off his vehicle and running up to the grandstand fence to shake hands and express his gratitude to the fans.
The fans expressed theirs during the race, acclaiming him on their feet and with their cheers each time he rose a spot up the pack.
Nico Rosberg, a German at the Mercedes team, started from pole position, with his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in second. Vettel started third, and Raikkonen started fourth.
Rosberg got off to a perfect start, while behind him, Hamilton lost position to Vettel before the first corner. Alonso, after at first being passed by Raikkonen, passed both Raikkonen and then Hamilton by the second corner.
“We knew that to win the race we needed to pass people at the start,” Alonso said. “The start was very good, but it was very narrow and it wasn’t easy to move, and so we needed to wait for a better opportunity. It came just after Turn One, and I passed Kimi and then said, ‘Why not Hamilton, too?”’
For the first several laps the race leaders kept within a second of each other, trying to force an error. None of the drivers would make a serious mistake, and the race then became one about pit-stop strategy and, above all, which car would best preserve Pirelli’s fast-degrading tires that wear out so quickly on the abrasive track surface.
After only nine laps of the 66-lap race, Alonso was the first of the leaders to make a pit stop to change tires. After the following lap, the other leaders made a pit stop, and by the time Lap 10 was finished, Alonso had passed Vettel.
By Lap 13, Alonso had passed Rosberg and was the virtual leader of the race, since the car ahead of them at that point had not made a pit stop. Alonso steadily increased his control of the race from then on, but he said it was not until after the fourth pit stop that he really felt he was certain to win, with just 16 laps left — and the crowd on its feet cheering.
“After the last pit stop, when I found myself in front of Kimi by eight or nine seconds and my tires were two or three laps fresher, I realized the race was in our pocket if I didn’t make a mistake,” he said.
It was after Lap 13, when Alonso passed him that Rosberg’s race began to decline, as he dropped position after position as his Mercedes wore out its tires.
Rosberg finished the race in only sixth position, and Hamilton, after starting second, finished only 12th.
“It was an experience that I don’t really want to go through again,” said Hamilton. “I had no grip, I couldn’t push, and if I did, the tire just went off immediately.”
The race had the most pit stops this season for tire changes as a majority of the drivers made four pit stops, compared with a two-stop average.
The tire wear and the resulting pit stops were what ensured the fans in Barcelona one of the most interesting races in the track’s history.
“It has historically been difficult to overtake here and starting on the first row was half the race, and now whatever car keeps the tires alive will win the race or finish on the podium,” Alonso said.
Source - www.nytimes.com
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