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Maldonado becomes first Venezuelan to win a Formula One Grand Prix

posted 13 May 2012, 09:58 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 13 May 2012, 09:59 ]

Pastor Maldonado wins the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix for Williams, becoming the first Venezuelan to record an F1 podium finish.

BARCELONA, SPAIN (MAY 13, 2012) (FOM) - 
Pastor Maldonado grabbed an astonishing first Formula One victory on Sunday (May 13) in a Spanish Grand Prix thriller that handed former champions Williams their first triumph in 132 races and nearly eight years.
The first Venezuelan driver to stand on the F1 podium, let alone win, Maldonado became the fifth different winner from five races won by five different teams - a phenomenon only ever seen before in 1983.

A 300-1 outsider before the weekend, Maldonado delivered Williams' first win since Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya in Brazil in October 2004.

The Circuit de Catalunya, the most predictable on the calendar until the arrival of moveable rear wings (DRS) and the Pirelli tyres, served up a cliffhanger.

Fernando Alonso seized the lead at the start to the delight of the home crowd, but that was just the opening salvo in a long afternoon full of thrills and overtaking.

Maldonado's team mate Bruno Senna was less fortunate than the Venezuelan victor, retiring on track after just 13 laps when Michael Schumacher ploughed his Mercedes into the back of the Williams in a shower of debris.

The seven times world champion, three years into his comeback but still without a podium place, branded the Brazilian an 'idiot' over the team radio even though it looked like the collision was clearly Schumacher's fault.

Stewards were investigating the incident.

Red Bull's world champion, Sebastian Vettel, joined the list of unhappy Germans after he and Ferrari's Felipe Massa, again completely eclipsed by his team mate, collected drive-through penalties for failing to slow for yellow warning flags.

While Lewis Hamilton showed off all his talents by carving his way through the field from last place on the grid to eighth, the battle at the front was on a knife-edge right to the very end.

With 10 laps to go there was less than a second between Maldonado and Alonso, while Kimi Raikkonen was taking huge chunks out of their lead lap by lap.

The pole had fallen into Maldonado's after Hamilton was sent to the back of the grid on Saturday because McLaren put too little fuel in his car for qualifying; the former GP2 champion grabbed his chance with both hands.

"Very good job, guys," was all Maldonado said over the radio as his team mates erupted in celebrations, but Maldonado made up for it on the podium as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen lifted him on their shoulders.

Spain's double champion Alonso finished second, 3.1 seconds behind, to move level with Vettel on points at the top of championship.

Finland's 2007 champion Raikkonen was a disappointed third, taking the chequered flag 3.8 seconds behind Maldonado after just running out of laps in a spirited chase for a possible victory.

Vettel, who finished sixth, and Alonso each have 61 points, with Hamilton on 53.

It was the 114th win for Williams, nine times constructors' champions whose last title was in 1997 with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.

It came the day after Formula One gave team founder and principal Frank Williams a belated 70th birthday party.

Raikkonen said afterwards: "I was not so disappointed during the race because I saw that I could not follow them in the beginning, but then of course in the end when you catch them up almost 20 seconds then you get a disappointed feeling afterwards and when you needed a few more laps to even be able to maybe fight for first place but that's racing and at least we scored some good points for the team and we're going in the right direction."

Alonso commented: "In the very last laps I felt the car strange, we lost a lot of grip, maybe something, we lost some hydrodynamic part or something because we were very slow, I mean we were close to Kimi to fight for third position so we were luck at the end and this second place feels fantastic at home."

Winner Maldonado said: "I need to say that I'm pretty happy because the car was so competitive since the first lap. Fernando did a better start than me, but I was just following the pace and it was OK. I think it was my first podium and my first victory, so you can imagine what I feel."

Provisional result of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix of Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Sunday

1. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1hr 39mins 09.145secs

2. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00:03.195

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus-Renault 00:03.884

4. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus-Renault 00:14.799

5. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber-Ferrari 01:04.641

6. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull-Renault 01:07.576

7. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 01:17.919

8. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 01:18.140

9. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:25.246

10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India-Mercedes 1 lap

11. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1 lap

12. Jean-Eric Vergne (France)Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap

13. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap

14. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India-Mercedes 1 lap

15. Felipe Massa (Brazil)Ferrari 1 lap

16. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - Renault 1 lap

17. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - Renault 1 lap

18. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - Cosworth 2 laps

19. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - Cosworth 3 laps

r. Sergio Perez (Mexico)Sauber - Ferrari 29 laps

r. Charles Pic (France) Marussia - Cosworth 31 laps

r. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - Cosworth 44 laps

r. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - Renault 54 laps

r. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 54 laps

(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)

Fastest Lap: Romain Grosjean,1:26.250, lap 53.

Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday

Driver standings

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 61 points

2. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 61

3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 53

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault 49

5. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 48

6. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 45

7. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP 41

8. Romain Grosjean (France) Renault 35

9. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 29

10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 22

11. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 19

12. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 15

13. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 14

14. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 4

15. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 3

16. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 2

17. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 2

18. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes GP 2

19. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 0

20. Charles Pic (France) Marussia 0

21. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Team Lotus 0

22. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Team Lotus 0

23. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 0

24. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 0

Constructor standings

1. RedBull - Renault 109 points

2. McLaren - Mercedes 98

3. Lotus - Renault 84

4. Ferrari 63

5. Mercedes 43

5= Williams - Renault 43

7. Sauber - Ferrari 41

8. Force India - Mercedes 18

9. Toro Rosso - Ferrari 6

10. Marussia - Cosworth 0

11. Caterham - Renault 0

12. HRT - Cosworth 0