Maldonado wins, Alonso and Vettel lead title
Not only is the victory Pastor Maldonado's first, his walk up the steps at the Circuit de Catalunya was the first taste of the podium in his two-season F1 career.
It's also the first Venezuelan triumph in the sport's history, and a hugely popular victory for Williams, the once-great British team headed by Sir Frank Williams, whose 70th birthday was warmly celebrated in the paddock on Saturday.
And asked how he feels on Sky television, he smiled: "Relief."
"Some said Maldonado was a pay driver and he didn't deserve his place in formula one but they'll be eating their words now," commented former team driver David Coulthard.
"That was a fantastic drive," added Coulthard, referring to Williams' first win since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004.
Williams enthused: "I didn't see him (Maldonado) make one single mistake."
"You can't really fault him," agreed Williams' 1996 world champion Damon Hill.
Amazingly, however, away from the champagne, Sebastian Vettel's sixth place leaves him at the top of the drivers' championship, and he is now neck-and-neck with Fernando Alonso, who finished second on Sunday in the improving Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton, who finished dead last on Sunday and finished eighth, is third in the points classification, ahead of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
Finn Raikkonen finished third on Sunday, and is the favorite to become F1's sixth different winner of 2012 in Monaco in a fortnight.
"We showed we still have the speed," the Lotus driver said after the Spanish grand prix. "If we had a few more laps, we could have fought for a victory."
Michael Schumacher was furious after slamming into the back of Bruno Senna and removing both men from Sundayâ€™s Spanish Grand Prix. The incident occurred at Turn 1 on the 13th lap after the Mercedes driver, who ended up in the gravel trap, had appeared to miss his braking point. The Williams stopped with a puncture.
â€śI just took a minute to watch the video,â€ť Schumacher explained to BBC Sport. â€śYou can see from overhead that he moves right to defend, right in front of me. I moved to the inside again but it was too late in the braking phase. So itâ€™s very frustrating.
â€śWeâ€™d already had a strange maneuver front him in a braking zone in Brazil last year, so Iâ€™m not sure whatâ€™s going on. I hope they (the stewards) understand the video again to understand what happened there. I donâ€™t think today would have been a race win but we had good speed and basically, with the back-marker as he was, it is very frustrating.â€ť
Naturally, Senna also pointed the finger at his rival:
â€śObviously heâ€™s not going to say itâ€™s his fault but at the end of the day he had newer tires. I didnâ€™t want Michael to do the same as Grosjean. Under braking he just came across and hit me, so what can you do?â€ť
Schumacher was heard shouting "idiot" on the team radio and confirmed to Sky Sports F1 HD that the comment was aimed at Senna. Yes, you guess right," he said.
"I want the stewards to clarify what happened. He moved to the right, but he shouldn't move back in the braking phase to the left that sharply. I'm just behind him and I don't know how sharply he is going to move. So it was all very dangerous."
Fernando Alonso believes Charles Pic could potentially have cost him a shot at victory after ignoring blue flags while Alonso was battling with Maldonado.
The Marussia driver was given a penalty for having not let Alonso through quickly enough, the Spaniard losing valuable time in his fight for the lead with Pastor Maldonado.
Alonso finished the race three seconds behind the Williams driver and admitted he was unimpressed with Pic. Although he acknowledged that Maldonado and Williams were ultimately faster, he hoped Pic's penalty would act as a warning to backmarkers.
"We were a little bit unlucky," said Alonso. "We had a Marussia that got a penalty, which is obviously not a solution now, but hopefully people will start to understand that they need to respect the rules and today they didn't and they got a penalty, but maybe not enough for the penalty which could have cost us a victory."
The Ferrari driver, whose team had big hopes of taking a step forward in Spain thanks to the upgrades introduced, admitted he was surprised to be so strong all weekend.
Fastest lap: Grosjean, 1:26.250
Sebastian Vettel (6th): "It was difficult race and a hard day in the office. I'm not entirely happy, we could have finished maybe one position higher up, but we had a good recovery in the end. We were definitely stronger towards the end of the race and it was good fun, but when it's up and down and up and down, it's quite difficult. I don't know what the problem was when we had to change the nose of the car; I wasn't sure if I had damage or something stuck at the front - maybe a piece of rubber or something. I tried another lap, but it wasn't the right thing to do, so we decided to come in and change the nose to make sure. It lost us some time, but it was the right thing, as I was told there was some damage to the front left of the wing."
Mark Webber (11th): "It was an interesting race and a difficult first lap. I don't know where I got damage to my front wing, but I had to pit for a new nose. I lost a lot of time with that - and on the few laps before when it started playing up. We had to pit and when you're out of position here it's tough - you have to look after your tires and when you catch people your tires get killed, so it's chicken and egg. If you push past them, you have to pit earlier and commit to another stop. It was a mystery with the pace; I was stuck behind Force India, you see the McLarens weren't doing so much and Seb was just chipping away."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A difficult afternoon. Unfortunately Sebastian had a drive-through penalty for an incident under a yellow flag, which I believe is because he had the DRS open. We also had front wing damage on both cars that necessitated two nose changes. Despite that, it was a strong recovery from Sebastian to finish sixth, passing two McLarens and Rosberg in the closing stages and, as a result, we leave here still leading both the Drivers' and Constructors' World Championships. For Mark it was a tough race with the wing change early on and then unfortunately a mystifying lack of pace, which resulted in him spending a lot of the race looking at the back of Nico Hulkenberg's car. So, there is plenty to understand; we have done five races now and had five winners from five different teams. Congratulations to Pastor Maldonado, but especially to Sir Frank and the Williams Team on a well deserved victory today."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "Of course I was hoping for us to finish higher up, or even on the podium today, but we started quite far back and then had some misfortune with the front wings and the drive-through penalty. It wasn't so easy to recover from this race, although the last part was quite solid from Seb and the main thing is that we're leading both Championships. I look forward to Monaco as we know that to do well there requires strength from the Renault engine and good drivability, so I look forward to that race."
Lewis Hamilton (8th): "I'm proud of my performance today, and proud of the team too. They did a great job: a real improvement with the pitstops, following our difficulties in that area recently. All in all, then, I think today's result was the best we could do. I was the only driver to attempt a two-stop strategy, and I'm glad I was able to made it work. People often say that I have an aggressive driving style, but my final stint on the Prime tire was 31 laps, so I reckon I proved today that I can make tires last. It was a huge challenge to come through the field from the back, but I never gave up for a single second, right up to the finish line. Before the race I said I'd race my heart out, and that's exactly what I did. For me, that's what racing is all about. Today was all about damage limitation. But, now, looking at the bigger picture, I can't really complain because, despite the setbacks I've had this season, I'm still only eight points behind the leader of the drivers' world championship. The team has been working extremely hard, and our car is quick. So, when things go right, I think we'll be in a great position - and it'll come to us before too long. Finally, big congratulations to Pastor [Maldonado] and everyone at Williams - it's a fantastic result for them and this is a great day for him personally."
Jenson Button (9th): "Congratulations to Pastor! His was a great drive and I'm sure it will instill a lot of confidence in him and the Williams team. The Formula 1 form-book is very mixed-up at the moment, which is unusual, but that's the way it appears to be going this season. As for us, well, a lot of my afternoon was spent stuck in traffic, and I had a Sauber breathing down my neck for most of the race. All in all, we weren't quite quick enough today - but that's something I need to solve myself. I need to find a set-up that suits me better as I feel like I have pretty poor grip at the moment. Having said that, I'm already looking forward to Monaco and a much better weekend there. It's a circuit I love and hopefully a place where we can achieve a good result."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Before I say anything else, I want to offer my very hearty congratulations to Williams, to Pastor and particularly to Sir Frank for a stunning victory here today. For Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, following our disappointments yesterday, today was always going to be about recovery. Even so, Jenson will be disappointed: he struggled with balance and grip all afternoon, and won't be satisfied with the brace of world championship points that his ninth place delivered him. Lewis, having started in 24th and last place following his qualifying penalty yesterday, drove an absolutely storming race to eighth place at the checkered flag, all but catching and passing Nico [Rosberg] for seventh place on the final lap. Like Jenson, he won't be content with the four world championship points he earned this afternoon, but in truth he should be immensely proud of his performance here. Lewis was the only driver to make a two-stop strategy work today - and that, given that his race strategy called for him to drive exceptionally hard and extremely fast in heavy traffic all afternoon, pulling off some sensational passing maneuvers on a circuit on which overtaking is notoriously difficult, was a truly magnificent feat. Make no mistake about it, the 2012 Santander Spanish Grand Prix was one of the most impressive races that Lewis has ever driven. His performance combined fabulous verve with commendable caution - and I'd go so far as to say that, rising above the frustration he inevitably felt yesterday evening, he's inspired each and every one of us at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes with his stirring drive today. He's only eight points behind the leader in the Drivers' World Championship, and he loves the Monaco Grand Prix, the next stop on the World Championship calendar. Jenson, too, is a past winner at Monte-Carlo, and, like Lewis, he'll approach the dauntingly tortuous streets of the famous Principality with the forceful precision that marks out both our drivers as the superb World Champions that they are. They'll both be aiming to win, of that you may be sure."
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "This second place feels like a victory. Having finished the race in Sakhir almost a minute off the winner, today we overtook one of the two Red Bulls and we fought right to the very end for the win. On top of that, we have made up a lot of points on the Red Bull and the McLaren drivers, which makes the outcome of this weekend even more positive. At the end of the second stint of the race came the key moment: maybe Maldonado pitted a bit early and we stayed out on track, but we lost time behind a backmarker for a whole lap, partly because there was a yellow flag on the last part of the main straight. Then, with seven laps to go, I suddenly lost grip at the rear: I asked the team if something was broken because the handling of the car changed from one moment to the next, for no apparent reason. However, in the final stages, the Williams was still very quick and, right at the end, we were also lucky to hang onto second place as Kimi was coming back at me. This championship is very hard to interpret with all the different winners and the performance of the top teams going up and down from race to race. We definitely did not do the best job when it came to designing the car - there is still much to do - but we can be proud of how we got the most out of our potential, probably over and above the limits of the car. After two Grands Prix - China and Bahrain - where we suffered a lot, to be back for the podium is very positive and gives us confidence for the rest of the Championship. We must continue to bring updates all the time for the car, because it is all very close and the slightest thing can make the difference."
Felipe Massa (15th): "Today my race was affected by a penalty that I had to take on lap 28. Honestly, I don't think I did anything wrong and I believe it is better to look into the detail of what happened, because I was in the middle of a group of cars and I definitely did not try to overtake anyone. It's a real shame, because up until then, the race was going well for me and a place in the top ten was comfortably within my reach. I was in the group with the Red Bulls and the McLarens and I could match their pace. I had a good opening lap when I managed to make up a lot of places. I am happy that Fernando was able to fight for the win all the way to the end, as it shows our car's potential has definitely improved: we still don't have the quickest car but it seems we are going down the right road. I want to congratulate Pastor, who is a great friend: the taste of a first Formula 1 win is something amazing and I can understand how he feels right now."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "We came to Spain with the double objective of making progress in terms of performance and for Fernando to stay in touch with the leaders of the Drivers' classification: this afternoon we can say we achieved both our goals. It's a shame for Felipe who has been plagued with bad luck all weekend: yesterday there was traffic in qualifying and today, a penalty probably prevented him from finishing in the points after he had made up a lot of places at the start. Once again, Fernando drove an extraordinary race, fighting for the win from the first to the last lap. There were some unfortunate incidents, getting past Pic for example, but we must always admit that, in the closing stages of the final stint of the race there was no longer a margin to attack Maldonado. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Pastor for his first Formula 1 win and Williams for returning to winning ways after a break of several years: yesterday, Sir Frank shared with the world of F1 a celebration for his seventieth birthday and it seems that someone up there was also aware of it and wanted to give him a present! As from tomorrow, we will return to thinking about the development of our car, because we are not yet fast enough to fight consistently for a podium finish, which is the only option if we want to be in the hunt for the title. The championship is incredibly finely balanced, as can be seen from the fact we have had five different winning teams in as many Grands Prix. Despite all the difficulties we have experienced in this first part of the season, Fernando leads the classification along with the reigning champion: this must be a boost for all our people who work at home and at the track. We expect Felipe to react and fight back after this unlucky weekend, starting in Monaco: we absolutely need his points to also fight for the Constructors' title."
Pat Fry: "In the race, we again confirmed that we have made a step forward in terms of the performance of our package, but it is not yet enough. Also today, we managed to make the most of our potential with Fernando, while Felipe was definitely not lucky with the penalty that ruined what, up to that point, had been a pretty good race. We knew tire degradation would be the key and so it turned out. The fight with Maldonado was very close and maybe some incidents played a deciding role, such as at the time of the second stop and in the final moments of the race, when Fernando suddenly felt a drop in performance, the causes of which are not yet clear. Second is an absolutely positive result but, to make an objective evaluation, we have to take into account all the elements over the weekend, even those outside our own operation, which produced this race result. There is still a lot of work to do to have a car that is really capable of fighting for the win at every track and in all conditions. Having said that, I am equally sure that having one of our drivers leading the classification, even if he is equal on points with Vettel, represents a reward for the work everyone has done to raise our performance level and it is also a further motivation to do even better in the near future."
Nico Rosberg (7th): "That was a difficult day for us and a very strange race. We didn't manage to find the right tire management so I lost two positions towards the end of the race on my last stint which was 26 very long laps. The one positive thing is that I was able to defend my position against Lewis and keep seventh place, rather than eighth. Once again today we saw a surprising and well deserved win which is good for Formula One. Congratulations to Pastor and Frank at my old team Williams! Now I'm looking forward to my home race in Monaco in two weeks with some updates on the car."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Accident): "Obviously I am not happy with the outcome of the race as I think we could have achieved some nice points today. But then this is sometimes what you have to go through in racing. It is not easy to see from the TV replays but what happened from my viewpoint was that he went to the right to defend the inside line, and then suddenly, shortly before the braking point, went to the left. When you are so tight together in the braking zone, you have no other choice than to try to react and avoid hitting but it was too late. It is a shame, as I said, but then what I will do now is to look ahead to the next race and try to attack there."
Bob Bell: "We spent our afternoon racing hard with Red Bull and McLaren - but it was only for places in the bottom half of the top ten today. We didn't have the basic pace we needed this afternoon, and we were hampered further with an issue on Nico's car. There was a clear loss of downforce measurable on the data, which made it even more difficult for Nico to look after the tires properly, but whether this was down to damage or another factor is something we will have to investigate this evening. Naturally, it was a disappointment to lose Michael early in the race, after his pace had looked reasonable in the opening stint. The team did a good job on the stops and I believe we made the right tactical decisions to protect Nico's position at critical moments of the race, even though he ultimately ran out of grip in the closing laps on a long final stint. The basic fact is that we needed more pace today, which is what we must bring over the coming races. And we will."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A difficult race for us, and Nico went from fifth to seventh place in the last laps because our car could not use the tires during such a long stint, so he could not repeat the lap times he had done before. Michael had an accident with a slower car which he attempted to overtake. After five races, there are five different winners from five different teams, and I am told this last happened 30 years ago. Congratulations to the Williams team and to Pastor Maldonado today - well done and great for them to win on such a demanding circuit. After five races and a quarter of the season, Nico is 20 points behind the leader. We have to raise our game in the next races and during the remainder of the season and I am sure that all our team members will work very hard to make the next steps and to achieve a better level of performance than we had today."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "I had a very good start and had a chance to overtake on the outside, but we did not have enough speed and I hit the limiter in fifth gear. I am a bit disappointed because if everything had gone right in the first part of the race, we could have won. There was no issue with the speed of the car, but it is so close between all the teams that if you have a small problem or a small issue it can cost so much. Our car can do it, but everything has to fall into the right place to be able to get on to the top step. My first stint was okay, but I didn't have the speed to stay with the cars in front. We changed the tires and it seemed to be pretty good, but we were too far away. At the end we needed a few more laps and we could have fought for the win. We're not far away from it and so far we've made good steps forwards; the car feels strong everywhere."
Romain Grosjean (4th): "We lost position at the start and with it a bit of front wing too! It was cooler today which didn't suit us so much. Despite this, I am very happy with P4 especially when you look at yesterday where I missed all of the final practice session. Both cars finishing strongly in the points is great for the team. It was pretty difficult for me at the start of the race as it was hard to get the front working properly with the wing damaged, but we made some changes and at the end of the race the car was really flying. I think we made the right decisions today; if you told us we could finish third and fourth at the beginning of the weekend we'd have taken it."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It's a very strong result and it's a great reward for the team today. I think we can expect a stronger season than we had last year and we need to carry on scoring points as we have in the last two races. I'm sure a win could arrive at some point this season. After qualifying you build expectations, and we could have expected after the strong race pace we had in Bahrain that we could have done the same here, but it was not the case. A race incident at the start didn't help Romain, but the pace of both drivers at the end of the race illustrated our potential. Finally, we must say congratulations to the Williams team for their win, and we hope no-one was seriously hurt in the post-race incident in their pits."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Third and fourth is a really good result for the team and it meant a big points haul here - more than any other team this weekend - which helps us to close up hugely on second place in the standings. Of course, it would have been nice to have done better, but the key to a strong championship campaign is consistency and if we can finish third and fourth in every race this season we'll be very happy. We didn't have the pace to win today, that much was clear after the first stints. We tried to push our stints out and be quick at the end. We were, and it nearly paid off."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "It was a great race with another podium and fourth position to move us a lot closer to second in the championship. We introduced new engines after Friday practice and it went well. We managed the fuel consumption effectively on both cars in the race, but in Romain's we had some engine air consumption in the middle stint. Congratulations to Pastor and our Renault colleagues working at Williams today - a well deserved win."
Nico Hulkenberg (10th):
Paul di Resta (14th):
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal:
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer:
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:
Kamui Kobayashi (5th): "The team did a really great job, and the update on our car works very well. The pace in the race was a big improvement compared to the last race. I absolutely believe I could have made it onto the podium today if I had not been so unlucky in qualifying yesterday. If you start ninth you can be happy finishing fifth, but the car had more potential. I was in traffic and overtaking was not easy. I could not do it on the straights with the help of the DRS because there I wasn't close enough. So I had to take some risks and do it in the corners. I damaged my tires quite a lot in the last stint. The competition is really tight at the moment. If you want to get in front of the pack you have to get everything right on the weekend. This is what Pastor (Maldonado) did. The last time I came fifth was last year in Monaco, and I am very much looking forward to returning to the Principality soon."
Sergio Perez (DNF, Transmission): "We have been very unlucky at the start. In turn one I managed to get passed Romain (Grosjean), but then he hit me and I had to pit after lap one. We could not really recover from the back of the field, and later I had to retire because of a transmission problem. Whatever it was, it is over and I will be focusing on the next race. Monaco is a very special Grand Prix for me."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "First of all congratulations to Pastor Maldonado for a fantastic race and his victory. Concerning our own team, I have mixed feelings because Sergio couldn't benefit from his very good grid position. Kamui drove a fantastic race. He lost quite a lot of time in traffic, but was then able to overtake Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg with two great attacks. He scored ten important points. But this race also showed that our development package works as planned, also on a difficult track like this one. This makes me optimistic for the next races. Thanks to the whole team, and also everyone in the factory, for making this happen."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "Sergio basically lost his race on lap one due to a racing incident which forced him to pit immediately. We then tried to do a two stop strategy using hard tires, but then he had to stop because of a transmission problem which we need to analyze. Kamui was on a three stop strategy. As he was held up by Jenson Button we brought him in early for the first stop, but we lost some time there because the front left wheel wouldn't come off. We also did the same for the third stop, however, Kamui was still behind. It was a long final stint, and it was up to him to decide how to make best use of the tires. He was then able to overtake Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. He really drove an outstanding race."
Jean-Eric Vergne (12th): "I had a really good start, moving up as high as tenth in a couple of laps. We decided to pit early to try and get ahead of some more guys and I came in from eighth place on lap 10. But then I was behind Di Resta and got a bit stuck. When I made my second stop for new Prime, I hoped I could have got past Di Resta through the stop but the pit stop was not the best and so unfortunately that did not work out and I was still behind the Force India. I lost more time towards the end of my third stint and then in the final one, on the Prime again, I was quicker than Daniel ahead of me. It took me a lot of time to get past. After that I tried to catch Webber and Hulkenberg, but the tires were no longer good enough. Overall, it was disappointing, because I feel points were possible today, but for various reasons we did not manage it."
Daniel Ricciardo (13th): "I did not have too great a start, but with our strategy we managed to make up a few places. There were some parts of the race where we ran quite strongly, but in the final stint on new Primes, we no longer had the pace we had in the previous stint. I had managed to look after the tires quite well all the way to the end and produce relatively good lap times, but by then we had lost too much time. It had looked for a while as though we might have been able to challenge for tenth but it did not pan out that way. Overall, it was a bit up and down, but at least it showed some slight progress compared to Bahrain."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Jean-Eric had a reasonably good start, moving up several places on the opening lap, while Daniel lost one, before regaining his grid position a couple of laps later. During the race, in which they both ran three stop strategies, starting on the option before pitting for Prime, followed by Option and finishing on Prime, they both showed reasonable pace, fighting one another at times. However, once again this weekend, our qualifying pace proved to be the weakest point and until we start from higher up the grid, we will continue to struggle to bring home points. We have plenty of work to do, before heading for the Monaco circuit where, even if overtaking is much more straightforward than in the past, a good grid position is still absolutely vital."
Pastor Maldonado (1st): "It's an unbelievable feeling winning my first race. The car felt really consistent, was fantastic to drive and our pace was strong throughout. Alonso was chasing me hard but we looked after our tires well and I managed to open the gap towards the end. The team has worked so hard all year and this win is for them. To be the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One race is a big honor and hopefully I will win more races in the future."
Bruno Senna (DNF, Accident): "It has been a disappointing weekend for me on the whole. It was difficult to overtake at the beginning of the race and then Schumacher got a big DRS boost coming down the straight and went into the back of me. These weekends with lots of bad luck happen sometimes, but on the up side our car has shown excellent pace with Pastor's win. I am really happy for him and this will give the team a big boost headed into the next race."
p>Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "What can I say - a massive result for the team and a stunning drive by Pastor. The whole race went well from start to finish with every team member playing a vital part in this victory. We will allow ourselves a bit of time to savor the win and then will refocus to concentrate our efforts on continuing to improve throughout the remainder of the season. Obviously it was disappointing that Bruno got taken out of the race by Michael but Bruno is looking forward to getting back into the car in Monaco."
p>Laurent Debout, Renault: "There is nothing else to say but a huge congratulations to Pastor and the entire Williams team. Pastor drove a fantastic race to score his first win in F1, fully deserved. We are really proud to have contributed to helping the team score its first win since 2004 and the first Williams-Renault win since the 1997 season. What a feeling to deliver on the speed and performance we have shown since the start of the year."
Heikki Kovalainen (16th): "I think we got as much out of the car as we could this afternoon. I had a good start, passed Senna and was hanging on to the pack ahead up until the second stops. The first stint on the options was good, and we stayed on the soft tires right up until the last pitstop but maybe the last stint on the hards was a couple of laps too long. Still, it was a decent race and we showed we have decent pace on Sundays, more than enough to easily pull away from the teams behind, but not quite enough to be able to fight throughout the whole race with the cars ahead. We knew this track was going to be one of the tougher ones for us, but now we go to Monaco which will give us a chance of fighting higher up, so we'll keep pushing to close the gap and aim to take another step forwards at the next race."
Vitaly Petrov (17th): "I'm pleased with how I drove this afternoon and, like Heikki, I don't think we could have got much more performance from the car today. Yesterday we found a good KERS map for qualifying but this afternoon it wasn't working as well in the first and second stints, and I think that's where we lost some time to Heikki. The tire degradation was higher than we'd seen in the long runs in practice, so we need to look again at why that happened and how we can fix it for future races. Apart from that it was one of those afternoons when we got as much out of the race as we could so now we'll move on to Monaco where the circuit layout and the difficulty of passing should give us a better chance of pushing the cars ahead throughout the weekend."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "I am pleased with the performance from both drivers today. They kept pushing throughout the whole race and made sure they didn't make any mistakes, particularly at the start of the race. Our early pace was good and we used the tire strategy well to keep ourselves within touching distance of the midfield pack, but again we saw the issue with blue flags, having to let the cars ahead pass artificially lengthened the gap to the cars we had been fighting with, but we have to deal with that on tracks like this where we knew we would be lapped at some point. We now have a busy couple of weeks before the next race, with an aero test in the UK, part of the program that is helping us keep edging closer to the midfield, and we will go to Monaco, hopefully aiming to repeat the sort of performance we saw last year when we finished 13th and 14th."
Pedro de la Rosa (19th): "Racing in front of your home crowd is fantastic and so is finishing the race. I'm very happy because it's the second home Grand Prix of my career that I finish, so I'm really satisfied about that. It's true that it's a discrete position but we gave it our all and we did what we could. We were ahead of the Marussias on some laps and behind on others but our rhythm, in general, wasn't bad. We know that we must continue to improve but we're on the right line. The race was even harder than we anticipated. We did a four-stop strategy and we finished near the limit because the tires were degrading a lot. The first twenty laps were complicated. The softs literally disintegrated, but the hards went much better and we were able to maintain a better rhythm which enabled us to finish in our best position so far this season in front of our fans."
Narain Karthikeyan (DNF, Wheel nut): "I had some trouble at the start with a little bit too much wheel spin, but it didn't affect me too much and by the first turn I was already back up behind Pedro. It was the first time I drove on heavy fuel this weekend so, with the first set of tires, my objective was to get used to them. On the second set I had a really good stint and was catching Pedro as we came in for the pit stop to switch to hard tires. That's when my bad luck continued...I hope to leave it behind in Spain and have a fresh start in Monaco."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "Once more we proved a good reliability which enabled Pedro to finish the Spanish Grand Prix in front of our home crowd. It was a really tough race, with the tires degrading a huge amount and that's why we had to go for a four-stop strategy. But despite the fact that we have a lot to improve, we're satisfied with Pedro's result, which is the best we've achieved this season thus far. It's a very special Grand Prix and for that reason we would have liked to have finished the race with not one but both cars. But unfortunately this was not the case because of a problem with Narain's second tire change. These things can happen when you take it to the limit, to any team, and more so when you're in a learning process as we are. But in this case, after an uphill weekend, it leaves me with an especially bad taste in my mouth to have not finished the job off."
Timo Glock (18th): "I had a pretty good start. The first lap was good and I had a bit of a fight with Lewis for that lap. In general after that when positions were settled I just tried to keep the tires alive as long as possible and we struggled with rear end instability again. From my side I can only push around 80% at the moment. It's still not perfect and we're missing pace, so we have to analyze and get on top of the problem before Monaco. On a lighter note, congratulations to Pastor Maldonado and the Williams F1 Team. They've done a great race result today."
Charles Pic (DNF, Drive shaft): "I didn't get a very good start today. From then on I was working well on my pace and got the right side of the HRTs again. Things were going well for me then on lap 26 I suddenly lost drive and came back into the pits, where unfortunately I had to retire. We could see then that we have experienced a problem with the drive shaft, so we need to understand why that happened. There's a lot of work for all of us in the next two weeks to improve for Monaco as we have not had the weekend we hoped for. After going to Sir Frank's 70th birthday event last night I am pleased for him that he had this result today for Pastor and his team. For our side we look ahead to the next race and some more progress."
John Booth, Team Principal: "It is obviously very disappointing that we were unable to bring both cars home today. We have suffered two drive shaft issues this weekend - one of those was in the race - so we're sorry for Charles to suffer a DNF after his efforts all weekend. With Timo's car we have not made the progress with the car balance that we wanted to and this is preventing him from being as quick as he can be. There have been times when we have got on top of the problem and we are good, and times when we are not quite getting what we need to out of the car, as was the case in today's race. A disappointing result for us but a brilliant win for Pastor and our congratulations to the Williams F1 Team on that. A busy week ahead for us now, but we look forward to the next race in Monaco."
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