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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Teams suspect Barcelona stones caused race problems
  • Webber threw helmet into crowd after Spain win
  • Red Bull asked Vettel to quit Spanish GP
  • F1 world wings way to Monaco by road
  • Ferrari will not use F-duct in Monaco

Teams suspect Barcelona stones caused race problems
(GMM)  The shattered remains of Lewis Hamilton's front left corner is being rushed back to Woking for analysis.

Almost within sight of the checkered flag in Barcelona, the 2008 world champion's McLaren speared into a barrier after a sudden tire failure, costing him second place both in the race and in the world championship standings.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh immediately speculated that "debris" probably caused the problem, while Bridgestone said its initial impression was that "this was not caused by a tire issue".

"We are working closely with McLaren to understand what happened," added the Japanese supplier's Hirohide Hamashima.

As the sun rises again in Europe on Monday morning, the leading theory now is that a stone became stuck in the wheel rim.

After qualifying, Rubens Barrichello took photos with his mobile phone camera of his FW32 and his helmet, so amazed was he about the damage caused by flying stones.

And he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he had to nurse his vibrating Williams to the checkered flag after feeling a "strong shock" on the left front.

"We had to slow him down to ensure we didn't have a problem with the tires," confirmed technical director Sam Michael.  "We'll be looking into that for the next race."

Barrichello suspects a stone got stuck in the wheel rim, and a similar cause was also not being ruled out to explain Sebastian Vettel's brake problem.

After the Red Bull was inspected, Christian Horner revealed that the brake disc "was a bit damaged".

"We will only know for sure in the factory," added the Briton.

Webber threw helmet into crowd after Spain win
(GMM)  Mark Webber celebrated his commanding Barcelona win from pole position by making a gift to the ranks of Spanish spectators.

After standing on the scales in parc ferme, the Australian rushed across the front straight of the Circuit de Catalunya and threw his distinctive blue, red and yellow helmet into the grandstand.

The gesture paled in comparison to local MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo's fully leathered and helmeted leap into a Jerez pond recently.

But 33-year-old Webber said: "I had said to some people that when I win a race this year I'll do something different.

"So it was nice to give the fans a gift because they don't always get the best treatment in formula one," he told reporters.

The Red Bull driver will be wearing a new helmet for the traditionally early start to practice in Monaco later this week.

"Unfortunately I can't get too drunk now because we're at the track again on Wednesday in Monaco," said Webber.

Red Bull asked Vettel to quit Spanish GP
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has revealed he was asked to pull out of the race before finishing the Spanish grand prix in third place.

The Red Bull driver suffered a braking problem with 15 laps of the Barcelona race still to run, and made a pitstop so the damage could be inspected.

Mechanics and engineers noticed damage to a brake disc before sending the 22-year-old German back onto the circuit.

"When I got back out the team told me that I should quit the race," Vettel said in an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"They said the risk because of the broken brake was too great.

"I asked them if that (retiring) was really necessary or whether I could just drive slowly and pick up some points.

"I got no answer," Vettel continued.  "So I drove.  In the middle of the last corner I then got the message 'keep going, but be careful', but it was too late anyway.  I was already past the pit entry."

Vettel said he managed to finish the race by shifting the brake bias all the way to the rear.

"They were pretty worried on the pitwall and I was constantly reminded to drive more slowly," he added.

F1 world wings way to Monaco by road
(GMM)  With the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano still spewing ash into European flight paths, the smart move after the Spanish grand prix is a road trip.

But some members of the F1 world are determined to find a flight -- particularly engineers who want to return to base before re-congregating in Monaco for this weekend's event.

But on Monday morning, news of more cancelled flights from Spanish airports resurfaced, so Force India sent the bulk of its race team to Nice via train.

HRT's Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok were scheduled to fly to the Mediterranean city, but instead hired an unglamorous Renault road car for the 650km journey.

In the small hours of Monday morning, they arrived at Senna's Monaco apartment.

Heikki Kovalainen also drove to Monaco with his girlfriend.

Ferrari will not use F-duct in Monaco
(GMM)  Ferrari's F10 car will not feature its new F-duct system on the streets of Monaco this weekend.

The Italian team finally got its hand-triggered blown rear wing concept up and running for the Spanish grand prix and set highly competitive straight-line speeds.

But boss Stefano Domenicali said the car will feature the conventional rear wing and engine cover this weekend because Monaco requires the highest levels of downforce at all times.

He also backed Felipe Massa amid claims the Brazilian's struggle at the wheel of the F10 could cost him his seat for 2011.

"He is a great driver and we have to make him feel comfortable again with the car," Domenicali is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper.

He also played down suggestions the issue of tire supply for 2011 is likely to be finally settled in Monaco this weekend.

"It is going to take another couple of weeks, although we will talk about it again in Monaco," Finland's Turun Sanomat quotes the Italian as saying.

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