Rating the drivers for their performance in the Spanish Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull Racing | 4th | 8/10
Vettel was unable to challenge the Mercedes duo for pole position but was in a prime position for the victory. A good start left him behind only Nico Rosberg, but he was powerless to prevent Alonso once the Spaniard got the undercut. Considering Red Bull’s tyre issues, fourth was damage limitation for the championship.
Mark Webber | Red Bull Racing | 5th | 7/10
A customary slow start left him running outside of the top 10 early on and seemingly destined for a repeat of his 2012 woes. He stopped early to clear the rest of the midfield and pulled off a four stop strategy to finish within 10 seconds of team-mate Vettel.
Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | 1st | 10/10
Alonso could have put in a better qualifying performance but he was faultless in the race. Having watched Tom Dillmann’s moves around the outside of Turn 3 in the GP2 race, Alonso gave it a go. He succeeded, pulling off a fantastic move on Lewis Hamilton. He swiftly dispatched with Vettel, via the undercut, and Rosberg to move into the lead and secure a home win.
Felipe Massa | Ferrari | 3rd | 8/10
The Brazilian was a little unfortunate to receive a penalty for impeding Webber in Q2, one which left him down in ninth. This made his task of supporting Alonso even harder, yet he fought back to take his first podium of the year. His podium was founded on a strong first lap in which he gained three places.
Jenson Button | McLaren | 8th | 6/10
Button endured a woeful qualifying and taking evasive action at the start left him marooned in seventeenth place. Pace during the early stint evaporated, but by managing his tyres the Brit was able to score a handful of points for eighth place.
Sergio Perez | McLaren | 9th | 6/10
Perez’s Q2 lap to get into the top 10 shootout was one of the best of the season considering Button’s troubles, but in the race the Mexican was forced into a four stop strategy. He came out behind team-mate Button and was told to look after the tyres in the final stint.
Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus | 2nd | 9/10
For the third successive race Raikkonen finishes as the runner-up. While he claims it’s disappointing, he’s undoubtedly in the hunt for the title. After being dropped early on, Raikkonen bounced back and appeared somewhat surprised when he was able to pass Vettel. Alonso was always out of reach, so second represented another strong result.
Romain Grosjean | Lotus | Ret | 6/10
Grosjean didn’t make the best of starts but was coming back into the action when a suspension component failed on the eighth lap, leaving the Frenchman hobbling back to the pits. The problem was terminal and he was forced into his first retirement of the season.
Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | 6th | 8/10
For the second successive event, Rosberg set not one, but two laps strong enough for pole position. The race was always going to be a different matter but he valiantly held on during the first stint before his pace simply disappeared. Did well to hold onto sixth.
Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | 12th | 4/10
The omens were probably there when he bombed into the first corner with both front tyres locked up. He dropped to fourth but that was the high point in an afternoon where he vented his frustration over the radio and appeared to lack his usual aggression.
Nico Hulkenberg | Sauber | 15th | 7/10
Hulkenberg’s move to Sauber looks increasingly questionable but the pace was in the C32 in Spain. Unfortunately for the German, an error during his pit stop left him with damage, forcing him into another stop and sentencing him to a race outside of the points.
Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber | 11th | 8/10
After four troublesome races, Gutierrez finally resembles a Formula 1 driver. We’re still checking the record books, but we reckon that the Mexican’s alternative strategy means he is the first driver to lead a lap and record a fastest lap before scoring any points…
Paul di Resta | Force India | 7th | 7/10
At a circuit where Force India has traditionally struggled, registering another handful of points was a positive result. It could, however, have been better. Di Resta was hounding Rosberg during the closing stages but a problem with the DRS activation meant he was unable to pass.
Adrian Sutil | Force India | 13th | 7/10
One day, Sutil’s luck will turn. With Monaco upcoming – and a strong car – he could be an outside contender for a podium. In Spain, his misfortune continued as he lost a whopping 55 seconds during his first stop. He fought back to thirteenth, but without that delay a top six was on the cards.
Pastor Maldonado | Williams | 14th | 5/10
With every race that passes, you have to wonder whether that victory in 2012 really happened. It did, but one year on fortunes could not be more different. He failed to progress through to Q2 and matters were compounded when he picked up a penalty for going too fast in the pits. A little ironic, considering the limitations of the FW35.
Valtteri Bottas | Williams | 16th | 5/10
The Finn once again demonstrated throughout the weekend that he has the aptitude to succeed in Formula 1. With the FW35, he can only achieve so much. Bottas suffered from poor grip throughout the race and ultimately just about fended off Pic as his three stop strategy didn’t pay off.
Jean-Eric Vergne | Toro Rosso | Ret | 6/10
Vergne suffered with understeer throughout the race but his afternoon was ultimately compounded firstly by Sauber’s lollipop man and then a delaminated tyre. The luckless Frenchman was forced to retire for safety reasons.
Daniel Ricciardo | Toro Rosso | 10th | 7/10
The upgrades to the STR8 appeared to be effective, although Ricciardo made a poor start and suffered from a lack of grip. Matters improved throughout the race but he only just fended off a charging Gutierrez to claim the final point.
Charles Pic | Caterham | 17th | 6/10
The French racer was outshone by team-mate Giedo van der Garde throughout the weekend but in the race, Pic took the challenge to Bottas. The upgrades to the CT03 have been working well, which is a positive sign at this early stage.
Giedo van der Garde | Caterham | Ret | 7/10
It feels unusual to give a rookie at the back such a high mark when retiring, but Van der Garde couldn’t have done much more. While Pic tried to understand the new front wing, the Dutchman put in his best performance of the season and was unfortunate to retire when a wheel wasn’t fitted correctly during his second stop.
Jules Bianchi | Marussia | 18th | 6/10
An unscheduled early stop wrecked Bianchi’s tyre strategy, meaning that he had to make an extra stop and desperately preserve rubber towards the end of the race. Nonetheless, his pace was strong during the middle stint.
Max Chilton | Marussia | 19th | 5/10
Having lost track time on Friday and suffered a delay during the pits, Chilton did a competent job to finish within sight of team-mate Bianchi. For Marussia, they’re now the only team to get both cars to the finish in every race. But with Caterham making a step forwards, the pressure has been raised.