Maldonado takes first Williams win in 8 years
Pastor Maldonado has secured the first Venezuelan F1 victory ever and the first Williams win since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004. Home driver Fernando Alonso finished in second place after a race long battle while Kimi Raikkonen finished a close third.
From second place on the grid, home driver Fernando Alonso made the best start and was able to get alongside Maldonado by turn 2. Maldonado put up a fierce fight and immediately pulled towards Alonso on the straight but the Spaniard nonetheless managed to get past.
Kimi Raikkonen went up to third, Rosberg 4th and Grosjean dropped down from 3rd to 5th. Michael Schumacher went into 6th place, ahead of Vettel, Button, Kobayashi, Vergne and Massa.
Hamilton who started from last place on the grid moved to 18th place, behind Senna and ahead of Petrov by lap 2. Sergio Pérez meanwhile fell back to last place as he went off the track in the fast turn 3. Importantly, Sergio Pérez is on hard tyres, while everybody else has started the race on the softer tyre.
At the end of lap 6, Mark Webber is the first to stop from P12 as he takes on the harder Pirelli tyres. The Australian fell back to 23rd after his stop, ahead only of Pérez. Sebastian Vettel follows suit one lap later, dropping from P7 to P18.
On lap 8, Alonso has an advantage of just 1.5s over Maldonado. Raikkonen is a further 4 seconds behind.
3 laps later, Alonso comes in, along with many other drivers. Madonado, who inherited the lead, pitted one lap later rejoined the track ahead of Rosberg and Grosjean. Both however passed him one lap later, with Grosjean's passing breaking off part of the Lotus' front wing.
On lap 13 Schumacher is out in the gravel trap while Bruno Senna continued a bit more after driving out of the gravel trap with a left rear puncture. It appears Schumacher ran in the back of the Williams while braking into turn 1. The German was clearly frustrated by the DNF, while Senna decided to park his a few turns futher along the track.
In lap 14 Hamilton also finally makes his first stop, changing from the softer to the harder tyre. As he left the pitlane, he did run over a wheel gun and stopped briefly, but as everything seemed ok he was given the go.
By lap 22, Alonso still has an advantage as small as 1.5s to Maldonado. Raikkonen is 7.5s behind Maldonado, followed by Grosjean at 15s, Vettel at 5.5s and Button closely behind the World Champion.
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile is in 12th plac and consistently attacking Massa. The top speed of the Ferrari however appears to be a little better, making it difficult for Hamilton to easily pass, even with DRS deployed.
On lap 25 Button takes to the pitlane after badly flat spotting his left front tyre into turn 13. The Briton is getting a new set of softer option tyres.
One lap later Alonso is angry at a Marussia car as he got held up badly by the backmarker. Why exactly the Spaniard was angry became clear half a lap later as the Ferrari went into the pits for a set of new tyres - Pic would later also get a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags. At the same time, Maldonado sets the fastest lap and takes the lead after pitting one lap earlier.
Then it is announced Massa and Vettel are each handed a drive through penalty for their failure to slow down under yallow flags at turn 1.
At the halfway mark, Kobayashi manages to get past Button after the McLaren driver made a slight mistake into turn 5. Button has been chasing Rosberg for quite a few laps, and his inability to get past the Mercedes in fact cost him a place to the Sauber. The three of them together meanwhile are also catching Hamilton, the latter struggling badly on his worn tyres until stopped on lap 34.
As Hamilton rejoined the track in 14th position after his stop, Pic stops in the pitlane and abandons the race. He was given a drive through but there was apparently something else going on as well.
On lap 38 Vettel also gets past Button as he too seems to be struggling badly on his tyres. The team decided to pit him one lap later and he gets fitted with the harder tyres.
Two laps later Pérez is out of his car as he parked in turn 3. He had just come out of the pits where there was an issue with the right rear tyre team. All four tyres were however still fitted on the Sauber.
In lap 41 the race leader, Pastor Maldonado is in the pits with a reduced advantage of 4.2s to Alonso. Williams unfortunately did a rather slow pitstop which could see Alonso retain the lead after his own final pitstop. Maldonado's pace on his outlap however is more than a full second a lap faster than Alonso at that time.
One lap later Vettel is in the pits from P5 for a tyre change as well as a new front wing. There didn't seem to be any damage on the nose or front wing.
Alonso then pits in lap 44 and gets a new set of hard tyres. The Spaniard though is still behind the Williams. This means Raikkonen is now in the lead and is immediately ahead of Maldonado. Alonso in third place is 3.1s behind the Williams.
In lap 47 Maldonado gets past the Lotus while Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race and gets the gap to Maldonado down to 1.5s. One lap later Alonso gets past the Finn in a very straigthforward manner on the pit straight.
Raikkonen did little to defend his position, and one lap later he's in the pits for a new set of tyres. Two lap later Grosjean pits as well, getting back to 4th position, behind his teammate.
As of that time, Alonso puts the pressure on, keeping the gap small enough to always have DRS available. Raikkonen meanwhile is catching by more than a second a lap on tyres that are one lap younger than Alonso's and 3 compared to Maldonado.
Several drivers are meanwhile starting to struggle with their tyres. Button lost 8th to Vettel while one lap later, also in turn 13, Kobayashi easily gets past Rosberg. 2 more laps further down in the race, the second McLaren also fell prey of Vettel. 2 laps later Vettel also passes Rosberg for P6.
2 laps from the end, Alonso has lost the tail of the Williams as he appears to struggle more than the Williams. Going into the final lap Alonso's hopes for victory are gone while his advantage to Raikkonen is down to just 2 seconds.
Positions however remained unchanged in the final lap, sealing the first Venezuelan F1 victory in history.
|2||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||66||+3.1 secs||2||18|
|3||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||66||+3.8 secs||4||15|
|4||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||66||+14.7 secs||3||12|
|5||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||66||+64.6 secs||9||10|
|6||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||66||+67.5 secs||7||8|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||66||+77.9 secs||6||6|
|8||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||66||+78.1 secs||24||4|
|9||3||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||66||+85.2 secs||10||2|
|10||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||65||+1 Lap||13||1|
|11||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||65||+1 Lap||11|
|12||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||65||+1 Lap||14|
|13||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||65||+1 Lap||15|
|14||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||65||+1 Lap||12|
|15||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||65||+1 Lap||16|
|16||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||65||+1 Lap||19|
|17||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||65||+1 Lap||18|
|18||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||64||+2 Laps||21|
|19||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||63||+3 Laps||22|
|Ret||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||37||+29 Laps||5|
|Ret||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||35||+31 Laps||20|
|Ret||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||22||+44 Laps||23|
|Ret||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||12||Accident damage||17|
|Ret||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||12||Accident||8|