Alonso takes home win at Barcelona

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Fernando Alonso has converted a four stop Ferrari strategy to win the Spanish Grand Prix after a 5th place start on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen finished second on a three stopper while Felipe Massa completes Ferrari's party by finishing in third place.

The weather is sunny again at the start of the Spanish GP, warming the track up to 37°C with ambient being 20°C. Temperatures are bound to drop a bit during the race however, benefiting the softer tyre towards the end of the race.

As the lights go out, Rosberg retains his pole while Vettel moves up to second place into turn 1. Alonso initially remains 5th but gets ahead of Raikkonen and Rosberg through turn 2 and 3. The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa also enjoyed a great start and moved up from 9th to 6th in only the first lap.

7th after lap 1 is Perez, ahead of Sutil (up from 13), Di Resta, Webber, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Vergne, Maldonado, Gutierrez, Button (down from 14), Van der Garde, Bottas, Chilton, Pic and Bianchi.

At the start of lap 3, DRS gets enabled and with hardly anyone out of the DRS zone of the cars behind, only Rosberg is unable to benefit from the system.

6 laps into the race, the top three are slowly breaking away from the next 3 cars as Hamilton looks unable to follow the pace of his team mate.

One lap later Raikkonen dives on the inside of Hamilton on turn 10 and gains a position. That same lap, Webber is the first to pit, changing to a brand new set of hard tyres.

Another lap later Hamilton loses another place, now to Massa as the Ferrari gets past through the outside of turn 10. Raikkonen by that time has nearly catched up with the leaders, able to go a lot quicker than Hamilton's pace. Grosjean pits moments later with obvious suspension damage on the right rear. That's the end of the race for him.

Alonso pits at the end of lap 10, along with Hamilton and Vergne. The Spaniard rejoins the track just behind Button and ahead of Massa.

One lap later Rosberg, Vettel and Raikkonen pit simultaneously and rejoin the track in the same order, except that Vettel is now behind Alonso, rather than ahead of him as was the case before the stops. Massa is now also just behind Vettel, ahead of Raikkonen.

At the beginning of lap 13, Alonso moves to the outside of turn 1 and gets past Rosberg to take the lead, much to the pleasure of the Spanish fans. Vettel follows through in turn 5 while Massa also passes Rosberg in turn 10 of that same lap. Raikkonen is the next to make a pass in turn 1 of lap 15.

By lap 21, Alonso has pulled a gap of 4 seconds to Vettel. At the same time Massa and Webber make their second stops. The Brazilian dropped behind Ricciardo and Perez but soon got past those two again. One lap later Alonso pits as well and rejoins the track just ahead of Rosberg.

In lap 23 Van der Garde loses his left rear wheel in turn 10 but still managed to make it back to the pits. He did however hadve to abandon the race as damage appeared too problematic to continue.

Alonso meanwhile posts the fastest lap of the race, a solid 1.6 seconds faster than what Vettel is doing in the lead, having not made his second stop yet. The German has also got company of Raikkonen as the Lotus has rapidly reduced the gap to the leader.

On lap 24 Vettel pits for new hard tyres, handing the lead to Raikkonen. Vettel rejoins the track in 5th, 2 seconds behind Rosberg.

On lap 25 Hamilton pits from 12th. The Brit is badly struggling with tyre wear and early on in his stints finds himself out of grip. 20 seconds later Raikkonen is in on lap 26. The Finn gets back on track 3 seconds behind Vettel and just ahead of Rosberg.

After these stops, Alonso is now leading, 7 seconds ahead of Massa. Vettel is third, 8 seconds behind Massa and crucially losing nearly a second a lap to Alonso. Raikkonen is 4th, interestingly the only man of the front runners to do his first three stints on the medium tyre. Behind them is WEB, DIR HUL PER ROS RIC VER HAM MAL BOT SUT BIA PIC CHI.

By lap 31, Raikkonen is all over the back of Vettel and is eagerly looking for an opportunity to make it past the Red Bull. Vettel is clearly protecting his front left through turn 3 and turn 9, allowing Raikkonen to close up but crucially at positions that do not really allow the Finn to get by easily.

In lap 33 Raikkonen tries the outside of turn 10 but fails to make the move stick. The next lap in turn 1 was the good one though as Raikkonen used the overspeed from DRS to make a very late pass through turn 1. Once past, the Finn is clearly quicker than the Ferraris ahead with his tyres also still in clearly better shape (medium compared to hard, but 4 laps younger).

By the end of lap 36, Raikkonen has closed the gap to Massa. At the end of that lap, Alonso pits, immediately followed by Massa. Mark Webber is also in a bit later on, all three fitting a set of medium tyres.

After those stops, Raikkonen now leads, 2.5s ahead of Alonso. Vettel is another 3 seconds down. Massa is 4th, 11 seconds down on Vettel and 20 seconds ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber. Di Resta is 6th ahead of Rosberg, Ricciardo, Gutierrez, Button.

Hulkenberg meanwhile is serving a stop and go penalty for an unsafe release during his previous stop. Sauber released him while Vergne was diving into his box just ahead, causing a mild collision. 2 laps later, Vergne is in with a delaminated right rear tyre.

On lap 39 Alonso flies past Raikkonen on the main straight to take the lead back. Vettel pits at the end of that lap and rejoins the race in 4th, 13 seconds down on Massa.

At the end of lap 44, Alonso has 8 seconds on Raikkonen. Massa is another 8 seconds down on the Lotus.

On lap 46 Raikkonen pits and changes to a set of hard tyres. He slots in a few seconds ahead of Vettel.

Lap 49 marks the 4th stop for the leading Ferrari. Alonso changes to the harder tyre for the final 15 laps and rejoins in the lead, 4 seconds ahead of Massa who still has to stop another time and another 3 ahead of Raikkonen.

On lap 51, Webber pits, with one lap later Massa and Vettel.

A bit later Jean-Eric Vergne is called into the pits to retire from the race due to damage on the car.

Towards the end of the race, the first 5 places appear to be fixed as the margins are rather big. Di Resta however is continuously trying to get past Rosberg for P6 but seems to lack that little bit of extra speed on the end of the main straight to actually make the pass stick.

Alonso meanwhile is enjoying his time in the lead and easily rolls over the finish line, waving to the crowd even before rounding the final corners. A marshall stepped in at turn 4 to hand the Spaniard a country flag to complete the celebration of a perfect race for him. Kimi Raikkonen again made it to the podium with one less stop while Felipe Massa completes the party for Ferrari by finishing third.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
13Fernando AlonsoFerrari66Winner525
27Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault66+9.3 secs418
34Felipe MassaFerrari66+26.0 secs915
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault66+38.2 secs312
52Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault66+47.9 secs710
69Nico RosbergMercedes AMG66+68.0 secs18
714Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes66+68.9 secs106
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes66+79.5 secs144
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes66+81.7 secs82
1019Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari65+1 Lap111
1112Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari65+1 Lap19
1210Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG65+1 Lap2
1315Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes65+1 Lap13
1416Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault65+1 Lap17
1511Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari65+1 Lap15
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault65+1 Lap16
1720Charles PicCaterham-Renault65+1 Lap22
1822Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth64+2 Laps20
1923Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth64+2 Laps21
Ret18Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari52+14 Laps12
Ret21Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault21+45 Laps18
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault8+58 Laps6