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All great drivers need luck, but Alonso makes his own

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Andrew Benson | 18:22 UK time, Sunday, 24 June 2012

It's not often Fernando Alonso is overcome with emotion, but he only just managed to hold it together as he stood on the podium after a quite stunning victory in the European Grand Prix.

His voice had already cracked as he giggled his delight on the team radio on his slowing-down lap - and in the pits Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali was in the same state as he praised a "fantastic" drive by the Spaniard.

But listening to the Spanish and Italian national anthems, the magnitude of the moment almost got the better of Alonso. He choked a bit, grinned, almost cried, gritted his teeth and then collected himself.

No wonder he was so emotional - in the previous half an hour or so, it had all come together to create a perfect weekend for him.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso (centre) celebrates winning the European GP with second place Kimi Raikkonen (left) and third place Michael Schumacher (right). Photo: Getty  

Alonso has driven some outstanding races in his career - he is generally regarded within F1 as the finest driver in the world - but this one has to be right up there with the very best.

Fighting up from 11th place on the grid, he pulled off some quite brilliant overtaking moves to make his way up into contention, the opportunism and skill never better than when he separated Lotus's Romain Grosjean from second place immediately after a restart following a safety car period.

That move meant Alonso inherited the lead when Sebastian Vettel's dominant Red Bull retired further around the same lap. Then, as he completed a spectacular victory, his day was made perfect when the man he regards as his main title rival, Lewis Hamilton, retired with two laps to go.

Both his main rivals out of the race, a momentous win in his home grand prix and less than 24 hours after Spain's football team made it into the semi-finals of Euro 2012. No wonder he was close to tears.

Of course, luck was involved in Alonso's win. He was not going to beat Vettel before the German's retirement - no one was - and he would not have been in a position to challenge Grosjean at the re-start had it not been for yet another pit-stop problem for McLaren.

But Alonso put himself in the position to gain from others' misfortune, and all the other positions he gained he worked for and won in a style befitting one of the greatest racing drivers the world has seen.

Ferrari's superbly quick pit crew played a part, too - one rival engineer said this weekend that they had moved the goalposts for pit stops this year.

But the fact remains that Alonso would not have had to do what he did had Ferrari's strategists not made the error that left him down in 11th on the grid - a decision for which the driver must share some blame.

Ferrari failed to realise that Alonso would need to fit a second set of the 'soft' tyres in second qualifying to be sure of progressing into the top 10 shoot-out.

Lotus had also planned to follow Ferrari's strategy of running a set of 'medium' tyres in Q2 followed by a set of 'softs'.

But when the English team saw how close it was in Q1, they realised they could not afford to take the risk, and switched to running two sets of 'softs' in Q2 and only one in the top 10 shoot-out.

It's impossible to know where Alonso would have ended up on the grid had he made it through.

Fortunately for Ferrari, their blushes were spared by his stellar performance on Sunday - on a track where it had previously been almost impossible to overtake but which came alive this year with the combination of degrading tyres and a DRS overtaking zone judged exactly right.

Ferrari took a fair bit of stick for the decision - and rightly so. It would be dangerous of them not to learn from it for this is not the first time this season that their strategy has been found wanting.

Alonso might have won in Barcelona had Ferrari not allowed Williams to get Pastor Maldonado ahead of him by making their second stop earlier.

As Alonso admitted himself, a win was also on the cards in Monaco had Ferrari reacted more quickly to his blistering pace on his in-lap and left him out to do a couple more.

And in Canada, where he fell back to fifth, he should have finished at least second - and could possibly have won - but the team failed to react to his tyres losing grip dramatically in the closing stages.

Had Ferrari got those calls right, Alonso could have been heading into the Valencia weekend on the back of two wins and a second place, rather than a second, a third and a fifth.

That's 27 points thrown away even before the error in qualifying this weekend. In a season as close as this, even if Alonso wins the title it is unlikely to be by that much.

In each case, the error has been a result of apparently not being reactive enough - being either too fixed on a specific, pre-ordained strategy, and/or too focused on one specific rival and not looking at the bigger picture.

That was exactly what happened in Abu Dhabi in 2010, when another strategy error handed the title on a plate to Vettel.

Ferrari have now got back many of those points thanks to the problems suffered by Vettel and Hamilton.

Despite Vettel's retirement, the Red Bull showed frightening pace in Valencia following the introduction of a major upgrade, as BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson detailed on Friday.

Vettel would have walked the race had his alternator not failed on lap 34 and the pace shown by Red Bull this weekend will have set alarm bells ringing in Maranello and McLaren's factory in Woking.

At McLaren, though, they have other things to worry about after yet another pit-stop problem for Hamilton.

This time it was a failure of one of the new Ferrari-style angled jacks the team designed as part of a wholesale restructure of their pit-stop operation following problems in Malaysia, China and Bahrain earlier this year.

It lost Hamilton a place to Alonso when the leaders pitted during the mid-race safety-car period - and that of course would have meant he was leading following the retirements of Vettel and Lotus's Grosjean.

Given the tyre problems Hamilton found himself in during the closing laps, it seems unlikely that he would have been able to hold off Alonso for the victory, but it would have meant he was clear of Pastor Maldonado, and therefore the incident that took him out of the race, for which Hamilton was blameless.

Interestingly, if you look back at how many points Hamilton had lost to various operational issues at McLaren this year before Valencia, it was 27 - exactly the same number as Alonso.

Add the 18 or 15 he would have got for either second or third place in Valencia (depending on whether Kimi Raikkonen would have caught him) and that is more than 40.

After Valencia, he is now 23 points behind Alonso. The McLaren has been on balance the fastest car this year, but Ferrari's form is getting better and better and, after Valencia, Red Bull look more formidable than at any time this year.

There are still 12 races to go in an already extraordinary season that clearly has many more twists and turns to come. But Hamilton should be comfortably leading the championship. Have McLaren already thrown it away?

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Shock!!!! No mention of Schumacher.

  • Comment number 2.

    Andrew, would it be fair to say you are a fan of Fernando Alonso? Anyway, congratulations to Fernando today on a great drive, with some fantastic overtakes. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher too, on his first podium finish in his second F1 career.

  • Comment number 3.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    Big Big Congratz to Alonso, it is true, he truly does make his own luck. yes this time both Vettel and Grojean handed him the win, no forgetting Hami's pit crew also but he was in that position from 11th i the 1st place.
    So again, congratz to him, this season and last season he's been very very good in cars that for most of the quali look average but in races turn out to be good, both due to him and i thnk the way the car is made

  • Comment number 5.

    I think we will see a three-way battle for the championship this year. In a year where no contructor is dominating, there is so much emphasis on getting the most out of a cars performance week in week out regardless of how competitive it is. Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are the three drivers who seem to be able to do this. You only have to look at where Massa and Button are sitting to see how well Alonso and Hamilton have performed this year, with consistency.

    Alonso is a supreme driver who deserves every accolade he is given.

    It is a shame that Vettel and Hamilton were so unlucky today as it would be an even more thrilling championship if they were still as close to each other in the standings.

  • Comment number 6.

    alonso and luck go hand in hand like bread and butter,i mean luck ;;;;cough singapore,spygate,cough.he is a fabolous driver but vettel had it in the bag from the 1st corner.happy for michael and kimi.

    please mclaren sack that fool sam michael and the pit crew and get the local lads from kwick-fit,more reilable and cheaper for all parties.the team imo is now a laughing stock with all the money and resources they have they cannot get a simple pit stop correct after doing the fastest of the day.i was stunned by hamiltons 2nd in q but i expected him to go backwards as this awful track and the heat is a miserable combination.but to be fair the race was a stunner.

    maldonado needs to get of that columbian snow he looks seriously looks like he is on something.i realy shocked by the audacity of his rant towards lewis.

    i think british gp will be a struggle for mclaren,vettel to win there imo

  • Comment number 7.

    excuse me, you are forgetting mark webber, he is second in the standings..

  • Comment number 8.

    About Mclaren..........

    This time Benson nailed it!!

    and i quote;
    *** At McLaren, though, they have other things to worry about after yet another pit-stop problem for Hamilton.

    This time it was a failure of one of the new Ferrari-style angled jacks the team designed as part of a wholesale restructure of their pit-stop operation following problems in Malaysia, China and Bahrain earlier this year.

    It lost Hamilton a place to Alonso when the leaders pitted during the mid-race safety-car period - and that of course would have meant he was leading following the retirements of Vettel and Lotus's Grosjean.

    Given the tyre problems Hamilton found himself in during the closing laps, it seems unlikely that he would have been able to hold off Alonso for the victory, but it would have meant he was clear of Pastor Maldonado, and therefore the incident that took him out of the race, for which Hamilton was blameless.

    Interestingly, if you look back at how many points Hamilton had lost to various operational issues at McLaren this year before Valencia, it was 27 - exactly the same number as Alonso.

    Add the 18 or 15 he would have got for either second or third place in Valencia (depending on whether Kimi Raikkonen would have caught him) and that is more than 40.

    After Valencia, he is now 23 points behind Alonso. The McLaren has been on balance the fastest car this year, but Ferrari's form is getting better and better and, after Valencia, Red Bull look more formidable than at any time this year.

    There are still 12 races to go in an already extraordinary season that clearly has many more twists and turns to come. But Hamilton should be comfortably leading the championship. Have McLaren already thrown it away?***

    AND TO ANSWER YOU BENSON; YES BENSON, SO FAR THEY HAVE

  • Comment number 9.

    Great race from Alonso but McLaren seem hell bent on throwing away the championship and the best driver they've had since Hakkinnen.

    Whitmarsh must think his days will be numbered if we have a repeat at Silverstone.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think this is a somewhat limited account on the race. Michael Schumacher worked his way up doing some great overtakes, benefiting from the Maldonado/Hamilton incident to get his first podium finish since China 2006, if I remember correctly. That at least deserves a mention. Also, what about Jenson Button and his not very impressive drive this weekend? Webber moving up from 19th to achieve a respectable 4th, and now being second in the Drivers Championship?

    Still, at least there was overtaking in Valencia, more so than there was at Monaco. Quite chaotic overall, but it made for exciting viewing. Romain Grosjean and Kimi Räikkönen really look like they'll both eventually achieve race wins this season. It's also good to see Schumacher finishing the race, without any issues with the car; he's still got it, and I hope he continues to race in Formula 1 next year.

  • Comment number 11.

    bromers1979 To be fair Michael got his name in the podium caption. But less of me being smart, this is an article about Alonso, not Schumacher, so everyone needs to stop Benson bashing. In every article.

  • Comment number 12.

    9. At 20:23 24th Jun 2012, f1fan01 wrote:
    Great race from Alonso but McLaren seem hell bent on throwing away the championship and the best driver they've had since Hakkinnen..........

    =============


    That would be Alonso, wouldn't it?

  • Comment number 13.

    Benson I'm glad you thought better than to repeat EJ and Jakes line of implying Lewis partly to blame for defending too hard. Never heard such rubbish in my life.

    This was an open and shut case, once you leave the track you loose any right to the racing line.

  • Comment number 14.

    Re 11 relentlesstrev

    I agree, read Andrew's title!

    Arguably, Schumacher, Webber etc benefited from Vettel, Grosjean, Hamilton being unlucky today and Maldonaldo not finishing where he should have done. They drove good solid races but were handed their points finish.

  • Comment number 15.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 16.

    @3: Classic. Can't accept McLaren have been below par so it must be a mole. Of course.

    Not a bad race, considering that Valencia very seldom throws up any good racing. Alonso was very good today, he gives it 100% every race and this season has been one of his best. Leading the WDC with the 4th best car is no mean feat.

    On the Maldonado-Hamilton incident, I firmly believe it was a 50/50 incident. Maldonado was too eager to rejoin the track, but Hamilton refused to believe his tyres were starting to fall away and continued to defend aggressively despite the fact that he needed to preserve his tyres for a good haul of points and left little space. Maldonado was quite rightly hasty, he needed to pass Hamilton to have any chance at catching Raikkonen but was a bit wasteful with his opportunities.

    So yes, a 50-50. Maldonado has received a 20-second time penalty for his part in the incident. I understand that many Hamilton fans will try and crucify me for this point of view, but what I've said is considered and, I believe, fair.

    McLaren haven't thrown it away yet, they just need to overhaul their pit-stop systems and hire driver psychologists as Button and Hamilton have the tendency to lament what could have been.

    I feel a great amount of sadness for Grosjean, he could have challenged Alonso for the win had his alternator not failed. Raikkonen showcased the high traction the Lotus had coming out of the slower corners, and would've definitely given the Spaniard a hard time.

    @6: Sam Michael doesn't actively take part in the pit-stops, and hence you can't solely blame him for the pit issues. I'm glad that the comments you've made are insightful and interesting, and I hope that you become an F1 journalist in the future.

    I think, though, that Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are poised for a 3-way scrap for the title. This is until Raikkonen and Grosjean begin to pick up the wins that Lotus have been threatening to take in the last few races. Mercedes are too inconsistent to allow Rosberg a charge at the title, despite his great points-scoring form.

  • Comment number 17.

    @12 LOL I'm not getting into an Alonso vs Hamilton slanging match today.

    They both drove brilliantly but the difference in their results today ultimately came down to the performance of their teams.

  • Comment number 18.

    Firstly I thought that the race was a great one and not the one I was expecting from Valencia; and a great win for Alonso!

    But can someone here explain to me why it is that Jenson is having a shocking season so far, compared to Hamilton - are their cars not constructed the same way? (I'm sorry if this is a really silly question but I am not a techie person and am genuinely intrigued). Thank you

  • Comment number 19.

    Well Done Alonso, things came his way today but he took the chance well. Vettel was very unlucky as he had an easy win taken away from him, Hamilton was also very unlucky both with his pit crew again, and also being taken out by Maldonado, Hamilton was defending firmly but fairly, Maldonado should have stayed off the track, plenty of room to do so, and then attempted to pass Lewis later on the track, which he would have probably done. For once the stewards have got this one spot on. As for the title in a way, Alonso winning is a better result for Hamilton than Vettel winning, as Red Bull is close to being the best car now at least in the race.

    Of course the title isn't all over, as to whether Lewis will rue McLaren mistakes is another matter. more concerning was the lack of pace in the McLaren in the race, cooler temps at Silverstone should help this though.

  • Comment number 20.

    You say Hamilton was blameless but it's not like Maldonado doesn't have form for being a bit rash and Hamilton was really trying to postpone the inevitable with his tyres clearly way past their best, in hindsight the smarter move would've been to let him go. Hamilton would still have scored decent points. Alonso was different class once Vettel went out. A good race at Valencia, who'd have thought it.

  • Comment number 21.

    @16 I'll admit when I saw Hamilton and Maldonado starting to go at it, I thought "Oh god, watch it Lewis, who knows what crazy Maldonado might do", however, that doesn't mean Lewis was *at fault* for the incident, no matter how many times Maldonado wants to say "I was faster, so he should have just given me the place". Lewis might have showed a lack of prudence, but the incident was still Maldonado's fault. I can't believe he had the gall to try and blame it on Lewis afterwards, especially complaining about being crowded off the track, when he pushed at least two drivers wide earlier on in the race.

    Pleasantly surprised with the race as a whole! Gutted for Lewis and Grosjean. Pleased Vettel didn't just walk it, although the return to form is ominous. Glad for Schumi and Alonso, and although I'm a Button fan, that was just poor.

  • Comment number 22.

    Congrats Schumi!!! Brilliant drive through the field! If there was an extra 7 or 8 laps then he and Webber would of finished P1 and P2 (wishful thinking) Correct decision by the stewards regarding his DRS under the yellow flags, there is no specific rule detailing the use of DRS under waved yellows!

    All in all a good day! Pirelli tyres are still a joke tho dictating way too much!

  • Comment number 23.

    @20 The biggest mistake Hamilton could have made would be to follow your flawed argument. That would just send the signal to the rest of the field that he is not a racer and they can always depend on him to lift in future when they are battling with him for a close overtake.

    Hamilton did exactly the right thing today.

  • Comment number 24.

    Can I also add - in future I wish Hamilton's 'media people' would leave Hamilton alone and let him say what he really means instead of saying toeing-the-line.

    I'm pleased to see that Maldonado got a penalty - quite right too!

  • Comment number 25.

    I learned the results of this race from the internet as I couldn't watch it live and was pleasantly shocked to hear that Alonso had won the race! He's been amazing this year in a car that apparently wasn't good enough at the beginning of the year and after eight races he's had five podiums and two wins. If he wins the championship this year he will certainly have deserved it and then some.

    On a totally different topic, can we please call Andrew by his first name. A few of you on this board are calling him by his surname while making negative comments about his blog, which in my opinion is very disrespectful

  • Comment number 26.

    @ No Tomato In My BLT
    *On the Maldonado-Hamilton incident, I firmly believe it was a 50/50 incident. Maldonado was too eager to rejoin the track, but Hamilton refused to believe his tyres were starting to fall away and continued to defend aggressively despite the fact that he needed to preserve his tyres for a good haul of points and left little space. Maldonado was quite rightly hasty, he needed to pass Hamilton to have any chance at catching Raikkonen but was a bit wasteful with his opportunities.*
    -------------------------------------------------

    By your argument, you giving Hami 50% stake in the mistake because he defended his line???????!!!!!!
    come on man, the fact is, Mal tried to overtake from the outside and run off the road and instead of giving up on the move, he drove into Hami trying to get back ont he road.
    tell me where in this hami is a fault?

  • Comment number 27.

    ALonso got a bit of luck today, but he deserved it for having already surged through from 11th to 4th with some impressive moves. It's so depressing to see McLaren screwing up in the pits again - with the fastest car, and their best driver back in form, they should be leading the championship. Maldonado's move was wild aggression, would surely have received a penalty for having left the track while overtaking (remember Belgium 2009?), and I can't believe he thought there would be a gap. I don't know who was in that car in Barcelona, but it can't've been the wild, brainless oil boy they've ran for most of the year....

  • Comment number 28.

    @16, have to agree with you, I thought that Lewis forced Maldonado off the track whilst defending the corner. A 50/50 incident for me too. Contrast Lewis throwing his dummy (steering wheel) out of the pram (cockpit) again after his crash, and compare that with Grosjean's reaction to his car failure whilst running a competitive second place, looking for the safest place to park up, and then getting the car pushed off the track to safety.

    To my mind this was the old Lewis returning, he should have let Maldonado past as he was quite clearly quicker, Lewis's tyres were clearly shot and he was lacking grip. Better to finish 4th than not finish.

  • Comment number 29.

    24.
    At 20:54 24th Jun 2012, louiep wrote:


    Can I also add - in future I wish Hamilton's 'media people' would leave Hamilton alone and let him say what he really means instead of saying toeing-the-line.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    McLaren are well aware of the numerous Hamilton haters that work in the media who would love to goad him into another "Ali G" type comment to put a negative spin on so unfortunately we will have to miss out on his true thoughts because of their past behaviour.

  • Comment number 30.

    Maldonado did not have space to complete his move. That means you have to back out and tuck back in at the next corner. It gives you no right to lunge back onto the track as your rival is turning in.

  • Comment number 31.

    Excellent win from Fernando. Shame Andrew fails to mention Schumi after he dedicated a column to slamming him earlier in the season. And no mention of Button. Who could only finish 8th even with all the none finishes. Silverstone is setting up to be a cracker :)
    Also is it me or is it only Mclaren that could design a front jack that fails. All it has to do is jack up the front of the car! Ludicrous!! Surely Martin Whitmarsh has to be fearing for his job now. Does anybody know if Rob has the power to fire him? As, I may be wrong, doesn't Whitmarsh own a stake in the company? Mclaren really need to go back to basics.
    Excellent work from Fernando as always! All great drivers have their luck. Today he got his for such a good season :)

  • Comment number 32.

    @16, @28 and any other Hamilton hater trying to apprtion blame to Lewis for what Maldonado did. You have absolutely no argument.

    Please reply explaining how it's Lewis' fault that Maldonado rejoined the track and crashed into him or stop talking rubbish.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm seeing a lot of Maldonado-bashing here, but I think Lewis was at least partly to blame for that. The team should definitely be having words with him about defending that hard when his tyres are gone and they'res a championship to think about.

  • Comment number 34.

    Championship drive from a double world champion. Still without the fastest mount on the grid and he leads the title chase by 20 points. Long way to go yet but this is quite amazing.

  • Comment number 35.

    Fantastic drive by Alonso. McLaren make far to many mistakes. Although Hamilton was unlucky today, for the way he has driven he should still be well in the lead in the Championship. I suspect McLaren's mistakes will probably cost him the title again, just like in 2007 when they kept him out on bald tyres trying to win a race he didn't need to win. As you've mentioned Ferrari's tactical error in the last race cost Alonso the title in 2010. The title looks like it will go down to the wire.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hamilton would have been as well to back-off and yield the place. He'd have added more points to his tally, extended his lead, and finished. Instead he chose to defend on worn tyres against someone he'd forced off the track, was half-way across the white line when contact was made, and who ultimately had nothing to lose. More fool him.

  • Comment number 37.

    Agree with your analysis Andrew, of the strategy calls which have cost Alonso and Ferrari. This would possibly never have been allowed to happen in the Schumacher/Todt era and I hope will not cost Alonso at season's end. If it does I think there will be changes at Ferrari.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ yellowbelly

    Of cause Yellowbelly would agree with comment 16 lol no surprise there.

    So him venting out his frustration like any human being would do in that situation is throwing his dummy out ehh? I bet you would have acted the same way had you been in his situation. Another thing, hami crashed out because maldo crashed into him, Grojean stopped his car due to mechanical failure, which would you be more angry about?
    Also i don't see you comment about Vettel reaction lol?

  • Comment number 39.

    @31 my issue is this, I have no problem with McLaren designing a front jack that fails as mistakes happen. The unforgivable thing is that this relatively simple piece of equipment obviously WAS NOT exhaustively tested with the pit crew until they were 100% sure it would not fail.

    It does not make sense that only one top team has been having such pitstop issues for a year and a half now with no sign of an end to it.

    It does not make sense that these issues mostly affect Hamilton.

  • Comment number 40.

    @32 Just because I don't think the sun shines out of Lewis's backside, doesn't mean I am a Hamilton hater. I expressed an opinion as I am entitled to, and as for talking rubbish, that really is rich, coming from a myopic Lewis fanboy!

    As I said, I thought Lewis drifted out on the corner, forcing Maldonado off track, leaving the opportunity for an accident to occur, just like it did with Massa on too many occasions last year. If Lewis had ceded the position to a quite clearly quicker Maldonado, he would have finished the race in 4th, and collected 12 points, and been on 100 Championship points, only 11 behind Alonso, not 23.

  • Comment number 41.

    Again proof that alonso is one of the best out there, congratulations to him he deserved it. Vettel was unlucky, Raikkonen did a great job as well, schumacher pleased for his first podium on his comeback. Force India great result 5th and 7th. Both HRT's finished :), support the small teams with small budgets (HRT is the new Minardi). Overall, surprisingly, a great race at valencia (a shock i know), from about vergne and kovalainen crash.

  • Comment number 42.

    ssooo sooo sad for the young english superstar !! lewis did everything perfect but once again his team let him down...
    its decision time for lewis and mclaren as i cant see them winning anything this year

    only good point button keep making me smile with his performances... top drive from him. hes as good as ever

    today the whole team lost martin whitfarce is the one to blame for that hes doing a rubbish job since day one.

    gutted...

  • Comment number 43.

    @39 very fair point I have to agree. They wanted a jack like Ferraris and since Ferrari have the best pit stops that is understandable. But I have to agree with you it seems it wasn't test exhaustively before being put into use. It's like they are panicking and compounding mistakes, by thinking we must change everything. These are errors you should be seeing from HRT for example not Mclaren.

  • Comment number 44.

    @20
    "You say Hamilton was blameless but it's not like Maldonado doesn't have form for being a bit rash and Hamilton was really trying to postpone the inevitable with his tyres clearly way past their best, in hindsight the smarter move would've been to let him go. Hamilton would still have scored decent points. Alonso was different class once Vettel went out. A good race at Valencia, who'd have thought it."

    -

    Surely you could apply the same theory to Maldonado and say that with hindsight he should have positioned himself for the next straight to overtake a clearly limited Hamilton, Maldonado would have still scored decent points.
    I think it was Maldonado earlier in the race who pushed Webber out onto the blue tarmac on the pit straight to gain a position, a legitimate move. However if you've left the track you've left the track. 100% Maldonado's fault in this case, not sure if he expected Hamilton to not turn in? Ruined two great drives from them both.

    With less mistakes from McLaren and less mistakes from Pastor, they would both be slightly more comfortable in the standings.
    Great drive from Alonso though! Well deserved today.

    Looking forward to camping, bbq's and the engines again, bring on Silverstone!

  • Comment number 45.

    @38 I didn't realise I had to comment on every driver! Oh well, here goes........... Vettel was petulant as well, his frustration was from having the lead taken away from him, having done nothing wrong and dominated the race up to that point. As for your first point, I would be more angry at losing second place with a chance of a race win through mechanical failure totally out of my control, than losing third that I would in all probability have lost anyway a few corners further on, due to the condition of the rear tyres.

  • Comment number 46.

    @40 yellowbelly Falling back to insults is a sure sign of someone who has lost the argument. I'll repeat what I said....

    Please reply explaining how it's Lewis' fault that Maldonado rejoined the track and crashed into him or stop talking rubbish.

  • Comment number 47.

    Yellowbelly

    "leaving the opportunity for an accident to occur...."???
    So because he didn't yield Maldonaldo was justified in running into the side of him? He defended by the book, if the stewards had not agreed with that then their ruling on the incident would not have gone against Maldonaldo. Agreeing with this does not make you a "fanboy".

  • Comment number 48.

    "Add the 18 or 15 he would have got for either second or third place in Valencia (depending on whether Kimi Raikkonen would have caught him) and that is more than 40"

    Fairly sure Kimi had already passed Hamilton, so Hamilton was going to finish 3rd or 4th, not 2nd or 3rd.

    Any thoughts if Webber could have challenged for the win if he hadn't been behind Schumacher in the final stint? He was lapping a second a lap quicker before Schumacher pitted and came out in front of him. He was behind Schumacher for what, 15-20 laps and finished 14 seconds behind Alonso.

  • Comment number 49.

    Brilliant race at the latter stages after Sebs car decided to give up

    nice to see Fernando on the top as he does wring the neck out of any car

    Well does anyone know how many accidents Maldonado has had this season including the ones in free practice???? I am sure that if that was Lewis a certain section woiuld be shouting he is dangerous!!!!! The annoying thing about the incident was Maldonado did not accept any blame now that is dangerous!!!

    I think Kimi and Schumi will accept their podiums even though there was doubt at some stage about the drs and yellow flag confusion for Schumi

    And finally the Maclaren pit stop again this seems to be a major talking point race by race and i think that the head man must carry the blame so if Lewis decides not to renew his contract due to the constant pit stop errors will anybody else be forced to leave?? Not sure whats wrong with Jenson at the moment has he lost confidence in the car? so 2 world champions not exactly at ease with the Maclaren set up for one reason or another could be interesting unless the tide turns as i think they will lose out in the constructors to Lotus and Ferrari as well as Red Bull

  • Comment number 50.

    46. At 21:36 24th Jun 2012, f1fan01 wrote:
    @40 yellowbelly Falling back to insults is a sure sign of someone who has lost the argument........

    =============

    I think you need to refer back to your post @32, as calling someone a Hamilton hater and saying they are talking rubbish just because they happen to have a different viewpoint to you is resorting to insults.

    So, as you say, "Falling back to insults is a sure sign of someone who has lost the argument".

    ============

    @47

    So, the stewards are the experts when a decision goes in favour of Lewis, but bigoted racists when they have the temerity to penalise him? Smacks a bit of double standards, don't you think?

  • Comment number 51.

    Unlucky Lewis. At the time I was thinking he should let that Venezuelan through. But that's not what Lewis does, he always tries to race.
    Martin Whitmarsh should go now, he's seriously annoying me

  • Comment number 52.

    @50. yellowbelly I see you chose the talking rubbish option.

    The reason you can't answer a simple question is that you have no answer.

    I'll try again...

    Please reply explaining how it's Lewis' fault that Maldonado rejoined the track and crashed into him or stop talking rubbish.

  • Comment number 53.

    The fact still remains that you are blaming hami for defending his position?
    and then when he shows his frustration like any human being, you accuse him of throwing his dummy out??!!

  • Comment number 54.

    comment 53 @ yellowbelly

  • Comment number 55.

    No comment yet about Alonso failing to make it back to 'park ferme'. The FIA have issued next race grid penalties previously for this action. Does it only apply to certain drivers/teams?

  • Comment number 56.

    Dear oh dear another good dose of vitriolic fanboy loving and hating.
    Alonso drove very well and had luck on his side, unlucky for Grosjean, Vettel and Hamilton.
    I fail to see how Hamilton who is a 'racing' driver is in anyway to blame for the incident he was involved in. For those who think he should have yielded do you want to watch a race or a farce? Hamilton did nothing wrong except drive the line he was entitled to. Maldonado knew he had the pace and it was amateur to attempt to pass a 'racer' where he did. I dont recall Hamilton making any rash passes in Canada towards the end of the race. Bide your time its that simple! It was as clear cut as Vergne's meandering into Kovalainen! I dont hear many people commenting that Kovalainen was to blame for that one? All said and done Valencia was one of the most interesting GP's for ages if only due to all the incidents.

  • Comment number 57.

    Just because a driver yields a place doesn't instantly turn them into a soft quivering mass that every driver will exploit at every opportunity. Lewis has yielded places in the past, as has I would imagine every driver. Given that it's a well-known fact that Maldonado has form, even though Hamilton did not need to yield it was fairly obvious that maldonado would have tried his hardest to force his way back on. Hamilton was the one that said that this season he would be more measured and play the longer game. Lose the battle but win the war so to speak. Of course maldonado's been punished for it, but it's of no help at all to Hamilton.

  • Comment number 58.

    @55 frank

    It doesn't apply to certain drivers/teams. There are different rules for quali and the race hence no penalty for Alonso stopping on track.

  • Comment number 59.

    47.
    At 21:37 24th Jun 2012, GirlyF1fan wrote:

    Yellowbelly

    "leaving the opportunity for an accident to occur...."???
    So because he didn't yield Maldonaldo was justified in running into the side of him? He defended by the book, if the stewards had not agreed with that then their ruling on the incident would not have gone against Maldonaldo. Agreeing with this does not make you a "fanboy".
    ------------------------------------------

    agree with you GirlyF1fan
    we get called fanboys because we don't agree with these hate comments people on this blogs come up with.

    saying hami threw his dummy out because he vented his fustration??!! Come on,
    he just been crashed into through no fault of his, of cause you can expect a reaction. he is only human. jeeez people, get off your high horse.

  • Comment number 60.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 61.

    All great drivers need luck. One of them needs a new pit crew.

  • Comment number 62.

    where are mclarens upgrades they seem so busy trying to put four wheels on they seem to have abandond the car???

  • Comment number 63.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 64.

    Agree with people's comments that When you have been racing for over an hour and a half and get crashed into or your car breaks down You are going to show emotion. I like the fact that people show emotion, the reactions of senna andprost, Schumacher and hakkinen. It makes the sport. Who will forget Halkinen crying in the trees when he broke down in 2000?! I don't want robots. Show emotion and speak your mind!! I didn't want Vettell getting out of his car with a smile on his face. Or Hamilton just walking away waving ecstatically. Show emotion, be a human!

  • Comment number 65.

    Great drive by Alonso, yes, but terrible luck for Hamilton and Vettel. Especially Vettel.

  • Comment number 66.

    This race was actually entertaining - I had to postpone my lawn mowing to watch the last few laps. Great result, the red car wins and the twit in the Maclaren throws his points away - again. That said, Moto GP is still the most entertaining motorsport - no pit stops, no DRS or other gimmicks, just out and out racing (and I have been a motor racing fan since seeing Jim Clark before he was famous . . . .)_

  • Comment number 67.

    Another point in this is that McLaren was not the fastest this weekend on long stints, it may be very competitive in Qualifying in the hands of Lewis, but on not so in races. It really is strange seeing Button so far off the pace, and makes you wonder the true pace of the cars in the race.

    A for Hamilton's comments after the race, better him say nothing, than him say the wrong thing.

  • Comment number 68.

    Good article.

    Alonso is special.

    Lewis needs a competent team - why (almost) always Lewis with the pit crew screw ups?

    Button, who knows, certainly he doesn't.

    Very worryingly, looks like Newey has come up with something - Vettel was on rails. I predict a walk over at Silverstone.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Completely irrelevant to the race or anything else of any importance, but just out of curiosity - I understand xavi alonso (footballer, nearly as popular as fernando this weekend) is basque, but is fernando alonso also basque - occasionally see folk at the races with the basque flag....is this why?

  • Comment number 71.

    mclaren need a clearout from the top down whitmarsh should be picking up his p45 off ron tomorrow ! i think lewis will stay for 1 year and then will replace vettel in 2014 when he joins ferrari.

  • Comment number 72.

    This season Lewis has been very steady and accumulating points, obviously excluding today through no fault of his own, [although I can the points above about this]

    He must maintain this focus, he will win further races this season, but cannot make mistakes like last season.

    As for Maldonado he should be punished further, he should have McLaren pit stops for the next 3 races .lol

  • Comment number 73.

    Great win for Alonso. People saying he got lucky, you are completely wrong. An amazing pass on Grosjean on the restart, along with a faultless drive easily eclipsing his team mate Massa, aswell as finishing in the points at every race this year, he deserves it as much as the next guy.

  • Comment number 74.

    @69 how can you say you hate Alonso as a person? This is pretty stupid on your part. He has faults we all do and he made mistakes in 2007 but does this justify hatred. Surely this makes you just as bad as all the people you talk of that have the daggers out for Hamilton.

  • Comment number 75.

    I agree.

    Alonso got so lucky today, but he definitely deserved to win and with it, the lead at the top of the world championship table...much as it pains me to say it.

    Not sure what more can be said about McLaren's pit stops, other than ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Been a pretty rubbish sporting day today hasn't it?! Here's what I made of the race, please don't read if you don't want to, there is no obligation to do so! But I hope you enjoy :)

    http://doug-elder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/i-may-not-know-anything-about-f1-but-at.html

  • Comment number 76.

    Hamilton unfortunately locked up badly, and you could see he lost grip. Either he lost grip from it, or he locked up as he had no grip, bit of both. But you could see he was really struggling. Why was he so aggressive against Maldonaldo? He should have allowed the overtake and just jumped into the slipstream.

    McLaren screwing up their pitstops, so they decide to bring in a new type of jack that can save 0.1s. I fear they aren't addressing the elephant in the room - their pitstops are just poor.

    Its impossible to say, but if McLaren didn't have a problem with the pitstop, Hamilton probably wouldn't have been having to defend from Maldonaldo.

    Alonso should have lost 13pts to Vettel and 3pts to Hamilton. Instead, he gained 25 on both of them, a swing of 38pts and 28pts.

    RedBull were ominously quick. They looked impossible to beat. You've got to think their latest updates have done the trick. The other teams can only hope their pace was to do with the heat.

    Alonso has everything to be happy about. It seems that Alonso and Ferrari have all the luck on their side - and they need it.

  • Comment number 77.

    Can't stand the bloke but wow he is some driver! can only think if it were identical cars he'd win over and over again

  • Comment number 78.

    77. At 23:19 24th Jun 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    Can't stand the bloke but wow he is some driver! can only think if it were identical cars he'd win over and over again
    -------------------------------------
    I think Hamilton proved that theory wrong in his rookie year.

  • Comment number 79.

    @26 - Here is where I apportion half of the blame to Hamilton. His tyres, particularly the rears, were showing signs that they'd fallen off of the proverbial cliff. Maldonado had the much faster car, but Hamilton decided he'd delay the inevitable because he was still boiling over from earlier on. We saw Alonso admit defeat at Canada, and rightly so because trying to stop Hamilton and Grosjean would be futile.

    Maldonado was in a similar position, but Hamilton felt that instead of his battles laying elsewhere he, perhaps wrongly, decided to keep Maldonado behind him despite the fact that he was going to go backwards from thereon in. He then 'guided' Maldonado off of the circuit and we know what happened next.

    Now, if Hamilton had been sensible and decided not to fight Maldonado too much then he would come away with some points, thus reducing the deficit to Alonso. In the end, he riled Maldonado and got turned into the barrier.

    So in answer to your question, this is where 'Hami', as I have never heard him be called before, is to blame. It does appear that you didn't notice that I put the other 50% quite rightly on Maldonado's shoulders as he perhaps should have lifted off and tried again. But in the heat of the moment, he IS prone to some errors of judgement and Hamilton failed to read this.

    @57: Completely agreed, mate.

    @64: So essentially, Grosjean's a robot for always having a smile on his face. Maybe drivers know when to take the highs with the lows, and realise it's all part of the game. You don't have to get angry or cry to be charismatic. Plus, it was '99 when Hakkinen cried at Monza, because he spun off under pressure. F1 drivers forget they're INCREDIBLY privileged to be doing what they do.

    What I find interesting is that some people blame Vettel for being petulant after his car broke down, but it's ok for Hamilton to 'show emotion'? Please, I know there's probably a lot of Hamilton fans, because he's British and all, but don't let bias cloud your judgement.

    @71: How is Whitmarsh to blame for this? He's been a very strong leader, and has had to get the team fighting at the top despite the fact they no longer have Adrian Newey. McLaren are only 40 points behind Red Bull despite their purported efforts to throw away the title. The new front end has definitely flummoxed Button, as it's changed the centre of gravity. I think that the drivers need to consult a sports psychologist.

  • Comment number 80.

    Credit to the editor, what a great article title. Sorry Mr Benson, I'm afraid your blog's content didn't match the quality of your colleague's title.

  • Comment number 81.

    Good read. I thought Alonso was awesome. Most worrying thing as a Mclaren fan is Jenson, who said he's happy with his car. If not for so many non finishers he would have been well outside the points (again) . Anyway do you think we can say the constructers champs is over for them?

  • Comment number 82.

    Maldonado = brainless. He's an absolute liability and I called that accident before it happened. He can't help crashing into other cars or walls.

  • Comment number 83.

    @12,Don't remember Alonso winning a world championship with McLaren,seem to remember a certain Lewis Hamilton winning one.

  • Comment number 84.

    @79 I never stated the fact that Grojean was a robot for smiling. I like his happy upbeat personality. Also I don't think Hamilton or Vettel were petulant today. I just like people to show emotions and that they are human beings. Is this a bad thing? Grojean even though he would be extremely annoyed would still have a smile on his face because that is the guy that he is. I like that. But I also like the fact that Hamilton and vettel got annoyed because it is a genuine human reaction.
    I'm not a Hamilton fan or a Vettel fan. I just want personalities in the sport. Is this such a bad thing? Please respond

  • Comment number 85.

    What a day of sport this has been. Drama in the football, drama in F1. Coming into this season, no-one would have said Valencia would've been the most exciting race of the season so far with Monaco the dullest... but that's exactly what has happened. A corker of a race. No point mentioning all the stuff, it was just action packed... glory to F1!

  • Comment number 86.

    Cast your minds back to Bahrain where Rosberg forced Hamilton and Alonso into the sand, and now imagine Hamilton crashing into Rosberg, whose fault would it be??

  • Comment number 87.

    @79. No Tomato In My BLT in your response to @26 - Here is where I apportion half of the blame to Hamilton.
    ------------------------------------------------
    I have never read such a load of tripe (other than yellowbellys take on the incident)

    I ask you the same question which yellowbelly could not answer...
    --------------------------------------------------
    Please reply explaining how it's Lewis' fault that Maldonado rejoined the track and crashed into him or stop talking rubbish.

  • Comment number 88.

    Can't stand the bloke but wow he is some driver! can only think if it were identical cars he'd win over and over again
    -------------------------------------
    I think Hamilton proved that theory wrong in his rookie year.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    what when they drew on points .. in a team who despised Alonso ... fair enough

    anyway brilliant drive from Alonso. loved the emotion of the win

    Pastor was at fault but you have to pick your fights if you want to win the Championship. e .... like alonso and vettel did in canada instead of fighting Hamilton Perez and grosjean

  • Comment number 89.

    also good to see the Hamilton fans attack anyone with a different opinion to them ... ah the old 606 days

  • Comment number 90.

    And P.S for @79 yes I got the year wrong Hakkinen cried. Sorry I was out by one year. And I agree every F1 driver is extremely privelaged. But what you are saying is because they are privelaged they are no longer allowed to be angry. That they can't be human? How can you be charismatic if you don't show your emotions by being angry or crying? And giving formulaic answers on press conferences?

  • Comment number 91.

    86.
    At 23:42 24th Jun 2012, iammatt484 wrote:

    Cast your minds back to Bahrain where Rosberg forced Hamilton and Alonso into the sand, and now imagine Hamilton crashing into Rosberg, whose fault would it be??
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because Hamilton is such an angel - cast your mind back to Monaco 2011 when he ran Maldenado off the road....(the start of all this tension between the two)

    Fact of the matter is Hamilton needed to consolidate as many points as he could (by leaving Maldenado past today) - but he didn't and paid the ultimate price.

    Great race (never thought I'd say that of Valencia) - great drives from Alonso, Schumi and Webber

  • Comment number 92.

    >"Cast your minds back to Bahrain where Rosberg forced Hamilton and Alonso into the sand, and now imagine Hamilton crashing into Rosberg, whose fault would it be??"


    Wasn't Bahrain the incident where Rosberg forced Hamilton off the track, and Hamilton then passed him off the track? So I guess you're saying that what Maldonado should have done after being forced off the track was cut straight across the corner.

  • Comment number 93.

    Can anyone explain to me why McClaren had the save tyres tactic for the 1st part of the race, with Lewis keeping his foot off the pedal, then they bring him in after only 15 laps, when Vettel came in around that time too, but he was 20 secs ahead ?

    That lost him not only vital secs, but tyre time at the end of the race. He could have and should have gone on another 5/6 laps. His tyres weren't slowing his lap times, so he had more rubber left over.

  • Comment number 94.

    18.
    At 20:43 24th Jun 2012, louiep wrote:


    Firstly I thought that the race was a great one and not the one I was expecting from Valencia; and a great win for Alonso!

    But can someone here explain to me why it is that Jenson is having a shocking season so far, compared to Hamilton - are their cars not constructed the same way? (I'm sorry if this is a really silly question but I am not a techie person and am genuinely intrigued). Thank you
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Jenson is having a shocking season because he believes all the false hype the media (his biggest fanboys being the BBC) have given him saying that his lack of pace is down to the car and not his driving.

    As a result he keeps playing with set up (even stealing Hamiltons) instead of focusing on changing his driving style.

  • Comment number 95.

    Is it a coinsidence that Williams had their last win before years in the wilderness in 2004 the year Sam Michael became technical director and then he resigns in 2011 and Williams start winning again in 2012. While Maclaren have just hired Sam Michael as sporting director and have a quick car and two championship winning drivers but are continually under performing this season. It seems idiocy by Maclaren to hire the technical director of a losing team and I'm constantly disapointed by their performance as a Maclaren fan. Hamiton should have been out in front if not for pitstop arse up and not been involved with maldonardo at all.

  • Comment number 96.

    88.
    At 23:51 24th Jun 2012, super cav wrote:


    Can't stand the bloke but wow he is some driver! can only think if it were identical cars he'd win over and over again
    -------------------------------------
    I think Hamilton proved that theory wrong in his rookie year.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    what when they drew on points .. in a team who despised Alonso ... fair enough

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    When Hamilton beat Alonso due to having more wins!!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    92.
    At 23:57 24th Jun 2012, Twirlip wrote:

    >"Cast your minds back to Bahrain where Rosberg forced Hamilton and Alonso into the sand, and now imagine Hamilton crashing into Rosberg, whose fault would it be??"


    Wasn't Bahrain the incident where Rosberg forced Hamilton off the track, and Hamilton then passed him off the track? So I guess you're saying that what Maldonado should have done after being forced off the track was cut straight across the corner.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    But he couldn't because there were barriers accross the corner (big yellow humps) - and he would have damaged his car

  • Comment number 98.

    @87 - Let me respond to your question with another question: How is it Maldonado's fault that Hamilton forced him off of the track?

    I don't actually think I ever said that it's Lewis' fault Maldonado crashed into him. If you took the time to read what I actually wrote, I said that Hamilton really should have given Maldonado some more room because his tyres were falling off of the cliff.

    Surely you saw it? He had far less traction out of the corners than Maldonado, who was coming up behind him at a far quicker rate. I'm sorry to provide such tripe for you to read, but the truth hurts.

    So to answer your question; I cannot because I never suggested this. I firmly said that's where the blame is apportioned to Maldonado. There's really no need to be so abrasive because what I'm offering is my opinion based on what I saw. I am partially inclined you're being like this to evoke an angry response. Sorry, but not from me.

    You must at least be able to sympathise with the fact that Hamilton's tyres were practically gone. Leaving more space for Maldonado would have been the sensible option.

  • Comment number 99.

    96.
    At 00:01 25th Jun 2012, f1fan01 wrote:

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    When Hamilton beat Alonso due to having more wins!!!!!
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Not really equal footing though - Since Uncle Ron and the team showed preferential treatment towards Hamilton (the reason Alonso left)

    Alonso is clearly the better driver.

  • Comment number 100.

    @98 I do have to agree with you on that one

 

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