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Article:2008 Spanish Grand Prix - Race Analysis

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If there was such thing as a device that could measure fun, the place to test it would not be the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix. It would just point to 'boring' the whole time, because watching the race felt like watching a funeral procession.

The only moment that probably caught everyone's attention was when Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren hit the tyre barrier at full speed, after his left front tyre suddenly deflated. That moment was definitely not fun at all, as it seemed like he was badly hurt. Luckily, he is ok. Well, he is going to wake up this Monday and find out how sore he is, but at least he did not break any bones.

Kimi led the procession

The other Finnish driver - Kimi Raikkonen - had better luck. He won the race easily. In fact, he returned the favour that his teammate Felipe Massa had given him in Bahrain. Kimi outperformed Felipe in qualifying, although he had more fuel, just like Massa did in the previous race. After that it was just a matter of getting a reasonable start and waiting for Massa to pit first. The race was won after the first corner.

Lewis Hamilton was finally a better driver today than in the past 2 races. No major mistakes this time. He did what he could do, and that was to finish behind both Ferraris. He got a great start, helped by the fact that he was 5th on the grid, on the clean side of the track. His aggressive move cutting to the inside allowed him to overtake Robert Kubica, who started 4th, under breaking. If he did not make that move, he would have finished behind the BMW, because the cars were evenly matched and Barcelona is not the kind of track that allows overtake manoeuvres.

The Alonso show

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso did a wonderful job, and almost pulled off the miracle of finishing fifth in a car that rightfully would have a hard time being in the top 10. It is a shame that his engine blew up on lap 34. I was not surprised that his race ended like that. I think Renault mapped his engine to get more power just so he could put up a show for his home crowd. It is better to score a DNF and have everyone applauding them than to finish 10th without anyone really noticing they were there. Better from the business point of view, that is.

Quick notes:

- Nelsinho Piquet made a mistake that ruined his first good chance of scoring a point. He was running a solid 10th for 4 laps when he braked too deep into the corner and understeered all the way into the gravel trap.

- Two laps after rejoining the race, Piquet tried a risky manoeuvre to overtake Bourdais for 17th, and ended up hitting the STR. That put an end to Nelsinho's race. It was just a racing incident, but he could have spared himself from this situation had he not lost so many positions due to his mistake.

- Mark Webber drove the miracle race that Alonso wanted for himself, and finished a brilliant 5th. His strong performance in qualifying was a big boost for the race.

- It is not true that Kovalainen's incident left no victims. Nick Heidfeld's race was killed by the safety car deployment. He had to pit for fuel while SC sign was up, which meant by rules that he had to pay a 10-second stop-and-go later on. He scored no points.

- While Heidfeld's BMW was behind the much inferior Force India driven by Fisichella, it was noticeable that it is almost impossible to overtake in Barcelona. Everytime Nick got closer, he lost aerodynamic grip and had no chance of overtaking. Formula One needs more mechanical grip. FIA, please bring back the slick tyres!

- Sebastian Vettel was once again caught in a first lap incident that caused him to retire. It was not his fault, as Adrian Sutil was spinning in front of him and there was nowhere for him to go.

- David Coulthard was the victim of Timo Glock's reckless driving, and had a puncture when the Toyota collided with his RBR. He had already been hit by Sutil during the first lap. This time David was just trying to stay out of trouble, unlike in the previous races. Either way it does not seem to work out for him this year.

Star of the Race:

Mark Webber

Shame of the Race:

Nelsinho Piquet


--Andre N.

This is originally from my blog: Formula One Monday. Feel free to edit it here, especially if you find typos!


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