Spanish Grand Prix: Race
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso won his home grand prix using a four-stop sprint strategy, ahead of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen who stopped three times. Alonso claimed his 32nd win, which was his second at the Spanish Grand Prix, while his Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa claimed his first podium of the year despite starting from ninth on the grid following a penalty.
Alonso also set a new record by becoming the only driver to win the Spanish Grand Prix from a far down as fifth on the grid, demonstrating how tyre strategy can be used to gain track position. Raikkonen – who used a completely different strategy to Alonso with one stop less – nonetheless ran him close, finishing the race just 10 seconds behind the winner. Raikkonen was the only driver to complete three opening stints on the P Zero White medium before one final stint on the P Zero Orange hard.
As a result, the championship has now closed up considerably with the top three drivers covered by just 17 points.
All the drivers started on the P Zero White medium tyre with the exception of the two Marussias and the Caterham of Charles Pic, who elected to start on the P Zero Orange hard. An early stop for Ferrari allowed Alonso to get past the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and from then on the Spaniard was able to plan his strategy perfectly in order not to lose track position.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Strategy was again at the forefront of the Spanish Grand Prix, which as usual was very demanding on the tyres because of the unique characteristics of this circuit. This is why we saw high levels of degradation, which should not be seen again to this extent for the rest of the year. Our aim is to have between two and three stops at every race, so it’s clear that four is too many: in fact, it’s only happened once before, in Turkey during our first year in the sport. We’ll be looking to make some changes, in time for Silverstone, to make sure that we maintain our target and solve any issues rapidly. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso and Ferrari who pushed hard from start to finish to make the four-stop strategy work for them and seal a very popular result here. They planned their strategy from the start of the weekend, using the tyres wisely during qualifying, and then made it count with some fantastic overtaking moves.”
We predicted a three-stopper, but in fact Alonso went for a four-stop sprint strategy. He stopped for the first time on lap nine for the hard tyres, hard again on lap 21, medium on lap 36, and hard on lap 49. His team mate Felipe Massa adopted a similar strategy.
Please find the complete pit stop summary in the attached document.