F1: 'I'm absolutely lost,' admits Lewis Hamilton as Fernando Alonso wins Spanish Grand Prix in front of home crowd

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso produced a brilliant drive to claim victory in Barcelona in front of his home crowd where he lapped rival Lewis Hamilton

Both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen expect Lewis Hamilton to be a leading contender for victory at Monaco in a fortnight’s time – but yesterday in Barcelona the Mercedes driver was lapped by them both in the most disappointing race of his grand prix career. As they sprayed the victory champagne, he confessed to being  “absolutely lost.”

As the Spaniard drove a perfect race to give his adoring countrymen the result they dreamed of at a Circuit de Catalunya that was notable for a meagre crowd, Hamilton looked like an also-ran for most of the afternoon.

He had started on the front row of the grid alongside pole-sitting team-mate Nico Rosberg, but as the German got away quickly on the clean side of the road, Hamilton was on the dirtier side of the racing line and struggled immediately. He made one attempt to get alongside Rosberg as they sped down to the first corner, but when Sebastian Vettel moved up alongside him on the left, Hamilton’s car lacked grip and he was powerless to prevent the Red Bull sweeping across to push him down to third. Worse followed  immediately as Alonso, who like Vettel had been on the clean side, came barrelling round the outside of the McLaren in the third turn.

Fourth at the end of that opening lap, Hamilton was clearly in trouble and soon began a bitter struggle to finish a humbled 12th, inches ahead of Adrian Sutil’s Force India.

“I’m absolutely lost,” Hamilton  admitted. “I just don’t know what went wrong. It was an experience I don’t want to go through again. I did absolutely everything I did in Bahrain but the tyres just didn’t come in and give me any grip. If I pushed, they went off immediately. It seems like others have made a bigger step forwards than we did. If anything, it seems like we didn’t make any step forward even though we brought upgrades, because we didn’t fix the problems of tyre degradation.”

Alonso, meanwhile, lost little time in breaking through to the lead. Together with team-mate Felipe Massa, he was one of the first to pit for fresh tyres, on the ninth lap, and that brought him up to second place,  behind Rosberg but crucially ahead of Alonso, by the 13th lap. Then, as Mercedes once more flattered in qualifying only to deceive in the race, he was quickly able to demote Rosberg, who soon plummeted to fifth place, out of contention. Like Hamilton, the German was struggling badly with tyre wear, and it was evident by the 15th lap that the race was between Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen.

Out in the clean air he had been seeking from the start, Alonso managed his race brilliantly, taking a set of medium compound Pirelli tyres on his second stop on lap 21, mediums again on lap 36, then the harder compounds on lap 49. Vettel had no answer to this and slipped back as his similar four-stop strategy failed to pay off. So Raikkonen became Alonso’s only serious challenger.

The Finn made the most of his Lotus’s kindness to its tyres to make only three stops. By the time Alonso made his last stop, with 17 laps left, the gap between them was eight seconds. On his fresher rubber Alonso initially pulled away until they reached stalemate on the 59th lap. But thereafter the gap remained stable and Alonso won by just under 10 seconds. Massa made it a good day for Ferrari with third place.

“It’s always very special winning at home, no matter how many times you repeat it,” Alonso said. “They were very emotional last laps, but very long – you want to finish them as fast as possible! Having both cars on the podium is great for the team. We knew we had the pace and we wanted some clean air to exploit this potential. We got it, and everything worked well.”

Vettel and Red Bull, well beaten for the first time in a long time, had to be content with fourth and fifth, as Mark Webber fought back from a poor start to follow his team-mate home.

Further back, Jenson Button made up for his qualifying woes with a strong three-stop run to eighth for McLaren, narrowly ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

 

Get Adobe Flash player


Final Position after Race:

1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:39:16.596 

2. Kimi Raikk onen (Finland) Lotus - Renault +00:09.338 

3. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00:26.049 

4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 00:38.273 

5. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 00:47.963 

6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 01:08.020 

7. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 01:08.988 

8. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:19.506 

9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 01:21.738 

10. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap 

11. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap 

12. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1 lap 

13. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1 lap 

14. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 1 lap 

15. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap 

16. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Renault 1 lap 

17. Charles Pic (France) Caterham - Renault 1 lap 

18. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Cosworth 2 laps 

19. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Cosworth 2 laps 

Not Classified:

Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 14 laps 

Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - Renault 45 laps 

Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 58 laps

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor