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

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders