Schumacher earns Button's wrath

The old Michael Schumacher reappeared at the Spanish Grand Prix, right down to a bullish race performance and a dose of controversy. Jenson Button was less than impressed with the forthright manner in which the German veteran overtook him going into the first corner after their pit stops.

"When I rejoined the track, I didn't know where Michael was on the outside of me," the reigning world champion said. "Into Turn One, he turned in – and if I hadn't backed out of it, we would probably have crashed. As everyone knows, it's almost impossible to overtake around here, and Michael was moving about a bit to make sure I couldn't get past."

The performances of Schumacher, who came fourth, and his team-mate Nico Rosberg, who has hitherto had the upper hand, indicated that significant technical changes to the Mercedes car have reversed their roles within the team, and the former champion said he was happy with his most convincing performance of the season.

"It was quite an entertaining race right from the start even if we knew from the beginning that there would not be a chance for us to compete for a podium place if everything goes as normal," he said. "In the end the gap to the front is just too big to be really happy after this race."

While Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap for McLaren and Fernando Alonso was next quickest in the Ferrari, none of Red Bull's main rivals is fast enough, either in qualifying where Red Bull have a significant advantage on light fuel loads and soft rubber, or over a race distance.

The others will find it very difficult to redress that in a hurry, especially as Red Bull have demonstrated the same sort of intensity of car development that McLaren did last year.