Monday, 14 May 2012

Barcelona 2012 - What We Learnt

By David Galton-Fenzi

McLaren need to have a word...

After costing Lewis a brace of points in Bahrain with two bodged pit stops, they were at it again in Spain. Firstly, not putting enough fuel in his car that meant he lost his amazing pole position, and then at his first stop the left rear crew, despite being overhauled from Bahrain, was at it again. How hard is it to move the tyre you’ve just removed from the car out of the way

The 2012 championship is shaping up to be the closest ever so it’s a bit of a shame that in the year when Lewis has (finally?) got his act together, the team have started hemorrhaging his points for him. As it was, he salvaged a couple with a brilliant drive, even if he was a bit too keen to say so himself.

Track Position is King

Despite it being easier than ever to pass these days with KERS, DRS and the Pirelli’s, track position still counts big time. Vettel and Red Bull quickly grasped this last year by building a car that was very strong in qualifying and then reacting to the others trailing behind in the race. It worked out rather well, so why are others not quite catching on?

In Barcelona, Williams did what Lotus failed to do in Bahrain. By bringing in Maldonado before Alonso they guaranteed track position. By the time Alonso caught the Williams his tyres had gone off sufficiently to ensure Maldonado was never seriously challenged.

Get in front of everyone else and you win - it really is that simple

As for Lotus, you have to question whether they ran the absolute fastest race they could by leaving Kimi’s stop so late, as he still seemed to have plenty of life left on his tyres at the end.
His last full lap before pitting on lap 49 was a 1:30.99 and his last racing lap was a 1:27.94. Even taking the fuel load going down into account you can’t help but feel Lotus left some time on the table here and probably should have pitted Kimi a lap or two sooner, again.

Williams are the hottest team in the pit lane right now!

Puns aside, I’m very relieved to hear there were no serious injuries, and everyone emerged more or less unscathed from the frightening scenes we saw. It was inspiring to see mechanics from the other teams selflessly jump in and do what they could to help. Great stuff and I think they all need to send the circuit a bill for saving the entire pit lane complex from going up.

Not pictured - circuit staff or any emergency services

Next race, Monaco. Maldonado (don’t ever call him a pay driver again!) is a bit of a specialist around the Principality. Odds on a Williams double?

Want more? Check out our other articles;

Modern Classics - Spa 98
By David Galton-Fenzi

By Jem Ruggera

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