Super start helps Alguersuari to points finish (Spanish Grand Prix analysis)

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A great start for Jaime Alguersuari set him up for a points finish

The Spanish Grand Prix was short on racing highlights but Jaime Alguersuari’s excellent start and Michael Schumacher’s ruthless defence from Jenson Button stood out.

Here’s the analysis of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lap 1

Spanish Grand Prix lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

With the Red Bulls carefully defending their positions at turn one, the running order between the top six was unchanged on the first lap.

While Robert Kubica edged Nico Rosberg onto the grass, Felipe Massa came past the pair of them.

But Jaime Alguersuari made by far the best start. He didn’t get off the line much quicker than those around him, but he dodged around Pedro de la Rosa, who’d made contact with Sebastien Buemi, and dived between Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner.

It was brave stuff, especially as he kept his foot while dodging around de la Rosa’s flailing Sauber.

Pit stops

Spanish Grand Prix pit stops (click to enlarge)

Jenson Button fell behind Michael Schumacher when the drivers made their pit stops and spent the rest of the race stuck behind him.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but you have to wonder why McLaren left it two laps before reacting to Schumacher’s pit stop by bringing Button in. They might have avoided losing that position had they done so.

Unusually the other McLaren of Lewis Hamilton gained a position on a rival – Sebastian Vettel – despite stopping a lap later. Vettel blamed a delay in getting away from his box for losing second place to Hamilton.

There was very little variation in strategy at Barcelona – almost every car started on the soft tyres and then switched to the hard tyres. The only extra visits to the pits were because of car problems (Vettel) or penalties (Alguersuari).

Race chart

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The damage being stuck behind Schumacher did to Button’s race is clear to see. Button made several attempts to get past at the end of the straight but to no avail.

There was some discussion during the race in the live blog about whether Fernando Alonso could have made use of the gap behind him to make an extra pit stop, switch back to soft tyres, and stand a better chance of catching and passing the likes of Vettel and Button.

He would have needed a set of soft tyres in good enough condition to last the stint and it’s possible he didn’t have any left after qualifying. In the end he didn’t need to as car problems took care of both of them for him. He said afterwards:

When you gain two unexpected positions at the end of the race it’s fantastic. It feels better than any overtaking manoeuvre.
Fernando Alonso

Lap chart

Spanish Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

Although the we had several cars running closely together we saw little overtaking at the Circuit de Catalunya once again.

2010 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Image (C) Red Bull/Getty images

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    Keith Collantine
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    54 comments on “Super start helps Alguersuari to points finish (Spanish Grand Prix analysis)”

    1. Kubica was a bit disappointing today. I expected more from him. Jaime was maybe the best surprise today, given his inexperience and the car he’s got.

      1. damonsmedley
        10th May 2010, 8:23

        Didn’t Kubica collide with a Sauber at the start? If so, that may have been his problem. But Robert Kubica will be unlucky not to get a win this year I think…

        1. I agree Kubica deserves to win, but with 8 very speedy drivers in faster cars I think he will need considerable luck to do it, then again, he is quite good at making his own luck it seems.

          1. damonsmedley
            10th May 2010, 13:33

            Personally, I believe he is one of the best drivers on the grid.

    2. Kubica did well i think.. He damaged his front wing at the start. His race pace was quicker than the mercedes and he was attacking Sutil but there was no chance to pass.

      Kubica for top 5 in monaco.

    3. So Glock was stuck behind Trulli? That bodes well for Virgin.

      1. Yea, maybe we will see some nice battles on track between these former team mates.

        1. Actually considering this race was the one where Lotus had their big upgrades, this bodes incredibly well for Virgin.

          I suspect the new teams performance is highly affected by circumstance, as they seem to go up and down quite alot.

    4. chaostheory
      9th May 2010, 19:58

      I still dont know what happen to Kubica at the start of the race? He lost ~3 positions, I saw a brief replay showing a Renault colliding with de la Rosa, but everyones saying it was Buemi who damaged Pedros rear wheel… anyone can enlighten me, please?

      1. I’m pretty sure Buemi hit de la Rosa on the straight, so it could well have been Kubica hitting Kobayashi in turn 3.

        1. yes, Kamui says in his statement that it was Kubica that hit him

          1. chaostheory
            9th May 2010, 20:09

            Ohhh, right, it was Kobayashi, not de la Rosa.

        2. if you can see the spain start again you will see that de la Rosa moves suddenly to Buemis draw… everybody said Buemi hits De la Rosa, but i’m absolutely disagree… Buemi just try to overtake dela Rosa when spaniard hit his front wing… anyway i think De la Rosa damaged his car by flat tyre…

      2. Alguersuari kept his foot in and got past Kubica when he slowed in turn 3 – was it Kubica who hit Rosberg? That was one of the most impressive parts of Jaime’s start for me.

    5. Ned Flanders
      9th May 2010, 19:59

      Bico Rosberg! Who’s he?! It’s the 3rd line under the ‘lap 1’ graph

      (Not as bad as the cock up I’ve just seen in James Allen’s race report: ‘(Alguersuari) lost all chance of points when he was given a drive through penalty… he recovered from that to finish 10th’!)

      I don’t think this mandatory pit stop idea is working very well. The benefit of new tyres isn’t big enough to encourage drivers to pit more than once. Hopefully the 2011 tyre manufacturer (whoever it may be) will come up with tyres which wear a bit more quickly

      1. To be honest I would expect a new manufacturer to go the other way (too hard) to begin with, unless there’s a tire war of course.

      2. Fixed it!

      3. um, what cock up in james allen’s report?…

        1. i think he is not taking his medication.

          1. damonsmedley
            10th May 2010, 8:25

            What happened with JA’s report?

            1. quoting ned’s quote “(‘(Alguersuari) lost all chance of points when he was given a drive through penalty… he recovered from that to finish 10th’!)”

              —If Jaime lost ALL chance of points how did he score one?—

            2. damonsmedley
              10th May 2010, 13:36

              Ah OK, nice work. I still would rather him commentating alongside Brundle than Legard. But the ultimate would be to have Ben Edwards and Martin Brundle… Anyone agree?

    6. Algi did well indeed (see what I did there to avoid the Allenism Ned?), but really blotted his copybook with his hamfisted swerve in on a hapless Chandhok. Penalty was spot-on. Hamilton made the only meaningful on-track move amongst the top 6 – apart from some very savvy sideways ones from Schumacher, so not a classic race, but for Spain? Not too shabby at all. Vettel did nothing to disprove today that he isn’t a natural overtaker.

      No f-duct but return of KERS is a good move for next year. Was always a smidge uncomfortable with the f-duct thingy, all rather too Heath Robinson for F1’s high tech image.

      1. Ned Flanders
        9th May 2010, 20:35

        James Allen said Alguersuari ‘blotted his copybook’ too! D’oh

        I think it’s probably a good idea to ban the F Duct for 2011, they’re a bit impractical, but I’ll miss them. I think they represent F1 ingenuity.

        Honestly, a driver operated hole in the sidepod effectively replacing KERS… who could ever have predicted that?!

        1. I know it’s damn clever, but in a freaky driver deployed spinnaker when the winds’ in the right direction sorta way… very not F1 high tech yadda yadda.

          KERS makes sense. Savvy and green(ish – as much as F1 can claim to be green), and relevant to street cars.

          1. Sorry to butt in here, but I do like the F ducts. they’re pretty clever given the strict rules even if it isn’t that high tech. I prefer kers but I’d really want both in F1 if it’s possible. I don’t like how these new ideas keep coming along then suddenly are banned/abandoned.
            Oh I loved the onboards today from Ferrari with the F ducts. It probably isn’t that safe but it was fascinating to watch.

          2. McLaren batteries lasted for one race, then had to be replaced AFAIK. Doesn’t sound very green to me. Although the Williams mechanical system could be much much better solution in this light!

            1. Ned Flanders
              9th May 2010, 21:11

              It’s not whether the technology itself is environmentally friendly, it’s whether it looks green to TV viewers. KERS sets a good example, even though, like you say, the devices themselves aren’t particularly good for the environment

          3. Having less drag on the straights means the McLarens use less fuel to drag their cars through the air. Sounds green to me – keep them!

            1. ha, good point! (writing to avoid comment being too short)

            2. There is nothing more environmental then wind energy :) blown wing (f duct) uses the energy from the wing to go faster = Wind Energy! ;)

        2. blotted his copybook

          I hate that particular cliche.

          1. :P

            That’s all I wanted to say LOL but comment too short without this disclaimer…

    7. Ned Flanders
      9th May 2010, 21:23

      Steph (above) makes a good point. The FIA has allowed a whole load of innovative technology to be developed, and then ban them. Diffusers, F Ducts, mass dampers, KERS, sidepod mirrors, wheel fairings etc; all examples of clever but shortlived devices. Similarily, the FIA’s proposal to equalise engines was to reduce the power of the best ones.

      Perhaps that’s a failing of the FIA technichal team. Surely they ought to be a bit more clear on what is legal and what is not before allowing the teams to spend millions of pounds in developing technology with a limited shelf life

      1. Ned Flanders
        9th May 2010, 21:24

        PS, I’ve gone way off topic- I forgot this was supposed to be race analysis!

    8. Button made several attempts to get past Schumacher…but were any of them up the inside? Martin Brundle made this point a few times on telly, and Button’s overtaking is usually beyond criticism – but it was frustrating to watch at the time.

      1. No, an it was odd, he had the speed to go up the inside as well. An then because he kept on trying the same thing Schuey settled in.

        1. The right then immediate left meant he had to leave Michael cold then tighten back, tricky as Michael was slowing more and swinging wider each time for the left hander. By holding the line in and slowing through the corner, MS was negatating any advantage BUT had from the mechanics. Obviously cheesed off Button, hence his ‘excessive movement’ comment about Michael postrace. But really was just Michael being smart.

        2. Funny thing was the ONE time it looked like he was about to try this he aborted and move to the outside, and this was the ONE time Schum wasn’t blocking the inside line that he had done every lap before. Guess Jenson expect him to block so he just fainted to go on the inside and then Sch didn’t move and there was no opportunity to even try outside.

    9. Jaime impressed a lot of people again. He looks like a complete new man… boy this season.

      Amazing driving and another great move on Hulkenberg for the second time this year, shame the silly incident with Chandhok happened.

    10. Algusuari has really upped his profile this year. He’s fitter, more determined and more focused than last year. Clearly being on a track he is very fimiliar with did help him. Lets not forget he is only 20 and in Toro Rosso. Alonso started at a similar age in the exact team (albeit under a different guise as Minardi).

      Lets not forget that he is only picking up points which would not have existed in previous years, but we must also consider that the top 6 places (should really have been top 7) were filled by the big teams.

      Someone to watch out for the in the future. He has kept Buemi honest this season and must be attracting a few team’s eyes…

      1. i have to confess, i didn’t think, he was any good, but last year he was thrown to the lions, without any practice, (thanks mosley). But this years he came out much better than expected. we need guys like him in f1. he earned his spot.

        1. Ohh yeah Alg is a driver to keep a eye on if he continue to develop like he done he could get a driver for a strong team and do great things. Time will tell. I sure will keep a eye on him just like I did on Vettel before his Monza break through. Maybe next year Alg will be up at the front battle for not only scrap points but possibilities for podiums.

          1. i’m absolutely agree with all your points of view… but i would like to say something in favor of Buemi’s performance… We ovbiously can see that numbers talk themselves, and Alguersuai had 3 points, but anyway Bumi did not enjoy any lucky GP.
            I think Hulkenberg is showing us her really credentials, and he’s one of the rookies who beated his team.mate…
            Alguersuari needs speed at one lap (buemi is faster)… but i can’t leave to think that he’s extremely constant rate…
            What do u think about it?

    11. Extremely happy for my Shumy :)

      Hope he wins Monaco after an engine blow on the smooth Leader button. Second for Hamilton would do wonders for the in fight within McLaren, and as for Roseburg he will not sleep for few days after such a race so come Monaco he will have a cold/flu and will kiss the barriers more than once :)

      What was with Vettle and his car losing pieces along the straight?
      Do they stick these cardboard cars with superglue?

      1. Waw that’s very fair and sportsman-like !
        Absolutely ridiculous…

    12. Error: ” the likes of vettel and BUTTON”..
      I think it should be hamilton.

    13. Did anyone else see the arguments between the Williams crew throughout the weekend? They look really stressed.

      1. i wonder why? they are slower than toro rosso, just in front of the new teams. Head must be a pain in the **** to work with, afyrt these results.

    14. Quote :
      “When you gain two unexpected positions at the end of the race it’s fantastic. It feels better than any overtaking manoeuvre.”
      Fernando Alonso

      Uuughh… I don’t like that spirit at all.

      1. well, he knew that they were not competitive because of the aerodynamics… he couldn’t do much

      2. I thought the same thing…

        “When you get to ride the city bus to the shopping center it’s fantastic. It feels better than any kind of illicit activities with a lingerie model.”


      3. FelipeBabyStayCool
        10th May 2010, 18:46

        Your quote is wrong. An awful translation probably, or a memory slip. Alonso never said that bit about overtaking. By the way, in a Google search of “It feels better than any overtaking manoeuvre” the only result is… your comment here.
        His exact words were “Esta carrera fue mucho mejor de lo que podía esperar. Cuando sales segundo y acabas segundo es una buena sensación, pero cuando sales cuarto y piensas que vas a acabar cuarto, y al final llegas segundo, es muy bueno.” (see for example in, or hundreds of other places).

        A more or less literal translation: “This race was much better that what I could hope. When you start second and finish second, the feeling is good, but when you begin fourth and you think you are going to finish fourth, and in the end you arrive the second, its very good.”

        1. Correct – he says virtually the same thing in English interview with BBC. No mention of it being better than overtaking

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