Mark Webber confirmed the Circuit de Catalunya’s reputation for rewarding polesitters by becoming the first driver to win from the front of the grid in five races in 2010.
While the poleman struggled to find the top step of the podium during the four ‘flyaway’ races, Webber lived up to the Spanish circuit’s record by becoming the tenth driver to lead from lights to flag, claiming a comprehensive victory to open his account for 2010.
The Australian held his hard-earned qualifying advantage off the line and then pulled comfortably away from Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Likewise Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso held station in third and fourth, leaving the action to the rear of the field, where Sebastien Buemi clipped Pedro de la Rosa, forcing both to pit for repairs – and, ultimately, head into retirement.
Bruno Senna also departed the fray, on the opening lap, while Heikki Kovalainen didn’t even make the start, after gearbox problems hobbled his Lotus. Karun Chandhok completed the casualties making it a bad day for ‘home’ team HRT.
As well as continuing to crown polewinners, Barcelona also lived down to its reputation of providing a largely uneventful race, with only the pit-stops and unreliability helping to shuffle to order. Vettel suffered with a slow stop, allowing Hamilton to vault him for second as the pair came across Lucas di Grassi entering turn one, while Michael Schumacher was also able to swap places with Jenson Button after the Briton similarly suffered during his tyre change.
Neither Hamilton or Vettel was able to claim the reward their grid position suggested, however, with the Briton suffering a penultimate lap puncture that sent him into the turn three tyre barrier, and Vettel’s brakes gave out, forcing the Red Bull team to urge the German to calm his pace after a precautionary second pit-stop.
The late drama promoted home hero Alonso to second place, with Vettel soldiering on to complete the podium in third. Schumacher also benefited, confirming his best result since returning from retirement in fourth place, one ahead of a frustrated Button, who was unable to find a way past the Mercedes.
Felipe Massa overcame a damaged front wing for sixth, coming home ahead of Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello – despite the Brazilian’s poor qualifying – and Jaime Alguersuari, who ensured two point-scorers for Spain.
1. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 66 laps 1hr 35m 44.101s
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 24.0s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 51.3s
4. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +01m 02.1s
5. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +01m 03.7s
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +01m 05.7s
7. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +01m 12.9s
8. Robert Kubica Poland Renault-Renault +01m 13.6s
9. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
10. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
11. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault +1 lap
12. Kamui Kobayashi Japan BMW Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap
13. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +1 lap
14. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps [DNF]
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes +2 laps [DNF]
16. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Williams-Cosworth +2 laps
17. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Cosworth +3 laps
18. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth +3 laps
19. Lucas di Grassi Brazil Virgin-Cosworth +4 laps
Rtd Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 42 laps completed
Rtd Karun Chandhok India HRT-Cosworth 27 laps completed
Rtd Pedro de la Rosa Spain BMW Sauber-Ferrari 18 laps completed
Rtd Bruno Senna Brazil HRT-Cosworth 0 laps completed
Dns Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Cosworth
Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.357s lap 59
all results unofficial