F1 »

Spain 2007: 'Matador moment' means more for Massa.

Bullfighters are undeniably brave, but frequently foolhardy, and similar sentiments could be levelled at Fernando Alonso after an ambitious, if flawed, effort to seize control of the Spanish Grand Prix cost him a shot at victory on the opening lap.

The local favourite attempted to pass polesitter Felipe Massa around the outside of turn one after slipstreaming the Brazilian down the straight, but cut the Ferrari off at the apex, with the expected result that the pair made contact. Alonso came off worst, Massa riding the kerb straight into the side of the Mclaren after being left with nowhere else to go. Alonso duly speared across the gravel trap, narrowly avoiding Kimi Raikkonen as he rejoined on the far side, now fourth.

As had been the case in Bahrain last time out, the two expected team leaders were again playing second fiddle to their junior partners, as Lewis Hamilton took advantage of Alonso's error, having already passed Raikkonen on the drag from the lights. The BMWs also came close to making the most from the melee, with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld just being out-gunned as Alonso floored then throttle after getting the McLaren straight.

The lack of obvious passing places at the Circuit de Catalunya prompted more than one feint and move, with Giancarlo Fisichella finding himself touching the dirt as he attempted to make up places, rejoining just in time to get embroiled in the midfield scrap enveloping the Hondas, Takuma Sato, Ralf Schumacher and Alex Wurz. Although the Renault survived jinking between rivals, Schumacher and Wurz were not, the former forced to jump on the brakes when Sato checked up and Wurz being left with nowhere to go but into the back of the Toyota.

The Austrian's front suspension was a victim of the clash, which saw Wurz rear up in the air, but Schumacher's nose also needed attention, capping a bad opening for Toyota, which had had to wheel Jarno Trulli off the sixth grid spot when his fuel pressure dropped, stalling the engine.

When the order settled down, Massa enjoyed a healthy gap over Hamilton, with Raikkonen and Alonso already battling over third. Kubica and Heidfeld were next up, with David Coulthard into seventh, having passed Heikki Kovalainen at the start - something the Scot had claimed was important as he figure the Finn was running a heavy fuel load. Nico Rosberg had broken into the top ten, while Honda was enjoying the rarefied atmosphere of tenth and eleventh as Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button made the most of the chaos. Fisichella and Sato followed, with Scott Speed up from plumb last to run ahead of Toro Rosso team-mate Tonio Liuzzi.

Despite swarming over the back of Raikkonen, Alonso found an opening hard to come by, despite the suspicion that he was fuelled more lightly than his rival, and, out front, Massa was gradually extending his advantage by around half a second a lap over Hamilton, and a second a lap over the world champion.

The retirement rate continued to rise when Mark Webber was advised to park the second Red Bull after a recurrence of the hydraulic problems that wrecked his qualifying, and Trulli pulled into retire a TF107 that clearly wasn't running right after its startline drama.

A lap later, however, there was bigger news, as Raikkonen twitched and slowed on the back section. Although initial speculation pointed to suspension, the official line was electrics, but, whatever the diagnosis, the Finn was left to crawl back to the pits, barely reaching his garage without assistance. Scott Speed also joined those on the sidelines, adding a little more on-track drama as the Toro Rosso suffered its second blow-out of the season, this time, Mansell-style, to its left rear.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 Wins, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 11-13th, May 2007
Start, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 11-13th, May 2007
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 11-13th, May 2007
Sauber C36 Ferrari
Sauber C36 Ferrari
Sauber C36 Ferrari
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Antonio Giovinazzi - Ferrari SF15-T
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.