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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

A great start for Jaime Alguersuari set him up for a points finish
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)
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 H???lkenberg 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
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
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