Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix (Rd 5)
Fernando Alonso claimed his second Grand Prix of the season on Sunday in a race shrouded by concerns of excessive tyre wear. The Spaniard charged his way through five sets of Pirelli’s to claim the full score ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen.
A fantastic start from Alonso saw him jump from 5th to 3rd, as he slipped around the outside of Lewis Hamilton and Raikkonen.
From there Alonso kept his foot to the floor, passing Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel during the first stops, before driving around Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) for the lead. As the race aged, Alonso continued to edge out a small lead, eventually winning by 9.3s. Lotus ran Raikkonen to a similar strategy, although the Finn could not retake the leading Alonso.
Felipe Massa drove a stellar race to fill the podium. The Brazilian started 9th after a post-qualifying penalty, but a slightly off-kilter pit strategy gave the Ferrari enough clean air to surge up the order. Massa jumped Vettel during the second stops, when it became clear that reigning champion’s initial 3-stop strategy was proving ill-effective.
Mark Webber took 5th ahead of poleman Rosberg, the latter of whom fell backwards under tyres stripped of grip. Force India’s Paul di Resta enjoyed another solid drive to claim 7th ahead of a struggling pair of McLaren’s, headed by Jenson Button. Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso, taking the chequered flag in front of Esteban Gutierrez and front row man Hamilton.
European F3 Open (Rd 2, Portimao)
Santiago Urrutia headed off race long challenges from Sandy Stuvik and Alexander Toril to claim the opening European F3 Open race at Portimao. From the front row, Urrutia nailed a quick start, taking the lead from poleman Toril into the first turn.
At first, the leading battle was keenly fought out between the Urrutia / Toril pairing, only for Stuvik to catch the duo on lap 4, before passing Toril seven laps later. Urrutia escaped briefly, but Stuvik and Toril caught the leading man; however neither could pass the Uruguayan, ensuring a line-up of Urrutia, Stuvik and Toril at the line.
Starting 7th, Ed Jones was 5th after the first lap, with that becoming 4th on lap six with a move on Yarin Stern. The Israelite Stern appeared to struggle as he headed a train of cars for much of the running; however only Jones could pass. Behind Stern, Alexey Chuklin took 6th ahead of Mario Marasca and Alexandre Cougnaud. Richard Gonda took the Copa Class win with a 9th place finish, with Cameron Twynham and Igor Urien completed the Copa Class podium.
Jones became the fourth winner in four races when he headed Urrutia and Stuvik home in race two. The West-Tec racer drew passed poleman Hector Hurst on the approach into turn one on the second lap, pulling away as Hurst efforted a defence against Urrutia and Stuvik.
Urrutia would finally slip ahead of Hurst on lap 8, with Stuvik demoting the Briton further one lap later, encouraging the Urrutia / Stuvik pairing to chase after Jones in the later half of the event. It would be for naught, as Jones serenely controlled the pace and took the spoils.
Hurst came home 4th – a poor reward for pole – ahead of Cougnaud (5th) and Marasca (6th), both of whom had been passed by Stuvik on the opening lap. There was a long gap to Valeria Carballo (7th), while Toril impressed as he climbed from 30th to 8th ahead of Vicky Piria and Mattia Vita, who rounded out the top ten. Gonda claimed another Copa Class victory, this time finishing just up on Tommaso Menchini and Lorenzo Paggi.
It gives Stuvik a healthy lead going into the next round at the Nurburgring, with the Thai racer on 72 points, compared to Urrutia (44), Toril (43) and Jones (37).