Of late, Spain have been struggling to rediscover that "winning feeling" over Germany but Fernando Alonso provided that coveted feeling as he sped past Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel to secure victory at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen saw the chequered flag in second, with Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa getting his first podium of the season with a third place finish.
In a race that was once again heavily dominated by tyre degradation and management, all the on-track action seemed to take place in the opening laps. Sebastian Vettel drew first blood, as he managed to squeeze past the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton after the start. The real eye-catching move came at the hands of Alonso a few corners later though, as he managed to overtake Raikkonen and Hamilton within the space of a few hundred meters.
Alonso pitted first, while the two leaders Rosberg and Vettel came in for a new set of tyres a lap later. This proved crucial for the Spaniard, as he managed to leapfrog the defending world champion and soon afterwards, he raced past the second German. Vettel had come to Spain hoping to make it 3-0 in terms of German success on the Iberian Peninsula in recent weeks but revenge was the dish on the menu. Rosberg and Mercedes on the other hand, had a nightmare of a race. Having locked out the front row in qualifying, Hamilton dropped back into 12th from second and Rosberg lost five places, finishing sixth after having started from pole.
For Ferrari it was quite the opposite, as Alonso maximised from his fifth-place grid start. Massa made up even more places after he finished third, having started the race from ninth. In a sport that's turning into a game of tyre management chess, Ferrari and Lotus appear to be best placed so far. Red Bull have struggled, although not as badly as Mercedes, leaving Vettel in fourth and Webber in fifth.
There is a feeling of frustration building up amongst fans due to the heavy impact that tyres are having on the races. The drivers are forced to look after them to such an extent that on-track racing is simply not happening anymore, apart from the inevitable start of the race. Sebastian Vettel summed it up perfectly after the race, stating: "We were going at the pace of the tyres, not the car." Surely this will see tyre suppliers Pirelli have a look at what they can do to improve durability for future races.
For the neutral, the results of the Spain GP spiced up the championship nicely. Vettel still leads Raikkonen, but both the Finn and Alonso were able to reduce the gap on the Red Bull driver. Next stop in the race calendar will be Monaco in two weeks time and although not a track for great overtaking moves, there is always entertaining and drama aplenty.
Top ten results:
1. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1hr 39mins 16.596secs
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus +00:09.338
3. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 00:26.049
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 00:38.273
5. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 00:47.963
6. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 01:08.020
7. Paul di Resta (GB) Force India 01:08.988
8. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren 01:19.506
9. Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren 01:21.738
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Toro Rosso 1 lap