Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda Finally Finished a Race
Also, someone won the Spanish Grand Prix.
Holy. Crap. Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda finished the Spanish Grand Prix. On track. Under its own power. It took the checkered flag.
Albeit in 12th place.
The weekend started off really bad for Alonso. His car gave up after just a few laps in the weekend's first practice session. (You can watch the video of the massive oil dump here.) In the second practice session, his car (and its new engine) were way off the pace. Things were not looking good.
But then, something happened. Alonso's car came alive in qualifying. He got into Q3 and qualified seventh. Really. The car had competitive pace.
Unfortunately, Alonso got bumped off the track in the opening lap of the race by Massa. This knocked him back several spots. With the mid-field runners all so closely matched, this kept Alonso out of the points at the end.
But who cares about points? Alonso finished the race. He had a genuinely competitive car. This is a huge victory for McLaren-Honda. Hopefully, the team will be able to keep this up in Monaco. Jenson Button will take over in Alonso's car in a few weeks. Maybe, just maybe, they'll have a really good result and be able to grab some points.
Oh, by the way...Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix, too.
Hamilton started on pole, but Sebastian Vettel tool the lead in the first corner. It was all fairly routine until Vettel's pit stop on lap 36. As Vettel exited the pits, Hamilton was coming down the front straight. Lewis took the outside line for turn one, trying to sweep around Vettel. As they swung through the corner, they touched. Hamilton got bumped off to the right, running a few feet wide.
Hamilton jumped back on track and was right behind Vettel. Hamilton was immediately on the radio declaring Vettel's driving as "dangerous". The on-track battle everyone has been waiting for was happening.
Vettel was held off the charging Mercedes for about eight laps. Coming down the front straight on lap 44, Hamilton was able to fly past the Ferrari well before entering turn one. Vettel got on the radio to tell his team that there was nothing he could do as Hamilton came on "like a train."
After leading and being in control of for most of the race, Ferrari would have to settle for second. With Kimi Raikkonen getting knocked out in the first lap, Ferrari can at least take solace in the fact that the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas blew an engine and was knocked out of the race. too. Mercedes may have won, but they didn't get all the points they could have.
Hamilton and Vettel will be at it again in Monaco in a few weeks. But more importantly...Fernando Alonso finished a race. Well done, McLaren. It's about time.