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Spanish F1 GP: The Surprises Keep Coming as Pastor Maldonado Wins for Williams

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 13:  Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela and Williams celebrates on the podium after winning the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 13, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Craig ChristopherAnalyst IMay 13, 2012

Five different winners from five different teams take out the first five races of the season. What the hell is going on?

It’s almost as if everyone has forgotten the Formula One script—the one where one team dominates, a couple of others keep them honest and the rest are there to make the track look busy.

Not this year.

We have six, possibly seven teams capable of winning a race with Williams, Sauber, Mercedes and Lotus are joining McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari at the pointy end of the field.

While surprising, the improvement in competitiveness is nowhere near as difficult to explain as the inconsistency of the top teams. No team is seemingly capable of stringing two consecutive races together.

McLaren stormed to victory in the first race and then stumbled in China only to recover in Malaysia and then disappear again in Bahrain.

Ferrari—Fernando Alonso really—have had a victory and second place finish, but have fallen well down the order in other races.

Mercedes, Red Bull, Lotus, Sauber, and Williams have all had the same issues. It just doesn’t make sense.

None of which will be playing on the mind of Pastor Maldonado as he secures his—and his Venezuelan homeland’s—maiden F1 victory and the first for Williams since 2004.

With Lewis Hamilton out of the picture, thanks to a somewhat over-zealous application of a penalty, Maldonado inherited pole position. However, his elevation also brought the supreme racer Fernando Alonso onto the front row.

Alonso leaped off the line and claimed an early lead, but Maldonado showed maturity well beyond his experience and drove his own almost flawless race to secure the win, holding off a late challenge from Alonso and staying clear of a charging Kimi Raikkonen.

Alonso went on to secure second place and in doing so, returned to share the top of the points table in a car that has no right to be there.

As a spectacle, F1 is everything it should be—exciting and unpredictable.

The slightly mad tyre that Pirelli are producing makes deciding on a race strategy extremely difficult. They change characteristics dramatically depending on track temperature and seem to be extremely easy to damage.

Add to that the fact that they “fall off a cliff” in terms of performance after they exceed their maximum wear.

Whether the influence of tyres in making racing more competitive—along with DRS—is a good thing or not is open for debate. While everyone loves the great racing, purists would prefer to see the cars at the heart of that rather than gimmickry.

Preferences are nice, but frankly, we’re willing to look beyond anything to enjoy the racing we currently have.

Who knows what’ll happen next. Isn’t it great?!

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