The big shots were out in force at the Circuit de Catalunya. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, Daimler boss Dr Dieter Zetsche and Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz all came to support their teams over the weekend. But only one of them, the man who’d flown in from Maranello in Italy, went home happy.
Yes, Ferrari dominated the Spanish Grand Prix. The team notched up its second win of 2013 and its first double podium since ’10 when local hero Fernando Alonso proved untouchable out front and team-mate Felipe Massa came home in third place. When Fernando crossed the line to win the 66-lap race by 10s, more than 100,000 Spaniards in the grandstands were thrown into scenes of ecstasy.
Prior to the weekend, Alonso spoke at length about the positive effects of home support.
“It’s an amazing thing for a driver to perform in front of his home crowd,” said Fernando. “Everyone is cheering for you and you can even hear their noise over the sound of the engine.
“To have so much support doesn’t make you faster as a driver, but it makes you happy. Spain is going through some difficult times at the moment and if I can help put a smile on people’s faces by getting a good result then I feel that I’ve done something good.”
Alonso didn’t have it all his own way, however. During qualifying the car to be driving was the W04 from Mercedes AMG Petronas. It was blindingly fast over one lap and Nico Rosberg took the team’s third consecutive pole position on Saturday afternoon and team-mate Lewis Hamilton lined up alongside him on the grid. But, as was the case in Bahrain last time out, the fast-wearing Pirelli tyres proved the team’s undoing in the race and both drivers dropped back.
Much to Hamilton’s disappointment, he finished the race in 12th place – not that his number one supporter seemed to care. Lewis’s bulldog called Roscoe made his F1 bow in Spain and he turned up with a paddock pass issued by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and a coat in Mercedes AMG Petronas colours. Roscoe seemed to wag his wrinkled tail at Lewis irrespective of his boss’s on-track performance.
“Roscoe’s a dude,” said Lewis. “I haven’t had him long, but he’s already like my best friend and my number one supporter. I love having him around. He doesn’t like the noise, so I don’t take him into the pit garage or anywhere that might frighten him. We just hang out.”
Talking of dudes, nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb was racing in Barcelona over the weekend. He made his debut in the Porsche Supercup and put in several appearances in the F1 paddock wearing the biggest pair of sunglasses he could find. He was the third Seb to grace the starting grid, following in the wheeltracks of three-time world champion Seb Vettel and Red Bull’s third driver Seb Buemi.
Now, though, the Spanish GP is history. It’s time to turn our attention to the jewel in F1’s crown: the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place in a couple of weeks time. You can’t beat the Principality for glamour and excitement, and we’ll have all the news right here!