” Fernando Alonso took a popular victory in a strategic Spanish Grand Prix as he beat Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Felipe Massa in Barcelona.
Having started fifth, a good start set up Alonso’s charge and his Ferrari was quick enough to execute a four-stop strategy to beat the three-stopping Raikkonen. Massa couldn’t match his team-mate on the same strategy, but was a comfortable third as Sebastian Vettel – who finished fourth – struggled with tyre wear.
Mercedes endured another difficult afternoon having started with both cars on the front row. Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg came home sixth while Lewis Hamilton plummeted down through the field to finish in 12th place. Rosberg did a good job on a three-stop strategy to hold off the attack of Paul di Resta in the closing laps, but Mercedes is still clearly far away from solving its tyre problems.
McLaren salvaged its weekend with a double points finish as Jenson Button three-stopped his way to eighth place, but the team called off the fight early on by telling Sergio Perez – close behind – not to waste his tyres attacking his team-mate.
Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten after coming under pressure from Esteban Gutierrez late on, denying Gutierrez the first point of his Formula One career.
Alonso’s victory was helped as he made a good start up to third with he and Vettel jumping Hamilton. Rosberg managed to hold the lead for the first stint though as Hamilton dropped backwards, and at the first round of pit stops he retained the lead with Alonso emerging ahead of Vettel. From that point onwards though the Mercedes dropped away as Rosberg went for a three-stop strategy.
Vettel was never really a threat to Alonso as he struggle to manage his tyres, with only Raikkonen seeming likely to challenge the Ferrari for victory. Having led a number of times in the race, Raikkonen had to put earlier than Alonso for the final time, allowing Alonso to retain a comfortable lead and ease home on fresher tyres. ”