Tag Archives: catalunya

Stoner eclipses local hero Lorenzo to grab pole at Catalunya Grand Prix

Stoner eclipses local hero Lorenzo to grab pole at Catalunya Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

16:13 GMT, 2 June 2012

Casey Stoner saw off championship leader Jorge Lorenzo to take pole position for Sunday's Catalunya Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old, a winner on the
track a year ago, set a fastest time of one minute 41.295 seconds on his
Ducati, edging out Lorenzo, who currently leads the title race by eight
points.

Pole position: Casey Stoner

Pole position: Casey Stoner

Home favourite Lorenzo was a place ahead of Yamaha team-mate Cal Crutchlow – the Briton matching his best-ever starting spot – with Ben Spies fourth and Dani Pedrosa fifth.

Pedrosa ran off the track in his hot lap and was unable to get any momentum going after that, while early qualifying leader Andrea Dovizioso will start in sixth.

Head start: Valentino Rossi adjusts his helmet in the pits

Head start: Valentino Rossi adjusts his helmet in the pits

Nicky Hayden will be seventh, holding off Stefan Bradl in eighth. Valentino Rossi will begin in ninth and Alvaro Bautista makes up the top 10.

Crutchlow's performance was one of the most eye-catching of the day, though, and in a week when he has been linked with a move to a factory team for next year, he admitted his happiness at his performance.

'I am really happy to be back on the front row again and it feels great considering this is only the second time I have been to this track. I expected to be up there challenging but wasn't sure where,' he said. 'It proves again that I've got the raw speed and consistency and now I am really looking forward to the race.'

Stoner`s pole means that he is perfectly placed to try and snaffle the lead from Lorenzo.

Retiring at the end of the season, every race is a special one for the New South Welshman, and he said: 'Catalunya is one of my favourite races and it was the first major grand prix circuit I tested on.

'Ever since that moment, I fell in love with the track – the big fast sweeping corners. There's a lot of control in the middle of the turn trying to get grip for the exit.'

Inquest into Williams garage fire

Fire storm: Why did it take safety crews so long to reach mechanic Betts and the others

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UPDATED:

20:09 GMT, 14 May 2012

The Williams mechanic most seriously injured in the fire which engulfed their garage after Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix remained in hospital here on Monday as serious questions were raised about the emergency services at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Martin Betts, 50, known in the paddock as Barney, was airlifted to hospital after suffering second degree burns to 15 per cent of his body, the worst affected areas being his hands and legs.

Drama: A Sky cameraman helps a Williams team member to safety as the fire breaks out

Drama: A Sky cameraman helps a Williams team member to safety as the fire breaks out

I've got you: Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado saves cousin Manuel

I've got you: Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado saves cousin Manuel, while Sir Frank Williams is wheeled away (below)

Fire alarm: Sir Frank Williams is wheeled away

Bob Fearnley, Force India's deputy
team principal, was f iercely critical of the response at the circuit.
He had to fight past two track officials to enter the medical centre to
check on one of his employees who had rushed to the aid of Sir Frank
Williams, who is confined to a wheelchair 'Incompetent would be a very
polite way of saying what these people have done here,' Fearnley said.

'There's no training, no procedures. I
went down to see how my man was and I had to fight my way in. We need
to look seriously at the training of people at the circuits. I'm not
impressed at all.'

Those views were echoed by
experienced Formula One photographer James Moy. He had been taking
pictures of Pastor Maldonado's victory celebrations in the Williams
garage moments before the explosion in the fuel storage area.

Crisis: The pit-lane is engulfed in smoke as a Caterham team member lies on the ground (below)

Crisis: The pit-lane is engulfed in smoke as a Caterham team member lies on the ground (below)

Crisis: The pit-lane is engulfed in smoke as a Caterham team member lies on the ground (below)
FIA STATEMENT

'The FIA can confirm that a fire broke
out in the Williams garage after the conclusion of the Spanish Grand
Prix.

'The flames were quickly brought
under control through the combined intervention of staff from Williams,
Caterham and Force India, supported by the circuit fire services.

'Thirty-one team members were seen by
Circuit Medical Centre staff and all have been released, with the
exception of seven who were transferred to a variety of local hospitals
where they are receiving treatment.

'The FIA is collaborating closely
with the Spanish authorities investigating this incident and will be
providing a further update as soon as more information becomes
available.'

'I reckon it probably took any circuit staff or firemen at least 12 minutes to get there,' said Moy.

'The only people there at that time
were mechanics, fighting a fire in shorts and T-shirts.' But for the
heroic actions of Williams's crew and those of their competitors the
consequences could have been far worse.

The BBC's technical analyst, Gary
Anderson, pointed out: 'There is a lot of fuel stored in the garages –
there could be 20 or 30 litres in the rig after the race and another
couple of hundred in the garage. Fuel safety probably needs to be looked
at a bit more closely.'

According to a Spanish news agency,
fire crews on duty inside the track perimeter left shortly after the
race and those who attended the blaze, which occurred around 90 minutes
after the chequered flag, came from another checkpoint close to the
track.

Betts's condition was last night described by a hospital spokesperson as 'serious but stable'.

In shock: Bruno Senna looks on as a fire rips through the Williams garage

In shock: Bruno Senna looks on as a fire rips through the Williams garage

Change in mood: The incident happened shortly after the Williams team posed for a photo celebrating Maldonado's win

Change in mood: The incident happened shortly after the Williams team posed for a photo celebrating Maldonado's win

He will remain in the burns unit for 'at least another two days' before he can be moved to a hospital in England.

Fortunately, Betts has not suffered
respiratory problems despite the pit lane and paddock being smothered in
acrid black smoke. About 30 people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Williams confirmed that Betts is
expected to return home later this week and said: 'His family are in
constant communication and he is in good spirits.'

A further two Williams team members
who were transferred to medical facilities have been released after
recovering from smoke inhalation.

Four members of the team have also
left hospital, three after toxicology reports showed no issues and the
other after having his broken right thumb put in plaster ahead of an
operation on his return home.

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage after driver Pastor Maldonado won the team first grand prix in eight years

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage after driver Pastor Maldonado won the team first grand prix in eight years

On fire: The incident is believed to have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna's car

On fire: The incident is believed to have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna's car

The Force India worker has also been
released from hospital. Thanking their competitors for rushing to their
aid, Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan told Autosport
magazine: 'We were overwhelmed by the support. It was really impressive.
It was a serious issue and I am very grateful indeed.

'What happened after a great result
is very disappointing, but things were limited by the fast response of
our team and everyone who helped.'

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Inferno: The Williams garage was set alight following their victory in Spain

Inferno: The Williams garage was set alight following their victory in Spain

Williams added: 'While the incident
was unexpected and definitely most undesirable, it has demonst rated the
genuine cohesiveness, camaraderie and spirit of co-operation that
exists within the Formula One paddock.

'The astonishing response from the teams and other paddock personnel was immediate, unconditional and overwhelming.'

Battle: A Williams spokesperson confirmed four personnel were injured

Battle: A Williams spokesperson confirmed four personnel were injured

Mercedes mechanics help their Williams' colleagues put out the fire

Mercedes mechanics help their Williams' colleagues put out the fire

Gillan admitted vital equipment had
been lost in the blaze. Bruno Senna's car was in the garage as it was
engulfed, but Gillan insisted the team would be ready to race in Monaco
in a fortnight.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He said: 'We had a lot of damage and
we have lost a lot of equipment, including IT equipment.We will have
everything we need to run operationally at Monaco, but we may be missing
a few extras.'

The McLaren team on Monday offered any necessary help to their rivals.

Shell: The remains of Senna's Williams following the blaze

Shell: The remains of Senna's Williams following the blaze

How they finished: Barcelona

Fire in Williams garage after Spanish Grand Prix

Major fire in Williams garage leaves 'one seriously hurt' after Maldonado victory

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 13 May 2012

Williams' first Grand Prix victory since 2004 has been marred after a major fire broke out in their garage leaving a number of people being treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

The blaze took place just moments after the team posed for a team photo following Pastor Maldonado's win in Barcelona.

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage

On fire: The incident is believed to have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna's car

On fire: The incident is believed to have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna's car

The explosion, which is believed to
have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna's car, filled the
garage with smoke as mechanics tackled the inferno.

A Williams spokesperson confirmed
four personnel were injured and taken to the medical centre at
Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, with one seriously hurt and flown on
to a local hospital.

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Concern: Sir Frank Williams is taken to safer surroundings following the pit-lane fire

Concern: Sir Frank Williams is taken to safer surroundings following the pit-lane fire

Caterham have confirmed four of their
team are being treated, one with a minor hand injury and three with
respiratory issues, with one from Force India receiving treatment for
smoke inhalation.

Reserve driver Valtteri Bottas said: 'I was there when Frank was giving his speech to everyone.

Battle: A Williams spokesperson confirmed four personnel were injured

Battle: A Williams spokesperson confirmed four personnel were injured

Mercedes mechanics help their Williams' colleagues put out the fire

Mercedes mechanics help their Williams' colleagues put out the fire

'I felt an explosion from behind, somewhere from the fuel area, and everyone ran out quickly.'

As the blaze rapidly took hold,
gutting the garage which included Senna's car after it had been involved
in an accident in the race with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, clouds of
acrid black smoke were sent billowing into the air.

Shell: The remains of Senna's Williams following the blaze

Shell: The remains of Senna's Williams following the blaze

Williams mechanics were joined in
their battle to beat the fire by personnel from other teams, notably
Caterham and Force India in the neighbouring garages, taking 20 minutes
to bring it under control.

Ambulances and fire crews were soon on hand to assist, attending to the injured, while the medical helicopter was also deployed.

A Williams team spokeswoman said:
'We have four people in the medical centre receiving precautionary care,
and I believe one has been flown off to hospital.'

Sebastian Vettel hopes his tyre gamble won"t blow up as Red Bull chase glory in Spain

Vettel hopes his tyre gamble won't blow up as Red Bull chase glory in Spain

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UPDATED:

14:52 GMT, 12 May 2012

Sebastian Vettel is hoping a tactical qualifying gamble will reap its rewards in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel will start eighth after failing to set a time in the top-10 shoot-out, aborting his hot lap in order to give him 'a free choice of tyres' on which to start the race.

With wear and degradation of the Pirelli tyres crucial ahead of the event, grid position is potentially not as important as has so often been the case at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Gamble: Sebastian Vettel will start from 8th on the grid with a free choice of race tyre

Gamble: Sebastian Vettel will start from 8th on the grid with a free choice of race tyre

In 21 races at this track the man on pole has gone on to win on 16 occasions, whilst only once has the victor not come from the front row, in 1996 when Michael Schumacher won from third.

But in this topsy-turvy season, in which there have been four different winners in the opening four races, it would not be a surprise if those statistics were turned on their head.

Reigning champion Vettel said: 'There was nothing wrong. We decided to abort the lap to have a free choice of tyres for the race. If I had set a lap (time) we would have to start the race on soft tyres.

Point to prove: World champion Vettel leads the drivers' championship

Point to prove: World champion Vettel leads the drivers' championship

'In Q2 the first run was crucial. I didn't manage to pull a lap out, so I had to use my final set of (soft) tyres to get into Q3.'

Vettel has conceded, though, his Red Bull was 'simply not quick enough', adding: 'We'll see how it goes for tomorrow. We were a bit surprised how much of a step the others have made, but I'm quite confident for the race, we always have a good race car.

'And we have a couple of new sets (of the hard tyre) which has proved successful for others in previous races this year.'

Supporting Vettel, who currently leads the title race by four points from Lewis Hamilton who grabbed pole with ease, team boss Christian Horner said: 'It's a very different game this year. Ultimately Sebastian didn't have great one-lap pace – maybe it was the wind – but you have to look at it two ways.

'Going into the race with four new sets of tyres is an advantage. Mark (Webber, who qualified 12th) has four sets of new tyres.

'Seb has effectively used one more set, so F1 is a strategic game.'

Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton could be fifth different winner

Come on Lewis, everyone can be a winner! Thrills and spills expected at Spanish Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 11 May 2012

The last time grand prix racing was this tightly contested Liverpool had wrapped up the title while Manchester City were facing up to life in the second tier.

You have to go back 29 years to find a time in Formula One when five different drivers driving five different cars won the opening five races of the season. But at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday there is every chance that statistic will be matched.

One driver who had a share of the spoils back in 1983 was John Watson, the Ulsterman having scythed through the field from 22nd on the grid in his McLaren to take the win at the United States Grand Prix West.

Taking it easy: Lewis Hamilton hopes to get off the mark in Barcelona this weekend

Taking it easy: Lewis Hamilton hopes to get off the mark in Barcelona this weekend

Watson pointed to the rule changes ahead of that season as the major factor why success was shared so evenly, notably the banning of ‘ground effect’ cars and consequently the need for new aerodynamic packages.

‘That was a massive change and nobody knew what was going to be good, bad or indifferent,’ conceded Watson.

It was also an era when teams and drivers were coming to terms with the benefit of pit stops for fresh tyres and fuel. Notably Brabham — then owned by Bernie Ecclestone — and Williams.

There are certainly parallels to be drawn with the current campaign, the complexities of getting the best from Pirelli’s latest brand of fast-degrading tyre and the banning of the exhaust-blown diffuser having seriously levelled the playing field.

‘That rule change was almost singularly directed towards Red Bull,’ claimed Watson. ‘They have been the most penalised because they had done a good job compared to everyone who hadn’t quite got to grips with it.’

Spanish sizzler: Hamilton during practice for Sunday's race in Barcelona

Spanish sizzler: Hamilton during practice for Sunday's race in Barcelona

Even so, Sebastian Vettel’s trademark crooked finger victory salute was back in evidence last time out as he and Red Bull took their first win of the season in Bahrain. Will that combination be back to the dominance of last season from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards

Recalling how matters started to shift in favour of Alain Prost and Renault in 1983, Watson said: ‘If I had to put my money on who would win the championship, I would have put it on Prost.

‘The Renault was fundamentally a good car in both qualifying and in the race.’

But the name on the drivers’ championship trophy that year was that of Brazilian Nelson Piquet, the Brabham driver pinching the title from Prost in the last race in South Africa despite winning just three grands prix.

‘In the last 10 or 12 years, we have seen McLaren, Williams, Benetton/Renault, Ferrari and, most recently, Red Bull dominate a championship to such an extent that it became, frankly, uninteresting,’ said Watson.

In the running: Mark Webber could also be the fifth different winner

In the running: Mark Webber could also be the fifth different winner

‘In my generation if a driver won three or four grands prix in the season there was a very good chance he would be a world champion.’

Should the 2012 season continue to be so tightly fought, a similar tally may well be enough to see a driver crowned. Such a scenario would certainly be a welcome departure from Vettel’s procession of last season in which he took the title with four races remaining by winning 11 of them.

Yet another different driver on the top step of the podium tomorrow will go a long way to ensuring there are no such foregone conclusions and that the title battle goes all the way to the wire in Brazil in November.

Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen are all potential candidates to keep the unpredictable run going in Spain.

Formula One, as Watson would dearly love, may yet wind back the clock to 1983 — even if Manchester City are crowned champions and Liverpool end up ninth not long after the champagne corks have popped in Spain.

Spanish Grand Prix

Jenson Button fastest in second practice ahead of Spanish Grand Prix

Button boosts McLaren mood by topping times for second practice in Barcelona

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UPDATED:

14:49 GMT, 11 May 2012

Jenson Button raised McLaren morale by leading the way in second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Three weeks ago the team departed Bahrain feeling dejected after being deposed from the top of the drivers' and constructors' championships following a bitterly disappointing race.

Button was forced to retire a lap from home through mechanical failure, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton was only eighth due to issues at the first two of his three pit stops.

Viva Espana: Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona

Viva Espana: Jenson Button in practice at the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona

Button has also bemoaned his lack of understanding so far this season at how to adequately switch on the Pirelli tyres.

The 32-year-old heads into Sunday's race trailing championship leader and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel by 10 points, with Hamilton four points down.

But in finishing with a lap of one minute 23.399secs around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya at the end of FP2, there is cause for some optimism, even if Friday times can often prove misleading.

Home sweet home: Fernando Alonso was quickest at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday morning

Home sweet home: Ferrari star Fernando Alonso was quickest in first practice on Friday morning

Way ahead: Only two drivers were within half a second of Alonso during first practice

Way ahead: Only two drivers were within half a second of Alonso during first practice

Vettel was a close second, 0.164secs adrift in his Red Bull, followed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and then Hamilton, the latter half a second off the pace of his fellow Briton.

The Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finished hot on Hamilton's heels, the trio separated by just 0.055secs.

Red Bull's Mark Webber, who was involved in the only incident of note across the three hours of practice when he trundled off at turn four, spraying gravel across the track on his return, was down in seventh, 0.666secs adrift of Button.

Off the pace: Lewis Hamilton (left) was only eighth fastest in his McLaren in first practice

Off the pace: Lewis Hamilton (left) was only eighth fastest in his McLaren in first practice

Shifting gear: McLaren ace Hamilton improved to fourth fastest following second practice

Shifting gear: McLaren ace Hamilton improved to fourth fastest following second practice

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10, the latter just within a second of Button.

Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were down in 11th and 14th respectively, the latter having topped the timesheet in FP1, albeit understood to be on a relatively low-fuel run.

Button ultimately improved on that time by over a second, however, seemingly as Ferrari concentrated on long-run pace in FP2.

Switched on: Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel showed decent pace in the morning session

Switched on: Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel showed decent pace in the morning session

For this weekend the Ferraris carry a raft of updates designed to hopefully propel them firmly into contention for the title.

Sporting a new exhaust concept and rear bodywork, the belief is if it works at this circuit, it will prove reliable for the rest of the European campaign at least.

Paul di Resta, who made way for Force India reserve Jules Bianchi in FP1, finished 1.289secs down in 15th.

After sitting out first practice for reserve Dani Clos, Narain Karthikeyan suffered a truncated second session, managing just two installation laps and without setting a time before his HRT ground to a halt.

Fernando Alonso fastest in first practice for Spanish Grand Prix

Home hero Alonso leaves Vettel and the rest trailing after first practice session in Spain

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UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 11 May 2012

Ferrari's hopes of a resurgence in Spain this weekend at least started off on the right foot with home hero Fernando Alonso posting the quickest time in first practice ahead of Sunday's race.

In an underperforming car Alonso has worked wonders over the first four grands prix of the campaign, winning in Malaysia to keep him within 10 points of leader and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.

The recent break, and in particular the three-day test last week in Mugello, afforded Ferrari the opportunity to beef up their car for the remainder of the campaign.

Home sweet home: Fernando Alonso was quickest at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday morning

Home sweet home: Fernando Alonso was quickest at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday morning

Way ahead: Only two drivers were within half a second of Alonso during first practice

Way ahead: Only two drivers were within half a second of Alonso during first practice

Notably the Maranello marque ran a new exhaust concept and rear bodywork, with the hope it will make them more competitive from this Sunday onwards.

If Ferrari can perform at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya over the next two days, the belief is they should be set fare for the remainder of the European campaign this summer.

Of course, there are also the local fans to please, and at least Alonso offered up some form with a lap of one minute 24.430secs, finishing comfortably clear of Vettel in his Red Bull.

Off the pace: Lewis Hamilton (left) was only eighth fastest in his McLaren in first practice

Off the pace: Lewis Hamilton (left) was only eighth fastest in his McLaren in first practice

The 24-year-old German finished 0.378secs adrift, but these are very early days in the course of the weekend as a whole, with a clearer picture available in qualifying.

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi was third on the timesheet, nearly half a second adrift, followed by McLaren's Jenson Button, the car running with its new higher nose as the Woking team seek their own performance boost, with Lewis Hamilton eighth, 0.822secs down.

Viva Espana: Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona

Viva Espana: Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on the outskirts of Barcelona

Sandwiched in between the British duo were Williams tester Valtteri Bottas, seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes and Lotus' Romain Grosjean.

Overall the top 12 were covered by a second, with Red Bull's Mark Webber down in 13th, 1.109secs off the pace, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg 14th a further fraction down.

Switched on: Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel showed decent pace in the morning session

Switched on: Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel showed decent pace in the morning session

F1 debutants in Alexander Rossi and Dani Clos, the reserves for Caterham and HRT respectively, were down in 21st and 24th.

Spaniard Clos finished seven seconds behind Alonso, but more importantly 2.5secs behind team-mate Pedro de la Rosa who was 23rd, proving he still has a lot to learn.

Spanish Grand Prix 2012: Barcelona stats and track guide

Spanish Grand Prix: All you need to know about the race in Barcelona

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UPDATED:

10:55 GMT, 10 May 2012

It was not so long ago the Spanish Grand Prix and the Circuit de Catalunya in particular were synonymous with boredom, given the lack of overtaking.

In the three races from 2008 to 2010 there were an average of just two passing manoeuvres, but that changed dramatically 12 months ago as there were 51 in total.

The introduction of DRS (drag reduction system) accounted for 29 of those, while Pirelli's new rubber also had an effect.

As the average number of overtakes has increased over the first four races of this season compared to last, hopefully the trend will continue this weekend to ensure Barcelona is no longer a bore.

Ahead of the race, Sportsmail brings you all the main stats and facts:

Home straight: The view of the track at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona

Home straight: The view of the track at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona

Graphic guide

Click HERE for your lowdown on the circuit

Venue: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona

Circuit length: 4.655km/2.892 miles

Laps: 66

Race distance: 307.104km/190.825miles

Lap record: 1min 21.670secs (Kimi Raikkonen, 2008)

2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2011 pole position: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:20.981

2011 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1min 26.727secs

Number of corners: 16 (7 left/9 right)

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Tyre compounds to be used: hard/soft

Bumpiness: medium

Overtaking chance: low

Engine severity: low

Brake wear severity: medium

Average lap speed: 184kph (114.34mph)

Full throttle per lap: 53 per cent

Gear changes per lap: 40 (race = 2640)

2011 winning strategy: 4 stops (L9, 18, 34, 48)

Total race pit stops: 77

Total 'normal' overtakes: 22

Total DRS overtakes: 29

No of safety cars deployed since 2002: 4

Winning feeling: Sebastian Vettel celebrates on the podium after winning last year's Spanish Grand Prix

Winning feeling: Sebastian Vettel celebrates on the podium after winning last year's Spanish Grand Prix

So far there have been four different winners of the first four races to date, a feat last achieved 29 years ago.

In F1 history there have only been
three occasions when there have been five different winners of the
opening five GPs – 1967, 1975 and 1983.

Sebastian
Vettel's pole position last time out in Bahrain was the 31st of his F1
career. Only five drivers – Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65),
Jim Clark, Alain Prost (both 33) and Nigel Mansell (32) have more.

In taking the chequered flag in
Bahrain, Vettel has 22 wins to his name, the same as Damon Hill, with
the duo 11th equal on the all-time list.

Vettel now has 17 wins from pole, equalling Mansell's number, with only Schumacher (40), Senna (29) and Prost (18) ahead of him.

Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber has so far finished fourth in all four races.

The
Circuit de Catalunya has been a fixture on the calendar since 1991.
From the 21 grands prix, the winner has come from pole on 16 occasions.

Up until Vettel's victory last year,
when he started second behind Webber, the race had been won from pole on
10 consecutive occasions.

Schumacher
tops the list for Spanish GP victories with six, and is the only driver
to have won the race in Barcelona not starting on the front row of the
grid (from 3rd in 1996).

Javier Ballesteros starts pro career at same course as Seve

Javier Ballesteros begins pro career at same course as legendary father Seve

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UPDATED:

10:27 GMT, 27 April 2012

On Thursday Javier Ballesteros began on the long path to emulating his late father, Seve.

The 21-year-old made his professional golf circuit debut on Thursday at Sant Cugat in Catalunya, Spain, 38 years after Seve began his pro career at the same location.

Seve died in May 2011 at 54, but Javier does not feel too much pressure to prove himself despite his father's golfing legend.

Like father like son: Javier Ballesteros began his pro career at the same course as his father

Like father like son: Javier Ballesteros began his pro career at the same course as his father

'My goal for this competition is enjoy it,' he told the European Tour’s official website.

'I don’t set goals when I play a tournament, especially being an amateur. What I have to do is enjoy and learn. I have no extra pressure being Seve’s son, I don’t really have anything to prove. I’m just going to be myself.

'I have no extra pressure being Seve’s son, I don’t really have anything to prove. I’m just going to be myself.

'When I registered for the Peugeot Tour event at Sant Cugat I didn’t know that my father played his first professional tournament here and now that I know, it’s double the excitement for me.'

His father won five majors – a total which will prove a real challenge for Javier to reach – but he made a good start to his pro career at the Peugeot Alps de Barcelona with a five-under-par round on day one.

Winner: Seve Ballesteros (left) took five majors

Winner: Seve Ballesteros (left) took five majors

Seve won 91 tournaments in his career, but before Javier gets too consumed by the world of golf he will follow through with his father's desire for him to finish his studies.

'I have always played golf,' he explained. 'I was on the national team when I was 14 to 16 years old, and being surrounded by golf at home always made me think about being a pro in the future.

'But I have to finish university first. It is something my parents have always told me to do, especially my father, and that is my priority. Then we will see.

'I have not made a schedule or set a time. It’s not just a case of turning professional as soon as I finish college. We will just see what happens.'

2012 F1 Calendar: Dates and times of the 20 races

2012 Formula One calendar: Full details of the 20 races

All 20 races will be exclusively live on Sky Sports. An asterisk will indicate which grands prix are being shown live on the BBC. All times are UK.

Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)

Date: March 16-18
Circuit Name: Albert Park
Number of Laps: 58
Lap Record: 1:24.125 – M Schumacher (2004)
Qualifying: 06:00
Race: 06:00

Malaysia Grand Prix (Kuala Lumpar)

Date: March 23-25
Circuit Name: Sepang International Circuit
Number of Laps: 56
Lap Record: 1:34.223 – JP Montoya (2004)
Qualifying: 08:00
Race: 09:00

Champagne moment: Vettel won last year's Malaysian Grand Prix

Champagne moment: Vettel won last year's Malaysian Grand Prix

Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)*

Date: April 13-15
Circuit Name: Shanghai International Circuit
Number of Laps: 56
Lap Record: 1:32.238 – M Schumacher (2004)
Qualifying: 07:00
Race: 08:00

Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir)

Date: 20-22 April
Circuit Name: Bahrain International Circuit
Number of Laps: 56
Lap Record: 1:30.252 – M Schumacher (2004)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Spanish Grand Prix (Catalunya)*

Date: 11-13 May
Circuit Name: Circuit de Catalunya
Number of Laps: 66
Lap Record: 1:21.670 – K Raikkonen (2008)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Jewel in the crown: The famous principality tops the list of must-win races for any grand prix driver

Jewel in the crown: The famous principality tops the list of must-win races for any grand prix driver

Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)*

Date: 24-27 May
Circuit Name: Circuit de Monaco
Number of Laps: 78
Lap Record: 1:14.439 – M Schumacher (2004)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)

Date: 8-10 June
Circuit Name: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Number of Laps: 70
Lap Record: 1:13.622 – R Barrichello (2004)
Qualifying: 18:00
Race: 19:00

European Grand Prix (Valencia)*

Date: 22-24 June
Circuit Name: Valencia Street Circuit
Number of Laps: 57
Lap Record: 1:38.683 – T Glock (2009)
Qualifying: 13:00
Race: 13:00

Centre stage: Silverstone will play host to the 2012 British Grand Prix

Centre stage: Silverstone will play host to the 2012 British Grand Prix

British Grand Prix (Silverstone)*

Date: 6-8 July
Number of Laps: 52
Lap Record: 1:30.874 – F Alonso (2010)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)

Date: 20-22 July
Circuit Name: Hockenheimring
Number of Laps: 67
Lap Record: 1:13.780 – K Raikkonen (2004)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Hungarian Grand Prix (Budapest)

Date: 27-29 July
Circuit Name: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Lap Record: 1:19.071 – M Schumacher (2004)
Qualifying: 13:00
Race: 13:00

Enlarge

F1 tracks 2012

Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)*

Date: 31 August-2 September
Circuit Name: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Number of Laps: 44
Lap Record: 1:45.108 – K Raikkonen (2004)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Italian Grand Prix (Monza)

Date: 7-9 September
Circuit Name: Autodromo di Monza
Number of Laps: 53
Lap Record: 1:21.046 – R Barrichello (2004)
Qualifying: 12:00
Race: 13:00

Singapore Grand Prix (Singapore)*

Date: 21-23 September
Circuit Name: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Number of Laps: 61
Lap Record: 1:45.599 – K Raikkonen (2008)
Qualifying: 13:00
Race: 13:00

Thumbs up: Vettel celebrates his Monza victory in 2011

Thumbs up: Vettel celebrates his Monza victory in 2011

Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)

Date: 5-7 October
Number of Laps: 53
Lap Record: 1:31.540 – K. Raikkonen (2005)
Qualifying: 07:00
Race: 08:00

Korean Grand Prix (Yeongam)*

Date: 12-14 October
Circuit Name: Korea International Circuit
Number of Laps: 55
Lap Record: 1:39.605 – S Vettel (2011)
Qualifying: 07:00
Race: 08:00

Indian Grand Prix (Buddh)

Date: 26-28 October
Circuit Name: Buddh International Circuit
Number of Laps: 60
Lap Record: 1:27.249 – S Vettel (2011)
Qualifying: 09:30
Race: 09:30

On the Button: The McLaren man larking around ahead of last year's race

On the Button: The McLaren man larking around ahead of last year's race

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina)*

Date: 2-4 November
Number of Laps: 55
Lap Record: 1:40.279 – S Vettel (2009)
Qualifying: 13:00
Race: 13:00

United States Grand Prix (Austin)

Date: 16-18 November
Circuit Name: Circuit of The Americas
Number of Laps: 56
Lap Record: N/A
Qualifying: 19:00
Race: 19:00

Brazilian Grand Prix (Sao Paulo)*

Date: 23-25 November
Circuit Name: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
Number of Laps: 71
Lap Record: 1:11.473 – JP Montoya (2004)
Qualifying: 16:00
Race: 16:00