x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Webber leads Red Bull to victory at Spanish GP

Mark Webber won the Spanish Grand Prix after leading from start to finish, the tenth time a pole-sitter has done so at Formula One's most predictable circuit.

Webber led the race from start to finish in Spain.
Webber led the race from start to finish in Spain.

BARCELONA // The Australian Mark Webber won the Spanish Grand Prix for a rampant Red Bull after leading from start to finish at Formula One's most predictable circuit. For the 10th year in succession at the Circuit de Catalunya, the driver who started on pole position took the chequered flag as winner. After 66 laps in the Catalan sunshine, Webber crossed the line a massive 24 seconds clear of Ferrari's second placed Fernando Alonso. "It was a fantastic result and I'm absolutely thrilled," he said after his third career win. "After qualifying yesterday it was a great position to start the race. "It was quite tight into turn one and we had a good battle through there, but then I settled into a rhythm after that. "We made sure the tyres were in pretty good nick, a clean pit-stop, and after that I had Lewis [Hamilton] behind me and controlled the gap. "The team have been incredible this week. Red Bull and Renault have put the work in, and in the end I'm thrilled." The Spaniard Alonso, celebrating his first home race for the Italian team, inherited a crowd-pleasing runner-up position when McLaren's hard-charging Hamilton crashed out with a suspected suspension failure on the penultimate lap. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who had started on the front row alongside Webber, finished third despite suffering brake problems. Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher was fourth, the best result so far of the 41-year-old's comeback season, with McLaren's Jenson Button unable to find a way past and forced to settle for fifth.

Button, Hamilton's teammate and reigning world champion, stayed top of the standings with 70 points to Alonso's 67 after five of the season's 19 races. Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa was sixth, Germany's Adrian Sutil seventh for Force India and Poland's Robert Kubica eighth for Renault. Williams returned to the points with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in ninth place and local youngster Jaime Alguersuari took the final point for Toro Rosso at his home track. The biggest challenge Webber faced, after holding off Vettel's attempts to squeeze past at the start, was keeping alert as he lapped in splendid isolation and headed for a seemingly inevitable triumph. Webber was the fourth different winner in five races. * Reuters