Mike Stevens | May 23, 2011

Sebastian Vettel extended his runaway championship lead on Sunday despite intense pressure from Lewis Hamilton.

The German, who finished less than a second ahead of McLaren't Hamilton at the flag in Barcelona, ended the race 41 points ahead after just five races.

"McLaren were very strong, Lewis in particular," said the Red Bull driver, after Hamilton's late-race challenge in the surprisingly fast MP4-26.

The 'DRS' system was less effective this weekend than at previous events, but the 66-lap race was still exciting, particularly after Ferrari's Fernando Alonso led at the start to the delight of his home crowd.

"(P1) isn't our position at the moment. There are clearly two teams ahead of everybody and at the moment we need to change the situation," said Alonso.

Meanwhile, pole sitter Mark Webber (4th), Hamilton and Jenson Button (3rd) are under investigation by the stewards for failing to slow for yellow flags during the race.

"Let's see what they say," Button said on British television BBC1.

(GMM)

 

Webber on starting 1st, finishing 4th

“I don't think my start was hideous, but Fernando got a phenomenal one. Obviously from then on it wasn’t the start we had planned and it was a bit of a chess game," Webber said.

"People were covering each other’s pit stops and I really didn't do much racing on track. At the end of the race I finished 40 seconds behind Lewis and Seb."

"It was an interesting day today and shows how fine the margins are; we were frustrated by Fernando who seemed to pit every time I did! At certain stages I was quick and at others I wasn’t – that’s the way it was today.”

 

No penalties for trio after stewards investigation

The McLaren drivers and Mark Webber escaped with mere reprimands on Sunday after being investigated by the stewards.

The stewards, including former F1 driver Mark Blundell, looked into whether the trio went too quickly for the yellow flag triggered by Heikki Kovalainen's crash.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh welcomed the "sensible" reprimand, rather than an actual penalty, because he insists his drivers were "off the throttle" in the yellow flag zone.

Steward Blundell, however, said on BBC terlvision that the drivers were reprimanded because their "personal sectors improved" within the yellow zone.

Meanwhile, HRT team boss Colin Kolles said after Sunday's race that he is not protesting the outcome of the Spanish Grand Prix.

But because he is so unhappy with teams running what he calls "illegal" blown exhaust configurations, he vowed to protest at "some time" during the Monaco round next weekend.

(GMM)

 

4-cylinder and V8 engines could race in 2013

The saga of F1's future engine regulations has taken a twist, with the possibility that both four-cylinder and V8s could be pitted against one another in 2013.

We reported earlier on Sunday that, after a meeting with the manufacturers in Barcelona, Jean Todt had vowed to push ahead with the scheduled new regulations.

But F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who is staunchly opposed to scrapping the V8s, said FIA president Todt is now proposing to let some V8s continue to fire in 2013.

"But I mean, equivalency formulas never work, do they?" he is quoted by Reuters.

The situation reminds of 2006, when after the current V8 engines were introduced, Toro Rosso ran a performance-limited V10.

(GMM)

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