You know what that race needed? A bit of rain. A dry race, dry qualifying and the ‘charms’ of the Circuit de Catalunya didn’t, in all honesty, lead to a terribly exciting race. For F1 fans spoilt rotten by the first few races of the season, this was an unwelcome return to processional tactical battles that define so much of F1’s negative press.

Nevertheless, there were a few interesting developments between the team mates, so read on dear friend to find out more…

Webber reaches for the Alex Comerford

Red Bull

  • Qualifying: Weber
  • Race: Webber

Pretty much the perfect weekend for Mark Webber. Imperious throughout, his performance suggested there was a lot more in the locker should it have been needed. Pole position followed by a clean run to the finish, his lack of TV coverage in the race demonstrated perfectly just how hassle free his Sunday afternoon really was. Indeed, after the race he was left to moan that it felt like the longest Grand Prix he’d ever completed, which just goes to show how dull it is to be unremittingly fast.

In contrast, Vettel simply didn’t have an answer to Webber in qualifying and endured yet another dramatic race. Sooner or later he’s going to get a run of problem free races; leapfrogged by Hamilton for second place during the pitstops, he developed brake problems in the last part of the race and lost a place to the most Spanish looking man alive, Fernando Alonso. Kudos and a special mention to Vettel for continuing to race with hardly any front brakes – it really requires a certain type of madness to plough along a straight at close to 200 mph not knowing whether you’ll be able to stop.

Badger’s best: Webber


  • Qualifying: Alonso
  • Race: Alonso

An unexpected bonus for Alonso. A fourth place grid slot was probably about fair, but he never really looked fast enough to compete with either of the Red Bulls or Hamilton’s McLaren, yet still managed to walk away with second place. It certainly didn’t hurt to do it at his home Grand Prix either. Interestingly (and saying a lot about the quality of racing on offer), the most noteworthy part of his weekend was probably Ferrari’s new f-duct system, controlled by a pad on the back of his left glove. Apparently it’s completely safe to drive an F1 car at close to 200 mph with no hands on the steering wheel. Remarkable.

Massa, after qualifying a rather disappointing ninth, sixth tenths behind Alonso, didn’t really do much to enhance his reputation during the race, coming in sixth. He complained after the race of a lack of grip and the car’s performance (or lack thereof). Alonso didn’t seem to have as much of a problem though, did he? Alonso’s waltzed into Ferrari and become the presumptive number one already, something he was never able to achieve at McLaren (and yes, before you all start, we realise the situation isn’t exactly the same). Felipe really needs to get his head up and have a go, or he risks being left well behind.

Badger’s best: Alonso


  • Qualifying: Schumacher
  • Race: Schumacher

It transpires the reports of Schumacher’s death were greatly exaggerated (with apologies to Mark Twain; see, who says Badger doesn’t bring you culture…) Qualifying in sixth and finishing fourth (mostly by virtue of problems for the two McLarens), Schumacher was as happy as he’d been for quite a while. While much was made over the weekend about the perceived bias in the Mercedes team towards Schumacher, we choose to think of it slightly differently (and it’s not often your correspondent defends Schumacher, so get ready for this one). If, in the team, it’s Schumacher providing the best, most detailed and most relevant feedback about the car, it’s no surprise that the car should have moved towards his driving style. While it’s doubtless a happy side-effect that Rosberg struggled to adapt, we at Badger doubt there’s too much sinister about it.

Rosberg, in contrast to Schumacher, endured a torrid weekend. Qualifying a disappointing eighth and finishing a lap down in thirteenth wasn’t the way he wanted to welcome in the new updates. Having a bad weekend was always going to happen at some stage, let’s just hope he’s got it out of his system and can push on in Monaco, as to lose the momentum he built in the early part of the season would be a crime.

Badger’s best: Schumacher


  • Qualifying: Hamilton
  • Race: Button

“Encouraging, but ultimately disappointing” probably best describes McLaren’s weekend. Hamilton, after qualifying ‘the best of the rest’ in third, drove yet another stellar race without getting his just reward. After he split the Red Bulls at the first pit stop, he pulled away from Vettel and generally looked very comfortable. Sadly, with a couple of laps left he had pretty dramatic failure at the left-front of the car and ploughed into a tyre wall. Ouch. As a complete aside, we couldn’t help but notice the clump of facial hair was still there. Honestly, his father stops managing him and he grows something stupid like that – it looks like a patch of moss on a rocky outcrop. Get rid. Fast.

Button’s race was eventful without being that eventful (it makes less sense on paper than in one’s head), resulting in a fifth place finish. A dashboard problem meant he couldn’t see what effect his knob twiddling was having on the steering wheel and a dragging clutch held him up at the first pit stop. This resulted in Schumacher slipping through and Button simply couldn’t pass him when he emerged onto the track. A tip for the future Jenson, if going down the outside into the first corner doesn’t work once or twice, it’s probably time to have a go down the other side. It’d make more satisfying viewing, at any rate.

Badger’s best: Hamilton

Force India

  • Qualifying: Sutil
  • Race: Sutil

A really good weekend for Sutil who, although he qualified outside the top ten for the first time this season, starting eleventh, managed to finish seventh. After moving from eleventh to eighth at the start, he had Kubica behind him for much of the race. That said, given the general tone of the racing, there was never much chance of him getting past was there? He’s on the verge of having a very strong season.

Honestly, how often do the BBC commentary team want to mention the three words “Paul di Resta” whenever Liuzzi comes onto the screen? Just calm down, lads. Admittedly, Liuzzi didn’t cover himself in glory this weekend, starting sixteenth and going out just before the end, but there’s no need to dance all over his grave in such a manner. Anyway, now that’s out of the way, Liuzzi really needs to start pushing Sutil a bit more, otherwise he’s going to find himself under more pressure than the BBC team pretty sharpish.

Badger’s best: Sutil


  • Qualifying: Kubica
  • Race: Kubica

After not bringing a massive update to Spain, Kubica professed happiness at the pace of the car in general, but wouldn’t have been happy with his race overall. After starting seventh, he had a slightly dodgy first corner and then damaged his wing during contact with Kobayashi. Spending a lot of time after that staring at the back of a Force India can’t have been fun, although he did manage a fairly respectable eighth place finish.

Petrov was nineteenth on the grid after taking a five place drop for changing his gearbox, so finishing eleventh probably wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. He’s still well behind Kubica, but he seems like he’s going to be worrying the lower end of the points for most of the season (provided he can find a way to finish more races, anyway).

Badger’s best: Kubica


  • Qualifying: Hulkenberg
  • Race: Barrichello

Ignominy for Barrichello, going out during Q1 with the new teams and starting seventeenth. After that though, it all got a lot, lot better, coming through the field to finish ninth. After complaining in the review piece last week about the Williams’ drivers poor record in improving their grid slots in the race, Rubens proceeded to demolish that in quite spectacular style, so good on him. He complained of being “on the verge” of a tyre issue in the last five laps, but managed to nurse the car home to a great finish.

Hulkenberg, after qualifying thirteenth, ended up sixteenth. It’s probably best just to let his after-race comments speak for themselves: “I don’t understand why yet, but I always felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time going into the corners in the first lap. After the first stop, I went off line and damaged the car which resulted in a lot less downforce. From there, it became a very difficult race for me.” Yes it did, Nico, yes it did. He really needs to start getting some results soon, as there’s only so long that “learning” is an acceptable excuse, especially when your team mate is doing significantly better.

Badger’s best: Barrichello

Toro Rosso

  • Qualifying: Buemi
  • Race: Alguersuari

A familiar story for Toro Rosso this weekend. The two drivers were very close in qualifying (a matter of 0.016 seconds, to be exact), with Buemi just out qualifying Alguersuari for fourteenth place. From then on, however, their races followed quite divergent paths. Buemi retired with about 24 laps left to run after an…eventful…race in which he managed to collide with de la Rosa, break his own front wing, be penalised for a pit lane infringement and then have a hydraulic problem. He needs some luck, and soon.

Give the lad a track he knows properly, eh? Alguersuari managed to haul himself up to tenth place by the end of the race, although it could have been even better for the Spaniard at a home race he described as a “mess” after a problem with a wheel nut at a pit stop and a drive-through penalty after a collision with Chandhok. Although he was frustrated by the fact it could have been even better, that’s not a bad feeling to be leaving a race with.

Badger’s best: Alguersuari


  • Qualifying: Kobayashi
  • Race: Kobayashi

A much better performance by Sauber this weekend, at far as it goes. While it’s a shame we don’t get to be so unremittingly nasty to them, they appear to have found some degree of pace in the car.

Kobayashi managed to get himself into Q3, starting tenth on the grid. Sadly, his race was a tale of two Renaults, although he did manage to finish for the first time this season, guiding the car home in twelfth. Going through turn three on the first lap he was hit by Robert Kubica and had a nice trip across the gravel, re-emerging in fifteenth, after which he was held up behind Petrov. That’s the problem with only having a few good performances, you really need to take advantage. At least it’s a step in the right direction.

In the sister Sauber, de la Rosa had to retire reasonably early in the race after qualifying twelfth, sustaining damage in a collision with Buemi’s Torro Rosso. A shame in his home race, so his twelfth in Australia remains his only race finish this season.

Badger’s best: Kobayashi


  • Qualifying: Trulli
  • Race: Trulli

After starting eighteenth and twentieth respectively, Trulli and Kovalainen would have been happy, having been close to a second faster than the lead Virgin of Timo Glock.

During the race, both had a fairly uneventful time of it, but for completely different reasons. Kovalainen, for his part, had a gearbox problem and didn’t even start. Trulli didn’t get much TV time (if any we can recall) and, while he would have been pleased to come home in seventeenth (well, as pleased as you can be), he complained afterwards of a “difficult” car to drive. Still a way behind the more established teams with a lot of work to do.

Badger’s best: Trulli


  • Qualifying: Glock
  • Race: Glock

Bang! Both cars home in one piece. Result! Even though they finished eighteenth and nineteen respectively, Glock and di Grassi were happy just to have got to that most mythical of places, the chequered flag.

After a stupid drop of five places for each driver after the team failed to inform the FIA of their gear ratios (does anyone else think it may have been because they didn’t know what they were themselves?), they ended up starting dead last. Remarkably, Glock claimed after the race that “Out of 66 laps, only 15 of them were in free air and the rest were full of blue flags”, which can’t have been fun for either driver and gives an insight into how tricky it must be for the lower teams. It’s not driving, it’s dodgems. That said, would the new teams have been any faster had they been given the first four races off though? Badger thinks not.

Badger’s best: Glock


  • Qualifying: Chandhok
  • Race: Chandhok

Chandhok qualified ahead of Senna and, thanks to the Virgin’s grid penalties, started twenty-first to his team mate’s twenty second.

During the race, Senna managed to make up a few places off the line but ended up having a rather embarrassing crash at turn four. Not particularly big or dangerous, just a little skirt across the gravel followed by a rather naff bosh into the tyre wall. He’s looking forward to Monaco though, so watch out everyone else.

Chandhok made it further in the race, tangling with Jaime Alguersuari along the way, but had to retire with suspension damage after twenty-seven laps. Disappointing for all the team not to finish at their home grand prix, but we still have a soft spot for them. Watch out Monaco, here they come!

Badger’s best: Chandhok

Driver of the weekend

Hamilton. Yes, we know Webber won the race and drove beautifully, but Hamilton unexpectedly split the Red Bulls and was looking in good shape until his accident. No consolation, we know, but Lewis takes home the coveted Hot Rod prize (well, he would if there were an actual prize, as it is he just gets our electronic respect). Just one thing though, get rid of the naff beard for us? Pretty please. We gave you a prize and everything. Go on…

We couldn't quite bring ourselves to bring you a picture with beard credit: Alex Comerford