Pastor Maldonado held off Fernando Alonso to win the Spanish Grand Prix today and give Williams its first Formula One victory in eight years.
Maldonado,starting from pole position,held his nerve as he withstood the challenge of Ferrari’s Spanish driver to take the 66-lap race at the Catalunya Circuit by 3.1 seconds and give F1 its fifth different race winner of an unpredictable season.
Maldonado become the sport’s first Venezuelan winner,while Williams’ 114th triumph was its first since the 2004 Brazilian GP.
“It’s a wonderful day for me and the team. An unforgettable race,” said Maldonado,who was hoisted onto the shoulders of Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen before being doused in champagne on his first visit to the podium.
“It was a tough race,with the strategy and a couple of laps we were struggling. But the car was so competitive from the first lap.”
Raikkonen made up nearly 20 seconds over the final stretch to finish 3.8 seconds behind Maldonado in third,ahead of Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean.
Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber was fifth,ahead of two-time defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel,who charged past Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to take sixth and maintain a share of the overall F1 points lead.
The Red Bull driver,who was given a drive-through penalty during the race,shares 61 points at the top of the driver standings with Alonso through five races. It is F1’s most varied start since 1983,when five different drivers also opened the season with victories.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was seventh and Lewis Hamilton,demoted from pole to last place in the 24-car field because of a rule breach,finished eighth for McLaren.
Hamilton finished ahead of teammate Jenson Button with Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg in 10th.