Williams finally back from the brink in Barcelona as Maldonado drives to victory
After Saturday’s Q3 session, there were two very recognisable names in the top 3; Lewis Hamilton on pole and Fernando Alonso in third.
However there was a third name, a less well-known individual by the name of Pastor Maldonado, a Williams driver.
But it was Mr Maldonado that – following Lewis Hamilton’s enforced drop down the grid – took over at the head of the grid, drove steadily and calmly to execute a near pole to post victory.
He was beaten off the grid by the Ferrari man, but kept his head whilst others – notably Michael Schumacher following his crash with Bruno Senna – were losing their own.
Maldonado then outmanoeuvred Alonso in the second round of pit stops after the Spaniard was held up behind rookie Charles Pic.
The timing was perfect as it was highly-esteemed team owner Sir Frank Williams’ 70th birthday.
They are Formula One’s second-most successful constructor, but have not won a constructor’s championship since 1997 and have finally taken their place at the top of a rostrum once more, for the first time since 2004.
Lewis Hamilton managed to climb up from the back of the grid to secure himself a point in 8th place, trumping his team-mate Button who finished in 9th.
Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel was awarded a drive-through penalty that saw his race all but ruined, finishing 6th, whilst fellow double champion Fernando Alonso managed an excellent 2nd in his home Grand Prix.
Alas though, there is only one main story, and it is that of the old English manufacturer Williams, rich in history yet so long in the doldrums, so long also-rans, now race winners once more.
Both Maldonado and Alonso always looked like finishing first and second, but a great drive from Kimi Raikkonen saw him take the last place on the podium, showing just how competitive Lotus have become.
Unfortunately, Williams’ win was marred by a freak garage fire that injured nine of their staff, all of whom are thankfully expected to recover and we wish them well.
But even this will struggle to extinguish the boost in morale that this weekend will have given them.
With all this said, the question begs though; can Williams follow this similar path of improvement to eventual sustained competition?
Based on this race, you have to say it is a strong and pleasant possibility.