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An Exiting Formula 1 Weekend In Spain; For The Wrong Reasons

May 16, 2008
As the Formula 1 procession finally reached its first European leg, merchandise producers, sponsors and fans will have been extremely pleased with what was an extremely exciting weekend in Spain; sadly for the wrong reasons. Ferrari's premier driver, Kimi Raikkonen managed to convert his pole position into a race win in what can only be described as a race of attrition. The Finnish driver was the eighth consecutive driver to convert a pole to a win in Spain; seemingly the Circuit de Catalunya is a race that is predominantly won by those who achieve the best time in qualifying.

The Iceman, the name given to the machine-like driver from Finland managed to cope easily with two race car periods, shaking off any challenge from team-mate Felipe Massa and rival Lewis Hamilton. The weekend saw Ferrari dominate, much as they had expected to; a fact that team sponsors and merchandise suppliers will be happy about. Main rivals McLaren were not able to compete with the pace of the Ferrari cars in either qualifying or during the race, something that will be worrying McLaren's team boss, Ron Dennis.

McLaren sponsors, merchandise producers and fans will not be completely disheartened however; Lewis Hamilton, despite qualifying in fifth managed to convert this mediocre placing into a podium position at the end of the race. After two nightmare Formula 1 weekends for Hamilton in Malaysia and Bahrain, this return to form will be comforting, the question still remains however if the McLaren will be fast enough to match the pace of the seemingly unbeatable car from Modena. Currently the driver standings have Raikkonen leading the championship by nine points over rival Hamilton, as the procession moves on to Turkey, the British team will be undergoing further strategic changes to compete with Ferrari.

The major talking point of the weekend however was not the racing. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren's other driver experienced a malfunction at approximately one hundred and eighty miles and hour causing him to career into the tyre wall at an estimated one hundred and forty miles an hour. The driver's merchandise suppliers, sponsors and fans may have been worried that this huge crash could have ruined Heikki's season. Fortunately the excellent safety systems in his car undoubtedly saved his life. Despite being carried away on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital, reports state that he has been released after precautionary checks were made. Amazingly the modern Formula 1 driver can crash at almost 150 mph and endure nothing more than slight whiplash and a headache.

The crash naturally lead to the safety car being deployed as the clean up operation was commenced. This seriously affected Nick Heidfeld's race as he had only just taken the lead and as he had to pit while the safety car was still out. As a result, the penalty that he was forced to take meant losing what could have been a high placed finish. The German's fan base, sponsors and merchandise suppliers will have been somewhat upset by the development, so far this year he has put in some decent performances and currently stands fifth in the championship. But these things happen in Formula 1, Hamilton had experienced similar occurrences of misfortune in the past and seemingly this bad fortune is just passed around the Formula 1 teams.

After a race that will be remembered more for the crash of Kovalainen rather than an outstanding driving performance from Raikkonen, merchandise producers, team backers and sponsors will be hoping for more exemplary racing in Turkey. Despite being in a slower car, Hamilton arguably had the best race, it is clear that the effortless control of the Ferrari is paying dividends while the rest of the pack struggle to keep all four wheels on the track. In the heat of Turkey the Formula 1 fraternity will be hoping for more exciting racing, and a high level of driver skill.
About the Author
Motor sport expert Thomas Pretty looks into how Formula 1 merchandise producers, sponsors and fans will see the last race weekend in Spain.
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