Posted by Matthew Mac Partlin on Monday, May 14, 2012

The Spanish Grand Prix was held at the weekend and it was a drama filled event, from qualifying to an hour and half after the podium presentation. Hamilton's relegation to the rear of the grid promoted Pastor Maldonado from his impressive second place to his first pole position. He then backed it up with a confident sensible drive into the Turn 1, losing out to Fernando Alonso, only to regain the lead with solid driving and clever pit strategy (despite trouble with a left rear wheel). He then held off Alonso for the final 11 laps to take the chequered flag and put Williams back on the top step of the podium after 8 years.

Hamilton also had left rear issues when his  car appeared to jump on a wheel jack in his garage. This came during a great drive from last to finish 8th overall. Meanwhile Vettel was showered with bits of Michael Schumacher's and Bruno Senna's cars as the came together at Turn 1 mid-way through the race. And Kimi Raikonen smiled (here's the photo).

The drama continued after the race as 90 minutes after the podium presentation, just as the Williams team were taking their team photo in front of their garage, a fire took hold around Senna's car. The garage was evacuated and nearby mechanics from the other teams helped to put out the fire. Bob Fearnley, deputy team principal of Force India, let loose on the Spanish organisers and emergency officials, accusing them of being "incompetent" and lacking training - harsh words (Read them here). An FIA statement indicates that 31 people were injured, with 7 hospitalised, 1 with serious burns.

It's not clear what emergency services were still operational at that time. Most officials clear out pretty soon after the event finishes, though a skeleton staff may remain at the medical centre (I'll have to dig out a minute-to-minute guide to see what was time-tabled for Melbourne). There is an investigation underway and it will be interesting to see the findings and any recommendations that may come of it and whether in 2013 rescue officials will be required to stick around longer than in previous years.