Spain GP round-up: Hamilton, Button and more have their say

Pastor Maldonado

In this weekend's round-up, Lewis Hamilton says he's 'proud' of his comeback drive, Jenson Button is mystified by a lack of pace and both Red Bull drivers lament forced mid-race car nose changes.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton refused to let his exclusion from qualifying get him down as he battled from the back of the grid to eighth place in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The 2008 world champion showed that he can look after his tyres by doing a two-stop strategy while everybody else did three or in some cases four.

"I am proud of myself and the team," he said. "We did a good job to come all the way from the back.

Sir Frank Williams

"Someone told me that I was only the person on a two-stop, so I think that considering everyone keeps telling me that I am hard on tyres and how much smoother my team-mate is, I think that should show them.

"I just nursed them all the way through. It was like being back in the karting days. Sometimes I would turn up with my dad and that is something that we would have to do."

However, his race was not without incident with McLaren once again making an error during the pit stops which saw Hamilton hit a discarded tyre as he left the pits.

"The tyre was not cleared out the way on Lewis's second stop," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "It was frustrating but not a disaster.

"We had a new crew on but it is a challenge with a lot of people under pressure. But when we asked who wanted to be a gunman there was a long queue and that is a great indication of the morale in the team."

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button spent much of the weekend complaining about understeer and never really got to grips with the tyres as he limped home to ninth.

"I was just slow," admitted Button. "To work out why I was slow, that's a bit trickier. I'm normally good at looking after tyres so that's something I need to work on.

"I'm struggling with the car and but that's not an overnight fix which is worrying. I just can't find grip."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel hung on to his championship lead - although he now shares it with Fernando Alonso - with a gutsy drive to sixth, passing Button, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the closing stages of the race.

The German served a drive-through penalty for failing to sufficiently reduce his speed under yellow flags and was then forced to pit for a new nose which lost him more time.

"It was a hard day in the office," said the reigning world champion. "I'm not entirely happy. I think we could have been at least one position further up but we had a good recovery in the end.

"I didn't think I had damage with the nose but we decided to come in and change it. That cost us some time, but it was the right thing to do.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

"We found out that the front end of the wing was actually broken. I don't know why, I didn't hit anybody."

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber had to change his nose too in a frustrating race that saw him finish out of the points in 11th.

"It was an interesting race," said the Australian. "I don't know how I got damage on my front wing but I had to pit for a new nose.

"When you're out of position round here you have to look after your tyres and when you catch people, your tyres get killed.

"If you push you have to pit. It's the new way. It's good for the fans if they like it, but it makes it more challenging for us in different ways."

Lotus had another successful race with Kimi Raikkonen finishing third, one place ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean.

As a result, the Enstone-based team have closed the gap on constructors' championship leaders Red Bull to 25 points with Raikkonen climbing to fourth in the drivers' standings, 12 points behind joint leaders Vettel and Alonso.

"The result shows the team in the factory is doing a great job," said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. "It's fantastic to get two podiums in a row.

"We were not expecting to be in this position at the start of the season, but now we need to revise those expectations."

While Michael Schumacher suffered his third retirement in five races, his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg continued to pick up the points with seventh.

"That was a difficult day for us and a very strange race," said Rosberg.

"We didn't manage to find the right tyre management so I lost two positions towards the end of the race on my last stint which was 26 very long laps.

"The one positive thing is that I was able to defend my position against Lewis and keep seventh place, rather than eighth."

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