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Monday, May 14, 2012

Maldonado takes the Laurels in Spain

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012
     Image by Darren Heath

Williams had a fantastic result yesterday winning the Spanish GP on merit. There was no luck involved as Pastor Maldonado showed his true colours, bringing the Blue and Whites a long-awaited victory and a return to the dizzying heights of the top step of the podium. Frank Williams is a man who knows what that is like and I'm sure that he was spreading his wisdom throughout the team, advising them that this is only one result but that the car is capable of more and attempting to downplay the excitement while encouraging his team to celebrate the fantastic achievement which has seen them come back from the team's worst ever season in Formula 1 last year.

The unfortunate occurrence of a flash fire in the Williams Pit garage during the course of the celebrations dampened spirits to some degree but it was amazing to see all of the team personnel from around the pitlane, particularly Force India, Caterham, Toro Rosso, Marussia, and HRT rushing to the aid of the Williams crew to extinguish the fire before it could spread.

Frank got out safely and it would appear that nobody was seriously hurt with smoke inhalation being the primary concern.  One member of the Caterham team appears to have injured his hand.

The FIA released a statement which said:

Thirty-one team members were seen by Circuit Medical Centre staff and all have been released, with the exception of seven who were transferred to a variety of local hospitals where they are receiving treatment. 

Our thoughts are with all the brave guys involved.

In a related aside the incident has served to increase Maldonado's standing in my eyes and no doubt in many others also.  Not only did he win yesterday, making me feel like I'd completely underestimated him as a driver, but he also carried his cousin, wearing a cast on his right leg, out of the Williams garage when the flash fire broke out showing much about his character and his ability to think clearly under pressure.  Image tweeted by @Formula1_GP

Image by @formula1_GP

To take nothing away from the Team Williams victory I'm afraid this Blog must award Maldonado the combined title Driver of the Weekend/Hero.  All of the guys who participated in fighting the blaze get a combined bravery citation.  The question is being asked on every site and in every paper: Where were the fire crews?

Video footage of the Williams fire below.