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Red Bull's Mark Webber won his first race of the season in Barcelona as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton lost second place in a dramatic finish

Red Bull's Mark Webber won his first race of the season in Barcelona as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton lost second place in a dramatic finish

Red Bull's Mark Webber won his first race of the season in Barcelona as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton lost second place in a dramatic finish

Mark Webber underlined Red Bull Racing's dominance at the Spanish Grand Prix by cruising to his first Formula One win of the season.

They could not follow up Saturday's one-two in qualifying with a similar result in the race at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya as Sebastian Vettel could only manage third after a delay in his first pit stop and late brake failure, but first and third was a good weekend's work.

In celebration of his lights-to-flag win, Webber removed his helmet — normally so precious to a driver as it is a very personal item — and threw it into the crowd.

It was not a token gesture either, with Red Bull looking to hunt down that fan and demand the helmet is returned for Webber's future use.

As Webber immediately put it in succinct Australian terms, and before he was later doused with champagne in the paddock: “I'm rapt.

“It was a special win and a special day for me. We had a faultless grand prix weekend,” said the 33-year-old Australian.

“Unfortunately I can't get too drunk tonight because we're at the track again on Wednesday (for the Monaco Grand Prix).

“But I'm very happy and very satisfied because I started on pole, controlled the race, and they're the ones that are very special to have. They don't always happen like that.

“I had said to some people that when I win a race this year I'll do something different.

“So it was nice to throw my helmet into the crowd, to give the fans a gift because they don't always get the best treatment in Formula One.”

It was the first time this season a driver had won from pole, and the 10th successive race at this circuit that the driver at the front of the grid had taken the chequered flag.

But then it was never going to be a classic, not at a track where three of the previous five grands prix had delivered just two overtaking manoeuvres.

There was none of Formula One's magic ingredient — rain — to spice up the show on this occasion, as had been the case in the last three races in Australia, Malaysia and China.

Instead, there were only two major incidents, both involving Lewis Hamilton, from one of which he emerged a winner, the other a definite loser.

Hamilton initially grabbed second place from Vettel at the pit stop, hair-raisingly so after they diced their way around Virgin Racing's Lucas di Grassi at turn one when the 25-year-old Briton returned to the track.

But then on the penultimate lap, with Hamilton set to comfortably finish as runner-up to Webber, his McLaren suffered a failure to the tyre rim and subsequent puncture robbing him of 18 points.

Hamilton was philosophical afterwards.

“I was going round turn three, something failed on the left front and then the tyre blew up,” said Hamilton.

“It's like the fourth or fifth tyre I've had blow up in my Formula One career.

“I'm a little bit unlucky because we had a great race, getting from third to second and splitting the Red Bulls was a positive step for us.

“I feel like I earned the position, but these things happen. That's motor racing.”

In front of his home crowd, Fernando Alonso was the key beneficiary as the Ferrari star moved up to second, stepping on to the podium for the first time since his win in Bahrain at the start of the season. A few laps earlier Vettel's brake problem forced him into a second pit stop and promoted Alonso to third.

Michael Schumacher was fourth for Mercedes, his highest placing of the year.

Belfast Telegraph