It certainly was – and in more ways than one.
In only his second season in Formula One, Pastor Maldonado – the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One race – secured the Williams F1 team’s first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix – and the first Williams-Renault win since the 1997 season – with a brilliant performance in Barcelona.
Team mate Bruno Senna’s race unfortunately ended early as he was forced to stop on track with damage sustained following an incident with Schumacher.
Said Mark Gillan, Williams’ Chief Operations Engineer after the race:
“What can I say – a massive result for the team and a stunning drive by Pastor. The whole race went well from start to finish with every team member playing a vital part in this victory. We will allow ourselves a bit of time to savour the win and then will refocus to concentrate our efforts on continuing to improve throughout the remainder of the season.
“Obviously it was disappointing that Bruno got taken out of the race by Michael but Bruno is looking forward to getting back into the car in Monaco.”
Predictably, Pastor Maldonado said it was an unbelievable feeling winning his first race:
“The car felt really consistent, was fantastic to drive and our pace was strong throughout. Alonso was chasing me hard but we looked after our tyres well and I managed to open the gap towards the end.
“The team has worked so hard all year and this win is for them. To be the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One race is a big honour and hopefully I will win more races in the future.”
Unfortunately, after the race a fire took hold in the team’s garage which originated from the fuel area. Four team personnel were injured in the incident and subsequently taken to the medical centre. Three are now receiving treatment at local hospitals for their injuries, while the fourth has been released. The team is monitoring their condition to ensure they receive the best possible care.
The team, the fire services and the police are working together to determine the root cause of the fire and an update statement will be released in due course, although it’s thought a KERS unit sparked the fire.