The Williams Formula One team had an eventful day at the Spanish Grand Prix, what with Maldonado winning for the first time since 2004, Senna retiring after a crash with Schumacher, and then a fire breaking out in the Williams team garage after the race. Of course, for Williams team owner Frank Williams, the day was already a special day to start with as he celebrated his 70th birthday. He must have been very pleased to see his team win the Spanish leg of the 2012 Grand Prix on his birthday!
Frank Williams founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966. This team raced in Formula Two and Formula Three for a few years, before he bought a Brabham Formula One chassis which was driven by Piers Courage for the team in 1969. Soon after that, the Williams team tried their hand at building their own F1 car in 1972. In 1977 Frank Williams left the company and founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering, now known as WilliamsF1. It is expected that Frank will shortly step down from the board and take on the position of Team Principal, while his daughter Claire takes his place on the board.
One of the more amazing things about Frank Williams is that he has been confined to a wheelchair for more than 25 years, but he hasn't let it stop him racking up the achievements. A car accident in 1986 resulted in a spinal fracture and he became a quadriplegic. Since then he has been awarded a CBE in 1987, knighted in 1999, and made a Chevalier of France's Legion D'Honneur for his work with Renault engines.
Maldonado won the race for the Williams team in Barcelona, which must have gone some way to making up for the disappointment of Senna's retirement. The fire that followed the race sadly resulted in 16 injuries, although thankfully most were minor.
The other hot topic of the race was Lewis Hamilton's disappointment after the qualifiers. He finished in pole position but couldn't make it back to the pits with the requisite litre of fuel, so was penalised by being pushed back into last place. Despite that, he drove well and finished in 8th position, and he seems to be getting better at getting the most out of the car's Pirelli tyres as he managed a 31 lap run on hard tyres at the end of the race. I certainly found there was more excitement in this race than there has been lately!
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