MAY 13, 2012
Frank delighted with first Williams win since 2004
Pastor Maldonado's magnificent win from an inherited pole position in Spain comes seven and a half years after Juan Pablo Montoya scored the last Williams victory at Interlagos in 2004.
And, for the historians, the last time there were five different winners in the first five grands prix of a season was 1983. Nelson Piquet, John Watson, Alain Prost and Patrick Tambay won the first four. The fifth? Keke Rosberg on May 15 at Monaco in a Williams.
Fittingly, when Maldonado won on May 13 some 29 years on in Barcelona, Sir Frank had his entire family on hand for a belated 70th birthday celebration (the day was April 16). Tony Dodgins caught up with him right after the race and asked if he ever dreamt it would end the way it did.
Q: Have you taken it in?
I'm still trying to believe it's happened and I'm delighted for everybody who has supported us.
Q: Was it a nervous afternoon, were you covering your eyes?
Not at all. After about halfway, even before that, I wasn't worrying. You don't even think about reliability anymore. With these cars you just take it for granted. They're like London buses, with no ticket collectors!
Q: How impressed were you by Pastor's drive?
Hugely. I didn't see him make a single mistake. His lap times were like a straight line, really good. There were no histrionics, no screaming on the radio, nothing.
Q: And if there's one guy you don't want in your mirrors trying to win your first GP, it's probably Fernando Alonso?
Absolutely! I just sent a long message to out patron saint, St Francis, telling him what a wicked man Alonso was, and could he help us.
Q: Have you been in touch with Patrick Head?
I forwarded him a long message on Saturday night about this and this and this, but he was quite relaxed and he obviously knows the car's pretty reliable. I think he felt that the guys in the pitlane - he didn't mention me by the way! - are doing a very good job.
Q: One of your rival team principals said you must think it's your birthday every day to have a driver who can bring backing like that as well as put it on pole and win?
It is, I can't believe it! Can't believe it...
Q: Have you seen a season as unpredictable as this one?
Probably not. Unpredictable for all the right reasons too; all the different winners and not accidents or fights like in the past. Good for the sport and good for business!