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Williams driver Pastor Maldonado celebrates his victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. (Andres Kudacki/AP)
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado celebrates his victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. (Andres Kudacki/AP)

Motorsports

Maldonado scores first F1 victory for Williams in almost a decade Add to ...

So far this year, Alonso has outscored his teammate Felipe Massa by a massive margin of 61 to two.

With Ferrari seemingly getting things back on track, Alonso should get tougher as the summer begins and maybe give Ferrari fans some hope that the team can even salvage a title out of what promised to be a difficult season.

The same cannot be said for those rooting for seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who continues to look ordinary at best in the Mercedes, especially compared to his younger and faster teammate Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg has also embarrassed his teammate in points, taking 41 markers to Schumacher's two. Unfortunately, Schumacher needed no help from his teammate to look foolish in Spain after he ran into the back of the Williams of Bruno Senna at the end of the start-finish straight on lap 12.

Both cars retired from the race due to the damage, and Schumacher was handed a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco for his actions.

Best excuse ever?

When Lewis Hamilton was excluded from qualifying for running out of gas after taking pole in Spain, his McLaren team came up with what can only be described as a creative defence. The driver stopped on track after his fast lap due to low fuel, which is against the rules.

The team appealed the stewards' ruling, arguing that a force majeure had taken place.

Usually, force majeure applies to extraordinary events out of the control of the driver, team, or even the sport. For example, it could apply if Hamilton were involved in an accident on his in-lap and his fuel tank was ruptured.

So, what was McLaren's force majeure argument? Essentially, a mechanic didn't put the right amount of gas in the car, which meant Hamilton had to stop to ensure there would be enough in the tanks for the required post-qualifying tests.

Strangely, the stewards rejected the appeal, and Hamilton started from the back of the grid.

Motorsport loses legend Carroll Shelby

The racing world lost a giant last Friday when one of the most influential figures in North American motorsport, Carroll Shelby, passed away in Dallas, Tex. He was 89.

After beginning a relationship with Ford in the early 1960s, Shelby's name became synonymous with speed and style for almost 50 years. He first developed Shelby Cobras for Ford and later moved to Chrysler, where several Dodge Shelby derivatives were created. At Chrysler, he worked with the executive who originally hooked him up with the Mustang, Lee Iacocca.

While many know Shelby as a car design guru, he also had a fine racing career to go along with his engineering skills. He raced for Maserati and Aston Martin in Formula One in the late 1950s and won the famed 24-Hours of Le Mans in 1959. A heart condition forced him to retire soon after that win.

Once out of the driver's seat, Shelby the engineer transformed racing with his cars, especially the original Cobra, which gave the U.S. a contender that could beat the established European models that dominated motorsport at the time. His Shelby American Ford GT40s won at Le Mans in 1966 and 1967.

His final contribution to automotive manufacturing was working on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500.

Overall, it's not too bad a record for a guy who couldn't cut it as a chicken farmer.

Hendrick takes No. 200

Hendrick Motorsport became only the second NASCAR team to record 200 wins when Jimmie Johnson took the chequered flag at Darlington on Saturday night. The team joins Richard Petty Enterprises in the 200 club. Petty has 268 victories. Roush Fenway Racing is third overall, at 127 wins.

The historic 200th win came seven months after the team notched up No. 199, which happened last October when Johnson took the victory in the Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway.

Rick Hendrick founded his NASCAR team, first called All-Star Racing, in 1984. The one-car team scored its maiden win at Martinsville Speedway on April 29, 1984, with Jeff Bodine at the wheel. Renamed Hendrick Motorsports a year later, it has gone on to win 10 championships, five by Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), four by Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001) and one by Terry Labonte (1996).

Gordon and Johnson account for almost three-quarters of the team's triumphs, with 141 wins between them. Gordon has 85, while the Darlington victory was the 56th for Johnson.

For more from Jeff Pappone, go to facebook.com/jeffpappone (No login required!)

Twitter: @jpappone

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