Tag Archives: Valencia GP

Maldonado, Kobayashi and Vergne penalised for incidents

Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kamui Kobayashi have been punished by the race stewards for causing collisions during the European Grand Prix.

Maldonado was handed a 20-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Lewis Hamilton with two laps to go.

Pastor left the track in a battle with the position, but immediately returned to the track, and harpooned the McLaren into the tyre barriers. Because of the clash, he fell from 3rd to 10th. This penalty demotes him to 12th, and promotes teammate Senna into the final points-scoring position.

Jean-Eric Vergne clashed with Heikki Kovalainen, bringing out the safety car in the process. Despite the Frenchman classifying the crash as a “racing incident”, he was handed a 10-place grid penalty for Silverstone, and a $25,000 fine.

Kamui Kobayashi clipped Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and pushed him off the racing line. Massa was left with a puncture, and Kamui suffered front wing damage. He was handed a 5-place grid penalty for Silverstone.

Points standings after European Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Fernando Alonso 111
2 Mark Webber 91
3 Lewis Hamilton 88
4 Sebastian Vettel 85
5 Nico Rosberg 75
6 Kimi Raikkonen 73
7 Romain Grosjean 53
8 Jenson Button 49
9 Sergio Perez 39
10 Pastor Maldonado 30
11 Paul di Resta 27
12 Kamui Kobayashi 21
13 Michael Schumacher 17
14 Nico Hulkenberg 17
15 Bruno Senna 15
16 Felipe Massa  11
17 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
18 Daniel Ricciardo  2
19 Timo Glock  0
20 Charles Pic  0
21 Vitaly Petrov  0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 176
2 McLaren-Mercedes 137
3 Lotus-Renault 126
4 Ferrari 122
5 Mercedes AMG 92
6 Sauber-Ferrari 60
7 Williams-Renault 45
8 Force India-Mercedes 44
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10 Caterham-Renault 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0


Unstoppable Alonso takes emotional Valencia victory

Fernando Alonso has taken the victory in a dramatic European Grand Prix.

Despite starting 11th, the Ferrari driver blitzed his way up the field, and took full advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s woes to dominate to the flag. The Lotuses were in contention all race long, but Romain Grosjean retired with a mechanical issue, although Kimi Raikkonen inherited 2nd after a safety car period.

Michael Schumacher took his first podium since his F1 return, while Mark Webber sliced up the field from 19th to 4th. Lewis Hamilton was set for a podium finish, but clashed with Pastor Maldonado with only 2 laps to go. Here is what happened:

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

Vettel pulls out an unassailable lead

At the start, Vettel held his lead comfortably, while Kamui Kobayashi and Romain Grosjean made good progress. The Ferraris made good progress from the midfield, with both Massa and Alonso moving into the top 10.

While Grosjean harassed Hamilton for 2nd place, Vettel began to pull out an astonishing lead, at over 2 seconds per lap. Jenson Button lost 3 places at the start, but passed Michael Schumacher on lap 3 for 12th place.

It quickly became clear that the Mercedes drivers were struggling to keep their tyres cool. Both Rosberg and Schumacher began to slide down the order.

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

Grosjean pushes his way past Hamilton

By lap 10, Grosjean had had enough of staring at the McLaren’s diffuser. He pulled an incredible move on Lewis at turns 12 and 13, to take 2nd place.

Both the leader and Romain pitted on lap 17, the gap having been extended to over 15 seconds. Further back, Schumacher decided to stay out, and formed an enormous queue of cars behind him – at one point, there were 9 cars all battling for position.

This type of action was always going to end in tears. Kamui Kobayashi attempted to squeeze past Bruno Senna, but tipped the Williams into a spin. Senna suffered a puncture and broken front wing, while Kobayashi sustained minor damage. The stewards decided that Bruno was to blame for turning in on the Sauber, and handed him a drive-through penalty.

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Ricciardo and Kovalainen clash, sending out the safety car

Vettel’s lead had extended to over 20 seconds, when the first of several incidents unravelled his race. A clash between Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo brought out the safety car, and reduced the Red Bull’s lead to dust.

On the restart, an unknown car failure caused Sebastian to coast to a halt, throwing away what was an almost certain victory.

This left Grosjean in the lead, albeit briefly. Fernando made a sensational move on the Lotus into turn 1, and inherited the lead after the Red Bull’s retirement.

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

Senna is tipped into a high-speed spin by Kobayashi

To make matters worse, Romain was next to fall prey to mechanical issues, suffering a driveshaft failure.

Amidst all the drama, Vitaly Petrov had made progress up to 10th place in the Caterham. However, he was quickly swamped by Schumacher and Webber, and later clashed with the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo. He slipped to 13th, ahead of his teammate.

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

Maldonado harpoons Hamilton with 2 laps to go

As the race entered its final few laps, Kimi Raikkonen closed right up behind Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren’s tyres were swiftly falling apart, and an extremely slow pit stop during the safety car period had ruined his chances of the race win. With this, Kimi pushed his way past, and moved into 2nd place.

With his tyres fading fast, Hamilton was now a prime target for Pastor Maldonado. He took to the run-off area to make a move, but smashed into the side of Lewis’ car with only 2 laps to go. Hamilton was out on the spot, and was absolutely furious. Maldonado continued on with no front wing, but slipped to 10th position.

But, the drama still wasn’t over. Only a few laps after passing Petrov for 10th, Michael Schumacher had sliced 10 seconds out of the leaders’ gap, and blasted his way into 3rd place. Mark Webber had recovered brilliantly from his 19th grid spot to take 4th position.

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

It was probably the most emotional win ever for Alonso

Despite this, there was no stopping Fernando Alonso. After crossing the line, he pulled over in one of the most emotional and memorable celebrations in recent history. He stopped on track, celebrated with the fans and stewards, and laid a Spanish flag across the track.

He delayed the podium celebrations considerably, but nobody was complaining. With this win, Alonso has now streaked into the lead of the driver’s championship, and has considerable momentum going into the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Glock drops out of qualifying due to stomach bug

Timo Glock will not participate in qualifying for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Marussia driver has been complaining of a stomach since Friday, and has this morning been admitted to a hospital in Valencia for further treatment.

It is suspected that this stomach bug was caused by either food poisoning or some kind of infection.

If Glock wishes to take part in the race on Sunday, he will need to apply for permission from the race stewards.

A statement from Marussia reads as follows:

"Marussia F1 Team driver Timo Glock will not take part in this afternoon’s 
Qualifying session for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix for health reasons.

Timo has been fighting a stomach bug since Thursday. He felt well enough to 
take part in yesterday’s Free Practice sessions and had seemed to be improving. 
This morning, after Free Practice 3, he started to feel unwell again. It is clear 
that at this time, he is not sufficiently well to take part in a demanding 
Qualifying session and needs to recuperate further.

Timo and the Team will now seek further medical guidance this afternoon. Until such 
time as this guidance has been received, no decisions will be reached regarding 
tomorrow’s race. A further statement will be issued on Sunday morning."

Vettel on top in Valencia second practice

Sebastian Vettel reitered Red Bull’s fast pace this weekend, by topping second practice for the European Grand Prix.

Vettel, who has taken pole and the win in the last two races here, was lightly faster than the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna completed the top 5.

The usual suspects were unusually far down the grid, with Button and Hamilton 12th and 14th, Alonso and Massa 7th and 15th. The Lotuses didn’t show much raw pace in 8th and 11th.

Local driver Pedro de la Rosa was the only man to crash during the session. His HRT understeered at turn 14, and couldn’t stop hitting the barriers.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:39.334           33
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:39.465  +0.131   32
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:39.595  +0.261   20
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:39.601  +0.267   27
 5.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1:39.644  +0.310   34
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:39.700  +0.366   32
 7.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:39.733  +0.399   34
 8.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:39.868  +0.534   33
 9.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:39.901  +0.567   30
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:39.926  +0.592   32
11.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:39.945  +0.611   34
12.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.990  +0.656   33
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:40.075  +0.741   29
14.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:40.147  +0.813   25
15.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:40.244  +0.910   35
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:40.511  +1.177   29
17.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:40.963  +1.629   20
18.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.121  +1.787   32
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:41.197  +1.863   38
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.263  +1.929   29
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:42.424  +3.090   21
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:42.958  +3.624   30
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1:44.201  +4.867   33
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1:44.260  +4.926   12

Maldonado ahead in Valencia first practice

Pastor Maldonado was marginally fastest in first practice

Pastor Maldonado was marginally fastest in first practice

Pastor Maldonado gave an indicator of Williams’ returning pace, as he topped the timesheets for Friday Practice 1 in Valencia.

Both Red Bull drivers were within a tenth of Maldonado by the end of the session, with Sebastian Vettel pipping Mark Webber by 0.011 seconds.

The field was incredibly bunched up, even by 2012 standards, as the top 8 drivers were separated by 3 tenths of a second.

Jenson Button showed he may be getting on top of his tyre issues, finishing 4th, and only a tenth off Maldonado. Despite being tipped to shine this weekend, the Lotus drivers were 10th and 11th.

Heikki Kovalainen continued to make progress for Caterham, finishing ahead of both Toro Rossos and was only a tenth of Valtteri Bottas for Williams.

Pedro de la Rosa’s DRS jammed open during FP1, similarly to Michael Schumacher’s incident in Canada.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:40.890           22
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:40.973  +0.083   21
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:40.984  +0.094   19
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:40.994  +0.104   19
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:41.065  +0.175   26
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:41.105  +0.215   15
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:41.117  +0.227   22
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:41.158  +0.268   18
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:41.182  +0.292   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:41.620  +0.730   21
11.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:41.784  +0.894   15
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:41.838  +0.948   19
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:41.861  +0.971   16
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:42.109  +1.219   20
15.  Jules Bianchi         Force India-Mercedes  1:42.175  +1.285   21
16.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1:42.299  +1.409   24
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:42.442  +1.552   26
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:42.758  +1.868   26
19.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:42.777  +1.887   28
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:43.209  +2.319   19
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:44.173  +3.283   18
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:44.996  +4.106   15
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:45.120  +4.230   23
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:45.338  +4.448    7

Longer lasting medium tyre to be tested in Canada

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli’s revised medium compound tyre will be available for testing by the teams in Canada next weekend.

Friday Practice sessions 1 and 2 will see the first running of the medium tyre in 2011 (in an official session). This compound was originally tested in Valencia in February testing, but was dropped after complaints of heavy wear after a few laps.

In the actual race in Canada, Pirelli will bring the soft and super-softs. Valencia will see the debut of the medium tyre, alongside the super-soft. Britain will see the hard tyre used in Spain return, as well as the soft compound.

The objective of this new medium tyre is to keep the same performance as the original mediums, but with a longer life.

Compounds used so far in 2011 race-by race:

Option Prime
Australia Soft Hard
Malaysia Soft Hard
China Soft Hard
Turkey Soft Hard
Spain Soft Hard
Monaco Super-soft Soft
Valencia Super-soft Medium
Great Britain Soft Hard

Thoughts on the European Grand Prix

I remember, back in 2009, when the European Grand Prix weekend was approaching, I decided not to bother watching the race at all. Not even the highlights. I decided that even if the slightest bit of racing action occurred, then I would pick up on it later online, and I would therefore spare myself an hour and a half of monotonous racing. And I turned out to be right.

What a difference a year makes.

The 2010 European Grand Prix was one of my highlights so far this year, not entirely because of the exciting race itself, but because nearly every F1 fan -myself included – believed the race would be awful. I am delighted to say that we were all wrong, and for the first time Valencia gave us quite a good race.

Kamui Kobayashi's pace and last-gasp overtakes were the highlights of the race for me

Kamui Kobayashi's pace and last-gasp overtakes were the highlights of the race for me

When the paddock moved from Montreal to Valencia, the main thought was that since tyre degradation wasn’t a problem here, then the racing here would be nowhere near what we saw in Canada 2 weeks ago. This turned out to be wrong, as we realised that the 2010 rule changes, especially the refuelling ban, had fuelled the racing excitement today, and not tyres like we had (rather, hadn’t) expected.

Even in the first lap, I was surprised by the quality of racing we saw. Lewis Hamilton nearly took the lead, and damaged his car for being too optimistic. Mark Webber fell all over the place, dropping to 9th. Robert Kubica put in an early pass on Jenson Button for 5th. After this, on Lap 10, we saw what was easily the worst crash of the year, with Mark Webber backflipping his car and smashing into the barriers. It was a miracle that he walked away without injuries.

With this, the safety car was out, and strategies were made more complicated, another reason why we saw a more exciting race than we would have thought. This also gave an opportunity to Kamui Kobayashi, who had started 18th on the harder tyre, and could now jump up the field while everyone else pitted.

Once the safety car pitted, it emerged that even Jenson Button could not keep up with Kobayashi, as the Japanese driver was getting the most out of his risky strategy. From here until the end of the race, after Hamilton’s penalty, Kobayashi’s pace was a joy to watch, and showed us why he was signed up for 2010. It also proved that his Brazil and Abu Dhabi 2009 drivers were certainly no fluke.

Apart from this, there weren’t as many overtakes as we would have hoped, but it was certainly an improvement over the monotonous drone of 2008 and 2009.

Driver of the race – Kamui Kobayashi: Proved that when he is given the opportunity, he will always take it. He pulled off some great moves, at a track well-known for it’s difficulty to overtake on. Still a star for the future in my book.

Driver of the new teams – Karun Chandhok: This award isn’t how I wanted it to be, since practicallt every other driver for these 3 teams were taken out early, or held up the frontrunners whilst battling among themselves. This leaves only Chandhok and Senna as the drivers who drove a clean race, and since Karun was ahead of Bruno, he gets the award for this race.

Best rookie – Kamui Kobayashi: Call me opportunistic, but in my opinion he’s still a rookie until the final few races. Like I said, a risky strategy paid off for him, and a fantastic overtake on Alonso at the end was the icing on the cake.

Best team – Sauber: This award is intended for the team that performs above its potential, or was clever in its strategies. Sauber certainly did that, and if it wasn’t for the 5-second time penalties after the race, it would have been a double-points finish for the struggling team.

Least impressive – Fernando Alonso: I’m going to get a lot of stick for this. Yes, he was massively hindered by the safety car, and I took that into account. But, he really should have put some effort into passing Sebastien Buemi and the others, rather than moan about it after the race. That doesn’t get you extra points.

European Grand Prix stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel took his 7th Grand Prix win of his career in the European Grand Prix today. Here are more stats and facts from today’s race:

  • His 7th Grand Prix win puts Vettel in joint 34th place overall, alongside Juan Pablo Montoya and Rene Arnoux, and ahead of drivers like Ralf Schumacher and Gilles Villeneuve.
  • This was Red Bull’s 10th constructor’s win, putting them level with Alfa Romeo, and ahead of Mercedes, although they have only been competing in F1 for 3 years total.
  • Also, it was Vettel’s 10th pole position, ahead of John Surtees and Ricardo Patrese.
  • Vettel became only the third driver to win from pole this year, alongside Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.
  • Amazingly, this is only Jenson Button’s 3rd fastest lap of his career. The other two were in Malaysia and Turkey 2009. This puts him only 1 behind Sebastian Vettel.
  • This is the 13th race that Red Bull have had a car on the front row after qualifying.
  • I found this one out today – Jenson Button hasn’t started on the front row since Turkey 2009.
  • If you believe in it, this would be Lotus’ 500th race, although you could argue it was only their 9th.
  • With their 1993-2005, 2006-2009 seasons included, Kamui Kobayashi got Sauber above the 500 points mark today. They now have 501.
  • This is the first time that the safety car has been deployed in Valencia.
  • Michael Schumacher’s finish of 15th is the worst of his entire career. Amazingly though, it is only the 9th time in his entire career that he has been classified in a race outside the points.
  • After Mark Webber’s retirement, now no driver has scored points in every race this year.
  • Robert Kubica is now the only driver in the field to have completed every single lap this year.

If you know any more, leave a comment.

European Grand Prix in pictures

Sebastian Vettel won the European Grand Prix today, after a very exciting race. Here are the pictures from today:

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