Did someone say Valencia is boring? Home favourite Fernando Alonso flew home from 11th on the grid to win the European GP from Kimi Raikkonen. It was an action packed race, with Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull building up a stunning lead before a safety car wiped that out and put Romain Grosjean’s Lotus right behind him.
However, Alonso had something different in mind and jumped Grosjean at the re-start with a very committed pass into turn 2. Vettel’s lead had disappeared with the safety car, but it got worse after the safety car released them to race, Vettel’s car deciding it had had enough and he stopped on track to give Alonso the lead.
Grosjean tried to chase Alonso down and was holding station well until he lost power with a faulty alternator and had to park it, but nicely finding a spot on the track that didn’t call out another safety car. Raikkonen eventually got past Hamilton to try and hunt down Alonso but it was far too late at this point.
Hamilton was having a good day until the final few laps when his tyres were shot, easily passed by Raikkonen and Maldonado caught him quickly. This led to Maldonado attempting a clumsy pass, going off track then slamming back into the side of the McLaren and putting Hamilton into the barriers.
Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber were scything through the field after starting fairly far back but switching from one-stop strategies showed great results. Hamilton and Maldonado’s issue allowed Schumacher to come through for his first podium finish since he made his come-back to F1. Webber was obviously delighted with finishing 4th after starting 19th.
Force India had a day to remember after finishing 5th (Hulkenberg) and 7th (Di Resta). They showed it was possible to one-stop but Rosberg (6th) caught Di Resta from a long way back showing it may have been better to go for the new rubber. Button had a day to forget but somehow finished in 8th after struggling with the tyres on his McLaren.
Sergio Perez managed to grab some points for Sauber in 9th after a largely uneventful race, followed by Maldonado who may lose the position to his team-mate Senna in 11th as he finished the last lap and a half without a front wing. Daniel Ricciardo somehow finished in 12th after having a coming together with Petrov and launching into the air.
The Caterhams came home together, Petrov leading his team-mate Kovalainen for 13th and 14th. Charles Pic (15th) managed to get his Marussia around quicker than Massa in his Ferrari who spent a lot of time in the pits today. The HRT’s completed the field at the back even though they seem to have made big gains since they started the season.
There were a good amount of retirements today along with Grosjean and Vettel. Kobayashi retiring after trying to get into a gap that wasn’t a gap behind Bruno Senna and having his front wing ripped off. Vergne after a stupid attempt to push Kovalainen across the track which led to them hitting wheels, both getting punctures and called out the safety car. Timo Glock didn’t take part in the race due to an intestinal infection.
So if your a Spaniard and your name is Alonso then get the lottery on today as this weekend is covered by that name. Xabi Alonso with a brace to put Spain into the Semi-Finals of Euro 2012 and Fernando Alonso with a sublime drive to win the European GP.
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