ALONSO TAKES THE CHEQUERED FLAG IN AN AMAZING VALENCIA RACE

26 Jun

The Michael Report- 2012 FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE

AT ONE POINT in this race, the most exciting development in today’s European Grand Prix was a stray hat blowing onto the outskirts of the circuit; for twenty laps Vettel soared into a considerable 20 second lead, and the F1 cars processed round Valencia in the usual boring, monotonous style, as was expected of the heavily criticised circuit, but then it all changed…

After lap twenty, Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna collided which caused Senna to spin out- even learner drivers have to remember to use their mirrors! However, travelling at speeds in excess of 200 km/h, Senna can be excused because it was extremely difficult following an overtake and a large collection of cars closely behind; nevertheless a pit stop and a drive through penalty cost him time and position.

The excitement continued after Jean Eric Vergne’s erratic driving into the car of Heikki Kovaleinen led to punctured tyres and a lot of debris, and the safety car was deployed, ending Vettel’s massive lead, Vergne was later given a 10 place grid penalty for this. Hamilton underwent another abysmal pit stop as the safety car entered the race; when the proper racing re- started, Fernando Alonso, who had gained huge places from eleventh drove like lightning and overtook both first Romain Grosjean around the outside at turn 2 and then Sebastian Vettel when he retired.

The final incident involved Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado on the penultimate lap; as Hamilton’s tyres deteriorated, Maldonado tried to overtake after the DRS zone, but Hamilton stayed on the racing line, fairly, in my opinion, and Maldonado went completely off the circuit, but instead of driving into the run off area to rejoin the track, the Venezuelan collided into Hamilton, sending the car into the air, and Hamilton was NOT HAPPY- the F1 £35,000 dummy (steering wheel) was certainly thrown out the pram! Maldonado would later be given a 20 second penalty for this.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Ice Man Kimi Raikkönen took second place, and eighteen points, after a superb race, and Michael Schumacher took third place and fifteen points, earning himself his first podium since 2006, becoming the oldest podium driver since Jack Brabham in 1970!

Force India were very impressive this weekend, and Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta demonstrated impressive pace and impressive form; Hulkenberg took fifth place and ten points; Di Resta finished seventh, earning six points. Mark Webber stormed through from nineteenth up to fourth by the end of the race; he earned twelve points. Nico Rosberg received eight points in sixth; Jenson Button received a less than satisfactory eighth place and four points; Sergio Perez came ninth, and Senna picked up the final point for 10th.

What an exciting, and eventful race! Nobody could have envisioned the Valencia street circuit delivering actual action, and even the Race Stewards were kept awake! Kamui Kobayashi will be handed a five place grid penalty in Silverstone following a collision with Felipe Massa, leading to tyre damage and costing the Ferrari driver many places- he finished sixteenth. Jean Eric Vergne is also penalised with a 10 place penalty also for his collision.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Alonso’s 25 points allowed him to soar to the top of the Driver’s Championships; he now has 111 points, a comfortable 20 point buffer between Mark Webber, currently second with 91 points; Lewis Hamilton’s pointless race has meant that he is third, still with 88 points; Vettel is fourth with 85 points, and Nico Rosberg is now fifth with 75 points, with Raikkönen creeping closely behind with 73 points. A great leap now to seventh and eighth to Grosjean and Button, who have 53 and 49 points respectively.

Concerning Constructors, Red Bull still lead with 176 points, and McLaren follow with 137 points in second place. It is a tight contest lower down, as only four points separate Lotus and Ferrari, who have 126 and 122 points respectively. Mercedes are fifth with 97 points; Caterham came close to a point with Vitaly Petrov, but failed to do so by the chequered flag- they share last place with Marussia and HRT who are still to get off the mark.

The next race is the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in just two weeks time- don’t forget to keep following the F1F on Facebook, on Twitter and online as there is still plenty of analysis off the circuit, and expect live updates from Silverstone throughout the race weekend!

You may wish to edit the fact that Vergne now has a 10 place penalty, fine, and Maldonado’s time penalty.

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