Vettel wins dramatic race in Valencia


Sebastian Vettel took his second victory of the season in a dramatic European Grand Prix in Valencia. Lewis Hamilton put in a brave fight for McLaren with second position and even a drive-though penalty for overtaking the safety car was unable to affect his determination to beat the Red Bull. Team-mate Jenson Button finished in third but he is one of nine drivers to be investigated by the race stewards during the safety car period.

As for Mark Webber, this was a race to forget. The Australian made a poor start and was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and both Ferraris into the Turn 2. At the end of the opening lap, the Red Bull was down in ninth while team-mate Vettel was resisting the pressure from Hamilton at the front.

Hamilton’s run off the line was so good he was able to get partially alongside Vettel into Turn 2, where firm contact was made, sending the Red Bull slightly sideways and taking a chunk from the McLaren’s front wing, though both continued ahead of Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Button.

Unable to make progress around the twisty street circuit, Webber made an early pitstop at the end of lap seven, where he lost a few more seconds as his left-front wheel proved stubborn.

That lost time put the Australian behind Heikki Kovalainen and as he tried to pass the Lotus three laps later he went flying over the back of the car on the fast approach to the Turn 17 hairpin.

The Red Bull wiped out an advertising board hanging over the track before landing upside down, rolling back onto its wheels and ploughing into the tyre barriers – though remarkably Mark climbed out unscathed.

With the safety car called, most drivers from fifth-placed Button back immediately dived into the pitlane, while the top four continued. Vettel was already past the pit exit by the time the safety car emerged, but for Hamilton he was not so fortunate. After a moment’s hesitation, he accelerated past but having passed the relevant safety car line across the track, that meant the McLaren would later be penalised for overtaking the safety car.

Vettel and Hamilton were therefore able to rejoin first and second, while the Scuderias were caught behind the safety car and fell down to P10 and P17 – leaving the team furious.

Fortunately for Hamilton, Sauber decided not to call in Kamui Kobayashi under the yellow and he jumped up to third. So while the top two charged clear at the restart – which saw Vettel hold the line despite outbraking himself and sliding through the final corner – the Sauber bottled up the rest of the pack. By the time race control awarded Hamilton his drive-through penalty, he had enough of a gap over Kobayashi to take the penalty without losing a position. A remarkable job.

Hamilton started carving into Vettel’s lead setting purple sector times around the Valencia street circuit. His progress was superb although the Virgin of Timo Glock and Bruno Senna’s Hispania held him up momentarily. The pair were fighting over track position and shortly afterwards making contact. But Vettel had the advantage and was able to resist Hamilton’s charge with a new fastest lap five laps from the chequered flag.

Kobayashi kept Button and the rest at bay until finally making a single pitstop on lap 53, which handed McLaren its second podium position, ahead of Rubens Barrichello, Renault’s Robert Kubica and the Force India of Adrian Sutil.

The frustrated Alonso spent the final laps all over Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso but ended up losing eighth to Kobayashi as the Sauber rejoined on its fresh Bridgestone and dived past the double world champion with a lap to go. Kobayashi then chased down Buemi too and grabbed seventh at the very last corner.

But these positions may yet be subject to change, with the race stewards set to investigate whether Button, the Williams, the Renaults, the Force Indias, Buemi and Pedro de la Rosa exceeded the permitted speed on their way back to the pits under yellow.

After several hours following the chequered flag, the race stewards penalised Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Hulkenberg, Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Pedro de la Rosa and Vitantonio Liuzzi with five seconds penalties for exceeding the safety car-in lap time.

The penalties mean Fernando Alonso is elevated from ninth to eighth, as he overtakes Buemi, and Nico Rosberg gets the final point from Pedro de la Rosa, tenth in the race.

As for the Silver Arrows, this was a nightmare weekend. Nico Rosberg lost so much ground on the opening lap and by the end, he was classified in a disappointing P12. As for team-mate Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion suffered from a bad strategy call during the caution period and ending up P16 after multiple pitstops.

So Germany takes top honours ahead of the England in Valencia. An omen to the World Cup match taking place in South Africa?

Race results from Valencia, 57 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h40:29.571
2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +5.042
3.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +12.658
4.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +25.627
5.  Kubica        Renault                    +27.122
6.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +30.168
7.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +30.965
8.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +32.809
9.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +36.299
10. Rosberg       Mercedes                   +44.382
11. Massa         Ferrari                    +46.621
12. De la Rosa    Sauber-Ferrari             +47.414
13. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +48.239
14. Petrov        Renault                    +48.287
15. Schumacher    Mercedes                   +48.826
16. Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes       +50.890
17. Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth            +1 lap
18. Chandhok      HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
19. Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
20. Senna         HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
21. Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth             +4 laps

Fastest lap: Button, 1:38.766

Not classified/retirements:
Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth            50 laps
Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth               9 laps
Webber        Red Bull-Renault             9 laps

World Championship standings, round 9:

1.  Hamilton     127
2.  Button       121
3.  Vettel       115
4.  Webber       103
5.  Alonso        98
6.  Kubica        83
7.  Rosberg       75
8.  Massa         67
9.  Schumacher    34
10.  Sutil         31
11.  Barrichello   19
12.  Liuzzi        12
13.  Buemi          9
14.  Kobayashi      7
15.  Petrov         6
16.  Alguersuari    3
17.  Hulkenberg     1

1.  McLaren-Mercedes          248
2.  Red Bull-Renault          218
3.  Ferrari                   165
4.  Mercedes                  109
5.  Renault                    89
6.  Force India-Mercedes       43
7.  Williams-Cosworth          20
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         10
9.  Sauber-Ferrari              7

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. July 9-11.

21 thoughts to “Vettel wins dramatic race in Valencia”

  1. European Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel was quite relieved to hear that his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber escaped unhurt following his horrible crash. has the details.

    Winner Sebastian Vettel said the most significant outcome of the European Grand Prix was that his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was unhurt in his violent crash.

    Webber’s car was launched into the air after hitting the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, and landed upside down before righting itself and sliding into the tyres at high speed.

    “Most important today is the fact that Mark had quite a big shunt and the fact he is fine,” said Vettel, who led the race throughout. “It shows the cars are safer and safer but shows there is still a risk.

    “Seeing the pictures, the most important fact is that Mark is fine. For some people they miss the attraction and they say this time in F1 compared to 30 years back is boring and nothing happens, but on days like this you get reminded that the speeds are high and when things go wrong they can go spectacularly wrong.”

    Vettel had a relatively uneventful race at the front, apart from minor contact with Lewis Hamilton at the first corner, from which both escaped damage.

    “Braking for Turn 1 I had no reason to do anything stupid, I saw Lewis was quite late on the brakes, tried to give as much room as I could,” said Vettel. “Once you set your brakinng point you can’t relax, it was getting quite close, there wasn’t much I could do to go further on the left.

    “I thought we touched, I felt the hit but couple of corners I felt there was nothing wrong with the car. I thought he hit the inside kerb a bit and maybe got a jump. It was closer than I expected, closer than I wanted, but after that I was very happy with the car, able to pull away, and managed a very good gap at the time.”

    He relieved that he did not lose his lead when the safety car came out for Webber’s accident, as the pace car did not emerge from the pits until after he had passed, so he was able to stay up front even though both of the field pitted a lap earlier.

    “I was a bit afraid when I saw the SC boards on the main straight because obviously 20 seconds earlier and not able to react, I didn’t know where the guys were behind me,” Vettel said.

    “I thought maybe they could get a stop for free but it worked out pretty well and we managed the situation very well.”

    Vettel then had a further scare when he ran wide at the restart, but he fended off Hamilton and then gained a clear lead once the McLaren was penalised for its safety car infringement.

    “The restart was tough,” said Vettel. “I had big lock up and was trying to defend and was probably a bit too late. I had a bit of a front right flat spot after that but when I knew Lewis had a drivethrough then I adjusted the pace and tried to bring the car home.”

  2. Mark Webber walked away from a spectacular accident in the European Grand Prix on Sunday, after being launched into the air over the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus.

    The Australian had made a poor start from the front row of the grid and had slipped down to ninth in the early stages of the race, before deciding to make an early stop for tyres.

    As he recovered through the field, he got into the slipstream of Kovalainen’s Lotus on the long run up to Turn 12.

    Kovalainen appeared to brake earlier than Webber had been expecting and the Red Bull Racing driver struck the right rear wheel of his Lotus rival.

    Webber’s car was launched into the air, striking an advertising hoarding and rolling over, before skidding on its wheels at high speed into the barriers.

    “I was defending and I think he ran into me,” Kovalainen told his team on the radio.

    The Australian immediately threw his steering wheel out of the car and climbed out, before being taken away in the medical car. He appeared to have suffered no injuries.

    Mark Webber refused to blame Heikki Kovalainen for his massive accident during the European Grand Prix on Sunday.

    The Red Bull driver crashed into the back of Kovalainen as he attempted to overtake the Lotus following his pitstop.

    Webber’s car clipped the Lotus’s right rear tyre and took off at high speed, before rolling and slamming into the tyre barriers.

    The Australian, unhurt despite the massive impact, said it was hard to apportion blame.

    “Well, it always takes two to tango, doesn’t it? There’s two of us in this incident,” Webber told the BBC.

    “I’ve driven slow cars – I’ve been at the back – and obviously when someone comes up with those kind of closing distances to be down the inside, bouncing off the limiter and carrying on like it is going to …

    “I mean how long is that [staying ahead] going to last for? It’s going to last another 15 seconds so is it worth it?”

    He added: “I was looking for the best tow to get the job done and pass him and he was playing quite hard as well down the inside, blocking all of a sudden very aggressively.

    “In the end the thing that surprised me was how early he braked, that’s the thing which caught me out. It didn’t matter where I was or how close to the tow, I still had everything under control.”

    Webber said he was surprised by how early Kovalainen needed to brake with his car.

    “It was a nasty incident. Clearly I was surprised by what was happening on the run down to that corner. To start with I thought ‘OK, he’s releasing me’ – letting me go – because obviously the pace difference is massive and then he [Kovalainen] started closing the door and he’s having these small movements and I thought ‘where’s he going?’

    “Yeah, he braked, or lifted or whatever, and it turns out it’s about 80 metres before I braked for the previous lap so I mean it’s a different category to what had happened the previous few laps.”


  3. Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen believes the Red Bull driver was caught out under braking. has the details from the Finn’s view.

    Heikki Kovalainen believes Mark Webber was taken by surprise by the Lotus’ early braking point in the Australian’s frightening accident in the European Grand Prix.

    Webber was launched over the back of Kovalainen’s Lotus as he tried to make up ground after first lap delays and an early pitstop. The Red Bull landed upside down, rolled on the ground and then slammed into the barriers, but Webber was unhurt.

    “I’m fine and I’m very happy that Mark is fine as well,” Kovalainen told the BBC. “It shouldn’t have happened, but it did.

    “I think Mark was surprised how early I had to brake for that corner.

    “He was behind me, I was defending because I was racing him and I always want to defend, but then I think he was not sure which way to go and at that moment I hit the brakes and he had no chance to react. I think that’s what happened.”

    Kovalainen denied that the incident showed the speed differential between the frontrunners and the new teams is too great.

    “I don’t think it’s an issue, we should be good enough to deal with that,” he said.

    “We need to look at the telemetry, look at everything, to see if we can learn anything from that. It was a big accident and luckily he didn’t get hurt. We need to look at it.

    “But I think this year with the difference between where we are and the top cars, I’ve never felt that it’s too much or that I cannot handle the situation.”

  4. Even though Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second, the McLaren star still heads the drivers’ standings. has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton was delighted to stay on top of the championship standings after finishing in second place in the European Grand Prix.

    The Briton had to serve a penalty for overtaking the safety car, but even so managed to finish as runner-up behind Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel.

    The result allowed Hamilton keep his championship lead, six points ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, third today.

    “I think it is just very, very positive to be leading the world championships,” said Hamilton. “Both myself and Jenson we have been working so hard all year and the results show the effort that everyone is putting in.

    “It’s great getting the results we deserve. Hopefully we can close the gap on Red Bull and hopefully really challenge them.”

    Hamilton, who was given a drive-through penalty, said he was unsure about what had happened with the safety car.

    “I don’t really know. As I was coming around Turn 1 I saw the safety car line. I saw the safety car was alongside me and I thought I had passed it so I continued and that was it,” he said.

    The Briton damaged his front wing at the start of the race, when he made contact with Vettel on the first corner.

    Despite that, he continued to push and was closer to Vettel before the penalty.

    “I was clearly passed Mark so I didn’t see where he was. I came through Turn 1 and I was very close to Seb, and saw the gap available and went for it. I outbraked him and we went into the corner at the same pace.

    “I was halfway down the inside. He gave me room but we touched and broke my front wing. I came in with the safety car and team did a great job to change the wing and tyres. After that the pace was much stronger, I was able to push him, but it was impossible to pass at this track when the cars are within one second, even with the F-duct.”

  5. For Fernando Alonso, this was a frustrating race for the home crowd favourite. The Ferrari driver believes the result of the European Grand Prix was ‘manipulated’. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso was heavily critical of the race stewards of the European Grand Prix, saying the race had been manipulated.

    The Spanish driver finished in a distant ninth position after losing out during the safety car period following Mark Webber’s crash.

    Alonso was running in third at the time, right behind McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton overtook the safety car and went on to finish in second.

    Hamilton earned a drive-through penalty for his action, but the Briton kept second place while Alonso dropped out of the point-scoring positions for having respected the rules.

    The Ferrari driver was angry at the stewards’ decision, saying the race had been manipulated by it.

    “It’s a shame, not for us because this is racing, but for all the fans who came here to watch a manipulated race,” he told Spanish television after the race.

    “We were running well, in third after a good start. Then the safety car came out, which wasn’t too good for us, but Hamilton overtook the safety car, something that I had never seen, overtaking the medical car with yellow flags. We were a meter off each other, and he finished second and I finished ninth.

    “This race was to finish second. Then with the safety car I would have finished where I finished in ninth, and Hamilton in eighth. But here, when you do the normal thing, which is respecting the rules, you finish ninth, and the one who doesn’t respect them finishes second.”

    The Spaniard said everything seemed to be going against him and his team.

    “It must have been very hard to know,” said Alonso of the times it took the stewards to penalise Hamilton. “They must have taken a lot of laps to see the replay of how he overtook the medical car.

    “But that’s how it is. Unfortunately everything goes against us and it seems they are allowing everything.”

    A further nine drivers are facing penalties for possible infringements.

  6. Jenson Button is upbeat about his prospects for the British Grand Prix after finishing in third place in Valencia on Sunday.

    The Briton recovered from starting from seventh to climb onto the podium, a result that allowed him to keep second place in the championship behind McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

    “It is amazing for our team and us, two Brits heading into Silverstone first and second in the championship,” said Button, whose result is under investigation for having overtaken the safety car. “We couldn’t ask for anything else.

    “We also head into that race with an update for the car, we didn’t have anything here and we came away with a reasonably good result, it is all positive.”

    He admitted he was not expecting to finish third from his starting position, but conceded he was lucky with the safety car.

    “I don’t think I was surprised by the speed but starting seventh and finishing third… I was definitely helped out by the safety car.”

    The Briton also said the safety car situation was tricky, with nine drivers under investigation after the race.

    “I had the safety car line and the safety car warning from the team when I came around the last corner of the lap, which is a full-speed corner. I went around that and slowed down after that corner.

    “The problem was where I was on circuit was the end of lap so I couldn’t slow down.”


  7. Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi was left kicking himself for letting both Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi pass him during the late stages of the race, even though he grabbed a point finish with P8. has the full story.

    Sebastien Buemi admitted he was frustrated with himself for letting both Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi pass him during the European Grand Prix, even though he still finished eighth for Toro Rosso.

    Having gained ground at the start and during the safety car pitstops, Buemi could have taken sixth had he not lost out to Sutil mid-race and then Kobayashi’s final corner dive on fresh tyres.

    “This was not a very good race as I could have finished sixth, but I made two mistakes, which have cost us four points,” said Buemi. “I am happy to be in the points, but disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to do better.

    “As for losing seventh place, I knew Kobayashi was closing very quickly on new tyres, and on the penultimate lap I was blocking my front tyres a lot. But at the final corner, I did not think he could brake that late and so I am unhappy that I made the mistake and let him pass.”

    The Swiss driver is among the nine being investigated for potentially returning to the pits too fast during the safety car period. Buemi admitted that it was possible he had exceeded the permitted speed.

    “I found it very hard to slow down, as required by the rules, because the safety car arrived very late as we approached the start/finish line,” he said. “Let’s wait and see what the stewards will say.”

  8. The star of the European Grand Prix was Kamui Kobayashi. The Sauber driver was brilliant in the race, holding back McLaren’s Jenson Button most of the time and then making up two positions in the final stages of the Grand Prix to take P7. Article taken from

    Peter Sauber praised Kamui Kobayashi’s drive in the European Grand Prix as ‘absolutely amazing’ following the Japanese’s charge in the race.

    Kobayashi started from 18th position but made perfect use of his strategy and the safety car period to run in third for a big part of the event.

    The Japanese, starting on the harder tyres, eventually pitted close to the end of the race and again charged towards the front with the fresh rubber, passing Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi on the final laps to claim seventh position.

    Team-mate Pedro de la Rosa completed Sauber’s best race of the season after finishing in tenth for his first points of the year.

    “What a fantastic race, particularly considering where we were on the grid,” said Sauber. “The team and the drivers did everything right today. Pedro delivered a very solid performance and scored one point, and Kamui was absolutely amazing.

    “The lap times which he put in while he was in third were stunning.

    “They prove how much potential there is in this car. Congratulations to the whole team and the drivers.”


  9. Williams driver Rubens Barrichello hopes he can keep his fourth place in Valencia as this is a sign that the team is improving. has the details:

    Rubens Barrichello hopes his provisional fourth place in the European Grand Prix will kick-start Williams’s so-far quiet season.

    The squad took a clear step forward in Valencia, with both cars qualifying in the top ten, and Barrichello gaining ground on the first lap and during the safety car pitstops, then fending off Robert Kubica to secure fourth.

    “It was great fun out there today and the car was behaving well throughout the race,” said Barrichello.

    “We really seem to be heading in the right direction with the development of the car and I hope that this improved performance continues for the rest of the season.”

    Williams looked set to get two cars in the points, with Nico Hulkenberg holding 10th despite losing ground waiting behind Barrichello in the pits. But the German had to retire with an exhaust failure late in the race.

    “That was a good performance today by both cars, and definitely a step forward,” said the team’s technical director Sam Michael.

    “Unfortunately, an exhaust failure cost Nico a possible point today and we will be investigating the cause back at the factory.”

  10. Michael Schumacher has called for a clarification to safety car rules after his strategy was ruined by them during the European Grand Prix.

    The German was running in third position after rivals had pitted during the safety car period, but when he completed his pitstop he was forced to wait at the end of the pitlane as the red light was on.

    That ruined Schumacher’s chances of a decent result, as he rejoined the race at the bottom of the field.

    He finished in 16th position, his worst ever race finish in 259 grands prix.

    The Mercedes driver said the red light had destroyed his race and reckons the light should have been green.

    “What a race. We would like to have clarification about the safety car situation as the red light on the exit from my first pitstop destroyed a race which otherwise would have offered us very good possibilities,” said Schumacher.

    “Our point of view is that as the safety car had passed the pits without having the cars lined up behind it, there should not have been a red light. There was a green light for a moment and then suddenly it went red again. We believe that this was not correct.

    “Our strategy was right in that context as we took the opportunity which could have given us a finish even close to the podium.”


  11. The Scuderia has slammed the European Grand Prix as a ‘scandal’ following a frustrating race for both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The pair finished in P9 and P14 respectively. picks up on this story and can be read below.

    Ferrari has labelled the European Grand Prix a ‘scandal’ as it vented its frustrations at the safety car situation.

    While the stewards continue to meet on Sunday night to decide on whether a number of drivers went too fast into the pits during the safety car period caused by Mark Webber’s crash, Ferrari has not held back in venting its anger.

    In a statement issued on its official website, Ferrari said that the decisions made – especially in the way Lewis Hamilton ultimately did not lose a position despite overtaking the safety car – damaged the credibility of the sport.

    “A scandal , that’s the opinion of so many fans and employees who are all in agreement: there is no other way to describe what happened during the European Grand Prix,” said the Ferrari statement.

    “The way the race and the incidents during it were managed raise doubts that could see Formula 1 lose some credibility again, as it was seen around the world.”

    Alonso himself hit out at the FIA after the race, saying the event had been ‘manipulated’ by the decisions made by the race stewards.

    “It’s a shame, not for us because this is racing, but for all the fans who came here to watch a manipulated race,” Alonso told Spanish television after the event

    “We were running well, in third after a good start. Then the safety car came out, which wasn’t too good for us, but Hamilton overtook the safety car, something that I had never seen, overtaking the medical car with yellow flags. We were a metre off each other, and he finished second and I finished ninth.

    “This race was to finish second. Then with the safety car I would have finished where I finished in ninth, and Hamilton in eighth. But here, when you do the normal thing, which is respecting the rules, you finish ninth, and the one who doesn’t respect them finishes second.”

  12. UPDATE: The FIA has handed five-second penalties to nine Formula 1 drivers for a safety car rules breach during the European Grand Prix.

    Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Hulkenberg, Robert Kubica, Vitaly Petrov, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Pedro de la Rosa and Vitantonio Liuzzi have been penalised after the race for exceeding the safety car-in lap time.

    The penalties mean Fernando Alonso is elevated from ninth to eighth, as he overtakes Buemi, and Nico Rosberg gets the final point from de la Rosa, 10th in the race.

    The rest of the point-scoring positions remain unchanged.

    The stewards also announced a 20-second penalty for Virgin’s Timo Glock for ignoring blue flags.

    F1 Fanatic has posted this news story as well.

  13. Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne has hit back at claims that Heikki Kovalainen should never have tried to race hard against Mark Webber in the European Grand Prix.

    Webber was recovering from a frustrating early part to the Valencia race when he tried to overtake Kovalainen on the run down to Turn 12.

    But the Australian was caught out when Kovalainen braked earlier than he had been expecting – and his car was launched into a terrifying somersault before smashing into the barriers.

    Webber himself reckoned the accident was totally unnecessary, and that Kovalainen should not have tried to defend so strongly against the much faster Red Bull.

    “What’s frustrating was that this accident should never have happened,” Webber wrote on his website.

    “I understand as well as anyone that F1 isn’t a charity event; you have to fight for every position – but not when you’re five seconds off the pace and you have one of the quickest cars in the pack behind you.

    “I mean, how long was Heikki going to stay ahead of me? Another 15 seconds? He must be asking himself whether it was worth it.”

    But Gascoyne has jumped to the defence of his driver – and reckons Webber simply made a mistake.

    “Heikki was right to defend because it was for position,” he told AUTOSPORT. “I don’t care who you are. End of story. All this A-team, B-team stuff, forget it.

    “If it is for position, and around here you can defend – and if we had kept him behind us for 40 laps then great. If we had ruined his race, then absolutely great!

    “Are we saying [Gilles] Villeneuve at Jarama [in 1981] should have let the four cars past him? Or was it one of the greatest grands prix of all time? Should a Force India be letting a McLaren past simple because its faster? Where do you draw the line? It is a motor race, isn’t it?”

    Gascoyne believes that Webber was at fault for the crash – having made an error in misjudging where Kovalainen was braking.

    “Heikki was going to have a great race, he was driving away from the new teams and with the incidents we could have picked something up – but unfortunately we were the incident,” he said.

    “At the end of the day Mark has rushed up, it is the first corner he’s got him and he has smacked into the back of him. The guy was driving in a straight line and braking – sorry. Do you have to ask the question about who was at fault?”


  14. The idea of manipulating the race results in Sunday’s European Grand Prix was simply out of context according to the teams. Ferrari and Fernando Alonso were just bitter over the way the race came about following the safety car. has the details.

    Rivals teams have rubbished suggestions from Fernando Alonso that the European Grand Prix result was ‘manipulated’ by the FIA – and believe the matter was down to simple bad luck.

    Although Alonso and Ferrari are angry that delays in punishing Lewis Hamilton for overtaking the safety car meant he did not lose a position for the offence, other teams do not agree that there was anything wrong in the way the FIA acted.

    Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner thinks that although the events of Valencia have highlighted some areas where the safety car rules can be improved, he does not think anything nefarious went on.

    “I don’t think so,” he said when asked about Alonso’s ‘manipulated’ comments. “I think the safety car rules have not played out for Ferrari, and McLaren was perhaps a bit naughty with the way it worked it, but it got a penalty for that.

    “Arguably it didn’t cost them, but that’s just the way it worked out. I don’t think it was manipulated. The FIA just need to look at the safety car rules in the future.”

    Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne added: “I think since we started changing the safety car rules, every time you change something you get all these scenarios thrown up, and I think it is just that.

    “Charlie [Whiting, FIA race director] is trying to do the job as he sees it, calls it as he sees it, and he has as difficult a job as everyone. I think it is just one of those things.”

    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he did not understand why Alonso was so angry – because Hamilton was punished for his mistake after the FIA went through its normal processes.

    “Look at the incident itself – it was very, very difficult to avoid what had happened and it was minuscule,” said Whitmarsh.

    “The matter always goes to the stewards. They made a decision. That is pretty normal in my experience of motor racing, but Fernando may have a different set of experiences.”

    Alonso, however, remains furious about what had happened – as he saw his chances of a podium finish wrecked by the safety car.

    “I don’t know what the penalty should be,” he said about Hamilton’s drive-through. “On the lap of the safety car I was one metre behind Hamilton.

    “He finished second, I finished eighth. I respected the rules and he didn’t. That is my opinion. It is the first time I have seen someone overtake a safety car.”

  15. Christian Horner has hailed Sebastian Vettel’s win as ‘massive’ for both the driver and the Milton Keynes-based team. has the full story.

    Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has hailed Sebastian Vettel’s victory in the European Grand Prix as a ‘massive’ result for both his driver and team.

    With the Milton Keynes-based outfit having headed into the Valencia weekend unsure if its car would be suited to the medium-speed circuit’s characteristics, its lock-out of the front row and Vettel’s win served as a big psychological boost.

    “This is a massive win for Sebastian and the team,” Horner told AUTOSPORT. “This was a track where we didn’t expect to perform on a level with the McLaren and Mercedes-powered cars.

    “To achieve a front row lock out and a dominant race win was very satisfying with Sebastian.”

    Horner believes that Vettel in particular will take much heart from finally delivering a victory, after recent struggles – which included seeing team-mate Webber beat him in Spain and Monaco, plus that controversial collision in Turkey.

    “Yeah, it was important for Seb,” continued Horner. “It gets his campaign back on track and it was a very impressive drive from him.

    “I think Sebastian will take a lot of confidence from that drive and I am sure there was nothing between them. He has had a couple of difficult races, a bit of bad luck, and it will be very good for his confidence.”

    Horner did concede, however, that the best bit of news that came out of Valencia was that Webber was uninjured in his spectacular accident.

    “The most important thing is that Mark emerged unscathed from a very nasty looking accident. It is always horrible to see a car get in the air like it did, but thankfully he is fine. The car and chassis did exactly what it should and he will be back and fighting fit for Silverstone.”

    Speaking about his views on the crash, Horner said: “I don’t think he was anywhere near his braking point, that was the problem. I think Heikki’s braking point was about half a kilometre earlier than his!

    “I think the closing speed between the cars was so massive. Heikki was in the middle of the road and it wasn’t quite clear to Mark whether he was going left or right. Heikki is doing the best job he can in a very slow car, and the resulting incident was because Mark just didn’t have any chance to react.”

  16. As for Ferrari, the Italian-based team says the complaints are legitimate. Read the details in full as posted by below.

    Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali insists his team is not complaining simply for the sake of it, despite its continued anger over what it feels was an injustice at the European Grand Prix.

    The Maranello team is furious that title rival Lewis Hamilton effectively escaped unpunished, despite overtaking the safety car that had been called out following Mark Webber’s crash.

    With Fernando Alonso having claimed the FIA ‘manipulated’ the race by not giving Hamilton his drive-through soon enough, Domenicali claims that there are legitimate reasons as to why Ferrari is so upset.

    “We need to be careful by avoiding to take a counter-constructive attitude and complaining just for the sake of it, because it’s useless,” said Domenicali.

    “We need to be very calm at these times, but we can’t pretend nothing has happened. However, I repeat, rationality must prevail over emotions, which are very strong.”

    Domenicali reiterated that the main problem was the delay in punishing Hamilton, which allowed him to build up enough of a cushion so he could take his drive-through penalty without losing any places.

    “I think what needs to be done is evaluating the sanction by keeping in mind the time of the decision and the way the race is developing,” he said. “These are important issues.

    “Looking back during the post-race analysis, it’s clear that you are advantaged by not following the rules because at the end of day you gained more points. This is not alright from the point of view of the principle of the sporting regulation, and we need to work on it.

    “I think we need to believe in the principles: it worked this way today, let’s hope it’s different next time.”

    When asked whether he believed there was any bias towards Hamilton, Domenicali said: “I want to believe this is not the case.”

    Although Domenicali has moved to tone done some of Alonso’s initial comments, Ferrari vice-president Piero Ferrari suggested that the European Grand Prix had been a ‘false’ event because of what happened.

    “I am incredulous and bitter, not just for Ferrari, but for the sport as a whole, as this is not the sort of thing one expects from professionals,” Ferrari said in a statement on his team’s website.

    “For a long time now, I have also followed races in championships in the United States, where the appearance of the safety car is a frequent occurrence, but I have never seen anything similar to what happened today at the Valencia circuit.

    “If it raises some doubts over the actions that led to a false race, to me that would seem more than reasonable.”

  17. Kamui Kobayashi has revealed that he never knew his last corner move on Sebastien Buemi in the European Grand Prix was his last chance of the race.

    The Japanese and his Sauber team had gambled on not stopping for tyres during the first safety car period, and that move helped him run third for much of the event.

    Following a switch to the super soft compound a few laps from home, Kobayashi used his rubber advantage to drive past both Fernando Alonso and Buemi in the closing stages – and later confessed he did not know how near the end of the race it was.

    “It was a great race,” Kobayashi told AUTOSPORT. “With the prime tyre I had really constant pace, which was good.

    “I knew if I over drove I would kill the tyres, but when I changed I was only ninth – and knew I had better grip. I tried to overtake as many people as possible and got Fernando and Buemi.

    “But I was concentrating so hard on overtaking people that I didn’t know how many laps were left. Then suddenly I understood, when I saw lots of guys waving at me, that that was the end of the race.”

    Kobayashi has also thanked Alonso for being so co-operative during their battle – fearing that if the Spaniard had given him a harder time they would have crashed.

    “It was very risky for me, but I had no accident,” said Kobayashi. “He is a very good driver so he knows everything that happens around his car.

    “At the beginning of my move, in one moment, he tried to close the door but he recognised that we would crash if he closed the door. So he just gave it away. It was a great move for him and I really have to say thanks for him.”

    Although Kobayashi’s brilliant drive at Valencia owed much to good luck behind the safety car, he is upbeat about a better performance from Sauber at the next race at Silverstone.

    “This year I could not show so much my race performance because we had so many accidents. I was not really confident in the car, or track, but in Valencia I was quite confident and my pace was okay.

    “I believe Silverstone will be good. Our car will be better there than Valencia and Canada because we are better in high speed corners, so I suppose it will be a better performance than here, and maybe we have a good opportunity to score points as well.”


  18. The war of words still rages on over that incident regarding the safety car. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has voiced his opinion on the situation and believes that Fernando Alonso was just ‘bitter’. has the full details.

    Lewis Hamilton has accused Fernando Alonso of sour grapes over the safety car controversy that has overshadowed the European Grand Prix.

    Alonso and his Ferrari team have been left furious that Hamilton was able to effectively escape without punishment for overtaking the safety car, after it had been called out for Mark Weber’s crash.

    Alonso and Ferrari believe delays by the FIA in handing Hamilton the punishment allowed the Briton to build up enough of a cushion over his nearest car to take a drive-through penalty without losing a place.

    AUTOSPORT understands, however, that the delays were caused simply by the FIA getting hold of timing data, aerial film footage and transponder location information to be 100 per cent sure that Hamilton had definitely passed the safety car before the line.

    Furthermore, the decision to hold Alonso and Massa behind the safety car for half the lap that has upset them even more, was purely because the FIA wanted to protect the medical car – which had been rushing to Webber’s aid following his accident.

    Quoted by the Press Association on Tuesday, Hamilton was asked whether Alonso’s moaning was a simple case of sour grapes.

    “Yeah,” said Hamilton. “I even saw him overtaken by a Sauber [Kamui Kobayashi] on the big screen. It’s very unlike him to be overtaken by a Sauber so he must have been completely in another world. But I don’t understand why I affected his race so much.

    “Everyone has a right to their opinion, and he must be disappointed with his own result, but I didn’t do anything to him.”

    With rival teams not backing Ferrari’s angry stance, Hamilton has even defended the role of the stewards this year – who have shown themselves more willing to let drivers compete rather than rush in to punish them harshly for indiscretions.

    “The FIA are doing an incredible job because they are allowing us to race this year,” he said.

    Hamilton’s stance will do little to calm Ferrari down, whose president Luca di Montezemolo said on Monday that the situation was ‘unacceptable’.

    “The result of yesterday’s race was misrepresentative,” di Montezemolo said on Ferrari’s website. “Ferrari, which showed itself to be competitive in the European Grand Prix, paid a price that was too high for respecting the rules.

    “Meanwhile those who didn’t follow the rules were penalised by the race officials in a way that was less severe than the damage suffered by those who did respect them.

    “That is a very serious and unacceptable event that creates dangerous precedents, throwing a shadow over the credibility of Formula 1.”

  19. Fernando Alonso has apologised for over-reacting to the safety car controversy at last weekend’s European Grand Prix – and said he never intended to fuel suspicions that the FIA had ‘manipulated’ the race.

    The Spaniard was furious after the race in Valencia – suggesting that the FIA had favoured Lewis Hamilton by taking too long to hand him a punishment for overtaking the safety car early in the event.

    Those delays meant Hamilton was able to take a drive-through penalty without losing position.

    Two days on, Alonso has said he is much calmer about the situation – and clarified that his remarks were fuelled by frustration that he had lost positions by respecting the rules, while Hamilton had effectively benefited from breaking the regulations.

    “Obviously, in the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race,” said Alonso in his diary column on the official Ferrari website.

    “At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation, it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing.

    “Sure, I understand that the stewards have a difficult job to do and they have to take decisions that are not easy. What I meant was that those drivers who, like us, respected the regulations, unfortunately, in this situation, suffered much more than those who broke them, even though they were given a penalty.

    “And I am not referring to any of the drivers in particular: it’s a general matter and I think we should talk about it together in a calm way, to ensure that things like this do not happen again.”

    There had been speculation that the FIA could punish Alonso and his Ferrari team for some of their outspoken remarks after Spain, but the governing body gave no indication it intended to react. Alonso’s apologetic comments will, however, help serve to draw a line under the matter.

    The FIA is aware, however, that the events of Sunday have highlighted several potential problems with the current safety car regulations, and has called an extraordinary meeting of thinktank, the Sporting Working Group, to go through the issues next week ahead of the British Grand Prix.

    Alonso welcomed that move and hoped that any matters up in the air after Valencia can be cleared up so there is no repeat controversy in the future.

    “I was pleased to hear that the FIA has reacted promptly, calling an extraordinary meeting of the Sporting Working Group and I am confident, certain even, that all the points up for discussion will be cleared up in a comprehensive fashion.”

    Despite losing valuable points in Valencia through the bad timing of the safety car, Alonso remains upbeat about his title prospects.

    “Even if the Valencia result was not what we wanted, it has not done irreparable damage,” he said. “It’s true that the gap to the leader has now jumped to 29 points, but we have not even reached the halfway point of the season. We trail by just over one win, so the situation is still very open.

    “The updates we brought to Spain saw us make a step forward and get closer to the front runners. I am satisfied with that, but also aware that we must continue to push on with the development of the F10, because we need to have a car capable of fighting for pole and to give us the edge over our rivals as soon as possible.

    “If we are now 29 points off the championship leader, it means that in the next ten races, we have to score at least 30 more than whoever is in the lead at any one time.”


  20. Well well well, Valencia gives us a great race! Who’d a thought it? I sat down prepared for the worst, but no, a great race was ahead of us!

    Well OK it wasn’t full of overtakes and breathing taking maneuvers, what it was full of of course was crashes, contact, and controversy.

    First up though was that start. Webber had a nightmare, however, it was pure luck that kept Lewis and Vettel from taking each other out. The contact didn’t look huge and dangerous, but it’s one of those that could of easily had someones wheel off or suspension damage.

    Business as usual for the next few laps bar Webber’s slow pit…..just what he needed and FIXED!!!! yell the conspiracy theorists. But no-one could believe what happened next. Yowers!!! What a crash! A slightly over eager Webber and Heikki ‘I have totally shit brakes’ Kovalainen came together in most dramatic crash in F1 for years. Not only did Webber go airborne (and giving us an awesome in-car camera view), but he took out an advertising board 12 feet up, but he didn’t even seem to have slowed before hitting the tyre barrier with incredible speed. Yet, he walked away, though not before throwing his steering wheel right out of the car. Quite incredible.

    Of course there was so much talk of whether Heikki should have given way Webber, despite the fact that the two were racing for position. Coulthard I don’t think created ANY favours from Eddie Jordan or Mike Gascoyne. While they have a point, it was for position, do you honestly think Heikki would get a bollocking for safely letting Webber through after a few corners? it absolutely was INEVITABLE that Webber would get past. So what was the point of trying to take him on? Was it worth it? Hell no! Was if dangerous? Hell yeah! The argument will go on, but I think I am siding with DC on this one. Not so vehemently, but he definitely had a point. Sorry, but he just did.

    Hmmmmm then of course, that lead to the other major talking point. THAT overtake. Now, despite people saying that all the driver know the rules, the team know the rules, and the two talk nothing but before the race. Well bollocks! Sorry but know, sorry but no way was this scenario talked about before the race. If it does, the driver don’t listen or give a shit. All he wants to know is strategy and how to tackle the race.

    Had Lewis have known. then he wouldn’t of hesitated. He knew the white line hadn’t been crossed, so therefore, knowing every rule, he would have known up to that point, it was safe to pass the safety car. But no, he didn’t and therefore hesitated. My guess is thanks to the pre-race feature from the BBC showing off the military grade GPS systems, the team know exactly where Lewis and safety car was. Lewis asked if he could overtake, backed for to wait for an answer ans when told yes he could, it was too late.

    So, now Alonso and his lack of….well anything remotely respectful, and expectancy that “Shit Happens”. Yes the stewards took their time, but since it seems that they reacted late only due to being told about it from Ferrari. I don’t think there was any info coming from the actual safety car? And as mentioned, they need to be sure. Granted, they get things wrong, but they never rush a decision. But quite brilliantly, McLaren took the advantage, and boy did it make a difference. What normally turns out to be a race ruiner, the drive made difference equal to…..SQUAT!!! Some blinding laps by Lewis, saw him stay in front and keep his place. If there was a race to show how the top teams tower over the little guys, it was this race. Yet Lewis wasn’t done yet! He just powered his way forward and gave Red Bull something to think about as the race drew to a close, by getting closer and closer to Vettel. Though was Vettel in an danger of being overtaken, or even get a silver arrow up his arse? Well, no. not really.

    So Vettel wins! A great race from the start from him, saw him collect top spot. Well, I say ‘great race’, but it wasn’t was it? No, it was just a good drive with NEARLY no mistakes. God knows how he managed to stay in front after cocking up the final corner after the re-start. But other than that? Well he just drove really and still he has yet to really prove he can go toe to toe. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the why everyone is tipping him for greatness. he is a fine driver, but just too young and emotional at the moment. I just think he hasn’t the skill yet, and that’s a worry. You see that Kobayashi? That’s promise. give him a good car and while he may not be unstoppable, he’d show Vettel how to overtake. Sorry but Vettel is not worth the hype. COULD he be? Oh yeah for sure, but I don’t at all see when it’ll happen.

    So off to the new Silverstone then on World Cup Final day! I cant wait to see the new track with F1 cars tearing it up at break neck speeds round corners/bends. The weather? Well it could rain Sunday morning, but high temps will dry it out and it looks set for a dry sunny race. Good or bad I don’t know, but I for one can’t wait.

  21. Just one more thing about the safety car incident.

    It just goes to show the rules are all over the place, and apart from the main basic rules and a few others aside, no-one know squat until the shit happens. The more problems we have regarding rules and punishments then better. it clears the air…..eventually after everyone has calmed down. and hopefully the teams and FIA learn from their mistakes.

    Also WFT is up with the 5 second time penalties!!! How effing moronic was that!?! So with all the other stuff, Ferrari was at least expecting to jump a few places with the expectant 25 second rule being the std forfeit……as stated by the god damn RULES!!! But know, it’s now all of a sudden 5 seconds! For a safety breach, it’s 25 seconds one race , oh no wait, it’s a drive through for another. But wait what’s this, a brand new penalty that makes virtually NO DIFFERENCE!!

    Shambles yet again. Nice one FIA

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