Vettel wins chaotic race in Valencia (European Grand Prix review)

Sebastian Vettel scored his second win of 2010 in the European Grand Prix.

Vettel was chased home by the two McLarens, Lewis Hamilton delayed by a drive-through penalty and Jenson Button spending much of the race behind Kamui Kobayashi.

The outcome of the race was decided by a safety car period following a violent crash for Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber.

Webber had fallen from second to ninth on the first lap as Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and a string of others passed him.

Webber made an early pit stop but a slow front-left wheel change meant he fell behind Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus. The pair collided on lap 14, Webber flipping through the air (see separate story).

The safety car came out behind Vettel, in front of Alonso – and more or less alongside Hamilton. This seemed to confuse the McLaren driver who, after appearing to hesitate, passed the safety car before the first corner. But replays shown he had been behind the safety car at the line.

Meanwhile the other cars had to queue up behind the safety car which, for some of them, ruined their races. Chief among them were Ferrari, who had to make Felipe Massa wait behind Alonso for his pit stop.

The field pitted together behind the safety car. Vettel and Hamilton held their positions but Kamui Kobayashi appeared in third place, having started on the medium tyres and not pitted. He was about to become a thorn in the side of Button – and the saviour of Hamilton’s race.

By the time Hamilton got his penalty Kobayashi and Button had dropped so far behind that McLaren were able to bring Hamilton in for his drive-though without losing his position to the Sauber driver.

Kobayashi left his pit stop to make his mandatory change to super-soft tyres until there were just three laps to go. He came out behind Alonso and Sebastien Buemi, who were disputing seventh.

With the benefit of fresh tyres Kobayashi disposed of both of them in the final two laps. He dived down the inside of Alonso at turn 17 on the penultimate tour, then got Buemi for seventh at the last corner of the last lap.

Ahead of him Vettel took the chequered flag to win and move up to third in the drivers’ championship. Hamilton, second for the third year in a row at Valencia, keeps the lead in the championship ahead of Button, who finished third.

Rubens Barrichello finished an excellent fourth for Williams – though a double points finish was in the offing until Nico H?â??lkenberg parked up with eight laps to go.

Robert Kubica brought his Renault home fifth and Adrian Sutil was sixth for Force India, thanks to an earlier pass on Buemi.

The final point went to Pedro de la Rosa, ahead of Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg.

Felipe Massa was 14th behind Vitantonio Liuzzi, ahead of Jaime Alguersuari and Michael Schumacher, the latter making three pit stops during the race.

First among the new teams was Lucas di Grassi, who swapped places with team mate Timo Glock early on in the race.

Glock later collided with Bruno Senna while Kobayashi and Button came up to lap them. Glock recovered to finish behind his team mate.

Last of the finishers were Karun Chandhok, Senna and Jarno Trulli.

But many of these positions could change as the stewards are investigating nine drivers for their speed behind the safety car.

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26 comments on Vettel wins chaotic race in Valencia (European Grand Prix review)

  1. Katy (@katy) said on 27th June 2010, 16:14

    I don’t get why Button sat behind Kobayashi when he had new tyres on. He said himself before the race he’d gone for low downforce so he’d have more straight line speed and could try for overtakes. Guess he played it safe and decided to wait for Kamui to pit.

    • Ben Curly said on 27th June 2010, 16:31

      Kamui had a good straight line speed himself. Sauber cars also have F-duct, and Kobayashi was pretty fast in the 2nd sector if the track.

      • Katy said on 27th June 2010, 17:57

        Mclaren have the best f-duct though, but that aside, he didn’t even try, he sat back and waited and lost out.

        • Slim said on 27th June 2010, 19:19

          I agree he seemed to be just coasting, conserving fuel/brakes/tires … etc. which is hard to watch because he had the best straight line speed. as a HUGE Button fan, its disconcerting seeing Hamilton getting the better positions. Even in Canada it didnt seem as if Button was pushing that hard

    • Hairs said on 27th June 2010, 17:57

      Button had 4k/m an hour over his teammate. More to the point, look at Button’s times once Kobayashi had pitted. Valencia may be difficult to pass on, but I just don’t think Button made the effort this time. He should have mugged Kobi at the first opportunity and stuck on his tail all the way round the lap. Instead he dropped back, I don’t know whether he was expecting Sauber to bring their driver in after about 10 laps or not, but at any rate it’s just not good enough.

      • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 27th June 2010, 18:00

        Exactly, if he had a go he’d have been ahead of Lewis. Instead he’s finished just behind him for the 3rd race in a row.

        He won’t be able to win the title if he doesn’t go for it a bit more.

        • Slim said on 27th June 2010, 19:31

          Button needs to be more aggressive and get fired up! Maybe next week in front of his home crowd he’ll give it his all… but so will Lewis

        • Buttons low downforce ment that whatever he gained on the straights he lost in traction out of the corners, basically keeping Kobayashi safe.

          • Mike said on 28th June 2010, 3:45

            And Valencia isn’t kind on passes, Maybe Kamikaze Koby or Hamtilon could of done it. But Remember Alonso was equally as stuck behind a STR at the end.

  2. Eric said on 27th June 2010, 17:07

    no one was really able to pass did you notice?

    Not even Alonso.

    bet you noticed Kobayashi with new tires pass Alonso though.
    that was the best move in the race.

    what happened to Webber at the beginning?

    God a hate talking about Vettel winning…

  3. Jhonnie Siggie said on 27th June 2010, 17:07

    I said it after Quali yesterday. I expect a Red Bull to win and either Ham or Alo to finish second. I did not see a RB 1-2 because of Web starting on the dirty side + RB reliability issues this year.

    I was right!

    Kamui was my driver of the day. All of the others played it safe.

    They should take at least one spanish race off the calendar. I found this race just a little better than Bahrain.

  4. Ben Curly said on 27th June 2010, 17:36

    Webber and Kovalainen collided on lap 9, not 14.

  5. Jonathan said on 27th June 2010, 17:36

    Lucky Hamilton. I can accept that the stewards took a while to notice that he overtook the SC. But why give him a penalty that does nothing to cancel out the advantage he gained? At least a stop/go penalty was warranted.

  6. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 27th June 2010, 17:40

    People have a go that Hamilton doesn’t get proper penalties.

    They give him a real penalty and still it’s not right and favouring Lewis…

  7. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 27th June 2010, 17:51

    Vettel should dedicate his win to that mad man marshall that ran on to the track to pick up that bottle.

    If the Safety Car had been released Hamilton would have closed up and who knows Lewis might have tried a move near the end of the race.

  8. Franton said on 27th June 2010, 17:53

    Oh please, the only reason Ferrari are protesting is the combined Red Bull/McLaren protest over their “video” days. Sour grapes methinks.

    Let’s not forget that Ferrari have done similar tricks to mitigate the effects of drive through penalties before either. Pot calling kettle black?

  9. Calum said on 27th June 2010, 18:33

    Nobody ever slag off Valencia for it’s run off area after today, it quite possible saved a man’s life today.
    Mark Webber you lucky, lucky boy!

  10. Franton said on 27th June 2010, 18:45

    The strength of modern F1 cars, plus safety devices like HANS and the new carbon fibre helmets will have had something to do with it too :)

    Mark will be hopped on adrenaline for a while, but i’m betting he’ll be sore as hell tomorrow. Good to see him get out and is ok though.

  11. Maciek said on 27th June 2010, 21:24

    Good to see both Webber and Kovalainen OK. Safety car rules should be amended so that it picks up the race leader. Kobayashi = man of the race, by miles.

  12. Only one thing to see on this one:

    Kobayashi is the only real racer out of this bunch of pathetic excuses for racing drivers.

    All the others were stuck in their old taxi driver jobs, no imagination, no initiative whatsoever.
    Stuck behind someone? Take a lunge, stop for soft tyres, do something. Don’t just sit there and go moaning to mummy that you can’t get past.

  13. Charles Carroll said on 28th June 2010, 1:02

    I guess I’m a sucker for underdogs, which is why I pull for Sauber and Kobayashi at times. Even though they fail spectacularly on a regular basis, when they come through like today, it is that much sweeter. Kudos to Kamui!

    On a side note, however, even though I do not cheer for Ferrari, I would love to own one!

  14. Electrolite said on 28th June 2010, 1:52

    What a race! Webber crashed out like I had a feeling he would, my heart stopped when I saw the car flipped, so glad he walked out of the car pretty much unscathed!

    Kobayashi has to be one of my favourite drivers on the grid, if not my favourite. I think we’ve seen this season he’s at his best when he’s mixing it with the big boys, and those overtakes at the end were unbelievable, especially considering the track. The amount of cool he kept in 3rd place all that time was also commendable with his relative lack of experience. My point about Sauber having good race pace is once again proved as they have a retirement free-race, it’s just a shame they didn’t get the double points they deserved!

    At one point I thought Barrichello could win, bizarrely – I figured Hamilton’s penalty would drop him out of the equation, with Vettel then breaking down and Kobayashi pitting!

    It’s a pity about the Hamilton drive-thru penalty. Also, it’s just going to be another oppurtunity for Alonso and Hamilton fans to have a go at eachother which is always annoying.

  15. Robinthezone said on 28th June 2010, 2:22

    Bad day for sports. Bad referees and bad stewards everywhere at this level. Unforgivable.

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