Had Mercedes not brought Michael Schumacher into the pits during the safety car he might have enjoyed the seventh-placed finish which went to Kamui Kobayashi.
After the race Ross Brawn said he felt Schumacher’s race had been spoiled by a mis-application of the safety car rules.
However Nico Rosberg salvaged some pride with a point for tenth place.
|Michael Schumacher||Nico Rosberg|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’39.234 (+0.607)||1’38.627|
|Average race lap||1’46.639 (+0.078)||1’46.561|
Set about learning the Valencia street track with gusto, the back end of the W01 fishtailing as he headed onto the start/finish straight on his first lap of the track during practice.
But by qualifying he was still six tenths of a second slower than Rosberg and very nearly got knocked out in Q1. He lined up 15th.
Having made a fast start Schumacher went into turn one on the outside of Vitaly Petrov and Vitantonio Liuzzi. He was crowded out and dropped back behind his team mate, but re-passed him later on the lap as Rosberg went off.
That promoted him to 11th place which became third when the safety car came out and several cars in front of him pitted.
Mercedes chose to pit him on lap 11, at least one lap after most of his rivals had come in. He was 5.7s ahead of Kobayashi at the time. But he was held up at a red light at the pit lane exit and had to wait while all the other runners went past.
As traffic was circulating at reduced speed at the time it’s hard to predict exactly where Schumacher would have come out based on lap times. Adrian Sutil was passing as Schumacher pulled up at the pit lane exit, so we can assume he would have been near Nico Hülkenberg and Fernando Alonso.
So Schumacher’s claims that he missed out on a podium finish are probably some way wide of the mark:
What a race. We would like to have clarification about the safety car situation as the red light on the exit from my first pit stop destroyed a race which otherwise would have offered us very good possibilities.
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.
As he’d fallen to the back of the pack anyway, Mercedes decided to bring him in and put the medium tyres on again before the safety car came back in. Later on he came in for another set of super-softs.
Read more: Brawn criticises safety car rules
After a poor start Rosberg was one of few drivers to make his pit stop before the safety car. This cost him any chance of gaining places on track.
After finishing 12th on the road he was promoted to tenth by other drivers’ penalties. Like Schumacher, Rosberg was warned during the race to take care of his brakes.
2010 European Grand Prix
- The physics of Webber’s Valencia crash
- Technical review: European Grand Prix
- Sauber “thrilled” by Kobayashi’s passes
- 2010 European Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
- Alonso retracts Valencia criticism
- FIA must learn from Valencia shambles
- Best finish of 2010 (Williams race review)
- Di Grassi shines (Virgin race review)
- Double finish at home (HRT race review)
- Buemi slips to ninth (STR race review)