The race at Valencia was a very exciting one with the Red Bulls getting back in business. Vettel proved himself once again as he converted his pole to a victory in Valencia. But his partner Webber had a disappointing race as he crashed into Kovalainen and his crew flew into the side wall.
Red Bull were never expected to win in this track as they did not have that extra speed to win it. But with the likes of Vettel and Webber pushing the car well they could secure a P1 and P2 at the starting lineup. However the lack of pace caught Webber early on and he dropped to ninth in the first lap itself. This prompted him to make an early stop and he emerged behind the Lotus of Kovalainen and the rest is history as you all know.
Commenting on Sunday’s performance Vettel said that he was very happy to be back to winning ways. He also said that the car was not very fast and they did not expect to win it easily. Vettel, who had two near encounters one at the start of the race and another when the Safety Car just left the track, both being with Hamilton. In the press conference he was very happy he won and was even happier to know that Mark escaped the accident without any injuries and when he started enquiring about the Germany and England match in the World Cup he went mad when he got to know that the Germans were 2-0 up!!
So overall it was a mixed race for the Red Bulls at Valencia.
McLaren were the biggest gainers of that error by Webber, firstly Hamilton got past Webber in the first lap itself and then when the Safety Car was deployed he illegally overshot the safety car and gained advantage. If he would have stayed under the rules then he would have gone six places down to eight after the pit stop but rather he sped away to retain his P2 and get only a drive through penalty which resulted in no drop of places. The move angered many a drivers and teams but there was nothing they could do about it. Hopefully the stewards should look into such cases and modify the rules to avoid such greater benefits to the drivers. In the last race also during qualification Hamilton had to push his car to the pits and seeing that incident FIA had modified its rules thus barring any team from doing so.
Another McLaren driver Jenson Button also gained from it, he pitted early and that worked to his advantage and finally managed a third position. Although he was also caught over speeding during safety car and was handed a 5 second penalty with no change in his position.
Massa and Alonso were among the ones who lost places significantly. Starting from 5th and 4th respectively the Safety Car incident meant that they lost places. Alonso finished 9th initially but gained a place after Sebastien Buemi was also amongst the nine drivers that were handed the five second penalty. Massa who finished 13th moved up to 11th but could not salvage any points.
Nico who was running 10th had to retire due to a mechanical problem would anyways had to surrender his place.
The most successful strategy of the race is undoubtedly of BMW Sauber’s Kobayashi. He stayed out till the end and pitted in lap 53 of the race. His strategy saw him in third position for most of the race with his hard tyres on. He joined the race after his pits in 9th position behind Alonso, but as his soft tyres were fresh they gave him an advantage over the others and then he got past Alonso and Buemi and finished in 7th position gaining 11 places from his grid position of eighteenth.
The Force India cars also drove well with Sutil showing some of his aggression to get past Buemi in the later stages of the race and extend his lead. This meant that the five second penalty which was awarded to him would not strip him off his 6th position. Liuzzi might be considered unlucky but he did well in holding of Schumacher but eventually the penalty meant he had to give his place to Schumacher.
The biggest disappointment was the Strategy of Mercedes GP, at least they can learn from BMW Sauber now. First of all they called Rosberg into the pits and while he was exiting he was given a standing time which lead him to join the grid in 17th position. But from then on he fought very well to finish 12th who later moved into the last points position of 10th after De La Rosa and Alguersuari were handed the penalties. Coming to Schumacher, he was on hard tyres and I did not understand why was there a rush to change him into soft when he was sitting comfortably in third position? Look at the Sauber how they let Kobayashi sit in the third and Schumacher is such an experienced driver he would have moved into 2nd after Hamilton’s drive through. And the worst case situation would see him ending a 6th or 7th but then the Mercedes should have thought it before!! How come a person pitting under SC and changing to softer ones from third position do well? He even had to wait during his pit stop as he was called in during the SC period and allowed the traffic to clear ahead of him before letting him out of the pits. This put him to 17th position. Then adding to the mistake they called him again to put him on harder ones during the Safety Car period which left him 21st. Schumacher had an excellent race sans the Mercedes mistake. He later on pitted again and finally finished 16th later was promoted to 15th. This was like a testing race for them where he tried out all the combinations. He was so fast during the race that he clocked the fastest lap four times only to be beaten by Button in the 3rd last lap.
Hopefully the Mercedes woes have come to an end and expect a delight in Silverstone.
Lotus will the ones most disappointed with their 500th GP being a dismal one with Kovalainen being knocked out by Webber and Trulli finishing last.
The Season has started heating up!! Let us hope there are no more cheap tricks and the races being played fairer!!