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Vettel in dominant form as he wins European Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jun 2011   |  2:59 pm GMT  |  168 comments

Sebastian Vettel dominated the European Grand Prix in Valencia, his sixth win from pole of the 2011 season and extended his championship lead to 77 points.

A week short of his 24th birthday, he gave himself a present of pole position, win and fastest lap and he has the championship in his hands. It was also a great response to critics after he made a rare mistake on the last lap in Montreal two weeks ago.

He also became the first man to finish either first or second in the first eight races of the season. He has only dropped 14 points this season.

What’s helped him build his massive championship lead is that is no single main challenger this season; in the six races he has won four different drivers have finished second.

It was the German’s 16th victory in 70 Grand Prix starts.

He beat off a determined challenge from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who managed to get the better of Vettel’s Red Bull team mate Mark Webber, through a mixture of overtaking and strategy. Webber’s third place gave Red Bull its 50th podium in F1.

Alonso managed to match the pace of the Red Bulls for much of the race, but Vettel was always able to keep him at arms’ length, opening a gap when he needed to without taking too much out of his tyres.

It wasn’t as dramatic a race as the first seven this season, but was a decent race by the standards of the recent Valencia races as the DRS and Pirelli tyres made a difference.

Track temperatures were 47 degrees at the start of the race, the hottest they had been all weekend. Only Petrov and Perez decided to start the race on the medium tyres. The rest of the field went for the soft and the leading drivers ended up making three pit stops.

It wasn’t a good day for McLaren or Mercedes; they simply didn’t have the race pace and Lewis Hamilton sounded despondent at times on the radio, unable to go slower when his tyres were overheating, nor to speed up, when another set had lost grip. He finished over 45 seconds behind the winner. Meanwhile Rosberg’s Mercedes was 100 seconds behind Vettel.

At the start, Vettel got away well as did Webber, while Massa shot past Alonso and Hamilton, but then got boxed in on the inside of Webber, allowing Alonso to go around the outside of him, into third place.

Rosberg had an excellent start up to sixth place, but Jenson Button was faster in the early stages and was able to pass him on lap six.

Alonso looked faster than Webber in the battle for second place but couldn’t make the DRS wing count to overtake him.

The first stops came on laps 13-15 with Hamilton and Webber coming in first and Vettel, Alonso and Button reacting. Hamilton’s early stop got him into fourth place ahead of Massa who pitted four laps later.

Schumacher’s race was compromised when he broke his front wing on his outlap from the pits, smashing it into one of the Renault cars on his exit from the pits.

On lap 21 Alonso was able to use the DRS wing to pass Mark Webber and move up to second place. Vettel responded immediately, setting his personal best lap of the race to that point.

He held the gap to Alonso to three seconds.

Webber pitted on lap 29 for the second time and took another set of soft tyres. Ferrari reacted to the move bringing Alonso in, but he had lost time on that extra lap and Webber went past him, back into second place.

Meanwhile McLaren did its best to slow Hamilton down, his rear tyre temperatures were high. “I can’t go any slower,” said a frustrated Hamilton. McLaren seemed to be using its rear tyres up more than the opposition.

Massa stayed out the extra lap again and Webber passed him, as did Alonso. Massa lost five seconds in his pit stop with a left rear problem. This gave Jenson Button a chance, but he couldn’t take it as his KERS wasn’t working.

Vettel pushed to open a gap to Webber in the third stint as only Alonso’s Ferrari could match them for pace. The McLarens were a second a lap slower, as was Massa. Vettel eased away from Webber as he took less out of the rear tyres lap after lap.

Hamilton’s pace in the third stint was poor and he started to fall into Massa’s clutches.

Webber pitted on lap 43 for medium tyres, as did Hamilton. Alonso on the used softs was faster than Webber. He was 19.9 seconds clear, not enough to make a stop and rejoin ahead. He delayed a lap and pulled it off, pitting on lap 47 and holding second place.

Alguersuari put on an excellent performance, running much of the race in the top ten, making a set of soft tyres last longer than most. He started 18th but his two stop strategy got him up to eighth place, ahead of Adrian Sutil. After three consecutive poor qualifying sessions this was his best race result of the season and a good response to the pressure on his drive from reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo.

It was a day of astonishing reliability, with all 24 cars finishing the race. Webber had to nurse a gearbox problem in the closing stages.

Vettel could afford to take a holiday during the British, German and Hungarian Grands Prix and still be leading the championship after the summer break.

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Valencia, 57 laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1h39:36.169
2. Alonso Ferrari + 10.891
3. Webber Red Bull + 27.255
4. Hamilton McLaren + 46.190
5. Massa Ferrari + 51.705
6. Button McLaren + 1:00.000
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:38.000
8. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
9. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
10. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams + 1 lap
13. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
14. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
15. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
16. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
17. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
18. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
19. Kovalainen Lotus + 2 laps
20. Trulli Lotus + 2 laps
21. Glock Virgin + 2 laps
22. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 2 laps
23. Liuzzi HRT + 3 laps
24. Karthikeyan HRT + 3 laps

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168 Comments
  1. JW1980 says:

    Disappointing race to be honest. It seemed pretty flat (especially after watching the Senna movie for the second time last night).
    What has saved this season so far has been exciting races but this was probably the least enjoyable so far.
    Let’s hope the British GP is better. However, for the third year in a row it looks like we will be heading to Silverstone with only a miracle stopping another RBR victory.

    1. Wayne says:

      1) Valencia is a fundamentally useless circuit. The quicker they run out of money to stagr the race the better.

      2) Am I the only one that misses seeing F1 drivers driving as fast as they can? I don’t want to see the fastest drivers in the world worrying about tyre conservation – how very dull. Not only do they not drive as fast as they can in the race, some of them do not even bother in qualy! What a shame to take a tallent like Hamilton and make him drive on joke-shop tyres.

      1. Douglas says:

        Yes, Valencia is a very, very, very boring and “designed” track. Very narrow. Not F1.

        On the bright side, it will be 12 months before we have to look at this “fundamentally useless” circuit again!

        Roll on Silverstone and Spa.

      2. There is nothing wrong with narrow circuits. Monaco provided better racing that Valencia, and it is FAR narrower.

        If anything, I think many of the circuits could stand to lose a few metres of width so the cars don’t look like karts out on a big car circuit. Some of the circuits look like the old Cleveland airport circuit that ChampCar raced on… ridiculous.

  2. Cain says:

    Once again absolutely boring race in Valencia. Maybe my expectations were too high cause of exciting races we’ve had so far, don’t know. But I do hope we get rid of Valencia, first time I found out that looking out of window is a lot smarter thing to do than watch an F1 “race”.

  3. Lopek says:

    #Dullencia

    Does not deserve any more comment.

    1. unooc12 says:

      Disagree. I don’t seee why people are saying it was dull.

      I found the Alonso – Webber battle interesting as well as the mid field battles. Watching Alguasarie jump up the into the top 10 etc.. was all rather good.

      I prefered it to China or Malaysia to be honest, I think those two had too much just jumping around because they could wihtout thinking about it. They didn’t have to think ‘can we can past’ but instead ‘theDRS will let us easily get past’.

      I think this was good. And I dislike the Valencia circuit.

      Also to note, the GP2 is pretty funny to watch. Helerious and worthy of a recommendation for those wanting to see some crazy racing, forget DRS, or F1 championship titles the mixture is simple
      1) Each driver must come with an ego and something more than a feeling that they were born to pole and win every race
      2) Add in the pressure that if they fail then their motorsport career to F1 is over
      3) Add in the pressure of money for each season
      4) Multiply by eagerness to impress regardless of situation
      5) Chuck in some blind stupidity
      6) And dillute some of that practiced skill we see so much of in F1

      And what happens in brilliance! The onboard from the 4th row of the grid is pretty much through clouds of smoke within metres as opposed to the pretty clear starts from F1.

      Drivers just randomly weaving over the straight at the start to find a hole and then colliding with others (I’m looking at you Bianchi). Another drove into a gap that was disappearing, cut the corner, hit someone, the other guy went spinning in the middle of the road and decided to just plant his right foot on the floor smoked up the tyres, ruined all visibility for others coming and was caught so couldn’t even get free! Magic!

      Seriously a highlight of my weekend! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm2BMM71S14 for those interested in Monaco Qualifying – GP2 style!

      3) Finally got around to using the F1 Live Timings while watching, quite good especially during the ad breaks! Recommend

      1. Haggerty says:

        So your definition of good racing is when people race badly?

      2. unooc12 says:

        My definiton of ‘wheel to wheel racing’ is drivers driving like idiots yes. For a bit of a wheel to wheel action it is great to watch. But entertaining racing can also be pushing each other with gaps, margins, makingthe tyres work when otehr can’t etc..

        Would I want F1 to be like GP2? No. They look like tools.
        Is it entertaining in a different way though? Yes.

        If F1 is a drama or documentary on something intersting then GP2 is a comedy. Sure the comedy is great and makes you laugh (it does) but David Attenborough is a much classier production.

  4. Owen Li says:

    “Vettel could afford to take a holiday during the British, German and Hungarian Grands Prix and still be leading the championship after the summer break.”

    Oh my…
    That’s too comfortable for him.
    Yes,that’s because his runner-up were all different.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      McLaren is loosing in the development race. Ferrari is struggling to cut the gap.
      RBR is answering any trick the FIA comes with : flexibility tests, quali engine map, and in a fortnight no more blown diffusers.

      Vettel is faultless.
      Hamilton is emotionally and technically instable.
      Alonso is giving up.
      Button delivers in changeable weather conditions & only in changeable weather conditions.
      Felipe is nowhere.
      Webber threw all he got last year.

      Les jeux sont faits. Championship is over.

      1. Oxford Bullnose says:

        ‘Championship is over’

        And that’s probably why ‘Mclaren is loosing (sic) in the development race’ – if next year’s regs are similar to this year’s, whey would they show their hand and put on any great developments in a season that’s already lost (and thereby allow others to copy those developments ready for next year’s cars)? Yes, I’m sure they’ll do enough to battle for second spot for the constructors’ money and chip away tiny bits of the RB advantage, but any great ideas they have will be kept for next year (and I bet Ferrari and Merc are thinking the same). Clear that Ham and Butt and Alo etc know it already – this year is over. Dead squib of a season’s end to come…

      2. F1a says:

        Red Bull are already so far ahead.

        So if the others have these super clever new things for next year… Red Bull must have better that they are also not showing for next year = net result = same as this year.

      3. "for sure" says:

        ….and this post sums up perfectly what is wrong with F1 today. It has completely lost it’s way. The only excitement this year has been the consequence of unpredictable tyres, and the video game equivalent of push button overtaking aids. So much for the pinnacle of motorsport. Dull, dull, dull.

      4. Zombie says:

        Is very easy to be “faultless” when you have a car that is ONE SECOND faster than the others.

        Schmmy used to be “faultless” when he was in the same situation. Things are totaly diferent now with a “normal” car.

      5. CH1UNDA says:

        True that

      6. Dave P says:

        I bet the FIA and FOTA are now regretting the points change to 25 points, instead of the 10, 8, 6 etc… Ah well I feel another change and debate comming….

        Never mind Bernie’s silly idea of gold medals… then it really would be over soon!

      7. CH1UNDA says:

        For how long will non-RBR non-Vettel non-German fans endure this dominance before they give up watching. Personally, i am thinking of taking a holiday until next season – i will wait and see how the next two races go then decide. One thing for sure, i am not waiting for another Schumi-like dominance.

  5. Matt says:

    Best thing about that race was it’s over again for a year.

    1. tank says:

      hahaha!

  6. Seán Craddock says:

    James, do u know if Karthikeyan had a problem with his car?

    I think I saw the graphic saying he was 94 seconds behind Liuzzi towards the end of the race and losing a second a lap!

    That’s just ridiculous if the car was fine, he was close to being lapped by his team-mate!!!

    1. James Albran says:

      I intend to think long and hard about this.

    2. Phil says:

      Time to replace Karthikeyan. He’s being consistently outperformed by his team mate. And honestly, (this goes to both HRT’s), how can they not be getting in trouble for sticking on the racing line for so long when being lapped.
      I truly love HRT, but this race really made me begin to wonder if they should be there.

      1. Zombie says:

        So as Massa…

      2. Can they afford to replace him, though? He’s still a step up from Sakon Yamamoto though, IMO.

        Totally agree about their actions under blue flags. …[mod] of the Day for Liuzzi, I think.

      3. Jagan says:

        Totally agree, if F1 needs to have an Indian driver (for commercial reasons), I’d rather they get Chandok in there.

      4. CH1UNDA says:

        Ban blue flags and end this debate

  7. adam h says:

    Alonso benefits from someone elses miscalcultaion again, interesting how the HRT didn’t get a penalty for holding up webber and giving the home boy a few seconds advantage! let me guess james alonso will be up on your “driver of the day” list again?!??

    1. Lilla My says:

      Alonso had a very good race today. Is it so difficult to admit it rather than to look for conspiracy theories that would explain his good result? He’s simply a good driver, whether you like it or not and he sometimes achieves something because of his skill and not luck.
      Maybe he did gain from this or that, but he put himself in a position to gain if anything happens to his rivals and he did it due to his driving today.
      So that was Alonso’s good race today and not Alonso’s rivals miscalculations, HRT holding somebody up or whatever else. He did his job without the help of the others.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Totally agree with you Ewa, but it seems that all those Alonso haters will never let reality ruin their prejudices.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        There is always Singapore 2008 to balance these type of arguments

    2. alex says:

      Oh please, one Hispania car almost crashed with Alonso today.

    3. Ncedi RSA says:

      Alonso drove very well, as did Webber but you should note Alonso was AHEAD of Webber when Webber got the call about his gearbox.

    4. Hung says:

      Can you explain who’s the “someone” that Alonso benefits from his miscalcultaion?

      1. I guess it was Webber’s miscalculation that stopping earlier for the medium tyre would be the better option.

        Of course, then you’d also have to credit Alonso’s judgement for staying out those extra laps…

      2. Don’t forget that at one stage, Webber was very close to the one-second DRS window from Vettel, when an HRT held him up for a few corners. Had he got by cleanly and got into that one second window, it may have changed the outcome of the race; however, he lost over a second, and went from 1.3 sec to 2.5 sec behind, and then clawed back to 2 sec or so.

        Obviously I think Alonso deserved second, and Webber was no match for either of them in the latter half of the race… but he could have thrown a spanner in the works of Vettel’s race had he got within DRS-striking distance, and might have pulled off an upset, even if only for the middle stint.

        Then again, if he got ahead in the middle stint, perhaps Vettel’s confidence could have cracked, he could have burned up his tires faster, and suddenly we’d end up with a three-way battle for the lead…

        If, if, if, if if if ififififif…

    5. Galapago555 says:

      It looks like Mark Webber doesn’t share your views:

      “I was very happy with how the race was going until the last stop and IT WAS MY FAULT BASICALLY. I was worried about Fernando getting the undercut and it was not really known how the medium tyre would behave on the out lap, but it was a risk I decided to take. I LOST OUT TO FERNANDO, HE DROVE A GOOD RACE.”

      Mmmm… no sign of your Spanish conspiration here, mate. :-D

    6. HansB says:

      Alonso regained second position because Webber made a mistake at entering the pitlane. And MW wasn’t quick enough on the new medium tyres. That had nothing to do with the HRT.
      Today Alonso was faster.

    7. mtb says:

      Didn’t Webber accept responsibility for making his final stop too early?

    8. CH1UNDA says:

      HRT is a spanish team – no surprises there

    9. Dan says:

      But that’s irrelevant. If Liuzzi had been given a penalty it wouldn’t have changed the fact that Webber had been held up. Some drivers catch backmarkers in the wrong places and get held up, simple as that, it’s not like it’s an isolated incident, drivers moan ad nauseum about being held up by the backmarkers.

  8. Jez says:

    The Valencia GP is always boring, so no surprises really. Congrats to Vettel, another great performance.

    1. Rekha says:

      I agree.

  9. F1Fan4Life says:

    James, I just wondered if you had an opinion on why Ferrari chose to ‘react’ to Webber multiple times? I mean I start each race biting my fingernails, and by the mid-way point I’m chewing on my entire hand. Ferrari seem to be neither here or there in their strategy, are the strategic ‘geniuses’ there really at work?

    They wait for Webber to pit, then react by pitting Alonso immediately after. We already know this year that fresh softs are faster, so the guy that pits first will take the lead generally by being faster on his out lap. Not only did Ferrari react once to Webber, but they reacted twice. Is this not inept??? If they are holding on to battle Vettel, why react? You either try to be the first to pit to get a fast outlap, or you try and stretch your tires to have the freshest hard tires at the latter part of the race. Maybe I am the only one thinking this way, but I have seen Ferrari make this poor decision many times this year, and they did it again. They should easily have had Webber in this race, and they should have made the first move because Alonso was behind Webber and Ferrari clearly are struggling more with hard tires than RedBull so they should try and be ahead in position when going onto the hards. Am I the only one seeing this regular mistake?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll cover that in the UBS Strategy Report. But if the car behind you stops first you have to react as he has fresh tyres and will be faster.

      1. wolf says:

        Webber drove like an absolute demon to undercut Alonso on the second stop. Still scratching my head as to why the hell Webber would choose to pit ahead of Alonso on the last stop. The ‘fresh’ medium tyres were still a good few seconds slower than the worn softs and he only had a buffer of a little over a second.

      2. F1Fan4Life says:

        Yup I understand James but, I just don’t get why in the first and second round of stops, they didn’t just pit Alonso before Webber, let him set a fast outlap and take the lead, as he seemed faster than Webber, the Ferrari is worse on hard tires and apparently they had no chance for 1st place. Instead both rounds they chose to react…forcing Alonso to overtake Webber once, and the other time, in my opinion they lucked out with Webber hitting traffic. This was asked in the press conference I think and Alonso said normally the guy who pits first gets a lap over a second faster.

        My only thought was that if someone stretches out softs, they might pit later than everyone on hards and might have slightly better pace toward the end of the race. I don’t believe it would be worth much…but I don’t know. I think someone, Button maybe, stopped late for hards this race.

      3. James Allen says:

        Because they didn’t know when Webber would stop. It wasn’t specified beforehand. Red Bull tend to stop early to get the advantage. Ferrari have tended to go a lap or two longer

      4. JAG says:

        Every lap longer they leave alonso on the softs is one lap less they have to do on the hards. Ferrari have been much stronger on the soft than the hard so they are trying to minimize the amount of time they have to spend on the hards as much as possible. By leaving him out a lap longer than webber on each change they spent 2 laps less than him on the hards, and when you add in the 2 laps webber had them on before alonso pitted they saved 4 laps on the hard by staying out longer, saving them about 3.5 seconds in total race time.

    2. cjf says:

      I thought their final pitstop was odd since it bought them out into a group of midfielders, I wondered why they didn’t stay out for a couple more laps and come out ahead of them since webber wouldn’t have leap frogged them whilst stuck in this bunch himself.

    3. pargo says:

      Ferrari strategists only need to listen to DC commentary. He seems more than happy to offer on air strategic advice! “Alonso needs to pit now” and “Massa should stay out longer …”

  10. rfs says:

    There was a guy here who said he’d smash his TV if Vettel won again. Goferet, his name was. I wonder if he’s actually gone through with that.

    1. goferet says:

      @rfs Pwahahaha, my words come back to haunt me.

      As much as I would love to go through with my pact, no am afraid I love my telly way too much. So no won’t do :)

      I will eat my hat though!

      1. Andy C says:

        Would you like some sauce with that hat goferet? ;-)

    2. Galapago555 says:

      he is well know for his weather prediction abilities as well…

  11. Mike J says:

    It had to happen. The season could not keep producing great/interesting races such as we have had. RBR shows that no matter what is thrown at them that they can adapt. Alonso/Ferrari are continually developing well and showed great race pace, mostly the same lap times as RBR, (with FA) although Vettel has the ability/car to ‘bang in’ a quick lap whan all seems equal.( so he is confortable)
    McLaren just didn’t have a good race and their pace was ’2nd tier’ today and Mercedes, well, continue to struggle with tyres/setup.
    Vettel was outstanding and controlled the pace at the front, Alonso did everything he could and kept the race pace and Webber had ‘webber luck’ with the gearbox however probably would not haved changed things given he did acknowledge his wrong call to come in early on his last stop. Traffic and primes didn’t work in the end for him.
    Valencia shows it is still a hard track to pass even with DRS and KERS and generally the passes where down to tyre degradation instead of DRS..Overall a 4/10 race. I can’t see Bitish GP changing much but i hope.

    1. I think we will see some changes at Silverstone, but not ones that will affect the quality of the spectacle.

      I’m anticipating that the ban on hot and cold blowing will just emphasise the inherent aerodynamic superiority of the Red Bull, with Ferrari dropping back a little and McLaren probably dropping back quite a bit.

      We’ll see a reshuffle in midfield. I suspect Renault will be in for a miserable weekend as their car is heavily designed around these concepts and may prove a real handful to drive, with unpredictable downforce levels through low and medium speed corners. The next few races will represent a big opportunity for Williams and Toro Rosso to rack up some points.

      1. Given that the Renault’s exhaust heats the air going under the leading edge of the floor, where there is a huge suction peak, (typical for any flat-bottom car – big suction peaks at the leading edge of the floor and at the diffuser mouth), it shouldn’t affect the balance of the car that much.

        Granted, they will lose some off-throttle downforce due to the ban, but the balance of the car will remain pretty even, and they’ll still have all the downforce they’ve ever had when on throttle.

  12. janis1207 says:

    Well, I was afraid it will be another DRS dominated race, but it actually proved to be tyre management dominated.
    Red Bull did a very good job and walked away with it (pity about Webbo’s gearbox problems), Ferrari’s have been kind on tyres all season, while McLaren’s problems were exaggerated by Hamiltons unwilingness to exercise some restraint. Mercedes were the best of the rest.
    And that was it.

  13. PaulL says:

    “He also became the first man to finish either first or second in the first eight races of the season.”
    2nd in fact. Alonso finished either first or second for the opening 9 races of 2006.

    1. Jean-Paul says:

      You’re right PaulL
      Well noticed!

    2. [MISTER] says:

      James said SV finished 1st or 2nd in the first 8 races. You are saying FA finished 1st or 2nd in the first 9 races.
      Do you see the difference? If not, I’ll explain..James did the statistic based on 8 races..not 9.

      Cheers!

      1. drums says:

        ???? How can it be that if someone finished 1st or 2nd in the first 9 races he did not finished 1st or 2nd in the first 8 races? Please explain.

      2. [MISTER] says:

        PaulL said FA finished eight times 1st and 2nd in 9 races in 2006. This means that in one of those 9 races, he was not 1st or 2nd.
        In race #8 let’s say, FA finished 3rd.

        I hope I didn’t misunderstood PaulL.

      3. Paulo Miranda says:

        You clearly didn’t give a lot of thought to that.
        I can see that you apreciate very much Mr. Allen, so do i, but he can make some mistakes too, especially articles wrote right after the race. Still Vettel in 8 races has 2 2nd places and the rest wins, while Alonso had 3 2nd places in the first 8 (and 9) races, probably the comment was going more that way.

        But i’m not very much impressed with this dominance, i could name quite a good number of seasons where the champion dominated since the start, the big difference this year is the reliability, by now some years ago Vettel engine would have blown, or hydraulics, suspension, gearbox, anything. And while they limit the gearbox to 5 races and a total 8 engines, we see them more and more reliable.

        I kind of miss the thrill of a guy driving in front with 20 seconds advantage could mean nothing if something goes bad, or like last year in Bahrain or Korea with vettel, Hamilton in Barcelona (or hungary?)…

        I think that there are more skilled drivers too, that take out the other guys much less than before, maybe at cost of aggressiveness.

      4. James Allen says:

        Fair point. It was a link sent to me by a reliable stats man. You are right Alonso did it in 2006.

      5. Glenn says:

        The broadcast team in Australia (One HD) banged on about that Vettel 8 race stat ad-infinitum. These guys only repeat what they hear anyway. No-one actually ‘listens’ to them. Were you sent a link by Greg Rust by any chance James? ;)

      6. James Allen says:

        No it’s a pro stats guy, whom ONE HD also use. I believe Martin Brundle used the stat too

      7. F1Fan4Life says:

        Completely agree with everything you sid there Paulo about the races and unimpressive Vettel. Alot of television broadcasters and websites keep praising the exciting races, but they have a vested interest too as it is a part of their business. If one man is dominating the championship by a landslide, its just not that interesting.

        I also wanted to mention that there are lots of Kobayashi fans but in my opinion this year Perez has put him to shame, and once again he’s done a great job returning from injury and beating his team mate. I rate him above Di Resta, who seems to be getting all the plaudits but I’m more impressed with Perez.

      8. OscarF1 says:

        It wasn’t till the 10th race that he finished below 2nd (actually 5th)

        Here are the results for that season
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Formula_One_season#Results_and_standings

    3. Galapago555 says:

      In the first TEN races of the 2006 season, AFAIK.

  14. RC says:

    People are very hard on Valencia but can you really say that the race was boring because of the track? There were several good passes and we didn’t really see anyone endlessly held up behind a slower driver. The Alonso-Webber battle was actually very action packed for a second-third situation with an actual on-track pass and then pitstop chicanery.
    I think the greater problem after the, excuse the pun, crapshoot of Monaco and the unusual conditions in Montreal, we are seeing the teams have a good handle on tire behaviour, cars running at close to their full potential and the field stringing out in a rather deterministic way. That said, what a disappointing race from McLaren. And what class from the front three. And let us take a moment to appreciate the reliability and great driving of the entire field.

    Robin

    1. HansB says:

      I agree with this, it was not a dull race. We seem to be spoiled already after 7 races this season.
      Compare this to the races of last year were cars could switch to primes on the first lap at a safetycar or something and then drive to the finish.
      I like these straight races, no safety car, no rain. Speed from car and driver are the most important. F1 is more than those races were the outcome is decided by luck.

    2. One thing I take exception to is the issue of “being held up” by another driver.

      Personally, I find this quite exciting. Petrov defending against Alonso? Gold. Made for exciting racing to watch Alonso try and not quite be able to get him. Villeneuve “holding up” four cars behind him in Spain in ’81? Was anyone crying about a lack of overtaking then? Would DRS have made that better?

      I like seeing a driver doing his or her best to defend their position, not cracking under the tremendous pressure of having another hungry driver behind them, ready to pounce into any gap that looks like it might be a car-width.

      I love racing, and racing is more than just the number of passes per race.

  15. Ade says:

    Valencia always is and always shall be a pretty boring race. Only way they could spice it up is to bring the super softs and hards to the race because then there would be a huge difference between tyres so at least the strategy could pan out differently….

  16. DanielS says:

    Driver of the day for me was Alonso, by some way. Vettel had the car underneath him that anything less than a win would have been unacceptable. Alonso out-drove his Ferrari and beat Webber – I know Webber had the gearbox problem but (lest we forget) Alonso had been quicker all afternoon, long before those problems struck.

    Most boring race of the year so far though. A bit of a clunker like Bahrain last year. Why oh why we have this Valencia race is beyond me – we only had the Spanish grand prix last month. And on top of this, they’re not even very far apart – Valencia is just down the coast from Barcelona. There are plenty of great (unused) tracks out there that could host a European race: Donnington, Brands Hatch, Imola, A1 Ring, Nurburgring, one of the numerous French circuits, Estoril, Zandvoort…

    1. DanielS says:

      Heck, even Magny-Cours would be better – we’d see some great moves down into that hairpin with DRS.

      1. aj says:

        After Barcelona, i thought the new rules would transform any circuit, but Valencia proved me wrong. this was the 1st grand prix this year i changed the channel during the race.

  17. Geoff says:

    As usual Valencia became the worst track in the calender. Even with DRS we only got 5 overtaking during the race, and each car were separated by more than 3 seconds. Totally horrible race as I almost fall in sleep during the race. Please bring back Imola or other track and replace this one ASAP.

  18. Paul H says:

    Proof if it was needed that Valencia is not a worthy track for F1. So dull I actually fell asleep midway through! When it gets so processional it feels more like a time trial than a race. No matter how many gimmicks they add to cars or features they remove, a bad racetrack will always lead to dull races.

  19. CartRider says:

    Ferrari needs to do something with its pitstops. Although, I believe they had the fastest pitstop today with Massa’s last stop, which was 3.5 sec, overall they lose to the opposition in this respect. What’s the point in making up 0.1 sec per lap by improving aerodynamics if they lose this gain by making a mistake in the pits worth of 5 sec (over the race distance, it’s about 0.1 sec per lap)?

    And it’s very frustrating to see the team only reacting to others’ tactics rather than making a move first.

    1. brendan says:

      indeed, there pit stops have lost alonso lots of points.

      no point in hiring the best driver in the world if your pit crew are going to waste all his hard work.

      if your driver gave away 1 second on his in lap your team wouldnt be very impressed and the same should count for the pit crew. the time lost all adds up the same at the end of race!

  20. Holly says:

    Hamilton was horrible today despite finishing 4th, he have real issues with tyres in hot tracks, he or the car set up was deadly wrong.

    DotD: Alonso, he it’s driving that car like a true champ, same that Ferrari it’s not up there and probably will not be this year, unless something terrible happen to Red Bull in Silverstone.

    Race was boring if you weren’t a RB or Alonso fan, the track it’s bad, really bad.

  21. Irish con says:

    I agree with the guys saying this track has to go. I don’t think it will matter what tyres or drs u have here. It’s just too hard a track to follow the car in front out of exits onto straights were passing will be possible at the end. Also don’t think any country should have 2 tracks and there has got to be better tracks out there. I think Abu dhabi could be the worst race of the season again this year. Valencia and abu dhabi would go in terms of entertainment for the fans in a race but I guess they fill bernies pocket pretty well so are safe. Vettel and alonso. Stand outs again.

  22. FastestFormula says:

    This was dull. Now we have had some great overtaking this year and exciting races. But I don’t want to hear the fastest drivers in the world being told to go slower to preserve tyres. It’s just not F1 to me. And yes I am aware F1 has had this many times in it’s long varied past be it with the old turbos or just saving fuel. But these crappy pirelli tyres are personally ruining it for me. I am really missing the bridgestone/refueling days when drivers were flat out, or so it seemed to me, every lap. And yes I watched many many races duller than today’s but I still don’t like this new F1.

    Even the days of Schumis dominance didn’t break my patience and make me turn off the TV – because I enjoyed watching the very pinnacle of motorsport. It wont be long before you could enter a GP2 car and it would beat the Virgins! Am I losing it, am I a drama queen, am I really the only one who is worried by this?

    It’s not F1 it’s FEnduro – and may well be the FEnd for my 21 diehard years of watching F1.

  23. Lilla My says:

    Lol. We – fans will never be happy. I remember Turkey when everyone was shouting that there are too many pit stops and too many overtakings and you can’t follow the action closely, coz you get lost. Now we have a calm race (yes – straight from 2010 it seems) and guess what…? Eerybody’s unhappy that nothing’s going on. I must admit it was pretty boring, but at least I could rest a bit after all the rolercoaster, nerve-wrecking races we’ve seen lately. My weak heart appreciates it :). But… enough of the procession for now – bring back the crazy rush again, please :D.

    1. Anil says:

      I think people are just annoyed that the race track itself is horrible and it’s boring to watch a race on there. We didn’t get much overtaking at Suzuka last year but at least it’s brilliant to watch them drive on it.

      This is definitely the worst track on the grid. That’s right, worse than Abu crappy and Bore-rain.

      1. Exactly! Like I said above, racing is more than just passing. I could watch a single F1 car for two hours just lapping at Spa or Suzuka. I could also watch 24 F1 cars at Valencia if they were actually dicing for position… but they weren’t; the best battle was Alguersuari holding off Sutil for the last few laps (a good defensive drive is as good as a pass, in terms of entertainment, in my opinion).

        Valencia has none of that. Long straights and tight corners… the only interesting part is the sweepers before the last corner. The whole race, with few exceptions, was drivers managing gaps. It’s like it has some magical ability to keep all the cars spaced out to prevent any sort of action, all while preventing the cars from really showing off their awe-inspiring aspects that could make up for a lack of dicing.

    2. Nick says:

      Turkey and Valencia represent the two extremes, I guess. Most of us want races to be somewhere in the middle

  24. jonrob says:

    So did Schumacher get a penalty for going over the white pit exit line? I doubt it, as he’s not in a McLaren! This was just before he very stupidly stuck his nose into the racing line and got it bashed by a car on the line. when interviewed he seemed to think it was somewhere else on the track entirely.

    Had Lewis done this instead of Schumi no doubt the blogs would be full of condemnation, calling him impulsive and dangerous and demanding penalties.

    1. Anil says:

      His tyre didn’t completely cross the line.

    2. frosty1 says:

      Schumi didn’t cross the white line, although it was very close. If you don’t cross it i don’t believe you are penalised.

  25. theviewingfoot says:

    Valencia – turns excitement into dull.

    If were going to have a Euro Grand Prix (Why?) Then put the thing in Germany where you have the Nurburgring and Hockenhiem. Or the UK with Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

    tvf

  26. Oxford Bullnose says:

    Right Royal Borefest.

    At leats Bernie showed some insight in the pre-race build-up, hinting that Valencia (or Barca, but I doubt it) won’t be on the calendar much longer. Can’t be soon enough.

  27. goferet says:

    [mod]

    1. James Allen says:

      Your stuff is getting dangerously close to being all negatives, adding nothing to the debate. It takes up valuable mod time, please stop doing it – Mod

  28. Martin P says:

    Surely it’s time for Bernie to look at the longer game again on circuits. He’s picked up the initial cash injection from circuits like Valencia and Bahrain, but they’ve had their chance to prove themselves worthy and I can’t imagine the business case stacks up when you consider the imminent pressure on FOM from both teams and TV companies (e.g. BBC!).

    I personally think it’s a dull race, but that’s an opinion. The inescapable facts surely come from the TV ratings.

    There will always be a core fan base giving a baseline viewing figure for each grand prix. The real measure of progress (emotive word I know!) is whether the viewing figures are going up and maintaining the gains. I believe races like Monaco and Canada bring in bumper ratings but I can’t imagine Valencia ever being above the baseline. In fact, this one race could just have turned off the extra viewers wooed by the last two grand prix.

    The business plan for F1 surely can’t sustain circuits that turn the casual fan off. Move Spa out of the grave-yard holiday slot and give a run of 5 or 6 prime time races with exciting racing and the casual observer will be hooked.

    James, are the official viewing figures for each grand prix available anywhere?

    1. Tim. says:

      “James, are the official viewing figures for each grand prix available anywhere”

      Yes in Bernie’s bank account

  29. eric weinraub says:

    Snooze fest! So much for DRS/KERS and whatever other phony device they come with… how about we add a lap to Vettel?

  30. sender says:

    Valencia maybe is not the most exciting track, but maybe it is not entirely responsible for the excitement or lack of it.
    It could be that the teams are starting to understand the tyres better or maybe Pirelli are becoming too conservative and the tyres will become more and more durable.
    The impression was that there is almost no benefit in saving the tyres – there is almost no payoff to it. They degrade anyway. When they go, they go.
    Last year the tyres were too durable, the start of this season a little bit too fragile, but almost perfect. Actually some races ago the balance was OK. Now it could be shifting in the wrong direction.
    Perhaps it is a bit early to judge that. Let’s wait a few more races.
    Red Bull deserve some credit. The other teams should think about the big picture and analyse what to do.
    About the drivers – interesting performances in the top 3 teams for all to see. Everyone can make their own conclusions.

  31. Christine says:

    Is there anyone out there that can compete with Adrian Newey. If so your services are desperately needed at Mclaren/Ferrari/Mercedes/Renault etc etc. If these teams had an Adrian Newey clone then boring tracks like Valencia wouldn’t appear such a sleepfest because the competition would be so much closer.

    1. ezio auditore says:

      There was a man named Rory Bryne who used to work at Maranello. He had a better head to head record with Newey.

  32. Marc Burton says:

    I for one will only be watching the highlights for the rest of this year. It makes a mockery when only one person is likely to win at all. It’s not sport and it’s not good for anyone.

    I’m just bored of F1, bored of the endless hype and the inevitable let down.

    Why on Earth there isn’t a ballast compensation system, say 5kg for every 100 points is beyond me? It’s far better than these constant reg changes that hinder the midfield.

    1. Werewolf says:

      F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and ballast is the complete atithesis of what it is about. Success must be rewarded not penalised; it is a meritocracy, as Sir Frank would say.

      Ballast is artificial manipulation and belongs in the BTCC, which sadly sacrificed sporting integrity for cheap thrills some years ago.

    2. brendan says:

      dont agree with ballast, why be penalised for being better.

      i dont like seeing vettel win. and personally dont think he is as good as alonso and possibly lewis. but end of the day he and his team are doing the best job

    3. Cliff says:

      Ballast is not required. The other teams need to step up to the plate! I always want to see a Mclaren win, but to penalise RBR because they keep winning is not the way to go.

    4. Dino says:

      I agree; roll on 2012. 2011 is 4 drivers fighting over 2nd place in the championship.

      Just give Vettel the trophy and the rest of the year off and let’s get on with some racing. People are pointing out that he’s “three races ahead”, well he’s not as I can’t see a single driver emerging as dominant from the other four, so he’s probably more like 6-8 races ahead in real terms, which takes us practically to the end of the season.

      If the Silverstone rule change doesn’t spice things up I’ll be “switching off my TV set and going out and doing something less boring instead”.

      1. Chapor says:

        “If the Silverstone rule change doesn’t spice things up I’ll be “switching off my TV set and going out and doing something less boring instead”.”

        Yeah, like watching grass grow. :-)

        A huge advantage that Vettel has is that there are 4 other drivers taking points away from each other instead of one designated driver challenging Vettel every race. Thinking Mika vs Schumi and Alonso vs Schumi.

  33. Graham Coles says:

    The best thing about this whole race was the interview with Newey at the end on the BBC Forum. Could’ve listened to him for hours.

    After all I’d managed to cook my lunch and paint my garden gate during the race and when I got back the key positions hadn’t changed and there was about 10 secs between each car.

    Just think, there was a time when all GP were like that and we never complained.

  34. ajag says:

    At least you are honest, so you should be let off ;-)

    1. ajag says:

      this was meant for the guy that wanted to smash his tv…

  35. Olivier says:

    Great day for Vettel & Newey. Sad day for the fans. Sure there are more exciting circuits in Spain than Barcelona and Valencia?

    1. Graham Coles says:

      Sitges, make them all go back to Sitges.

  36. Ian B says:

    Insomnia got you down? Don’t worry and watch the annual Valencia Grand Prix. Guaranteed to knock you out harder and longer than Manny Pacquaio.

    Brought to you by messrs Ecclestone and CVC.

  37. [MISTER] says:

    James, could you please look into this:
    “Circuit owners claim that the new engines will be a huge turn-off for fans.
    All but two of the world’s circuits, China and Korea, have told F1’s governing body that if the new engines are introduced they will not show F1 and will instead switch to IndyCar races.”

    I read this in Sundays Express. I would love to read a piece from you into this.

    Was a good race today, but nothing special except a trouble free Seb, a slow McLaren, couple of good and entertaining fights in the midfield and of course a great battle for the whole race between Fernando and Mark.

    Cheers!

    1. Ross says:

      Read that story as well.

      Terrible journalism.

  38. Sean hardman says:

    Well done Alonso. But this car needs better aero grip to fight at high speed circuits coming up. Can’t wait for silverstone but can’t see a repeat of this result. See you at Abbey!

  39. Nick Lynn says:

    The race was dull and for the first time in a long while I switched off before the end.

    It is a shame that there is such a difference in the machinery as before this race the actual racing has been tremendous.

    Sadly, the gap that Vettel has means I have no real interest in seeing who comes second or third.

    I’d like to see Vettel tested – like he was in Montreal – as I’m yet to be convinced of his racecraft.

    1. . says:

      Fangio was never tested by anyone, he always sailed away in front while,driving in the most dominant car. 99% of the people he overtook were backmarkers. You must not be convinced by his skill too then.

      1. Nick Lynn says:

        In some respects I think under the current rules Fangio might not have been so dominant; although I take account of those who drove against him and describe his skills.

        Unlike Fangio who I never saw perform on the racetrack, I have watched Vettel race – both in Torro Rosso and Red Bull – and it seems to be the case that when pressured or when running wheel to wheel with a fast car, with no blue flags or with ponderously slow cars or inexperienced rookies, he makes mistakes.

        Montreal only served to prove the point. I’m not saying he can’t do it; only that he hasn’t shown us whether or not he can.

      2. James Draper says:

        Did you not see the other Spanish GP?

  40. jmv says:

    I might skip a few races this summer as the weather is nice and there are things to do outside. Sorry to say this.

    I watched the GP3 race this morning, and OMG did I enjoy that. So I might catch the GP3 races on Sunday mornings with breakfast and then head out.

    Thanks for the excellent writing James. I like how you try not to sound too hopeless about this season.

    1. Sebee says:

      I don’t mean to brag but eastern time zone in north America is the place to be for F1 or motorsport for that matter. Watch in the AM an enjoy your day. If weather is bad Indycar or NASCAR follow in a few hours. Since you can’t fly to every race it’s the place to be.

      I say this because it’s hard to be mad at a dull F1 race at breakfast time. :-)

      1. Rodger says:

        For the European races yes.
        But sometimes it’s hard to stay awake for the Austral-Asian races that come on as I’m getting home from the honky-tonk!

      2. RC says:

        If you’re hardcore the west coast is good. You get to watch the races at 5am which is doable (as I get older anyway) and the australasian races are around midnight. The only inconvenient one is the canadian GP as it’s in the middle of the day – especially if it gets delayed for two hours!

        RC

  41. For sure says:

    I am up at night. May be replaying the race would do the trick.

  42. Dave P says:

    Two things that have changed that have altered possible outcomes in a grand prix are:

    1. Consistents starts, there used to be wheel spin and different reaction times from drivers… not any more

    2. Reliability, it used to be you could hold on for a shock leading driver to blow up at the end… not any more…

    Shame.. use to be good to see what happened in these areas… not any more…

  43. Sean hardman says:

    Wow. Just watched BBC forum. That interview with Adrian Newey was very interesting. Maybe more hope from British GP onwards for chasing teams.

    1. Harrison says:

      Have you link to share?

  44. KK says:

    If Vettel could storm to win in a circuit that is considered one of the weakest in the Redbull prospect report, then I’m afraid the season is all but over for his rivals. That said, the picture will be clearer when we get to normal circuits like Silverstone. McLaren drivers are crying for upgrades but I think they are pushing the panic button too early too often. Problem is, as James said, Vettel always finds a different rival sharing the podium space, clearly easing his cruise to the championship.

    And he thoroughly deserves this because if its all down to the car, Webber who kept Vettel humble all season last time, should have been in with a shout as well. It’s just that the champion has upped his performance to an all new level, clearly soaking up pressure and putting up some series of flawless drives.

    1. brendan says:

      perhaps mclaren are suffering from the gains they made early doors this season.

      they had to take a backward step to be up to speed for melbourne…..so perhaps they are lost as to where to go forward from where they are. as their last great ideas didnt work at all?

      1. KK says:

        Again, I don’t think they need to worry too much because it was only a wrong strategy that prevented Jenson from winning or atleast clinching a second in Monaco, which btw is a track where you need a good amount of downforce. Canada n Valencia are peculiar tracks where you need to mechanically strong. I think on sheer downforce McLaren are better than Ferrari and hence they will be second best in Silverstone and on race pace, they could well emulate their performance in Barcelona.

        All said, it looks ominous for Vettel’s rivals as he’s on a class apart.

    2. Jason says:

      It’s all down to the tyres they just suit Vettel’s driving style to a T. That in combination with the RB7.

      I honesty don’t think your going to see any change in the order come silverstone, I think it will still be red bull out front doing there thing.

  45. Werewolf says:

    I didn’t think it was that bad a race in the 2010 style of things. It had plenty of potential at most times, even if it ultimately failed to deliver but that’s the difference between the suspense and action genres. There were also excellent drives from Vettel and Alonso, together with some enjoyable midfield scraps.

    I am not a fan of Valencia – it rates with Bahrain as my least favourite track – but the idea of DRS having varying effects at different circuits appeals. It is an added complexity and will require a different approach to different races. If some fans choose to only watch certain races, that’s up to them and is, in any case, likely to become increasingly normal because of the constantly expanding season.

  46. JW says:

    Hi James,

    There have been numerous rumours all season about the Red Bull, ranging from the flexi front wing through to engine mapping etc. I’m of the opinion that Silverstone will finally uncover the fact that the Red Bull is simply a fundamentally better car. Am I right in saying this or do you think that the engine changes will level the playing field a little?

    1. k5enny says:

      You are absolutely correct.

      Red Bull(In Vettels hands) will continue to dominate…

      All the rule changes that try to reign them in are only pushing their rivals further back..
      Proof of this – mark webber coming closer to finishing second….

      There has been lotsa speculation on where red bull advantage comes from: flexi-wing, qualifying engine maps and active suspension (lower for light qualifying, higher for heavy race)…. rules were introduced around these areas – and there was many weekends we were told the redbull advantage would be wiped out — but it never happened…

      I believe that the RebBull/Vettel advantage is not in one area or even 5 areas….

      They are the complete package…

      Also, remember, in the 2 race in which Vettel has been beaten, he was overtaken with only a handful of laps remaining.. being surprised by pace of cars on different strategies…

      I really dont believe that we have seen Vettel drive the car @100% in a race — but thats what the new rules demand of a winner!!

  47. James b says:

    I may be wrong but I think the track is to blame. It has one line and no real straights. Cars get spread out too much and it just causes a procession. Even budapest will be a good race this year!!

  48. Paul Mc says:

    Championship well and truly over.

    Vettel looks like smashing the race wins in a season record. No ones stepping up to the plate at all in Quali to at least challenge him.

    Fair play to him though he’s making the best out of dominance.

  49. Rich C says:

    Ok, that one’s done.

    Now, I’ve forgotten – what rule are they changing *this week??

  50. rajmo says:

    one of the dullest races ive ever seen, at one of the dullest tracks i’ve ever seen – a street circuit sanitised to the nth degree.
    i cannot believe bernie even hinted that this could replace barcelona.
    there might not be any overtaking at barcelona but at least its a good circuit with interesting corners.

  51. Matt Wil. says:

    Am I the only seeing Vettel (and sometimes Webber) administrating his time difference as he wants, doing a fast lap whenever he needs it?

    Am I the only who thinks that he is driving at the 80%?

    Am I the only who saw Webber doing slow laps in this GP and then, when Alonso overtaked him, doing absolute fast laps at the same level as Vettel?

    Does this mean RedBull are/were joking Ferrari and McLaren all this seasson and started far away of the 1 sec. gap we all thought at the first GP of 2011?

    1. 69bhp says:

      i think Webber was driving as fast as his abilities allowed. Do you think he deliberately drove at 80% until Alonso overtook him and only then decided to drive faster?

      1. Matt Wil. says:

        I don’t know if he did it deliberately, but he did it. And if you remember last seasson, Webber was fighting Vettel in every race, so since this is the first race where he is in pace with Vettel, we should expect, at least, a little pressure on Vettel (the same pressure Massa did to Alonso at Montreal) and not a 5 sec gap all the race, which was something he could do in view of his lap times after Alonso overtaked him. So the only explanation to this is, in my view, he was giving Vettel some air to manage more relaxed the race, and distracted Alonso/Ferrari to impose them fight only with Webber. This is the same thing that happened in Abu Dhabi (deliberately or not, we don’t know!)

        But this year RedBull dominance is strange, we are not used to see one team perform in that way in every track. I remember the Ferrari/McLaren Ferrari/Renault battles, where Alonso, Schumacher and Raikonnen were able to fight for the victory in every race but not with a half second gap in quali at every race, and alternating the more suited tracks for every team.

  52. JohnBt says:

    Race was a bit better but still had the boring factor of Valencia. Hope Valencia will disappear from the calender soon.

    Vettel’s got the WDC in his pocket. Who wanna bet against it?
    He’ll be crowned the youngest World’s Double Champion and wipe Alonso’s record from the books. Followed by other records for sure.

    James, when do you feel Vettel will wrap up the WDC, more than how many races before the season ends? Sorry for asking as hope for ‘down to the wire’ fight has evaporated.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well if we were three races from the end, he’d be champion now. So my hunch is that gap will come down, but still expect him to clinch it with one or two races to go.

      1. herald says:

        5 races to go

  53. Nick says:

    *Wakes up*

    Has the race finished yet? Who won?

    Seriously though, dunno if it was the contrast with Canada, but that was one of the dullest races I’ve ever seen. No retirements, hardly any overtaking, no weather, and very few position changes after the first few laps. Didn’t help that the cars qualified almost perfectly in pace-order, and then just stayed there for the race.

    However, when was the last time that every single car finished? I don’t recall ever seeing it before?

  54. Nick says:

    I should probably say though, that Valencia has definately been an anomaly so far this year. Even if Vettel continues to dominate, I think we’re still in for an exciting second half of the year

  55. F1Fan says:

    Hate to even think it, but it might be time to concede to season is effectively over as far as the WDC is concerned.

    Vettel keeps padding his lead while the number 2 position is being shuffled between Webber, Hamilton, Button, and perhaps soon Alonso.

    It hasn’t helped that when Vettel hasn’t won he’s come in second.

    I continue to marvel at how bullet proof these cars have become, particularly the Red Bulls. I recall when the FIA mandated multi-race engines and trannys many fans were up in arms. But just like mandatory seat belts and airbags in the car industry, the teams have found ways to thrive, like they always do.

    Guess Valencia showed that even with DRS, it’s still a pretty boring race. And absent something like rain always will be.

    McLaren needs a gut check. This race really exposed the car in terms of grip and tire wear. That was a fun exchange between Hamilton and his engineer. “Slow down’” “I can’t go any slower.” “Go faster” “I can’t go any faster.”

    Not to take anything away from Vettel, I think for the most part he’s driving faultlessly and everything seems to be falling his way. But when you see how effortlessly he takes pole, you have to ask is he now suddenly so much better than everyone else, or is the Red Bull so much better. A bit rhetorical. Then again, one has to wonder how Webber has fallen off so much after his great year. Did all the trials and tribulations from last year take so much out of Webber that he’s lost his mojo? Or has Vettel upped his game so much that he’s completely outclassing Webber, even accounting for Webber’s remarkable run of issues with his car? I suspect it’s a bit of all of the above.

    I can only hope that something changes up the mix soon. While I like a full calendar of races, there’s nothing worse that having 6 or 7 races left with everything already decided.

  56. Iqbal_M says:

    James, do you think the European Grand Prix would have been more interesting if the soft and super-soft tyres where used, instead of the medium and soft tyres?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure the supersofts would have held up for long in the heat..

  57. Steve says:

    Now that we know the Redbull car is actually powered by the tears of Mclaren fans I expect an even better showing at Silverstone despite the rule changes ;).

  58. GWD says:

    Was a little surprised how far Hamilton, Massa & Button were off the leading 3 at the end. I’m guessing the ‘boring race’ can be attributed more to the local tv direction than the racers or circuit, as there was battles midfield we saw early glimpses of and should have become the default focus if the front runners are well gapped and aren’t swapping paint. We see other local broadcasters find the juicy stuff, so maybe just poor tv direction from the Valencia TV team(s).

    Maybe those more historically familiar with yesteryear F1 can answer this question: Should the current concept of Car Management be the determining factor of results and seeing the best out of the drivers in the sport? Is it directly comparable to yesteryear F1 (I’ll say pre Schumacher era)? Was there problems shown and could be potentially learned from the old days that we are in danger of seeing repeated (or are actually being repeated) now?

  59. Aaron says:

    I think some of the races this season have been really enjoyable thanks to DRS, KERS and the new pirelli tyres.
    However I have never really liked Valencia, it’s just an upscaled Monaco which takes away the challenge of racing around a street circuit where the barriers are right on the edge of the track.
    I would prefer F1 to return to Magny Cours, Imolaor visit the new Spanish track at Aragon where MotoGP races rather than return to Valencia. Or they should return the European GP to its home at the Nurburgring!!

    1. Peter C says:

      The ‘European Grand Prix’ doesn’t have a home.

      Historically, it was always moved around to enable a country with more than one good circuit to use them both.
      Obviously didn’t work in Spain!

      France hasn’t had a G.P. for some years now, & some good circuits too, but Bernie doesn’t seem keen on Europe.

      There’s not enough money in it.

  60. Thebe says:

    I wouldnt describe the race as boring, sure it was not filled with a lot of excitement but it wasn’t that all bad , there were some few overtakes there and there , Alonso certaintly drove a good race.

    The one thing that I’m noticing is how Mark Webber is constantly being beaten by Vettel. Vettel at the momement looks to have the upper hand , I expected Mark to be Vettel’s closest rival but at moment it looks like Alonso could be the one challenging Vettel for the title. I know there is that whole issue of RED BULL favouring Seb over him and that always makes people wonder whether Vettel has an advantage of some sort but I think Mark really needs to pull something out of the bag especially in qualifying because Vettel is very consistent at the moment, he is pulling a lead with every race.

  61. MISTER says:

    I think the season will become better then what we saw at Valencia, but the battle for WDC is finished.
    One thing is annoying. If a car is too hard on its tyres like McLaren in Valencia, it’s bad. If a car is too light on its tyres like Ferrari, it’s bad also. Is bad because they cannot stay too long because those who changed the tyres will go a lot more faster.
    These tyres provide good fun at some races, but at others..they’re just terrible.

  62. Dave Deacon says:

    Obviously, given that F1 is a spectator sport dependent upon visual excitment, having a cars that are so much faster than the rest is stupid. Who would make a film in which the plot ends half way through! Come on F1 place some limits on this nonsense.

    Maybe time for them all to have basically the same car (could still be a Newey design with latest green engine technology etc) and let the actually race it out…

    It’s fine having such variety when it delivers excitment but not when it ultimately destroys it.

    An idea, as soon as Vettel gets enough points to win the WDC, RBR (or whomever) is then excluded from racing for the rest of the season so we have only the remaining cars fighting it out and similarly for any other cars reaching a new points target would be excluded…

  63. Steed says:

    It must be time to get rid of this race from the calendar. Why have two races in Spain, surely better to encourage a new country to hold a race and drop this off the calendar.

    Even the artificial DRS didn’t make this an entertaining race.

    Not sure which is worse – Valencia or DRS (other than both Valencia and DRS, of course).

  64. So much for everyone thinking that Red Bull would be relegated to has-been status with the rule change.

    Their car is certainly benefiting from the sum of many, many little tricks and design features. Between the barely-legal flexible front wing, their ingenious high-rake set-up, their great DRS wing, and probably about 15 other unique features that no-one but Newey and two or three other key people know about, the RB7 is definitely a wicked little car, and the other teams have some catching up to do.

    Of course, Newey is as good as anyone at updating a car, so catching up to Red Bull won’t be easy.

    Expect more of the same at Silverstone, despite the off-throttle exhaust-blowing ban. :-)

  65. sammy says:

    Ferrari are just poor at pit-stops.
    Everytime both drivers come in the pitworkers are just too slow or they have a problem with a nut, or something else.
    What happended to my beloved team?

  66. Marcus says:

    Valencia is completely worthless as a circuit, the only thing I like about it are the pit buildings. The new rules have spiced up every circuit this year* apart from Valencia – Barcelona is normally a procession but was very good this year, it will be interesting to see how good Abu Dhabi is, although at least they’ve made a couple of changes to the circuit this season.

    (* Except perhaps Australia which was as good as normal)

  67. David McVey says:

    Somebody shoot me! God that was mind numbingly dull! 50 something parade laps. Get Rid!!

  68. KK says:

    James,

    Maybe this is off topic, sorry about that!

    Now that the marriage made in heaven, Alonso-Ferrari is not producing the results it intended to produce, I wonder whether you could post something on the lines of “Steffano D being vocal about Alonso being better than Raikkonen in developing a car” and that how wrong he was. From the F1 press, it was evident that it was Domenicalli who primarily wanted the Spaniard in place of the Finn and they have lost huge in the deal in the form of Raikkonen’s buy out. They really had to start winning in 2010 after stopping the development mid season in 2009, leaving Kimi helpless, yet they didn’t. They are in tatters.

    I wonder if Kimi will remain their last WDC for years to come :)

    1. James Allen says:

      …said a Kimi fan…!!

      1. KK says:

        ofcourse I’m a Kimi fan but I was going through some of your posts of late 2009 which had something like “Alonso is better than Raikkonen in development” as opined by mr. Domenicalli. He hasn’t done anything substantial with a car which is similar to what Raikkonen drove in 2006. I wonder where’s that 0.6 of a second gone though :P In the same article, I saw you mentioning how critical is it to for Ferrari to get back to winning ways with Alonso.

  69. Dale says:

    What a bore that was, why the teams allow this is beyond me.

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