Rubens Barrichello won the European Grand Prix at Valencia, putting to an end a five year winless streak. A year ago it was being suggested that his career might be over, but he triumphed in style at Valencia with a determined, consistent performance. It was the 100th win for a Brazilian driver in F1 and it brought him to second place, 18 points behind Jenson Button, who was seventh today, in the world championship.
When he drove down the pit lane to parc ferme most of the teams came out of their garages to applaud him, a sight rarely seen in Formula 1.
After the race he said that his friend Felipe Massa, who missed the race through injury, had given him some tips on racing lines and that this had helped him. All weekend Barrichello wore a logo on his crash helmet wishing Massa well.
Barrichello followed Heikki Kovalainen in the opening stint, but once past him he put pole sitter Lewis Hamilton under intense pressure. It would have been close as to which would be in front after the second stops but then a mix-up with the team turned the race. When he was already committed to the pit lane, he was told to do an extra lap but he opted not to, reasoning that he would lose too much time if he tried to continue. As a result the mechanics were not ready with the tyres and so the stop took 18 seconds, handing putting the win for Barrichello beyond doubt.
Kimi Raikkonen drove a very strong race to finish 3rd from 6th on the grid. His first target was to keep Rosberg behind him and then to reel in Kovalainen with a view to passing him at the second stops. He did it comfortably to claim his second podium in a row.
Kovalainen was fourth, managing to hold Nico Rosberg behind him, the Williams driver putting in another very strong drive to the points.