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European GP 2011

JUNE 26, 2011

Race Notes - Vettel wins European GP from pole

Sebastian Vettel, European GP 2011
© WRI2, All Rights Reserved

Sebastian Vettel won the European Grand Prix today in Valencia, comfortably in control and never seriously challenged in his Red Bull-Renault. Fernando Alonso finished second in his Ferrari, 10.8 seconds behind, after a see-saw battle with Mark Webber in his Red Bull, finishing in third place, 27.2 seconds behind.

The win is the Vettel's sixth of the season, and his 16th of his career. The race was the fourth in F1 history to not have any retirements. Alonso's second place is the Spanish driver's first podium finish at the Valencia circuit.

Lewis Hamilton (46.1s), who struggled with his tyres all afternoon, finished in fourth place in his McLaren-Mercedes, followed by Felipe Massa (51.7s) in his Ferrari in fifth place, Jenson Button (60.0s) in the McLaren in sixth, Nico Rosberg (98.0s) in the Mercedes GP in seventh, Jaime Alguersuari (1 lap) on a 2 stop-strategy in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in eighth place, Adrian Sutil (1 lap) in the Force India-Mercedes in ninth, and Nick Heidfeld (1 lap) in the Renault in the final points paying position.

At the start, Vettel takes the lead from Webber. Hamilton gets a slow start and Massa passes him on the run to the first corner - Massa challenges Webber for second, but Alonso charges up the outside and passes both Hamilton and Massa to take third place. Rosberg, Button, Schumacher Sutil and Heidfeld making up the top 10.

On lap 2 Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen battle for 18th.

On lap 3 Vettel has a 2.2 second lead on his team mate.

At lap 5, Vettel leads Webber by 2.0 seconds, followed by Alonso (3.1s), Massa (4.7s), Hamilton (5.8s), Rosberg (11.7s), Button (12.0s), Schumacher (14.4s), Sutil (14.9s) and Heidfeld (16.4s) in tenth place.

On lap 6 Button passes Rosberg in the DRS zone to take sixth place.

On lap 8 Alonso closes to within a second of Webber. All the front runners lapping in the 1m45 second range. The first round of stops expected around lap 15.

On lap 11 Massa locks up his brakes and runs wide at turn 17, but Hamilton can't capitalise on it.

On lap 12 Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello and Kobayashi pit for new tyres. Heidfeld takes on another set of soft tyres.

On lap 13 Hamilton pits for soft tyres, on schedule for a three-stop strategy. Rosberg and Sutil pit as well. Vettel leads Webber by 3.5 seconds.

On lap 14 Webber pits from second place for soft tyres. Hamilton passes Schumacher for sixth

On lap 15 Vettel and Alonso pit for soft tyres. Button, Schumacher, Paul di Resta, Sebastien Buemi and Kovalainen pit as well. Hamilton sets fastest lap at 1m44.4s. Massa leads. Schumacher has a broken front wing after contact with Vitaly Petrov and pits again.

On lap 16 Massa pits from the lead, and comes out behind Hamilton. Webber is held up lapping Karun Karthikeyan.

On lap 18 Heidfeld passes Perez for tenth. Barrichello passes Sergio Perez as well. Alonso sets fastest lap at 1m43.8 seconds and closes to under a second behind Webber.

On lap 20 Alguersuari makes his first stop. Red Bull tells Webber that his rear temperatures are getting hot, as Alonso closes to 0.4 seconds behind.

On lap 21 Alonso passes Webber in the DRS zone for second place, and sets off after Vettel, 2.9 seconds ahead.

At lap 22, Vettel leads Alonso by 3.0 seconds, followed by Webber (4.2s) in third, Hamilton (8.8s), Massa (14.0s), Button (21.8s), Rosberg (33.2s), Sutil (45.3s), Heidfeld (47.3s) and Barrichello (50.2s) in tenth place.

On lap 23 Alguersuari passes Perez for 13th place. Webber sets fastest lap at 1m43.5 seconds.

On lap 25 Hamilton is the first to make his second stop from fourth place for another set of soft tyres and rejoins sixth. Petrov battles and passes Perez, still to pit on a one stop strategy. Kamui Kobayashi passes Perez as well.

On lap 26 Perez finally makes his first stop. Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado battle wheel-to-wheel for16th place. Hamilton sets fastest lap at 1m43.1 seconds. Buemi pits.

On lap 28 Heidfeld, Di Resta and Petrov pit. McLaren tells Hamilton to look after his tyres.

On lap 29 Webber pits from third place for another set of soft tyres. Sutil and Barrichello pit as well.

On lap 30 Alonso pits from second for soft tyres and rejoins behind Webber. McLaren tells Hamilton that his rear tyres are overheating - Hamilton responds "I can go any slower".

On lap 31 Vettel pits from the lead for more soft tyres and retains the lead. Button pits as well. Webber sets fastest lap at 1m42.9 seconds. Webber passes Massa on the outside. Massa pits at the end on the lap for soft tyres, a slow stop with a problem with the right-rear wheelgun.

At lap 32 Vettel leads Webber by 1.8 seconds, followed by Alonso (3.6s), Hamilton (15.6s), Massa (29.8s), Button (31.6s), Alguersuari (53.1s), having only stopped once, Rosberg (56.5s), Sutil (64.2s) and Heidfeld (66.9s) in tenth.

On lap 32 Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m42.4 seconds. Button reports that his KERS is not working.

Hamilton lap times are starting to slow, and Ferrari tells Massa (9.5 seconds behind) that his is lapping a second faster than him.

On lap 36 Vettel re-sets fastest lap. Alonso closes to 1.3 seconds behind Webber.

On lap 40 Vettel continues to set fastest laps, down to 1m41.9 seconds. Rosberg passes Alguersuari for seventh place. Petrov pits for a third time.

McLaren tells Hamilton to up his pace, and Hamilton responds "I am going as fast as I can go". Massa closes to 5 seconds behind.

On lap 41 Heidfeld and Barrichello pit.

On lap 43 Webber pits from second place for hard tyres for his final stint. Hamilton pits from fourth place. Alguersuari makes his final stop. Sutil pits the next lap.

At lap 44 Vettel leads Alonso by 6.4 seconds, followed by Webber (26.4s), Massa (40.8s), Button (52.4s), Hamilton (58.0s), Rosberg (80.5s), Di Resta, Buemi and Sutil in tenth place.

On lap 46 Alonso pits from second place for his final stop, jumping ahead of Webber, rejoining in traffic. Webber chases right behind Alonso. Rosberg pits.

On lap 47 Vettel pits from the lead, and rejoins comfortably in front.

On lap 49 Massa and Button make their final stops. Webber runs wide in a corner but continues.

At lap 50 Vettel leads Alonso by 8.8 seconds, followed by Webber (11.4s), Hamilton (41.9s), Massa (49.4s), Button (61.8s), Rosberg (90.9s), Alguersuari (99), Sutil (1 lap) and Heidfeld (1 lap).

On lap 53 Vettel re-sets fastest lap at 1m41.8 seconds, Red Bull reports to Webber that they have a gearbox problem, and that he should short-shift in the lower gears - he runs 30 seconds ahead of Hamilton in fourth place.

Sutil chasing Alguersuari for eighth place.

Vettel takes his sixth win from eight races of the season so far, followed by Alonso and Webber.