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Europe analysis - Ferrari beaten but bullish 27 Jun 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari on the podium. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6 and Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP R31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02 and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRT F111 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull may have won in Valencia, but the ever-improving Ferraris kept them honest throughout, allowing an upbeat Fernando Alonso to pounce when Mark Webber hit trouble and take a well-deserved second place in front of a delighted home crowd. It was a great day too for the other Spaniard on the grid, also Ferrari-powered, Jaime Alguersuari. The Toro Rosso driver made excellent use of an atypical two-stop strategy to clinch his second eighth place in as many races. We take a team-by-team look at how things panned out for all the teams in Spain on Sunday…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P3

Vettel had zero problems on his way to a crushing victory in an undramatic race in which he said that he enjoyed every single lap. Webber put his hand up and said that he lost second place with the timing he chose for the final switch from the option Pirellis to the primes on lap 42, but in any case a gearbox problem slowed him so much in the closing stages that he would not have been able to stay ahead of the Ferrari. This was a deeply satisfying victory for the team on a circuit that should not have suited their car, and when rivals hoped the revision to the engine mapping rule might have reduced their performance advantage.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P5

Alonso fought tooth and nail with Webber and ultimately prevailed, and said that second place was a very strong result for a team who seem to have found their way again. Massa ran strongly until his second pit stop, when a sticking left rear wheel nut cost him five seconds and his chance to fight with Hamilton over fourth place. Ferrari left Valencia with their tails up after a strong performance that confirmed their recent upward trend.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P4
Jenson Button, P6

Hamilton made a terrible start and immediately lost ground to both Ferraris, while Button got boxed out and lost a place to Rosberg. Hamilton got by Massa at the first pit stops, while Button used his DRS to pass Rosberg. Thereafter, however, neither of them had the race pace to push after the Alonso/Webber fight for second. Button’s problems were further compounded when his KERS stopped working.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, P7
Michael Schumacher, P17

Rosberg could not hold Button back after depriving him of sixth on the opening lap, and had a lonely race to seventh. Schumacher was in the mix for a while, but when he was exiting the pits after his first stop, Petrov swept by and took off part of his front wing. The resultant unscheduled stop for a new nose dropped him way out of contention.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P8
Sebastien Buemi, P13

A great two-stop strategy from Toro Rosso gave Alguersuari a wonderful afternoon as he climbed from 18th to eighth place in his home race and really did an excellent job in getting the best out of his tyres. This included a 23-lap stint on his second set of option Pirellis. The Spaniard said he learned a lot about using the rubber in race conditions, which he believes will help him in the future, and that updates to the car helped too. Buemi’s tyres degraded early, and he was never able to feature as strongly as his team mate.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P9
Paul di Resta, P14

Sutil was in good form all weekend and hounded Alguersuari over the closing laps, but was not quite able to muster the extra pace to overtake. He was only 0.4s adrift at the finish. Di Resta was left wondering if Force India got his strategy right, as there were times early on when the tyres had gone over the cliff but he wasn’t called in soon enough to change them. He made up time and places in his second stop, but lost it all again in the third.

Renault
Nick Heidfeld P10
Vitaly Petrov, P15

Neither Renault made a good start. Heidfeld lost a place to Sutil, while Petrov got swallowed up. Heidfeld took the final point, but the disappointment here was tangible.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, P11
Kamui Kobayashi, P16

Last year Sauber sprung a surprise here when Kobayashi did a single-stop race. This time it was Perez’s turn, and he did a superb job to run 25 laps on a new set of medium Pirellis before going the rest of the way on a new set of softs. He said blue flags and general lack of grip didn’t make for a comfortable comeback race, but he really deserved a point after a great effort. Kobayashi said that he struggled all the time and never had the performance to fight as he tried to manage the tyres.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, P12
Pastor Maldonado, P18

Despite all the upgrades, the Williams FW33s did not perform here, leaving both drivers deeply disappointed.

Team Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, P19
Jarno Trulli, P20

Kovalainen said he was very happy to have regained his feel for the Lotus T128 and that he had good pace in between his three pit stops. He and Trulli raced each other hard, and the Italian said he too was happy with the way his race unfolded.

Virgin
Timo Glock, P21
Jerome D’Ambrosio, P22

Glock said he’d enjoyed a positive weekend with three trouble-free days. He passed the Lotuses and a Toro Rosso on the opening lap, though he was soon repassed. He stayed ahead of D’Ambrosio, who had his own hard duel with Liuzzi in the opening stages until pulling away to cement 22nd place.

HRT
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P23
Narain Karthikeyan, P24

Liuzzi gave D’Ambrosio a hard time for the first 21 laps, but ultimately didn’t have the car to keep ahead of the Virgin this time as his HRT began to consume its rear tyres. That forced him to adopt a three-stop strategy. Karthikeyan lost touch with Liuzzi and D’Ambrosio after locking the front wheels on lap seven, and later ran into the same problems that affected his team mate.

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