Europe analysis - experience conquers youth in Valencia 25 Jun 2012
There are no guarantees in life - and even fewer in Formula One racing - as Sundays remarkable European Grand Prix proved. Only the wiliest fan would have bet on Ferraris Fernando Alonso winning from 11th on the grid. But in a rollercoaster race experience really counted, and as the sports younger contingent fell by the wayside thanks to issues and incidents, it was comeback veterans Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher who joined Alonso on the podium. We take a team-by-team look back at a captivating afternoon in Valencia
Fernando Alonso, P1
Felipe Massa, P16
What a fantastic race from Alonso! He made his opportunities in the opening laps and steadily worked his way through to third, then grabbed second from Grosjean with a forceful move into the first corner after the restart and inherited the lead a mile later when Vettel faltered. It was a racers opportunism at work, and succeeding perfectly. Massa also showed flair and speed and was in target for points despite some aero damage sustained at the start, but being hit by Saubers Kamui Kobayashi ruined his race and dropped him back after an unscheduled pit stop.
Kimi Raikkonen, P2
Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 40, alternator
It seemed that Lotus had finally got it right, with a great qualifying and the sort of weather that the E20 likes. Thus Vettels pace was a slap in the face in the race, even though Grosjean was holding the gap for a while prior to the safety car intervention. The Frenchman was unlucky to get passed by Alonso at the restart, but was fighting back when his alternator failed. Raikkonen then took up the cudgels but failed to get past Hamilton soon enough to have a chance of victory. But it could still come soon for the black and gold cars.
Michael Schumacher, P3
Nico Rosberg, P6
Mercedes had a strong race, with a late pit stop giving Schumacher the fresh tyres he needed to get the job done and take the first podium of his comeback. Rosberg was unlucky with traffic, but managed to grab fifth from Paul di Resta on the final lap.
Mark Webber, P4
Sebastian Vettel, Retired lap 34, alternator
Vettel had this one in the bag after a quite amazing sprint away from his pursuers in the opening laps. He was up to a second a lap quicker at times, and was already showing all the signs of doing the same thing all over again after the restart - before his car suffered an alternator failure. Webber had an up and down weekend, but another late second stop helped him to claw his way into contention for a podium finish. In the end Schumachers fresher tyres decided the issue in the Germans favour, but fourth was a solid job after all the Australians troubles.
Nico Hulkenberg, P5
Paul di Resta, P7
Another solid helping of points for the Silverstone-based team. As usual they split their strategy; Hulkenberg benefited from the two-stop option to take fifth, while Di Restas single stop paid off with sixth place until Rosberg grabbed that from him on the last lap.
Jenson Button, P8
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 56, collision with Maldonado
What a disaster for McLaren! Hamilton was clearly holding up Vettels pursuers in the early stages and lacked the pace to do better than a fourth-placed finish. But he didnt even get that. First there was another disastrous pit stop where the left-front wheel wouldnt go on, then a silly and avoidable brush with Maldonado that lost him at least 12 points, as he struggled to stay ahead on tyres that were finished in the final laps. Button had another uncompetitive race, punished at the start by Alonso, and wound up an unobtrusive eighth.
Sergio Perez, P9
Kamui Kobayashi, Retired lap 33, collision with Massa
Perez did another of his trademark races, looking after his tyres to take ninth place, but after running a strong fourth early on Kobayashi blotted his copybook by crashing into Massa and earning himself a five-place grid penalty for Silverstone.
Bruno Senna, P10
Pastor Maldonado, P12, after his 20-second time penalty was applied
This was a bitterly disappointing race for Williams, after Maldonado qualified so well and ran strongly and sensibly in the opening stages. Towards the end he had way more grip than Hamilton and closed in like a laser on the final podium slot. They raced side-by-side for a few corners, as Hamilton refused to concede, but after running wide Maldonado was adjudged by the stewards to have rejoined the track in an unsafe manner which resulted in their collision. The 20-second time penalty added, as a result, dropped him from 10th place to 12th. That benefited team mate Senna, whod earlier had a drive-through penalty for a collision with Kobayashi and had had to fight back from the tail of the field.
Daniel Ricciardo, P11
Jean-Eric Vergne, Retired lap 27, collision with Kovalainen
Ricciardo had a strong drive which at one stage saw him in third place on the restart as he was out of kilter in the pit stops. He faded quickly and later collided with Caterhams Vitaly Petrov, but recovered to take 11th after Maldonados penalty. Vergne strangely collided with the other Caterham of Kovalainen, triggering the safety-car intervention which changed the race. He was later fined 25,000 euros and given a 10-place grid penalty for Silverstone as a result.
Vitaly Petrov, P13
Heikki Kovalainen, P14
Both Caterhams collided with both Toro Rossos, which rather spoiled all of their races. The green cars lacked the blue cars pace in the race, but at one stage towards the end Petrov was running 10th and in the points before the clash with Ricciardo, the pit stop recoveries of Schumacher and Webber, and Sennas charge. The new aero package has brought some progress.
Charles Pic, P15
With Glock hors de combat because of his stomach infection, Pic hauled the sole Marussia round to finish 15th.
Pedro de la Rosa, P17
Narain Karthikeyan, P18
There were no brake problems this weekend for the Spanish cars, which both recorded finishes on their home ground.
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