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Europe analysis - experience conquers youth in Valencia 25 Jun 2012

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates with Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Podium (L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 and Andrea Stella (ITA) Ferrari Race Engineer celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1, arrives in parc ferme after finishing third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31 with broken front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 alongside Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday, 24 June 2012

There are no guarantees in life - and even fewer in Formula One racing - as Sunday’s remarkable European Grand Prix proved. Only the wiliest fan would have bet on Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso winning from 11th on the grid. But in a rollercoaster race experience really counted, and as the sport’s 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…

Ferrari
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 racer’s 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 Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi ruined his race and dropped him back after an unscheduled pit stop.

Lotus
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 Vettel’s 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.

Mercedes
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.

Red Bull
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 Schumacher’s fresher tyres decided the issue in the German’s favour, but fourth was a solid job after all the Australian’s troubles.

Force India
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 Resta’s single stop paid off with sixth place until Rosberg grabbed that from him on the last lap.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P8
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 56, collision with Maldonado

What a disaster for McLaren! Hamilton was clearly holding up Vettel’s pursuers in the early stages and lacked the pace to do better than a fourth-placed finish. But he didn’t even get that. First there was another disastrous pit stop where the left-front wheel wouldn’t 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.

Sauber
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.

Williams
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, who’d earlier had a drive-through penalty for a collision with Kobayashi and had had to fight back from the tail of the field.

Toro Rosso
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 Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov, but recovered to take 11th after Maldonado’s 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.

Caterham
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 Senna’s charge. The new aero package has brought some progress.

Marussia
Charles Pic, P15

With Glock hors de combat because of his stomach infection, Pic hauled the sole Marussia round to finish 15th.

HRT
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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