Race - Vettel wins amid drama in Valencia 27 Jun 2010
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel bounced himself back into contention for the world championship with an easy European Grand Prix win in Valencia on a day when a spectacular back flip left Mark Webber on the sidelines in the other Red Bull.
Vettel led from the start, defending strongly against a forceful Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren and Ferraris Fernando Alonso in the first corner, as Webber was hung out to dry in the heavy traffic and dropped to ninth from second on the grid.
After a pit stop for the harder Bridgestone tyres on the seventh lap the Australian was running well down the order when he ran into the back of Lotuss Heikki Kovalainen approaching Turn 17 in a mirror image repeat of an accident between Rodolfo Gonzalez and Josef Kral in the mornings GP2 race.
Webbers Red Bull somersaulted backwards through 180 degrees and landed upside down, flipped back on to its wheels, and then speared headfirst into the tyre wall at high speed. The Australian emerged frustrated, but mercifully unhurt. Vettel and Hamilton moved clear.
By not pitting when everyone else came in under the safety car to throw away their super soft tyres, BMW Sauber got Kamui Kobayashi up to third place, and there he stayed, keeping McLarens Jenson Button at bay, until the 53rd lap when he had finally had to pit to switch to option tyres.
That left Button third behind Hamilton, who earlier had had to take a rapid drive-through penalty on the 27th lap after inadvertently overtaking the safety car as it emerged from the pits early in the race. He was able to get back out again before Kobayashi came through.
As a result, Hamilton retains his world championship lead with 127 points to Buttons 121, while Vettel jumps up to third on 115 with Webber fourth on 103.
Both Ferraris lost out in their pit stops. Alonso was third behind Vettel and Hamilton when he stopped under the safety car on the 10th lap, but emerged 10th by the time things settled down on the 12th lap. Felipe Massa fared even worse, having to wait for his team mate to be serviced, dropping from fourth to 17th. They were doomed from that point onwards.
On a great day for Williams, Rubens Barrichello brought his FW30 home fourth after Kobayashis late pit stop, ahead of Renaults Robert Kubica and Force Indias Adrian Sutil, who drove a great race for Force India and likewise benefited over team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi when both pitted at the same time when running nose to tail.
Kobayashi came out of the pits ninth behind Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi and Alonso, but on his fresh rubber he jumped the Spaniard on Lap 56 and grabbed seventh from the Swiss, who had driven a great race, at the final corner.
It was very good day for BMW Sauber even if a podium had never been realistic because of the need to run both types of tyre, as Pedro de la Rosa brought his C29 home 10th for the final point.
Renaults Vitaly Petrov was 11th, on his tail, chased by Mercedes GPs Nico Rosberg, Liuzzi, Massa, Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari and Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher on a day when lap charting presented no difficulties.
After Lotuss Jarno Trulli met early trouble and dropped back, and Kovalainen was hit by Webber in an unhappy 500th race for Lotus, the advantage in the new teams stakes switched to Virgin as Lucas di Grassi headed home Karun Chandhoks HRT, team mate Timo Glock and HRTs Bruno Senna.
Nico Hulkenberg, like Massa and Liuzzi, lost out in a double team pit stop and was running 10th, in line for the final point, when his Williams right-rear tyre began to delaminate on the 50th of the 57 laps due to other issues on the car and he had to pull off.
Late in the race the stewards announced that Button, Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Kubica, Petrov, Sutil, Liuzzi, Buemi and De la Rosa are to be investigated for the speed of their in-laps behind the safety car.