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Valencia

European GP: Race Review


There is only one word that is fitting to describe the European Grand Prix this past weekend in Valencia: Thrilling.

There were expected-winner starting on pole, the guessing games on strategy, racing incidents galore, safety car (!!),  botched pit stop by McLaren (again!), 2 front-runners' cars failed in late stages, crash-out in last lap, unexpected podium and incredible joys of unlikely victory. Utterly unpredictable, and completely action-packed, I loved every minute of the intensity at the Valencia race.

Here's how it all went down - Vettel was on pole, if you recall my pre-race prediction, Vettel has won twice consecutively last two years, he was a sure-in to grab the win. And for the most part, I was right until lap 34 of the 57-lap race.  Vettel was leaving everyone in the dust with comfortable margins, no one was close enough to catch him, he was so ahead that he went in for his pit stop, came back out and there was no traffic to slot back in, that's the kind of lead he was having.

Unfortunately for Vettel, his car failed him in lap 34 after the safety car had to come out to clean up Vergne-Kovalainen crushed bits on race track. Oddly enough, another Renault-engine car also failed unexpectedly. Grosjean was chasing Alonso down and doing a brilliant job catching up at the last few laps of the race, then suddenly, car failure and end of race for Grosjean.

There were a couple incidents throughout the race, three big ones to be exact. First, there was Vergne and Kovalainen. Then there was Kobayashi and Massa. Lastly, the most gutting of all incidents of the day, Maldonado and Hamilton at lap 55. I definitely feel for Hamilton, to be SO close to the finish line and suddenly losing it all.

Misfortune for some means gain for others. For this race, the lucky benefactor is Schumacher, who leaped to 3rd place on the podium. Well done for him, however unlikely this was a win for him, Schumacher fought hard through race after race and nothing like regaining glory to re-boost his confidence and drive.

Despite all the drama, in the end the best, the triumph, and the crown goes to the Alonso. I am not always the biggest fan of Alonso, but he raced the Ferrari from 11th to P1, never losing sight of the finish line and kept hustling lap after lap. He commanded and deserved all the respect and congratulations from not just the home crowd in Valencia but F1 fans everywhere. Well done!

So who wins the Best Post-race hair at the European Grand Prix, you ask? It goes to none other than Alonso, who also showed some real emotions on the podium with real tears. And what of the Grid Girls? It's another classy but boring showing - Ferrari-red dress with white bow as belt, reminds me of Christmas present. Are the Valencia Grid Girls the Spanish gifts to the world? Where are all the fashion designers - Grid Girl outfits need some excitement! I'm holding out some hope that the Grid Girl outfits will get better in the next race. It's been an unbelievably exciting Grand Prix weekend in Valencia, can't wait for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 6-8!

European GP: Race Preview

Sebastian Vettel at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
When I think of Valencia, I think of F1, oranges and paella. I know, I seem to always have food on my mind, I can't help it!

I am super excited that another race weekend is here, and a street circuit at that. Everyone is saying it, "Seven races and seven winners, no one knows what will happen next!", I dare to differ this week. Based on historical data (from Wiki) and intense mathematics calculations (not really), I am going to say Vettel has the best chance of winning this weekend.

You see, Vettel has won the last two years in a row at this circuit. That's pretty great record for this sport. Not to mention all the rumors this week about Vettel and his pre-contract with Ferrari in 2014 will come with extra pressure to perform. It'd be great if Schumacher or Raikkonen takes the crown to continue to mix things up for the championship, but the odds are ever so slightly against them.

As always, on top of the on-track actions, I'll be watching for the Grid Girls outfit and crowning the Best Post-race hair award. Can't wait for the qualifying and the race this weekend. Catch you again on the European Grand Prix Race Recap!

The French Connection: European GP


Also known as ‘The European Grand Prix’, while it was originally an honour provided to any one of the European circuits, at seven times, Italy had hosted the event more than any other nation. Ironically, once it was reintroduced in 1983, the European race was only intended to be a ‘stop-gap’, to fill a slot in the calendar arising from the cancellation of the US Formula One race scheduled to be held at Flushing Meadows, in up-state New York.

European Grand Prix - Race Summary

A very chaotic European Grand Prix for us this season.

Things were pretty calm from the beginning of the race until lap 14 when Red Bull's Mark Webber collided with Lotus Racing's Heikki Kovalainen.  Webber was approaching a turn from the long straight and caught up to Kovalainen very quickly.  As Webber was in the slipstream behind the Lotus, also known as drafting for those who've seen Days of Thunder, he rapidly closed the distance between the Lotus and both cars attempted to move out of the way, but Mark hit the back of the Lotus and went up in the air flying, flipping backwards and finally landing right side up.

 

Mark came out of the crash without a scratch and walked away fine.  The race ended early and took him completely out of the points for the championship, hurting Red Bull for the constructor points as well when they were in the contention for a first and second position for Vettel and Webber.

While this crash occured, the safety car came out and caused a whole new set of problems for the rest of the grid, incuring a drive through penalty for Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes.  Hamiltons penalty looked like it was going to push him back to third, but due to his distance between Kamui Kobayashi of BMW Sauber he was able to remain in second position.  This severely upset Fernando Alonso of Ferrari who remains to be very critical of the penalty, saying it wasn't severe enough. 

Following the end of the race, 9 other cars came under investigation for not lining up behind the safety car in a timely manner, and incured a five position penalty added to their finishing position, moving some out of the points and some others back in.

KO

See Speed TV's recap video here