Valencia has a history of producing boring processional races but that was not to be this year as an exhilarating grand prix saw Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso script a stunning victory from eleventh on the grid. He drove a stupendous race, passed those ahead of him like a champion and had lady luck smile upon him a tad, to become the first driver this season to win two races. Race leader Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine failure which ended his race just as Alonso had passed into second place after a race restart following a safety car period.
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen finished in second place having bided his time in the closing laps before passing Lewis Hamilton into second place. Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher finished a surprised third, after he pitted for a fresh set of tyres and scythed through the field towards the latter part of the race.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber finished fourth having duplicated Schumacher’s tyre change and following him as they hunted down other drivers in pairs. Fifth place went to the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg ahead of Nico Rosberg in sixth and Paul Di Resta in seventh. Jenson Button finished eighth ahead of the Sauber of Sergio Perez in ninth and the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in tenth.
Apart from Alonso’s magnificent victory, the three other highlights of the race were the retirement of pole sitter and early leader Sebastian Vettel, ditto for Renault’s Romain Grosjean and a dodo move by Pastor Maldonado on Lewis Hamilton which wrecked the McLaren’s suspension as he banged into the wall whilst in third place.
The incidents were precipitated by a rookie mistake from Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne, who banged into the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen as he was passing him – puncturing the rear-right tyre of the Toro Rosso and the front-left of the Caterham. Vergne drove back to the pits shredding bits and pieces of debris all along the track, which brought out the safety car.
Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position for the European Grand Prix at Valencia’s street track in a close but curious qualifying session which saw his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber fail to make it out of Q3. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second fastest ahead of the Williams of Pastor Maldonado. It was a given that the Red Bull likes the twisty Valencia circuit and hence not totally surprising that the gap was 00.324 of a second between Vettel & Hamilton for the pole shootout.
Lotus were strong with Romain Grosjean starting fourth and Kimi Raikkonen fifth, with Nico Rosberg in sixth, Kamui Kobayashi in seventh. Force India also had a good qualifying with both their cars in the top ten – Nico Hulkenberg in eighth and Paul Di Resta tenth. Jenson Button, who had a forgetful Canadian GP, didn’t have the best of the sessions and starts ninth on the grid.
What was interesting to note that was how close the top teams were in terms of their timed runs. The fastest time in Q2 was Romain Grosjean’s 1:38.429 and though they clocked 1:38.7, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa all failed to get through to Q3!
I got really bored by the last two races at Valencia and this time too have no hopes of an exciting race. Only thing remains to be seen is whether we will have an eighth different winner or someone will notch up their second win of the season. I’m tipping Kimi for the win!
Good, I thought and then proceeded to close the tab and move on. But somehow I lingered on…wondered whether can I use them on my blog(s). One was a clean and two/three column theme for a normal blog whilst the other was a portfolio-styled theme for a photo blog.
They were a perfect fit for two of my seldom-updated blogs. And so, lotsa clicks and tweaks later, they’re proudly showcasing my er..um…works.
Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix after having started from second on the grid as a two-stop strategy paid good dividends compared to an ultimately failing one-stop strategy for Fernando Alonso. Having led the race after the second pit stops, Alonso decided to stay on the same tyres and that allowed Hamilton as well as three other drivers to go past him on newer tyres towards the latter laps of the race. Alonso eventually finished fifth.
Renault’s Romain Grosjean was another one-stopper but his fresher tyres enabled him to overtake Alonso for second place and so did the Sauber of Sergio Perez who finished third. Sebastian Vettel also stayed out on his second set of tyres but after Hamilton passed him, he came in for his second stop and fresher tyres enabled him to pass Alonso into fourth place, dropping the Ferrari into fifth.
Nico Rosberg finished sixth for Mercedes ahead of Mark Webber in seventh, Kimi Raikkonen in eight, Kamui Kobayashi in ninth and Felipe Massa in tenth. Michael Schumacher had yet another disastrous race as a failed DRS wing forced him to retire after lap forty five. The Force Indias finished just outside the points as the race didn’t quite come to fruition for them.
Red Bull pah-hah-ed at the sceptics after their race winning car was deemed “illegal” for having holes in the floor by grabbing pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in each of the qualifying sessions to absolutely dominate Saturday’s proceedings. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fastest in each of the practice sessions but fell short when required and will start from second on the grid. Ferrari continued their resurgence as Fernando Alonso will start from third place on the grid.
Mark Webber will start from fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg in fifth and Felipe Massa in sixth. Renault’s Romain Grosjean was the best of the Lotuses in seventh place and Paul di Resta eighth. Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button complete the top ten for Sunday’s race.
The 2012 European Football Championships get underway today in Poland & Ukraine with the top sixteen teams in Europe battling it out for getting crowned the continent’s best team. Billed as the third biggest (er…fourth or fifth, if you believe the yoo-yes-yay doubters who say the Superbowl or NBA finals are bigger) global sporting event after the Olympics and the World Cup, the Euro is a coveted tournament for the football-crazy continent.
Of course Spain are the team to beat this year (reigning World Champions and Euro Champions and all that hoo-haa) and Germany & Netherlands are being touted as the next hot favourites. Italy, France and England the outside bets (why do I hear laughter). But is there a surprise on the cards? Can Croatia or Portugal do a ‘Greece’ and emerge champions of Europe?
All will be revealed on July 1st (too bad it will be revealed on Neo Prime/Sports *shudder*)