Alonso Reigns in Spain

Fernando Alonso won a compelling European Grand Prix, thrilling a partisan crowd in Valencia.
Having qualified in 11th, the Ferrari driver confidently stated last night that a podium finish was out of the question. But good luck and even better driving saw him mount the top step, having been largely unchallenged in the last quarter of the race. 

Vettel takes third Valencia pole

Sebastian Vettel scored his third consecutive European Grand Prix pole position with a superb last-ditch lap at the Valencia street circuit. Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside the champion on the front row, with Pastor Maldonado third for Williams.

Button on top in final free practice

Jenson Button topped the timesheets in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying in Valencia but Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber will head into the grid shoot-out minus an hour’s set-up work after problems with his car.

Vettel on top in FP2

Red Bull Racing World Champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the second free practice session in Valencia.
Vettel managed a time of 1: 39.334 with half an hour of the session remaining, having just switched to running on the softer of the two available tyre compounds. Vettel’s fastest lap came shortly after the debris of an earlier crash had been cleared: Pedro de la Rosa ended up in the barriers at Turn 14 – his HRT appeared to understeer on the exit and drive straight into the wall. 

Maldonado leads the way

Williams once again looked good in Spain as Pastor Maldonado went fastest in European Grand Prix FP1.
Maldonado has a reputation as a street track specialist and has won on the Valencia Street Circuit in GP2. He looked very assured in this morning’s first practice session and went to the top of the timesheet at around the 50 minute mark.

Race Preview

The Valencia Street Circuit will host the eighth round of the 2012 Formula One World Championship. Valencia has been home to the European Grand Prix since 2008. Following rounds in Monaco and Montreal, it is the third race in a row to be held on a ‘street’ circuit.

Hamilton wins in Canada

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton won a tense and tactical Canadian Grand Prix, making it seven winners from seven races in 2012.
Hamilton took an unshakeable grip on this race after the first round of pitstops. Sebastian Vettel had been leading for Red Bull Racing but he was jumped by both Hamilton and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari who went a few laps further. Those front three, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel pulled away from the field and were having a race all on their own. 

Vettel on pole

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel took an impressive pole position after a qualifying session where he rarely looked like relinquishing top spot.
The nearest challenger to Vettel’s time of 1:13.784 was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, three tenths behind, and Fernando Alonso made it three manufacturers in the top three, seven-hundredths behind Hamilton.

Vettel quickest in FP3

After McLaren’s domination of Friday, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari both stepped up their challenge in FP3.

Hamilton dominates Friday

With the rain holding off, Lewis Hamilton carried his good form over from the morning session to go fastest again in the afternoon.
The McLaren driver spent the whole of the session at the top of the order, though at the close his time was just 0.054s clear of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. Alonso in turn was a tenth ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing and Force India’s Paul di Resta completed the top five.