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|11:50PM AEST:||And so ends a surprisingly exciting European Grand Prix! I was genuinely expecting I’d be nodding off by lap five, so this was a welcome reprieve. I’ll be back ASAP with the final classification and championship points results as soon as they’re made official. One expects there could be a few post-race penalties or 10-place grid drops for the next round, the British Grand Prix…|
|Lap 57:||Vettel is now on his final lap and he wins the race with the McLarens of Hamilton and Button completing the podium places. For now, at least, with Button under investigation…
Kobayashi passes Buemi for seventh place at the final corner, with the Swiss driver leaving the gate wide open for the Sauber driver to have a go. Great drive by Kamui!
The finishing order is: Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil, Kobayashi, Buemi, Alonso and de la Rosa. Petrov is eleventh, ahead of Rosberg, Liuzzi, Massa, Alguersuari, Schumacher, di Grassi, Glock, Chandhok, Senna and Trulli.
|Lap 56:||We’ve got a great battle between Buemi, Alonso and Kobayashi for seventh place. Kobayashi looks glued to the road on his fresh tyres – is he prepared to have a run at Alonso?
Kobayashi does! Alonso outbrakes himself and Kobayashi slips through at Turn 17!
|Lap 54:||Kobayashi rejoins from the pit lane behind Alonso. With fresh rubber and next to no fuel on board, he will be very rapid and will close right up to the Buemi-Alonso battle for seventh place.
Now released, Button immediately posts the race’s quickest lap – perhaps trying to eke out as much time ahead of those behind him in case he’s slapped with a time penalty.
|Lap 53:||Kobayashi continues to hold third and is setting very competitive lap times on his rubber that has covered the entire distance so far. It looks like he is finally going to pit.|
|Lap 52:||Vettel and Webber continue to trade fastest laps and it looks like we won’t see the grand finale finish between the pair as the 7-second gap stabilises.|
|Lap 50:||Hamilton now trails Vettel by 6.6 seconds.
Kobayashi still hasn’t pitted, and Button will just have to bide his time until he does. I reckon Sauber will pit their driver on Lap 56, giving him a single lap at speed on the softer compound tyre – perfectly within the race regulations…
Hulkenberg pulls his Williams off the circuit to retire his overheating car. Replays show he has a delaminated right-rear tyre and a holed right radiator.
His retirement promotes de la Rosa into 10th place and a possible point. It’s going to be a good Sunday for Sauber.
|Lap 48:||Vettel and Hamilton start to trade fast sector times as each responds to the other. The gap to Vettel appears a little too large, but maybe Hamilton is hoping to put the Red Bull under pressure?|
|Lap 47:||Any post-race penalties could have a serious impact for those drivers not under investigation, who could benefit quite well with more points if those in front are issued with time penalties.
Hamilton sets the fastest race lap – a 1:39.776 – and closes the gap to Vettel to 7.9 seconds. Can Vettel respond and keep the gap to Hamilton?
|Lap 44:||Having successfully held up Kobayashi and Button as they came to lap him, di Grassi finally makes his sole pit stop and leaves Kobayashi as the sole runner on his original starting tyres.
The stewards have now announced they will be investigating a hatful of cars after the race for running too quickly when the Safety Car was deployed – the drivers are required to keep to a predetermined ‘delta’ time to ensure no unfair advantage is gained trying to catch the Safety Car or head into the pit lane. The accused are: Button, Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Kubica, Petrov, Sutil, Liuzzi and de la Rosa.
|Lap 42:||When Kobayashi eventually makes his required pit stop, all guesses are that he will rejoin around the place of team-mate Pedro de la Rosa at the bottom of the points’ paying positions. The Japanese driver’s pace is still very good, so the Sauber team will want to pit him as late as possible to maximise their chances.|
|Lap 41:||Hulkenberg’s Williams seems to be emitting blue smoke as he runs tenth…
Further behind, Schumacher has taken on fresh tyres – this race effectively little more than a test session for the German – and he posts the fastest lap of the race, and becomes the first driver to dip below the 1:40 bracket with a 1:39.895.
|Lap 40:||Button has renewed his pressure on Kobayashi, who is clearly planning a late stop so he doesn’t fall too far down the order.|
|Lap 39:||Sutil passes Buemi for 7th place, and now Alonso will size up his chances against the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso. Do we dare say that Buemi might be inclined to make it easy for the Spaniard?|
|Lap 37:||Hamilton is horribly held up trying to lap the battle between Glock and Senna.
Next up is Kobayashi and Button, who are also held up badly as Glock tries a move on Senna into Turn 17, chopping across the Brazilian under braking and the two collide: Senna’s front wing breaks and Glock suffers a puncture. A furious Senna gestures at Glock as the two recover to the pits, although strangely Senna does not pit despite having a clearly deranged front wing.
|Lap 36:||At the rear of the field, di Grassi heads the rookie team runners in 18th place, followed by Chandhok, Senna and Glock.|
|Lap 34:||Hamilton has trimmed the gap to Vettel to 12.7 seconds.
Radio transmission from Renault shows the Renault engineers asking Kubica to cool the engine temperatures as he runs sixth behind Barrichello.
|Lap 31:||Footage from pit lane shows a quite satisfied Peter Sauber watching Kobayashi driving a sterling race in third place – the Japanese driver is slowly pulling away from Button.|
|Lap 30:||Will Hamilton now try and close the gap down to Vettel and race for a possible victory, or will he settle for second place and the points’ advantage it will afford him over Button and the retired Webber?
That offending beer bottle has been recovered by an ambitious corner marshal.
|Lap 29:||Vettel has a 14.5 second lead over Hamilton, Kobayashi and Button.
Alonso is being told of Hamilton’s penalty and he and the team are clearly upset by the whole situation.
|Lap 28:||We return to the broadcast action with footage of a broken beer bottle rolling across the circuit…
The replays show Hamilton pits to serve his penalty and emerges in front of Kobayashi, such was his pace advantage over Kobayashi. This won’t do anything to appease Ferrari’s black mood, as Hamilton effectively hasn’t been punished at all!
|Lap 27:||Shockingly times commercial break by the marketing boys at OneHD, who schedule further ads right at the point where Hamilton will need to serve his penalty. We’ll be missing this important chapter in the race live…|
|Lap 26:||Hamilton will now have to push like hell in the hope that he can pit and emerge in front of third-placed Kobayashi. He immediately does so with a fastest lap of 1:40.715.|
|Lap 25:||Hamilton has been issued with a drive-through penalty for overtaking the Safety Car, which is shown in the replays.
Replays show it was neck-and-neck between Hamilton and the Safety car emerging from the pits and he just edged in front.
|Lap 24:||Footage from pit lane shows Mark Webber returning from his visit to the medical centre. It seems that Webber is a very lucky man to emerge from his massive accident without injury.
The onboard replays from his car in the lead-up to, and during, the crash are truly terrifying.
|Lap 23:||Vettel’s lead over Hamilton is two seconds; Kobayashi is almost a dozen seconds behind and yet to make his pit stop.|
|Lap 22:||Such is the effect of Kobayashi holding up the chasing pack that the spread from third to seventeenth (Schumacher) is just 13 seconds…|
|Lap 21:||Hamilton is being investigated by the Race Stewards for his apparent conduct during the Safety Car conditions. If he is penalised, this will gift Vettel the race win, barring mechanical issues, as the leading pair are now 10 seconds ahead of Kobayashi. However, if Hamilton can build up enough of a margin ahead of Kobayashi, he could pit and emerge still ahead of the Sauber…|
|Lap 20:||Rosberg is instructed by his team to manage his brake temperatures, which are apparently heading skywards like Schumacher’s…|
|Lap 18:||Kobayashi continues to hold back Button and that scrap is now 5.1 seconds behind Hamilton, who has just set the fastest lap. A huge train of cars in the midfield with Alonso at the front of it in ninth, stretching though, past Massa in 15th with Schumacher about to join the back of the high-speed train in 17th position.
Vettel responds to Hamilton’s fastest lap on lap 17, and lowers the benchmark himself.
|Lap 17:||Alonso’s radio transmission catches him complaining about Hamilton’s antics under the Safety Car conditions – it seems he could have held up the pack behind him to shaft them in the pit stop sequence…|
|Lap 16:||Vettel leads by over a second from Hamilton, with Kobayashi falling away in third place. Behind the scrap between Kobayashi and Button, Barrichello is an excellent fifth in his Williams from Kubica’s Renault and Buemi in the Toro Rosso.
Schumacher passes Glock and di Grassi, moving up to 17th place.
|Lap 15:||No doubt with a nice flat-spotted tyre, Vettel sprints away from Hamilton, with Kobayashi now going to be the effective cork in the bottle as he holds up the chasing pack in third.
Alonso is immediately on the move and he charges past Hulkenberg for ninth at Turn 17.
Schumacher is up the inside of Karun Chandhok for 19th place at the final corner. He has the two Virgin cars in front of him.
|Lap 14:||The safety car will pit at the end of this lap. Overtaking can begin at the line before the final corner so we can expect a scramble in the last few turns.
Vettel guns it as quickly as possible and fluffs his braking into the final corner, almost allowing Hamilton through into the lead!
|Lap 13:||Radio transmission from Kovalainen confirms that he was racing with Webber and trying to defend his position – not sure what he thought he was doing trying to race a significantly quicker Red Bull… That Webber was able to emerge from his car is miraculous indeed and a testament to the safety of modern-era F1.
Schumacher heads to the pits again, switching from his soft tyres and back onto the harder compound tyres he clearly prefers. With his race ruined, he will be hoping for another Safety Car compression – and one trusts, no antics from the slower drivers he’ll be trying to pass! – to make up ground.
|Lap 12:||Vettel leads the pack behind the safety car from Hamilton. Both have stopped and are the lead battle. Kobayashi is now third on the road but is yet to stop. Button is up to fourth after a very well-timed pitstop, followed by Barrichello, Kubica, Buemi, Sutil and Hulkenberg.
Behind Hulkenberg we find Alonso who came off badly in those stops and runs in 10th, with De La Rosa 11th, Petrov 12th and Rosberg 13th.
|Lap 11:||With many of the runners having pitted, Schumacher has climbed to third and finally opts to pit, but he doesn’t have enough of a margin to rejoin and is held by the red light until the rest of the field trickles through. He rejoins in 19th place.|
|Lap 10:||There’s a huge scramble in pit lane as everyone tries to pile in to take advantage of the Safety Car. Button is the first driver to pit and this could shuffle the field significantly.|
|Lap 9:||Holy sh*t! There has been a massive collision between Webber and Kovalainen; Webber launched off the rear of the Lotus and flipped, thankfully landing the right way up and sliding at speed into the tyre barrier at Turn 17.
Thakfully, a no doubt shaken Webber is able to climb out of his Red Bull unaided.
The Safety Car is deployed.
|Lap 8:||Rosberg pits his Mercedes, but overshoots the pit bay and also suffers a slow stop, compounding his appalling start.|
|Lap 7:||Webber is stuck behind Hulkenberg, who runs 8th and heads a train that includes Buemi, Schumacher and Sutil. Webber is easily faster than the Williams, but cannot find a way past the Williams driver as yet.
We’re hearing that Lotus has sent Trulli out onto the circuit again in the hope that his Lotus has found more gears.
Electing to try and gain positions by running in clear air, Webber pits and takes on hard-compound tyres, but it’s a slow stop when there are problems on his left-front tyre… He rejoins in 18th place.
|Lap 6:||Vettel clocks the fastest lap at 1:43.055 and looks comfortable out front. However, both Hamilton and Alonso were only around a tenth off the leader’s pace.|
|Lap 5:||Vettel now has a 2.9 second lead over Hamilton, with a similar margin back to Alonso’s Ferrari.
Trulli pits for the second time, stuck in gear, according to reports. It looks like he will be the first retiree.
Schumacher is told over the radio that his front brake temperatures are running too hot – not exactly the message you want to hear with less than 10% of the race run!
|Lap 4:||Replays from the start show Hamilton touched wheels with Vettel at Turn 2.
Also show was Trulli making contact with Kobayashi’s rear at the same corner, breaking his front wing.
|Lap 3:||Vettel sets the fastest lap two as he pulls 2.3 seconds clear of Hamilton, who seems to have the pace to keep the Ferrari pair at bay.
Ferrari’s radio to Alonso suggests pieces are falling off Hamilton’s front wing after that clash with Vettel as Hamilton fought for the lead
|Lap 2:||Vettel leads by 1.6 seconds over Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Kubica, Button and the Williams pair, followed by Webber, Buemi and Schumacher, who has gained four places from his 15ht-placed grid position.|
|Lap 1:||Horror opening lap for Webber, who has tumbled down the order to ninth place as he is shuffled down by the field. Kubica puts a great move on Button to grab fifth as Vettel streams off into the lead after a hard-fought start.
Hamilton is reporting having made contact with Vettel on the opening lap.
Trulli pits with damage, having made contact with someone on the opening lap.
|START:||And we’re racing! Vettel drops the hammer and is away well into the lead but Hamilton takes Webber for second on the run to Turn 2.|
|10:02PM AEST||Polesitter Vettel has taken the field on a very slow warm-up lap…|
|10:01PM AEST:||The softer tyre seems to be the choice for the majority of the front half of the grid, with the top-ten forced to start on the tyres used to set their quickest lap. At the back of the grid, quite a few drivers are starting on the harder tyre compound.|
|10:00PM AEST:||The formation lap is underway as all 24 drivers make their way around the 25-turn circuit in readiness for the race start.|
|9:58PM AEST:||More news from the track: all 24 cars have made it onto the grid, meaning no disastrous pit lane starting position for any of the drivers today. Furthermore, the track temperature continues to climb as the sunshine beats down – several drivers have already been spotted wearing cool-suits under their fireproof clothing beneath their race suits to combat the effects of the heat.|
|9:57PM AEST:||Also keep your eye out our latest instalment in our Richard’s Top Ten series, with the focus being on the ten ugliest design concepts ever created for a Formula 1 car. We hope you enjoy our countdown!|
|9:54PM AEST:||I’m enjoying the pre-race broadcast from Australia’s OneHD motorsports team, headed by acclaimed motorsport journalist, Greg Rust. Please to let you know that we’ll be publishing our exclusive interview with him next week. Make sure you hit the site and check it out!|
|9:50PM AEST:||Just ten minutes until the warm-up lap gets underway…|
|9:48PM AEST:||The European and Spanish anthems are now being played, and the crowd duly rises out of respect and acknowledgement. In case you’re wondering, the European anthem is Beethoven’s Ode To Joy…|
|9:45PM AEST:||The pit lane is now closed. Any car not on the grid will be required to start the race from the pits, with no opportunity to check the car over during the warm-up lap.|
|9:40PM AEST:||Also shown via the live broadcast feed is Red Bull’s aero genius Adrian Newey stalking up and down the grid, and trying to inspect Renault’s interpretation of his lowered exhaust concept. The Renault team seems to have managed this design particularly well, with Robert Kubica qualifying sixth and Vitaly Petrov lining up tenth.|
|9:39PM AEST:||We’re getting pictures from the grid, and one of the first shots is that of former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore chatting with Red Bull’s Christian Horner … Interesting …|
|9:30PM AEST:||The pit lane is now open for the next fifteen minutes, where all 24 drivers must make their way to form up on the starting grid. Any drivers who have not joined the grid within this time will be forced to start from the pit lane.
During the next fifteen minutes, they have several jobs to perform. Action-packed Porsche Supercup, GP3 and GP2 races held earlier today will have changed the grip level, so each driver will want to quickly determine how hard he can push when it comes to the opening laps of the race. They will check basic functions such the gearbox, drinks bottle and the all-important team radio.
|9:28PM AEST||Mercedes GP registered its worst qualifying performance of the season, with Nico Rosberg lining up 12th and Michael Schumacher a depressing 15th. The team certainly has a lot to do to recover the form that took it – in its previous guise of Brawn GP – to the top of the Constructors’ Championship last year.|
|9:25PM AEST:||Looking slightly further down the grid, Williams recorded its best dry-weather qualifying result this season to-date. The team has tried a few variations of the F-duct so far this season, but at Valencia the device helped the team to a much better qualifying result, with Nico Hulkenberg eighth on the grid and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello ninth. The pair lined up a woeful 15th and 17th at the Turkish Grand Prix, but yesterday’s performance was much more promising, and they will be hoping to add to their rather meagre points haul this season.|
|9:22PM AEST:||There are plenty of stories up and down the grid this weekend, so let’s have a quick look at a few of them…
Robert Kubica has been the star of the weekend for many insiders, and he’ll be lining up in sixth position for today’s race, behind the Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
|9:16PM AEST:||The Red Bull duo hasn’t run at the head of the field since Turkey, and the memories of their famous race-ending collision will be fresh in the minds of many!
Despite its design supposedly being to encourage overtaking, we’ve seen nary a passing move in the history of the race at Valencia, which means that the best overtaking opportunity will be off the starting line – the second row starters of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will be keen for a good getaway if they want to interfere in Red Bull’s race.
|9:15PM AEST:||Weather reports from Valencia indicate we’re set for a dry race today, with near-cloudless skies and sunshine beaming down on the circuit.|
|9:12PM AEST:||Red Bull returned to its front-running form by locking out the front row in qualifying, with Sebastian Vettel heading Mark Webber at the end of a thrilling qualifying session.|
|9:10PM AEST:||The latest technical innovation appears to have been the spate of teams moving to copy Red Bull’s much-heralded lowered exhaust design, rumoured to provide the team with a lap-time advantage in the region of half a second per lap.|
|9:05PM AEST:||Many teams have arrived with a host of technical updates in an effort to keep up – or ahead of – the frontrunning competitors in the neverending development race that is Formula 1. Perhaps these updates have helped to close the gap, as we bore witness to a closely fought qualifying session.|
|9:02PM AEST:||The Valencia harbourfront plays host to the Grand Prix scene for just the third time as host to the European Grand Prix, which has typically played host to some of the dullest races in recent time. After such a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix, here’s hoping that the European Grand Prix is not a dreadful anticlimax…|
|9:00PM AEST:||Greetings all Richard’s F1 readers and welcome to our live commentary and analysis feed for the ninth round in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship, coming to your from the port city of Valencia, host to the European Grand Prix.|
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Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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