Maldonado had a great qualifying session to start 3rd, particularly compared to Bruno Senna who lines up 14th.
Tweet from @MyCaterhamF1: One hour until it's go time in Valencia. The boys are fed and watered, the drivers are running through pre-race preparations & we're all set
Interview with Christian Horner: I think we’ve seen this year anything can happen. We’re starting with Seb in a good place but temperatures are high and climbing, so it’s going to be a race again it’s going to be important to get the strategy on the tyres right. We’ll see in a couple of hours if we’ve managed to achieve that... It’s tough, it’s tight and unpredictable. All of that makes it exciting at the moment.
Now we must discuss poor Timo Glock, who will not be racing today. He's suffering from a stomach illness and has been ruled out of the GP this afternoon.
The official statement from Marussia: "Timo received medical guidance yesterday afternoon and his symptoms suggest that he is suffering from an intestinal infection. He has been advised that it would be unwise for him to race given the severity of the complaint and that he should focus instead on recuperating."
And Glock's side of things, @realTimoGlock: Thanks for all your tweets today! Feeling bit better but there is just no chance to race for me!Hard to make a decision to say no to"racing"
There's plenty of talk over the potential for an eighth different winner this weekend, although from Vettel's position, he could be the first to take two in 2012.
Force India were showing some great pace this weekend, but qualifying saw them struggle in a similar fashion to previous weekends.
On the driver's parade, Paul di Resta had this to say: "Quite disappointed with it, I think we had a better car. We showed a bit of potential in Q2 but unfortunately when it counted, we’ve given ourselves a lot of work to do today. We’ve come here with some different ideas, learning from Canada... since we’ve hit the track, we’ve been very competitive, so I hope that carries on today."
|Valencia Street Circuit|
|Local timezone||+02:00 GMT|
|Number of laps||57|
Interview with Pastor Maldonado: "I will do my best. It will be very important to take some points and win the podium for us. I will attack and do my best to win. The strategy will be very important today. The car I feel very confident in as we've been very competitive in race pace. Looking forward to this race and wish all the best to the team.
"I prefer to be P3 than P2 because there's a huge difference in terms of grip between the lines. That will be important at the race start, and to defend the position against Lewis. That's not easy, it will be a tough race for everybody. These conditions are really extreme, especially for the tyres."
Force India make the finishing touches to the car before the grid opens in a few minutes, via @clubforce.
Pirelli have brought the soft and medium compounds to the circuit this weekend, and with searing temperatures, all eyes are on how the rubber will survive.
Watch out for the yellow (soft) and white (medium) sidewalls.
So, the pit lane is now open, the cars are firing up and piling out to make their way to the grid for final preparations.
The championship is incredibly close at the moment. With all these different winners, there is less than one victory's worth of points between the top five.
Interview with Mark Webber: "Unusual neighbours today, mate. That's what happens, when you drop the ball big time on Saturday afternoon, you're exposed. We had a difficult P3 and in quali 1 had no DRS. As you know, there's no rewind button. Can't take time back and there we are.
"The straights are long but as you know the corners getting on to them, and the braking is pretty sandy offline... but let's see how the first few laps go and it's a long GP from there. It's not as bad as Monaco but it's not far off in terms of getting moves done.
"I think when you're here, you're just trying to get your risk management right. At the front there's less risk and bit more precision involved. Here there's a lot more variability in what we're trying to achieve... Not trying to get too analytical about it, it's car racing. Let's hope there's another different winner today."
Interview with Heikki Kovalainen: "Personally, my qualifying has been very good the last year and a half. It didn't feel like a particularly good lap but as the car is getting better, the results are getting better. If I had a Red Bull, I should be on pole I think.
"Probably two stops, I think one is not possible, maybe three, who knows."
Interview with Felipe Massa: "The race is long, difficult. The pace we have is not where we are starting. Let's really try to recover positions. I think we'll be doing between two and three stops."
Just about ten minutes to go now, I hope you've made your race winner predictions.
Paul di Resta is a bit more cagey about how many pit stops he'll be making: "We're very uncertain on that, and I think the rest of the grid is."
You might want some handy live timing as the race unfolds: http://www.formula1.com/live_timing/live_timing.html
Keep an eye on Heikki who, despite saying it wasn't a great lap, managed to qualify ahead of two Toro Rosso drivers on merit, and one Mark Webber who was struggling with a broken car. He starts 16th.
BBC fact: This race has never been won from lower than third on the grid.
Di Resta informed ahead of the formation lap that brake temperature is paramount to keep his rear tyres in contention.
Kimi Räikkönen also informed to cool his car on the way round - the teams are seriously worried about the high temperatures.
The tyre blankets are removed, the grid clears of bodies, and Sebastian Vettel leads the pack away on the formation lap.
All drivers starting on the soft tyres except Schumacher, Vergne and Webber who are opting for the medium.
Vettel makes it round to the grid once more, slowing to a stop in his P1 slot. The field line up slowly behind him.
Vettel streaks away into the lead, Hamilton defended from Maldonado, as Grosjean gets past Pastor into third.
Button has dropped down to 13th after running wide at the start. Rosberg has also dropped from 6th to 10th.
Felipe Massa was momentarily sandwiched between the two Mercedes cars but moved ahead of Rosberg for 10th. Alonso is up to 8th and challenging Hülkenberg.
Comment from Amy: so far i'm not bored, well done valencia.
Mark Webber has passed Kovalainen, who also lost a place to Ricciardo at the start as well. Webber in 17th now.
Grosjean is now hustling Hamilton for position, the McLaren having to go defensive as Vettel continues to pull out an early lead.
Maldonado pushes Kimi wide in an attempt to overtake, he is forced to give up the position dropping to 6th with Maldonado 5th.
Excuse Hamilton and Grosjean, they are too close for comfort. Look at Vettel's lead already!
Race Control: DRS enabled.
Hamilton leads the train of cars, with Grosjean behind him being given the hurry up over the radio. For his strategy to work, he needs to pass the McLaren.
Tweet from @MercedesAMGF1: Both Nico and Michael within a second of MAS and BUT. DRS usable for the guys #F1 #Valencia
Over the team radio, Paul di Resta is told to lift and coast to reduce brake temperature and tyre degradation which is still too high. Only six laps in, too!
Felipe Massa is closing up behind Paul di Resta. The pair head round to start a new lap, and he's juuust not close enough to make a move yet.
Comment from Stuart Taylor: Hamilton needs to be on a no stop strategy for this to work. He's almost a second a lap slower
Massa makes a move on the Force India but he's squeezed out, falls back, and now he's got all the hard work to do again.
Pérez is hustling Bruno Senna for position - the Williams is leading a train of cars for now.
Webber ran off track at turn two briefly but continued onwards.
Any second now, Vettel will push his lead into double figures. 10 seconds after nine laps is impressive.
At the back of the field, Charles Pic and Narain Karthikeyan come together with Pic losing the left endplate off his front wing.
We haven't seen any drivers in the pitlane yet, scheduled or otherwise, will Pic be the first?
Hamilton leads Grosjean over the swing bridge, the Lotus is close but just not close enough to make any difference.
Having said that, as they round the next few corners, he pulls alongside the McLaren, keeps his foot in and takes the position. Second place for Grosjean now.
Jenson Button becomes the first driver to pit, a super quick stop but he's dropping way down the order now.
Sergio Pérez has also stopped, an early pit visit for the Sauber driver who is more well known for his longer stints.
Comment from Mark: Button on course for a 2577 stop race.
Button has rejoined down in 19th place, ahead of Pérez and behind Jean-Éric Vergne.
The Ferrari mechanics scramble together and it's Felipe Massa who dives in for his first stop of the day.
The medium compound goes on the Ferrari, and he rejoins ahead of Kovalainen in 16th.
Kimi Räikkönen is chasing down Pastor Maldonado, they're less a tenth apart as Kimi draws level, but outbrakes himself and drops back again.
Fernando Alonso overtakes Nico Hülkenberg for 7th place and is informed on the radio to "push as much as we can."
Sergio Pérez sets the fastest lap of the race so far, down in 19th place.
Räikkönen attempts another move on Maldonado, moving to the outside of a left-hander, carrying more speed through the corner and in front before the next right-hander. Pastor looks ready for a new set of tyres.
Petrov pits, and Lewis Hamilton also comes in for his first stop of the race.
Button overtakes Vergne for 16th position, the easiest overtake we've seen so far.
Meanwhile, a straw hat has blown in from the crowd and is being bounced around the track as it gets run over.
Kobayashi, Räikkönen, Maldonado and Hülkenberg all pit at the same time. Madness in the pitlane!
Kamui lost a position to Kimi in the stops there, the Lotus car leading the four drivers out of the pitlane.
Team radio to Hamilton: "Let's see if we can get a few cars while our tyres are still fresh, their tyres are getting old now."
Fernando Alonso pits from third position, a nice clean stop from Ferrari sending the Spaniard back out on the softer tyre right into the path of Kimi.
Kimi tries to keep the momentum up to make the pass, but Alonso keeps the position for now.
The pit stop analysis shows Kobayashi's stop was over a second slower than Kimi's, whilst Alonso's was super fast to help him jump those positions.
Vettel comes in from the lead, with Grosjean following him in as well.
Vettel's stop was super easy, pitting from the lead and coming out in the lead. Di Resta is second having not stopped yet.
Grosjean dropped two places but Di Resta and Rosberg ahead have still to come in for their first stops.
A massive train of cars has formed behind Schumacher - six cars all the way down to Kobayashi and including the rising car of Mark Webber.
Alonso has passed Webber, although we only saw the first half of the move. It was probably a good one, who knows.
Grosjean passes Rosberg for third place.
Alonso makes his next move on Bruno Senna, this one we did get to see, round the outside. Next up on his list, Schumacher.
Hamilton is advised over the radio to save tyres at the places previously discussed, and he stroppily replies he's been doing it every lap.
Alonso has made it past Schumacher and is pulling out his own gap. It is definitely Schumacher holding everyone up.
There's a complete gaggle of cars all together, but Schumacher and Webber both extricate themselves and pit for the first time.
Right rear puncture for Senna after a collision with another car and/or the wall.
The cars, the cars, they are so close!
Senna was battling with Räikkönen. Kobayashi tried to make the most of the battle on the inside of Senna, but got crushed into the wall.
Senna's right rear hit Kobayashi's front wing. Debris litters the track.
Kobayashi lost control and smashed into the marker board, so some of that debris is polystyrene.
Senna made it back to the pitlane, and it's a tyre stop and a quick checkover by the team. He's back out on track, but currently last.
Senna tipped sideways after his collision with Kobayashi.
It was a bit of a great save from Senna, who managed to control that spin and continued straight on to get back to the pits.
Alonso has made another move, this time on Di Resta. He's up to fourth now. Di Resta hasn't stopped yet so it could be the difference in tyres that made it look so easy. Or that Alonso is just on an overtaking spree.
Race Control: Incident involving Kobayashi and Senna under investigation.
Maldonado takes a vulnerable di Resta with ease and the Force India team are out in the garage to save the Scot's race.
Race Control: Drive through penalty for Senna - causing a collision.
Vettel's lead is up to 20 seconds, but it's still relatively close behind him. Romain Grosjean puts in the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:44.451.
Bruno Senna takes his drive through penalty, gliding through the pit lane past his onlooking team.
Pérez and Petrov both pit for their second stops.
Jenson Button comes in for his second stop of the day, as Paul di Resta is informed he's probably the only driver attempting a one stop strategy.
We're about halfway through the race now, and no retirements as yet.
Heikki Kovalainen has front left damage and Jean-Éric Vergne has damage to his rear right tyres. I suspect there has been a coming together!
Replays show the Toro Rosso making a pass and just jinked sideways into the Caterham that was holding position nicely.
Vergne's tyre is ripping itself to pieces as he makes it back to the pitlane.
Safety car deployed.
BBC fact: Only the second time the Safety Car has appeared mid-race at this track. Last time was for Webber's flip.
Plenty of drivers take the opportunity to stop, and McLaren have a major fail that delays Hamilton for ages. A 14 second stop!
The front jack completely failed to lift the car up, a spare jack man comes in, and then they had trouble with the front left tyre as well. Troubles all round!
Vergne throws damage all over the track, which is why the Safety Car is out.
Race Control: Incident involving Vergne and Kovalainen under investigation.
Tweet from @KataHyde: Looks like Vergne needs to learn the size of his car... No kers and now a puncture for Heikki. Fingers crossed its uphill from here!
Vettel's mega lead has been closed up by the Safety Car, now there are just five seconds to second place Romain Grosjean.
Ricciardo is the only driver in the entire field who has not taken both mandatory tyres yet, so he must stop again. Currently running fourth with just the one stop to his name.
Vergne makes an appearance on the pit wall, headphones on, ready to watch the rest of the race from the garage.
Race Control: Lapped cars may now overtake.
Tweet from @InsideFerrari: Now everybody is in the same conditions at the front of the race... Same tyres, same age
Another lap behind the safety car whilst the lapped cars sort themselves out.
Jean-Éric Vergne: "I don't know whose fault it is. I haven't watched the video, I prefer to watch it first. To me it looked like a racing incident, I don't want to say who is at fault, to me, I was in front. It's a shame not to finish the race, but it's our first retirement of the year."
Tweet from @MyCaterhamF1: So... after Vergne hit Heikki he had to box, rejoining with no issues and he's now unlapped himself under the safety car.
Track is clear.
Vettel backed the cars up but didn't manage to scamper into the lead too much, he locked up into the first corner.
Fernando Alonso battles past Romain Grosjean into second place.
Hamilton passes Räikkönen for fifth place.
It looks like Massa and Kobayashi came together.
Vettel has run off track, losing his lead. He's stopped on track!
Adrian Newey has his head in his hands on the pit wall, Vettel is out of the race. Alonso is leading the race.
Massa pits, his right front tyre has completely gone - no replay as yet to what happened. New front wing goes on the Ferrari, but there's a problem with the stop.
Another new tyre goes on.
The cars round the track to where Vettel's car is, the marshals are busy pushing the car off track, with speeding cars past them! Madness.
Finally a replay, Kobayashi smashed into the back of Massa. Also a replay of Vettel stopping, once out of the car, he threw his gloves away in absolute disgust.
Marshals at work, watching in horror as the cars fly past them!
Kobayashi is being pushed into the garage, the Sauber is out of the race.
Race Control: Incident involving Massa and Kobayashi under investigation.
Massa did make it back out of the pit lane and is currently last. We also saw some head-in-hands action from Rob Smedley as well.
So to recap. Alonso is leading, less than a second ahead of Grosjean. Hamilton third, with Kimi in fourth.
Race Control: Incident involving Hamilton under investigation - ignoring yellow flags.
Daniel Ricciardo currently sits in fifth, he has only stopped once so far and definitely has to stop again. Ooh, he does right now.
Vettel walks back towards the Red Bull garage through the pit lane, he waves sadly at the crowds who are both whistling, cheering and booing all at the same time.
As Ricciardo went into the pitlane, Mark Webber was pushed wide by Pastor Maldonado. Red Bull's sole remaining racer is now sitting 8th.
This time it's Alonso and Grosjean who are far too close together.
Race Control: Drive through penalty for Karthikeyan - speeding in pit lane.
Sergio Pérez makes a move on Jenson Button for ninth place, the Sauber coming from a long way back and unable to hold the place. Button remains 9th for now.
Tweet from @Lotus_F1Team: Kimi under investigation for ignoring yellow flags. Did you see them? #EuropeanGP #F1 #LuckyNumber8
Mark Webber sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1:42.717.
Grosjean slows to a crawl out on track, keeping off the racing line as he looks for the gap in the wall.
Team radio to Grosjean: "Okay, sorry, we have lost the alternator, nothing we can do."
Pérez has taken that position from Button, and somehow they have both passed Rosberg as well. Pérez up to 7th, Button 8th.
Petrov is up to tenth place now!
Webber is hustling Schumacher for position, they're currently outside the points with the Mercedes 11th.
Interview with Sebastian Vettel: "To be honest, we don't know what the problem is yet. I lost drive on the straight down to turn 17 and I had to give way to other people. Stalled, the engine switched off, there was nothing we could have done. It's not clear what was the problem, maybe a bit similar to what Mark had on Friday.
"I think the Safety Car was not ideal for us, it might be that the retirement is in some regards also down to the Safety Car. It's a shame."
Schumacher just managed to overtake Petrov for tenth place, pushing Caterham out of the points.
Webber has also passed Petrov, dropping hims down to 12th, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Räikkönen is just 0.6 seconds behind Hamilton, he's looking to overtake the McLaren to move up to second. There's almost four seconds to Alonso in the lead.
Paul di Resta is doing a fine job as the only driver one-stopped. He's in sixth place at the moment, but has Sergio Pérez behind who is rapidly catching.
Tweet from @Lotus_F1Team: Alternator problem for @RGrosjean, so battery power for the fuel pump, no more bat juice, fuel pressure gone. No fuel, no go. #EuropeanGP
Race Control: Five place grid penalty at next event for Kobayashi - causing a collision.
Petrov is circling without a front wing, replays show he outbraked himself into the corner, passed Ricciardo. The Toro Rosso tries to take the place back, hits the front of the Caterham and tips it into the air.
|S Vettel||Red Bull||20.023|
McLaren have the two fastest pit times this race, despite their rather spectacular fail with Lewis Hamilton. Their revised procedures work when they work, but are ruinous when they fail.
Race Control: No further action regarding Hamilton.
Race Control: Incident involving Petrov and Ricciardo under investigation.
Both Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber ease their way past Jenson Button dropping the McLaren to tenth place.
Ricciardo and Petrov have a bit of a collision.
Alonso maintains his four second lead over Hamilton, whilst Räikkönen is dropping back slightly in third.
Rosberg managed to get past Bruno Senna easily for 11th place, and he's now chasing Button for that final points position. 13 seconds between them.
Race Control: No further action regarding Ricciardo and Petrov.
Michael Schumacher has passed Sergio Pérez for 7th place, Mark Webber continues to tail the Mercedes by passing the Sauber as well.
Petrov is still racing as best he can, losing a place to Massa but then pushing to get it back again. Currently 15th.
Schumacher leads the way past Paul Di Resta. Wait for Webber to copy.
There he goes, Webber gets past the Force India easily enough. Mercedes and Red Bull sitting 7th and 8th, with Hülkenberg next.
Felipe Massa comes into the pitlane for the fourth time of the afternoon.
Hamilton made a small error, allowing Räikkönen alongside him. Wheel to wheel they headed down the straight, but he couldn't make it stick. A few corners later, the deal is done. Second for Kimi.
Hamilton immediately comes under pressure from Maldonado, who draws level down the home straight.
Incredibly, Hamilton keeps the position but Pastor is still up close. An HRT dives out the way (or runs wide) as they pass.
Lewis is struggling massively for grip, and as they head into the DRS zone he draws level again. Pulls round the outside at the next corner, neither driver gives up. Pastor's front tyre tips Hamilton into the wall!
Maldonado is driving round track without a front wing, Hamilton's car sits at the side of the track, steaming.
Hamilton throws his steering wheel out of the car in absolute frustration.
Hamilton in the barrier.
Fernando Alonso wins the European Grand Prix!
Alonso wins in Spain, the crowd go wild. The two comeback Kings join him on the podium - Kimi Räikkönen second and Michael Schumacher third. His first podium since returning!
Alonso has stopped the car out on track, he climbs out and waves to the crowd who go crazy. Is he low on fuel or not? He doesn't care, he's pumping his fist regardless.
Alonso lays a Spanish flag on track, the marshals gather clapping, and the man himself claps the crowd.
Doesn't he know there's a podium waiting for him?
Schumacher and Räikkönen are both making their pre-podium preparations, taking some water and using the towels. Alonso is still out on track. He may be waiting for a lift.
Both Schumacher and Räikkönen hug the Ferrari representative. Both have been previous Ferrari drivers, of course.
The Medical Car was dispatched to rescue Fernando Alonso and he has been delivered to the waiting media. It's a total scrum out there.
Finally Alonso gets to hug his fellow podium visitors. They are all exceedingly happy, which makes a refreshing change.
Alonso gets a lift, hope he remembered to tip the driver.
The podium ceremony eventually begins, with the national anthem bellowing out, and the three flags fluttering slowly into the air.
Alonso looks emotional but happy as the Italians sing their hearts out.
Alonso, race winner.
Tweet from @MercedesAMGF1: YES YES YES!!! Brilliant Michael. What a drive. 3rd place, podium!! Well done Nico, P6. Brilliant end of the race for the boys #F1 #Valencia
Interview with Pastor Maldonado: "He tried to push me out of the track, and he didn't leave any room to stay and do the corner side by side. I jump over the kerb and couldn't avoid him. I don't know why he drove like that. He was completely lost, at that moment, I was getting very good pace. It's difficult to say but he tried a very aggressive movement on me."
Press Conference Quotes - Fernando Alonso: "Really difficult to express in words the feeling at the moment. Winning the home GP is something unique, a very special feeling. I had the opportunity in Barcelona 2006 with Renault, and I still remember that day perfectly. Now the same here in Valencia, with this special team Ferrari, with all the grandstands full of red colour, full of Spanish flags. Here now with Euro football championship also, a lot of Spanish atmosphere inside all of us. Feeling very proud to be a Spanish sportsman at the moment.
"We had a problem in the car and we stopped it, it was the right place, maybe because we had two grandstands there, so it took a little bit of time to arrive. We had about eight or ten minutes of all the people saying things about me, saying congratulations and they want me to jump and fun and games. We enjoyed those minutes."
Press Conference Quotes - Kimi Raikkonen: "I think everybody had old tyres at that point. I had enough tyres to get past Hamilton in the last few laps but didn't have the speed today to challenge for the win. I got a good start but got blocked by Maldonado in the first right hander and lost a lot of places at the start. WE made a good recovery from that position, and had good fights with people. In the end, second place is okay, but of course not what we wanted."
Press Conference Quotes - Michael Schumacher: "I didn't actually think about a podium at all, neither at the end of the race, it was crossing the line when Iasked my guys where did we finish. I saw Webber's pit board and I knew I was one place ahead of that one. My guys told me it was third, podium. I couldn't believe it. You sort of lose count because I was pretty busy in the last stage of the race. I lost count at that stage.
"It's those moments that you enjoy deeply, and it's a wonderful feeling to be back after such a long time. We were a couple of times close to it but finally it happened in a spectacular way. It was pretty exciting."
Press Conference Quotes - Fernando Alonso: "F1 is still unpredictable results, sport is about that. Sport is about up and downs. Yesterday we had a tough moment, we were sad not being in Q3 but you can never give up because anything can happen. In sport in general and more in Formula One. Anything can have a failure, in the race, there is a lot of things that we need to take care - there's the strategy, the start, the overtaking moves. When you put all these things in one thing, you have an F1 Grand Prix.
We had an amazing race, an amazing start, some great fights, I remember six or seven overtakings which were close, we nearly touch each other. All these little moments can go the wrong side, you end the race in the wall, or you can be the winner at the end."
Tweet from @Marussia_F1Team: P17 would have been good, so to come home P15 is a result we're happy with for Charles + we're back on the right side of HRT
So that sums up what turned out to be an incredibly busy European Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso became the first driver to pick up two wins this year.
Lots of disappointing retirements from drivers who had the potential to do well, but that led to some intriguing finishes.
Force India picked up some good points, and Webber did a great job to finish fourth after starting very near the back of the grid.
There was less field spread in Valencia this time out, the only driver escaping was Vettel and he was brought back in line by a safety car (and a subsequent retirement)!
We saw a Caterham up in the points briefly, showing some more improvements from them. Not quite to Red Bull standards yet, though, Heikki.
All in all, a surprisingly fab and intense race to tide us over until the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time.
Thanks for sticking with me through it all today, stay tuned to https://sidepodcast.com and http://f1minute.com for all the fun and games in between, and I'll see you next time!
Have fun, fact fans!
All content in the series Europe 2012
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24 June 2012
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