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Europe 2011 - Race highlights - Full coverage of each lap completed in Valencia

Published by Christine

A quiet drive in Valencia
A quiet drive in ValenciaCredit: Force India F1

It's a tough ask for a Grand Prix to follow the madness of Montreal, and it was a worrying proposition that Valencia was the circuit to try and prolong the action packed racing. It may not have been the most exciting thing we've witnessed this year, but there was still plenty to ponder as the racing unfolded.

Sebastian Vettel took yet another relatively easy victory, but if you missed any of the action, then the Factbyte Factbox had you covered. Here's how the GP played out lap by lap.

As it happened: 2011 Europe - The Race

  • 12:00

    Hello and welcome to the Factbyte Factbox for the European Grand Prix. How are you?

  • 12:03

    It's going to be a warm and sunny day in Valencia, the complete opposite of the conditions in Montreal - will it be the complete opposite of the race as well?

  • 12:03

    The mood seems to be that we are not in for a stunner of a race. Perhaps this is the real test of the new regulations. If they can make Valencia interesting, they can fix anything.

  • 12:04

    This week, the FIA decided to ban tweaking engine mapping between qualifying and the race (more info here) but it didn't stop Sebastian Vettel putting in another supreme performance for pole position.

  • 12:05

    Vettel secured his seventh pole of the season and starts the race at the front - but is that the best place?

  • 12:05

    TweetTweet from @alex_wurz: Just checked the grid - webber's spot has by far the most rubber ,hence highest grip level.

  • 12:06

    If you're watching the race today, I can highly recommend joining in the Sidepodcast comments:

  • 12:06

    You'll also find Twitter updates and this here Factbyte Factbox all in the one page. It's quite fancy.

  • 12:06

    You can, of course, visit the thread directly, if that's more your thing:

  • 12:08

    Whilst I'm linking, I may as well do the rest. You might want some live timing in your life:

  • 12:08

    The BBC live stream will be here shortly: whilst the live text on that page is already ago-go.

  • 12:09

    Autosport will have more excellent live text updates:

  • 12:10
    Circuit Data
    Valencia Street Circuit
    Local timezone+0200 GMT
    First race2008
    Number of laps57
    Circuit length5.419km
    Race distance308.883km
    Start offset0.000km
  • 12:11

    The good news is that Sergio Pérez is back in action this weekend, no further ill effects from his Monaco accident. I suppose that isn't such good news for De La Rosa.

  • 12:13
    Qualifying Position
    1Sebastian VettelRed Bull
    2Mark WebberRed Bull
    3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
    4Fernando AlonsoFerrari
    5Felipe MassaFerrari
    6Jenson ButtonMcLaren
    7Nico RosbergMercedes
    8Michael SchumacherMercedes
    9Nick HeidfeldRenault
    10Adrian SutilForce India
  • 12:13

    It's worth pointing out that Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil did not set times in the final qualifying session, attempting to take advantage of the tyre regulations so they can choose their starting compound.

  • 12:14

    QuoteComment from Stuart Taylor: is there a link to a track map with DRS info?


  • 12:16
    2011 Race Wins
    1Sebastian Vettel5
    2Lewis Hamilton1
    3Jenson Button1
  • 12:21

    In terms of drivers outclassing their teammates, there are only two battles remaining with zeros. Alonso has qualified higher than Massa eight times, whilst in the racing, it's Vettel who's beaten his teammate at every opportunity. Can Webber fight back today?

  • 12:24

    Narain Karthikeyan qualified last in his HRT car yesterday, but the 107% rule was avoided as all cars set comfortable times. Narain was a whole second under the threshold.

  • 12:31

    The pitlane should be opening any second now to allow drivers out and onto the grid.

  • 12:32

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: The sun is shining and it is very hot. Luckily, there is less humidity, thanks to a light breeze.

  • 12:34

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: Pit lane open. I love this feeling of anticipation on the grid. It's the best moment of the weekend.

  • 12:39
    Fastest Session Times
    Free Practice 1M Webber1:40.403
    Free Practice 2F Alonso1:37.969
    Free Practice 3S Vettel1:37.258
    QualifyingS Vettel1:36.975
  • 12:45

    Fifteen minutes until the race begins, mechanics are prepping the cars on the grid now.

  • 12:47

    Interview with opera singer Placedo Domingo on the grid: "I hope the championship goes better. I hope that people like Fernando start to win races. I know the extreme power of Red Bull, but let's see... I hope that it's a safe race and a clean race."

  • 12:48

    And perhaps words with a driver instead, Jenson Button: "With the new DRS zones here, it'll make for some good racing."

  • 12:53

    Rubens on the gridRubens on the grid, via @WilliamsF1Team

  • 12:56



    Wind speed2.8mps
  • 12:56

    Less than five minutes to go, live timing has reset, we're almost ready to race!

  • 13:00

    The grid clears of mechanics, and Vettel pulls away on the formation lap.

  • 13:00

    Petrov and Pérez are starting the race on the harder compound - mediums as opposed to softs.

  • 13:02

    The top ten are all starting on soft tyres.

  • 13:03

    Rounding the final corner, Vettel backs the pack up as he returns to the grid and waits.

  • 13:03

    TweetTweet from @joesaward: Field heading off for European Grand Prix. 85,000 spectators according to organisers. Nice day.

  • 13:03

    Green flagRace started.

  • 13:04

    Vettel leads away. Massa took Lewis off the start.

  • 13:04

    Alonso took Massa at turn three to move into third.

  • 13:04

    The two Red Bulls lead, it was a clean start further back.

  • 13:04

    Paul di Resta has a serious lock up, but doesn't look to have lost any places.

  • 13:05

    Exhaust gases from the Renault blow up white dust that was put on track earlier for an oil spill. For a moment it looked like smoke.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Vettel has created himself more than a second's lead already - the rest of the pack are filing around the circuit nicely.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Somehow Maldonado has fallen back to 22nd. I'm not sure what happened to him.

  • 13:08 Lap 3
    Driver Positions
    10Sebastian Vettel
    20Mark Webber
    31Fernando Alonso
    41Felipe Massa
    5-2Lewis Hamilton
  • 13:08 Lap 3

    TweetTweet from @OfficialLRGP: Vitaly drops places at the start as you'd expect, away from the line, but he'll be on the fast rubber ar the end

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    They're expecting bad starts from Vitaly now?

  • 13:09 Lap 3

    Race Control: DRS enabled.

  • 13:10 Lap 4
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:10 Lap 4

    Jenson Button has closed up behind Nico Rosberg, chasing him for 6th position.

  • 13:11 Lap 5

    TedNews: "Down in the McLaren garage, general sense of irritation in Lewis's garage. Looks like the clutch overheated on the line."

  • 13:11 Lap 5
    One to Watch
  • 13:13 Lap 6

    We're onboard with Button, I blinked, and the Mercedes disappeared. He outbraked Rosberg and just flew past.

  • 13:14 Lap 6

    Button made the pass into Turn 2, and is already steaming away from Rosberg to close up to his teammate.

  • 13:14 Lap 7

    Maldonado has moved up to 20th, now sitting behind the two Lotus cars.

  • 13:15 Lap 7
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:16 Lap 8

    Trulli is just over half a second behind teammate Kovalainen. The Italian is still complaining about the power steering in his car, but may be able to get ahead of Heikki this race.

  • 13:17 Lap 8

    Kobayashi is chasing down Barrichello for 12th, and Sutil is closing in on Schumacher for 8th.

  • 13:18 Lap 8

    At the front, Vettel is still building his gap, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Webber is now 2.8 seconds behind, but Alonso is closing in on him.

  • 13:18 Lap 9

    Paul di Resta reports to his engineers that he's already starting to lose the rear tyres.

  • 13:19 Lap 10

    TweetTweet from @OfficialLRGP: No dramas from Vitaly's tyres, he's on the mediums which have to be used in the race, but are 1.5-2 seconds slower than the softs

  • 13:20 Lap 10

    Despite pulling away from Rosberg, Button doesn't seem to have the pace at the moment to catch his teammate. He's fallen back to 8.6 seconds behind now.

  • 13:21 Lap 10

    This circuit is so massive that Vettel is nowhere near lapping anyone yet. There's almost half the track between him and Karthikeyan.

  • 13:22 Lap 11

    TweetTweet from @joesaward: Vettel is taking it quite easier. This could be a two-nap strategy, says D Tremayne

  • 13:22 Lap 11

    Pastor Maldonado becomes the first driver to pit, dropping to the back of the pack.

  • 13:23 Lap 12

    Alguersuari and Buemi are duelling for position on track, Buemi just managed to keep 14th position.

  • 13:23 Lap 12

    Heidfeld, Barrichello and Kobayashi all pit at the same time.

  • 13:24 Lap 12

    Replays show that Buemi attempted to overtake the Sauber in front of him, changed his mind and locked up, which dropped him back towards his teammate.

  • 13:25 Lap 13

    Lewis Hamilton pits from 5th position, the first of the front runners to come in. He puts on another set of soft tyres. It was a good fast stop.

  • 13:25 Lap 13

    Rosberg and Sutil follow the McLaren into the pitlane.

  • 13:26 Lap 13
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverL Hamilton
    Pit lane20.340s
  • 13:27 Lap 14

    Mark Webber becomes the next top guy to pit. Ferrari mechanics are also loitering.

  • 13:27 Lap 14
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverM Webber
    TeamRed Bull
    Pit lane20.465s
  • 13:27 Lap 14

    Red Bull were half a second faster than McLaren in the pit stop. For one half of their drivers anyway.

  • 13:28 Lap 15

    Hamilton eases past Schumacher for 6th place.

  • 13:28 Lap 15

    Vettel, Alonso and Button all pit.

  • 13:28 Lap 15

    Schumacher also dives into the pitlane, presumably after seeing how fast Lewis was on his new rubber.

  • 13:29 Lap 15

    Di Resta, Buemi and Kovalainen all stop.

  • 13:29 Lap 15
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverS Vettel
    TeamRed Bull
    Pit lane21.006s
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverF Alonso
    Pit lane21.477s
  • 13:30 Lap 15

    Vettel's pit stop was slower than Webber and Hamilton's, but the Ferrari stop was epically slow.

  • 13:30 Lap 16

    Schumacher's front wing is hanging off, he's hurriedly returning to the pitlane, managing to overtake a Force India as he goes!

  • 13:31 Lap 16

    Meanwhile Massa is returning to the track from his first pit stop, as Petrov enters the pitlane.

  • 13:31 Lap 16

    Schumacher has made it back to the pitlane, the mechanics are waiting with a new nose.

  • 13:32 Lap 16

    That extra stop has dropped Schumacher to 22nd. Replays show he collided with the rear of Petrov's car as he exited the pits from his official stop.

  • 13:32 Lap 17
    Recent Lap Times
    S Vettel
    Lap 21:45.466
    Lap 31:45.186
    Lap 41:45.488
    Lap 51:45.160
    Lap 61:45.033
    Lap 71:44.712
    Lap 81:45.150
    Lap 91:45.030
    Lap 101:45.055
    Lap 111:45.269
    Lap 121:45.315
    Lap 131:45.358
  • 13:33 Lap 17

    Vettel's laptime from his first stint. Best time on lap 7, then his pace gradually tailed off until he pitted.

  • 13:34 Lap 18

    TedNews: "Alonso was the lead driver on the road, he has the privilege of when he comes into the pits. Massa couldn't come in before him, that left them vulnerable to Lewis Hamilton."

  • 13:35 Lap 18

    There's contact between Pérez and Heidfeld. The Renault was chasing the Sauber, on attempting the pass they touched wheels. Heidfeld forced his way through.

  • 13:35 Lap 18

    Further bad news for Pérez, as he locks up and allows Rubens Barrichello to pass as well.

  • 13:35 Lap 18

    Glock pits, as Schumacher begins to make his way through the field. Up to 20th.

  • 13:36 Lap 19

    Almost 20 laps in, and Vettel has started to lap the backmarkers. Karthikeyan is already behind him, more traffic coming up.

  • 13:36 Lap 19

    Schumacher is under investigation for the incident with Petrov.

  • 13:37 Lap 19
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:38 Lap 20

    Alonso is close up behind Webber, the Red Bull under pressure.

  • 13:38 Lap 20

    TweetTweet from @Pirelli_Media: Kobayashi and Petrov may be trying a one-stop strategy: let's see if it works out for them.

  • 13:39 Lap 21

    Pérez is the only driver who hasn't pitted yet.

  • 13:39 Lap 21

    TweetTweet from @OfficialMGP: #F1 Michael is now P18, climbing his way up

  • 13:40 Lap 21

    Alonso makes the position, passing Webber for 2nd place. The crowd goes wild.

  • 13:42 Lap 22

    The Ferrari driver now has his sights set on Vettel, just under three seconds to make up.

  • 13:42 Lap 23

    Four drivers now lapped, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi and Karthikeyan.

  • 13:43 Lap 23

    Jaime Alguersuari has just passed Pérez for 13th place. The Sauber seems to be struggling for pace.

  • 13:44 Lap 23

    Alonso put in the fastest lap beaten almost instantly by Webber: 1:43.583.

  • 13:45 Lap 24

    RadioTeam radio to Hamilton: "Lewis, we're doing the same pace as the two cars immediately behind us. We just need to keep going a bit longer on this set."

  • 13:45 Lap 24

    Petrov has passed Kobayashi, splitting the two Sauber drivers, as they gradually fall backwards.

  • 13:46 Lap 25

    The McLaren mechanics dash out into the pitlane, and it's Hamilton who comes in.

  • 13:46 Lap 25

    There was a bit of a false start as Hamilton tried to leave before the lollipop went up. Could have cost him a second or two.

  • 13:48 Lap 26

    Petrov slides past Pérez as well. The two Saubers are now 14th and 15th - Pérez still has not stopped yet.

  • 13:49 Lap 26

    Finally, Pérez crawls into the pitlane, the one-stop strategy doesn't seem to be paying off.

  • 13:50 Lap 27

    Michael Schumacher pulls alongside Maldonado in the Williams, and the pair are side by side around the corner, Schumacher eventually getting the position. It's only for 16th, of course.

  • 13:50 Lap 27

    Vettel is extending his lead at the front, the gap to Alonso is now up to 3.5 seconds.

  • 13:51 Lap 28

    Buemi has pitted for the second time, and Heikki Kovalainen is also making his way out the pitlane.

  • 13:52 Lap 28

    Heidfeld and Di Resta both come in for new tyres.

  • 13:52 Lap 28

    Erratic lap times from Perez before he came in for his stop. Lost two places in six laps.

    Recent Lap Times
    Lap 191:48.846
    Lap 201:47.598
    Lap 211:48.714
    Lap 221:48.815
    Lap 231:47.901
    Lap 241:48.372
  • 13:53 Lap 29

    Petrov follows his teammate into the pitlane. 5.2 seconds for Heidfeld, unknown for Petrov. So much slower than the top teams.

  • 13:53 Lap 29

    Webber has pitted and put on soft tyres again, so he will definitely be stopping once more for the harder tyre.

  • 13:54 Lap 30

    Alonso has pitted to match Webber's stop.

  • 13:55 Lap 30

    It didn't work, Alonso exited the pits to the sight of Webber flying past him.

  • 13:56 Lap 30

    At the same time, Pastor Maldonado appeared from a completely unexpected direction, presumably having run off track.

  • 13:56 Lap 31

    RadioTeam radio to Hamilton: "Lewis, confirmation, our rear tyre temperatures are very hot."

    "I can't go any slower!"


  • 13:56 Lap 31

    Vettel stops from the lead, putting Massa in front for now.

  • 13:57 Lap 31

    Actually, scratch that, Vettel came back out in the lead.

  • 13:58 Lap 32

    Webber has passed Massa as well, up to second for a Red Bull 1-2. Massa comes into the pits anyway.

  • 13:59 Lap 32

    It's a massively long pit stop for Massa, as the left rear tyre was a little stubborn. 8.6 seconds.

  • 14:00 Lap 33

    Michael Schumacher pits from 17th place. Three stops for the German so far.

  • 14:01 Lap 33

    Maldonado rejoins the trackMaldonado rejoins the racetrack from seemingly nowhere.

  • 14:01 Lap 33

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "KERS is not working."

  • 14:04 Lap 35
    Driver Positions
  • 14:04 Lap 35

    The McLaren mechanics are in the pitlane, with their KERS gloves at the ready. They may be expecting the imminent arrival of Button.

  • 14:05 Lap 36

    No retirements so far, and Karthikeyan has just gone two laps down.

  • 14:05 Lap 36

    Vettel still has a two second lead over his teammate.

  • 14:05 Lap 36

    RadioTeam radio to Massa: "Reasonable pace. We're about a second faster than Hamilton at this point."

  • 14:07 Lap 37
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:08 Lap 37

    RadioTeam radio to Alguersuari: "Six more laps on these tyres, keep pushing like this."

  • 14:09 Lap 38

    Liuzzi got in the way of Alonso as the Ferrari was lapping the HRT. Fernando had to go the long way round.

  • 14:11 Lap 39
    Top Speeds
    Sector 1Button281kph
    Sector 2Schumacher311kph
    Sector 3Di Resta241kph
    Speed trapSutil315kph
  • 14:11 Lap 39

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: KAR has a blue flag for timo but not letting him through :-(

  • 14:12 Lap 40
    One to Watch
  • 14:13 Lap 40

    Rosberg makes the pass at Turn 17, he moves up to 7th, whilst teammate Schumacher is still stuck down in 17th.

  • 14:14 Lap 41

    RadioTeam radio to Hamilton: "We need to up our pace a bit in the next few laps."

    "This is as fast as I can go."

    He can't go faster, he can't go slower, he can just do what he's doing.

  • 14:15 Lap 42

    Button gets some team radio confirming his KERS isn't working, and they'll have to do their best with tyre strategy. They're not looking to retire him just yet then.

  • 14:16 Lap 42

    Vettel's lead is just about to tip over to 4 seconds. He's not been troubled at all so far this afternoon.

  • 14:17 Lap 42
    Recent Lap Times
    L Hamilton
    Lap 331:44.592
    Lap 341:44.356
    Lap 351:45.248
    Lap 361:43.835
    Lap 371:43.860
    Lap 381:44.025
    Lap 391:44.141
    Lap 401:44.235
    Lap 411:44.283
  • 14:17 Lap 43

    Mark Webber has pitted for what is presumably the final time. McLaren mechanics are also ready.

  • 14:18 Lap 43

    Lewis Hamilton comes in, hard tyres ready to go on the McLaren.

  • 14:19 Lap 44

    Replays show Webber ran a bit wide going into the pitlane, but made the entrance okay. It was a relatively good stop, but he's rejoined directly behind Petrov.

  • 14:19 Lap 44
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverM Webber
    TeamRed Bull
    Pit lane20.367s
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverL Hamilton
    Pit lane20.212s
  • 14:21 Lap 44

    The Ferrari mechanics came out into the pitlane, but have returned to the garage again.

  • 14:22 Lap 46

    Karthikeyan is now three laps down. Vettel is making his way through traffic to lap Paul di Resta. Just seven drivers remain on the lead lap.

  • 14:22 Lap 46

    Fernando Alonso pits, as does Di Resta.

  • 14:23 Lap 46

    Alonso has jumped Webber in that stop to retake second place.

  • 14:24 Lap 47

    It looked like Ferrari had made the wrong call earlier when they lost the position to Webber, but waiting longer for the harder compound has given them the place back.

  • 14:24 Lap 47

    With all 24 drivers still running, traffic is a nightmare out there. Blue flags are waving all over the place, as drivers continue to scrabble for position.

  • 14:25 Lap 47

    Sebastian Vettel pits from the lead.

  • 14:26 Lap 48

    Four cars togetherFour cars battling for space on track.

  • 14:27 Lap 48

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: Very impressive reliability in this race. But it looks like timo might keep his lap record here

  • 14:28 Lap 48

    Vettel has kept his lead on Alonso, he essentially had a free pit stop and still returned to the track 8.6 seconds ahead of the Ferrari.

  • 14:28 Lap 49

    Massa and Button both pit for their third stops.

  • 14:29 Lap 49

    Brundle fact: "There's only been three races in the entire F1 history where there have been no retirements."

  • 14:30 Lap 50

    TweetTweet from @autosportlive: Hamilton comfortably restores his fourth position as Massa emerges fifth and Button sixth. #F1

  • 14:32 Lap 51
    Lap Analysis
    S Vettel on lap 48
    Sector 138.4279kph
    Sector 246.4307kph
    Sector 329.4225kph
  • 14:32 Lap 51

    Pérez has stuck to his one stop strategy, and is currently running 11th, just outside of the points.

  • 14:33 Lap 52

    RadioTeam radio to Paul di Resta in 14th: "There's still a race to be had here mate. Barrichello is in P12, so we could have Buemi and Barrichello."

  • 14:34 Lap 52
    Sector 1 Comparison
    S Vettel26.9279kph
    F Alonso27.0274kph
    M Webber27.0267kph
    L Hamilton27.2278kph
    F Massa27.3287kph
    J Button27.1281kph
  • 14:35 Lap 53

    Five laps to go.

  • 14:36 Lap 53
    Fastest Laps
    S Vettel391:41.926
    S Vettel
    S Vettel
    S Vettel
  • 14:36 Lap 54

    RadioTeam radio to Webber: "Okay Mark, we have a gearbox problem, we need you to shortshift in the low gears."

  • 14:37 Lap 54
    Inter-Team Battle
    Nico Rosberg7th
    Michael Schumacher17th
  • 14:38 Lap 55

    Sebastian Vettel continues to set fastest laps - 1:41.852.

  • 14:39 Lap 55
    One to Watch
  • 14:39 Lap 55

    Massa hasn't got many laps left to make the difference, though.

  • 14:41 Lap 56

    I was considering posting the backmarker table, but all the cars from eighth place backwards have been lapped. Far too many!

  • 14:41 Lap 56

    Drivers remaining on the lead lap: Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Massa, Button and Rosberg.

  • 14:42 Lap 57

    Vettel takes the last couple of corners, storming the Red Bull towards the finish, with no pressure. The entire track is his own.

  • 14:42 Lap 57

    A couple more corners and we'll see that celebratory finger once more.

  • 14:43 Lap 57

    QuoteComment from Journeyer: 24 cars at the finish, 0 safety cars.

  • 14:43 Lap 57

    Chequered flagSebastian Vettel wins the European Grand Prix!

  • 14:44 Lap 57

    10 seconds later, Fernando Alonso cruises across the line for second place, whilst Webber is a further 16 seconds back for third.

  • 14:45

    Pole position, fastest lap and the race victory for Vettel. On the radio, he says: "This is better than ever. This was such a nice race."

  • 14:45
    Race Winner
    DriverS Vettel
    TeamRed Bull
    Race time1:39:36.169
    Race distance308.883km
    Average speed186.068km/h
  • 14:46
    Driver Positions
  • 14:47
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:49

    Pérez stuck his one-stop strategy out right to the end, finishing 11th. Good work from Alguersuari, who was the only driver of the top ten to two-stop, and it sees him in the points.

  • 14:49

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Another step in the right direction

  • 14:50

    Fernando Alonso has kept his helmet on all the way up the stairs to the pre-podium area, not a happy chap. Finally it comes off, but he's not in the mood for talking.

  • 14:50

    He has a quick word with Vettel, but looks absolutely shattered.

  • 14:51

    The guys make their way to the podium where the German National Anthem rings out.

  • 14:53

    Placido Domingo is spotted lurking on the podium, and he hands out the trophy for the winning constructor.

  • 14:54

    Alonso seems happier now, I may have got it wrong earlier. He lifts his trophy with a big smile, and the crowd cheer on their driver.

  • 14:56

    Podium CelebrationsPodium celebrations ahoy.

  • 14:58

    Alonso and his trophyAlonso kisses his trophy.

  • 15:01

    Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "Maybe from the outside, I don't know how much was happening, at least for myself it looked like a boring race. I enjoy it so much when it's just you and the car. Of course I had some pressure from behind at various times... even though I had a gap before the stop, I came out of the garage and they were quite close again. Pushing hard, but judging the tyres, trying to forsee the strategy. Every single lap's between you and the car.

    The team has done a phenomenal job preparing the car. We come here every year thinking this might be tricky, but still we managed to put everything together. I'm very happy with the result."

  • 15:02

    Press Conference Quotes - Fernando Alonso: "I think it was an interesting race for the fans to see the fight with Webber. At the beginning of the race I was behind him, trying to not be too far and have the benefit in the pitstop... On the pits, they did a good job and overtook us, on the last pitstop, I think the team did a good strategy keeping the car out on the soft tyres for a couple of laps longer than Red Bull.

    We had a few change of positions between Mark and me, and I think second is the best we can achieve. Monaco was good performance, we finished second. Canada was very good weekend, we didn't get any points. Here was another good weekend. Definitely moving in the right direction."

  • 15:03

    Press Conference Quotes - Mark Webber: "It was a good race with Fernando. I think it was probably my best race of the year, up until the last pit stop it was quite close between the three of us. I was very happy until the last stop. It was my fault, I was worried about Fernando coming in beneath me in the stops. That was a risk I decided to take, I lost out. My fault to miss second today, Fernando drove a good race.

    At the end, the gearbox was playing up, we had to back right off. We had a massive gap to McLaren, so we could cruise to the end and protect the gearbox."

  • 15:05

    Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "I don't look at the gap, it's a long season. For sure, we have had a phenomenal start to the season. We continue that way, that's our target. We have to take every single race as it comes. We don't have to win by taking too much risk, but the target is to win races. We try always to achieve our optimum. If the day will come we might struggle, we're not competitive enough, and the car is only good enough to finish third, we have to finish third and not seventh.

    It's an incredible achievement the team has made over the past few years. The amount of things we've learnt and the step forward we've made is incredible. We have to keep doing what we do, stay hungry, and get better every time."

  • 15:07

    Press Conference Quotes - Mark Webber: "I think we saw today was the closest I've been to Vettel for a while. I think I'm getting better, today's race proved that up until the last 15% where it didn't quite go our way. It's a fine line racing against these guys."

  • 15:09

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: A strong race for Adrian getting the maximum from the car to finish P9. Paul also pushed hard to come home in P14. Next stop, Silverstone!

  • 15:12

    Interview with Martin Whitmarsh: "I think we were probably overheating the tyres. I think they've got a stronger DRS, this is a DRS strong circuit. Jenson had a KERS failure through the race, so he was losing about half a second a lap as a consequence of that. He was easier on the tyres than Lewis, he did a good job after the starts that we had but very difficult to get back on terms.

    We've had three races with a very quick race car. It wasn't the quickest race car here today. I think we were quite close to the Ferrari pace, we weren't as fast as Red Bull in the race, but we'll see in two weeks time, we'll see what we can do."

  • 15:13

    Interview with Martin Whitmarsh: "Every circuit is different, we'll have some developments there, others will. That's the interesting thing about this season. If you're in traffic here, you damage your tyres pretty quickly, and that's clearly made it difficult to do the length of stint we wanted, and we lost a bit too much time.

    On the other hand, frankly, we're a long way ahead of the others behind us but we need to be ahead of Red Bull."

  • 15:15

    Interview with Lewis Hamilton: "Good result compared to the last race. It wasn't frustrating, we just got a really very poor start, lost out to the Ferraris. But in all honesty we weren't as quick as the Ferraris, even if I was ahead of them, I would have struggled to stay ahead. They guys were just trying to ask me to stay out longer, and I was just like, I'm trying to look after the tyres as much as I can, this is all I can do.

    I was pushing all the way, but my tyres I was really struggling with for a long time. It seems like we've taken a step backwards perhaps this weekend, in terms of performance, or the others have taken a step forward again. To be able to finish at least fourth, that's still a good result compared to the last two races I've had.

    I think we're quite a bit down in downforce. We've not made an upgrade for several weeks really. We've had upgrades on the front wing, for example. But rear downforce we really struggle. I think in the next race we're really going to struggle."

  • 15:17
    2011 Race Wins
    1Sebastian Vettel6
    2Lewis Hamilton1
    3Jenson Button1
  • 15:20

    Interview with Jenson Button: "Nico getting past me at the start wasn't perfect. In a way, it was the only fun part of the race getting past him again into turn 2. Apart from that, wow it wasn't the most exciting race, was it? From my seat, I didn't see another car the whole race. I didn't have very good balance, had a lot of wheelspin, then I had the KERS fail halfway through, which for us is a lot of laptime.

    Even so, the pace wasn't there, in a way to finish eight seconds behind a Ferrari with those issues wasn't so bad. We need some upgrades. Aerodynamically we need an improvement for Silverstone because we're not moving forward enough. That's what we need to be concentrating on. There are some new parts coming, but we need to take some risks. Behind us,there's a big gap, this race anyway, to the Mercedes. The Ferraris are in front of us and the Red Bull are miles away.

    I don't think this new regulation change, in terms of the diffuser blowing is going to have a massive impact. In laptimes it will, but in mixing up the field I don't think it will."

  • 15:20

    Sorry for so much McLaren information, but they appear to be the Beeb's favourite team at the moment.

  • 15:21

    Replays show that Michael Schumacher crossed the white line at the exit of the pitlane moments before the collision with Petrov. Surprised he didn't get a penalty for that.

  • 15:23

    Interview with Michael Schumacher: "Obviously knocking off my front wing was my own problem. Tried to keep my position with Petrov, I was on old tyres and wanted to stay in front of him. I couldn't stop anymore and overlocked and slid into him and knocked my front wing off.

    After that I was pretty much done. I guess the pace would have been okay for seventh or eighth. This was the maximum that I anticipated, and this would have been the maximum we could have got.

    First of all, you just go maximum and try to recuperate as much as you can. You never know what will happen, our speed wasn't too bad. Then the point was that some of the guys in the field were starting on the prime tyres, so they had the option tyres when I was starting to approach them. So the difference of tyres was too big for the move forward."

  • 15:26
    Championship Standings
    1Sebastian Vettel186
    2Jenson Button109
    3Mark Webber
    4Lewis Hamilton97
    5Fernando Alonso87
    6Felipe Massa42
    7Nico Rosberg32
    8Vitaly Petrov31
    9Nick Heidfeld30
    10Michael Schumacher26
  • 15:27

    TweetTweet from @MarussiaVirgin: Apparently Jèrôme was unable to use his drinks bottle today, and lost three kilos during the race!

  • 15:32

    Jaime Alguersuari gets philosophical post-race: "I'm feeling really good especially because Valencia is my second home town. I couldn't do it in Barcelona, I think in Barcelona we didn't another good race but the consistency was not the key, and here it was. To show this race performance and great consistency was the key to score some points.

    I'm here because I enjoy Formula One, I enjoy driving. I think I'm doing a good job, I think I'm learning a lot, and I think this is still to come. This is the solution, I don't think I can be replaced, or if my future is under question, I don't care. Because, to be honest, I want to enjoy the best of the present of Formula One. I do my very best job race after race and I think we can score some points at Silverstone.

    Just we had some problems because in life, problems exist. Problems are always in life, so you always need to push to recover the problems, push to evaluate yourself, to go on with a progression. I think we are doing a good job because we are recovering this pace that we were not doing at the beginning of the year. And that's why I'm happy because we're progressing.

    It's not just about the result today, it's because you feel you understand better the cars, you understand better the tyres, the engineers know and understand better the car and help you to improve your performance. It's just about this. It's Formula One, it takes time, it's just work and work and work."

  • 15:37

    Paul di Resta on battling for position: "There were quite a few cars there. Not ideal, we were definitely compromised by strategy. There were five laps there where the tyres were through to the cord. Two laps in the first stint, and three laps in the third stint. When the tyres are like that, you're losing two and a half seconds a lap and it compromised the race.

    I think there was a bit of confusion, the lap we were due to come in, Adrian came in, and we got caught up by having to let Sebastian by, when he was lapping us. A lot of time, I'm not sure we would have quite finished, at best maybe tenth, but probably eleventh. You know, you get difficult races. It was all very tight, and that's what made the small difference to getting up there.

    Traffic was a big problem, DRS didn't seem quite as effective as I thought it was going to be. There were a few times I got in the zone but nothing really, but I didn't get overtaken, so I suppose it's positive from that. It was a difficult weekend right from the start, losing Friday, and I suppose when you miss that it's crucial just to make the car right. I think I was just slightly off Adrian's pace but could match it at some points."

  • 15:38

    That's about it, then. It wasn't the most exciting race of the year, but equally it could have been a lot worse in Valencia. DRS didn't seem to make too much difference, and it was easily Vettel's win, but there were some good battles to watch and a few classy overtaking moves.

  • 15:39

    A stunning show of reliability sees a new record of 24 classified cars, with just a couple of collisions through the race and the inkling of some non-race-ending mechanical gremlins.

  • 15:39

    Alguersuari picked up some good points, and Pérez recovered the best he could from a difficult strategy.

  • 15:40

    Both Maldonado and Schumacher finished out of position and way down the order - although I'm still not 100% sure what happened to Pastor to drop him so far back.

  • 15:40

    Onwards and upwards, Formula One moves on to Silverstone where we will see the circuit changes in action for the first time.

  • 15:41

    I hope you'll join me for all the action in two weeks time. Have fun and stay safe fact fans.

All content in the series Europe 2011