Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a comfortable stroll to victory in the Valencia sunshine, repeating the win he took at the uninspiring Spanish street circuit 12 months ago.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of this race was the number of finishers: all 24 starters completed the grand prix, only the fourth time in the sport’s history no DNFs have been registered. What’s more 24 now ranks as the highest ever number of finishers in a Formula One race. History has been made.
On track Vettel was untroubled throughout, enjoying a good start, three perfect pitstops and several fastest laps. 57 laps later the reigning champ had his sixth win of the campaign and had stretched his world championship lead – which now looks certain to lead him to a second title – still further.
Second went to Spanish hero Fernando Alonso, who also drove a textbook race to split the dominant Red Bull cars. Alonso moved from fourth to third at the start, taking advantage of team-mate Massa – who’d got a blinding launch from fifth – when the Brazilian was baulked by Mark Webber. From there Alonso ran third for the first stint before reeling in and passing Webber on lap 21. The Aussie retook P2 during the second round of pitstops but they swapped positions again when the cars stopped for a third time. It was old school F1: all the passing came in the pits.
Webber hung on to third but again failed to match the ultimate pace of his team-mate. He struggled late in the race with gearbox issues and dropped some distance behind Alonso.
McLaren had a quiet day, with Lewis Hamilton doing most of his talking over the radio rather than on the track, The Brit dropped from third to fifth at the start but an early stop allowed him to leapfrog Massa for fourth. He then spent the remainder of the race arguing about how fast he should be going with his engineer. Button meanwhile could not repeat his Canadian heroics, suffering KERS issues and finishing over a minute of the winner.
Nico Rosberg came home seventh for Mercedes ahead of Jaime Alguersuari, who recovered from a poor qualifying result to take an impressive eighth place. Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld completed the top ten.
Sebastian Vettel, double world champion: get used to that sentence.