The grand prix around the circuit equivalent of a Tesco own-brand Monaco delivered a rather processional race today, but it wasn’t without incident and the final result is yet to be known with the stewards set to potentially penalise many cars for their speed behind the safety car… for now though, here’s the race as it happened:
The start was a pretty hectic one, Hamilton looked immediately racey, challenging Vettel during the first couple of corners while plenty more scraps were taking place behind them. Webber came off worse after jostling for position with Button and ending up down in 9th. Alonso and Massa were holding station in 3rd and 4th behind Vettel and Hamilton.
As expected the opening laps of tussling quickly settled down into a bit a of a procession around the dockland street circuit. Red Bull, realising they needed to do something with Webber being stuck in traffic pulled him in for a pit stop and a new set of tyres. Unusually for Red Bull they were slow with one of the tyres and Webber came out well down, just behind Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus – a man he would never pass…. on the track at least.
Webber drove up onto the back of the Lotus and the Red Bull literally took off, flew upside down and landed on the roll bar before then carrying on into a tyre wall. Somewhat remarkably Webber just got out, albeit after throwing his steering wheel out in frustration. Heikki was fine too, but not the best way for Lotus to celebrate their 500th grand prix entry.
The safety car came out and seemingly every car headed into the pits for a ‘free’ stop. It was all a bit chaotic with the order changing constantly. Hamilton was later penalised for ‘overtaking the safety car’ which was bit of a close call, but Hamilton did benefit massively for not being behind the safety car, compared to say, the Ferraris. Later in the race, the stewards declared that almost half the field were to ‘be investigated’ after the race for either speeding or going too slow when behind the safety car – a little bonkers, but if they are penalised it would benefit Ferrari massively (that will set off the conspiracy theorists)
After the excitement of Webber going skywards the race order was line astern with Vettel leading from Hamilton with Kobayshi in 3rd (he didn’t stop for tyres) and Jenson Button seeminly taking it easy in 4th. Barrichello continued with Williams’ good weekend with a tidy 5th ahead of Kubica, Sutil, Buemi, Alonso and Hulkenberg.
With only 7 laps left, Hamilton begun to chase down Vettel who’d been on his own all afternoon leading the race. With only just a lap left, Kobayashi who had to finally pit came out in 9th and overtook Alonso for 8th – impressive stuff the Japanese driver who then also over took Buemi for 7th on the final corner – certainly making the most of some last minute fresh rubber, while Vettel took the win ahead of Hamilton and Button.
Aside from Webber’s impressive accident with Kovalainen the race wasn’t up to Formula One’s current standards of excitement and the comparison of the Valencia Street Circuit to a Tesco own-brand version of Monaco has a fairly accruate ring to it.
Unfortunately, we are left to see what the stewards decide after the race before the final result can be declared, but for now, the provisional result is: