Vettel Takes Straightforward Win In European Grand Prix


Sebastian Vettel continued his march towards retaining his world championship crown with his sixth win of the season at the European Grand Prix at Valencia.

The Red Bull driver started from pole position and was unchallenged at the start as teammate Mark Webber defended second place from the fast-starting Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Starting from fifth, Massa got the jump on both Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the start, and looked down the inside of Webber at Turn 2. However the Australian shut the door and Alonso went around the outside of him and into third place.

Vettel maintained a decent gap over Webber in the opening stages, including the first round of pitstops. Webber was under pressure from Alonso though, and the Spaniard found his way past on lap 21.

However Webber made his second stop one lap earlier than Alonso and this allowed him to take the place back.

The battle between the pair continued onto the third and final stops, where both would have to take on the harder medium compound of Pirelli tyre. Webber stopped first again, but could not get up to speed quickly enough on his new tyres. This allowed Alonso to emerge back in second place when he stopped three laps after Webber.

Vettel finally began to open up a considerable lead over the pair in the closing stages, winning by 10.8 seconds over Alonso, who finished in second place in front of his home fans.

Webber dropped back over the final stint as he nursed a gearbox problem. He still finished 20 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who struggled for pace throughout the race. He was able to get himself ahead of Massa through the pitstops to beat the Brazilian to fourth place.

Jenson Button had a very quiet race, and lost out early on after being passed by Nico Rosberg at the start. With Rosberg's Mercedes unable to keep up with the frontrunners it left Button a long way behind once he did finally get back past the German on lap six. A later KERS issue left him unable to finish any better than sixth.

Rosberg finished in seventh after getting past Jaime Alguersuari in the closing stages. The Toro Rosso driver turned his weekend around by making a two-stop strategy work. This allowed the under-pressure Spaniard to move from his lowly grid position of 18th to come home eighth.

Alguersuari was chased home by Adrian Sutil who enjoyed a strong race for Force India, with Renault's Nick Heidfeld scoring the final point in tenth.

All 24 cars reached the checkered flag, which bettered the previous record for the number of finishers set in China earlier this year.

Vettel's victory moves him 77 points clear at the head of the drivers' standings, with Button and Webber now tied for second place after the former's disappointing race. Hamilton lies a further 12 points behind in fourth, with Alonso ten behind that in fifth.