2010 European Grand Prix
|Race 9 of 19 in the 2010 Formula One season|
The Valencia Street Circuit
|Date||27 June 2010|
|Official name||2010 Formula 1 Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe|
|Location||Valencia Street Circuit, Valencia, Spain|
|Course||Temporary street circuit|
|Course length||5.419 km (3.367 mi)|
|Distance||57 laps, 308.883 km (191.931 mi)|
|Time||1:38.766 on lap 54|
The 2010 European Grand Prix (formally the 2010 Formula 1 Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe) was a Formula One motor race held on 27 June at the Valencia Street Circuit in Valencia, Spain. It was the ninth round of the 2010 Formula One season. The 57-lap race was won by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel who started from pole position. Lewis Hamilton finished second for the McLaren team and his teammate Jenson Button came in third. It was Vettel's second win of the season, and the seventh of his Formula One career.
Vettel maintained his leading heading into the first corner and resisted Hamilton's attempts at passing him. The safety car was deployed following a large accident involving Vettel's teammate Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen on the ninth lap. Hamilton passed the safety car and was later issued with a drive-through penalty for which he served on lap 27. Vettel remained the leader at the restart despite running deep in the track's final corner. Hamilton closed the gap between himself and Vettel but was unable to get close and Vettel maintained the lead for the remainder of the race to secure the victory.
As a consequence of the race, Hamilton extended his lead in the World Drivers' Championship to be seven points ahead of Button. This ensured the pair would enter the next, and their home race - the British Grand Prix - as first and second in the championship. Vettel's victory moved him up to third in standings; he became six points behind Button after surpassing the totals of teammate Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso. By gaining the most points from the race, McLaren extended their lead in the World Constructors' Championship to thirty over Red Bull.
The 2010 European Grand Prix was the ninth out of 19 scheduled rounds of the 2010 Formula One season, and was held on 27 June at the Valencia Street Circuit in Valencia, Spain. The Grand Prix was contested by twelve teams with two drivers each. The teams (also known as constructors) were Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, Williams, Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Hispania and Virgin. Tyre supplier Bridgestone brought two types of tyre to the race; two soft compounds (super soft "options" and medium "primes"). The super soft tyres were identified by a green stripe on their side-walls.
Before the race McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton led the Drivers' Championship with 109 points, three points ahead of teammate Jenson Button in second, and Mark Webber in third. Fernando Alonso was fourth on 94 points, and Sebastian Vettel was four points behind in fifth place. McLaren were leading the Constructors' Championship with 215 points; Red Bull and Ferrari were second and third with 193 and 161 points, while Mercedes (108 points) and Renault (79) contended for fourth place. Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull had so far clinched the eight previous victories of the season. Championship competitors Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica had secured second place podium finishes, and Nico Rosberg (twice), Kubica and Massa (both once) had all finished in third.
After winning the previous two races of the season which put him into the lead of the Drivers' Championship, Hamilton said he did not fear a Red Bull resurgence in the following events having declared that the McLaren team was in a good state for the second half of the season. However, he did not consider himself a favourite to win the championship. Button became concerned that his team would lose its recent momentum but said he would get the maximum amount needed from his car to help him remain in contention. Despite being afflicted with reliability issues with his Red Bull car, Vettel said there was no reason for him or his team to panic and was looking forward to the European Grand Prix in Valencia. Alonso was optimistic that car updates to his Ferrari would allow him to become more competitive but was calm about his expectations.
Some teams made modifications to their cars in preparation for the event. Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault introduced diffuser designs similar to the Red Bull RB6. Ferrari's design largely changed the shape of their exhaust system, and introduced a new gearbox case for Massa's car to raise the pick-up points of its rear suspension to help him adjust to the changes. They constructed a larger radiator to deal with the additional heat. Mercedes elected not to bring a new gearbox casing, but introduced a new rear diffuser to fully utilise the air blowing from the car's exhaust. Renault's design had the exit of their car's exhaust which had thermal protection against high temperatures and the team introduced a new design of their gearbox casing to allow for the pick-up points for its rear suspension to be accommodated. After running the F-duct device (which increases a car's top speed) in Friday practice, Red Bull decided to use it for the remainder of the weekend.
Practice and qualifying
Three practice sessions—two on Friday and a third on Saturday—were held before the Sunday race. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions lasted ninety minutes each; the third, one-hour session was held on Saturday morning. Conditions were hot and sunny for the Friday practice sessions. Several drivers went off the track due to the track being dusty. Rosberg recorded the fastest lap of the first session with a time of 1 minute and 41.175 seconds, ahead of McLaren teammates Hamilton and Button. Kubica was fourth-fastest; Massa and Vettel were fifth and sixth. Webber, Michael Schumacher, Alonso and Rubens Barrichello rounded out the session's top-ten drivers. Bruno Senna's left-side view mirror became detached from his Hispania F110, which grazed the Brazilian driver's helmet, and was run over by Sébastien Buemi heading into turn 12, which caused the session to be stopped to allow marshals to clear the track of debris.
In the second practice session, Alonso set the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:39.283; Red Bull drivers Vettel and Webber finished with the second and third-fastest times. Rosberg was fourth, ahead of Hamilton and Kubica. Massa, Adrian Sutil, Button and Barrichello followed in the top-ten. Massa caused the session to be disrupted after spinning in the fourth corner and narrowly avoided making contact with the barrier. The session was red-flagged to allow Massa's car to be removed from the centre of the track to be taken to the pit lane. Timo Glock's lost the use of his car's fifth gear and pulled over to the side of the track at turn twelve which prematurely ended his running. Vitaly Petrov spun at the exit of turn 14 and reversed his car to rejoin the circuit, avoiding the need for a red-flag. Vettel was the fastest driver in the final practice session with a lap of 1:38.052; Webber was third-fastest. Kubica separated the two Red Bull drivers in second, with Sutil fourth. Alonso was fifth-fastest, and Barrichello was sixth. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Massa, Button and Hamilton rounded out the top ten.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. The first part ran for twenty minutes and eliminated the cars that finished the session eighteenth or lower. The second part of qualifying lasted fifteen minutes and eliminated cars that finished in positions eleven to seventeen. The final part of qualifying determined the positions from first to tenth and decided pole position. Cars which competed in the final session of qualifying were not allowed to change tyres before the race. They started the race fitted with the tyres used when they set their quickest lap times. Vettel set the fastest times in the second and third sessions and clinched his fourth pole position of the season with a time of 1:37.587. It was the Red Bull team's eighth pole in the season's nine races. He was joined on the grid's front row by Webber who recorded a lap time 0.075 seconds slower than Vettel. Hamilton qualified third but locked his rear tyres on his final timed heading into turn 17 and slowed down, preventing him from improving his grid position. The two Ferrari drivers were fourth and fifth (with Alonso ahead of Massa); Massa encountered slower cars which prevented him from gaining optimum tyre temperature and could not improve his fastest lap time. Kubica took sixth position and felt more movement on his Renault when he had the medium compound tyre equipped. Button had oversteer through turn 24 and made a mistake in the following corner which restricted him to seventh. Nico Hülkenberg was eighth, ahead of Williams teammate Barrichello in ninth who was affected by a brake-warm up problem. Petrov rounded out the top ten and made mistakes on his final timed lap which prevented him from getting a better starting position.
Buemi was the fastest driver not to advance into the final session; his best lap time of 1.38:586 was half a second off Vettel's pace in the second session. He was disappointed as he had Barrichello ahead of him driving towards turn 25 on his final timed lap which caused Buemi to reduce his speed and it cost him two tenths of a second. Rosberg took 12th position. Sutil had no grip in his car and qualified in 13th. His teammate Liuzzi clinched 14th place' he was affected by oversteer and struggled with driving on his car's soft tyres. Schumacher was unable to get his tyres working to his preference and was affected with a right-front brake problem which restricted him to qualifying in 15th. Schumacher's qualifying effort was criticised by the Formula One paddock. Pedro de la Rosa took 16th having struggled with a lack of grip on the super soft compound tyres. Jaime Alguersuari drove hard but experienced a lack of top speed and clinched 17th. Kamui Kobayashi failed to advance beyond the first qualifying session; he flat-spotted his front super soft compound tyres on his first timed lap which caused him to feel vibrations in his car. The two Lotus cars of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen qualified in 19th and 20th positions, ahead of both Virgin drivers Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock in 21st and 22nd. Both Hispania drivers lined up at the back of the field (with Karun Chandhok ahead of Senna).
The event started at 14:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2). At the start of the race, weather conditions were sunny and hot with an air temperature of 27 to 28 °C (81 to 82 °F) and a track temperature between 43 to 47 °C (109 to 117 °F). The top ten qualifiers started on the super soft compound tyre. When the five red lights went out to signal the start of the race, Vettel maintained his pole position advantage heading into the second corner. Hamilton accelerated faster than Webber off the line, overtaking him heading into the second turn. Vettel fended off an challenge from Hamilton who made contact with Vettel's right wheel in the second corner and Hamilton reported that he had a vibration in his left-front tyre. The contact damaged Hamilton's front wing. Webber made contact with Button and dropped to ninth by the end of the first lap. Petrov lost the most amount of places, falling from tenth to 16th by the conclusion of the lap. This was due to Petrov experiencing a large amount of wheelspin when he drove away from his starting position. At the end of the first lap, Vettel led from Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Kubica, Button, Barrichello, Hülkenberg, Webber, Buemi, Schumacher, Sutil, Liuzzi, Rosberg, Petrov, Alguersuari, de la Rosa, Kobayashi, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Glock, Chandhok and Trulli.
Vettel began to pull away from the rest of the field. Trulli made a pit stop for a replacement nose cone at the start of the second lap after another car made contact with the rear end of his car and his front wing was removed. Webber battled Hülkenberg for eighth position but was unable to overtake the Force India driver. Trulli made a second pit stop on the fifth lap to allow his mechanics to rectify a problem with his car's gearbox and turned off his engine to allow for repairs to occur. Vettel set a fastest lap of the race on lap five, a 1:43.055, and was three seconds ahead of Hamilton, who in turn was being caught by Alonso. It was reported by Red Bull on the following lap that eighth-placed Webber had no mechanical issues. Webber made an early pit stop on lap seven for the medium compound tyres but his crew had a minor problem fitting his left-front wheel which meant he was stationary for 7.9 seconds, and rejoined in 18th position. Rosberg made a similar stop on the next lap but he overshot his pit stall and rejoined in 19th place.
On lap nine, Webber attempted to pass Kovalainen for 17th, by running in his slipstream at 190 miles per hour (310 km/h) on the main straight but the Lotus driver appeared to brake earlier than Webber expected, and the Red Bull made contact with Kovalainen's right-rear wheel, sending him airborne. He struck an advertising hoarding and somersaulted. Webber's car landed on its nose and careered into the turn 12 run-off area at high speed and collided with a tyre barrier. Webber was unhurt. The large force of the accident broke his brake pedal. The incident prompted the deployment of the safety car, to allow marshals to clear debris from the area and Webber's car was extracted from the run-off area. Kubica, Button, Barrichello, Hülkenberg, Buemi, Sutil, Liuzzi, de la Rosa and Chandhok elected to make pit stops during the safety car period. The safety car was sent onto the circuit as the leaders completed the ninth lap but did not emerge in front of Vettel. Hamilton had the opportunity to overtake the safety car but initially hesitated prior to committing to going by and the delay meant that the safety car had just crossed the official pit-exit line.
The two Ferrari cars and the Renault of Kubica became the first cars to queue up behind the safety car, while the rest of the field had enough notice to divert to the pitlane for their first stop. The significance of these events was that both Vettel and Hamilton were able to make their first stops before their advantage over the rest of the field was cancelled out by catching the safety car, while Alonso, Massa and Kubica fell down the order. Hamilton's stop was for a replacement front wing. The safety car drove into the pit lane at the end of lap 14 and the cars were allowed to overtake. Vettel locked his tyres and ran deep driving into the final turn, and resisted Hamilton's attempt at overtaking him. Alonso immediately pushed hard and passed Hülkenberg for ninth place at turn 17 on the 15th lap. A line of cars formed behind Kobayashi while Vettel and Hamilton pulled away from the rest of the field, as the front two began trading the fastest lap time of the event. Button gained a large amount of top speed but remained behind both Sauber cars. Schumacher passed both Virgin cars to move into the 17th position by lap 17.
Alonso made a complaint about Hamilton and asked his team to work with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile race director Charlie Whiting to discuss the issue with the safety car. Massa attempted to pass Liuzzi around the outside heading into turn 17 but Liuzzi turned right to defend the position. Shortly afterwards, Massa made a slight mistake which allowed Alguersuari to close the gap. Hamilton started to conserve fuel and prepare for a late attack on lap 20. On the following lap, it was announced Hamilton would be investigated by the stewards for his safety car overtake for which he was given a drive-through penalty which he served on the 27th lap. He remained in second position due to Kobayashi holding up the rest of the field. Massa placed further pressure upon Liuzzi but was unable to pass him. A glass bottle appeared on the outside of the track on lap 28 which was retrieved by a marshal three laps later to allow racing to continue unaffected. Massa made an error at the final turn on lap 35 which meant he fell behind Liuzzi in the battle for 14th place.
Vettel extended his lead to 13 seconds when Hamilton lost time due to struggling to pass the lapped cars of Senna and Glock. The Virgin driver attempted to pass the Brazilian around the outside heading into the first corner but was unable to move ahead. On lap 37, Glock again attempted to overtake Senna but the two cars collided. The incident caused a puncture on Glock's car that very nearly threw him into the wall and forced him to make a pit stop, though his crew were not ready for him and he lost several seconds as the tyres were brought out. Senna remained on the circuit with a damaged front wing, and made a pit stop on the next lap. Sutil overtook Buemi for seventh place on lap 40. Hamilton was eight tenths of a second quicker than race leader Vettel on the same lap and reduced the gap to 11.9 seconds. Hülkenberg's car emitted blue smoke from the rear on the next lap but disappeared on the 42nd lap. It was announced two laps later that Button, Barrichello, Hülkenberg, Kubica, Petrov, Liuzzi, Sutil, Buemi and de la Rosa were under investigation for exceeding the speed limit during the safety car period.
Hamilton set a new fastest lap of the race on lap 47 to reduce the time deficit to Vettel to 7.9 seconds. Petrov began to challenge de la Rosa for 12th place on the same lap. Hülkenberg's right rear tyre delaminated on lap 50, causing damage to his car's exhaust system and became the race's final retirement. Kobayashi made his only pit stop of the event on lap 53 and rejoined in ninth position behind Alonso. Button was worried about a possible post-race time penalty and pushed hard to record the overall fastest lap of the race, a 1:38.766, on the 54th lap. Alonso challenged Buemi for seventh place on lap 55 but was unable to pass the Torro Rosso car. Kobayashi ran closely behind Alonso and passed him around the inside for eighth when the Ferrari driver ran wide at turn 17 on the following lap. Buemi was overtaken by Kobayashi at the final corner on the last lap of the race to clinch seventh.
Vettel maintained his lead and crossed the start/finish line on lap 57 to win the race. Hamilton finished second, with his teammate Button third. Barrichello clinched fourth (his best result of the season), ahead of Kubica, Sutil and Kobayashi. Buemi took eighth on the road, and Alonso and de la Rosa rounded out the top ten. Petrov was the first non-points scoring finisher in eleventh, followed by Rosberg, Liuzzi and Massa. Alguersuari clinched 15th, half a second ahead of Schumacher. Di Grassi, Glock, Chandhok and Senna filled the next three positions, with Trulli the last of the classified finishers. It was Vettel's second victory of the season, and the seventh of his career.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and in a later press conference. Vettel said it was good to accumulate a large number of points towards the championship battle and was "very pleased" with his victory. He said it was not the easiest win he had but that the result could not be changed and he felt satisfied to clinch the victory on a track where his team did not expect to be dominant. Hamilton stated that he felt it was "very positive" that he remained the Drivers' Championship leader and his team McLaren were still at the top of the Constructors' Championship heading into the British Grand Prix. He hoped that he would be able to close the gap between the two Red Bull cars and challenge them. Button said that the first lap of the race was "fun", and felt that the McLaren and Red Bull teams were strong but did not want to dismiss Ferrari from the championship battle. Overall, he said the event was not the most "exciting" race, but was happy that he and Hamilton were the first two drivers leading the championship.
Webber said he had minor cuts and bruises after his lap nine accident with Kovalainen. He said he was unsure about Kovalainen's mindset and thought that the driver would allow him to get ahead. Nevertheless, he did not appropriation blame onto Kovalainen and said the difference between the braking capabilities of both cars caught him out by surprise. Webber later admitted that he misjudged how early Kovalainen would brake for the corner but felt the Lotus driver had moved more than once while defending the position. Kovalainen claimed that he had not done anything wrong and blamed Webber for causing the crash. Both drivers were transported to the circuit's medical centre. The incident was considered by many commentators to be similar to his accidents in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans when his Mercedes-Benz CLR became twice airborne down the Mulsanne Straight. BBC pundit and former driver David Coulthard said of the crash: "Motor racing has just seen one of its luckiest days. That could have been a very, very bad incident."
Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil, Buemi, de la Rosa, Petrov, Liuzzi, and Hülkenberg were all issued with five second-time penalties by the stewards for exceeding the safety car-in lap time. The finishing positions of Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil and Liuzzi were unchanged, but the penalty issued to Buemi moved him from seventh to ninth, allowing Alonso to finish eighth. Rosberg inherited tenth position as de la Rosa moved to twelfth in the final race classification. Glock was awarded a 20-second time penalty for failing to observe blue flags. Ninth-place finisher Alonso criticised the race stewards, and felt the race had been fixed after they took longer than expected to issue Hamilton's penalty. The Vice-President of Ferrari, Piero Ferrari stated that he was "incredulous and bitter, not just for Ferrari, but for the sport as a whole, as this is not the sort of thing one expects from professionals." Other teams – including Red Bull, Lotus and McLaren – rejected Alonso's accusations, with Lotus' technical director Mike Gascoyne stating "changing the safety car regulations had opened up a set of scenarios that had never been anticipated before. Hamilton passing the safety car is the only recorded example of a driver doing so in the modern era of Formula One." Ferrari subsequently argued for a change of safety car rules to prevent a similar situation reoccurring.
The result meant Hamilton extended his lead over Button in the World Drivers' Championship to six points. Vettel's victory allowed him to move from fifth to third, 12 points behind Hamilton. Webber's retirement meant that he dropped to fourth, while Alonso's eighth-place finish resulted in him moving from fourth to fifth. McLaren increased their advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship to be 30 points ahead. Ferrari remained in third place, while Renault reduced the points deficit to Mercedes in the battle for fourth place.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:38.324||1:38.015||1:37.587||1|
|2||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:38.549||1:38.041||1:37.662||2|
|11||16||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:39.096||1:38.586||11|
|13||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.021||1:38.851||13|
|14||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.969||1:38.884||14|
|16||22||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:39.003||1:39.264||16|
|17||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:39.128||1:39.548||17|
|18||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:39.343||18|
|21||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1:42.086||21|
- 1.^ – Button, Barrichello, Kubica, Sutil, Buemi, de la Rosa, Petrov and Liuzzi were given five-second time penalties for exceeding the safety car-in lap time. Hülkenberg was also given a five-second penalty, but he retired from the race.
- 2.^ – Glock was given a 20-second time penalty for failing to observe blue flags.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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