Valencia isn’t generally considered the most exciting race on the calendar due to the difficulty drivers have trying to overtake; however Formula 1 2012 worked its magic around the streets of Valencia and provided us with a brilliant and nerve-shattering race.
Fernando Alonso; Things may have looked dismal for the Spaniard after qualifying in 11th place on a track where overtaking isn’t common place, but as many Formula 1 fans will tell you; you can never rule Fernando Alonso out, regardless of where he starts.
Alonso fought hard to make his way up through the pack and took full advantage of the safety car and Sebastian Vettel’s retirement. He then went on to take the win and in a moment which I believe will become iconic to his career; stopped his car on track (which was probably more to do with having spare fuel) and spent a few moments celebrating with the marshalls and the crowd.
Ferrari have come on leaps and bounds since the start of the season, Fernando truly deserved and worked hard for the win today and became the first man of the 2012 season to win two races.
Kimi Raikkonen; – This is Kimi’s third trip to the podium after finishing second in Bahrain and third in Spain. When not suffering from high tyre degradation, Kimi has shown that he’s still got it and I’m certain that it’s only a matter of time before the Finn stands on the top step of the podium.
Both Lotuses’ have been strong so far this year and they’re currently third in the constructors championship, looking like they could seriously challenge for the constructors title, if only they could catch Red Bull.
Michael Schumacher – At last, after two and a half years, Michael Schumacher finally has his chance to stand on the podium for the first time since his return to the sport.
Luckily for Schumi his car was both competitive and reliable, allowing him to make up 9 places after starting 12th, though in fairness his getting onto the podium had a lot to do with Lewis Hamilton’s retirement. Nevertheless, it was fantastic to see Schumi back on the podium.
To add to the ‘Yay’ factor here with Fernando, Kimi and Michael all finishing on the podium, I saw a blog post from Literal F1 which shows a picture of today’s podium alongside a photo taken nearly 7 years ago at the 2005 French GP which the same podium line up, which as the post says “Their expression and facial features seem identical, as if they have swapped race suits & taken the pictures one after another.”
Force India; – The Force India boys picked up 16 points between them as Nico Hulkenberg finished 5th and Paul di Resta 7th. They’ve not really looked too strong this year in comparison to Sauber and Williams whose performance has overshadowed theirs. Hopefully this is a sign of things improving for the Silverstone based team, who will be looking for a repeat performance in two weeks time at their home race.
Sebastian Vettel; After qualifying on pole and making a fantastic start, the race looked in the bag for the current World Champion.
As the safety car came in things looked a little shaky as Fernando Alonso stormed up, however that was the least of Vettel’s concerns as he began to slow down and was forced to pull his car over to the side of the track and retire from the race.
After the race it was revealed that the German was forced to retire due the alternator failing, the same problem that forced Romain Grosjean to retire. Slightly worrying that the alternators failed on two Renault engines, however Renault say they will look into it as soon as the engines return to their factory.
Romain Grosjean; Similar to Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean was having a great race up until the Safety Car restart, where the Frenchman was forced to retire as his cars alternator also failed.
It was a real shame to see Grosjean retire, when not involved in an incident he’s driven fantastically and I’m sure we’ll see him win a race before the seasons up.
Stewards inconsistency; There seems to be a lot of unhappiness and frustrated amongst fans at the difference between the penalties doled out to Kamui Kobayashi, Jean-Eric Vergne and Pastor Maldonado.
All three drivers rather daftly made contact with another driver and in Maldonado and Vergne’s case, their actions ended the race of another driver, yet they did not receive the same punishment.
Both Vergne and Kobayashi received grid penalties for Silverstone, ten place and five place respectively (Vergne was also fined €25,000), while Maldonado received a post-race drive-through penalty. This adds 20 seconds to his final race time, meaning the Williams driver finishes 12th place instead of 10th, losing out on one point, which is picked up by his team mate Bruno Senna instead.
The huge difference in the penalty between Vergne and Kobayashi also bothered fans as the incidents looked similar, however Vergne received a much harsher penalty.
Marussia’s third driver; Timo Glock didn’t run all weekend, due to a stomach bug. However, Marussia’s third driver Maria de Villota was unable to step in as she doesn’t have a super license, which seems odd to say the least.
Rumour has it that the higher ups at Marussia were annoyed with Glock, as if he had told them he felt unwell earlier they would have been able to ask Jerome D’Ambrosio to step in.
Have I missed any out? What were your Yay’s and Nay’s of the race?