• European Grand Prix

Driver-by-driver run down

Chris Medland and Laurence Edmondson
June 26, 2011
It was another good weekend for championship leader Sebastian Vettel © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel - 1st Another faultless performance as he silenced the doubters who jumped on his mistake in Canada, and also those who questioned if Red Bull would still be fastest. Never more than four seconds in the lead for much of the race, he never gave the air of being under pressure, serenely controlling the race and looking after his tyres to open up the strategic options. Showed he had more in reserve by pulling well away from Alonso in the final stint.

Fernando Alonso - 2nd He said second was the best Ferrari could have hoped for, but that does his performance a disservice as he was the only man who could keep pace with Red Bull today. His pass on Webber was swift and precise, and once in clear air it was clear he didn't have the car to challenge Vettel, but he still kept the leader honest. Having lost out to Webber in the pits, he eked out enough performance in his tyres to return the favour late on.

Mark Webber - 3rd Labelled it one of his best races of the season, but Webber was a victim of his own strategic error when he came in early to switch to the slower medium tyres, allowing Alonso to leapfrog him for 2nd. Had looked competitive against Vettel early on, and the final deficit was a result of more misfortune in the shape of a gearbox problem, but his comments that he was pleased to just be within striking distance of Vettel display his mindset compared to his team-mate.

Lewis Hamilton - 4th After the last two races, somewhat of a success for Hamilton, but he seemed tentative at the start following recent criticism and he really struggled to keep his tyres in good condition. He told the team he couldn't go any slower when setting fastest lap after fastest lap on fresh rubber, and then when his times inevitably dropped off he told them he couldn't go any faster. Having looked like he could have kept pace at the front early on, McLaren's pace meant fourth was as good as he could achieve.

Felipe Massa - 5th His best moment was the run down to turn two, where he could challenge Webber for 2nd having made a flying start. Had to back out of the move though and lost a place to Alonso, before staying out too long on his first set of tyres and dropping behind Hamilton. He always closed at the end of stints, and might well have been able to regain fourth if it wasn't for a delayed pit stop, but was once again comprehensively beaten by Alonso.

Jenson Button - 6th His race was ruined as soon as Rosberg got in front of him on the first lap, meaning the gap to the front five was over eight seconds by the time he got past on lap six. That move was one of the highlights of the race and more reminiscent of his team-mate Hamilton as he threw the McLaren down the inside in to turn two, but any designs on further progress were scuppered when his KERS failed.

Nico Rosberg- 7th Put a brave move round the outside of Button in turn three on the first lap, and had to pass Alguersuari later in the race but in truth that was academic as the Toro Rosso was on a different strategy. From then on he was in his own race, but brought the car home to take solid points in the battle for fourth in the constructors' championship with Renault.

Jaime Alguersuari - 8th Drive of the day from Alguersuari at his second him race having started back in 18th place. Had to field questions about his future all weekend, but set the car up for race pace and having gone out in Q1 yesterday he had two sets of soft tyres with which to make progress through the field. Made the most of them to two stop and show impressive late pace to hold off Sutil.

Adrian Sutil - 9th Will be pleased to beat both Renaults but slightly disappointed to not pass Alguersuari late on. A good start was the key to beating Heidfeld, and Force India had the race pace to match the Renaults this weekend. As he put it himself "the DRS zone did not make overtaking very easy", and he drove a solid race to bring the car home in ninth.

Nick Heidfeld - 10th Blamed eventually losing out to Sutil on a poor start, but in truth Renault was not competitive this weekend. The car doesn't work as well on slower speed sections, and the new DRS wings didn't give Renault enough benefit in the race as he was unable to pass Sutil despite being in the zone. The point gained could turn out to be crucial though as Renault just stay ahead of Mercedes.

Sergio Perez - 11th Will be happy to finish having not raced since Barcelona, but the one stop strategy didn't work too well. The Sauber didn't look after its tyres like it did in Melbourne, and asking Perez to recreate that performance in high temperatures was a big request. Lost too many places in the middle of the race as his tyres fell off 'the cliff', but recovered well to show good pace late on.

Rubens Barrichello put in a solid performance to finish 12th © Sutton Images
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Rubens Barrichello - 12th A quiet race threatened to liven up late on as the Buemi, di Resta, Kobayashi and Petrov train closed in later on, but he'd looked after his tyres well enough to keep them at bay. Admitted that Williams didn't have the pace to challenge for points, and ran out of time to catch Perez at the end, but it was an achievement to beat one car from each of Renault, Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso.

Sebastien Buemi - 13th He will have been disappointed to finish five places behind his team-mate after qualifying on place ahead on Saturday. Ultimately tyres made the difference as Alguersuari had two fresh sets of softs available to him and made one less pit stop than Buemi as a result. The difference between the two drivers, who are usually fairly evenly matched, led Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost to say: "I think in future we should sit out qualifying and just save the tyres for the race."

Paul di Resta - 14th He spent most of his race just outside the top ten, but at his final pit stop he dropped back to 14th. The timing of his stops was not ideal and on a number of occasions he found himself racing on tyres that were well past their best. In his defence it was always going to be a difficult weekend after he missed almost all of Friday practice - a crucial part of the weekend for gauging tyre wear.

Vitaly Petrov - 15th It was a pretty poor weekend for Petrov who struggled to manage the high levels of tyre degradation in the hot conditions. He bucked the trend by starting on the medium tyres but it cost him grip off the line and he dropped from 11th to 16th in his first stint. The bad start proved particularly costly on a circuit where overtaking is rare and track position is crucial.

Kamui Kobayashi - 16th Kobayashi's two weapons this year have been his aptitude for overtaking and the Sauber's ability to look after tyres. In Valencia he had neither. The hot temperatures meant his tyres struggled to keep up with his inputs behind the steering wheel, which in turn meant he lacked the necessary confidence to make a move. He tried to make a two-stop strategy work but it only added to his tyre woes and for the first time this season he crossed the finish line outside the top ten.

Michael Schumacher - 17th Back in his glory years Schumacher would typically have one bad race per season - almost as a release after all the faultless drives he'd racked up. Since his comeback, however, it has been the other way round, with one or two outstanding performances - such as Canada - in a season full of average results. He could have ground out an eighth place finish in Valencia, but a collision with Petrov, which he took the blame for, put an end to his hopes.

Pastor Maldonado - 18th Another driver who suffered at the start because he opted for the medium compound off the line. He dropped from 15th to 22nd on the first lap and finally gave up on the harder tyres when he pitted for softs on lap 10. That dropped him to dead last and forced him onto a three stop strategy that put an end to any hope of a decent result.

Heikki Kovalainen - 19th Without any retirements or major accidents, 19th was the best he could have hoped for. On the plus side he finished over 35 seconds ahead of his team-mate after opting for a three-stop strategy that allowed him to push harder in each stint.

Jarno Trulli - 20th His two stop strategy put him out of kilter with his team-mate and dropped him into a straight fight with the Virgins. At the end of the race he said, "I definitely enjoyed myself out there". But the gap to Kovalainen, regardless of strategy, will still be something of a concern.

Timo Glock - 21st He passed the two Lotuses at the start but dropped back to 21st place by lap four. From then on he went with a straightforward two stop strategy and his overall pace wasn't too far off Trulli.

Jerome d'Ambrosio - 22nd The first half of his race was spent fighting with Liuzzi's HRT, but by his second stop he was clear and had a decent run to the flag. The early hold up meant he finished 20 seconds behind his team-mate.

Tonio Liuzzi - 23rd Problems with rear tyre wear meant that he was forced onto a three-stop strategy and that blew any chance of fighting with d'Ambrosio ahead of him. Overall it was something of a step backwards for the team after a strong result in Canada.

Narain Karthikeyan - 24th He dropped off the back of the pack on lap seven after a nasty lock up, and spent the rest of the race trying to keep his rear tyres in one piece. He might have a few questions to answer from the lead drivers after getting in the way on a number of occasions while being lapped.

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