European Grand Prix – Race

As per my Qualifying notes, provisional grid: SV, MW, LH, FA, FM, JB, NR, MS, NH, AS, VP, PD, RB, KK, PM, SP, SB, JA, HK, JT, TG, VL, JD, NK.

Air temperature 27°C; track 47°C; humidity 64% – it’s warm and dry in Valencia.
Tyre compounds are medium (prime) and soft (option)

SV leads everyone away on the formation lap
There’s a line of cement dust, presumably from oil being dropped in the previous race
The grid re-forms; long wait for the Red Bulls at the front

01/57: FM up to P3 but yields to his teammate
Both McLarens falling down the field
Smoke from a Renault … or was it just blowing up that cement dust?

02: SV, MW, FA, FM, LH, NR, JB, MS, AS, NH
The Red Bulls are starting to open a gap
Replay shows a very slow start for VP

03: DRS enabled, as usual
JB all over the rear of NR

04: JB using DRS but can’t get close enough to attack the Mercedes

05/57: Telemetry suggests JB isn’t using his KERS – is there a problem?
No, he just used it in the second DRS activation zone

06: JB was right on the gearbox of the Mercedes as NR brakes early for the hairpin; JB steams past and takes P6
MW fastest lap 1:45.113

07: SV f/lap 1:45.0

08: FA runs wide but keeps his foot in

10/57: SV, MW, FA, FM, LH, JB, NR, MS, AS, NH
KK (P13) holding up SB & JA

11: FM outbrakes himself in Turn 17 (hairpin) and LH closes the gap to almost nothing

12: JA takes a look at his teammate but avoids contact with SB
NH and RB pit
KK pits too

13: LH pits from P5; soft tyres
NR and AS pit too
SV loses the tail but brings the Red Bull back under control
NH takes P14 from AS

14: MW pits; rejoins in P5
LH easily past MS for P6
Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes mechanics all getting ready for a stop

15/57: SV pits, followed by FA
LH f/lap 1:44.401
JB and MS pit too
MS has a broken front wing – who did he hit? And he’s just pitted!

16: FM pits
MS pits – new nose cone – rejoins down in P22
Replay shows MS exit the pits (the first time) and hit the rear of a Renault (VP?)

17: NR takes P8 from JA
No mention of the stewards investigating MS’ accident
MW badly held up by a Hispania – MW waving at him frantically

18: NH round the outside of SP to take P10 – was there contact?
RB dives down the inside of SP into the final turn

19: FA f/lap 1:43.803
MS is (finally) under investigation for the incident with VP

20/57: SV, MW, FA, LH, FM, JB, NR, JA, AS, NH

21: JA pits
FA attacks MW – uses DRS to make the move and take P2

22: No further action to be taken re: MS/VP incident
Pit-car radio for JB tell him tyres on cars ahead of him will start degrading soon

24: Pit-car for LH tell him his pace is OK
MW f/lap 1:43.583

25/57: LH pits from P4; tried to go a split-second too soon
VP trying to pass SP (who hasn’t pitted yet) but SP suddenly lifts mid-corner and VP brakes to avoid an accident

26: SV f/lap 1:43.399
VP passes SP; now KK sits on his teammates rear wing … and is past him too

27: Finally SP pits
MS round the outside of PM for P16
LH f/lap 1:43.144

28: LH f/lap 1:43.119
Pit-car radio for LH pointing out he’s setting fastest laps but he needs to preserve his tyres

Half distance

29: MW pits from P3 – good clean stop – soft tyres again so he must stop once more – rejoins in P4
LH f/lap 1:43.077

30/57: SV, FA, FM, MW, JB, LH
FA pits – struggles for rear grip as he enters the pit lane
MW passes FA just as FA exits the pit lane
Pit-car for LH saying rear tyres are very hot; LH says he can’t go any slower 🙂

31: SV pits
JB pits too

32: FM pits – slow stop – problem with the rear left wheel gun

33: Track is now at 47°C, which is why the tyres are performing differently to practice and quali
Pit-car from JB saying KERS is not working – that’s an 80HP disadvantage

34: BBC report JB’s KERS problem is that it’s overheating

35/57: SV f/lap 1:42.420
BBC report the McLaren mechanics are putting on “KERS gloves” (to protect them if it accidentally discharges)
SV, MW, FA, LH, FM, JB, JA, NR, AS, NH; no retirements as yet

36: Pit-car for FM says his pace is “reasonable”

39: NR closing right up on JA

40/57: NR is right on the Toro Rosso gearbox
NR finally takes P7 at the very end of the second DRS zone
SV f/lap 1:41.926
Pit-car for LH asking him to pick up his pace but LH says it’s as fast as he can go

41: FM closing on LH at 1sec/lap

43: MW first to pit for hard tyres – ran wide on the pit entrance
LH pits too – rejoins in P6 in clean air

44: Looks like MW is struggling for grip
Ferrari mechanics in the pit lane for FA

45/57: FA doesn’t pit – was that a “dummy” move to try to get Red Bull to pit SV?
Ferrari in the pit lane again

46: FA pits this time – rejoins just ahead of VP

47: PD and KK battle through the final turn
SB exits the pits just ahead of KK and PD
PD takes P14 from KK

48: SV pits from P1

49: FM pits
JB pits – mechanics have their anti-shock gloves, because of the KERS problem; tweak of extra wing

50/57: SV, FA, MW, LH, FM, JB, NR, JA, AS, NH; still no retirements
VP all over the tail of KK

51: VP attacks but outbrakes himself

52: SV has a 9.5sec lead over FA, who in turn is 2.5sec ahead of MW

54: Pit-car for MW telling him to short-shift in low gears
SV f/lap 1:41.852
FM is closing in on LH

55/57: SV, FA, MW, LH, FM, JB, NR, JA, AS, NH
AS can use DRS to attack JA but he’s hitting the rev limiter

56: Pit-car to LH saying gap is still 5secs

57/57 [final lap]:

SV takes the chequered flag for his sixth win of 8 races this season
FA home for P2
MW across the line for P3
LH takes P4
P5=FM, 6=JB, 7=NR, 8=JA (+1 lap), 9=AS, 10=NH
P11=SP, 12=RB, 13=SB, 14=PD, 15=VP, 16=KK, 17=MS, 18=PM, 19=HK (+2 laps), 20=JT, 21=TG, 22=JD, 23=VL (+3 laps) 24=NK.

All 24 cars finished, which is a first!