Vettel coasts to sixth win, Webber third
Defending Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel won the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Sunday to extend his lead in the overall standings with his sixth win in eight races.
The 23-year-old German dispelled any thoughts that his last lap error in Canada a fortnight ago, which cost him victory, would have an adverse effect on him as he coasted home.
In doing so he again beat his Red Bull teammate, Australian Mark Webber who finished third, as well as bettering Spain’s Fernando Alonso, who came second.
It was just the fourth time in Formula One history that all the drivers finished the race and the first since the Italian Grand Prix in 2005.
Great Britain’s 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton for McLaren honoured his pledge to restrain his daredevil style and finish the race, taking fourth place.
Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and Briton Jenson Button, in the second McLaren, finished fifth and sixth.
German Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes and Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari produced a stunning drive to take eighth for Toro Rosso with Germans Adrian Sutil ninth for Force India and Nick Heidfeld 10th for Renault.
“Fantastic race – better than anything I could have imagined,” screamed Vettel over his team radio after winning.
Vettel, whose other two finishes this year were as runner-up, produced the perfect riposte to those who felt he might buckle under pressure.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner paid tribute to Vettel.
“He just enjoyed this afternoon as you could see. He drove a fantastic race and he got everything right. It was just perfect.”
On a sweltering early summer afternoon by the Mediterranean, Vettel produced a start to match the weather as the air temperature rose beyond 30 degrees Celsius and the track temperature hit the high-40′s.
This signalled potential degradation problems for the tyres, but Vettel made light of any concerns as he pulled clear without any fuss to lead by 1.3 seconds at the end of the opening lap.
Both McLarens were slow to pull off the grid and gave the Ferraris of Alonso and Massa an invitation to attack. Webber, caught in a scarlet pincer move, managed to survive.
That left him second behind the champion with Alonso third, Massa fourth and Hamilton fifth at the end of the opening lap, Rosberg also having started well to find his way past Button into sixth.
The 2009 champion, however, was not content to bide his time and found a way past the young German with a late-braking move into Turn Two that lifted him into the top six.
The positions stayed much the same in a race lacking in the drama from Canada a fortnight ago with only Alonso’s daring overtaking of Webber enough to send the home crowd into ecstasy.© AAP 2013
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