Alonso shoots ahead to win at Valencia
Fernando Alonso has won the race thanks to moving up through the field gradually. The tires held on until the end and allowed for an unexpected Ferrari win. Kimi Raikkonen is second while Michael Schumacher takes the third step on the podium. Alonso also takes the championship lead as Vettel and Hamilton didn't take any points.
At the start of the race, track temp is 44°C, ambient is 26°C.
The best placed man on prime tyres is Michael Schumacher in 12th. All cars ahead of him will start on the options.
As the lights went out, Vettel sprinted away and was unchallenged by anyone. Hamilton just nearly managed to retain his second place while Grosjean moved to third, passing Maldonado who dropped to fourth.
The first pass along the finish line shows Vettel is already a full second ahead of everybody else. Hamilton is under considerable pressure from the Lotus of Grosjean. Kobayashi by now has moved up to fourth, ahead of Maldonado, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Alonso moved up to 8th after starting from 11th and is followed by Di Resta, Massa, Rosberg, Button and Schumacher.
4 laps later, Vettel has already built an impressive lead of 6.8s to Hamilton. The McLaren driver is by now seriously backing up the pack behind him, likely trying to make the tyres last longer compared to other cars in the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile Massa is putting the pressure on Di Resta as the latter has been asked to save the brakes as brake temperatures on his car are already high this early on in the race. It does not bode well for the remainder of the Englishman's race.
Mark Webber is still stuck in 17th position. It seems that despite his disappointing qualifying, he is unable to make any progress. The Australian started on prime tyres and is stuck behind the group Senna, Pérez and Ricciardo.
On lap 10 Grosjean attempts a pass once again through the outside of turn 12 and makes his move stick, finally getting past the McLaren. The Frenchman immediately pulled a gap to Hamilton.
At the end of that same lap, Button is into the pitlane, changing the options for primes. Sergio Pérez also pitted surprisingly early as he started on the prime tyres. The Mexican though was stuck behind Senna and may have opted to pit strategically.
Massa pits one lap later and chages op primes as well. At the same time Alonso moves up a spot through turn 12 and is immediately ordered "no we push as much as we can" through the pit radio. Raikkonen moments later also moves up as he gets past Maldonado through turn 13.
On lap 15 Alonso is already past Maldonado as well, again in turn 12.
At the end of that lap, Raikkonen pits and gains a place on Kobayashi who pitted at the same time.
Hamilton is then gaining a place on Senna who is still running on his initial tyres. Hamilton is now behind Schumacher and ahead of Senna and Webber, all still in their first stint on primes.
Alonso then pits in lap 15 and rejoins the track in P9, ahead of Raikkonen and Kobayashi. Vettel and Grosjean pit one lap later and rejoin the track in P1 and P4 respectively.
In lap 17 Alonso gets past Webber and half a lap later also passes Senna. One lap later, Alonso gains another place and passes Schumacher in turn 5. Schumacher is holding up an impressive pack of 10 cars, defending as much as he can while still on his initial set of prime tyres.
Schumacher and Webber finally pit for the first time on lap 19, releasing the bunch of cars behind the German. This caused a fierce battle through turns 2, 3 and 4, allowing Raikkonen to get past Senna while Kobayashi got squeezed in between the wall and Senna. The Brazilian recovered but just like Kobayashi lost his front wing. Senna also suffered a right rear puncture and after his pitstop is down in 23 and hence last position.
Senna was subsequently given a drive through penalty for causing a collision. The stewards have apparently judged that Senna turned into the racing line without allowing room for Kobayashi, who was partly aside of his Williams car. It is however likely that Senna was not aware of the Sauber aside.
At the start of lap 23, Vettel leads, followed by Grosjean (+20.3), Hamilton (+4.7), Alonso (+6.4), Di Resta (+3.4), Raikkonen (+0.6), Maldonado (+2.5), Massa (+2.5). Di Resta is the only man on the front still on his first set of tyres and is rapidly moving backwards as he is clearly struggling with tyres.
On lap 28 Kovalainen tries to get past Vergne in the braking zone to turn 12, but a sudden move by Vergne caused both to collide. Ricciardo's right rear as well as Kovalainen's left front were punctures as a result of that. As Vergne tried to get back to the pits too quickly, the delaminated tyre caused so much damage on the STR that Vergne eventually abandoned the race while a safety car was brought on track to clear the debris.
The SC obviously triggered a lot of pitstops, with Grosjean first, then Hamilton, Alonso and approximately the entire field. Vettel pitted a lap later as the SC came on track behind him initially.
Once again though the pitstop at McLaren went wrong. Initially the front jack could now lift the car, requiring the team to use a backup jack, which only just held long enough for the team to switch the tyres, before failing as well. This caused Hamilton to drop 3 places, from 3rd down to 6th.
Positions behind the SC with 25 laps to go are Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso (up from P11), Ricciardo (only 1 stop yet), Raikkonen, Hamilton, Rosberg (1 stop), Schumacher (1 stop), Webber (1 stop), Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Di Resta (1 stop), Kobayashi, Massa, Button.
On lap 34 the SC is in and Alonso immediately is right on the back of Grosjean. After praticing that same move on Webber earlier on in the race, Alonso got alongside the Lotus through the outside of the first righthander of the circuit.
Half a lap later, Vettel slowed down with a technical problem and abandoned the race after turn 12. Ricciardo at the same time is also falling back, first getting passed by Hamilton and then Raikkonen, all in the first lap after the departure of the safety car.
On lap 37 Schumacher gets past Ricciardo, the latter pitting at the end of that lap. Maldonado then passes Webber through the final corner, triggering both Force India's to gain a place on Webber as well.
The next two laps, Alonso sets the fastest lap, but neither Grosjean nor Hamilton and Raikkonen have a problem following that pace. Behind Raikkonen however a gap quickly emerges as Schumacher is once again backing up the field.
Karthikeyan is then handed a drive through penalty due to speeding in the pitlane.
Felipe Massa meanwhile also dropped back as he got T-boned by Kobayashi. The Brazilian seemed to be the innocent victim there.
On lap 41 after slowly slowly seeing the gap to Alonso increase, Grosjean loses all power on the bridge and comes to a half on the next straight.
On lap 47 Petrov gets tangled up with Ricciardo, breaking off his own front wing. Ricciardo spun his car but is able to continue without damage. Petrov ran in the points for a moment but is back down in P15 after his pitstop.
On lap 50, with 7 laps to go, Schumacher passes Button in turn 13, with Webber doing the same just 3 corners further down the track.
Meanwhile at the front, Alonso has 3.9s in hand over Hamilton. Raikkonen is 1.2s behind the McLaren after following closely for several laps. Behind Raikkonen is now Maldonado in 4th place. Hulkenberg is 5th, ahead of Di Resta, Pérez, Schumacher, Webber and Button in 10th.
On lap 53 Schumacher and Webber both get past Pérez. A single lap later they both pass Di Resta as well. All this is happening due to tyre differences as Schumacher and Webber are running on fresher option tyres.
On lap 55 Hamilton is sliding around badly and has hit the cliff on his Pirelli tyres. Half a lap later Raikkonen makes an easy pass on Hamilton.
Next up is Maldonado, with the Venezuelan bumping Hamilton off the track. It's a DNF for Hamilton and a lost front wing for Maldonado. This hands the win to Alonso. Raikkonen is second and Schumacher on the third step of the podium.
|2||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||57||+6.4 secs||5||18|
|3||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||57||+12.6 secs||12||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||57||+13.6 secs||19||12|
|5||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||57||+19.9 secs||8||10|
|6||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||57||+21.1 secs||6||8|
|7||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||57||+22.8 secs||10||6|
|8||3||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||57||+24.6 secs||9||4|
|9||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||57||+27.7 secs||15||2|
|10||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||57||+34.6 secs||3||1|
|11||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||57||+35.9 secs||14|
|12||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||57||+37.0 secs||17|
|13||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||57||+75.8 secs||20|
|14||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||57||+94.6 secs||16|
|15||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||57||+96.5 secs||23|
|16||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+1 Lap||13|
|17||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||56||+1 Lap||21|
|18||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||56||+1 Lap||22|
|19||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+2 Laps||2|
|Ret||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||40||+17 Laps||4|
|Ret||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||33||+24 Laps||1|
|Ret||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||33||+24 Laps||7|
|Ret||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||26||+31 Laps||18|
|DNS||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||0||+57 Laps||24|