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GP Week : Issue 25
>>F1EUROPE Vettel Shines for Toro Rosso SEBASTIAN Vettel put in a mature performance in the European Grand Prix to take a fine sixth position, in a race which fell apart for his Toro Rosso team’s big brother Red Bull Racing. The German, who will Lewis’ pain in the neck LEWIS Hamilton has admitted he came close to having to pull out of the European Grand Prix in Valencia, after a spasm in his neck left him barely able to stand. “I’ve had a pretty miserable weekend, really,”he told the media after stepping from the podium. “I had the flu when I arrived. I had pretty hard fevers pretty much every day and low energy. I also had quite a big problem with a spasm in my neck which kind of nearly did lead to me not racing this weekend.” Hamilton divulged that the spasm had affected him only once, but that it had been severe enough for McLaren’s third driver Pedro de la Rosa to have been put on stand-by. “I only had it once. I just woke up very, very early yesterday, before 5 am yesterday, and I had the spasm in my neck. Fortunately I’ve got a great doctor who was with me the whole way through it. It was so bad that I was struggling to basically stand up and so I had to have injections in my neck and take plenty of painkillers. Fortunately, as I said, I have a great trainer who helped. Pedro was looking forward to racing!” graduate to RBR in 2009, was fast throughout the weekend, and had set the pace in the very first session around the new Valencia street circuit. In the race itself he lost out to Jarno Trulli in the pit- stops, but brought his car home in a highly creditable sixth spot in a contest of comparatively low attrition for a street track. “Incredible!”he beamed after the race. “A perfect day. It was fun but tough and hot out there. It’s a nice race track. My start was not so good on the dirty side and going into Turn 1 I was right on the limit and very close to Kimi [Raikkonen] and could defend my position against Jarno [Trulli] for the first stint, but he had a bit more fuel on board and stayed out an extra lap and he overtook me in the pits. But we can be very, very happy with this result. We made no mistakes all weekend and maximised our performance. The whole team can be very proud of what it has achieved and hopefully, for the next races we can be in the top 10 again.” The result moves Toro Rosso to within three points of Honda Racing, and just six behind Williams, and with another new street track around the corner in Singapore, there is every reason to believe the team will do well there as well. Team Principal Franz Tost believes the team will also fare well at Monza in three weeks’time. “We have shown that our performance is improving from race to race and so we are looking forward to Spa and Monza. I am convinced that both of these races, especially Monza will suit our package. For Scuderia Toro Rosso and our Red Bull parent company this has been a really successful weekend.” His comments sort of overlooked the fact that Red Bull Racing had a nightmare race, with Mark Webber summarising “we just weren’t quick enough,”as he finished 12th. Team-mate David Coulthard found himself in a number of scrapes and wound up plum last in 17th. “It’s our most disappointing race of the year,”he said. 31