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GP Week : Issue 25
Team-By-Team: European Gra The weekend started off well for Ferrari as their two drivers each ran the equivalent of an entire race distance on Friday around the new Valencia street circuit. With lessons apparently learned after Massa’s engine failure in Hungary the team was optimistic of a good weekend. Their confidence proved well placed on Saturday when Massa strolled to the team’s sixth pole position of the season, BMW-Sauber came into the weekend hoping to regain some the ground it had lost to both Ferrari and McLaren. Despite regularly changing track conditions, the BMW drivers completed a useful first day of running with no major issues. Qualifying was a tale of differing fortunes. While Kubica put in a great lap to sit third, Heidfeld could only muster eighth and was angry that he had very Not the best weekend for Renault by all accounts, which was a shame after starting so well. Alonso was subdued by events in Madrid, but seemed to have matured hugely. He was second quickest by the end of the first day and Piquet was good for top 10 pace. Qualifying was where it all started to go wrong though. Piquet scraped through to Q2 but went no further and had to settle The first practice session looked promising for Williams as both drivers were quickly up to pace on the new track, setting top 10 times. From there on their Friday performance slipped as the rest of the field caught up. Saturday gave the team something to cheer as Rosberg was able to put his car into the top 10 in qualifying, with Nakajima lining his FW30 up just a few Performing badly is galling at the best of times, but when such performances come in the face of your supposed junior team looking fantastic, it is all the more painful. Step into the world of Red Bull Racing, who had a shocker in Spain. Both drivers propped up the times in 19th and 20th on Friday morning but improved to sit at the back of the midfield in the afternoon. 34 while Raikkonen settled for fourth. Come the race, Massa made a great start while Raikkonen fell behind Kovalainen at the off. While Raikkonen struggled to find a way past the McLaren, Massa was dominating the race, even if he was released into the path of Sutil on his way. Raikkonen’s day ended with a big engine failure after he had made a huge blunder at his second pitstop. nearly missed the cut to Q2 after being held up by Glock’s Toyota. Heidfeld described the race as one of his worst ever as he dropped a position to finish out of the points in ninth. Kubica was on form to finish where he started in third, his first podium since his victory in Canada. The team is still some way from winning on merit, but with regular points hauls could still challenge for the title. for 15th. Alonso could pull no heroics out of the bag and also failed to get to Q3, eventually lining up 12th. Alonso’s poor qualifying form left him open to the opening lap melee and true to form he was tagged on the first lap and retired with a broken rear wing and gearbox. Piquet had a lacklustre race, finding it difficult to pass even the Force India of Fisichella. spots behind. The Japanese driver had a poor start to the race, getting squeezed into Alonso and taking out his own front wing. He finished 15th. Rosberg, on the other hand, put in a quiet and yet impressive performance to take a point in eighth. It was the team’s first point since Silverstone and good reward for a hard weekend of work. Qualifying was another dose of reality as Webber lined up 14th and Coulthard a woeful 17th. Come the race, Webber actually dropped two positions to finish 14th, while Coulthard got himself into a number of scrapes to come home where he’d started in 17th … and absolutely last. Christian Horner got it right: “A disastrous race,”he said.