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GP Week : Issue 25
>>F1EUROPE and Prix, Valencia Glock arrived at the new track with expectations high after his experience of street circuits in ChampCar and fared well on day 1, eventually taking the seventh fastest time of the afternoon. Team-mate Trulli struggled with inconsistent balance, although the track was too his liking as it resembled, to his mind, a kart track. Having changed his set-up he then had a gearbox issue on Saturday, but at least With the most recent road course experience on the F1 grid after four ChampCar titles, most expected Sebastien Bourdais to be pretty tidy around Valencia. He was, but Vettel was better. The youngster topped the first ever session at the track and continued to impress all weekend. Come Saturday Toro Rosso’s form was evidenced with the first double top-10 Whether the car was light or Button had somehow managed to cut out a section of the track without anyone noticing, the Brit stuck his Honda third in Friday’s practice session. That’s the highest a Honda’s been in quite a while, but it didn’t fool anyone. Regular service was resumed in qualifying as Barrichello chugged around to 19th and Button in 16th. With the prospect of a Safety Car the only chance With the new seamless shift gearbox ready to roll and fitted to both VJM01s, Force India were hoping for a more competitive weekend. And they weren’t disappointed. Fisichella managed to get his car as high as 10th in practice. With the gearbox working well, and the drivers happy with the amount they could push, both were hopeful for the race. In qualifying, Fisichella ended up just McLaren may have inherited the win in Hungary, but the team turned up in Valencia determined to take this one on merit. Neither he nor Budapest winner Kovalainen made much of an impact on the very top of the timesheets on Friday, but there was no reason to panic. Hamilton took to the track on Saturday and duly took a front row slot, with Kovalainen in fifth. Again, no real didn’t require a new unit. He qualified seventh. Glock had a total turn around in form and couldn’t get a lap together to sit a disappointed 13th. The race was therefore a huge result for the team. Trulli raced well to finish fifth ahead of the speedy Vettel, while a clever strategy for Glock saw him make up some places and finish a fine seventh. Looking good for fourth in the championship. qualification of the season as Bourdais took 10th and Vettel 6th. Both drivers raced hard and fast on Sunday, and despite Bourdais taking on some damage after a moment with Heidfeld, he finished where he started, just out of the points in 10th. Vettel, too, finished where he had started, but that meant a good points haul for the small team. A great weekend and a great result. for points, both drivers were put on on- stop strategies. But with no Safety Car on race day, it was a tough afternoon. Button came home 13th, while Barrichello managed not to come home last, and finished 16th. On this kind of form one wonders if the current drivers will want to stick around next year, let alone be joined by a double world champion? 1.3s off the fastest time in the session, but qualified 18th, a sign of how tight the times have become. Sutil lined up 20th and raced well until an error in judgement saw him slide into the barriers at Turn 2. Fisichella had not the worst afternoon and at moments looked far faster than those around him. He finished 14th and the team will take heart from a good weekend. reason to panic, but on the dusty track overtaking was going to be hard. And so it proved. Hamilton was almost passed by Kubica at the off but held onto second, while Kovalainen beat Raikkonen off the line to settle into fourth. That’s the way it finished for the duo, who were unable to make any form of impression. McLaren may be reliable, but it needs a slight injection of pace right now. 35