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GP Week : Issue 159
33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Sergio Perez kept Sauber’s points tally ticking over thanks to a ninth place finish for the Mexican, after team-mate Kamui Kobayashi failed to make the finish. Starting 15th, Perez two-stopped to the finish, but had to complete a long 32-lap stint on the soft tyres at the end. Kobayashi was running fourth in the opening stages, but dropped back with a slow first pitstop and then had to pit again when Bruno Senna pushed him into the wall. He then hit Felipe Massa while fighting for position after the safety car, forcing him into retirement and earning him a five-place grid penalty for Silverstone. Heikki Kovalainen scored Caterham’s best qualifying performance of the season on Saturday by beating a Red Bull and both Toro Rosso to start 16th, but he was unable to build on that form during the race, not helped by a KERS failure from early on. He had opted for a two-stop strategy, but had to pit four times in total due to a collision with Vergne and his tyres being finished at the end. He still beat Petrov to the flag in 13th, the Russian having pitted three times and finished ahead of Marussia’s Charles Pic by just two seconds. Toro Rosso’s point-less streak has been extended to six consecutive races after another fruitless weekend in Spain. Neither Ricciardo nor Vergne were ever on the pace over the course of the weekend, and after both qualified behind Caterham’s Kovalainen on Saturday, things only improved marginally during the race. Vergne retired after just 26 laps after making contact with Kovalainen for which he later received a 10-place grid penalty for Silverstone and a €25,000 fine. Ricciardo made it to the finish in 12th and could well have nicked a point had he not made contact with Petrov on lap 47. HRT enjoyed a hugely positive home Grand Prix in Valencia after getting both cars to the finish of the race and racing nose-to-tail with Marussia for much of the Grand Prix. De la Rosa and Karthikeyan both qualified ahead of Pic on Saturday and de la Rosa was able to stay ahead for the majority of the race. He was eventually caught by the Frenchman with just under ten laps to go before his tyres let go completely and he finished 25 seconds behind. Karthikeyan made three stops to Pedro’s two and closed to within ten seconds of the Spaniard at the finish. It was yet another case of so close yet so far for Pastor Maldonado as an almost certain podium finish went a begging thanks to some hot-headed driving from the Venezuelan. After driving an impeccable race from third on the grid to lie fourth in the closing stages he came up on the back of an ailing Lewis Hamilton for the final podium position. Hamilton’s tyres were finished, but Maldonado insisted on trying to make his first move stick, the pair collided and Maldonado dropped to tenth, before being demoted further with a post-race penalty. That penalty handed tenth to Senna, a remarkable result given he had been last just 30 laps earlier. A suspected intestinal infection ruled Timo Glock out of Sunday’s race, having sat out qualifying on the Saturday, leaving Charles Pic to fly the flag for Marussia in Valencia. The 22-year-old trailed both HRTs early in the race before leapfrogging Karthikeyan at the first round of stops. He continued to trail de la Rosa, who was on an identical strategy, but was able to keep his tyres in better shape and eventually overhauled the Spaniard with ten laps to go, before taking the chequered flag just two seconds behind Petrov’s Caterham. Sauber Caterham Toro Rosso HRT Williams Marussia TEAM-BY-TEAM: EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX F1 >>> EUROPE