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Sebastian Vettel had race victory in the bag until his engine gave up on him in the latter half of the race, to destroy his chances of a third straight victory in Valencia. Mark Webber displayed his usual Aussie grit to finish the race in 4th place just short of the podium having fought his way through the field from 19th place on the grid. This mega drive from Webber carried him into 2nd place in the driver's championship with 91 points.
In qualifying Vettel made his rivals bite the dust as he seized a 33rd career pole position with consummate ease. The German ace was serene in his progress to a third-straight pole on the free flowing streets of Valencia. His teammate Mark Webber faced contrasting fortunes as he was the lone big gun to be eliminated in Q1. His team identified the glitch to be a KERS failure on the sister RB8, resulting in a lowly 19th place on the grid with a big mountain to climb in the race.
The start of the 57 lap race was a delightful one for the team as Vettel led the pack into the first corner. Vettel was quick off the blocks and established a mammoth 4 second gap to the chasing pack behind him by the end of lap 2. Webber gained 2 places on the starting grid but encountered a train od slow moving cars ahead of him. The Aussie starting on the medium tyres could only dream of a points scoring finish by doing a one-stop strategy in a marathon race. Vettel was in a class of his own to lead the race by a whopping 20 seconds 23 laps into the race.
Vettel kept the pedal to the metal as he ruthlessly dominated the race, but on lap 30 as the safety car was deployed Vettel lost the lead he had so brilliantly built as the entire pack closed up. The restart struck the final blow for Vettel as his Red Bull gave up on him as Alonso took over the race lead. The race seemed to be in the bag for Vettel, and he was absolutely furious getting out of the car. The reactions of Adrian Newey in the garage, clutching his head in his hands said it all as a potential victory was not to be for the Red Bull team.
Vettel shared after the race, â€œAt the moment itâ€™s not entirely clear what the problem was. I lost acceleration, the engine stalled and I couldnâ€™t do anything; that was it. You canâ€™t change it now. Up until that point it was clear we were strong, I was very happy in the car and had the pace. We were very quick today and it felt good. The initial re-start after the safety car was fine, but weâ€™re not sure of the exact problem, weâ€™ll need to look into it.â€
Webber had a disastrous few laps after the restart as he lost a string of places and struggled to be get back to race pace. The Aussie though climbed back into the points and was soon battling Schumacher for 8th place. The battle continued till chequered flag was waved as Webber made the most of further casualties up the grid to end the race in 4th place after a stellar drive.
Webber was pleased with his performance, especially considering from where he started the race. He said, â€œIâ€™m very happy with that, obviously itâ€™s been a tough weekend up until today, but you never know whatâ€™s going to happen. In the middle of the race I wasnâ€™t too happy and I didnâ€™t really know what was going on. Then there was a bit of attrition at the front and the strategy worked out. We got it all working well today and we got some good points. It was a crazy day today â€“ but I got points, so Iâ€™m happy with that.â€
This gritty drive from Webber helps him to 2nd place in the driver's standings behind Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Vettel drops to 4th place in the race for the championship after registering an unfortunate DNF.
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- 07/07/2012 15:35 - Alonso dominates Final Practice session at Silverstone, Top 10 separated by less than a second
- 06/07/2012 20:17 - Hamilton fastest in soaking wet Friday Silverstone Practice, Mercedes duo show strong pace