Grand Prix 2012 European Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Valencia........ :bored:

Even Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are more exciting in comparison. Valencia is the only grand prix on the calendar that I genuinley do not look forward to. It's dull, boring and hasn't provided an interesting race at all since its inception on the F1 calendar in 2008. Thankfully it won't be a regular feature in the future as it will be alternating with Barcelona in the future.

Going into the Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton is back as the Championship leader after becoming the 7th driver to win in 7 races with victory in the Canadian Grand Prix. After missing out on the podium in recent races he was back with vengeance after fighting back from starting second and being third with 10 laps to go but thanks to fresher tyres he made easy work of Vettel and Alonso in the latter laps who fell away after a gamble to one stop failed. In the end Roman Grosjean and Sergio Perez finished on the podium and it is testament to the unpredictably of 2012 that it wasn't the first time either of them have been on the podium this season.

From race to race no team has been consistently at the very front, in Spain it was Williams, in Monaco it was Red Bull and in Canada it was McLaren. Both Ferrari and Lotus have probably been the most consistent package over recent weeks but not enough to win races with podium places the highest they can manage, but considering the start to the season Ferrari made, that probably isn't a bad thing and Alonso is only 2 points off the championship leader with world champion Vettel just one point behind in third.

It's a complete reversal of 2011 as this time last year Hamilton left Canada with a world of problems after a DNF which involved a collision with team mate Button who went on to win one of the best races of his career passing Vettel on the last lap. But 12 months later Hamilton won the race with Button finishing a lapped 16th. What's worse for the 2009 champion is that was on merit as well and not down to any car failures or pit problems, it marks a horrid fall from grace after winning the opening race in Melbourne and an early run of podiums but now he is struggling to even get into Q3 and convert that into points finishes. Button appears clueless as to where the problem lies and it may not be a short term fix as the car isn't slow as Hamilton is currently proving. It could be already over as far as Button's title hopes are concerned as he is currently 43 points behind Hamilton and has roughly half the points total.

It is also interesting to note that Button was further behind the leader last season and he was second in the championship, while at the moment he lies in 8th behind both Lotus drivers who are the only front running drivers yet to win a race (excluding Schumacher) and having come close in Bahrain and Spain they will want to be the next winners and take the total to 8 winners in 8 races and with both Raikkonen and Grosjean closely matched it's hard to say who is the more likely. But it's Grosjean's form which is the most surprising, a lot of people questioned why he was given the driver role given the way he was outperformed in 2009 and a lot of people said he would be outraced by the returning Finn, but after 7 races he is only 2 points behind and that is despite several first lap incidents where he has been the innocent part in some cases but not others (Malaysia). With the pendulum swinging from race to race it is hard to predict who will have the upper hand in the Spanish heat.

For Galahad's brilliant circuit write up -
I'm predicting the long strike of different winners will end at this race, and we get our first double winner of the season. This track should suit Ferrari and Red Bull more than Mclaren so put your bets on Alonso, Webber or Vettel.

Force India need a good result here and so too do Williams after Sauber marched on towards gaining 6th place in the WCC in Canada.

Also predict that either Raikkonen or Grosjean might make a trip onto the podium. Probably Raikkonen this time, as Grosjean has a record of scoring high points or retiring early in the race this season.

Massa and Schumacher need to bag points here aswell to keep up their claims for a seat next year.
The only two things of note at this race are (1) you are guaranteed some quiet time catching some rays (because the on track action is [yawn] ... that inspiring... and (2) the Red Bull Rooftop pool party... watch it pour with rain and turn this race into an unbelievable spectacle...
So I check the weather in hope rather than expectation and i see it's going to rain in the week, then i find out it's gonna be dry for the GP, please weather change! Anythinfg!
I'm predicting the long strike of different winners will end at this race, and we get our first double winner of the season. This track should suit Ferrari and Red Bull more than Mclaren so put your bets on Alonso, Webber or Vettel.

Can I ask why you make that statement? I personally think it will suit McLaren just fine, especially sector 3 with some high speed stuff where they have shown to be arguably the fastest at Barcelona in qualifying a few weeks ago.
It's a circuit where McLaren have generally been strong at with Hamilton being second in 2008/9/10 and 4th in 11, I agree with tranquility2k9 that on pure merit the faster corners will benefit McLaren the most, but I think they won't get pole as over one lap in hot conditions the Red Bull seems to have an advantage as shown in Canada.
For all the talk of boring Valenthia races, there always seems to be something rather noteworthy that occurs there.

2009 - Rubens wins his first race since 2004
2010 - Webber takes flight. Lewis races the SC. Kobash takes two positions on the last two laps, one from Alonso.
2011 - All 24 cars finish the race.

Every GP can't be a thriller.
To be fair the first half of the 2010 edition was developping into a good three-car battle for the lead until the safety-car.
The only memorable bits of Valencia I remember are Vettel's engine blowing in a practise session & watching the marshalls take 40 minutes to clear it up & Webber hitting Heikki.
Mark did have a very honest answer at Silverstone when they asked how he felt as he flew - "I shat myself" :snigger:
I would like to see Mark win this one or Michael but my money is on Seb as Valencia is normally won on the Saturday.
I think with the improvements and race pace we've seen from the Ferrari that Alonso will be on the top step here. Hopefully the teams strategy calls won't screw him over, but I like the car and love the driver. I might be wrong, but I don't think Alonso has won at Valencia and his time is due here. I like Ferrari on Sundays more than the Red Bull and I still don't have the confidence in the McLaren pits to give them a 100% clean race.

1: Alonso
2: Vettel
3: Hamilton
Pole: Vettel
Fast Lap: Hamilton
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