> F1 2011: Race 8, Valencia

F1 2011: Race 8, Valencia

Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | No Comments

Race 9 8, was the held at the street circuit round the Valencia docklands and whilst the track always looks amazing, the race isn’t always as spectacular as the promise and hope it tends to stir before the lights go out.

Which is a shame as I really like the circuit; and that was the same story for Ferrari this weekend. Friday, Free Practice 2 Alonso stole the top of the timing sheets and the promise and hope returned to the Tifosi, especially as Massa seemed to be in close company too suggesting that the scarlet cars had something this weekend.

In Qualifying however, they had slipped back to 4th and 5th after the Red Bulls suddenly switched on their pace and Hamilton managed to pip Alonso for 3rd, but the hope and promise remained. The race pace of the Prancing Horse being the story this season compared to their one-lap shootout performances.

Come race day, as the lights faded, it was Massa who lept off the grid, seemingly beating both Alonso and Hamilton into third and looking for a gap down the inside of Webber for second. Fernando of course had other ideas, after what seemed like a bad start, he kept his brain in gear and stuck to the outside line and catapulted himself into the left hander of turn one to maintain the qualifying status quo between the Ferrari duo.

The race then seemed to be between Alonso and Webber for the squabble over second and third place. Hamilton, who never seemed to be able to keep his tyres in check, reported over his radio at various points during the race that he couldn’t go any slower and then later couldn’t go any faster once his grip had depleted. A sticking rear left tyre on Massa’s second pitstop however allowed Lewis to secure fourth when it should easily have been Felipe’s for the taking – he put up a great drive to try to claw back the time, but never got close enough to challenge.

Webber and Alonso meanwhile traded second and third throughout the race, Fernando showing why he’s still a top driver pulling off an amazing overtake in the middle of the race for second, only to be re-passed in the stops, but reversed during the final stop of the day.

Vettel simply drove off into the distance again, avoiding the battles of the remainder of the field. Neither Ferrari able to get close enough to challenge – the promise faded much like the Valencia circuit’s final outcome for a ‘classic race’. But unlike the Valencia ciricuit, hope remains at Ferrari and determination continues into the next race, despite the 99 point lead Vettel has over Alonso at this stage of the season. We all continue to hope and believe.


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Race eight:

A slightly dull race when compared to the thrillers of earlier in this season, but is it too early for F1 to abandon Valencia? I think so, some minor tweaks could transform this track and deliver the exciting racing that we’re becoming accustomed to this season.

Ferrari Result:
Alonso – 2nd: A great drive, yet I’m still somehow feeling disappointment from the result, as form continues to suggest that Ferrari should be delivering slightly more had more fallen in their favour (especially in Monaco and Canada, where victories so easily could have been). Fernando summed up his year at this race as “being in the middle of nothing”, which tells you everything you need to know about Ferrari’s season thus far.

Massa – 5th: Finished exactly where he qualified for this race, through no fault of his own. The sticking wheel nut settled his position, when he could easily have claimed 4th. The talk of Massa’s performance continues to be debated and whether he’ll be at Ferrari after his current contract expires, in my opinion his performances have turned a corner over the past 3 or 4 races and as long as that continues, I’m thrilled to have Felipe as a Ferrari driver.

Man of the Race: In a race where no one really stood out with an exceptional performance, my driver for today was Alonso. He made a great move to pass Webber and kept both Red Bulls honest for the duration of the race – Vettel had this race win too easy.

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