Date:Tuesday June 26 2012
The streak of different winners at every different race ended on the street circuit of Valencia for the European Grand Prix.
For the first time in the history of Formula One, the first seven races of the season were won by seven different drivers, from five different teams.
The driver to end that sequence of events was Fernando Alonso and Ferrari, who took their second win of the season and take the lead in the Formula One World Championship.
But on Saturday evening that result wouldn't have been expected by Ferrari.
After fairly decent Friday practice sessions which had Alonso 0.175s behind Maldonado in FP1 and 0.399s behind Vettel in FP2, on Saturday things took a turn for the worst for Ferrari.
Alonso found himself 0.833s behind Button in FP3 which had placed him 12th and while in qualifying that gap in regards to time was closed, in terms of position things didn't improve and in a similar situation to Michael Schumacher, Alonso's time of 1m38.707s was not good enough to get him through to the pole position shoot-out with the Ferrari's time missing out by just 0.004 seconds!
ďWhen you donít qualify for Q3, itís obviously very sad and thereís no point hiding the fact. This result is a cold shower, because our expectations were high and the carís potential has also increased, to the extent that in Q2, we were only three tenths off the best. Itís easy to say now that with two runs on Softs in Q2 we would have made the cut, but maybe now we would be here lamenting the fact that we did not have two for Q3: itís always easy to judge things after the fact. However, we were not quick enough to be in the top ten in the second part of qualifying and now the race will naturally be tougher. the double World Champion told formula1.com after qualifying.
Clearly down after hoping to impress his home fans in Spain, Alonso wrote off his chances of a good result during the race and also thought that the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton would extend his lead in the Drivers World Championship.
The podium is out of reach and clearly, with Hamilton on the front row, itís easy to expect that we will lose ground to him.'
However lady luck was on Alonso's side.
A safety car brought the Ferrari back into play, not only so he could steal second place from the Lotus of Grosjean, but the laps behind the safety car also appeared to have some effect on Vettel's Red Bull and his retirement meant that Alonso inherited the lead of the race.
When Grosjean's Lotus also gave up while chasing the Spaniard and Hamilton's tyres gave up, it was clear that everything was on Alonso's side this weekend.
ďThis has been an unforgettable day for me and I canít find the right words to express my feelings! Winning in my country is an indescribable emotion: I still remember the victory in Barcelona in 2006 and winning today in Valencia with this fantastic team, is amazing
He continued: At the start, it was not easy to make up places and I tried to delay the braking to the maximum at Turn 4, staying on the outside. Then I started to fight my way up and, after the Safety Car, I began to think a podium could be possible. Then I attacked Grosjean and managed to pass him, although I was worried that I might have sustained some damage when we touched. After two or three corners I realised everything was alright and I relaxed. When I went into the lead after Vettel retired, we were all hoping the tyres would last to the end. I was always talking to my engineer who told me I was running the same pace as those following me: in the end, there was not much left, but unlike Canada, the others were in the same situation. It was emotional being on the podium with Andrea Stella, because he has also worked with Michael and Kimi: he could celebrate in the best way possible a totally unexpected win, given our grid position.
Alonso now holds a 20 point lead at the top of the F1 World Championship with 111 points.
In second place is the Red Bull of Mark Webber, with Lewis Hamilton dropping down to third following this retirement.
Date:Tuesday June 26 2012
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