Alonso wins the race of two halves in Valencia

Well, to borrow the vernacular from another competition taking place later this evening, that was a game of a two halves. 30 laps in and the Sunday Afternoon sofa was set to witness something it hadn’t seen for a while; eyelids had drooped and were all set to close. So thank you Jean-Eric Vergne. Had you not taken a swipe at Heikki Kovalainen on lap 30, we might still be fast asleep and you might still be waiting for this.

Oh dear, it started out dull. But my, how it changed.

Up until the moment Vergne’s Toro Rosso made contact with Kovalainen’s Caterham and liberally seasoned the track with carbon fibre, Sebastian Vettel was just driving away from everyone. It looked very, well, 2011. Yet 27 laps later, Fernando Alonso was stopping on the track to grab a Spanish flag to go celebrate between two world champions who’ve returned to the sport. Yeah. Finally, after two and half seasons, Michael Schumacher has made it back to the podium, trailing Kimi Raikkonen home in third after some impressive strategic driving from 12th. (Alonso started 11th!)

It all caught fire after those few laps behind the SLS. Vettel failed to get away from and break the pack up, so in the jam that followed Fernando Alonso pulled off one hell of pass on Romain Grosjean who’d taken over duties chasing Vettel after McLaren screwed up another pit stop for Lewis Hamilton. How many is that? We’ve lost count.

Then, suddenly and without explanation Vettel slowed and stopped and got out and threw his gloves away. Red Bull enquires are currently centred around ingestion of some bit of Verge’s car. We had a race on. Grosjean was closing on Alonso who was now leading until his car broke (thus ruining our confident prediction from this morning). That left Hamilton to catch the Ferrari, only he was being caught by Raikkonen. All three cars, remember, had the same tyres of the same vintage, all three having stopped under the safety car.

Somehow it was Hamilton’s rubber that fell apart and, far from taking the fight to Alonso, fell first into the grip of Raikkonen and then Pastor Maldonado who had started fourth and seemed to spend the entire race there without once being caught on camera. Until the end. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. That one didn’t looked like Lewis’ fault.

I think we’ll let everyone calm down a bit and come back to that in the morning.

So Alonso, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Webber, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Di Resta, Button, Perez, Maldonado. A more predictable result from a massively unpredictable race and, get this; though Fernando Alonso is now nearly a race clear, it’s Mark Webber he leads eight races in to the 2012 World Championship.

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Amazing indeed. The first time I didn’t fall asleep watching Valencia, and it’s a deusy. Who would’ve thought?
I’m with Coulthard on Ham/Mal: whatever else, Maldonado was off track so Hamilton had right of way. Although, in the circumstances, it’s understandable that Maldonado didn’t give it. Btw: Maldonado got a 20 second penalty after the race, he’s been classified as 12th.

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Alonso is the best. It’s very difficult to know in the Formula 1 if someone is the best, because in thhis sport 80% is the car. But I’m from Spain, and here we love him a lot

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It started out dull??? There were lots of overtaking going on!! Alonso went to 5/6th in the first half of the race and a lot more with other drivers?? Oh that’s right, they wern’t English….You my friend don’t have a clue of F1…

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no comments on massa? beginning of the season was bad for him, really bad, but on the last 3 races he had decent pace but was unfortunate with his racing. on sunday it seemed that kobaiashi had it in for the brazilians, lol

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texasfight,not to be fanboy ish, but were u watching the same crash and he got penalized for everything last year from stuff that was his fault to stuff that say button did.unfortunately vettel lost drive somehow,grosjeans electrics failed.alonso has been the most consistent driver this year,hamilton easily the most fraught with team screw ups driver button the least adaptable driver and hamilton the fastest in qualifying consistently

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hamilton’s fans are being overly hypocritical here by laying all the blame on maldonado. refresh your memory back to bahrain. remember how nico rosberg infamously crowded out hamilton (and alonso) off the track. hamilton’s move on maldonado was even worse coz the stewards let rosberg off the hook in bahrain since neither hamilton nor alonso were alongside rosberg when he made his defensive manoeuvre. however, in valencia, hamilton clearly pushed maldonado off the track when he was right alongside him going into the corner. imagine there being no run-off at that turn. imagine, as the pro-hamilton crowd hypothesised post-bahrain, there being a concrete wall at the edge of the white line marking the track. contrary to what the stewards ultimately held, i still support alonso’s resonating criticism that “You have to leave a space. All the time you have to leave a space.” rosberg didn’t do that in bahrain. but hamilton went off track to legitimately overtake him. so how come maldonado’s move was deemed illegitimate? would anyone care to explain?

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Vergne got penalised quite harshly for his contact with Kovalainen. I’m surprised that Maldonado didn’t get a grid penalty or a fine. He was off track and rejoined into the racing line, right into Hamilton’s side pod, which sent him into the wall. I know Hamilton has a history of collisions, but that was a dangerous move that Maldonado pulled and I’m frankly surprised that the stewards didn’t come down on him harder. Regardless of who the drivers were involved, we saw a lot of occasions in Valencia where drivers pushed others off the edge of the kurbing when trying to pass, and when that happens, you’ve got to abandon the pass attempt. T-boning someone while re-entering the track on the racing line is reckless and I think Maldonado ought to have backed off.

Given the state of Hamilton’s tires, I’m sure Maldonado could’ve passed Hamilton in a safer manner (i.e. DRS)

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I have no idea why Hammy was doing a 2 stop strategy. It’s not his style, and it doesn’t work for him. Hammy should go for the extra stop like he did here in Canada.

Pissed that both Hammy got 0 points and England was put out on Sunday… worst sporting day ever :(

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Trigger did you miss the points where Maldo pushed Raikonnen and Webber off the track when overtaking them?

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because u hate him when hes done nowt to u end of

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An absolutely tremendous drive from Mr Alonso (fast becoming the surname to have in spanish sport…..). The last person I saw out-drive their car that consistently was MS is 2005, in a Ferrari that wasn’t brilliant by their own standards. This year Ferrari by no means have the best car, yet the guy is 20 points in front! If he does with the championship this year, it will be one of the single most deserving of any driver. clearly it meant something to him and his country as well, especially given spain’s current economic troubles. Superb, and good to see MS back on the podium. if he gets a win, that will go some way towards justifying his comeback to the critics. Nice to see him and Mark W overtaking everyone in the latter stages in convoy! Wasn’t this meant to be the boring race?!

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Two world champions who’ve returned to the sport?
Get your facts right, 3 world champions, don’t forget to include Kimi Räikkönen.
Other than that Cheers for the article.

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@forumulaaddict, he did get his facts right, only Kimi and Schuey returned, the rest never left F1

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