Europe race analysis - Ferrari and McLaren both winners - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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Europe race analysis - Ferrari and McLaren both winners

Europe race analysis - Ferrari and McLaren both winners

As in Hungary, Felipe Massa controlled the European Grand Prix from the front. But this time he stayed there to win - despite that controversial pit stop - as Ferrari’s technical gremlins chose to pick on team mate Kimi Raikkonen instead.

The world champions had the pace, but not the reliability. Their second engine failure in as many races left McLaren victorious in the numbers game. Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage atop the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari’s constructors’ lead diminished into single figures.

Further down the grid, Toyota proved their Hungaroring form was no fluke with another excellent performance, while Toro Rosso’s superb showing throughout the weekend put their supposedly ‘senior’ sister squad, Red Bull Racing, firmly in the shade. We take a team-by-team look at the European Grand Prix…

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 38.708s, P1
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 39.424s, retired lap 46, engine
Massa and Ferrari owned this one right from the start, and once it became clear that Hamilton and McLaren were on a similar fuel strategy it also became clear that a victory for the latter was going to be unlikely. The win gave Massa the same number of outright successes this year as Hamilton (four), but there are still serious concerns over reliability within the Scuderia after Raikkonen’s engine blew asunder like Massa’s had in Hungary, shortly after the Finn botched his second pit stop and ran over refueller Pietro Timpini.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 38.884s, P2
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 39.112s, P4
Hamilton revealed that a serious neck spasm on Saturday had almost kept him out of the race, but once he had won the drag race over Kubica to the first corner he settled down to chase Massa. The MP4-23 didn’t quite have the pace of the F2008 towards the end, but eight points in the circumstances were a healthy haul. Kovalainen struggled in his first two stints on the Bridgestone prime tyres, and only found his car coming alive on the super-softs late in the race, by which time it was too late to challenge Kubica for third.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 39.330s, P3
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 39.526s, P9
Once worries had receded about inability to steer because a plastic bag had become lodged beneath the front of his F1.08, Kubica was able to maintain a strong third place throughout the race, and to take his first podium finish since Canada. Heidfeld, however, struggled with low grip and described his race as one of the worst of his career en route to ninth.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 39.657s, P5
Timo Glock, 1m 39.535s, P7
Toyota are the consistently most improved team in recent weeks, and a great run from Trulli to fifth and Glock to seventh, despite feeling unwell, endorsed the strength of the TF108. Six points now place them 10 ahead of Renault in the fight for fourth place overall.

Toro Rosso
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 39.485s, P6
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 39.639s, P10
A great race for Toros Rosso saw Vettel take an excellent sixth place, which might have been fifth until Trulli and Toyota slipped ahead during the opening pit stops. Bourdais could have been a points contender too but for an early clash with Heidfeld which obliged him to run 17 laps to his first stop with a damaged front wing.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 39.577s, P8
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 39.803s, P15
Rosberg was happy and relieved to win a point for eighth after a competitive showing, but Nakajima’s first-lap clash under braking with Alonso won’t have done him any favours.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 40.264s, P12
David Coulthard, 1m 40.978s, P17
Red Bull never got on the pace this weekend, and fingers were pointed at their Renault engines since the near identical Toro Rossos were flying with their Ferrari V8s. Coulthard’s case wasn’t helped when he got taken off on the first lap, and later spun trying to make up ground. He raced throughout with a damaged bargeboard.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, no time, retired lap one, hit by Nakajima
Nelson Piquet, 1m 39.544s, P11
Renault will want to forget this one in a hurry. Alonso got taken out on the opening lap courtesy of Nakajima removing his rear wing, while Piquet also damaged his front wing in the early race traffic and couldn’t better 11th place by the finish on a day when arch rivals Toyota bagged another six points.

Honda
Jenson Button, 1m 40.763s, P13
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 40.593s, P16
A horrible race for Honda, as Button and Barrichello both ran one-stop strategies. The former found overheating rear brakes having a deleterious effect on his option tyres in the second stint, while the latter also struggled with braking problems after starting from the pit lane with revised gearing.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 40.353s, P14
Adrian Sutil, 1m 40.661s, retired lap 42, accident
One-stopping Fisichella challenged Button for much of the race on his way to 14th, running the team’s new seamless-shift transmission for the first time in a race. Sutil started from the pit lane on a two-stop strategy after unscheduled suspension set-up changes, had a spat in the pit lane with Massa on the 37th lap, then became the only Formula One driver to hit the wall all weekend when he lost it under braking in Turn Two five laps later.
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