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The car of race retiree Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Race Day, Valencia, Spain, Sunday 24 June 2012.
Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull is guarded after it came to a halt while the world champion was leading the European GP
Jun.26 (GMM) After seven unpredictable and tightly contested grands prix so far this season, the European GP at Valencia brought back memories, to many Formula One analysts, of Red Bull’s dominant form in recent years.
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull European Grand Prix ValenciaOn the concrete-lined streets, where Sebastian Vettel dominated in his two past championship seasons, the field was once again forced to play second fiddle to a dominant Red Bull.
Only a technical problem stopped the German’s charge, but the message was clear: the RB8′s latest updates – notably a new double-diffuser style floor – worked perfectly.
An unusually big gap to second place was the first hint after Vettel’s strong pole on Saturday, and the next day “Red Bull were phenomenally quick,” noted McLaren’s Jenson Button, “and it was unexpected.”
“For the first time this season,” said former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari, “we saw someone so much quicker than the rest.
“Sebastian Vettel’s start and the first half of his race were astronomical and reminded us of the driver of last year.
Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday 23 June 2012.“The way his team has achieved a very important aerodynamic step could be decisive for the near future,” the Spaniard told El Mundo newspaper.
But Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s failures to finish have given Fernando Alonso a big points gap as F1 speeds towards mid-season, but – like McLaren, Ferrari is also wary of the stride forward taken by Red Bull.
“We know what our target is at the end of November and we know that [Red Bull] did something very good this weekend and improved their car,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Although gutted after Vettel’s failure on Sunday, Domenicali’s Red Bull counterpart is also fully conscious of the real situation, with Alonso benefitting from incredible consistency and reliability, if not out-and-out pace.
“Fernando has done a tremendous job,” said Christian Horner, “but statistics say he has to have one bad weekend in 20. It will hopefully balance itself out over the course of the season,” said the Briton.
Subbed by AJN.