• European Grand Prix

Vettel holds off Hamilton for victory

Fraser Masefield
June 27, 2010

Sebastian Vettel withstood a late charge by Lewis Hamilton to win an incident-packed European Grand Prix in Valencia as Jenson Button took a deserved third.

The results may yet change subject to a post-race investigation involving Button, Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Petrov and a whole host of other cars for going too fast under safety car conditions.

Hamilton got the jump on Mark Webber at the start as the Australian opened the door into the first corner and also allowed the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa to pass.

Things soon got worse for the Australian, who quickly dropped back to ninth seemingly struggling badly for grip with his tyres.

If things weren't bad enough, Webber got things all wrong on lap 10 in an attempt to make up ground after an early stop for tyres. The Australian slipstreamed Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus but clipped the back of his car as he moved across, launching his Red Bull into the air before landing upside-down and smashing into the barriers. In an amazing testimony to the strength of modern-day Formula One cars, Webber climbed nonchalantly from his now upright car and walked away mercifully unscathed.

When the dust settled after a lengthy safety car period, Hamilton continued to pressure Vettel but his chances were soon dented when he was given a drive through penalty for overtaking the safety car before the line. Despite the setback, Hamilton still found himself in second after serving his penalty and continued to reel in the Red Bull to finish seven seconds adrift at the finish.

Jenson Button made the most of the safety car period to work his way up to fourth behind the still-to-pit Kamui Kobayashi and he gained a further place to end a productive day on the podium after the Japanese driver's late stop.

Rubens Barrichello ended an impressive weekend by finishing fourth ahead of Robert Kubica's Renault and Adrian Sutil's Force India.

The Ferrari duo of Alonso and Massa, despite their impressive start, lost ground in the safety car shake-up, eventually finishing 9th and 14th respectively.

However, Ferrari's woes were nothing in comparison to Mercedes, whose drivers weren't in contention for a top-ten finish at any point in the afternoon. Michael Schumacher got a good start but then saw his strategy fall to pieces when he pitted a lap later than everyone else under the safety car. Once all four tyres were changed he had to wait at red lights on the exit of the pits as the snake of cars filtered past. His team-mate Nico Rosberg didn't fare much better and finished the race where he started in 12th.

At the very back of the pack Lucas di Grassi won the race of the new teams, one lap down on the established teams but a whole lap up on his Virgin team-mate Timo Glock. The two HRTs of Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna finished 19th and 20th, ahead of the Lotus of Jarno Trulli who struggled with gearbox problems.

The result, barring any post-race decisions by the stewards, means that Vettel moves up to third in the drivers' standings, 12 points behind Hamilton and six behind Button.