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F1 Recap: Vettel Runs Away in Valencia
Sebastian Vettel scored his sixth victory of the season in Valencia on Sunday, without anyone getting anywhere close to his Red Bull.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battled with Mark Webber, however, and ultimately prevailed as the Australian's RB7 misbehaved in the closing stages and prevented him attempting to regain the second place he had held on two occasions.
Lewis Hamilton was 46.1s behind Vettel on a day when McLaren lacked pace, heading home Felipe Massa's Ferrari and team mate Jenson Button.
The Alonso/Webber fight was the main focal interest at the front as Vettel simply ran off and hid. Webber held it, under pressure, from Lap One to 20, but then Alonso overtook after exploiting his DRS going into Turn 12. The Spaniard then stayed there until his second pit stop on Lap 29, whereupon Webber went back in front having stopped a lap sooner.
His third and final stop on Lap 42 promoted Alonso again, and as Webber had run wide going into the pits and lost crucial time, the Ferrari driver was able to stop on Lap 45 and then stay ahead. Webber then fell away quite dramatically, as his car developed a gearbox problem. He was so far ahead of Hamilton, however, that his podium place was never in doubt.
Nico Rosberg finished a lonely seventh for Mercedes, ahead of a mighty scrap between Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari, who ran a great two-stop strategy, and on-form three-stopper Adrian Sutil, who was only 0.4s behind him in his Force India as they finished eighth and ninth, a lap down. Nick Heidfeld had an undramatic run to 10th and the final point for Renault, ahead of Sergio Perez who drove his Sauber heroically with only one stop and deserved a point for the effort.
In another of those no longer so rare races in which nobody retired, Williams' Rubens Barrichello headed home Sebastien Buemi in the other Toro Rosso, Paul di Resta's Force India, Vitaly Petrov's Renault (in which he had made a terrible start and immediately lost places), Kamui Kobayashi's two-stopping Sauber, a delayed Michael Schumacher who had the front wing of his Mercedes damaged by Petrov as he rejoined after his first pit stop, and Pastor Maldonado's Williams.
Heikki Kovalainen beat Team Lotus team mate Jarno Trulli to 19th place, while Timo Glock saw off Virgin partner Jerome D'Ambrosio, who was involved in a mighty scrap early on with Tonio Liuzzi's HRT before pulling clear. Liuzzi thus took 23rd, well ahead of team mate Narain Karthikeyan.
Vettel now has 186 points to Button and Webber on 109, Hamilton on 97 and Alonso on 87. In the constructors' stakes, Red Bull have 295 to McLaren's 206 and Ferrari's 129.