F1: Vettel Streaks Ahead With Valencia Win, Webber Takes Third Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 27 2011 | 0 Comments

Runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel on Sunday accelerated ahead a further 17 points by winning in Valencia.

The German's lead is now a whopping 77 points over his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber - who finished third - as the McLarens had a bad day in the Spanish port city.

Lewis Hamilton at least finished on Sunday, but he was off the podium, admitting afterwards that the British team has "taken a step back" in Spain.

"I think we're quite a bit down in downforce," said the McLaren driver, "and I think that in the next race we may really struggle again."

Teammate Jenson Button agreed: "We need to get our heads down and come up with something - particularly aerodynamically I think. We need to take some risks."

There were two DRS overtaking zones this weekend and a big performance gap between the tyre compounds, but most observers agreed that the European Grand Prix was - as per usual - fairly unspectacular.

"Maybe from the outside it looked like a boring race but I enjoyed it so much," said winner Vettel.

Added Jenson Button: "It wasn't the most exciting race, was it?"



Webber on Valencia

“I think we should have finished second today. It was a good race with Fernando, I think it was my best race of the year to be honest until the last pit stop."

"It was quite close with all three of us (Fernando, Mark and Seb), obviously we were trying to go as fast as possible and manage the tyres at the same time. I was very happy with how the race was going until the last stop and it was my fault basically."

"I was worried about Fernando getting the undercut and it was not really known how the medium tyre would behave on the out lap, but it was a risk I decided to take. I lost out to Fernando, he drove a good race."

"We had a gearbox problem at the end, so we backed right off, but we had a massive gap to McLaren, so we could cruise to the end and look after the gearbox."

Drivers' standings after eighth race of F1 season in Valencia

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 186 points
2. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren 109
2. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 109
4. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren 97
5. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 87
6. Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 42
7. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 32
8. Vitaly Petrov (Rus) Renault 31
9. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 30
9. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes 26

Constructors' standings

1. Red Bull 295 points
2. McLaren 206
3. Ferrari 129
4. Lotus Renault 61
5. Mercedes 58
6. Sauber 27
7. Toro Rosso 16
8. Force India 12
9. Williams 4


Hamilton, Alonso, write off 2011 championship

Two of Sebastian Vettel's key rivals on Sunday wrote off their chances of chasing down the runaway championship leader in 2011.

By winning on the streets of Valencia, German Vettel pulled out a 77 point lead over his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, setting a record for the first ever F1 driver to stand on the top two steps of the podium in the first eight races of a season.

"It's finished really, in the sense of the championship it's almost over already," conceded Lewis Hamilton, fourth in the standings behind his McLaren teammate Jenson Button.

And Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, a further 10 points behind Hamilton and a whopping 99 points behind Vettel despite finishing second on Sunday, admitted: "The championship is not in our calculations.

"If anyone thinks we can win the championship being eight tenths behind (Red Bull), they don't understand Formula One."



Even Renault happy with V6 compromise - Boullier

F1 engine supplier Renault is happy with the new engine rules for 2014, despite recently threatening to quit if four-cylinder rules did not debut a year earlier than that.

With Bernie Ecclestone and all of F1's other engine makers opposed to Jean Todt's original plan, the F1 Commission this week agreed on a turbo V6 formula.

But even Renault is happy with the compromise, customer Lotus-Renault GP's team boss Boullier is quoted by autohebdo.fr.

"Everybody is willing to have the V6 as the base for 2014, including Renault, who support the project," said the Frenchman. "But there is still a lot to do to finalise the project."

Boullier admits he likes the idea of a V6 much more than Todt's now-scrapped inline four.

"V6 is more interesting than four cylinder from a technological point of view. Also for the image of formula one, which has to be a showcase of technology," he added.

Meanwhile, it might be said that Mercedes-Benz is not keen on the idea of new engine rules, because its current V8 is regarded as the very best on the grid.

Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher insists: "I don't think it makes a big difference whether it's six, four, eight or ten cylinders. The rules are the same for everyone," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

As for the possible erosion of Mercedes' advantage, the German added: "Whoever builds the best engine now can build the best engine in the future.

"I can see Mercedes out the front again, and actually it could even mean a step forward," the seven-time world champion said.



Marko weighs up future for Webber, Alguersuari

Helmut Marko insists Red Bull has not decided whether Mark Webber should remain Sebastian Vettel's teammate at the dominant team in 2012.

All the 'silly season' talk in the last few days has been about Lewis Hamilton switching from McLaren, but Red Bull's driver manager Marko told Bild am Sonntag that he doesn't think the 2008 world champion is available.

"To our knowledge he is with McLaren until 2013, which is a long time," said the Austrian.

"We need someone who is as good as Sebastian, because we have found that the constructors' title is very interesting financially, and you can do it only with two strong drivers," insisted Marko.

Webber, 34, helped Red Bull win the 2010 titles and almost won the drivers' championship himself, but has struggled alongside Vettel in the otherwise-dominant RB7.

"He has told us that he wants to go on with us for another year. We are looking at this," Marko said. "Stability is important for a team."

He played down the likelihood that Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari are ready for the move to Red Bull.

"Our young guys at Toro Rosso have missed the last little spark (for that)," he said.

The heat is particularly on Jaime Alguersuari, who is said to be in immediate danger of losing his seat to the next Red Bull hotshoe, Daniel Ricciardo.

"In the simulator and in practice, his results are very good, but we need to see what he can do in the race."

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