Vettel hits F1 rivals for six
Red Bull's Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel turned the European Grand Prix into a stroll in the...
Red Bull's Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel turned the European Grand Prix into a stroll in the Spanish sunshine Sunday as he racked up his sixth victory in eight races this season.
Taking the chequered flag 10.8 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who gave the home crowd something to get excited about with his second podium of the year, the 23-year-old German was dominant from pole to finish.
"This is the best one so far," he shouted over the team radio after he crossed the line, even if millions of spectators might disagree after an afternoon with fewer thrills than in a single lap of the Canadian race two weeks ago.
Vettel is now 77 points clear of McLaren's Jenson Button and his own Australian team mate Mark Webber, who finished a solitary third and 27.2 seconds down the road, in the championship.
Red Bull have 295 points, McLaren 206 and Ferrari 129.
The German's 16th career triumph put him level with British great Stirling Moss in the all-time winners' list and means the champion now has such an advantage that he could go on holiday to the end of August and still stay in the lead.
The young driver has dropped just 14 points so far this year, finishing second in the two races he has not won.
"Maybe from the outside, I don't know how much was happening in the grand prix, it looked like a boring race but I enjoyed it so much," said Vettel, who never looked threatened throughout the 57 laps of the Mediterranean port city's street circuit.
"For some reason I enjoy this track," added the man who also won from pole last year in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Valencia</country-region>.
"Even though we come here every year and say 'hmm, this might be tricky because this track is not made for us 100 percent with no real fast corners, we still managed to put everything together and faultless this weekend."
Alonso said the podium, and a champagne celebration in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Spain</country-region>, was the target.
He got that that after a storming start and passing Webber on lap 22, losing the place back to the Australian in the pitstops and then recovering the runner-up position with 10 laps to go on the final round of stops.
"Finally with a normal race we get this chance to be on the podium to celebrate this fantastic weekend," he said. "I think this is the best result we can achieve now for them (the Spanish spectators)."
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who beat Vettel in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">China</country-region> in April, stayed out of trouble after two controversial races and finished in fourth place starting third but losing out to both Ferraris going into the first corner.
Nothing in his day's work gave him any reason to be optimistic, either, for his home British Grand Prix which is next up or for the title battle.
"I think it's finished really," the 2008 champion, now 89 points off the lead, told reporters. "In the sense of the championship it's almost over already.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fifth with Button, the winner of the <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Montreal epic, sixth.
"Wow! It wasn't the most exciting race was it?," commented Button, who had a tough time after his car's KERS system failed. "It was pretty boring. From my seat I didn't see another car for the entire race.
"I'm surprised I finished only eight seconds behind a Ferrari with the way the car felt...the Ferraris are in front of us and the Red Bulls are miles away."
<country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Germany</country-region>'s Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes with Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari eighth -- after qualifying only 18th and then doing only two stops to most others' three -- but lapped by the winner.
Adrian Sutil finished ninth for Force India with fellow German Nick Heidfeld claiming the last point for Renault ahead of Sauber's Mexican rookie Sergio Perez, returning after a two race absence due to his big crash in Monaco qualifying.
In a footnote for historians, the race was only the fourth grand prix since the championship started in 1950 to have no retirements -- the last being the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 2005. It was also the first with 24 finishers.