June 27th, 2011, 20:56 PM
Sebastian Vettel beats Fernando Alonso in European GP
Sebastian Vettel ran a controlled race to collect his sixth win of the season for Red Bull at the European Grand Prix and stretch his championship lead.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won a tight battle with Red Bull's Mark Webber for second which earned the Spaniard his first podium in Valencia.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton fought high tyre wear to hold off Felipe Massa's fast-finishing Ferrari to take fourth.
Vettel's victory gives him a 77-point lead in the championship - an advantage of more than three clear wins after just eight races.
His closest challengers are now Button and Webber, who are tied on points, though the Englishman is classified ahead because he has won a race.
The Formula 1 paddock had buzzed with speculation that maybe Vettel's dominant run of form was beginning to crack when he lost the lead in the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks' ago on the last lap. But the 23-year-old German answered his doubters in emphatic fashion in Valencia and crossed the line saying: "This is the better than you can imagine."
Vettel led from lights to flag and always appeared in control, though his advantage over a battling Alonso and Webber was never that great until he stretched his legs as he approached the final pit stops to retain his lead.
"Maybe from the outside it looked like a boring race, but I enjoyed it so much," Vettel said.
"Of course I had some pressure from Fernando [Alonso] and Mark [Webber] behind and even though I had a gap before the stop, they were still very close.
"I was pushing hard, judging the tyres, trying to imagine what the end of the stint would be like.
"For some reason I enjoy this track. Last year I had a smooth race and again this year, I had a good race.
"This track is not made for us [Red Bull] with no real fast corners, but we still managed to put everything together."
European Grand Prix result:
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull-Renault
2. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari
3. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault
4. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes
5. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari
6. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren-Mercedes
7. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP
8. Jaime Alguersuari (Spa) Toro Rosso-Ferrari
9. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Mercedes
10. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Renault
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull-Renault 186 pts
2. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 109
3. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 109
4. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 97
5. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 87
6. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 42
7. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 32
8. Vitaly Petrov (Rus) Renault 31
9. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 30
10. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 26
1. Red Bull-Renault 295 pts
2. McLaren-Mercedes 206
3. Ferrari 129
4. Renault 61
5. Mercedes GP 58