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F1 Ð THE SEVENTH WON OF THE SEVENTH ONEÉ..

  Yes I know, a slightly dodgy religious reference there but what the hell. Or more to the point, when the hell will this run of different winners end? Seven races, seven different winners, will Valencia give us eight from eight or will one of the magnificent seven finally double up? Of the magnificent seven, only Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa have won at Valencia before (Rubens is no longer about) so unless one of these two wins we will be seeing another first. But that’s all in the future, last time out it was the Hoon who was in a determined mood and sliced through the field to become the seventh one…

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  And once again it was all about the black stuff at each corner of the cars, how you managed them and how many times, and when, you changed them. For the Hoon, and for victory, it was two stops. The first, relatively early was on lap 17 and that stop was mostly to cover off the Red Rags who were running first and fourth at that point. Vettel came in from the lead on lap 16 and Webber pitted just behind the Hoon. That left the unlikely King Fernando in the lead until he pitted on lap 19 and then Grosjean held top spot for a lap before he pitted as well. Paul di Resta had been running a promising fifth early but a disastrous early pit stop on lap 13 saw his re-emerge down in fifteenth place, a position he was never to recover from. Also pitting on that lap was Schumacher’s Mercedes and he came out behind the Force India and was promptly passed by the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. A DRS wing failure was to put him out of the race but he was never going to bother the scorers on a day when his team mate was always in the top ten. 

 

  While all this was going on Sergio Perez was skulking around in the Sauber, making his way up into the points on the harder tyres with an eye on the long game. So everything now revolved around who was going to stop again and who was going to gamble on getting to the end. Webber and the Hoon were always going to two stop and both did slightly after two thirds of the race was run. The difference here was that the Hoon stopped from the lead while Webber had been stuck behind the one-stopping Raikkonen and Perez for almost twenty laps so when he came out he was down in eighth place with no hope of redemption. Red Bull had buggered their strategy once again. With their lack of straight line speed it was painfully obvious that they needed to bring Mark in earlier than planned and put him in some clear air but they left him trundling about behind the Sauber while those behind, Rosberg, Grosjean and Massa, closed in. Rosberg pitted as soon as he joined the back of the queue on lap 38 and was therefore easily ahead of Webber once Mark had pitted. As were Grosjean and Massa and amazingly enough, Grosjean was not going to pit again. The only guy who could make a long second stint work was the ever improving Lotus driver.

 

 

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  Romain had stopped just one lap later than King Fernando and five laps later than Vettel but as the Ferrari and Red Rag tyre’s grip “fell off the cliff” the Lotus was still setting front running times and easily breezed past both in the final ten laps to finish a superb second. Again Red Bull blew their chances by leaving Vettel out too long. They must have been hoping for enough tyre life to one stop, but as the first stopper, back on lap 16, that was always unrealistic and when he finally came in, after having lost three places in two laps, his podium chances were as buggered as Mark’s. King Fernando and Ferrari played out the gamble and that worked even less well. Between lap 63 and the end on lap 70 he dropped from the lead to fifth place and almost lost that to the fast closing Rosberg as well. So who ended up in third? The skulker did. The very late one-stopping Sergio Perez who was by now on the softer tyres, which, now that the track had rubbered up, were not just faster, but just as durable, stormed through for his second podium finish this year.

 

 

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   All this meant that the Hoon, who had stopped for the second time on lap 50, had no real opposition on his way to becoming the years seventh winner. On fresh tyres he made up the twenty second deficit at over two seconds a lap and then passed, first Vettel, and then King Fernando, within another three laps to regain the lead. This was the Hoon at his feisty, aggressive best and a thoroughly deserved win.

    So will we have a dual winner at Valencia or The Potent Eight? Well you would think that we are running out of realistic possible new winners but are we?. It is a track that Felipe Massa has won at before so despite his poor form since his injury he may rise to the occasion. Either Lotus driver, Kimi Raikkonen or Romain Grosjean, are possibilities, as are the team-mates to winners Rosberg and Maldonado, ie Schumacher and Senna. Or the skulker himself. After all, Perez damned near won in Malaysia so there is no reason he, or even possibly Kamikaze Kobayashi won’t win before this amazing season is out.

   One way or another, we have no way of knowing what the next race will throw up and that makes each race even more exciting. Thanks be praised to Pirelli for making it so…

 For full results go to;

 http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=148&dir=ASC&order=name&limit=5&limitstart=10 

Sam Snape 

13/06/2012