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Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Sunday, 26 June 2011 16:25 UK

European Grand Prix as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1620: POLL UPDATE: Unfortunately some technical issues mean that we're unable to bring you the final percentages from our Driver of the Day vote, but our last snap-shot was as follows: Vettel 24.5%, Alonso 23.9%, Alguersuari 20.1%. Bosh. Thanks.

1545: With BBC One coverage at an end - don't forget to check out our F1 Forum online and on the Red Button, of course - I'll take this opportunity to wrap up the commentary and thank you for reading and for all your Tweets and texts. All that's left for me to do is bring you the results of our 'Driver of the Day' poll, with your top three: Vettel, Alonso and Alguersuari. Full percentage results of that will follow soon, by the way. Which is nice. Anyway, next stop: Silverstone. Any chance of a British winner?

Michael from Thurrock via text: "The back half of the field are fighting as much if not more than anyone, yet they get no points. Do you not think it would be fairer for all racers to be able to get points, if they finish?"

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari on speculation about his future: "I'm here because I enjoy Formula 1. I think I am doing a good job, I'm learning a lot, and I think my best is still to come. I don't really care if my future is on the line - I do my very best job race after race and I think we can score points at Silverstone in two weeks. Problems are always in life and you always need to push to recover those problems. I think we're doing a good job and recovering pace."

Force India's Paul di Resta, who finished 14th: "It was a great battle at the end, there, but there was a lot of traffic and it wasn't ideal because it compromised our strategy a bit. At best we could possibly have finished 10th or 11th but the small differences went against us today."

Michael Schumacher, after finishing 17th: "Knocking off my front wing was my own problem. I tried to keep my position with [Vitaly] Petrov but I simply could not stop. I locked my fronts and slid into him. Then, my race was pretty much done. The pace was there for seventh or eighth. This was the maximum I anticipated and the maximum we could have got."

Anon via text: "Some of the comments must have affected Lewis Hamilton because he didn't drive like his usual exciting and brilliant self. For me he's the best and adds interest to an otherwise predictable (Vettel winning) race."

1520: Sarah Holt's race report is in, ladies and gentlemen, so here's a samplet for you all: "Vettel led from lights to flag, and always appeared in control, but 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 ensure he remained in control."

Jenson Button: "It wasn't the most exciting race was it? After the start when I lost position and then regained position from Nico Rosberg, I don't think I saw another car all race. Overall, the pace wasn't there for us. We need some really good upgrades going forward. We need to get our heads down and come up with something - particularly aerodynamically, I think. We need to take some risks. There's a big gap behind us to the Mercedes and a big gap in front of us in terms of Ferrari and Red Bull. I do know of some new parts that are coming but we need some more. We need to take some steps forward."

Lewis Hamilton: "Well, this was a good result compared to the last race [laughing]! We got a bad start - a very, very poor start - and I lost position to the Ferraris. But we weren't as fast as the Ferraris anyway so I'm not sure I could have held them off anyway. I think we've taken a step back this weekend - or maybe the others have gone forward. I think we're quite a bit down in down-force. We haven't made an upgrade on that for several weeks, especially rear down-force, and I think that in the next race we may really struggle again. Once we lose the engine map, though, we can come back."

Fernando Alonso: "It was an interesting race for the fans to see the fight with Webber all the way through. At the beginning I was behind him trying not to be too far behind ahead of the first pitstop. The opportunity came later when I overtook him underbraking into Turn 12. In the pits, they did a good job to overtake us and then my team did a good strategy to get us back in front. In the end, I think second place was the maximum we could hope for. It was a great achievement for the team. We're definitely moving in the right direction but need to keep working."

aaron1606 on Twitter: "Even if Vettel doesn't score again, he still can't be passed in the championship until Spa - AUGUST 28th!"

Race winner Sebastian Vettel: "Maybe from the outside, it looked like a boring race but I enjoyed it so much. 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. Again 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 with no real fast corners, but we still managed to put everything together."

1505: Drivers' conference time...

Force India on Twitter: "A strong race for Adrian getting the maximum from the car to finish P9. Paul also pushed hard to come home in P14. Next stop, Silverstone!"

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: "Red Bull are very, very strong and it is disappointing that we didn't have their race pace here today. We were disappointed with the start because if you're in traffic here, it's difficult to manage the tyres. Every circuit is different, though, so we'll be working on getting closer to them at Silverstone."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner: "Sebastian [Vettel] really enjoyed his afternoon, it was a fantastic race - he got it right from start to finish. It was tight with Alonso throughout. It wasn't as easy as it looked."

1458: By the way, you've still got time to have your say on your 'Driver of the Day' on our poll on the right-hand side. Get involved.

BBC F1 chief analyst on Eddie Jordan on Sebastian Vettel's championship lead: "It's a terrific lead - already unassailable if you ask me."

1455: Anthem time now and it's a contest between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the beaming smile of the day award. Vettel is now the first man to score a first or second in the first eight races of a Formula 1 season, dropping just 14 points this campaign so far.

1450: Sebastian Vettel's championship lead is now 77 points, by the way. More than three race wins. Staggering.

1449: And there's the finger - how his opponents must hate that - as Sebastian Vettel celebrates his sixth win of the season in typical style.

1447: Mark Webber eased off at the end there because of those gearbox problems so he follows Fernando Alonso to the flag by some distance. Lewis Hamilton finishes in fourth, Felipe Massa fifth and Jenson Button sixth. Nico Rosberg is next in the finishing order, one ahead of arguably the performer of the day Jaime Alguersuari, up from 18th on the grid to an eighth-placed finish. Brilliant. Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld complete the top 10.

1445: Pole position, fastest lap time, race win... completely dominant from Sebastian Vettel in Valencia. "This is the best one so far," screams the jubilant German over his Red Bull radio at the flag. Easy.

Chequered flag

Lap 57: Final lap and it's a procession for Sebastian Vettel...

Lap 56: Penultimate lap and it looks like the finishing order is all but settled. Only Adrian Sutil - 0.6 seconds behind Jaime Alguersuari in the race for eighth - has a realistic chance of a pass left in him.

Lap 55: Felipe Massa is once again taking baby bites out of Lewis Hamilton's advantage in fourth but it looks like the flag will come too soon for the Ferrari man to snatch a position from his McLaren rival. Sebastian Vettel set a new fastest lap of the race two circuits ago - a 1:41.852. This is a walk in the park for the German and his Red Bull.

Lap 54: "We've got a gearbox problem, we need you to short-shift the lower gears." That's the message over the team radio for Red Bull's Mark Webber - and that is the end of that battle for second. Barring mechanical failure or something a little dicier up front, your front three will be Sebastian Vettel-Fernando Alonso-Mark Webber.

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Adrian Sutil (running in ninth) has driven a brilliant race for Force India - it will be the third year in a row he has scored points in Valencia."

Lap 53: Just one race of note left in this one at the front, then, for my money with five laps remaining - and that's Fernando Alonso v Mark Webber in the battle for second. The Ferrari currently leads the Red Bull by 2.4 seconds but Webber is lapping a touch quicker at the moment and with traffic up ahead that could yet be one to keep an eye on...

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "Only three Grands Prix in the sport's history have seen every driver finish with no retirements - the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix and the 2005 Italian and United States Grand Prix. The most finishers ever in a grand prix is 23. That was back in the Chinese Grand Prix earlier this year."

Lap 51: Your leading pack following all the pit-stops, then, is Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Madda, Button, Rosber, Alguersuari, Sutil and Heidfeld. This will feel like a win for Fernando Alonso if it stays like this, surely.

Lap 50: And they are out behind Lewis Hamilton, who is now back running in fourth. In the race for second, meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has weathered the storm as he has extended his lead from Mark Webber to 2.5 seconds.

Lap 49: Felipe Massa and Jenson Button are the last of the front-runners to make their final pit...

Lap 48: Leader Sebastian Vettel pits at the end of 47 with a lead of 20 seconds - he's back out in first and this is now his to lose. But then, wasn't it always?

Lap 47: The pack is concertina-ring badly now as the pack bunch up around the pits... Paul di Resta engaged in a titanic battle with Kamui Kobayashi in the battle for 14th. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, looks a lot happier on those new tyres, he's lapping again in the 1:42s.

Lap 46: Bit surprising - maybe on account of the traffic out on track - as Fernando Alonso pits at the end of 45... but it works out well as the Spaniard emerges in front of Red Bull rival Mark Webber. Webber's tyres will be that much warmer than the Ferraris, though - will Alonso be able to hold him off while he gets some heat in his rubber?

Lap 44: The consensus seems to be that Fernando Alonso might now stay out on the softs as long as he can in a bid to eat some time - and therefore a position - out of his Red Bull rivals.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "I've come down to the Red Bull garage and they all look very happy which just underlines how miserable they look at McLaren."

Lap 43: It's not great news for Mark Webber as he re-emerges behind Vitaly Petrov and Rubens Barrichello in the battle for the back places. Is that going to cost Webber the chance to get the most out of these new compounds? And will that open the door for Fernando Alonso? Alonso responds with his fastest second sector of the race... Lewis Hamilton is back in fifth, 9.9 behind Felipe Massa.

Lap 43: Key pit. Mark Webber is the first of the front-runners in and on to the medium compound... and he is followed in by Lewis Hamilton.

Lap 42: Felipe Massa has brought the gap down to less than five seconds from Lewis Hamilton now. The McLaren man is lapping at almost two seconds slower than the front three at the moment. Struggle.

Lap 40: As Sebastian Vettel posts another fastest lap (a 1:41.926) at the front of the pack, Nico Rosberg finally gets the better of Jaime Alguersuari in the race for seventh, the Mercedes man passing at Turn 12 to snatch a place from the Toro Rosso man.

Lap 39: With less than 20 laps of this race remaining now, Sebastian Vettel's lead from Mark Webber is 2.8 seconds, with Fernando Alonso 1.4 further back and Lewis Hamilton 24.5 off the lead. Felipe Massa continues to take bites out of the Briton in third, but is it enough to leapfrog the McLaren before the end of the race? The third and last pit-stop of the front six could prove pivotal...

Lap 37: Sebastian Vettel does indeed look uber-comfortable out there at the moment, the championship leader bringing the best lap times down all the time. Jamie Alguersuari, meanwhile, running in an impressive seventh ahead of Nico Rosberg is told to stay out for six more laps.

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "When Sebastian Vettel is out in front, that is when he is at his most comfortable."

Lap 36: And it sounds now like Lewis Hamilton, in fourth, is paying the price for not looking after his rear tyres earlier as Felipe Massa is taking a second a lap off the McLaren driver's lead.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Everything is overheating down here in Valencia. Red Bull is looking good but Button's Kers has overheated. It looks like with the higher track temperatures, tyre degradation has been higher than expected. So it looks like the result will come down to whoever looks after the hard tyre best."

Lap 35: Fernando Alonso is just having a look again at Mark Webber in second as the Ferrari-Red Bull battle for the best-of-the-rest continues. It doesn't sounds like good news for Jenson Button back in sixth, by the way, with the Briton complaining his Kers isn't working - and there is talk of a possible retirement for the McLaren driver as a result.

Lap 33: It's a poor stop from Felipe Massa, though, as one his crew miss the wheel gun on the rear tyre and it costs him as he now has Jenson Button all over him in the battle for fifth. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, sets the fastest lap of the race up front with a 1:42.491. His lead from team-mate Webber is 1.8 seconds, with Fernando Alonso 1.7 further back in third. Lewis Hamilton is 12 seconds back in fourth, leading Massa by 14 seconds.

Lap 32: Bosh - a lovely pass from Mark Webber sees the Red Bull man back up to second as he takes Felipe Massa on Turn 17, with the Brazilian now in danger of holding up Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. As a result, Massa comes in at the end of 31...

Lap 31: In, now, come Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.

Lap 30: Ferrari are out to welcome Fernando Alonso and in comes the Spaniard - potentially key pit-stop this - but Red Bull have outdone the Prancing Horse as Mark Webber undercuts Alonso courtesy of stopping one lap earlier. Warning, meanwhile, from McLaren engineer to Lewis Hamilton: "Your rear tyres are very hot, very hot," he says, to which Hamilton responds: "I can't go any slower." He's not looking after the tyres too well but Hamilton is racing, that's for sure.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "The key thing that Vettel has up his sleeve is that though Ferrari are going well on the option tyre and matching the Red Bull driver for pace now, we know the car is unhappy on the prime tyre."

Lap 29: Mark Webber is in for his second stop, the Australian Red Bull re-emerging in fourth. What response from Ferrari now then? Lewis Hamilton, clearly taking on board his team's concerns about his tyres, sets a new fastest lap with a 1:43.077. He did say he wouldn't change his attacking style...

Lap 28: Concerns abound that Lewis Hamilton is taking too much out of those tyres too soon. Hhmm.

Lap 27: Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race so far on his new tyres with a 1:43.144 on lap 26 - he trails McLaren team-mate Jenson Button by 7.9 seconds.

Lap 26: Sebastian Vettel is maintaining his lead from Fernando Alonso at around 3.2 seconds, the Spaniard's lead from Mark Webber in turn 1.6 seconds. The front three as it stands very comfortable.

Lap 25: Correction - Lewis Hamilton is running in sixth behind McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, ahead of seventh-placed Mercedes Nico Rosberg.

Lap 25: It's not even as long as that for Lewis Hamilton as he pits at the end of lap 24, he re-emerges his seventh.

Lap 24: Fastest lap of the race now from Mark Webber, his lap 23 a 1:43.583. Lewis Hamilton is told over team radio to "hang in" on his tyres for another lap or two - it looks like the Briton is struggling a touch on those bad boys now.

Lap 23: Sebastian Vettel's lead from Fernando Alonso is now just 2.9 seconds, though the German has responded with his fastest lap of the race. Alonso still holds the fastest lap of anyone in the race so far, though, thanks to his circuit of 1:43.803 on lap 18. Lewis Hamilton trails Mark Webber by 4.5 seconds and is making few inroads on the Australian.

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "If you look at Fernando Alonso's pace, you have to say the Ferrari is looking after its tyres better than any other car on the circuit."

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Lewis Hamilton's stop on lap 14 is bang on for three-stop strategy. He's due to stop again on lap 28 and 42

Lap 21: Boomtown. Opportunist and brilliant from Fernando Alonso as he takes Mark Webber on the inside going into Turn 12 - feinting to take him on the outside before diving inside and completing the pass - and that could be a key, key move in this Grand Prix. Can the Ferrari man pile the pressure on leader Sebastian Vettel now? Michael Schumacher will face no punishment for that earlier collision, meanwhile - it has been deemed a racing incident.

Lap 20: There's no doubt that it's in the third and final sector that Red Bull are managing to maintain position at the front of this race, Fernando Alonso continually out-pacing Mark Webber in the first two sectors, only to lose as much as half a second in the third sector. Still, the Spaniard is right in the Australian's slip-stream anyway...

Lap 19: Fernando Alonso is now all over Mark Webber in the battle for second. Lewis Hamilton, as a result, is closing on the pair of them - the Briton is now just 2.6 seconds behind in fourth. Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, is under investigation for the earlier collision - on a Renault - that caused that damage to his front wing.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "The stops worked out badly for Felipe Massa as has dropped behind Lewis Hamilton. That was a result of privilege system at Ferrari. Alonso was ahead on the road and had the choice on strategy. Alonso kept saying he wanted to stay out longer, so Massa had no choice but to wait."

Lap 17: Sebastian Vettel once again, then, leads the European Grand Prix by 2.4 seconds from Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who has just been held up by a Hispania. Not happy is the Australian. Third is Fernando Alonso, 1.8 secs ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who has gained a place on that pit stop to jump ahead of Felipe Massa, now running 5.5 back in fifth. Behind them it's Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Jaime Alguersuari and Sergio Perez, the last two drivers yet to pit.

Lap 16: Felipe Massa is in the pits. Updated running order to follow...

Lap 15: Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are into the pits now, just as Lewis Hamilton sets a new fastest lap of the race with a 1:44.114. That leaves only Felipe Massa of the front-runners not to pit yet. Michael Schumacher, running in ninth, has a broken front wing... though it doesn't stop him over-taking a Force India on his run back to the pits.

Lap 14: He was running seventh, but Lewis Hamilton absolutely flies by Michael Schumacher on the straight into Turn 12. Easy.

Lap 14: And now Mark Webber pits, similarly re-emerging on a new set of softs also. Further back, Nick Heidfeld passes Adrian Sutil, who had just emerged from the pits himself. Lewis Hamilton, on those new tyres, posts the fastest final sector time of the race so far. He's running seventh.

Lap 13: Lewis Hamilton is the first of the front-runners into the pits at the end of lap 12 and he re-emerges on a new set of softs. Nico Rosberg also comes in.

Baberuth_Zelda on Twitter: "Cautious start from both McLarens, Hamilton & Button. Easy to understand after what happened last week."

Lap 11: Ooh - Felipe Massa runs wide going into Turn 17 of lap 10 and there is a window of opportunity for Lewis Hamilton to overtake the Brazilian's Ferrari... that the Briton, perhaps a touch cautious, cannot take. As you were.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "We think strategy-wise, Vettel has the luxury of choosing whether he does a two or three stop strategy. Today, a two-stop is about seven seconds quicker than a three-stop."

Lap 10: Sebastian Vettel is slowly stretching his lead over Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber - the gap is now 2.7 seconds - and Lewis Hamilton, running fifth, is already seven seconds off the leader. Hamilton's lead over McLaren team-mate is 7.6 seconds.

Lap nine: Felipe Massa, running fourth, sets the fastest first sector time of anyone in the race so far as he maintains a gap of around 1.6 seconds to team-mate Fernando Alonso. Further back, just a couple of seconds separates Barrichello, Kobayashi, Buemi and Alguersuari in the battle for 12-15.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "All of the front=runners are on the option tyre which will only last for around 15 laps, so it's all about who can make them last the longest."

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "That pass was a very calculated move from Jenson Button, he got into Nico Rosberg's slipstream and was able to brake an awful lot later than his rival on turn two, although he still has to shake off the Mercedes as he couldn't pull clear going into the DRS detection zone."

Lap seven: Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1:44.712. The gaps between the drivers behind him are fairly consistent around the one second area, with Jenson Button 7.3 seconds off McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton in sixth.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Down at McLaren, there's a general sense of irritation regarding Lewis Hamilton's start. There are no clear problems with car so it looks like the clutch overheated while on the grid. The team will have to wait for the pit stops to try to jump the Ferraris."

Lap six: And there it is - a fabulous move as Jenson Button goes up the inside of Nico Rosberg, brakes late, and passes the German at Turn Two. Talking of defence mode, Mark Webber has Fernando Alonso closing in in his rearview mirror, the Ferrari man barely a second behind the Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel's lead is two seconds.

Lap five: Jenson Button is crawling over the back of Nico Rosberg in the battle for sixth, the German firmly in defensive mode already. That pass is surely only a matter of time - but already the Briton is nearly 10 seconds off leader Sebastian Vettel in his McLaren. Ominous.

Lap four: Replays of that start show Lewis Hamilton just didn't get away off the start and was all too easily passed by the Ferraris. It also shows that Felipe Massa, had he been a touch more committed on Turn Two, might have held off team-mate Fernando Alonso. Instead he relented and the Spaniard was through.

Lap two: Sebastian Vettel leads from Mark Webber by 1.3 seconds, then, with Ferrari pairing Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa 0.9 and then 0.7 further back. Perfect start for the Red Bulls.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "Amazingly they all got through the first two turns without making any contact. That's unusual here."

Lap one: It's a poor start, too, for McLaren's Jenson Button as he is passed by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, pushing the Briton down into seventh.

Lap one: Horrid start for Lewis Hamilton as he is immediately passed by Ferrari pair Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, the latter initially yielding position to his team-mate before re-taking the Brazilian on Turn Two. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are trouble-free at the front.

1303: Go go go...

1303: The drivers are all set, the lights are on...

1300: Here go the cars on their installation laps, and all the front runners are on the soft option tyres - by far the quicker options on this track this weekend.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard on the warm conditions in Valencia: "As the track temperature goes up, it changes the chemical reaction between the tyres and the circuit. A two-stop strategy would normally be the fastest way of getting through the race but as the temperature continues to go up, a three-stop may become more of a valid option."

1258: The drivers all sat in their cars on the grid now awaiting their installation lap. Lewis Hamilton, in particular, looks the very definition of focus. I wonder... Sounds like there's a big difference between the left and right hand side of the grid in terms of grip, too - those on the left might just enjoy a big advantage on that side. Keep your eye out for that one.

1255: T-minus five minutes until race time. Excitement building.

Jamesallenonf1 on Twitter: "We've had only a handful of overtakes at Valencia over the last three years, expect a few today with double DRS zone."

Mercedes on Twitter: "Ten minutes to go before the formation lap in Valencia - hot and sunny."

1248: And a reminder with race time drawing ever nearer that I want your thoughts throughout the day, so drop me a line via text on 81111 or through Twitter using #bbcf1 or @sampatricklyon.

Force India driver Adrian Sutil on Paul di Resta: "He's a great team-mate, we have a great relationship. Hopefully we'll be scoring points and hopefully it will be today."

1245: Now seems a good time for me to remind you about two of our new features this season. First up, we have our driver tracker - a graphic showing the live location of all the cars on the track during the race. And then, of course, we have our Formula 1 poll on the right-hand side. During the race we want you to vote for your driver of the day and we'll announce your winner at close of play today.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Now don't get too despondent, but few in the paddock are betting against Sebastian Vettel disappearing off into the distance on his way to a second straight win in Valencia. On the plus side, Lewis Hamilton came really close to jumping Vettel off the line last season and this year the McLaren can also make use of his powerful Kers power boost to help him move forward off the line from on the grid. Mark Webber starts alongside his Red Bull team-mate Vettel on the front row but the Australian is on the dirty side of the grid. Hamilton will aim to get past Webber quickly - just as he did last year. A couple of mistakes saw Fernando Alonso under-qualify in fourth and the Spaniard will also be hustling hard with the advantage of Ferrari's race pace. Expect plenty of movement through the field but a two-stop strategy the prefered option - although rising track temperatures could make three a necessity."

Ferrari on Twitter: "Fernando is leaving the garage for his parade run. Same programme for Felipe who is firing up his car now."

McLaren driver Jenson Button on his thrilling last-lap Montreal victory: "It was nice to see Vettel make a mistake under pressure. I think the fans and Formula 1 as a whole wanted to see that. Hopefully if we pressure them, we can see more mistakes and then take advantage."

1234: Of course, not everyone has written off hope of someone challenging the Red Bulls today. In fact, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says: "It's a bit tighter at the front, I think, and I hope it's easier to overtake here than traditionally. Let's see what's possible in the race. It's our business to believe we can beat the Red Bulls. It's tough but in the last few races we've had a quicker race car and you can overtake this season as has been shown. It's tough, but it's easy to get strategy wrong - they could get it wrong, we could get it wrong. We'll see." Where's ya money?

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso: "The first time Spain saw Formula 1 live on TV was in 2004 and then 2005 and 2006 were my best years because I won the championship. There's a lot of passion for Formula 1 in Spain. Every time I go out to a restaurant or the cinema, there are crazy people around me but it's nice to have all of that support and I hope I can pay them back with a great result today."

hazkhimji on Twitter: "I think Webber will get this one, followed by Hamilton, with Vettel not finishing. Should make the championship more interesting."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Williams driver Pastor Maldonado starts in 15th after a suspected fuel-pump problem left him stranded on track in the second phase of qualifying. The Venezuelan rookie was running in the points at the last two races before shunts from Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi ended his races. 'We were so close in the past and I was so disappointed,' Maldonado said. 'But I'm sure we can finally get some points here. Our car is still not 100% but the potential is still quite good. Now I'm more confident with the car and the team and I'm getting better and better. I love the track so I should be able to have a very good race."

BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan on Valencia's street circuit which yielded just one overtaking move last year: "We want to see if the new regulations are working and this is the prime circuit to test them out. There's huge affection for the circuit from a lot of people, me included, but we have to be certain that we can get a proper race with plenty of action."

Lotus's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne: "10 mins to pit lane opening, going to be a very warm afternoons work."

Mercedes' driver Michael Schumacher (who starts eighth): "Where we are, there's not much chance to look forward in race trim. It's going to be more about staying in position where we are and take the points that we can take."

1223: Ever wanted to pose a question to the Formula 1 commentating legend that is Murray Walker? Well you've only got a chance to do exactly that right now, haven't you! He'll be filming the next entries for his video blog tomorrow and that means he needs your help - so pop on over to his blog and ask the great man that burning ponderer that's been weighing on your mind.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Lewis Hamilton has been under a cloud of criticism after his performances at the last two races in Monaco and Canada saw him get in hot water with the stewards, complain about his fellow drivers and get tangled up in four collisions. In response, the 26-year-old McLaren driver says he has gathered his thoughts and will not 'think twice' before making any potentially risky overtaking manoeuvres in Valencia. 'I want to finish for the team, that's the key,' Hamilton said. 'I will always remain as aggressive as I am. But instead of thinking once about it, maybe you'll perhaps think twice. The opportunity will most likely come round again. If that means you are more cautious, then so be it, but when I get the opportunity I am going to attack and try to overtake.'"

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard reflects on Jenson Button's victory in Montreal: "That was an incredible drive from Jenson. He was running four or five seconds a lap quicker than anyone else. Vettel was under pressure. He put a wheel out on the damp and he made a mistake. Jenson loves those tricky conditions."

MattB_UK on Twitter: "Wow, that video on the Canadian GP was brilliant. Superbly put together by the BBC."

1215: Golly. Just sat through the highlights again of the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Goosebumps. What a win that was for Jenson Button - sensational - any chance we'll be looking back at that come the season's end as the campaign's turning point?

ForwardSlashed on Twitter: "It's the hottest day of the year in London but I haven't missed a live race yet so I shall be at home till the end."

Uptonpoker via text: "Any idea how many overtaking manoeuvres Button pulled off in Canada. And what the record is?"
He completed 14 overtakes in the last five laps, I know that...

Five Live analyst Anthony Davidson: "Started my day at the Virgin motorhome, then (green) Lotus, Williams, and finally the FIA. Now that's what you call good progression."

1210: We are up and running on BBC One with Jake, DC, EJ and the team. Get involved.

1209: Here we go people, air bass at the ready...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Ferrari chassis director Pat Fry was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked whether the Italian team still had time to catch up with Red Bull. Fry, a former McLaren engineer, did say he was hopeful Ferrari would be able to 'turn it around again' but warned the team had to keep developing all the time. Ferrari recovered from a difficult start at last year's British Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso has spoken repeatedly of his hopes that the next race at Silverstone will again be a turning point. 'Whether it's a landmark race, I don't know,' commented Fry. 'We are trying to look at the way we run the wind tunnel. We have a lot of very clever people at Ferrari. We are just trying to give them space to try and come up with ideas and be more creative.'"

Former F1 driver Alex Wurz on Twitter: "Just checked the grid - Webber's spot has by far the most rubber, hence highest grip level."

Force India on Twitter: "Temperatures are quite a bit hotter than yesterday. Track is currently 43 degrees and rising..."

1200: An hour to go until our 1300 BST race, then, let me remind you of our grid positions (on the off chance you can't see our running order on the right-hand side). Sebastian Vettel heads a Red Bull one-two alongside Mark Webber on the front row ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Following behind are Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa, the McLaren of Jenson Button, Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher and then Renault's Nick Heidfeld ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil. That's five Germans in the top 10, that. Blimey.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Paul di Resta starts the grand prix in 12th for Force India. The Scot is determined to make amends for a disappointing race in Canada two weeks' ago when he was chasing Nick Heidfeld for fourth but clipped the Renault and retired. 'Races are normally our stronger point,' Di Resta said. 'And we can be relatively hopeful from where we are. I've never driven here in a race so I've no idea what the cars are like, how many stops there'll be or how long the tyres last on high fuel. There is a double DRS zone so I presume there'll be a double chance to overtake."

Ivy, London via text: "Why is it that clipping Red Bull seems the spirit these days? Why is not to catch them by each team to come with clever way to their car? You see both expressions show the same purpose only that the first one is so negative as if doing the right thing to make the car fast and winning the race like Red Bull is something to cut off."

ankush83 on Twitter: "Surely Button can win the race from sixth, no?"

1152: Talking of this Valencia track, then, I imagine you wouldn't mind a look around it, right? How about in the company of a dashing Brazilian? A Formula 1 veteran who has been there, done it and sent the t-shirt through 467 hot washes? Then you'll want to check out our Valencia track guide with Williams driver Rubens Barrichello. Aces.

Matt in Glastonbury via text: "Sitting in the Glastonbury sun finishing off breakfast, and very much looking forward to the race! In fact it's so warm here I'm debating wearing white trousers, in homage to EJ and DC..."

iamdanthomas on Twitter: "Sam, I've had two dreams recently in which Hamilton crashes out. Either I'm prophetic or I need to get out more..."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia: "Buenos dias. It's a beautiful day in Valencia with brilliant blue skies reflected in the glistening Mediterranen waters that lap the race track around the Juan Carlos I marina. This is the fourth year the European Grand Prix has been held here but, despite its summery setting, the stop-start street circuit has a bit of a bad reputation. With the paddock, garages and media centre spread out along the vast former America's Cup venue, there's a sense the typical F1 buzz is lacking. The drivers say it is difficult to find a rhythm and overtake on the stop-start circuit. One F1 journalist even asked: 'Has anyone got anything good to say about Valencia?' I think it's a great stop on the F1 calendar here, but if others need convincing after a rather lacklustre qualifying session then an exciting race should be just the tonic. And there's not been a grand prix in 2011 that's let us down so far, has there?"

1148: Our girl on the scene of course, as always, is Sarah Holt - and she's been talking up our hopes of a good race day...

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Sebastian Vettel can become only the third driver in F1 history to set a streak of at least 10 consecutive podium finishes."

1145: Am I winning you over? Blowing bubbles into the wind? I want you to let me know... via text on 81111 or through Twitter using hashtag #bbcf1 or @sampatricklyon. Let's get cooking.

1141: Well maybe, just maybe, it's not quite as cut and dried as all that. The Ferraris are improving race-on-race, the McLarens have shown already in the last couple of outings their race pace is as good - if not better - than the Red Bulls, and despite traditionally being a circuit around which it is difficult to overtake many are expecting thrills and spills around the Valencia track this year. Oh yes, and the Red Bulls' Kers is not particularly reliable is it? A big factor on this circuit with its long straights. In short - let's not count our chickens.

1138: Listening to the post-qualifying interviews of those behind the Red Bulls yesterday... hope was in short supply. Lewis Hamilton was simply targeting a podium place, Fernando Alonso set his sights firmly on usurping McLaren and even Jenson Button's claims he and the McLarens could "race" the Red Bulls had the hollow echo of wild optimism about them. It's basically Vettel's to lose, then, right?

1135: As Lloyd Grossman might say... let's look at the evidence: eight qualifying sessions so far this season, seven of them dominated by Vettel's Red Bull; seven championship races so far this season, five of them won by Vettel's Red Bull; Vettel is the reigning champion, is regarded by insiders as one of the finest drivers in the sport, and his car is fast. Very fast. What hope have the others got?

1130: They hoped he'd crack under pressure. They hoped the technological changes would impair the Red Bulls's performance. They hoped, at least, to give Sebastian Vettel a run for his money. And then the runaway championship leader went and secured a seventh pole position of the season and the hope drained away. Can anyone clip the Red Bulls' wings at the European Grand Prix in Valencia?

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2016

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 385
2 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 380
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 256
4 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 212
5 M Verstappen Red Bull 204
6 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 186
7 Mexico S Perez Force India 101
8 Finland V Bottas Williams 85
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 72
10 Spain F Alonso McLaren 54
11 Brazil F Massa Williams 53
12 C Sainz Toro Rosso 46
13 France R Grosjean Haas F1 29
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 25
15 Great Britain J Button McLaren 21
16 Denmark K Magnussen Lotus 7
17 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 2
18 J Palmer Lotus 1
19 P Wehrlein Manor Marussia F1 1
21 Mexico E Gutierrez Haas F1 0
22 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 0
23 E Ocon Manor Marussia F1 0

Points projected from latest race positions

see also
European Grand Prix practice results
08 Mar 11 |  Results
European Grand Prix photos
26 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel storms to Valencia pole
25 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Finishing is key, says Hamilton
25 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Red Bull play down Hamilton link
25 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
European GP qualifying as it happened
25 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
European GP qualifying photos
25 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Alonso heads Hamilton in practice
24 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
European GP practice as it happened
24 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
European GP practice photos
24 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Hamilton not feeling the pressure
23 Jun 11 |  Formula 1
Perez all clear for race return
24 Jun 11 |  Formula 1

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