Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen finished the European Grand Prix on the new Valencia street circuit in second and fourth positions respectively. After 57 laps (310.080km), Lewis came home 5.6sec behind winner...
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen finished the European Grand Prix on the new Valencia street circuit in second and fourth positions respectively. After 57 laps (310.080km), Lewis came home 5.6sec behind winner Felipe Massa (Ferrari). Heikki was 39.7sec behind Felipe. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies; Lewis pitted on laps 17 (8.9sec) and 39 (7.1sec) while Heikki came in on laps 20 (9.4sec) and 43 (9.6sec). Vodafone McLaren Mercedes scored 13 points, more than any other team today, and reduced the gap in the Constructors' Championship behind the leader, Ferrari, from 11 points to eight points; after 12 of 18 races, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes now has 113 points, while Ferrari has 121. Lewis extended his lead in the drivers' rankings from five to six points; he now leads with 70 points ahead of Felipe (64 points). Heikki improved to fifth with 43 points.
"I can't complain with second place today. This was a strong weekend for us despite my having a few problems health-wise, but we pulled through. The track was pretty difficult to overtake on, but I maintained the gap - our lap times showed that our overall pace was good, which was encouraging. Heikki and I scored 13 points today, which is very positive for the team, so I'd describe it as a satisfactory weekend for us."
"My start was good, and I was consequently able to overtake Kimi before the first corner. However, I'm not really happy with how the race went for me after that, because I had grip problems with the prime tyres in the first and second stints - whereas with the option tyres in the last stint I had much better grip and traction. As a result I could close the gap to Robert Kubica a little. At least I scored five points, but a podium would have been much nicer. Having said that, it's good that the team scored a lot of points with Lewis's second place and my fourth place."
"We saw another extremely solid Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team performance today, the result of which was a very useful clutch of championship points, but in truth we lost the chance of outright victory yesterday in qualifying. In my view it's pretty clear that if Lewis had qualified with the same level of fuel as Felipe, he'd probably have been able to control the race from the front. But the nature of the circuit dictated that it was always going to be difficult for him to overtake today - and, that being the case, we opted fairly early on to take the championship-strategic option of settling for second place. Following on from his victory in Hungary, Heikki also drove very strongly and helped bolster our points total in the constructors' championship. He responded well to the pressure applied by Kimi and thoroughly deserved his fourth place."
"I am quite satisfied. Lewis leads the Drivers' World Championship, six points ahead of Felipe and 13 ahead of Kimi. No other team scored more points than we did today; we reduced the gap in the constructors' and extended the lead in the drivers' rankings. Congratulations to Felipe and Ferrari on their strong race and victory. The first grand prix here in Valencia was a great premiere - thank you to the organisers and to Bernie; this grand prix most certainly set an example. The most positive element was that the boxes containing our spare parts were kept closed all weekend - we didn't need to fit a single replacement part throughout a race weekend that everybody thought might be full of crashes. We will now continue to work hard in order to be well prepared for the final third of the season, which will begin with back-to-back races at Spa and Monza, two particularly challenging circuits that will put maximum stress on the engines."