F1 Power Rankings: European Grand Prix

It’s back to Europe for the summer stretch of the Formula One World Championship. The European Grand Prix held around the streets of the harbour of Valencia is the fourth-to-last race before the annual summer break. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the worst races on the calendar. But with the KERS and double DRS zones, maybe there’s hope for this race. And hope is all 23 drivers in the field are clinging to if they think they can beat Sebastian Vettel.

#1 Sebastian Vettel (Last Race #1)
The 2011 World Champion on the differences between Valencia and Monaco: “The atmosphere around the harbour in Valencia is quite similar to Monaco, except that the Paddock is bigger and the garages are larger. The circuit is a street circuit, but the average speed is extremely high, so it’s tricky. In general you need a lot of wing for the corners and less for the relatively long straights, which means you have to find a compromise. There are no run-off zones, so you can’t make any mistakes – a small slide and you end up in the wall…”

#2 Jenson Button (LR #3)
Jenson has delusions of grandeur: “I wouldn’t say that winning in Montreal has given me extra motivation, because I was already totally committed, but I think it will help to sharpen the focus and conviction of everyone in the team. We’ve proved we can challenge and beat Sebastian [Vettel], and we know we can fight for this world championship.”

#3 Mark Webber (LR #4)
Even Mark is bored to tears by Valencia: ” I quite enjoy driving the last sector of the track, as it’s got a really good combination of corners which are challenging. It’s a circuit that’s yet to provide a phenomenal F1 race, but we’ve seen some special ones this year, so hopefully this is an opportunity for Valencia to add its name to the list. There’s no reason why the car shouldn’t perform well there, but as we’ve seen in the past few races, we’ve certainly had our fair share of competition.”

#4 Lewis Hamilton (LR #2)
Lewis hopes his skill at blocking cars with the safety car will help him again: “I’ve always gone well at Valencia, finishing second there in every race, and I really enjoy attacking the track. It’s a difficult circuit with no let-up, but that won’t deter me as I’m really keen to get back on track and get back in the points. This race will be our third street circuit in a row, so hopefully it’ll give me the chance to reverse the bad luck I’ve encountered in the previous two!”

#5 Fernando Alonso (LR #5)

#6 Felipe Massa (LR #10)

#7 Vitaly Petrov (LR #9)
Petrov’s assessment of the season so far: “I think we can do much, much more. I know I’ve said that before but I really believe we can. We’ve had good results, but together we can achieve greater things. Sometimes I’ve made mistakes, sometimes our pit stops could have been improved, but generally I think we can take it up a level. We need to minimise the mistakes, and the points will keep on coming.”

#8 Michael Schumacher (LR #11)
Seven-time thinks the fans like this track: “After an encouraging weekend in Canada, it is nice being back in Europe again where we start the summer season. Valencia stages one of the more unusual races in the calendar with a street circuit which in my view is very attractive for both us drivers and the fans. I enjoyed the weekend here last year as the track is, surprisingly for a street track, quite fast and flowing, so I am looking forward to going there.”

#9 Nick Heidfeld (LR #7)
Nick thinks that Kamui’s to blame for his wreck in Canada:  “When the incident happened, I was behind Kamui (Kobayashi) and he suddenly slowed down instead of accelerating which would be the normal action at this part of the track. Of course then I couldn’t avoid him and went into the back of his car, my front wing came off and unfortunately my race reached its end. These things happen from time to time, it was just unlucky that it took place when we were in such a strong position fighting for high-end points.”

#10 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #8)
Kobayashi hopes that the European GP will be better in 2011: ” In the past it hasn’t been easy to overtake on this street circuit, but I think with DRS and KERS it will be an exciting race for the spectators and us. I also like the atmosphere there a lot, and Valencia is one of the more exciting places we go to. There is a lot going on in the city and you can find good food there.”

#11 Nico Rosberg (LR #6)
Nico loves the Valencia nightlife more than the racetrack: “Valencia is always a very interesting weekend. The track is a combination of a real circuit and a street circuit so the walls are very close to the cars, and you really have to concentrate around every one of the 25 corners. I really enjoy driving there, and it’s a big event in a pretty cool city.”

#12 Sebastien Buemi (LR #12)

#13 Paul di Resta (LR #15)

#14 Adrian Sutil (LR #13)

#15 Jaime Alguersuari (LR #17)

#16 Rubens Barrichello (LR #16)
Barrichello’s pre-race PR spiel: “Valencia is very important to me. It was there that I won my first race in 2009 and it was also the 100th GP win for Brazil, so it was very special. It is a very long circuit with lots of corners so you need the car set-up for good traction. I love this race track. The final part of the circuit has some high speed corners which makes the circuit feel very complete.”

#17 Sergio Perez (LR #14)
Sergio’s going to try to race this week: “I flew home from Montreal, and back in Mexico I spent the time preparing myself for the next race and trained together with our physiotherapist. I feel perfectly well and I’m very much looking forward to racing in Valencia. Without doubt it is an advantage that I know this track well. In 2009 I was on the podium after both GP2 races and last year I had pole position.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado (LR #18)
Pastor likes this track and race unlike the fans: “The track is very similar to Montréal with long straights, slow corners and walls very close to the track. My favourite part is in the final section, when you brake into the last corner just before the pit entry. The weather in that part of Spain is fantastic and I guess the place will be full of Venezuelan fans so that will make it a great weekend for me.”

#19 Heikki Kovalainen (LR #19)
Heikki did some sponsor stuff after the Canadian Grand Flood: “Straight after Canada I headed down to New York with Tony, Mike, Ansar Ali from Caterham Cars and some of the team to take part in the GE announcement. We had a very good couple of days in NYC and at GE’s HQ and I’m really pleased for the whole team that we’ve been able to bring GE on board. Signing them up is massive news for us and is exactly the sort of partner Tony and Mike told me they were targeting when I first joined the team in 2010.”

#20 Jarno Trulli (LR #20)
Jarno on the streets of Valencia’s harbor: “It starts out dusty on Friday but by Sunday there is a lot of grip and the lap times come down all weekend. It’s a track where you need to find a rhythm. Sections of it flow but then you have other areas that are very much stop and go – long straights with hard braking at the end into tight corners. First gear is used a lot more here than most tracks and often at the end of a flat out straight so the brake wear is high.”

#21 Timo Glock (LR #21)
Tim O’Glock on Valencia: “Valencia is a race that often divides opinion but I really like the circuit and find it an interesting challenge. It’s a track where we really have to keep our eye on the ball – much like Monaco – because the fast straights and the closeness of the barriers mean you can easily become unstuck. This is usually a very hot race, which adds to the challenge, and a great and very up and coming city.”

#22 Jerome d’Ambrosio (LR #22)
Jerome on almost not making the last race in Montreal: “The race in Canada was a great experience for me – it was a rather disappointing Qualifying session but in the end I had some really good moments during the race that will only help me to develop as a driver and I’m optimistic of a good weekend in one of the best European race venues.”

#23 Tonio Liuzzi (LR #23)

#24 Narain Karthikeyan (LR #24)

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