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Vettel wins European GP

Valencia, June 26 (agencies)
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Published on 26 Jun. 2011 10:22 PM IST
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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. McLaren’s Jenson Button was sixth with Force India’s Paul di Resta in 14th. 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 but the Englishman is classified ahead because he has won a race. 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. “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. “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.” Alonso and Webber battled throughout. The Spaniard managed to pass the Australian on the track on lap 21, lost the position at the second pit stops, and gained it back for good at the final stops. Webber gambled on stopping early to fit the harder of the two tyre options, which all the leaders saved until the end of the race, but Alonso gained by staying out for a few more laps on the softer tyres.  Webber’s chances of fighting back in the closing laps were dashed by a gearbox problem. “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.” Alonso remains fifth in the championship, but has closed to within 10 points of fourth-placed Hamilton, who is 12 behind Button and Webber. “It wasn’t frustrating,” Hamilton said, we just got a bad start and lost out to the Ferraris but in all honesty we weren’t as quick as them. “The team were asking me to stay out longer but I was saying ‘I’m trying to look after my tyres as much as could’. “I was struggling with oversteer the whole time.” 




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