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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - European Grand Prix
Beauty is the order of the day. Yes, Valencia is splendid, all high blue skies and perfectly sanded beaches. Despite the presence of some megayachts, it somehow lacks the 'swimming pools and movie stars' ambience of Monaco. You can imagine grabbing a beach chair and putting your toes in the sand on one of the practices days, the whine of 18,000 rpm engines only slightly twisting the scene. 

But once you're in the stands on race day, that's when the true beauty takes over, the sort of beauty associated with Belichik's Patriots at their peak, or Wooden's Bruins, or a pre-'roids Roger Clemens on a hot streak: competitive dominations so complete it stars to look effortless, but for all the bodies lying in the wake.

This is what poll-sitter Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) brought to Valencia's streets. Not only did he lead every lap, it is quite possible he never put a wheel wrong. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) dropped from third to fifth at the start and Alonso rose to second by lap 21, closing to inside 2 sec of the leader for a time, but Vettel simply drove the course and was never even subject to an attempted pass. Along the way he become the first driver in Formula One history to finish either first (six times) or second (twice) in the first eight races of a season.

And that's pretty much that. These machines are themselves things of beauty, and this was a great day to watch them, but....well, homeboy Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) gets a solid honorable mention for charging from 18th to 8th, and Jenson Button (McLaren) became the only non-Red Bull driver to score in each race so far this season. Also, the Spanish crowd likely couldn't have been more enthusiastic in cheering Alonso to the second step on the podium. Mark Webber (Red Bull) came in third.

Driver standings - Top 10
186 - Sebastian Vettel (Germany) - RBR-Renault
109 - Jenson Button (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
109 - Mark Webber (Australia) - RBR-Renault
97 - Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
87 - Fernando Alonso (Spain) - Ferrari
42 - Felipe Massa (Brazil) - Ferrari
32 - Nico Rosberg (Germany) - Mercedes
31 - Vitaly Petrov (Russia) - Renault

30 - Nick Heidfeld (Germany) - Renault

26 - Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes

Constructor standings - Teams scoring points
295 - RBR-Renault - Vettel, Webber
206 - McLaren-Mercedes - Hamilton, Button
129 - Ferrari - Alonso, Massa
61 - Renault - Heidfeld, Petrov
58 - Mercedes - Rosberg, Schumacher
27 - Sauber-Ferrari - Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez
16 - STR-Ferrari - Sebastian Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari
12 - Force India-Mercedes - Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta

4 - Williams-Cosworth - Rubens Barrichello, Pastor Maldonado
 

Next event: British Grand Prix - Silverstone - July 8-10
Posted in: Sports
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