Mon, Jun 28, 2010 - Page 18 News List

F1: Vettel victorious in Valencia as Mark Webber crashes out

REUTERS , VALENCIA, SPAIN

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the European Grand Prix yesterday, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton doubled his championship lead by finishing runner-up for the third year in a row.

Formula One world champion Jenson Button finished third for McLaren after an afternoon full of incident, controversy and uncertainty at a street circuit that has offered few thrills in the past.

Hamilton, who had started the day three points clear of his teammate, now has 127 points to Button’s 121 after nine races, with Vettel on 115 after chalking up his second win of the season.

While Vettel thrust himself back into the thick of the title chase by leading from pole to the checkered flag, teammate Mark Webber provided the day’s big drama when he walked away unscathed from a massive crash.

The Australian’s car was launched vertically into the air after slamming into the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, the Red Bull twisting in the air and landing upside down on the nose and roll bar.

“Motor racing has just seen one of its luckiest days. That could have been a very, very bad incident,” said David Coulthard, the former Red Bull driver turned BBC television pundit.

The safety car was deployed for four laps after Webber’s accident, triggering a drive-through penalty for Hamilton, who was judged to have illegally overtaken as it exited the pit lane.

To the fury of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was immediately behind and found himself held up by the safety car, Hamilton had built up a sufficient margin that he was able to take his penalty and still retain position.

The drive-through, on the 27th of 57 laps, still took the sting out of what might have been an enthralling battle at the front.

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