Bridgestone Compounds Perform “Strongly” in Valencia
Sebastian Vettel produced a disciplined display to win the European Grand Prix at Valencia’s street circuit, using a super soft-medium tyre strategy. Bridgestone Motorsport declared the performance of both compounds “strong”, with track conditions improving over the course of the race as the streets took on more rubber. Vettel crossed the line ahead of the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, following a lengthy safety car period early in the race after a dramatic exit for Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing). Nine cars, including third place finishing Jenson Button, were being investigated after the race for their pace under the safety car, while Hamilton incurred a drive through penalty after an ambiguous move as the safety car arrived. The British driver hesitated when he saw the vehicle pulling out of the pit lane, only to overtake it when it joined the track. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – a veteran of a tumultuous season as Hamilton’s team-mate – was angered by the Briton’s actions, suggesting the penalty was not great enough.
Bridgestone director of Motorsport Tyre Development Hirohide Hamashima said: “Today tyre performance was strong from both tyres, and we saw fastest laps being set by both compounds. The track conditions continued to improve throughout the race.
“Sebastian Vettel drove very strongly and he did not fall foul of the rules, unlike other drivers today. Kamui Kobayashi demonstrated the durability of the medium tyres here with his long first stint, setting competitive lap times, even with over 50 laps completed on them. He was then able to use the super soft tyres when the track was most rubbered in, enabling him to overtake even on a track which is not well known for its overtaking opportunities.
“Even though our tyres were durable, the rear right on Nico Hulkenberg’s car was unable to withstand the difficult circumstances it faced there from a non tyre related issue.”
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport, stated: “Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing for their win today. Well done also to Kamui Kobayashi for using a great tyre strategy for a strong result for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, who have had many changes to the team since last season, so this was great points finish for them.
“We are happy that Mark Webber had no serious injuries from his dramatic accident. This was a very exciting race set against the great backdrop of Valencia city.”