The start of the race saw RBR’s Vettel storm away from pole and built a gap of over half a second from second place Hamilton in his Mclaren Mercedes. But that lead evaporated with the emergence of the safety car after the collision of Jean Eric Vergne ( Torro Rosso) and Heikki Kovalainen ( Caterham). At the restart Alonso overtook a napping Grosjean to claim second place. On the same lap, Vettel was forced to park his car to the side with an alternator problem, handing the lead to Alonso.
During the closing laps of the race and after being passed by Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen, Hamiton was doing everything he could to nurse his Mclaren to the checkered flag and hold of Maldonado. With one lap remaining, Maldonado collided with Hamilton ending the Mclaren driver’s race. This collision handed Schumacher his podium finish, his 155th as a F1 driver.
With this result, Michael now stands in 13th place, Nico is in 5th place in the Drivers Standings, and Mercedes AMG GP hold 5th place in the Constructors Championship
We had planned to try a one-stop strategy but had to convert to two stops, and thanks to the strategy guys, we were on fresh tyres when everybody else was struggling. I was in P12 on lap 47 and P6 at the end, so it clearly worked and we are very happy with a good team result after such a chaotic race, with two cars in the top six.
A great result for Michael with his podium and I am happy to score some more nice points."
I think that was the best answer to give to everybody who started doubting our work: get the car together and fight back; never give up, as anything can happen.
A big thank you to the team and to everybody who kept on believing we would get on the podium again. That's what team work is about. A special word for my mechanics and engineers who have done a fantastic job this weekend after some difficult races this year.
I didn't think a podium was possible - not even at the end of the race, because it was pretty busy in the last laps and I had lost count of where I was. Then when I crossed the line, I asked the guys where I was and they said "Third - on the podium!"
It's one of those moments that you enjoy deeply as a driver. We were close a couple of times but it was great for it to happen in a spectacular race like this, through strategy and lots of passing on a circuit where overtaking is difficult."
The early part of the race was quite difficult for us, and our early strategy did not come together as the tyres behaved differently to our pre-race predictions. So we had to react, and we did so extremely well, leaving our stops as late as possible to give our guys fresh rubber at the end. It was such an exciting end to the race, and I am very proud of both of our drivers, everyone here in Valencia, and back at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth today."
Nico started sixth and lost five places during the first lap, which was a big handicap - so to climb back to sixth place was a good recovery. Since his win in China, Nico has scored one point less than Fernando Alonso, who brought home the most points in the last six races. As for the rumour spread by another team that Michael used his DRS flap where he should not have done, I can confirm that this was not the case, as our data proved and the stewards of the meeting confirmed.
I am really pleased for Michael and the team. We always believed in each other and today was the first of hopefully more podiums to follow."
FULL RACE RESULTS After 57 of 57 laps
|4||Australia||M Webber||Red Bull|
|5||Germany||N Hulkenberg||Force India|
|7||Great Britain||P Di Resta||Force India|
|8||Great Britain||J Button||McLaren|
|12||Australia||D Ricciardo||Toro Rosso|
|13||Russian Federation||V Petrov||Caterham|
|17||Spain||P de la Rosa||HRT|
|19||Great Britain||L Hamilton||McLaren|
|20||France||R Grosjean (ret.)||Lotus|
|21||Germany||S Vettel (ret.)||Red Bull|
|22||Japan||K Kobayashi (ret.)||Sauber|
|23||France||J Vergne (ret.)||Toro Rosso|
|24||Germany||T Glock (ret.)||Marussia|