Solid but quiet European Grand Prix for Norfolk’s Team Lotus in Valencia

Hingham's Team Lotus saw their current position in Formula One's hierarchy emphasised with a trouble-free race in Valencia on Sunday.

Hingham's Team Lotus saw their current position in Formula One's hierarchy emphasised with a trouble-free race in Valencia on Sunday.

Team-mates Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were pretty much left to race against themselves as the Norfolk outfit sat comfortably ahead of last season's fellow newcomers – but still some way off the pace of the established teams.

The duo came home 19th and 20th, after a race in which all 24 cars finished – only the third time in the sport's history it has happened, with 24 also the highest number of finishers to a grand prix.

In arguably the most subdued race of the season so far, world championship leader Sebastian Vettel was dominant all afternoon as he led his Red Bull home first, ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button completed the top six.


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But after losing out to Hispania and Virgin in Canada, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was happy to see order restored in Spain.

'It was a very solid race from both drivers,' he said. 'We had considered two stops on both cars but when we saw higher degradation levels on Heikki's car we put him onto three and kept Jarno on two to give both of them a chance to fight.

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'Jarno nearly passed Heikki in the final stops but Heikki's fresh rubber gave him the chance to edge ahead and the key goal today was to make sure they both finished, so I am pleased we achieved that.

'This has not been our most competitive type of track but despite that we finished well and that sets us up nicely for Silverstone.'

Kovalainen added: 'For me that was a very good race. I'm happy that we seem to have regained the early season form after Monaco and Canada where I wasn't really feeling too comfortable in the car.

'We know where we have to improve the car to keep taking the fight to the teams ahead, and that will come in time, but this is a long-term plan and we are definitely on the right course.'

Hethel's Group Lotus-backed Renault team saw Nick Heidfeld pick up on point for his finish in 10th, while Vitaly Petrov came home a disappointing 15th.

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