Valencia Circuit Offers Its Own Unique Challenges
VALENCIA, SPAIN - This weekend's 2009 European Grand Prix F1 race will take place without the much anticipated return of Michael Schumacher in one of the Ferrari cars. Luca Badoer will replace Schumacher as Ferrari's driver alongside Kimi Raikkonen. With 70 championship points still to be decided until the last F1 race in Abu Dhabi on November 1st, the driver's championship title is still to be contested.
Brawn Mercedes driver Jenson Button currently leads the driver's championship with 70 points, followed by Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber with 51.5 points. Third place is held by Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel with 47 points. 2008 F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton (seen in a 2009 Monaco photo) won his first race of the 2009 season four weeks ago in Hungary and currently is in eighth position with 19 points.
This weekend's race in Valencia, Spain takes place on a street circuit that has a total lap distance of 5.440 kms. From start to finish, the Valencia race's accumulated distance will be 310.08 kms over a total 57 laps. Brawn Mercedes driver Rubens Barrichello says about the Valencia circuit, "the first part of the lap is quick with the long pit straight followed by a curved right-hander before the slower section leading to the bridge. The second half feels more like a street circuit as you head away from the water and the tight hairpin at 17 is the best overtaking opportunity. The final part of the lap is fast with some sweeping corners before the final tight left-hander."
The Valencia circuit is also quick and quite different to Monaco in comparison. There are five sections in a single lap where the speed approaches 300 km/h and five 2nd gear braking zone corners where the speed is in the range of 75-85 km/h. Jenson Button's comments about Valencia are, "the track is quite fun and challenging for the drivers with so many turns and the added factor of being surrounded by barriers means you have to maintain your concentration."