McLaren at the 2012 Formula 1 European Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Though there was some cloud scatter during practice on Friday, this mostly cleared up during yesterday’s qualifying session.
The skies are also expected to remain clear blue, with the current wind speed at zero and expected to remain that way for most of the day.
This should ensure a great day of racing, especially for reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel who is set to start from pole yet thanks to his brilliant performance during qualifying. This is the Red Bull Racing star’s third pole of the 2012 season, his third pole in Valencia, and the 33rd pole of his relatively short career.
The home of the European Grand Prix, the Valencia Street Circuit, is one of the fastest tracks of the season. The last three on the calendar have been street tracks, but all have been very different in characteristics. Monaco is tight and twisty with a low average speed; Montreal has a combination of long straights and tight hairpins, while Valencia has a high average speed of around 124 mph.
The track is also relatively smooth in comparison to Monaco and Canada, and its temperatures get much hotter. Despite these high ambient temperatures, which make Valencia one of the hottest events of the year, cooling isn’t so much of an issue due to the long straights as air is sucked into the inlets and circulated.
Going into today’s race, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton sits atop the points ladder with 88 points, followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on 86 points and Sebastian Vettel on 85 points. Red Bull Racing continues to lead the Constructors' standings with 164 points, McLaren is second with 133 and Lotus is in third place with 108 points.
So far we’ve had seven different winners from the seven races contested in the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship. Could we have another new winner in Valencia? We’ll know by the end of today.