Formula One

 
                           === F1: Eight, anyone? ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA  (Sports Network) -  The 2012  Formula One season just keeps
 getting  better, as a record seven different drivers have won in as many grand
 prix.
 
 Will that record extend to eight?
 
 We'll  find  out this weekend  when F1 takes  its world-wide tour to Valencia,
 Spain for the European Grand Prix.
 
 Earlier this month, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton kept the streak alive when he won
 the Canadian Grand Prix.
 
 Hamilton  benefited  from a two pit-stop  strategy, which allowed him to chase
 down  Ferrari's  Fernando Alonso for the  lead with fresher tires. Alonso, who
 pitted  only  once during  the race,  gave up  the lead  to Hamilton with four
 laps remaining.
 
 By  winning  the  Canadian  GP,  Hamilton  moved  himself  atop  the  driver's
 championship  standings,  as he holds just  a two-point lead over Alonso and a
 three-point  advantage  over Red  Bull  driver  and two-time  defending  world
 champion Sebastian Vettel.
 
 "My  win in  Montreal was obviously an extremely satisfying moment for me, but
 actually,  it  does very  little to  alter things  in the world championship,"
 Hamilton said.
 
 Hamilton  began  the season with a  trio of third-place finishes followed by a
 pair of eighth-place runs. He finished fifth in last month's Monaco Grand Prix
 before winning in Canada.
 
 "I  think that consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the
 key  to winning this  world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia
 with another strong result," Hamilton added.
 
 Hamilton  finished ninth  in the European GP during his rookie season in 2007.
 He  placed second  in this  event for  the next  three years  before finishing
 fourth in 2011.
 
 The  winners of  the first  six grand  prix this  year include:  Jenson Button
 (Australia), Alonso (Malaysia), Nico Rosberg (China), Vettel (Bahrain), Pastor
 Maldonado (Spain) and Mark Webber (Monaco).
 
 Vettel  has figured out the 3.367-mile, 25-turn Valencia street circuit better
 than  anyone else  lately. He has started  on pole and won this event the past
 two years.
 
 "In Valencia, we drive an average of more than 200kph, which means it's one of
 the  fastest street  circuits in  Formula  One," Vettel  said. "Overtaking  is
 possible,  but only  with some  risk. The  reason is  that the  air turbulence
 created  by  cars driving  closely behind  each other  doesn't disappear as it
 normally  would due to  the high walls around the track. You lose grip, and in
 some extreme cases, you have to lift the throttle.
 
 "The start-finish straight in Valencia is special, because it's not very long.
 It turns into a fast right corner, which we take at 290kph."
 
 Valencia's  25 turns is  the most of all road/street courses on the current F1
 calendar.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, June 24. Race: European Grand Prix. Site:
 Valencia Street Circuit. Track: 3.367-mile (5.419-kilometer), 25-turn street
 course. Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 57. Miles: 191.931 (308.883 km). 2011
 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: FOX (tape delay - noon ET).
 
 
 06/20 11:51:00 ET

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