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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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