There's something about the Valencia street circuit that just doesn't quite capture your imagination. It's as if everything they got right in Monaco, they got wrong in Valencia. It's just bland. Accelerate and brake, accelerate and brake... The fast section at the back is OK, but if you look at Turn 1, it's easy flat, and then into a 90-degree right. I think the kerbs at the chicanes are annoying as well.
It looks awkward, because they're the type of kerbs where the cars are just bouncing over them.
Because Valencia was originally used for the America's Cup, you'd think it might be more like Monte Carlo. There's even the boatshed at the back, but from what I understand it's priced a bit high for people who want to bring their boats in and also, because of the swing bridge, you're locked in.
In Monaco you get locked in for a week and nobody complains, so I can't see why that's a big problem.
In terms of what it lacks, it's difficult to say there is anything particularly wrong with the circuit; getting in and out isn't too difficult, you're in the city, the track goes over a bridge, and there are some fast bits... Perhaps it's because it's not enough of a street circuit to have the big consequences that you have at places like Monaco or Singapore.
It's too wide, and there's a lot of run-off. In Singapore, it's bumpy, and there are places where you are really kissing the barrier. Here, it's more of a fake street circuit.
It could even be likened to Canada, which is also basically straights and braking. The difference is that in Canada, there are corners where you can make a difference to the laptime, for example with the way you roll it into the chicanes.
You could see how much Sebastian Vettel was able to gain at the last chicane to get pole in Montreal. That's how it's different from Valencia, because you take the speed off the car before the corner, and maintain the speed to the exit.
What price another new winner?
In saying all of that, I do think that the run of different winners can continue this weekend. Tyre management will be key, but in a different way to usual. There are a lot of traction corners, but there aren't a lot of lateral-load corners, so the important thing will be to avoid spinning the rear tyres too much on the corner exit. It may well come down to who can make those rear tyres last the longest.
Romain Grosjean is one of the favourites for glory in Valencia © XPB
It's very tricky to work out what kind of car the Valencia circuit will suit. You probably need a car that works well with its DRS, because you need to have the straightline speed. It's almost like Shanghai, in that there's a lot of sitting there and waiting for a big stop. So it could well suit Michael Schumacher and Mercedes.
Lotus is another contender, although it didn't feature as much in qualifying in Canada as I expected. Romain Grosjean did well in the race, but I don't know if Valencia will be quite as tyre-critical. I'd expect the winner to come from the front row, as has happened in all but one of the races there so far, but actually, given the strategies in place and the premium on tyre management - because the temperatures will probably be on the high side - I'd expect that this could easily be the best race we'll have seen around Valencia's streets.
Of course, it could all change if there is a dramatic temperature swing that moves the tyres into a nasty window where they don't want to work. If that happens, you could get one, two and even three-stoppers all in the same race. Now that would be interesting...
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