Blimey, the race was absolutely thrilling (contrary to my expectations) but rather frustrating betting-wise. There was a safety car, but only because that fool Vergne firstly had needless contact with Kovalainen and then compounded his error by racing back to the pits instead of going slowly. This caused the tyre to shred, wrecking his own car and pelting the tracks with bits of wheel and bodywork. Idiot.
Grosjean failed to get a podium or the possibility of a win solely due to a rare reliability failure, which was pretty galling, and Raikkonen was never really in the hunt for a win. A small silver lining is that my hedge on Grosjean winning got matched, so (for the race) I was down two stakes rather than three. Still pretty disappointing though, especially as bad luck more than bad judgement played the critical role.
However, as a spectator the race was unusually exciting, for Valencia.
Early on both Lotuses had a great start but Maldonado blocked Raikkonen and put the Finn some way down the field. Grosjean passed the Venezuelan and from then it was pretty much formation flying with Vettel pulling a strong lead over Hamilton and Grosjean in a comfortable third.
Further down the grid Alonso and Schumacher had decent starts and I think Button went backwards.
Grosjean was able to pass Hamilton and soon pulled out a sizeable gap, but Vettel was absolutely miles ahead. After the first pit stops it looked like Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton were destined for podium spots, but the Fates are fickle.
Vergne (boo hiss!) moronically did what I described above, causing a safety car to emerge. Everyone save Ricciardo pitted, but Hamilton's very poor stop (just for a change) meant the order shifted to Vettel, Grosjean and, staggeringly, Alonso (who started 11th).
After the restart I was hoping Grosjean could pass Vettel, but instead it was Alonso who got into second, which was bloody frustrating. Then a huge surprise came about. Vettel, who had been easily leading by 20s and retained the lead after the restart, suddenly stopped on track. Some sort of reliability issue put him out of the race.
I was still hopeful of the podium bet and possibly the win bet, but then Grosjean also had a reliability failing (the alternator). That was really disappointing, but these things happen (and sometimes they're helpful, sometimes detrimental).
Now the order was Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen. The Finn, as Coulthard said in commentary, doesn't have the cutting edge when it comes to passing, but he eventually got past Hamilton when the McLaren's tyres were wrecked. Raikkonen soon opened up a gap to Hamilton but was too far back to consider passing Alonso.
Hamilton's fading tyres put him within reach of Maldonado, and the two tangled. Maldonado was forced (legitimately) off track by Hamilton, but then he returned to the circuit and smashed Hamilton into the wall, damaging his Williams in the process. In my eyes, that's clearly Maldonado's fault.
The departure of the McLaren and weakness of the Williams enabled Schumacher to pass Maldonado and get his first podium since his return to F1 (not sure what number that is, but it must be astronomical).
Webber got 4th and was followed by Hulkenberg, Rosberg, di Resta, Button, Perez and Maldonado.
This win was immensely important for Alonso, and not just because he started 11th and finished 1st. His two main rivals, Hamilton and Vettel, scored zero points, meaning he has a 20 point advantage over second-placed Webber.
As a spectator the race was exciting and enthralling, but as a gambler it was pretty galling to suffer two hefty slices of misfortune. On the other hand, it's still the best weekend of the year so far by a clear distance.
Silverstone is next, in a fortnight.