|© AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
The Valencia Street Circuit, host to the European Grand Prix this weekend, is not an easy track to overtake on, forcing teams to focus on qualifying ahead of Sunday's race.
The quick street-circuit has 25 corners, the most on the Formula 1 calendar, making it particularly difficult for drivers to pass their rivals on the 5.4km track.
“In Valencia, we drive an average of more than 200kph, which means it’s one of the fastest street circuits in Formula 1," Sebastian Vettel observed. "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 Red Bull driver explained.
Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi, who is known to make bold moves to overtake his rivals, agreed indicating grid positions would be vital.
"You are always quite close to the walls, but after our last two races in Monaco and Montreal this is nothing new. Overtaking is not easy but not impossible either. In 2010 it was actually good fun," the Japanese driver said referring to his performance two years ago where he passed the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso on the final lap to finish seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen, who is seeking his first win of the season, has been struggling to start races from good positions admitting that it has been his Achilles Heel this season.
"Qualifying is going to be very, very important again here," the Lotus driver reckoned. "Obviously, there will be an advantage to starting on the clean side of the track as the streets are only used as a circuit once each year. It’s not an easy place to overtake and we’ll have to see how much help the DRS will be."
Unlike last year, there will be only a single DRS zone in Valencia with the detection point 132m before Turn 8 and the activation coming into play 215m after Turn 10.
DRS-assisted overtaking opportunities will consequently feature through Turn 11 all the way down the straight leading up to Turn 12.