Webber wins from Vettel as Red Bull dominate
27 November, 2011
Nov.27 (PVM) Mark Webber won the Brazilian Grand Prix, the final race of the 2011 Formula 1 world championship season, to score his first victory of the year at the wheel of his Red Bull RB7 and thus going into the off season with a much needed psychological, boost after enduring a year of playing second fiddle to his dominant team mate Sebastian Vettel.
In fact it was Vettel who set the early pace before a gearbox issue, signaled from the Red Bull pit wall which forced him to slow down and quite blatantly to allow Webber through on lap 30 going into Turn 1. Thereafter the Australian took control and pulled out a handy margin, crossing the line 16.983 seconds ahead of second placed Vettel.
Webber gave a subdued account of his victory: “I felt good all weekend. Seb did a great lap for pole. Today I had the rub of the green. It would have been nice to have a race with Seb all the way through but he had a problem. It’s a win you’ll take for sure because I’ve had bad luck or whatever you want to call it. It’s an important win for me and the team to finish on a high. I enjoyed the last few laps. It’s always nice when I could pit a bit later than people and cover people off. Nice way to finish. I want to dedicate this win to a close family friend Bob Woods who is very ill man.”
Vettel looked back on his day’s work: “It was a real shame as I had a good start and a very good feeling. Very early on I got the call to manage a gearbox problem. I had to turn down the engine and short-shift. It was getting worse through the race and I ended up having to use higher gears. But nevertheless Mark drove a fantastic race and he deserved to win. I don’t like calling it bad luck. I tried to stay as close as I could to Mark and keep the gap to Alonso and then Button at the end. We had an amazing season and it would be over the top being upset now, so we take this second place. It has been a phenomenal year and a strong finish as well. We are all looking forward to the break and coming back as strong as this year.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner summed up the afternoon: “It was a difficult race for Sebastian. He had a gearbox problem form lap five but he kept it alive. Mark drove well and thoroughly deserved that victory. Mark’s had a tough year, but he’s kept his head down. He wanted to finish the year on a high after facing a driver in the form of his life and he’s done that. I’m sure he’ll come back stronger next year.”
Jenson Button took the final podium spot after another shrewd performance which saw him take third place for McLaren after a race long duel with Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard making one of the most audacious passing moves of the season when he overtook Button on the outside of Turn 5.
Button was clearly flustered immediately after the cheeky move, but recovered his composure and stuck to his game plan.
Revenge for the 2009 world champion came on lap 63 when the McLaren driver used KERS on the run to Turn 1, got really close to the Ferrari through the next two turns before deploying DRS to overtake Alonso on the short straight after Turn 3 – two sweet moves in one afternoon by two drivers at the very top of their game.
Button reflected afterwards: “It was a difficult race for me on the softer of the two tyres. Fernando [Alonso] was very close on the first lap at Turn Five. It’s normally an easy place to block. I looked at the inside and there was a lot of debris there which I didn’t want to drive through. I had to back out of it and Alonso got past. That was disappointing but I just didn’t have the pace on the softer of two tyres. Choosing to put the harder tyre on for the last two stints worked pretty well for me. Fernando struggled on the harder tyres and I was able to make the pass near the end but third was as high as we could get.”
Alonso finished fourth, ahead of homeboy Felipe Massa who ended fifth in his 100th grand prix for Ferrari and was the only one of the top five to employ a two stop strategy. The rest were on three stoppers.
Lewis Hamilton retired with a gearbox problem while in the middle of a duel with his nemesis, Massa, bringing an end to a topsy turvy season for the 2008 world champion.
Hamilton spoke to the media after his DNF: “I think it’s been an interesting year. Today, I gave it my all. I enjoyed the race and it’s a little bit unfortunate that weren’t able to get extra points. I was challenging Felipe [Massa] at the end and was hoping I could get him but the gearbox didn’t last. It’s been a long, long year and I’m looking forward to a little bit of downtime with family and friends. There is a lot to improve on but I feel it’s all positive even though we didn’t have a great result today.”
Adrian Sutil matched his best result of his season by finishing sixth in what could well be his last race for Force India. The German gave a solid performance in a car which came good towards the end of the season. The VJM04 was particularly handy around the Circuito Jose Carlos Pace as rookie Paul Di Resta crossed the finish line in eighth.
Splitting the two orange, green and white cars was the silver Mercedes GP of Nico Rosberg in seventh place.
Ninth across the line was Makui Kobayashi, picking up two valuable points for his Sauner team to ensure that they finish seventh in the constructor’s championship – three points ahead of Sauber, whose drivers failed to score on the day. The tussle for the position allegedly worth tens of millions of dollars…
Final point went to Vitaly Petrov who finished tenth in the Renault.
The new age Senna versus Schumacher battle got physical with Michael and Bruno colliding in Turn 1, during their battle for ninth place. The Mercedes GP of the seven times world champion was clipped by the Renault front wing as the veteran turned across Senna.
The result was a puncture for Schumacher and damage to Senna’s front wing. Both continued, with Schumacher limping back to the pits for a tyre change and Senna continued with bits of wing flapping around. The Brazilian was adjudged to have been responsible for the incident and handed a drive through penalty.
Schumacher finished 15th and Senna 17th.
Sunday, 27 November – Race Result
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||71||+16.9 secs||1||18|
|3||4||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||71||+27.6 secs||3||15|
|4||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||71||+35.0 secs||5||12|
|5||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||71||+66.7 secs||7||10|
|6||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||70||+1 Lap||8||8|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||70||+1 Lap||6||6|
|8||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||70||+1 Lap||11||4|
|9||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||16||2|
|10||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||70||+1 Lap||15||1|
|11||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||13|
|12||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||14|
|13||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||17|
|14||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||70||+1 Lap||12|
|15||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||70||+1 Lap||10|
|16||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||69||+2 Laps||19|
|17||9||Bruno Senna||Renault||69||+2 Laps||9|
|18||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||69||+2 Laps||20|
|19||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||68||+3 Laps||23|
|20||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||68||+3 Laps||22|
|Ret||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||61||+10 Laps||21|
|Ret||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||26||+45 Laps||18|
|Ret||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||21||+50 Laps||24|