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Mark Webber finally gets his win in Brazil season finale
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Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Nov 2011   |  7:30 pm GMT  |  233 comments

Mark Webber won the Brazilian Grand Prix for the second time today, the seventh victory of his F1 career, but crucially it was his first win of the season and it came about because of a rare technical problem for his team mate Sebastian Vettel.

The World champion rolled in second having survived most of the race with a gearbox problem, which forced him to short shift in second and third gears and eventually to use only the higher gears.

Jenson Button came through after an intense race long battle with Fernando Alonso to claim his 12th podium finish of the season and the eighth in nine races since Hungary, a very strong run, second only to Vettel’s.

Button scored 161 points since Hungary to Vettel’s 176, a much closer ratio than the first half of the season.

It confirmed him in second place in the championship.

“It’s a bit of a relief, the feeling is nice,” said Webber. “In this sport you take them as they come. I can only control what I’m doing. With ten laps to go I thought it’s nice to finish the season with a win and another win in Brazil, always been a good track for me.”

At the start, the top three got away cleanly, while Hamilton lost fourth place to Alonso, another strong getaway from the Ferrari driver, while Massa also gained a place at the expense of Rosberg.

Further back Kovalainen got a flying start gaining four places, but the big loser off the line was Barrichello, possibly starting his last race, who lost seven places.

In the opening stint Vettel pulled away from Webber, while Button’s McLaren didn’t have the pace to live with them and he had Alonso attacking him, making the pass on Button on lap 12, while Senna and Schumacher tangled with damage to both cars. Schumacher punctured a tyre and debris from it was strewn around the track.

Vettel’s tyres started blistering at this point and then he developed a gearbox problem.

Button pitted on lap 15 with Alonso and Hamilton in a lap later and the order stayed the same. Vettel pitted on lap 18 and Webber a lap later. This cost Webber time in the battle with Alonso, who gained three seconds on him through this phase.

Massa delayed his stop, until lap 22, coming in five laps later than his team mate.

Vettel’s gearbox problem got steadily worse through the second stint and Webber closed right in as Vettel had to short shift every corner of every lap.

He let Webber past him on lap 29, as Alonso closed in at a second per lap.

The tyre wear was worse than expected compelling most to go to three stops, however Button was in for a second stop on lap 32, switching to the medium tyre. This strategy was pretty bold, but would be vulnerable if it were to rain and everyone were to pit for wet tyres. But his pace was good on the medium tyre.

Hamilton pitted on lap 34 and went to the soft tyres. He too developed a gearbox problem at mid-distance.

Massa and Hamilton reprised their season long battle on lap 42 as the McLaren attacked despite his gearbox problem. Massa was on worn tyres and needed to stop again, so it was up to Hamilton to judge the risk. The pace was almost 2 seconds slower than the front runners.

Hamilton switched strategies pitting for the medium tyre and Massa reacted and pitted a lap later, holding the place. But Hamilton’s gearbox failed a couple of laps later.

Button had to stop again for another set of medium tyres on lap 53, he had enough of a margin over Massa to pit and rejoin ahead of the Brazilian and then with a new set of medium tyres he went on the attack.

Alonso pitted soon after but the Ferrari’s lack of pace on the medium tyres was again very evident as Button hauled him in and passed him for third place.

Sutil had a great day finishing 10 seconds ahead of Rosberg, he was lapping at the same pace as Massa in the final stint. Whether this was enough to save his drive with the team time will tell.

It was almost enough for Force India to catch Renault in the constructors championship, they missed it by just four points. Meanwhile Sauber just held off Toro Rosso for seventh and Lotus confirmed a very valuable 10th place, the last of the prize money earning positions.

Webber finished off the race with a series of fastest laps, lapping everyone up to sixth placed Adrian Sutil in the process.

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, Interlagos, 71 laps
1. Webber Red Bull 1h32:17.434
2. Vettel Red Bull + 16.983
3. Button McLaren + 27.638
4. Alonso Ferrari + 35.048
5. Massa Ferrari + 1:06.733
6. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
8. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
9. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
10. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
12. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
13. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
14. Barrichello Williams + 1 lap
15. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus + 2 laps
17. Senna Renault + 2 laps
18. Trulli Lotus + 2 laps
19. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 3 laps
20. Ricciardo HRT + 3 laps

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233 Comments
  1. Paul says:

    Another gifted win for Webber. He hasn’t won a race where he has genuinely beaten his team mate and all the rest since Monaco last year.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Actually even Monaco last year was really a freebe because Vettel was racing with a cracked chassis, but even so Mark deserves at least 1 win this season he has had alot of bad lucks.

      1. wayne says:

        I just read this about freebies and sighed.

    2. KRB says:

      Give me a break. We’re all getting too used to the super-reliability showed by today’s F1 cars. You usually get 1-2 gearbox failures (full or partial) at Brazil, so it has to be factored in. Today, Vettel and Hamilton drew the short straws (Hamilton with the shortest straw).

      And even going by your overly strict method, how can’t you say that Webber out-dragged Vettel at the start of last year’s British GP, and had him beat at the first corner?

    3. Jason says:

      Yeah, that lucky Mark Webber gets all the good treatment at Redbull….

    4. Sean says:

      The assumption that you can be “given” a race win is an amusing one. You still have to beat the world’s best drivers in the worlds fastest cars in order to win a race.

    5. Wild Man says:

      What about British GP last year? Not bad for a number 2 driver!

    6. k says:

      You’re actually joking, right? Mark’s never been “gifted” a race win ever until last night. He won Germany and Brazil 2009 on his own steam, he won Barcelona and Monaco 2010 on his own steam (cracked chassis, what utter BS…), he won Silverstone 2010 on his own steam with the team against him, and he won Hungary 2010 because he didn’t make a mistake and put in 40 qualifying laps on a set of tyres that shouldn’t have lasted ten. Hate to break it to you pal.

    7. Thomas11 says:

      Webbers had bad luck all year with various mechanical (KERS, Clutch) and strategic problems. No one is calling conspiracy on him. How many pole position was Seb ‘gifted’ due to Webber’s nonoperational KERS?

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Actually Seb collected many poles at start of the season without KERS.

      2. 1 pole – Australia.

        In Malaysia, Seb had KERS, Mark didn’t.

    8. Derrick says:

      Of course it was a gift. Is anyone gullible enough to believe that Vettel actually had gearbox problems? Ha ha – poor Webbo.

      1. There are no rules against team orders now.

    9. Ten years ago, you would have expected drivers to only finish 70% of the races they started. If we had today’s reliability then, we would have a lot less worthy grand prix winners. Alesi, Panis, Trulli, Kovalainen and many others would have no win to their names.

      Winning a grand prix is inbelievably hard. Winning seven stands out from the crowd. Webber has had some tough luck this year – it’s nice to see him have a pay back.

      I don’t subscribe either to the school of thought that says Hamilton was gifted the Abu Dhabi win two weeks ago either. A win is a win.

      1. RodgerT says:

        A voice of reason in a sea of noise.
        Thank you.

      2. Tealeaf says:

        Well you’re contradicting yourself there, Hamilton’s win was down to Vettel’s tyre not being reliable so it goes against what you are saying but it’s ok everyone knows deep down Vettel is the best driver in F1 closely followed by Alonso and Button, Just face it Hamilton got beaten by Jenson in the same car, I know it’s a bitter pill for his ‘followers’ to swallow but at least be man enough to admit Lewis is not as good as he was hyped up to be.

      3. My point was that Hamilton and Webber both deserve their win in Abu Dhabi and Brazil respectively despite Vettel’s misfortune.

        Getting to Formula 1 is extremely difficult, and even more so to get a drive in a front running team.
        Being there for picking up the pieces when the race leader experiences reliability issues is part of the game. In the end, most of the time, everyone deserve to finish where they classify, bearing in mind things even out during the course of a season.

        I love the sport for the exceptional challenge it offers and don’t support anyone in particular.

  2. Andrew Halliday says:

    I’m expecting all the usual rubbish from people saying he was gifted the win. Sometimes you have bad luck, sometimes you have good luck. On this occasion Vettel’s bad luck was Webber’s good luck. If a different driver was in second place they may have won the race. Webber was in the right place and drove a faultless race. Hopefully he has a great season next year.

    1. wayne says:

      He was not gifted the win in a reliability sense, every driver on the grid has gained places because of failures at one time or another.

      However, the whole thing smells a bit fishy to me. Usually when you hear an engineer report a serious gearbox problem, the car’s number is up within a few laps (as in Hamilton’s case). However, this gearbox problem allowed Vettel to trade fastest laps with Webber and remain constantly in touch. Very odd indeed…

      Also it was ridiculous for Vettel to claim that he felt like Senna in ’84, and even more egotistical to do so in the middle of the race on a public broadcast. Quite apart from anything else, the situation is completely different in terms of what that meant for the drivers, with Senna having to manually work the gearbox and Vettel having to flick a switch. Vettel’s down to earth, happy go lucky fascade slipping? If Hamilton had uttered these worlds there would be outcry everywhere. In fact Hamilton has been slammed for referring to Senna beofre and he has never said anything so ridiculous.

      1. wayne says:

        Sorry I of course meant ’91.

      2. Al says:

        Hard to put it better.

        Horner was insulting our intelligence with the “gearbox problem”.

        If Vettel really had to short shift, then how come he set so many fast laps ?

        It was palpable how Vettel did not want to pull over to let Webber win, he is very childish at times, probably the biggest flaw he has shown off and on the track.

        Given the massive advantage RBR has had this year, his Senna remark was utterly crass. His overtaking is also not the best out there, but, under no pressure he has made no mistakes.

        I do like Seb, but he is not the best driver in F1, he is the driver with the best car in F1, like Alonso, he is flattered and helped by inconsistent and usually slower teamamtes.

      3. Duke says:

        Great post,I agree 100%………No one wants to take anything away from Vettel,but he is not the best driver by far,but yes,he has the fastest car.As Raikkonen said last week,you can be the best driver in the World (in reference to MSC) but still not win if your car is c**p
        Don’t worry next year they (RB) will have a shock

      4. Two reasons:

        1) He adapted to the problem and worked on carrying momentum through the corners.

        2) Webber wasn’t pushing hard until the last few laps… he was controlling the pace from the front, just like Vettel did all year.

        When Vettel controls the pace, he’s considered brilliant, but when Webber does it, everyone yells conspiracy!

      5. He lost second and third gear. He subsequently lost pace in the two sectors you’d expect: where there are long straights after tight corners.

        Sector 1: Tight Senna S, then long straight.

        Sector 2: downhill out of most corners, and tight and twisty with short little straights linking corners (easier to do in a higher gear without losing time).

        Sector 3: Really slow corner onto an uphill straight… obviously going to lose tons of time there.

        Also, you don’t even know what kind of gearbox problem he had. I have seen lots of drivers finish races while missing gears. I personally have finished races with gearbox problems… it’s possible and happens often.

        Lastly, the comparison to Senna is valid. Both had to deal with the fact that they lost gears. If anything, it would be easier for Senna because he’d be able to feel out the gears and know when they are about to go. With Vettel, there is no feedback through paddles, and he can’t skip gears like in an H-pattern ‘box.

      6. Mike J says:

        Excellent response Malcolm, good to see you back here. For a while i thought this column was turning into a ‘conspirators convention’. Over the years we have seen many drivers ‘drive’ around problems whether it be gearbox, brakes or other issues. It also depends on the severity of the issue, minor or major oil leak. Even Webber stated that he could smell something when trailing Vettel. And i don’t think he would be one to make up stories. Cannot understand some posters inability to see this. Both Webber and Vettel would race till the end if they could, as Webber did in ‘not hearing’ his engineers ‘not to push’ commnent with two laps to go.

      7. WDH says:

        No it really was not valid at all. You do realise that Senna finished the race with a single gear and still came back through to win? Working his H pattern gearbox pushed Senna to the edge of physical exhaustion and he still came thorugh to win the damn race. Vettel, by contrast, managed a less serious problem via a microswitch WITH the aid of various software programmes and settings that could be adjusted both in the cockpit and remotely.

        Also, stating that what was called a ‘very serious gearbox problem’ whihc only led to Vettel being marginally off the pace and setting fastest laps beofre and after Wedbber’s pass is not taking part in a conspiracy theory, it IS odd…

      8. WDH:

        Senna “came back through to win”? You do know that he only encountered gearbox problems on lap 60 of a 71 lap race, right? He only lost fourth gear for the latter half of the race, and then lost third and fifth with a few laps to go.

        Mansell was catching him until his gearbox let go, but going from third to fifth isn’t a major loss. Obviously, after losing third and fifth as well, he was being caught quite rapidly, but Patrese ran out of laps.

        You make it sound like he bent the laws of physics and performed some sort of miracle… you don’t end up getting exhausted from driving a car that’s missing a few gears. It’s not like it suddenly becomes more demanding to drive. It was a hot, dry, sunny day… so it probably has more to do with that than anything gearbox-related.

        Like I said, Vettel setting fastest laps after Webber passed him has more to do with Webber controlling the gap to Vettel than anything else. Vettel has been doing this all year, race after race. Why would Webber use up his car by dashing off into the distance? That makes no sense. Webber knew that Vettel wasn’t being caught by Alonso or Button, so if he controlled the gap to Vettel, then he has no worries.

        Sure, I wondered if it was a ploy when it first happened, but then I realized it was pretty silly to think they would come up with an elaborate ruse, get the whole team to play along, fabricate excuses and stories of smelling gear-oil and get Mark to fake excitement on the podium… all done to cover up team orders that are now perfectly legal by the rules.

        Weirder things have happened.

  3. Left Philangie says:

    Happy for Mark, good job.

  4. Karen says:

    I dont know, call me cynical, but that gearbox problem that Vettel supposedly had was too convenient, especially as a number of people seemed to already assume pre-race that Red Bull would gift this to Webber today, and by Webber’s reaction at the end, I think he knew too. Great race by Sutil, a tear wiped for Barichello and hope to see him driving next year but probably for all the wrong reasons :-(

    1. stoikee says:

      Yeah. Maybe I’m cynical too but I was following the live timing and Vettel’s lap times are many times faster than Mark’s on the same lap early, mid and late in the race.

      1. RodgerT says:

        And every time Vettel did pull a lap like that, his engineer was on the radio telling him to knock it off.

      2. Mike J says:

        Ahh, not so sure about that. Apart from Laps 2 -10, and lap 16, 23, 29 and 37, Webber was faster than Vettel by a good margin, 3-4 tenths. Vettel is a racer and would find it hard to ‘slow down’ hence his engineer reminding him of the problem since it was probably hard to feel or impossible from within the car

    2. HansB says:

      I agree with you… and everyone may call me cynical too but there are some facts that can not be denied.
      1) Why was Webber suddenly this race faster than both the McLarens and Ferraris ? Not just a little bit faster but much faster.
      2) A gearbox problem from (almost) the beginning of the race… When oil temperatures rise it means too much internal friction and that normally will get worse, not better. The box will seize especially when RB tell after the race there was hardly any oil left in the gearbox… I mean.. oil gives the so much needed cooling… so the box gets hotter and that in itself creates more wear, more heat, less oil, even more heat etc etc.
      3) If SV had a gearbox problem, why shout it out over the radio a dozen times directly from the start of the occuring problem so the whole world knows about it ? If SV really had a problem they would have kept it quiet until it would get obvious to others.
      Just my thoughts.

      1. RodgerT says:

        1: Webber wasn’t faster than the McLarens until qualifying. When it seems that McLaren decided to run a bit more wing figuring for rain during the race.

        2: the gearbox was slowly losing fluid, it didn’t just all spill out at once. The telemetry showed this and therefore Vettel was told to short shift in order to keep the rev’s down reducing heat and wear in an under lubricated box.

        3: Although the team radios are are broadcast in the clear, and anyone who has a radio can listen in. This is something that is mandated by the regulations, so the teams have no choice. The team telling a driver about a problem, and how to manage that problem isn’t exactly “broadcasting to the public.”

        The only options would be to not tell him about it at all, and let the transmission let go. Or put it on a pit board, which let everyone else know as well, so might as well use the radio.

      2. HansB says:

        1) Actually there always was a McLaren or Ferrari faster than Webber in 2011 except for Turkey (2 secs) and Belgium (9 secs). However the margin last sunday was almost 30 secs to the first McLaren!
        2)When a gearbox is overheating and losing oil it will overheat even quicker because oil has as much a cooling as a lubricating function. And an already overheating gearbox with almost no oil in it can not set some fastest laps in the race.
        RedBullshit
        3)The teams have all kinds of codes for this. It didn’t need to go public this early in the race.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        HansB, Webber was quicker than the Mclarens by a big margin is because Mclaren gambled on a wet setup and failed, and yes Vettel is a special talent, he can equal Webber by short shifting gear, the guy is far beyond Webber now.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        1. The Red Bull itself was quick. Naturally, Webber took advantage. When the Red Bull advantage is small or virtually non-existant, he is left to wander around in the middle of nowhere like Massa.
        2. Red Bull themselves said it was getting worse during the race, I belive.
        3. So it is better to let Vettel run the thing into the ground, as he looked keen on doing anyway?

      5. HansB says:

        See above.

    3. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

      Are you saying that Seb let Mark overtake to grab the second place on the WDC??? No… This is not possible, after all, Red Bull is the “moral compass” of the F1. They wouldn’t do that… 8-)

  5. Schadenfreude says:

    so long F1 has been an enjoyable 20 years viewing.

  6. goferet says:

    How about that!

    Pretty convenient that Vettel has a gearbox problem at the last race while leading his teammate who desperately needs a win & incidentally who the team had promised to help win a race.

    And what’s more, the gearbox problem wasn’t too severely damaged to lose second place, hmm… Yes I was born at night but not last night!

    Shoot! What a disappointing race that was, for were was the rain that was promised & were was the great strategic battle we were to see between the new tyres.

    No doubt, Pirelli have taken a wrong turn with their tyres ever since Spa for we want the old Pirellis back or else we’re backing to wishing for rain every Grand Prix.

    Great drives by Alonso & most especially Sutil who was my driver of the day. As for Jenson’s podiums, they have a hollow feel about them for a number of them have been achieved by taking a place away from a struggling Alonso in the latter stages of the race.

    Anyway, am so glad this dreadful season has finally come to a close, I just hope we never see the likes of ever again this decade.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      If Button’s podium was hollow because of Ferrari’s hard tyre troubles then so was all Hamilton’s wins this year, Alonso in the inferior ferrari and Vettel’s tyre strategy blunder in China gifted Hamilton easy victories.

    2. Trent says:

      Yes, I think you’re cynical but there’ll be plenty who agree with you.

      For this to be true, either Vettel had to be in on it (can you REALLY imagine statistic-obsessed Seb going for this plan?) or Redbull engineering the ‘problem’ for him without his knowledge or consent. That would be a bold move, and one that would damage a perfectly harmonious relationship between the team and their lead driver.

      1. wayne says:

        No there is only one option, Vettel would have had to be in on it. And maybe he was listening to his radio boradcasts ‘I will loose and place, I will Loose a place’ – telling the world that he was giving the place to Webber rather than being out-raced. There was also the ridiculous and crass comparrison he made between himself and Senna – Sickening and entirely innacurate.

      2. RodgerT says:

        He didn’t compare himself to Senna. He compared the situation to one Senna had at the same track.

    3. Scott says:

      “As for Jenson’s podiums, they have a hollow feel about them for a number of them have been achieved by taking a place away from a struggling Alonso in the latter stages of the race.”

      What utter nonsense…a bit like saying that any driver who defeats another in inferior machinery doesn’t deserve it.

    4. Andrew J says:

      It doesn’t matter WHERE you pass the car in front. Only that you do so. If JB can get more out of his tyres in the latter stages than Alonso he deserves the credit. If you ascribe it to the car rather than the driver then the same tyre conditions apply to Hamilton.

      Part of the reason that JB has made most overtakes this year is because he isn’t as good as qualifying as his team mate. Lewis has outqualified Jenson 13-6 this season, but Jenson has a 43 point lead over Lewis in the championship. That’s the mark of the man.

    5. When did the team promise to help him?

      Drivers do lose gears sometimes… I’ve had to finish a race myself while missing a gear. It happens sometimes.

      Webber was controlling the pace from the front… he didn’t need to do qualifying laps until the end.

      No need for the tin-foil hat here.

      1. Doobs says:

        …and the hitherto bullet proof Vettel Red Bull suddenly loses a gearbox, conveniently letting Webber win and secure 2nd place in the WDC…LOL. Wake up man.

      2. …and what about the hitherto bulletproof Force India gearbox that gave di Resta trouble? Or what about hitherto bulletproof McLaren gearbox that failed for Hamilton?

        If it’s suspicious that Red Bull’s gearbox had issues for the first time in the last race, what about the other two gearboxes from other teams that had similar problems for the first time all year? Why is that accepted, but Red Bull is an exception?

        Also, do your homework… Webber finished third in the WDC.

        How long have you watched F1 for? I’ve seen much weirder things happen than a gearbox failure that’s convenient for the driver behind him. They’ve already issued team orders in Silverstone, so why would they try to hide it here with an elaborate plan, getting lots of people to lie, getting Webber to claim he smelled gear-oil, fabricating the telemetry and then getting Vettel to lie after he watched the Red Bull mechanics disassemble the gearbox…?

        Really? You still think it’s some big conspiracy? Just so Webber can win? For third place in the WDC? That’s a lot of trouble to go through for very little gain.

        I’m not the one that needs to wake up.

      3. James Allen says:

        The Force India gearbox is the same as the McLaren one and the problem Di Resta had was exactly the same as Hamilton’s. But they managed to get to the end, by chance

      4. Doobs says:

        You think it’s hard for a team to ask two drivers to switch position? As to why the elaborate schemes… well cast your mind back to the RB infighting a season or two ago and the infamous “not bad for a number two driver” comment from Webber. I am not going to be so presumptious as to second guess RB but if you think strange things have happened on the track, then stranger things have certainly happened off it.

  7. Mark says:

    Awesome pace by the Red Bulls, even with a gearbox problem an easy 1-2 for them. It seems McLaren don’t usually have the pace at this circuit. Hope the start of 2012 season will be closer between the top teams.

    1. Mark says:

      And wondering why JB didn’t have the pace on the softs?

  8. iceman says:

    Quite a few people have expressed suspicion that Red Bull might have engineered this victory as a reward for Mark being a good boy all year. Do you think there could be anything in that James, or was Sebastian’s problem a genuine one?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it was real. Knowing Mark, he’d have had a different demeanour at the end if it was a fix and also Vettel would have been different. Wins are important to him and he wouldn’t have gone along with it

      1. young slinger says:

        Sorry James, but Marks attitude at the end was flat. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it was a bit sus! Seb putting in fastest laps just prior and after the pass…..you have to think!

      2. James Allen says:

        Sorry to disappoint but one of my colleagues was shown the telemetry which showed gearbox oil level dropping and temperatures rising.

        Senna, Di Resta and Hamilton also had gearbox issues today

      3. Glenn says:

        Marks attitude was flat because he would have preferred to beat Seb head to head, not due to a mechanical snafu. Thats Mark being an Aussie, thats all.
        The Webber haters would have us think that this was the first win in F1 history due to a mechanical failure of an opponent. Had Seb won, it would have been because Lewis’ gearbox failed.
        I cant believe how narrow minded some of the folks on here are. If a pom doesn’t win, then it’s scandalous.
        Congrats Mark, Seb & Jenson.

      4. **Paul** says:

        Of course it was pretty flat ! The Guy wants to beat his teammate thanks to his pace, not thanks to Seb having an issue. Seb’s fastest laps before and after were just to prove that he was faster than Webber, not that he needed to prove that, his past three seasons as Marks team mate have shown that time and time again.

      5. young slinger says:

        Stand corrected, and pleased to say so! Good on Mark.

      6. Cloney says:

        If Seb was in on it he wouldn’t have kept on putting in faster lap times than Mark and have his crew basically pleading with him to Short shift and nurse it home.

        Also, Mark was told 1-2 laps out from the end that it was done and they didn’t need anymore from him….then he puts in his 2 fastest laps of the race.

        The pair of them are racers and you can tell from the past neither of them likes to give into being told to slow down or let the other have an advantage. Seb realised it was pointless to keep trying to race with Mark and let him through because it was going to happen with his gearbox eventually and its better to have a 1 – 2 finish than only one or no cars finish because they raced to hard.

        Webber put in the effort and finally had the pace to win, he hasn’t be comfortable with the tyres all year and finally seems to have his head around them. It was a fantastic drive from him and I’m glad he could take the win.

      7. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

        This is because RBR have *GREAT* engineers. So good that they were able to fix the “gear box problem” remotely (after Mark overtake Seb).

      8. Shane says:

        I’m suspicious. Throughout the whole race you hear the team telling Seb to short shift. Not once on any of the onboard footage did I see him actually do it.

      9. Tealeaf says:

        Well I saw it on the graphics of the rev counter that he was short shifting quite alot actually, the person that didn’t short shift at all was Hamilton, and he paid for it.

      10. wayne says:

        Tealeaf, no that was not the case at all. Hamilton was clearly told ‘there is nothing you can do from the car, just keep driving as you are’ by his engineer. So Hamilton did not ‘pay’ for anything as short shifting would not have helped in his case.

      11. Tealeaf says:

        Fact: Vettel was short shifting, graphics proved it, Fact: Vettel’s gearbox survived.
        Fact: Hamilton wasn’t short shifting, Fact: Hamilton’s gearbox failed.

        Anything else is just speculation, maybe Vettel’s gearbox was fine all along, maybe Hamilton’s gearbox would have lasted if he short shifted, but they are all just guesses, read the facts.

        Oh yeah another fact: Vettel the best driver in F1, bar none.

      12. formulasfera says:

        Why Mark put in danger his only victory trying several “fast-laps” at the end?
        It does any sense…
        He said he was enjoying driving the car, really? Before his maiden win this year?

        I know James you said MW win was genuine, but can you explain why a professional driver in his maiden win could risk all?

      13. Martin says:

        If you look at various qualifying laps throughout the year, it is very rare for any driver to crash in qualifying. Usually they just run a bit wide, lock up a brake, with minimal consequence apart from a few tenths lost and possibly excess tyre wear.

        In Mark’s case, he probably just used a standard engine mode, so there was minimal risk to the car. The team always likes less load on the car, such as 17500 rpm rather than 18000, but Mark had a pretty fresh engine compared to most in the field. The drivers know what the track conditions are, so the risk is low. It is not like rallying, where unknowns are around any corner.

        Finally, the first ever win is a much bigger deal than the seventh. Especially as we can see from Mark’s reaction that it was win where he beat Sebastian in part due to a problem.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      14. **Paul** says:

        He was probably concerned Vettel might try and take fastest lap on the last lap, which is something he likes to do. If Vettels problems were false he would have done this.

      15. KRB says:

        Agree fully. Vettel’s not the type to give up ANY win if he can help it. The way people are talking, Vettel would have to be in on it, and I don’t see that happening.

      16. Michael says:

        James,

        While all the armchair team principles are producing conspiracy theories about Vettel’s freak tranny failure, can you tell us why Brazil is so prone to tranny failures and why otherwise reliable cars (RB and McL) are blowing them there?

        Tks,

        Michael

      17. James Allen says:

        No one knows. Only thing different about it is the altitude. Had this very chat with Paddy Lowe last night after the race.

      18. Part of it might be the long, uphill straight.

        I know that when dyno-testing a motorcycle engine in fourth gear (1:1 ratio), the gear did not last long at all. A long, uphill straight would have a similar effect, as you are feeding all that torque through each gear for much longer. Also, exiting the Senna S would have a similar effect, as they are full throttle in third gear for much longer than usual, as the cornering of the car prevents it from accelerating as usual. Of course, this is in addition to the increased G-forces, though I doubt that the designs would allow for any oil-starvation. If there was a slow leak, however, it would stand to reason that this track would cause an ailing gearbox to fail that much quicker, as it could starve the gear-oil pick-up in the bottom of the gearbox.

        The lower altitude could affect cooling, but at the same time, the teams would know this ahead of time, as the same effect would be seen in engine cooling. If they needed to increase the openings for the radiators, obviously they would increase the intake for the gearbox coolers.

    2. James Beck says:

      If you look at the Red Bull pace, they both cut the pace by 0.6s towards the end of the first stint. Part of that is tyres, but it suggests that there is a sudden change of plan. There is no way that the Red Bulls were on full pace from that moment on the soft tyres. The pace difference to the mediums is consistent with other cars, they were fast at the end partly because the tyres were newer. I don’t think they were pushing hard.

      The evidence is that the gearbox problem is real, and they matched the pace of the cars to what it could handle. To get it right and maintain a 1-2 finish is an awesome job.

  9. [MISTER] says:

    Dull race and don’t believe for a second that Vettel had a problem. A disgrace for RBR for staging such a thing.

    Ohh well, this is going to be another long winter…

    1. Read James’ comments above about his colleague seeing the data for himself and watching the levels slowly drop.

      Next, are you a gearbox expert? Do you know that it’s possible to lose gears and still continue? He lost 2nd and 3rd, so he just kept it in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th… as a result, he lost most of his time coming out of the last tight corner going up the hill onto the main straight. Other drivers also had gearbox problems this race… but just because it worked out in Webber’s favour, suddenly it’s a conspiracy?

      Finally, long winter?! It’s only two months until the testing starts! We’ll have cars being revealed in 6-8 weeks.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        He didnt lose 2nd and 3rd and no matter what James or RBR would say, I have formed an opinion and I don’t see it changing.

        I just lost faith in what RBR are saying from the moment when they kinda took Vettel’s side when he crashed into MW last year, from the moment they took MW’s front wing to give to SV while trying to find excuses and reasons of why they did it and from the monent they called MW to hold possition this year when already SV was a long way ahead in championship…also while still claiming the drivers are free to race.

        They are a joke of a team -in terms of PR- in my eyes and until they prove otherwise (and not to me) and show equal treatment for both drivers -as they claim- I cannot believe SV had a gearbox problem.

        In the same time, I am aware that I might be wrong and SV rly had a problem.

      2. “I have formed an opinion and I don’t see it changing.”

        Well, then no amount of evidence can change that. Human minds are almost impossibly difficult to change when a solid opinion is formed, no matter how shaky the evidence or reasoning used (I just recently read a book about it… interesting stuff).

        However, in order to pull this off if it was a conspiracy, they would have needed to do the following:

        1) Convince Webber to create stories like smelling gear oil (trust me, that stuff has a very distinctive smell, and it’s QUITE pungent).

        2) Convince Webber to act as if he deserved the win on merit alone, or keep him in the dark. If the latter, #1 would not be possible… and Mark doesn’t seem like the type to follow along with the former.

        3) Convince Vettel to skip certain gears and short-shift to pretend he has a problem.

        4) Manipulate the data that was shown regarding the loss of fluid and the resulting increase in heat.

        …and probably a few more.

        Seems like a lot of trouble to go through when team orders are now legal. They told their drivers to hold position in Britain… why wouldn’t they ask Vettel to let Webber past? Both are requests to artificially affect the outcome of the race (one is preventing a possible pass, and the other is forcing a possible pass). Clearly they are accepting of team orders, so why manufacture a story?

  10. Roger W says:

    Gearbox problem – ho ho ho – very well stage managed – Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…

    1. So the gearbox problem is a conspiracy, but the KERS problems that Webber had earlier in the year are just par for the course?

      Either Red Bull has just had a few issues this year, KERS and ‘box included… or they’re throwing up all sorts of red herring to allow Vettel to maximize his points and Webber to get a win and third place in the points.

      #PutsOnTinFoilHat

      1. Roger W says:

        “earlier in the year” and “red herring” are clues to the situation…

      2. Does Alex Jones have an F1 section for his website? Lots of good material here for it… ;-)

  11. Dan Orsino says:

    Super impressed with Button. Vettel is easily the fastest current driver, but Button is the no1 racer on the grid. He has taken the “overtaking” mantle away from Hamilton without a lot of effort.
    How he sailed past the ferraris today, while Ham [gearbox prob or no] got stuck again as we’ve seen in many a previous race. Definitely deserving of p2 in the championship.
    McLaren is now HIS team, not Lewis’s..

    1. D@X says:

      Hi Dan,

      I think Mclaren will always have an open policy which I enjoy, Jenson has done a good job of it and fair play. Lewis has had a rotten season and I feel these two drivers complement each other in terms of moving the team forward. JB has a lot of experience and LH is still a growing boy.

      Though I wouldn’t write off LH just yet, I will wait for next season to make that conclusion. Overall the drive from JB was superb, and taking on the Alonso and paying him back was satisfying to watch.

    2. KRB says:

      Yeah, right. Button had a great year, while Hamilton had a poor year. But they still come away with 3 wins each.

      We’ll see if Button can kick on and do even better than this year. I suspect not. While we all know that Hamilton can do a lot better than he’s done this year.

      And you don’t think the bigs at McLaren know this?!?

      btw, Pass of the Day is unquestionably Alonso’s around the outside of Button in Turn 6!! AMAZING pass! I’d love to see the onboard for that one again, as I’m sure he emptied his Kers allotment to make that one stick.

      1. K says:

        To do that pass it’s more about finding the grip on the bend, relying on KERS alone don’t make it work.

      2. Cliff says:

        Great passs yes, but we saw the same pass in 2009 when Button passed Grosjean around the outside.

      3. TheLegend says:

        You mean Brawn against Renault? Oh yes, the same…

      4. **Paul** says:

        I thought it was a great pass by FA too, but not so. When interviewed JB confirmed he basically let him go as he didn’t want to run over MSC’s tyre debris, thus he eased off and pulled in behind him. On a clear track I suspect FA wouldn’t have made that one stick.

      5. audifan says:

        why not wonder about his pace on the mediums ?

        or with alonso it being the other way round ? maybe jens could had held alonso off if it hadn’t been for the schuey debris on the track , but the ferrari was clearly quicker at that point

        yes , I watched it again on the HD recording last night and you could see what happened

    3. Daff says:

      Jenson is silky smooth, but let’s not get carried away. He sailed past due to this DRS.

      As for No.1 racer, he didn’t look like it when Alonso mugged him round the outside without having to use DRS.

      1. K says:

        DRS was not available on the straight before the bend which Alonso overtook Button.

    4. kers says:

      “he sailed past the ferraris today”
      which had no pace on the hard tyre, as always this season…

      but do you remember who overtook Jenson on the outside at the beginning?

      1. steakbearnaise says:

        works both ways – you could say JB had no pace on the soft tire and Alonso took him easily because of that… Indeed, the fact that he could do it around the outside just shows that he had the better means to do it in terms of pace and grip.

        The cars aren’t comparable in every way – that’s what makes the sport more interesting. But JB did better than Alonso today with the equipment he had. And ultimately, over the season he did better than anybody else apart from Vettel. No, he’s not the greatest driver ever, but I don’t see the need people have to belittle him.

      2. TheLegend says:

        Fernando did, again, the best job out there. No hard compound problems and would have been on podium with a slower car, just the same as every other race. Maybe that’s why people don’t understand the valuable work he has been doing all the season, he has made of greatness a usual thing on his prefomances.

      3. Andrew J says:

        with the greatest respect, the points aren’t awarded for what happens at the beginning but where the drivers finish at the end.

        There have been loads of champions who have been caught out and overtaken in loads of races – they’re only human and they can make mistakes too. Getting the place back and having it when you get to the chequered flag is far more important.

    5. Michael says:

      “McLaren is now HIS team, not Lewis’s”

      ???

      McLaren has a stated open policy and from what I can tell, is trying their best to implement it. I think McLaren has two great drivers and wants to help both get the maximum out of their car so they can with the championship–whether JB or Lewis. It would be stupid to sacrifice a championship because the “favored child” isn’t performing.

      I sure hope that these team principles have more maturity and foresight than some of the posters on this site give them credit for.

    6. Glenn says:

      Mark is the fastest driver currently, not Seb. Mark has a trophy to prove it ;) Seb is the fastest qualifier. JB is neither. He does seem to be a decent bloke though.

      1. terryshep says:

        [mod] So Mark is the fastest driver currently, Mark has a trophy to prove it? Haven’t you noticed, Seb has a much bigger trophy – and he’s had it for a couple of years now.

        Please note, I am one of those Poms you derided in your previous post, one of the ones who can appreciate any driver, no matter where he comes from. I really wish we could get rid of the nationalistic bias from sport.

      2. Glenn says:

        My apologies if you were offended Terry. However, Marks trophy SAYS he is the fastest, Sebs does not ;) For the record, I reckon Seb is the best thing I’ve seen since Michael. I would also like to go on record as saying I hope Lewis returns to his top form again next year. Although the tyre saving, fuel saving GP we now have dont suit Lewis (nor Mark), I still think he is an incredibly exciting driver when on full song. We desperately need someone to take it to Seb and make a race of it.
        Again, my apologies Terry.

      3. terryshep says:

        Thanks for that, Glenn, pity we couldn’t do the hug outside the Ferrari pit, eh?

        It looks as though we agree pretty well over the drivers and I’d add Fernando to that mix and give a strong mention to Nico as well, I feel there’s a lot to come from him yet. I pray we’ll be able to welcome Robert K. back soon as well.

        I think you are probably right about the modern regularity trials not suiting real racers, like Mark & Lewis. All we lack now is having the cards stamped when they come into the pits.

        Have a good summer down there!

      4. Glenn says:

        Haha… thanks mate :)
        I thought I was the only one who felt Nico was something special. He needs to get himself a good ride before he loses the will to win. Fernando is a given. He is Mr Consistency IMO. I still say it would be ultra exciting to See Lewis, Seb & Nico, Fernando all racing identical mid-field cars (say…Toro Rosso, Sauber etc).
        Enjoy the break mate!

    7. wayne says:

      That’s funny, I was much more impressed with how Alonso ‘sailed past’ Button on the outside where there should be no chance to overtake at all! Button’s repass on Alonso was just ‘standard’.

  12. Rob Newman says:

    Not an exciting race to be honest. It’s a pitty Vettel had to lose first place due to technical issues.

    Mercedes messed up their race during qualifying. Schumacher paid the price for his poor qualifying performance.

    I saw on the back of Vettel’s car that red light was blinking throught the race. Not sure what was that all about. Didn’t notice that on other cars.

    1. Flakey says:

      The BBC team thought it was a measure to help preserve his gearbox. He but it into a wet weather running mode, so the wet weather light came on as a by product of that.

  13. Blade Runner says:

    If it was his last race, good to see Rubens beating his old teammate MS. Pretty dull race IMHO with the DRS not really working this time. Button again outstanding.

  14. F1_Badger says:

    Sutil’s result poses tough questions at FI. James do you have any insight into their driver line up for 2012?
    Thank you for a great guide to the year and I hope to hear you commentating again next year!

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, read the story on it from yesterday.

      I think Sutil may well end up at Williams

      1. F1_Badger says:

        Sorry I missed that, joys of shift work! thanks for the reminder James I appreciate it.

    2. KRB says:

      Sutil drove a great race today … I would pick him from Driver of the Day, taking into account the result he got with the car he had underneath him. Webber 2nd.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Webber 2nd?? Seb would have crushed him if it wasn’t for that gearbox.

  15. Baart says:

    It was strange in case of Vettel`s gearbox problem. He let Webber pass, and few laps later he did fastest lap ! So in my opinion Red Bull give Webber win.

    1. Michael says:

      Our opinions are sometimes incongruent with reality. Read James’ comments above about the tranny failure. They seem grounded in reality to me.

      1. Baart says:

        Ok, and Vettel`s Fastest Lap ? Is it possible to make it when you drive with broken gearbox ? Is it worth it to gamble ?

      2. It’s not gambling if you are pushing it through the corners, and taking it easy when shifting up and down. It’s not like he’s nursing his tires.

        Also, fuel weight goes down as the race goes on, and apart from the last few laps where Webber got fastest lap, he was just controlling the pace from the front. No need to set all the fastest laps throughout the race… just the ones at the end if he so desires!

      3. Mike J says:

        Hi Barrt, Gearbox wasn’t broken, it had a problem, the full extent we are all guessing about. Many races have been won or finished on gearboxes that are fully functional

  16. mo kahn says:

    It was heart wrenching to Alonso so painfully suffer on Harder of the two compounds, his struggle was for all to see. Until then… he was fascinating… beating both the Mclarens in all aspects.

    Lewis was definitely off-colour, it just didn’t make sense, apart from the fact that this circuit has always been his nemesis.

    Vettel… it was gracious of him to move over and not impede Webber, when he was struggling with his car’s gears.

    Button’s intelligent driving was commendable.

    Webber’s win longtime coming, but in whatever circumstances it came in… it was a welcoming site.

    Michael’s move on Force India was forcefully brilliant, only to be ruined by Senna, after which he was visibly demoralised.

    All and all it was a wonderful 2011 :)

    1. C B Smith says:

      Button explained why he lost track position to Alonso. He had to avoid track debris.

      Lewis off colour?? His car had gremlins which ultimately ended in gearbox failure.

      So I hardly think Alonso had the measure of the McLaren team, particularly as Button hauled Alonso in with ease.

      1. mo kahn says:

        Alonso was clearly half a second slower on the primes and it was established that it was the car since Massa too was struggling… And yes… if Hamilton is not challenging for a win then he is off-colour… such is a caliber of Lewis… Button and his excuses… The way Alonso overtook him, it was like “I am comming through” that is why I said, it was an intelligent driver from Button, for doing something different by switching to primes twice and attacked when the Ferrari exposed is Achilles heel :)

      2. MISTER says:

        I don’t remember seeing Button all over Alonso just after Alonso overtook him. So on the softer tyre, Alonso had the pace on the McLaren..or at least the same pace.

      3. JohnBt says:

        Nando had a lot purples on sector 1 but it was so clear he was struggling on sect 2, 3 wasn’t that bad though. But the silver tyres dragged Ferrari down big time the whole year!

      4. TheLegend says:

        Slower pace clearly, Fernando was 0.5 sec/lap faster than Felipe here, that tells you all about the absolutely amazing race pace he has, but not the Ferrari.

      5. Button had problems with the option tyre all weekend, don’t forget, so he was slow in his first stint while Alonso’s car was working well. McLaren did the only sensible thing in that situation and switched Button to the Prime as soon as he could reach the end on a two-stop strategy.

        You can’t play the ‘wrong tyre’ card for one driver and not the other!

  17. jonnyd says:

    the penalty on senna was completely absurd – and summed up the stewards decisions throughout the year.

    1. KRB says:

      Not absurd IMO … he edged right, right into MS. Didn’t have to, and it hurt him more than MS in the long-run. Again, sometimes the best thing for drivers is to accept that they’ve been passed, and get on with their race. Where’s Kobayashi gone to after his contact with Hamilton at Spa? He’s notched up points, but I don’t recall having to take notice of a stellar drive, like for example Di Resta’s in Singapore, etc.

    2. I thought it was an unnecessary and harsh penalty. Schumacher did nothing wrong but it was entirely reasonable, logical even, for Bruno to try and force Michael off the optimal line for Turn 1 so he could attack out of Turn 2.

      That’s exactly how you would defend that corner in pretty much every other form of racing, but because visibility is so poor in current F1 cars Schumacher could only guess where Senna might have braked.

      1. jonnyd says:

        the initial contact would have informed michael exactly where senna was – he continued to turn in, thinking senna would be doing the same, squeezing senna onto the kerb – but senna didn’t and stayed put.
        consequently it was a complete 50/50 racing incident, and i couldnt believe it when senna got a penalty for it.
        Cue coulthard, scurrying towards his rulebook.
        Aah well, if its not there in black and white, its a penalty. No such thing as judgement anymore in f1. It’s not as if every situation is different……

    3. Mike J says:

      The organisation needs to rethink the amount of penalties handed out for 50-50 incidents. Soon they will penalise someone for touching wheels, or ‘looking at someone the wrong way’. I think Webbers comments a few weeks back after India were spot on

  18. F1Fan4Life says:

    Well, usually I’m quite sad at the end of an F1 season but im actually glad this dull season was over. I’d like to vote Domenicali and Boullier for worst team principals. Domenicali, thanks for your contribution this year. The Ferrari was [mod] only competitive in Alonso’s hands, but even then as the laps came down the true lack of pace came to light. The Ferrari’s started as p.o.s cars at the start of the season and ended exactly the same. Hardly any progress in a year, [mod]. Hope Mercedes make a bid for Alonso next year if Ferrari are still winning the award for 3rd best car. They should have studied Domenicali for a blown diffuser because he certainly blows hot air exceptionally.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      I’m still amazed Alonso managed to finish 3rd(not too far off 2nd even) in the drivers championship… that’s some achievement in a very mediocre car.

      1. Jonno says:

        Technically 4th – Webber pipped him by two points when Button past Alonso for third in the race.

      2. Sean says:

        That’s because he finished 4th in the WDC

      3. adam says:

        Alonso finished 4th in the WDC.

      4. K says:

        Alonso finished 4th actually

      5. Don Farrell says:

        Ouch you guys burst my bubble even more – thanks for the reality check! :)

      6. Brendan says:

        Where did Alonso finish, again? :)

  19. Baart says:

    James, why Jenson put medium tires on his first pit stop ? Why not soft ?

    1. James Allen says:

      1. His third set of softs wasn’t good, they learned that on Saturday
      2. He preferred the balance on the mediums and had the pace to beat Alonso on them

    2. James Beck says:

      On new mediums, Jenson was about 0.3s down on the used softs (fuel/deg. corrected). This was by far the best of anybody.

  20. sender says:

    The first half of the season was pretty good, although it was evident that Vettel will be champion after 4 or 5 races.
    The second half was pretty bad. The races were processional and generally unexciting. And the lack of championship fight only emphassised this.
    It will be interesting too see what will be the tire situation next season. Let’s hope that Pirelli will not let them stay like they were in the seconf half of the season.
    It would be good if the excitement in terms of competition was good, but so far nothing points to the fact that somebody will be able to seriously challenge Red Bull. For the sake of the sport let’s hope that the ban of EBD will change at least something.

  21. Ade says:

    Hamilton soundly beaten by Button in the end. I bet he is so glad this season has ended…
    I feel Webber was due a victory, just a pity it came at the expense of reliability to the sister car!

  22. Ha says:

    Well scripted and executed present by RBR, including Vettel’s team radio messages…he should get an Oscar, lol.

    We all know what really went on. They had to do it this way to not let Webber catch on too fast that it was a gift.

    1. D@X says:

      Yep! A bit of miss-direction by RBR team, as Vetle was even going faster with a shifty gear box..Hmmm! I got bored at the amount of times the engineer came on the radio talking non sense, Vet maintained the gap to Alonso with relative ease. Ask Senna or Hamilton what a gear box failure or problem actually is, we saw how it affected the performance overall.

      1. Trent says:

        I’m sure all gearbox problems are not identical. How can you make the assumption that all drivers would be affected by these different problems in the same way?

        Gees, people love a good conspiracy…

      2. MISTER says:

        Not all gearbox problem are the same, but if he had to shortshift every corner for the whole race (to me this means that he could not use all revs available and has to shift gear up early) how in the hell was he just couple of tens off Webber’s pace? He would’ve lost time in every turn.

        Please, we’re not naive.
        If you’re a driver, and usually you change gears at about 3000 RPM, why don’t you try and change gears at 2500 RPM and you will see the difference in pace.
        I am disgusted with RBR and cannot see why fans would cheer for them when they insult our intelligence.

        I would have accepted if he was told they have a gearbox problem like McLaren did with Lewis, but RBR engineer made it sound like the car was going to blow up (i.e. “we have a serious problem, shortshift every gearchange for the whole race”).

      3. MISTER:

        Read James’ comments about his colleague watching the telemetry and seeing the problems for himself.

        Also, he was only a few tenths off Webber’s pace because Webber was controlling the pace from the front. Vettel has been doing this ALL YEAR, and suddenly it’s a foreign concept to everyone?

        Yes, short shifting hurts performance. That’s why he was so slow in the third sector.

        Finally, with the way Vettel has been driving all year, where they tell him to maintain pace and he goes and sets a fastest lap, they probably knew he needed to be reminded to keep himself in check and not kill the ‘box.

        Conspiracies sure are fun, though.

      4. Tealeaf says:

        Actually Hamilton ignored the gearbox problem and that’s why it failed.

      5. MISTER says:

        How did he ignore it? All they said to him was they have a gearbox problem. The engineer actually said that Lewis cannot do anything about it.
        Seriously people, what’s wrong with you?

      6. Flakey says:

        Hamilton’s gearbox had developed a leak, there was nothing him, or the team could do. All he could do was drive around as best he could, and hope for a miracle that some oil was left in the gearbox at the end of the race, which of course did not happen.

    2. DK says:

      Agree.

      Webber don’t want favor so RBR has to package it with loads of drama and script. I wonder if there is a button in the Red Bull call ‘Gearbox problem’ , as I remembered in one of the earlier races that Webber was told not to push because of overheating gearbox when he was closing in on Vettel.

      Since Vettel can’t equal Shumi’s most win in a season, I suppose he has no problem to play along as he looked cheerful after the race.

      In fact, I kind of expected this when I predicted the podium on Saturday but didn’t get it right on third place :( … I thought Ham would have made it.

      What a boring race to end the season !! Interlagos deserved better.

  23. if only there was no testing ban, that way at least when one team start the season with a clear advantage it doesn’t take the trailing team six months to catch up. Lets hope Mark is stronger next year as well.

  24. formulasfera says:

    Is there any conspiracy theory for this win James?

  25. Gylen Boardman says:

    Anyone have any thoughts on the theory that Vettel’s problem may have been fictional, to gift Weber the victory? There seemed to be a lot of Twitter and forum traffic about this and I believe the BBC commentary team mentioned it in passing but to what end, if true?

    On one hand, it seems odd that Vettel’ was able to last race-distance with a problematic box yet still bang in competitive times but on the other, what would be the pont of the charade, particularly given that team orders are allowed?

    1. James Allen says:

      Millions of conspiracy theorists do…

      It’s F1 and dodgy things have happened plenty of times in the past. Today I’m convinced from seeing it up close in Brazil that SV had a gearbox problem and that’s why MW won the race.

      1. Cliff says:

        Have to agree with you James. Of all the Drivers on the Grid, Mark Webber has never given me the impression that he wants any favours from RBR, just equal treatment.

      2. 69bhp says:

        last year he wanted RBR to give him priority in the run-up to the championship. He wasn’t happy when they didnt ask Seb to move over and let him win last year’s Brazil GP.

      3. Mr Squiggle says:

        James,

        Thank you for this ‘eyewitness’ evidence of the problems with SV’s gearbox.

        For myself, there were a number of clues during the broadcast that the problem was a real one – eg his entry to the uphill pitlane coming down through the gears, 3rd->2nd->1st. Something was amiss then.

        It looks to me that SV protected 2nd and 3rd gears mostly going into corners (by going harder on the breaks than the engine) and less so when coming out of the corners. He often visibly ran the revs up to the red zone getting up the hill to the finish line.

        James – thanks again for a great year’s insights and commentary. Not as much fun for an australian race fan as last year, but I went the distance and loved every minute!

      4. Michael says:

        I believe that the only “gifts” that Mark Webber desires are a good car with equipment parity and support equality with the other side of the garage. I am not suggesting that this is not already the case at Red Bull.

        I agree with your earlier comments James, Mark’s attitude was more of one who was a little lucky, particularly when recalling his comments of a couple of Grands Prix ago.

      5. Ashwin says:

        James,

        Just one question:
        How is it possible for Vettel with gearbox problem (being asked to switch gears at red), able to set pretty fast lap times at one stage when it was reported that it was “serious”.

        Thanks.

      6. James Allen says:

        Because he wasn’t listening!! It was a problem he wasn’t able to feel in the car, but which the engineers could see developing on telemetry, mainly because of rising temperatures. Di Resta had same, but worse and Force I tell me it was a miracle he reached the end

      7. Ashwin says:

        Thanks a lot James.
        At first, I was extremely frustrated at the way Red Bull orchestrated the issue.
        But your words have cooled me down.
        Your opinion counts for me.

        Looking forward to your site till the season starts.

      8. Gylen Boardman says:

        That’s good to hear James and obviously, you guys have better visibility of these things than we do at home, where speculation can become rife! I’d have been disappointed to see what I’ve felt to be an excellent season end on a note of suspicion so glad to hear that you think there’s nothing in it.

        I suspect you are correct about Webber’s demeanour post-race being slightly more ‘grumpy’ had he been handed it.

    2. Raymond Yu says:

      In the chance it was a charade I suspect it was to cover the truth from Mark. He’s very vocal about these things. He doesn’t like getting “gifts.” He’d have preferred a hard-fought victory.

      1. JohnBt says:

        I think it’s like a lost win. Mark’s not the kind to keep his feelings. His body language speaks more than his words many times.

    3. Hendo says:

      Why bother with a phoney gearbox problem – team orders are allowed now – so all Seb would have to do is slow down 100 metres from the finish line to let Mark through to take the win as a ‘thank you for your support during the year’ – just like MS at Austria(I think)

  26. Sebee says:

    Is it me or was that a bit plain vanilla for a Brazilian grand prix?

    Seb really knows when to have a run of bad luck, right? He’s good at even even having issues.

    I hope James has some ideas on keeping us busy for a few months and not thinking about the serious possibility that 2012 will use a similar script to 2011 as far as RBR domination is concerned.

  27. Alex_D says:

    A FARCE-LIKE HAPPY END!
    – The race was boring (considering high standards of Brasil). Not much was going on. The story of Vettel’s gearbox came like a complete farce to help Webber win the race. Even the rain did not come to save the situation. There were no emotions – championship was over. It was far from what finale is used to be.

    – Ferrari. Once again Alonso was the super solid driver, doing beyond possible in the car that is not the fastest. He was almost OK for yet another podium, but Ferrari is so miserable on harder compounds that there is no way we could hold Button any further with a 1.5 sec per lap deficit and a DRS. but this is not the nightmare – the nightmare is to come next year…

    – Button destroyed Hamilton this season. Noone, including me could have predicted this. Let’s see what the next season is going to bring.

    – Schumacher in Brasil this year is very different to the one from 2006 (the legend). Why is he doing this…I do not know. It would have been better to let people remember his drive from Brasil 2006.

    – Prospects for next season? We all know, it will be able another Red Bull domination. McLaren will probably try and win races. Ferrari will struggle again – Domenicali is still there and not much did change.

    I do not know how is it for you….but the race today, the final….was very trivial for me…no emotions, no expectations…nothing.

    1. Andrew J says:

      “Button destroyed Hamilton this season. No-one, including me could have predicted this.”

      I’m not sure this is entirely true.

      Last year Button put in a solid performance in the McLaren, a car which he was too big for and in which he was never really comfortable. This year the car was designed with him in mind as well as Lewis.

      I’m not for one second going to suggest that Button is a faster driver but he is smoother and kinder on the car, particularly the tyres. He doesn’t take unnecessary risks, and so he maximises his chances of finishing the race and thus collecting points. His only DNFs this year were due to car/team failures, not accidents.

      I certainly thought that there was a chance that JB could do it, which is why I bet a work colleague £5 for every point difference there was between him and Lewis at the end of the season. My only regret is that we set a maximum of £200 and did myself out of fifteen quid!

  28. Alex_D says:

    Vettel comparing himself to Senna from Brazil 1991 was a joke. Senna only had 6th gear and he won the race. He could not move after the race – this was insanity what he did. Vettel was a joke compared to Senna.

    1. KRB says:

      … and manual gearbox then, not the flaps of today. Gearboxes went all the time back then. Now it’s a rare occurence akin to an Unlucky Lottery. The drivers themselves cannot break their gearboxes like in the past.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Please stop the hatred, Vettel was only having a laugh and he was clearly cruising, plus Senna had no competition in 1991, what is clear now is that Vettel will join Senna, Fangio, Schumacher as 1 of the all time greats and definitely the best of his generation, so much for the false dawns of Alonso and Hamilton eh, they are just always 1 step behind.

      1. Alex_D says:

        Vettel does not have the character and personality of Senna, period. I like him a lot…maybe he will grow, we shall see…but there is a massive difference between Senna and Vettel.

      2. Tealeaf says:

        I was never talking about personalities or character behaviour, I was talking about skill and talent, Vettel is still young and already the best in F1, them 2 might be different but 1 thing they are similar on are their pace in qualifying, beyond others.

      3. David A says:

        Vettel, has unlike a lot of champions, usually come across as a down to earth, nice chap (Button too). Everyone’s character is different, but that doesn’t mean anyone is a “joke” compared to anyone else.

      4. Alex_D says:

        I cannot tell that Vettel is the best in F1. But it is not the point to prove it…because right now it is not a matter of Vettel vs others, it is my opinion vs your opinion and it should not matter.
        Time will tell how his career is going to evolve…how is he going to perform in a bad car…will he be able to outperform his car all the time as Alonso did this year and etc.

        We shall see….he has a talent.

    3. Don Farrell says:

      Ya, I have to agree… Vettel’s a nice guy but his ego is getting a little bit too big these days. Even his reaction to the technical difficulties he’s had in the last 2 races is rather childish… it’s almost like he expects to win now and when he doesn’t he’s kinda miffed he didn’t.

      1. David A says:

        What did he do in Abu Dhabi that was so childish? Want an explanation for what happened? Examine the car? Look through the telemetry? You just cannot be serious.

    4. MarkF1 says:

      Thought this was a scripted event to give Webber a win and to create a “greatness” storyline for Vettel’s race. Nigel Mansell tried this same type of “gearbox” storyline after the 1992 British GP. Nigel was exposed by Patrick Head who said there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car!

    5. Cee says:

      In what perspective is it a joke? the circumstances were similar enough to remind everybody of what happened to Senna. I’m not a Vettel fan at all but in no way did he imply he was just as good as Senna.

      Way to go buddy.

      1. Alex_D says:

        Look, no worries:-) I know how Senna won that race in Brazil…. Vettel never won a race in such a fashion. He can’t.

      2. JohnBt says:

        Senna is still the king on the lips of Formula One fans. But Vettel’s only 25, let’s see how he fairs when RBR will not dominate next year, which I really hope so. Drivers are getting younger and younger. Senna was machismo.

  29. Christine says:

    Great to see Webber get a win although was Seb’s gear box problem as bad as RB made out! Not good that only the top 5 were not lapped. Already eagerly awaiting 2012 even though I will NEVER have Sky!

  30. dzolve says:

    Oh the irony, Fernando pipped for 3rd in the driver standings by team orders!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think he’s relieved – it means he doesn’t have to go all the way to India the week after next for the FIA prize giving!

      1. Rohan says:

        Although, I do feel that Alonso fully deserved the third spot in the championship for the way he drove the Ferrari all year around. Comparing both drivers of where they started to where they finished (discounting Canada for Alonso where he retired, and discounting China for Mark as starting at 18th was an outlier for him this season, and discounting Italy for Mark again because he retired), Alonso managed (overall) to finish better than his grid position while Mark did worse. Just a simple mathematical crunch of end position less grid position (discounting the earlier outliers I noted), I think Alonso ends up on -1 (i.e. on average, finished one spot better than his grid position) while Mark is +8. Only in 6 races did Mark finish better than he qualified, while for Alonso its 14 races. That’s someone outdriving the car and for me, I would have been happy if Alonso finished third in the Championship.

        This coming from a Lewis Hamilton fan!

      2. JohnBt says:

        Very fair and factual comment. +1

      3. legend465 says:

        But to have MW have 0 points for his efforts in China is actually not fair. Mark put in some astounding lap times and overtakes in that race. That was one of the best drives of all time.

        It’s just statistics and even stats with zero manipulation can often paint a distorted picture.

        However, I think we can agree, that the Ferrari had some impressive race pace relative to its qualifying speed at some race tracks this year.

        The key reason why Mark tended to go badly in the race was two fold.
        a) Rubbish starts – get this fixed up Mark, perhaps something is not suiting you and is suiting Seb, get it to suit you.

        b) Rubbish strategy – throughout the season, the strategy of Red Bull was not about what’s best for Mark, but rather, what’s best for Seb.

    2. D@X says:

      You do have a point, Ferrari need two strong drivers to compete for both cups. At the moment it seems they will do what they can to make the Alonso the champ again at the price of the constructors.

      Massa has been completely destroyed and you can see his frustration in his performance. He drivers like he is testing the car with very little consistency. I only hope he can bounce back and make it more exciting.

  31. dele f1 says:

    The gear box issue suffered by vettel and Hamilton, sums up their luck this season. vettel able to continue and Hamilton retires.

    The prefect season for vettel and the season to forget, respectively.

  32. Left Philangie says:

    Judging by the comments here McLaren didn’t do so well. Webber said he smelt oil from Vettels car.
    Do you really think he would make that up ?
    He’s not that kind of a racer and you all know it. Mark deserved the win and blew away McLaren & Ferrari.

  33. Robin says:

    Highlight for me was the way Jake Humphrey signed off: “The bar has been raised. Can anyone come with a decent challenge..?” Over to you SKY

    1. K says:

      the only bar SKY will raise is the price tag for subscription lol

    2. iceman says:

      If you watched the red button forum, they actually signed off with:

      TEMPORARY FAULT
      We apologise for the loss of coverage.
      Normal service will resume shortly.

      By shortly I presume they mean in 2019!

  34. nick says:

    If anyone actually bothered to do their research, the gearbox issue related to the level of oil (fluid) that they thought would dry up/run out before the race finish. So it did not hamper vettels ability to punch in a hot lap if he wanted too, but the team were telling him to short shift so the car would make it to the end.

  35. John tsoutis says:

    It was good to see Mark finally win this year, he has really had an underdog type season, despite having the best car out there on most occasions. It was also good to see another nice trophy being awarded to go with his DHL fastest lap trophy, James do you know were the trophies awarded model led after a sponsor image or something unique to the race in Brazil?

  36. Paul H says:

    Well a rather dull end to the season! Brazil is normally one of the most fun races to watch but I rather feel the DRS was a factor as drivers waited for the DRS zone to pass rather than throwing one into a corner. I said to my father last night that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vettel have an overheating issue or similar if it meant getting Webber a win. That’s all I’ll say on that…

    So at the end of a long season, who was best? Who was worst? Who had the best drive? Who made the biggest mistake? Best team performance? Hope we’ll be having some poll’s over the coming days James.

    As for the winter break – Predictions for who is moving up and how is moving down next season? Will Barrichello have a race seat next year? What will be the gimmick for next year? Will their be a concorde agreement? What will Renault be called in 2013? how many people will be watching next year? Kind of makes me miss the renault / lotus name row now – here’s to hoping something juicy comes up.

    On an end note thank you James for another stonking year of high quality, thought provoking and informative articles and providing a place for fans to make themselves heard. Also thanks to everyone who comments and adds so much to the site, pat of the back for all involved. Here’s to 2012 and a successful bank heist to afford Sky – wonder if Rubens would be interested in being my getaway driver if hand him some of the loot to buy a race seat……

  37. Tony G says:

    Webber gifted British GP last year? Don’t think so

  38. F1 Fanatic says:

    James how would you sum up Bruno Senna’s stint over the season?

    1. James Allen says:

      Some good quali performances, not great starts and decent races

      1. Tex says:

        Weren’t Spa, Monza, Singapore and India decent? Do you think James that he has shown enough of a potential to be given full-time chance and patience to develop like Renault did with Petrov?

      2. James Allen says:

        I’d give him another year, alongside Grosjean, if I were Boullier.

  39. Jorge Gaviri says:

    One of the most spectacular season I ever seen, Vettel is an outstanding driver and a gentleman (shown today), we never saw a 5 WC running at the same time, and this kid win so easy, is not the car only, yesterday when I saw how he win the pole I was almost crying, he did a perfect lap. We are fortunate to see this boy driving. Thanks James for your comments every race, I appreciate a lot.

  40. Dave B says:

    Great work Mark! I hope you are back to the 2010 form next year!

  41. goferet says:

    @TeaLeaf

    Hahaa nice try!

    Expect the thing with Hamilton’s wins is in every instance he was ahead of Alonso before Alonso’s hard tyres went on & even Germany when Alonso had momentary got ahead, it was just one corner so you can’t really blame the tyres for Hammy would have still got ahead whoever it was.

    The win in China was a strategy blunder by Red Bull so doesn’t qualify.

    What am talking about is Jenson taking away an easy podium while coming from way behind thanks to Alonso’s woes e.g. at Spa, Monza and now Interlagos.

  42. Matt says:

    Great result for RBR this year. Fantastic to see webber get a win. Oh and the trophy for most in race fastest laps. To the cynics, you have no idea just how competitive both webber and vettel are. There is no way webber would accept it nor vettel gift it. At least your comments made me and many others laugh. By the way, man did walk on the moon.

    1. David A says:

      I agree, the problem wasn’t faked.

  43. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    James,
    Now the season has finished how do you plan to keep us busy until next season starts ? :D

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t worry, we have loads of great things planned

      1. legend465 says:

        Good on you James! Look forward to it.

  44. Charlie B says:

    Even if we discount Vettel’s problem there were a lot of gearbox issues in Brazil. Any particular reason, James?

  45. Sandeep says:

    I am sorry to say this but the average I.Q of an f1 fan has come down in the last few years. The above comments just summed it up for me . There have been innumerable instances of drivers winning with a faulty gearshift.Schumacher’s win in canada 03 in which he loses 5th gear is one that comes to mind. If you are that passionate about f1 then learn the nuances and then comment about it.

  46. Baart says:

    Still, I can`t understand how Vettel was able to make fastest lap on lap 68 despite gearbox problem . Was it fuel effect ?

    1. James Beck says:

      Red Bull were still the fastest car despite lapping about 0.6s from their (fuel corrected) first stint pace for the rest of the race. They also changed onto the harder tyres last so they had the bast tyres of any car at the end. The degradation effect is smaller than the fuel effect at Interlagos so the stints get slightly faster as you go.

      So, even compromised, Vettel was in a position to set fastest laps towards the end of the race. I think Webber could have gone quite a bit faster if needed.

      1. Baart says:

        Thanks both of You

    2. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Simple, he probably didnt shortshift as much/at all on that lap.

  47. Vipin says:

    I believe this gearbox problem with Vettel is just a drama from Red Bull Racing.

    Instead going in Ferrari way(giving team orders),
    Red Bull just developed gearbox problem for Vettel and let Webber win the race.

    After the team told Vettel about the gearbox issue, Vettel set the fastest lap of the race. And his pace was also good when compared to the front runners.

  48. Jota180 says:

    The win manufactured for Webber?

    The only way I can see that happening is if neither Webber or Vettel were in on it
    We know Webber wouldn’t accept such a gift and we know Vettel doesn’t like giving anything away.
    It was obvious that Vettel could get enough performance out of the car to win and was – therefore – constantly reminded to take it easy so you can surmise the car felt normal to him.
    It was also obvious at times that his concentration wasn’t where it should be.

    So I’ll buy the conspiracy theory but the drivers weren’t complicit IMO.

  49. Sergio says:

    1)-. I’ m glad for Mark. He deserved the gift of Senna dreamer & Her Doctorr. 2)-.Season has ended and I said many times before I don’t like FOM “style” of broadcasting. I think it’s biased and has the enough influence to affect disciplinary decissions. Yesterday they decided to replay the start dozen times after Alonso did a breathtaking move on Button. Another thing attributable to “luck”. No replay at all, no 7 angles of camera, no-thing. FOM is a very part of F1.

  50. Alexis says:

    If anyone thinks Vettel would give up a win to anybody, they’re in cloud cuckoo land.

  51. Olivier says:

    So, here it is. The 2011 Champion’s podium:

    Gold: Vettel
    Silver: Button
    Bronze: Webber

    1. Olivier says:

      I’d love to see a seperate podium at the end of the season with the top three Champions wearing a traditional laurel wreath.

      Apparently they were banned because they were keeping the sponsors’ names out of view.

  52. Pete says:

    JENSON LET ALONSO PAST EARLY ON, DUE TO TRACK DEBRIS AND MADE THAT CLEAR IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE AND F1 FORUM AFTERWARDS!!!
    The problem is that Martin makes things sound in such a negative way on the tv sometimes! I think he is especially negative towards button and occasionally Hamiliton but not as much as it’s acceptable that Hamiliton is better than him as he’s one of the “greats”, I get the impression he dislikes Button because he thinks he should of won a world title or even a race maybe and sees himself comparable to him and a threat to his stock as a British racing driver. The way he screamed in sarcasm come on Jenson really annoyed me and the way he always cuts Coulthard off when he’s saying anything positive about Jenson is annoying.

    He always bangs on about how much harder it was back in his day but we are not in his day and thats simply being nostalgic, F1 is more competitive now the drivers are fitter pushed more to the limits etc etc (James could you do a post on this as its so annoying that F1 is one of those sports where people talk as if the sportsmen of the present are not as good as the past and have it easier!!!!).
    I think Martin has become arrogant these days and it’s a shame (i used to love him on ITV, not sure ill miss him now if he follows the money to sky), I know he was a great racer and was unlucky in his career but he never won a race in f1, fact! He needs to stop promoting his own stock after that fact and get on with commentating in a unbiased way.
    I think its a travesty that Jenson does not get the credit he deserves i think it will be different when people look back in the future but right now all the spin (Hamiliton ran out of excuses so starts bringing in his personal life, please!!) and biased comments towards him, do him and the sport a disservice.

  53. JohnBt says:

    Good for Webber but in post race his long sighs made me feel suspicious.

  54. Andrew Barratt says:

    One intriguing point was when the drivers were waiting to go out onto the podium. Webber was overheard talking about the race and he said “I cant understand why it got so bitter” This implies Vettel was less than willing to allow Webber through, and again we witnessed the less than friendly relationship between them

  55. Chris says:

    Either way, Mark hasn’t beaten Vettel in a straight fight this year, but one could argue, does he ever get that chance to? I’m not so sure!

  56. Dan says:

    Notwithstanding the conspiracy theories what fascinates me is that the number of gearbox issues in the last race. The engineering design and precision required to produce such a complex and mechanically challenged device that is as small and light as possible so that it will just last 5 races beggars belief! Another indication of the depth of genius present in the sport. BTW my team of the season award goes to Pirelli. I have been saying for years to anyone who will listen that one of the main reasons F1 was more unpredictable in the past was the inconsistency in tyre production. The tyres have been the key to my enjoyment of this season and much more significant IMHO than DRS. Many thanks James for some great insights this year.

  57. Born Racer says:

    The excitement of the race was muted by the fact this is the last season of normal F1 for British fans. The teams couldn’t give a damn about the fans, but they’re about to discover long-term that sponsors will get fed up when there’s little new take-up in interest in F1. Their myopic money-grabbing nature has just hit its first brick wall.

    In the gym the other day, watching Sky Sports (I was stuck on a bike with nowhere else to look), I saw them proudly advertising ‘ALL the free practice sessions, NO adverts’, etc, etc. Am I supposed to be excited about this not-at-all new development?

    Bernie has a huge amount to answer for, because he has made F1 so prohibitively expensive, but then why did the BBC get into a deal that they knew they could not pay for (the recession was under way, was it not, when they began their deal)? Also is there not a competitions law investigation that should take place over the way the BBC blocked Channel 4 from getting it?

    The dream team has been well and truly broken up and the repercussions will long-term and not-at-all immediate. In time, F1 will become even more of a minority sport (it already is in some respects). The UK is an important market and sponsors will get fed up. Hey, maybe some good can come of it and costs in the sport can finally come down (I don’t really believe that).

    David Coulthard had a nice try at trying to claim a certain improvement in the BBC’s coverage by talking about how the delay will allow them to have had a lot of analysis by the time they put out the highlights, so they can cover that in the post-race show. Thanks David, but I can get analysis elsewhere.

    If the BBC’s my auntie, I want to disown her.

  58. Wild Man says:

    I read in the post-race interview a comment from Mark Webber that the mechanics were working on Sebastian’s gearbox overnight on Saturday. Was he carrying a problem from qualifying? What were they doing?

    1. Brendan says:

      Draining the oil out………..

  59. Doobs says:

    For such a “lucky” team RB were terribly unlucky in Brazil. The car’s been bulletproof all season then suddenly a gearbox “problem” just happens to manifest itself and surprise surprise the chief beneficiary is the driver who just happens to need a win to secure 2nd in the WDC. Meanwhile the “unfortunate” Senna-stian Vettel is able to continue at near fastest lap pace thus ensuring Button and Alonso can’t maximise their own points to challenge MW’s fortuitously enhanced position in the standings. LOL Right… ;)
    That “smell” is not g/box oil, it’s Red Bullsh**

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