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Red Bull constructors’ champions as Vettel wins Korean Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Oct 2011   |  9:10 am GMT  |  121 comments

Sebastian Vettel may have clinched the 2011 World Championship, but it’s not dented his motivation as he again out raced and out thought his opponents, despite the race not working out the way Red Bull had thought it would in terms of tyre strategy. Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton battled with understeer all race and finished second.

It was Vettel’s 10th win of the season, making him the only driver apart from his countryman Michael Schumacher do win 10 or more races in a season. It was the 20th victory of his career and with Mark Webber’s third place it gave Red Bull the constructors’ championship for the second year in a row. It was also Red Bull’s 25th F1 victory. The first was in 2009.

“It’s good to see that the whole team keeps on pushing,” said Vettel. “The car was fantastic, fun to drive. I managed to get a bit of a gap because those guys were fighting. It’s great after last week winning the drivers’ championship now to get the constructors’ championship.”

It was a fantastic fight for the podium places, particularly Hamilton and Webber. It was a race which summed up the season in many ways; without Vettel it would have been a close and thrilling battle between Hamilton, Button, Webber and Alonso.

After five races of finishing behind his team mate Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton was satisfied to get back in front again. It was only his second podium in the last 11 races, while it was Button’s first time off the podium for six races.

And there were some stunning performances from drivers lower down, most notably Jaime Alguersuari who finished seventh, equally his career best.

At the start, Hamilton got the better getaway off the line, but Vettel was intent on passing him and managed to do it at the end of the back straight.

Behind them the other McLaren was also struggling as Massa, Webber and Alonso got ahead of Jenson Button.

Vettel opened up a gap of a second over Hamilton on the remainder of the opening lap but wasn’t able to drive away from him, Hamilton regrouped and stayed just over a second behind.

The opening stint was uneventful, but the worn supersoft tyres lasted longer than anticipated, which required a change of plan for Vettel at the first stop.

Button closed up on the Ferraris and tried the undercut at the first stops, but Mercedes brought Rosberg in at the same time and faster pit work put him ahead. Rosberg made a mistake and lost the place, but then repassed Button at the end of the DRS zone.

The following lap Button used the DRS to pass Rosberg back again.

Schumacher jumped Alonso in the first pit stops, but then a promising race was wrecked by Petrov who misjudged the braking zone and smashed his rear wing. It was the third time this year that the pair have collided.

This brought out the safety car.

At this stage Vettel and the McLarens were on a second set of super softs, while Webber and Alonso were on softs.

Red Bull’s plan to use up new supersoft tyres in Q1 and save soft tyres for the race had clearly not worked out as expected, so they had to make the most of what they had. And this is a good example of how adaptable they are as a team, they still managed to come out on top even though Plan A had not worked. A fast car helps, but it’s also about staying calm and improvising. This is something they’ve done a lot this year.

The race restarted with Vettel leading Hamilton, Webber, Button, Rosberg, Massa, Alonso and Alguersuari. Alonso was still behind Massa at this stage, no easy breeze past as we saw in Japan.

Webber, on the soft tyres, was able to open a gap of five seconds over Button on supersofts and closed in on Hamilton in the second stint. By lap 32 he was looking to pass.

At this stage the top three were separated by less than three seconds, but Hamilton holding Webber up played into Vettel’s hands and allowed him to pull away and took away any possibility of him losing the race and of Webber winning it.

Alonso pushed very hard at the end of the stint on used softs and jumped team mate Massa in the second stop, begging the question why did Webber not try the same thing on Button and run a lap or two longer? “If the strategy had been a bit different we might have had a different result,” said Webber after the race.

It also begged the question about what might have happened if Alonso had been able to get ahead of Massa earlier in the race?

Webber and Hamilton battled all the way to the finish, Webber got ahead briefly on lap 49 as the pair lapped a Lotus, but Hamilton was able to steam back past him on the straight.


It was another good day for Toro Rosso with Alguersuari challenging Rosberg for seventh place on much newer tyres as Buemi passed Di Resta for 9th place.

They have had some very good races this season, using imaginative strategy and thoroughly deserved the points they scored.

There were three fights to resolve in the closing stages: Webber vs Hamilton, Alonso vs Button and Alguersuari vs Rosberg.

Then on lap 54 Alonso said, “I give up,” possibly a bit of gamesmanship, possibly a message to the Ferrari team that a good result had been jeopardised by him spending so much time behind Massa early on. Alonso said afterwards that this was not the case, that he wasn’t fast enough in the early stages of the race.

Vettel finished the job off with a flourish, setting fastest lap on the final lap.

KOREAN GRAND PRIX, Yeongam, 55 laps

1. Vettel Red Bull 1h30:01.994
2. Hamilton McLaren + 12.019
3. Webber Red Bull + 12.477
4. Button McLaren + 14.694
5. Alonso Ferrari + 15.689
6. Massa Ferrari + 25.133
7. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 49.538
8. Rosberg Mercedes + 54.053
9. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1:02.762
10. Di Resta Force India + 1:08.602
11. Sutil Force India + 1:11.229
12. Barrichello Williams + 1:33.068
13. Senna Renault + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Lotus + 1 lap
15. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
16. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
17. Trulli Lotus + 1 lap
18. Glock Virgin + 1 lap
19. Ricciardo HRT + 1 lap
20. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 1 lap
21. Liuzzi HRT + 3 laps

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1

Alonso was 3.6 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton at the end. If he had not been held up being Massa for so long early on, and with the pace he showed in the second half of the race, he surely would have finished second.

2

And if he had of picked number 33 instead of 32 he would have won the lotto prize as well,shoulda,woulda,coulda eh.

3

I just hope for a day when all Pit-To-Car communications are abolished and we can actually see drivers deciding upon their own strategies instead of the current “Box this lap”, “Fuel Mix Y”, “Engine Setting X” stuff that we now accept as being part of racing. It would :

– make it much easier to determine if a given driver was truly good/great/exceptional or if he was just being “led” by the non-drivers staring at their computers in the background.

– remove many of the conspiracy theories….

4

They would simply put the info on the pit board. I have to agree however that it gets annoying to hear “YES, YES, YES & YES” or “We are the champions…..” or “I’ve got no grip” over the radio 😉

5

If we must have DRS as part of the F1 weekend, I would have thought Korea is an ideal circuit to accomodate two DRS zones. The pit straight being the best second option..

6

I couldn’t help but notice the circuit still has a pretty bleak, semi-abandoned construction site feel to it, and the attendance looked sparse. I heard some on-air comments about the owners padlocking the place after last years GP and reopening just a week or so before today’s race. Any long term outlook on the Korean GP’s health? I’d hate to see it end up like Turkey.

7

Sorry, I couldn’t disagree more! It’s a poorly designed track in a country where public interest is low and there is realistically no chance of there being Korean driver representation in any time in the near or distant future.

The Korean race is just another representation of the bad side of F1.

8

I thought the same. Is there anywhere where the attendance figures for each race are published?

9

i think your all missing the point, which is that I doubt Vettel can drive wheel to wheel with others. RBR management know this, so that’s why they shield him from Webber. Silverstone was not the only time that Webber has been to told to hold station this season.

10

Yes, Red Bull messed up the timing of Webber’s last pit stop. But conspiracy theorist are ignoring the fact that Vettel was merely managing the latter part of the race. His fastest lap, which was the last, was the only one under 1:40 and was nearly 7/10ths faster than than Webber’s. How could Webber have caught Vettel in a straight fight?

Also, if the implication is that RBR pitted Webber in order to keep him in the Hamilton fight, it also implies that fans were convinced Webber would not be able to pass Hamitlon on the track. If Webber wasn’t able to pass Hamilton, what makes fans think he could pass Vettel?

If there truly is a conspiracy against Webber it has been taken care long before the lights went out at the start of the Korean GP. RBR didn’t need to protect Vettel in the race, and that much is clear to anyone seeing things objectively.

11

the above post was for comment 34

12

Bravo !!!! u should probably write a.book on conspiracy theories..

13

I agree with Soren (although for some reason I cannot reply to them at the moment so I am responding with a seperate post.) The battle between Webber and Hamilton was fierce but respectful and not once did they bang wheels or lose car parts.

Entertaining, tough, fair. Hamilton scored big points for me this weekend, after everything that has (rightly and wrongly) been thrown at him, and not just in the championship.

14

Am I wrong, or did Seb lead Lewis away on the sighting lap? Reason I mention it is that Michael Schumacher was penalised for leading the polesitter (Damon, I think), at Silverstone, back in the dark ages. Has that regulation been abandoned now?

15

James,

I have a theory why Red Bull choose to pit Webber on the same lap as Hamilton. I have been noticing a pattern where Red Bull know that Vettel is unable to race wheel to wheel with others, in particular Webber. And by passing others on the first lap on a straight, does not count as wheel to wheel. I couldn’t imagine Vettel repeating the same battle as Hamilton/Alonso vs Webber over the last few races.

So knowing this, RBR knew that if Webber overtook Hamilton, then he would have fought for the win, thereby trying to avoid another Turkey incident.

16

Normal service restored with a win for Vettel!

Well done to RBR for winning the WCC. I had hoped that Lewis & Jenson would be able to take the fight to Vettel, but the their race pace didn’t reflect the form we saw in qualifying. I can only guess that the lack of dry running cost them because neither driver to my knowledge reported Understeer on Friday or Saturday. Dry running with a decent amount of fuel might have highlighted the problem and given them the opportunity to resolve the problem. Good to see Lewis hamilton on the Podium! As for Jenson, Solid without being spectacular.

17

Best part was Lewis and Webber battling for position, more wheel to wheel fights will be great.

Alonso ‘I give up’ lol, he maxed out as though hinting to Ferrari he needs a better car.

Good race but not really fantastic.

18

Really unhappy with Petrov. No doubt he has the speed but his racecraft really leaves something to be desired. Schumacher is really coming back into his own and was clearly faster than many of the drivers who qualified in front of him in DiResta, Sutil, Petrov Rosberg, Massa, and Alonso

19

Schumacher knows better than most… if you qualify in the middle you’ll end up in situations like this. It’s all part of F1.

When he finds genuine pace it’ll translate to grid slot and hopefully racing against true peers.

Until then… just shrug like Schumacher and accept it as where things are right now!

20

The Hamilton Webber duel over half a lap where fantastic.. Reminded me a bit of Villeneuve – Arnoux in 1979…

21

as a Hamilton fan I do not have a dog in the fight of whether webber or vettel win however although frustrating for weber it is surely in red bull’s interest to keep vettel winning so that he hits as many records and milestones as possible. Everytime in the future when f1 discusses records the name “red bull” will be spoken with vettel and so it will increase red bull and therefore the owner’s legacy and profile. Nobody will mention whether vettel received preferable service etc in future f1 annuals…….

22

It is quite evident that Vettel is Ferrari bound. I don’t think we have seen the peak of Vettel as yet.

23

Meanwhile, Ted Kravitz on the BBC was also busy telling us (I know its crazy, but I typically have both the TV and internet streaming on) how Button was biding his time as a way of explaining the initial gap to Lewis. And kinder to his tires. At this rate, if Button was lapped in the race he would still praised by this crowd for his kindness to his tires. Incidentally, his tires weren’t any better than Lewis’s judging by his lap times and the timing of his stops. But, the real head scratcher from Ted was how he thought Lewis’s aggressiveness on his tires caused the understeer he had all race long. Astonishing stuff.

Now, I like Button and Hamilton and I have been a McLaren fan since the Senna/Prost days, I can’t for the life of me understand why some in the media feel compelled to pummel Lewis using Button as the prop.

24

Webber fans are grasping at anything for an excuse as to why Seb has 10 wins and Webber has zero. The one thing they refuse to grasp to is that Vettel is faster. Perhaps Red Bull assumed Webber would pass hamilton over 55 laps considering Vettel did it by turn 4 lap 1.

Webber is a big boy and a good driver so he does not need all these excuses as he himself did not make one today. Besides Hamilton on fresh rubber probably would have kept Webber from getting him even if Webber had stayed out

25

Nobody mentioned anything about the number of wins. You are putting words into peoples mouths. The issue is about why did they pit him when they did. Forget Vettel he was off in the distance. Webber should have been given a chance for another lap before pitting. He was way faster than hamiltion, check the lap times.

26

Thanks JA for a fair (and quick) report. Will you consider having a thread for every race that allows fans to react to the TV commentary of the race? Here in the states, Will Buxton is the on track commentator for SpeedTV and he really has made some blunders in the past of couple of races- even allowing for the pressure realtime commentary adds. For example Hamilton’ s demotion to second at the start of this race, prompted Mr Buxton to wonder aloud what was going on in LH’s head and he summarily concluded that Vettel had “exploited” that very well. Incidentally, Button lost 2 places on the same lap. Similarly at Suzuka, he was quick to state with certainty that Hamilton had “abused” his tires in explaining his early pit. It turned out he had a puncture.

There really is a narrative out there propagated by certain “journalists” that is quite simply without foundation, but they’d never let facts get in the way of a narrative.

Thank you for your rigor and fairness.

27

[mod]

Just to clarify something, Will’s claim that day was not that his tyres had gone off because he abused them (possibly a reasonable statement), but that he had picked up a puncture because he had abused his tyres, which is not very well thought out.

As you can probably tell from the spelling, I’m a Brit. I haven’t been living in the UK since the days of Murray Walker, so I can’t comment on the quality of the current BBC broadcast team.

Solid race from Seb, and good battling from both McLaren drivers. Lewis and Jenson were complaining of understeer the entire race, apparently due to car related issues, which makes their drives all the more impressive.

Last, but certainly not least, my heart goes out to Dan Wheldon’s family after the appalling multi-car crash in Vegas. Rest in peace, Dan.

28

Uh ….hate to break it to you but lewis in fact did confirm that he did not have a puncture and his tyres had severe degradation

29

Thanks for feedback. I mentioned a few things though (see post 28) and I feel the general theme still holds. But I suspect you feel differently, and I respect that.

30

I may be wrong on this, but I believe it turned out there was no puncture on Hamilton’s car last week.

31

For the last few years, my local cable provider (in western Canada) has allowed the broadcast of both the Speed TV coverage and TSNs broadcast of the BBC Feed. They’ve recently fixed this by turning the Speed feed off but we can still watch Speed’s free practice broadcasts. I’d say the BBC broadcast has a lot more content and despite being somewhat pro-british drivers, is more fair. I feel very fortunate we get it and sincerely hope TSN can continue to pick up the joint broadcast from the UK next year.

32

I agree, the BBC coverage has more content especially the post race interviews and reviews

33

… and Vetel is unjustly accused of ‘Not been able to overtake’ when the fact is… his move on Hamilton was without DRS, his move on Alonso in Monza was without DRS and most breathtaking move of the year. Wonder where all this unjust criticism comes from for all Non-Brit-Drivers?

He destroyed Hamilton today… Mclaren was (supposedly) the fastest car and Lewis the Fastest Driver by taking Pole… and yet Vetel was had 11+ seconds (having an eight second advantage lost due to safety car)… Proved a better race presence by going beyond DRS reach of Hamilton’s better DRS+KERS equipped Mclaren. Hamilton resorted to complaining of number of things the moment he was beaten and was hounded by Webber.. just only a day after I commented that it was refreshing to see him so composed.

Alonso, I wonder what on earth he was doing behind Massa in a season where team orders are legal for definitely Alonso did have the pace the durability to challenge for second today, for it was close between Hamilton down to Button and it was only the question of Alonso running out of laps and also with tire-fade.

Button’s calculative drives was not the order of the day… Today to beat Redbull (which I felt had a stronger race-pace than the Mclaren, who until today had a better race-pace, so it was an exchange of position between the two) he needed a bit of aggression, which was absent today.

Heart goes out to Webber… he was on pace today… wrong pitstop call coupled by a superior DRS & KERS package on the Mclaren prevented him to take second despite having pulled off an impressive move on Hamilton without DRS.. but had to surrender for Mclaren was on a different planet down the long straight and in the DRS zone.

In the End… all I can say is that Vetel has proved to the most complete driver this year in complete contrast to last year where he was a bit rough on the edges… A lovely evolution. Oh and don’t go on how fast the Redbull is… you need a fast car to be a world champion… Even Ayrton Senna couldn’t pull this feat off when driving for Lotus or for Williams, no driver ever won in a second graded car, even Alonso when in Renault in his maiden championship winning year… Mclaren of Kimi was by far the fastest car… agreed… but it broke down often and winning means crossing the line first.

So please do give credit when it is due to a driver, even if he is a non-brit.

Can’t wait for Indian GP

Happy Racing 🙂

34

Todays move was good, yes, though Massa out did it with a pretty ballsy dive up the inside of Webber and Button.

Monza was brave, but not as great as you would like to think. Remember that Vettel was geared in a way that gave him great acceleration and simply drove past – albeit on the grass.

I still cant rate his overtaking prowess as one of the best, any one who tries to do so based on 2 overtakes are only kidding themselves, but he has much improved on last year.

Re: Ferrari, Alonso himself admitted he wasnt much faster than Massa at first. As per usual, Massa struggled more on the harder tires, and got released into traffic at least twice.

As for Mclaren having better DRS, that makes no difference when defending, whilst Hamilton flew back past due to being right behind Webber on the corner exit, and could probably have made the pass without DRS. Still, I hate the silly system.

I also belive the Mclarens and Red Bulls were simmilar in qualy (with DRS and KERS avaialble) in terms of top speed…

35

It was a fantastic race. Congratulations to Red Bull on winning the constructors championship. Vettel was fantastic today overtaking Hamilton on the first lap without the aid of DRS. Webber dropped back at the start but managed to claw his way back to third on the first lap itself. Button didn’t know where to put his car at the start and paid the price. He was just sat behind Hamilton and Webber for the rest of the evening expecting them to crash out. That was not very impressive. Finally he is back to reality after last week’s media drama.

It is very strange if you are watching F1 on BBC. Last week Button had the best car, started the race from the front, didn’t overtake anyone on the track, won the race and became the driver of the day. That’s not all, anyone watching the post-race program would have thought Button won the driver’s title. I thought Rosberg did a better job starting from the back, fighting through the pack which was difficult to overtake and taking 10th place in Suzuka. In Korea Red Bull didn’t have the fastest car during the weekend. Still Vettel won the race overtaking Hamilton on the track but he doesn’t become their driver of the day. Jaime did a fantastic job but it is the way BBC portraying British drivers that irritates me. In one way, I am glad that Hamilton didn’t win today because, BBC would have gone crazy praising how Hamilton has turned hid form and that would have taken the focus from Red Bull who won the constructor’s title.

Team Lotus did a fantastic job by finishing in front of both the Saubers.

During the post-race press conference Hamilton said that the Red Bull were massively quick throughout the weekend. That is rubbish. I don’t know how that will go down at McLaren. Clearly they had the best car during the weekend; at least Friday and Saturday. Heard already there are issues in the McLaren camp with Hamilton; lot of arguments and shouting last week in Suzuka after the race. Probably that explains Hamilton’s demeanour. He needs to grow up.

36

Try watching the German coverage on RTL. According to them only Vettel, Rosberg, Schumacher, Sutil and Glock are racing in F1 against the evil Hamilton and some other guys. I much prefer the beeb, even with it bias towards British drivers. At least they know that there are other nationalities racing as well. Oh, and I am German btw…

37

I understand what RedChimp, Chapor and James are saying. I am British and I appreciate when a driver does a good job on a race weekend. I expect BBC to be a responsible broadcaster unlike the tabloids. People think it is all free television but we pay a licence fee all which goes to the BBC coffers.

Vettel has done a phenomenal job this year and he has been the best for the past couple of years and he has improved a lot. But what people like to say is, all that is because he has the best car or all that is because of Adrian Newey. Vettel never seems to get the credit he deserves.

If we go back to Monza where Vettel insisted on having the setup which won him the race (the gear ratio thing), it was all down to Vettel’s judgement. Was this mentioned on BBC? No. It was the slowest car on speed trap but still won the race. If that had been Button, BBC would have gone all gaga and hailed him as a hero. That’s what I am talking about!

38

On Spanish TV there is only one driver (or one and a half), I’m told. Rosberg does something like 45 mins of screen time every race weekend with RTL

39

Re: the BBC’s bias. I don’t find it overpowering but is it not understandable? I mean they are a British televison channel so naturally they will be biased towards the British drivers?

And is it not also the case that the British drivers and teams are probably more likely to the British media and so get featured more?

I’ve seen comments on this forum from Australian & German fans who say that their nations TV channels favour their nations drivers.

I don’t see why that would be an issue.

40

I know what you mean about McLaren.
People saying Red Bull was the fastes car. Did everybody not see P1, P2, P3, Q1, Q2, Q3.
The fact that McLaren had awesome straightline speed, great drive out of the corners…

[mod]

41

Cant understand why all you Webber conspiracy theorists think that if Webber had passed Hamilton, he would have beat Vettel. He hasn’t done it so far this year, what was different today? I must be missing something!

42

Webber couldn’t match Hamilton’s penultimate fastest and Vettel slammed in a fastest lap on the final lap… which is some indication that Vettel did have notch to crank up if needed. So, For Webber, Hamilton was beatable but was way out of reach especially when you have a gap in the 10+ region… five seconds of closing would’ve destroyed Webber’s tires… So, Vettel was simply out of reach for everyone today including Webber.

43

Have to say, this race was fairly dull. Overtaking is still ridiculously tough with DRS here it seems… I’m not looking for endless overtaking but it was ineffective today, wouldn’t want to have 2 Abu Dhabis a year. Red Bull were significantly faster here yet again. Anytime Alonso gets past Massa quickly, a bevy of people will say Massa was asked to move over, but in Japan Massa closed the door on him at the start and here he defended firmly, so I hope some people get their facts right.. Alonso isn’t given a perpetual free pass against Massa!

Its unbelievable that Domenicali put out a release last week on a positive note that Ferrari aren’t that far off from Red Bull and Mclaren. It is feasible that Red Bull finish the year with double the constructors points of Ferrari. I’d think most CEO’s would be fired for delusional comments alone given the facts. Hope India is an amazing track like Spa, and not another Tilke snore-fest.

44

Awesome scrap between Lewis and Mark, great driving by both, very fair and sportsmanlike lines and attitude at the time and in comments afterwards.

The RBR seemed to have an advantage on full tanks, the Ferrari on empty ones, as we have seen already at times.

45

What’s up with Bruno Senna?

46

What is up with Senna? Well, a track he has never driven before with a car that has very unpredictable handling due to the front facing exhausts (which are by Renaults own admission a complete disaster). Petrov has more experience to get the setup right than Senna. Also since Bruno wasn’t allowed to race following Ayrton’s death he has a disadvantage in general race experience for his age. The raw talent is there, it just needs some fine tuning. IMHO

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