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Mark Webber finally gets his win in Brazil season finale
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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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**


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?


Draining the oil out………..


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.


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.


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!


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


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



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.


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

Gold: Vettel

Silver: Button

Bronze: Webber


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


Thanks both of You


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.


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

Mohammed Al-Momen


Now the season has finished how do you plan to keep us busy until next season starts ? 😀


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


Good on you James! Look forward to it.


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.


I agree, the problem wasn’t faked.



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.


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


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.


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


Some good quali performances, not great starts and decent races


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?


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


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


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……


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?

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