Mark Webber finally ended his winless streak for the season by taking the chequered flag at the last race – the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos in Sao Paolo. He was followed home by teammate Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull one-two – their fourth of the season and first time with Webber in front. Jenson Button capped off a fine season by finishing third and this consolidating his second-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship Standings.
Fernando Alonso drove a valiant race but could only manage fourth place as tyre degradation and a DRS-failure allowed Button to pass him during the closing stages of the race. Felipe Massa finished fifth in his home grand prix, with Adrian Sutil sixth, Nico Rosberg seventh and Paul Di Resta eighth. Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov took the last points places in ninth and tenth respectively. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had to retire due to a gearbox problem.
Some might argue that Webber was only handed the win due to a gearbox problem for pole-sitter Vettel, who had no 2nd gear and had to nurse his car using short shifts – which allowed Webber to take the lead – but still had enough pace to keep him out of the clutches of Button/Alonso behind him. Alonso might have had the third place after a good start saw him overtake Hamilton into the first corner and then pass Button on lap eleven, but Button clawed back the position towards the fag end of the race as the Ferrari’s tyre degradation made it tough for the Spaniard to hold fort.
It was a disappointing end of the season for Lewis Hamilton as well, who retired on lap sixty eight due to a gearbox failure. He was having a good battle with (who else!) Felipe Massa for fifth place and even after the second round of pit stops found himself behind the Ferrari and was lining up a DRS move before having to retire. Another driver who had a disappointing race was Michael Schumacher, who suffered a left-rear puncture as he closed the door on Bruno Senna’s Renault – a move which incredulously saw the Renault driver get a drive-thru penalty – and could only finish fifteenth.
Not on Pole position, so what? He’ll still take the victory. Sebastian Vettel celebrated winning the 2011 WDC by notching up victory at the Korean Grand Prix as he made an excellent start off P2 position at the start of the race to slot into the lead and held onto it all throughout. Lewis Hamilton finished second having started from pole, ahead of Mark Webber who was all over the McLaren towards the final laps and even passed it twice but couldn’t make the move stick as Lewis fought back to retake his position after each move.
Jenson Button finished fourth, hounded all the way to the chequered flag by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who ultimately settled for fifth place. Felipe Massa finished sixth, ahead of Jaime Algersuari in seventh, Nico Rosberg in eighth, Sebastian Buemi in ninth and Paul di Resta in tenth. The race had three retirements – Pastor Maldonado with mechanical failure and Vitaly Petrov & Michael Schumacher as a result of Petrov ploughing into the back of Schumacher and taking out the front and back wings of the Renault & the Mercedes respectively.
The start of the race was where it was all won as Vettel had a clean start off the dirty side of the track but still got the power down as he passed the McLaren of Hamilton into turn four. Mark Webber also had a decent start and slotted into third position as Jenson Button slipped back, allowing the two Ferraris to get ahead of him. There was a bit of passing and re-passing between the lead pack but as it shook down, Vettel had the lead with Hamilton & Webber behind – the order staying the same till the end.
Finally! We have a car that is not a Red Bull at the head of the order for a Sunday Race as McLaren and Lewis Hamilton broke the sequence of 15 consecutive pole positions from Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton will start the Korean Grand Prix from pole position while Sebastian Vettel could only manage second fastest time. Jenson Button will start from P3 with Mark Webber P4.
Ferrari lockout the third row as Felipe Massa will start fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso in sixth, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg seventh & Renault’s Vitaly Petrov in eighth. Force India’s Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil will start from ninth and tenth position respectively.
With the Drivers’ Championship sealed up, the Constructors Crown can also be done n’ dusted with as Red Bull need only a point to take that out. The other teams are just racing for pride and wins and with the sort of tumultuous season that Hamilton has had, he’d like to really get it back on track and show’em all with a win.
Ahem, not if Vettel or Button have anything to do to change that! Vettel to win with Hamilton second & Webber third.