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.
Ending the season on a high were the Sahara Force India team, whose sixth and eighth place finish allowed them to finish sixth in the Constructors’ Standings, a mere four points behind Renault. Sauber and Toro Rosso finished ahead of Williams as Lotus, HRT and Virgin ended the season pointless.
The Drivers’ standings saw Jenson Button finish second with a twelve point lead over Mark Webber who in turn was ahead of Fernando Alonso by just a solitary point! Hamilton and Massa were the only other drivers finishing with more than a hundred points for the season.
Well, 2011 has been the Year of the Red Bull & Sebastian Vettel. Will McLaren and Ferrari up their game to wrest the advantage off the Red Bulls? Or will Adrian Newey’s designs and Vettel’s belligerence hold fort once again? Can Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso find that extra mileage to mount their assault for the title? Or will Hamilton & Webber have a say alongside them as well? Will Mercedes GP show what they are truly capable of and hand Nico Rosberg a winning car? Or will they be also-rans next term as well? And the biggest question of them all: Will Kimi Raikkonen make his return to F1?
All will be revealed come March of 2012…
2011 F1 Season – Drivers’ Standings
- Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 392
- Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 270
- Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 258
- Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 257
- Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 227
- Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 118
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes GP – 89
- Michael Schumacher – Mercedes GP – 76
- Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 42
- Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 37
2011 F1 Season – Constructors’ Standings
- Red Bull-Renault – 650
- McLaren-Mercedes – 497
- Ferrari – 375
- Mercedes GP – 165
- Renault – 73
- Force India-Mercedes – 69
- Sauber – 44
- Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 41
- Williams-Cosworth – 5
- Lotus-Renault – 0
- HRT-Cosworth – 0
- Virgin-Cosworth – 0