Korea analysis - Vettel puts his foot down 17 Oct 2011
Anyone thinking Sebastian Vettel would cruise for rest of the season, having wrapped up his second world title, was proved sadly mistaken in Korea on Sunday. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. Freed of any need to play the numbers game, Vettel crushed his opposition, despite McLaren having been expected to challenge hard for the win. Red Bulls main concern turned out to be getting the German to slow down, as they looked to ensure victory and bring home their second constructors championship on the trot.
Behind Vettel, the first dry Korean Grand Prix provided some gripping racing, a resurgent Lewis Hamiltons battle with Mark Webber in particular keeping fans on the edge of their seats. We review Sunday at Yeongam team by team
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P3
What could one say of Vettels race? It was perfect, as he grabbed the lead by the fourth corner on the opening lap and comfortably held on to it 12s ahead of the fierce scrap for second behind him. Webber got past Hamilton once, on the 49th lap, but was immediately repassed and couldnt quite get back at Hamilton. Their 1-3 result was, however, sufficient to give the team their second consecutive constructors world championship, to go with the drivers title Vettel secured in Japan. It was quite a week for the men and women from Milton Keynes.
Lewis Hamilton, P2
Jenson Button, P4
McLaren started their 700th Grand Prix with great hopes, but Hamilton lost a place to Vettel on the opening lap as Button fell from third to sixth. Thereafter both cars were troubled by serious understeer. Hamiltons car was later found to have debris in its front wing, but he drove superbly to fend off Webber throughout. Button recovered to fourth, but couldnt quite get close enough to challenge Webber.
Fernando Alonso, P5
Felipe Massa, P6
Ferrari struggled in the early going as the 150° Italias understeered on the super-soft rubber, and Massa was able to contain Alonso for a long time until the Spaniard made a longer second stint and vaulted ahead at their second stops. After that, on the soft tyres he really got the hammer down and forced his way into contention for the second place battle after a great performance.
Jaime Alguersuari, P7
Sebastien Buemi, P9
It was Toro Rossos turn to star this weekend, and Alguersuari drove a super race to keep in points contention throughout and to hammer by Rosberg right at the end. Buemi had a brush with Kobayashi early on, but fought back to deprive Di Resta of ninth at the end. The healthy haul of eight points puts the team within three of Sauber for seventh overall.
Nico Rosberg, P8
Michael Schumacher, Retired lap 17, accident
Rosberg ran strongly ahead of Button and the Ferraris at different points, but couldnt hold on to it, and had used up his rubber in the closing stages as Alguersuari swooped by to snatch seventh place. Schumacher was going well and had jumped the Ferraris in the first stops when he was taken out in Turn 3 by the errant Petrov.
Paul di Resta, P10
Adrian Sutil, P11
Force India didnt quite have the pace to score better than Di Restas single point for 10th. The Scot ran ninth in the closing stages but didnt have the tyres left at the end to hold off Buemi. Where Di Resta started on a set of used super softs then switched to a new set and then new softs, Sutil started on new softs, ran super softs in his middle stint, then new softs in the last one, and it didnt quite pay out for him.
Rubens Barrichello, P12
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 30, engine
Barrichello switched from the initial plan of a three-stop race to two as tyre wear on the soft Pirellis was better than expected, but after a great start got him up to 11th, Maldonados race was compromised by a drive-through penalty for putting a wheel the wrong side of a bollard. Later, indications of an imminent engine failure prompted retirement.
Bruno Senna, P13
Vitaly Petrov, Retired lap 17, accident
Senna was in trouble from the start and got mired in the lower midfield from which he could not escape. Petrov was running well and fighting Alonso when they out-braked each other in Turn 3 and the Russian smashed into the back of Schumacher, putting them both out.
Heikki Kovalainen, P14
Jarno Trulli, P17
Both drivers revelled in the T128s kindness to its rubber and drove competitive races in the lower midfield as their lap times were respectable in comparison with the more established runners. Kovalainen passed the Saubers on the last lap on merit, as theyd used up their grip, while Trulli would have been with him but for traffic during his final stop which cost him valuable time. Overall, new Lotuss most encouraging race so far.
Kamui Kobayashi, P15
Sergio Perez, P16
Both Saubers lost ground with extra pit stops; Kobayashi needed a new front wing after a brush with Buemi, while Perez wore through a tyre. By the end they had used up their rubber and couldnt hold off Kovalainens Lotus on the final lap.
Timo Glock, P18
Jerome d'Ambrosio, P20
Glock and DAmbrosio had their hands full fending off Ricciardo, who got between them but couldnt do anything about the German who finished eight seconds ahead.
Daniel Ricciardo, P19
Tonio Liuzzi, P21
Liuzzis race was ruined by a first-corner collision which damaged his front wing, necessitating an extra pit stop, and destroyed the balance of his F111 for the remainder of the race. Ricciardo drove hard to split the Virgins in a gritty run, but the team was later fined 5000 euros for an unsafe release during one of his pit stops.
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