Webber holds position behind wounded Vettel (Red Bull race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Gearbox problems hit both Red Bull drivers
Gearbox problems hit both Red Bull drivers

Red Bull led almost half of the Canadian Grand Prix but their split strategies left Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber fourth and fifth.

As Vettel nursed a damaged gearbox to the end of the race Webber reduced his pace to hold position at the chequered flag.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 3 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’15.420 (+0.047) 1’15.373
Race position 4 5
Average race lap 1’21.018 (-0.021) 1’21.039
Laps 70/70 70/70
Pit stops 2 2

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Sebastian Vettel

Out-qualified by his team mate for the fourth race in a row, but Webber’s gearbox change penalty promoted Vettel to the front row alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Having started on the medium tyres Vettel put Hamilton (on super-softs) under pressure for the first seven laps, then took the lead when Hamilton pitted. Not wanting to spend too long on the super-soft tyres, his team kept him out so long that he lost track position to Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button which he never recovered.

Vettel took the super-soft tyres for his second stint and quickly discarded them to get back on the medium tyres. But halfway through the race he began to lose oil from his gearbox. A slow run through traffic meant he lost contact with Button and began to slip back.

On the radio Vettel was heard to ask, “I mean, seriously, how do you want me to pass being slower and slower?” He was told, “We are managing an issue.” A few laps before the end of the race Vettel asked what the fastest lap of the race lap and was told “Don’t even think about it. We’re nursing a car problem.”

In the last nine laps he lost 38 seconds to the leaders. Fortunately he faced no challenge from behind as his team mate had backed off and Nico Rosberg was almost three-quarters of a minute adrift.

Vettel may be frustrated to experience yet more unreliability from the RB6 – he also had a problem with his radio. However it’s doubtful Red Bull expected much better than fourth place on a track that was expected to suit McLaren better.

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber

Webber would have kept his run of front-row starts going but for a gearbox change penalty – another manifestation of Red Bull’s chronic unreliability.

Starting seventh on medium tyres he kept away from the Felipe Massa-Vitantonio Liuzzi tangle to run fifth. He caught Button who was struggling on his super-softs and passed the McLaren at turn eight on lap five.

With Hamilton also slow on the super-softs Webber caught the leading trio and ran second behind his team mate after Hamilton and Alonso pitted.

Unlike Vettel, Webber ran the middle stint on medium tyres, leaving him to do a final stint on super-softs. The team stretched his middle stint out as long as possible to minimise the time on the super-softs.

With Vettel having pitted that meant Webber was in the lead. But once Hamilton caught him it was only a matter of time. After the McLaren passed on lap 50 Webber finally ducked into the pits for super-soft tyres.

There was a window in which Webber could have pitted and come back on the track in front of Vettel – from laps 36 to 39. But that would have meant doing up to 34 laps on the super-soft tyres, which Michael Schumacher’s experience showed wasn’t a good idea.

Webber backed off as much as Vettel in the closing laps, saying afterwards: “We turned the car down to save it for the next race.”

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Canadian Grand Prix

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