Vettel keeps title hopes alive with Brazil win

Brazilian Grand Prix race report

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2010

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2010

Sebastian Vettel led a comfortable one-two for Red Bull in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He took the lead from pole sitter Nico H???lkenberg and never looked challenged.

Team mate Mark Webber took second from H???lkenberg at the start and followed Vettel home in that position.

Webber briefly caught Vettel during the middle of the race but lost ground when the pair hit traffic. He revealed after the race that he’d had problems with high engine temperatures.

Fernando Alonso took third place after spending several laps battling H???lkenberg. The Williams driver defended his place carefully but Alonso finally made a move stick on lap six.

Next up to try a pass was Lewis Hamilton, who’d run wide on lap two allowing Alonso past. He wasn’t able to get by H???lkenberg and only moved ahead when the Williams pitted on lap 13.

Jenson Button was the first of the front runners to pit after being passed by Michael Schumacher early on. This worked out brilliantly for him, eventually promoting him to fifth place having started 11th.

First to react to Button’s pit stop was Felipe Massa who came out behind the McLaren. It got worse for the Ferrari driver, who had to come in on the next lap due to a problem with his front-right wheel.

Button made quick progress past Vitaly Petrov, who he passed around the outside, and in short order McLaren had to bring his team mate into the pits to make sure he didn’t drop behind Button at his pit stop.

The Red Bulls and Alonso could afford to leave their stops until later as they were under no threat from the cars behind.

Hamilton came out of the pits behind Kamui Kobayashi but he was able to pass the Sauber driver with little difficulty and so did Button shortly afterwards.

There seemed to be little chance of any change among the top five until the safety car came out on lap 50 after Vitantonio Liuzzi crashed at the Senna S.

McLaren took the gamble to bring their cars in for an extra pit stop under the cover of the safety, while keeping their fourth and fifth places.

But there was little chance of any changes of position at the start as all of the front runners had several lapped cars between them. After the race restarted there was little sign of any change of position between the top five.

Nor did Red Bull make an enforced change of position between their drivers – even though it would have brought Webber within one point of Alonso in the championship instead of seven.

Kobayashi made a terrific re-start and passed Sebastien Buemi to take what would become the final point.

But Massa ran into trouble when he tried to pass Buemi having already picked off Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld. The pair banged wheels and Massa took to the run-off area, falling back down the order again. He finished 15th.

Ahead of him at the chequered flag was another Sao Paulo local who endured a tough race: Rubens Barrichello, who picked up a puncture after contact early on.

Victory for Vettel means he’s 15 points behind Alonso heading into the final race. The body language between him and Webber was decidedly cool on the podium, Webber no doubt thinking back to his earlier words that the team were “emotionally behind” Vettel.

But in the Red Bull garage the celebrations were beginning as the 2010 constructors’ championship is their. We’ll find out in one week’s time in Abu Dhabi whether either of their drivers can lift the drivers’ title this weekend.

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165 comments on Vettel keeps title hopes alive with Brazil win

  1. Amen to this. Cost Webber a lot of time.
    Red Bull would rather have Alonso win the title than Webber.

    Webber needs to win in Abu to win this title.

    • Clockwork Kitty said on 7th November 2010, 20:16

      Webber needs to win in Abu to win this title.

      Not absolutely but almost

      A P2 for Webber with P4 or worse for Vettel and P6 or worse for Alonso would get him the WDC. Unlikely, though.

  2. Oliver said on 7th November 2010, 19:34

    While setting increasingly faster lap times and closing the gap to Vettel, Webber was told to slow down because he had engine cooling problems, but as Alonso began to catch up with him, he was told his cooling problem was over he could now increase his speed. I find that very puzzling.

  3. F1Fan said on 7th November 2010, 19:38

    I think Vettel will be told to support Webber’s bid for the title in Abu Dabbi. Vettel realistically cannot win the title, since even if he wins Alonso will likely be 3rd, at worst. So Vettel would finish at -5 points from Alonso. But if Webber wins and Alonso gets 3rd, then Webber wins the WDC by 2 points. So RBR’s strategy will have to be to back Webber and have Vettel get 2nd. Alonso will use a relatively fresh engine so it is unlikely he will have a DNF due to engine issues.

    • I think they will wait and see how the race unfolds. If it is Vet-Web-Alo and if Alonso is not catching Webber i think they will wait until the last corner to make the switch, to make it most fair to the drivers. Because it would look very bad if Vet let Web go by and then later Alo has a DNF or something that makes him loose a lot of positions, a puncture or something. Then Webber would have won only because of a TO.

  4. Adam Tate said on 7th November 2010, 19:44

    I am inclined to agree. I don’t know if Redbull would rather Alonso win the championship than Webber, but it’s starting to look like it. I had tired of Webber’s whining, but now it’s starting to look justified. I find it ironic that he had no problem with Ferrari’s use of team orders in Germany, yet it is his teams’ stance on that issue, the very backlash from it that is preventing him from going into Abu Dhabi against Alonso mano e mano. This is a championship of the 7 points. Ferrari look like geniuses, Redbull like idiots, and we may all soon be saying what could have been if Massa were to have rightly told his team to %$&* off and won in Germany.

  5. Dansky said on 7th November 2010, 19:55

    Keith, I would suggest a poll for this week …

    In a final lap with today´s podium would you be happy with a team order to Vettel “Seb, Webber is faster than you. Sorry Seb”.

    If the winner answer is no, I do not see the point in having 2 cars in a team.

    If the answer is yes, a lot of people will have to eat their post-German GP words and the famous “If FA wins with less or 7 points lead will be a dishonoured World Champion”.

    • Frans said on 7th November 2010, 20:09

      I don’t mind team order as long as the other driver doesn’t have a chance of winning. Basically what Ferrari did is killing Massa chance entirely even if he is still a contender for the WDC. If the order in the last lap is Vet-Web-Alo, then RBR definitely need to apply team order. Having said that, if RBR do apply team order, I hope Alonso/Ferrari can fake a problem in the car so that Alonso couldn’t cross the finish line just to add some fuel to the RBR fire :)

    • That should be the other way around. If the answer is no it makes sense to have two car teams, because they can race and fight for the title and good work from both will give them the WCC. If the answer is yes there is no point of a two car team, because then only one of the drivers are going for the title, the other is just a reargunner to keep the others behind. That won’t bring any excitement, though two team mates fighting for the title gives you a lot of drama and some fairly good racing, because their cars are equal so one of them can’t just run away. Imagine if RBR only had one driver, he would have been flying away from everyone here. Webber trying to catch Vettel only added to the race.

      Let me ask you. Do you watch F1 to see Massa back Alonso? or do you watch it to see Alonso and the other guys fight each other to take the title?

  6. Clockwork Kitty said on 7th November 2010, 20:07

    A VET 1st WEB 2nd ALO 5th in Abu Dhabi would be the closest result in F1 history! All three in the same points. VET and ALO would be on top of Webber (one more win) but they both would have 5P1, 2 P2 and 3 P3. I’m not sure but I believe VET would win one more 4P.

  7. Force Maikel said on 7th November 2010, 20:14

    vettel’s and alonso’s engines are not in the best shape but webber doesn’t have such a big advantage from that.
    It will mostley be decided who can get the pole? Is vettel going to push his engine to get pole or Webber?
    Its going to be a nervous week

  8. Gaston said on 7th November 2010, 20:25

    The terrible thing about this whole ordeal is that, in the end, the driver’s championship would have been decided in a room full of bureaucrats in Paris and not on the track. Everything looks as if Alonso will win the WDC thanks to those ‘tainted’ 7 points. Which is a real shame.

    As for the argument that Vettel should have given up his WDC bid to support Webber’s, I don’t buy this anymore. The fact is that Webber has not managed to consistently beat Vettel, and if it were not for Vettel’s engine failure in Korea, the whole situation would have been much different.

    Honestly, I think it would have been worse if Vettel lost the WDC to Webber because of a RBR team order than if both lost it to Alonso due to a Ferrari one (as it will most likely happen).

    On the other hand, I’m going to be quite cynical and hope that if it is VET-WEB-ALO in the last few laps in Abu Dhabi, Vettel will concede the win to Webber. Then that’ll give Ferrari and Alonso some of their own medicine.

  9. Are the ferraris likely to suit the abu dhabi circuit, or is it another bull circuit?

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th November 2010, 20:32

      Ferrari will be strong at Yas Marina. They have better straight-line speed than Red Bull and S2 has two long straights, one massive. S3 is all about braking and traction which Ferrari seem slightly better at. S1 isn’t downforce-dependant enough to give Red Bull that big of an advantage.

      • so alonso has a shot at pole and can win this without relying on red bull politics?

        people seem to be suggesting its going to be a red bull domination

      • Younger Hamilton said on 7th November 2010, 23:03

        Thats McLaren territory Sector 2 i’d say Sector 1 is Ferrari and Red Bull Sector 3.But Ferrari should have the edge i dont know why im mentioning McLaren

  10. Hitman said on 7th November 2010, 20:44

    I am one of lewis biggest fans but as this season has unfolded I have come to realise he is not going to challenge Michael Schumacher record title haul. He makes far too many mistakes ( clearly he is driving a car which is not the best, maybe not even 2nd best) and his driving style is far too aggressive on tyres this season, how many times do the tv go onboard and he always seem to be in trouble ie no grip, or some other tyre related problems etc. I would love to be proved wrong and for him to win mutliple championship but with the likes of Vettel around this is unlikely. I have to admit Alonso is the most complete driver in FI at the moment and is only going to get better at Ferrari and i expect him to be the winner come around 2.30pm next Sunday….

    • Sammy said on 7th November 2010, 23:14

      He is only 25, with new tyres next season and new regs, dont hold off on that just yet.
      I think his ‘mistake’ today was due almost entirely with him struggling with the car’s handling….I think he’ll be fine, look at earlier in the season, he was simply brilliant, a guy in concert with every facet of the car.
      He might not challenge Shumi’s titles but I think he’s gonna be up there.

      • Adam Tate said on 7th November 2010, 23:55

        I agree, I honestly think Hamilton has more potential than Alonso, but he is not as polished yet. Alonso’s had a lot more seasons to make himself into the juggernaut that he is. With time, Hamilton will polish his style and be up there. He is however more exciting to watch. With Hamilton it’s unpredictable and exciting, hard fought. With Alonso it’s like watching a man completely in his element.

    • Mahir C said on 8th November 2010, 0:22

      On the contrary I have been more impressed with Hamilton than ever this season. He drove the wheels of that car all season. Sure he made some mistakes(the biggest in Monza, I wouldnt call Singapore a mistake) but who hasnt this season. If by some luck he becomes the champion, he would be the most deserving of them all.

  11. Rahzam said on 7th November 2010, 20:53

    After SC pit stops of Mclaren, I think, Button was ahead of Lewis. Did Button let him pass?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2010, 21:36

      Button wasn’t ahead of Hamilton, so no.

      • David BR said on 7th November 2010, 22:11

        I think Button moved up to 4th after Hamilton pitted, then dropped down to 5th again when he himself pitted. Wasn’t that it? If so, the question would be: was Button’s tyre change really necessary or a way of getting Hamilton back in front of him?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2010, 22:18

          Ah you mean before Button’s pit stop – in that case I’d say yes he was ahead. Whether it was necessary – not sure, haven’t looked at the data yet. But Button said he was happy with his strategy after the race.

          • David BR said on 7th November 2010, 22:24

            Don’t think there’s any real issue. But unlike Ferrari, McLaren are good at doing this stuff so subtly nobody really notices!

          • Younger Hamilton said on 7th November 2010, 23:07

            So im suggesting Jenson had the same problem as Lewis had, but much later wow McLaren really have very high expected tyre degradation what do you think Keith because it looks like it occured today and most notably in Singapore and Korea

  12. I would like to see Alonso sell Red Bull a dummy. Picture this:

    Vettel leads Webber. It’s the second to last lap and Rocky and Vettel are desperately quiet, thinking about when to let Webber past as Alonso is the only one within a couple of seconds behind Webber and Hamilton lies fourth, but 20 seconds behind Alonso.

    And then: disaster. For Alonso. He slows down, has his engine gone at the last minute? Has he lost a gear? Vettel grins and puts his foot down.

    But as Vettel nears the line, suddenly Alonso speeds up again: there never had been a problem. What there had been, was the spare mental capacity to deceive an overly proud Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Vettel crosses the line first. Webber, refused and fuming, comes home second. And Alonso laughs maniacally as he weaves across the pit straight one last time. Take that Red Bull. Sportsmanship only gets you so far…

    • Love it.

      (too short lalalla)

    • That would be incredible indeed :D

    • Mahir C said on 8th November 2010, 0:26

      You have a wild imagination!

      How about Hamilton taking out Alonso? Remember some were hoping that Alonso took out Hamilton at Brazil in 2008.

    • Clockwork Kitty said on 8th November 2010, 1:16

      Pretty good :)

      More likely Vettel will simply refuse to let Webber pass.

      Or a lunatic scenario: Vettel is 1st, Webber 2nd, Alonso third. Vettel doesn’t yield and Webber crashes into him when trying to overtake him and both DNF. Then Alonso’s engine nukes. Button leads Hamilton, team radio says: Jenson, save fuel, Lewis is faster than you, got the messsage?. But he’s so fed up with his teammate that he doesn’t let Hamilton pass and wins the race. And Alonso gets the WDC with six points over Hamilton, and a big laugh.

  13. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th November 2010, 21:51

    That comment looks worse when I read it back. Sorry, my attempt at an ironic joke just ended up being stupid…

  14. Darren said on 7th November 2010, 22:55

    My brain hurts from all the different scenarios that could unfold next race. Whatever happens all 3 drivers have been awesome at different points of the year, basically whoever wins deserves the WDC!

    • TommyC said on 8th November 2010, 5:36

      my thoughts exactly. i really want webber to win. i’ll be in tears either way (extreme joy or devastation). but i just don’t want to think about it. i just want to watch the race and enjoy it and be pleased that i have witnessed one of the absolute greatest seasons of any sport ever!

  15. Darren said on 7th November 2010, 22:59

    Ral, Im gonna copy and paste that and send it to Christian Horner.

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