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.

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

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165 comments on Vettel keeps title hopes alive with Brazil win

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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!

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

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

  11. Younger Hamilton said on 7th November 2010, 23:02

    Hulkenberg was Paid by Red Bull to let Vettel and Webber through and give Alonso and Hamilton a big of a fight

  12. David BR said on 7th November 2010, 23:08

    Webber earlier in the season wanted ‘fair racing’ between him and Vettel: to be fair to RBR, that’s what they’re giving him.

    A lot of people seem to think it was dumb to let Vettel win. But if they complete a 1-2 at Abu Dhabi, the drivers’ championship is theirs. Presuming Vettel pulls over for Webber if need be. At the same time, if Webber has an off day, Vettel is closer to Alonso on points now and so increases his and Red Bull’s chances. Sure, if Vettel has an off day, Webber is exposed (as he needs somebody between him and Alonso if he’s in P1) but is that likely? Vettel’s mistakes, including racing Webber and – paradoxically – protecting him (under the SC at Hungary) seem to have been resolved and it’s more likely he’ll be on pole and leading the race. So I see the decision to let Vettel win as maximizing Red Bull’s chances as a team.

    And some credit to Vettel. He’s recovered from his ‘crash kid’ period very impressively and would be a deserving champion, I think.

    • TommyC said on 8th November 2010, 5:38

      i don’t know about that. vettel hasn’t really driven in traffic in a while. he’s just been leading from pole in the last 3 races. so i’m still skeptical

      • David BR said on 8th November 2010, 10:02

        True Tommy, maybe not ‘recovered,’ more ‘made amends.’ It’s difficult to call. Vettel still has to prove his craft in passing his main rivals with everyone unnscathed, I agree, but his dominance of pole position and recent races is an achievement given the pressure of fighting for the championship. That’s what I meant really.

  13. drezone said on 7th November 2010, 23:18

    Congratulations Red Bull on constructors that should have been won half way through the season if it wasn’t for a couple of issues with reliability and Vettel’s over excitement at least taking off nearly all his his rivals through the year, except Alonso. Maybe he’s leaving that for the last race.

    Sincere apologies to Red Bull for throwing away the driver’s championship. They have been backing Vettel discreetly since about Italy and all it took is one race or at least Brazil to work out out Webber being 1 point into the last race is better than 8. Are they seriously thinking Vettel will win (which is highly likely) and Alonso coming 5th (which is highly unlikely). not too mention Alonso’s 7 point advantage in Germany and Vettel taking away Webber’s win in Turkey, Webber should have won this about 2-3 races ago…..

  14. Robert said on 7th November 2010, 23:58

    I just have to laugh at some of the ridiculous comments here. Hulkenburg being PAID to let Vettel and Webber through.. Red Bull to rather see Alonso win it then Webber.. L O L

    • TommyC said on 8th November 2010, 5:41

      yeh, i was wondering about the hulkenberg thing. i’m assuming it’s a sarcastic comment. otherwise, far too funny for words!

  15. Mr. Wrong said on 8th November 2010, 0:17

    Conspiracy theory: Red Bull would prefer a Ferrari driver to win the WDC.

    Well, for any person who would venture to use the slightest amount of logic, that would seem like a blatantly stupid proposition. It is the same as saying Britain preferring to be governed by Robert Mugabe! Totally silly.
    However, there may be some method to their madness, Fanboyism! That’s right! I would rather the driver that made my favourite one look like a twerp all season to win ahead of the one who made more merits to win. This is typical of people who cannot let their objective mind dictate what logic would advise. In any case, anything can still happen and I am still going on about the brilliant season we’ve had. If Alonso wins it will feel better for me, in a very selfish way, as I am a Ferrari fan. If he loses I would still admire his determination to battle for the team. Now the WCC is Red Bull’s I can only congratulate them and cheer for the guys who drive a Ferrari.
    Forza Ferrari!

    • Robert said on 8th November 2010, 1:09

      Some people seem to forget what the driving force (no pun intended) is behind Formula 1 teams.. MONEY.. every place.. no matter how minuscule it seems gets you some in this sport.. why do you think you see the smaller teams fighting for 15th place like it was a championship?”.. How much Money do you think Red Bull will lose if they let Alonso win the Championship instead of MW? Hmm.. now lets hear the “I would rather the driver that made my favorite one look like a twerp all season to win ahead” again..

    • Clockwork Kitty said on 8th November 2010, 1:25

      Red Bull would prefer a Ferrari driver to win the WDC.

      I think nobody in their righjt mind would believe that.
      But refusing to order Vettel to yield for Webber in a (quite likely) VET-WEB-ALO situation pretty much amounts to the same.

      • Robert said on 8th November 2010, 1:37

        Why is everyone all of a sudden PRO Team Orders.. Ferrari does it and there’s an outcry.. RBR or McLaren do it and it’s ok?? If Vettel beats Mark Webber in the last race and wins it then he DESERVED it.. so NO.. it’s not the same as letting Alonso win it.. does everyone have to sink to that level? If they let Alonso win it then the Championship will be won on a lie.. and everyone besides the Ferrari fanboys will know it.. same thing if RBR lets Webber through in the last lap..is that what this sport has come to?.. WAKE UP people!!

        • Jarred Walmsley said on 8th November 2010, 2:44

          No, there is only an outcry when it is impossible or incredibly unlikely for one driver to win the title. the Ferrari incident was very early in the season and Massa still had a shot. whereas now, unless Alonso DNF’s or finishes 5th or worse it is impossible for any RBR driver to win if Vettel wins the race, whereas if Mark wins with Vettel second he has won the championship. therefore team-orders are neccessary.

          • Robert said on 8th November 2010, 3:20

            They are not ‘Necessary’. RBR already won the Team Championship. If they want to stay fair to both drivers they will continue with treating them both the same. If Vettel decides to move over himself then hats off to him, but ordering it is the same as Ferrari’s Schumacher/Barrichello move or the Alonso/Massa one. BTW, Barichello didn’t have had a chance to win the championship back then either.. and people were outraged. Talk about hypocrites.

          • David BR said on 8th November 2010, 10:08

            Not quite that simple. Ferrari issued team orders in 2007 (Raikonnen passing Massa via the pits at São Paulo) and 2008 (Raikonnen pulling over for Massa at Shanghai) but nobody complained as the other driver was out of contention. So it’s not an anti-Ferrari thing. The outcry against Red Bull over the new wing at Silverstone showed other teams would get similar treatment.

            The problem is knowing when Vettel is out of contention in the final race. Assuming a Red Bull 1-2 with Alonso behind, if they’re 30 seconds or more ahead, for example, they’ll have to assume Alonso will finish over the line (or finish 3rd or 4th rather than 5th).

          • David BR said on 8th November 2010, 10:14

            Of course Webber can resolve all these problems by claiming pole and leading the race. The fact everyone seems to assume the probability is otherwise tells you everything. I thought Red Bull had to back Webber and his extra experience mid-season when it seemed Ferrari and McLaren would catch them, but that hasn’t happened. That leaves Vettel clearly their dominant driver.

        • Patrickl said on 8th November 2010, 8:48

          Well it was illegal before. The WMSC has now put a price sticker on it instead.

          You can’t expect one team to get away with illegal team orders and then expect everybody else still won’t use them.

          • Robert said on 8th November 2010, 23:17

            It was illegal yes, but people got their panties in a twist back then when Schumi did it, even though he was 30 points ahead in the championship with Barichello in single digits still. Barichello was having an awesome weekend and deserved that win. Imagine Vettel in Barichellos footsteps in the last race. I guess my gripe is with peoples double standards when it comes to team orders. Having said that, I fully believe that Vettel will move on his own accord if this situation arises. The team won’t even have to tell him. As long as he thinks he has a chance of winning the whole thing though he will fight on, which is exactly the reason why he didn’t move in Brasil and why the team didn’t order it (which seems t be what people on here complain about as well). Yes RBR could’ve only backed one driver (Vettel in the beginning of the season and Webber in the Middle), but then both wouldn’t have a chance to take the whole thing now would they.. and would you call that fair then? (this goes to the Schumi haters from 2001)

  16. schooner said on 8th November 2010, 1:04

    It bothers me that lapped cars made such a huge impact on the race after the safety car period. Congrats to RB and all, but we were totally robbed of what could have been an epic fight for the win. :(

    • Rules is rules, and I don’t think that it would have made a whole lot of difference anyway.

      I suppose all that’s left now is for someone to suggest that Button should take out both RedBull’s and a Ferrari at the start of next weeks race to allow Hamilton to have a crack at the championship.

      Maybe Button’s been qualifying badly on purpose?

  17. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 8th November 2010, 1:53

    First thing about the race did Nico Hülkenberg lost it on the warm up lap?

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/forum/topic.php?id=701&replies=1#post-11247

    I don’t know what will happen in Abu Dhabi.The maths is very tough.Great race from the Red Bulls sad we didn’t had too much of battle between Hamilton & Alonso that could have been one of the battle of the day.Hulkenberg raced as he should be defended very well sadly that car wasn’t there to fight hard.The safety car made life very difficult as it was tough to find out that who was fighting with whom & the was the two Bull’s made their way through the field was great.

  18. Mr. Wrong said on 8th November 2010, 4:23

    No time for conspiracy theories. The chips are down and 4 drivers are in with a shout, their voices being louder of quieter depending on the points needed.
    Still, we are witness to a fantastic championship and whoever wins it is truly deserving of the glory.
    We have to go a long way back to find another season this exciting.
    May the best driver win!
    Forza Ferrari!

  19. Well deserved victory for Seb! Congrats to RBR-Renault for the construction championship!

  20. adaptalis said on 8th November 2010, 8:35

    Any kind soul to calculate the standings based on last year’s points? Who’ll be leading?

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