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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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…..

  4. 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!

  5. 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 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)

  6. 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?

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

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

    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.

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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?

  11. Patrickl said on 8th November 2010, 8:47

    I’d say the headline should read, “Vettel keeps Alonso’s title hopes alive with Brazil win”

    Had Red Bull backed Webber for a change then the WDC would be pretty much his to win. Now he’s still depending on a poor result for Alonso.

    I really hope this arrogance backfires.

  12. Adrian said on 8th November 2010, 9:44

    As a Hamilton fan obviously I’ll be hoping that the 2 RBR drivers take each other off the circuit and Alonso has a DNF or finishes out of the points with Hamilton winning…

    …however if that (unlikely) situation doesn’t happen, then I think I’d rather see Alonso win than a team order from RBR allow Webber to win…although if it was won fairly and squarely then I would prefer Webber to win it.

    Of course another plus point of having Alonso win the WDC now that RBR have won the WCC is that Hamilton (or Button, but surely Hamilton) would start next season in a car featuring Red 5..!!

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