Vettel dominates to win in Melbourne

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Australian Grand Prix to win by more than 20 seconds from Lewis Hamilton.

A strong drive by Vitaly Petrov gave the Russian driver his first podium finish ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull kept quiet about the fact that neither of their cars were using KERS. They were worried they might be vulnerable at the start, but both drivers made quick getaways from the left-hand side of the grid and Mark Webber almost passed Hamilton for second.

Behind them Petrov jumped up to fourth and Felipe Massa made an excellent start to take fifth.

But Jenson Button was on Massa’s tail and pressured him hard. He made several attempts to overtake, increasing his efforts once he was allowed to start using the Drag Reduction System, but couldn’t find a way by.

Button eventually got alongside Massa on the outside of turn 11 and was squeezed off the track by the Ferrari driver. Button believed he deserved to keep the position but the stewards did not agree and handed him a drive-through penalty.

Alonso had fallen to tenth at the start but made his way back up the order, passing Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg. He latched onto the tail of the Button-Massa battle and moved ahead of his team mate.

But with the tyres wearing out quickly the drivers were soon into the pits. Webber was one of the first to come in on lap 12 to switch from soft to hard tyres – but he would need two more stops for more soft tyres before the race was over.

Alonso and Massa came in on the next two laps. Vettel was in on lap 15 and Hamilton two laps later.

Button had to make his pit stop after he had taken his penalty which dropped him down to 12th. He moved back up the order, passing Kobayashi for seventh, but the penalty left him on the back foot.

Vettel eased ahead of Hamilton during the second stint but Webber couldn’t keep the same pace or look after his tyres as well. His extra stop dropped him behind Petrov and Alonso. Without KERS, Webber was powerless to make a pass on the Ferrari.

The Alonso-Webber battle caught Petrov at a rapid rate but they didn’t catch the Renault driver in time to pass him.

Behind them Button caught Massa again but the second time around he was able to use DRS to pass the Ferrari driver at turn one.

Massa was another driver who made a third pit stop which dropped him for tenth. Late in the race he picked off Sebastien Buemi, who didn’t seem interested in protecting his position.

The Sauber drivers took seventh and eighth place with Sergio Perez taing a remarkable seventh place. Even more impressive, he did it by only pitting once having started on the hard tyres.

The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta finished just outside the points, ahead of Jaime Alguersuari, Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

Neither Williams nor Mercedes finished the race. Pastor Maldonado retired early on and team mate Rubens Barrichello had an eventful race.

Barrichelo made an excellent move on Kobayashi early on as the pair were lapping Michael Schumacher. But he made a rash dive at Nico Rosberg and clattered into the Mercedes. Both retired, as did Schumacher.

Hamilton’s efforts to catch Vettel were further delayed by damage to his undertray. Vettel ended the race with a comfortable 20-second lead which is an ominous sign for Red Bull’s rivals for the rest of the season.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Australian Grand Prix articles

Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty images

Advert | Go Ad-free


120 comments on Vettel dominates to win in Melbourne

  1. I’m so happy for Perez. I’ve waited to see him in F1 for over 2 years, and he puts on one of the best rookie displays ever. Great job.

  2. Oscar Becker (@super_swede_96) said on 27th March 2011, 10:29

    I was really impressed by Petrov. I didn’t even have in mind he was gonna take a podium place in the whole season or even that he was going to finish in front of Heidfeld (god I was wrong!). I was also impressed by Perez and Kovalainen who before he retired was up on 13th place in front of several midfield-drivers.

  3. Younger Hamii(Formally Younger Hamilton) said on 27th March 2011, 10:30

    What Irritates me so muchg is when we expect Seb and Lewis to go head to head on Pace from the Car or from themselves.Something Dramatic always happens that enables Seb to easily scamper away with obvious ease he’s Lucky that Lewis keeps having these dramatic situations because i think Lewis would easily beat him and when i mean beat him Prevent him from Pulling away at the start and catch up with him in the 2nd Stint of Races.But im Patient and when that time comes oh we’ll have a big fight for 1st place in our hands with an obvious winner

    • tifosi no1 said on 27th March 2011, 10:37

      Vettel made a better get away than Hamilton. Nothing lucky about it.

      • Younger Hamii(Formally Younger Hamilton) said on 27th March 2011, 10:56

        I didnt say there was anything Lucky about the starts and i can even back that up,The McLarens started on the Dirty Side of the grid while the Red Bulls were on the racing line meaning they were on the clean side.They’re most likely to get away much faster but the McLarens are consistently very good with their starts while Red Bull are a bit fragile with theirs.Massa and Petrov had good ones so no luck is involved in that.

        • the cars are different this year so you cannot simply assume that the starting abilities of macca and red bull are the same as they were last year. Red Bull will have undoubtedly highlighted their starts as a major area to improve and will have likely made it a main area of focus over the winter. Anyway, starting on the clean side is a reward for gaining pole position, so the extra grip off the line was earned by Seb- although as a Hamilton fan i really wish it wasnt!

  4. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 27th March 2011, 10:44

    Whats everyone think of the Force Indias of di Resta and Sutil switching places? di Resta openly said he allowed Sutil to pass him (twice) but didnt go so far as to say he was ordered to or not.

    But it looks like FI have been jumped by STR and Sauber. Interesting midfield this season ;) Hoping di Resta (who seems a really nice chap) can outperform Sutil who at times appears to have gotten complacent

    • Sutil must have stagnated at Force India. Last year was the time for him to moove on and he either missed out or didn’t leap. FI appear to have gone backwards continuing the trend from last year. I hope Di Resta gets enough over him to get a better seat, his career so far suggests a true talent and I’d love to se him at the sharp end.

  5. Muffin (@) said on 27th March 2011, 10:49

    Half a minute gap in the podium with no KERS?

    Boring race, and please someboy should explain Webber how to drive that car, 40 secs gap with Vettel?

    This year there wont be competition at all.

  6. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 27th March 2011, 10:50

    I think I owe Petrov a big apology. Really, really strong and smart drive today. I didn’t believe in him, he proved me wrong. Well done!

    Hopefully the season won’t look like one man show. Also I’m really sorry for MGP. And kudos to Button, he unleashed the dragon :)

  7. Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 27th March 2011, 10:51

    So how many races will Rubens demand Rubens to be banned from competing in for reckless driving AND hitting someone, ending their race?

    • Muffin (@) said on 27th March 2011, 11:04

      barrichelos maneuver is not even similar to push a car against a concrete wall at top speed; it is not even in the same category.

      Schumacher/Barrichelo maneuver last year was completely different and mucho more dangerous.

      Masa-Button duel could end the same way, this kind of things happen, drive-t was fair.

      • Barrichello doesn’t shut up about this sort of things recently though, remember the comments on Hammys weaving etc. For someone so keen on drivers etiqute, that sure was a stupid move.

        • Muffin (@) said on 27th March 2011, 11:55

          Stupid move? ok, but not even close to the dangerous move Schumacher did the last year.

          Drive-t was enough for him today.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 27th March 2011, 14:55

            Stupid move, the Shuey thing was awful no doubt, but my point stands. Barrichello has become the grids resident whiner so you’d think he’d manage to keep himself in check.

      • Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 27th March 2011, 14:27

        Yeah, it wasn’t even similar in that Barrichello actually had contact with Rosberg, and basically rammed him out of the race.

  8. Master firelee (@master-firelee) said on 27th March 2011, 11:03

    Congrats to Petrov for making it to 3rd and Perez for 7th and where were williams and mercedes in that race it was a verry poor result for them.

  9. Pinball said on 27th March 2011, 11:31

    Good race, I had the pleasure of watching it from the outside of corner 1. Gotta say watching at the track it seems like DRS is a bit underwhelming, seems like a bandaid solution to the lack of overtaking problem. Also does anyone know why Webber stopped at the pit lane exit at the end of the race, and whether Hamilton’s car has passed post race scrutineering? It seemed to be leaving a lot of sparks on the road, and the BBC radio team hinted that the plank on the floor might be too worn.

  10. BBT (@bbt) said on 27th March 2011, 11:36

    Ironically it was the KERS / wheel spin on Hamiltons car that almost let Webber through and prevented Hamilton having a go at Vettel

    • Nah, KERS can’t be activaited below a certain speed, just a poor start really. KERS actually saved his race, in the second phase of the start it got him back past Webber.

  11. Zarathustra said on 27th March 2011, 11:45

    With that kind of Petrov and Kubica, Renault could beat today both Mclarens.

  12. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 27th March 2011, 11:46

    well thats another australian gp done.. can’t wait till next year already! I got to sit on the inside of T1.. and it was amazing to watch live.. if any of you haven’t been to an F1 race before, go.. go now!

    The weekend went great.. the city turned it on.. with massive crowds, and weather.. The party atmosphere was amazing.. Bernie’s gotta be stupid to get rid of this!

    As for the race, well it was pretty average.. Vettel was untouchable, and Hamilton did well to get 2nd.. Petrov and Perez were awesome! and Webber just didn’t have it..

    also, i felt slightly embarrassed the mark didn’t complete a cooldown lap in front of all the home crowd, who had come to see him race..

  13. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 27th March 2011, 11:50

    oh no.. sauber??

  14. StefMeister said on 27th March 2011, 11:54

    Button’s DRS assisted pass on Massa demonstrated what I was afraid may happen. A dull, unexciting & reletively easy straght line pass because the DRS gave Button such a big speed boost. Alonso pulled off a similar pass early in the race on Rosberg which FOM missed.

    I found that pass just as boring/unexciting to watch as Raikkonens KERS assisted pass on Fisichella at Spa back in 2009.

    Don’t want to see that sort of passing, I want to watch some good racing, Passing been done on straghts because the car behind has buttons/speed boost’s the lead car doesn’t to me isn’t intresting or entertaining to watch.

    Was also not overly keen on the tyres although it wasn’t as bad as I thought it may.

    Thing I didn’t really like was that I thought that when you had a Worn Tyres/Fresh Tyre situation (Like Massa/Buemi) it made the pass a bit too predictable. Buemi had so little grip that it was clear Massa was going to get by.

    Marbles also looked like they were a problem after about 25 laps.

    Also not so keen on the pit lane been so important again. Regardless of what was happening on track today the talk was always about strategy which I feel took away from what was happened on the track.

    Same as with refueling, The focus on strategy/the pit lane at times seems more important than the actual racing been done out on the track.

    • Robert said on 27th March 2011, 23:54

      I have major reservatons about KERS and DRS but don’t know why people refer to Kimi’s Spa pass as an example. Kimi was on Fisi’s gearbox on the exit of Eau Rouge, well within the tow with the entire Kemmel straight ahead. He would’ve breezed past him with or without KERS.

  15. Does anybody else think that DC needs to decide between being a Redbull ***kisser, I’m sorry, advisor, and a BBC pundit?

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.