Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Vettel dominates to win in Melbourne

2011 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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120 comments on “Vettel dominates to win in Melbourne”

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  1. 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 :)

    1. i think 99% of us, myself included, can be part of that apology. Stunning turn-around from last season.

      1. Good drive, massive improvement. Show us a whole season. Still miss Kubica.

        1. Yeah, thinking what Kubica could have done with this car makes my circuits sizzle.

          1. Who knows, maybe the Reunalt is so fast that Kubica would’ve gotten the pole position with a sub 1:23s lap and win the race dominantly.

          2. Um no, but he might have qualified around 3rd or 4th and seriously challenge Hamilton. But that’s just another what if.

    2. Yep, absolutely fantastic stuff from him. Proved us all wrong, hope he can keep it up.

      1. Yes, that’s the question waiting to be answered. He looks to have found the real confidence and that may be it.

    3. I have to say I’m feeling a bit smug that I jumped on the Petrov bandwagon in Malaysia last year :)

      He certainly made the race bearable for someone who has Mark as her first driver!

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

          Drive-t was enough for him today.

          1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

  7. 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..

  8. oh no.. sauber??

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  11. Accoding to Badger GP, Sauber have been excluded due to bodywork infringements.

  12. somerandomguy
    27th March 2011, 12:54

    They needed to let the cars use DRS more often, instead of just one turn. Turns 3, 8 and 13 all great opportunities

  13. Ferrari messed up, they totally went wrong with their 3 stop strategy. If the would’ve done a 2 stop strategy (like Vettel, Hamilton and Petrov) they wouldn’t have lost 22+ seconds. So despite their strategy failure (Webber also did 3 stops), they’re in a good form.

    Fastest Laps
    1 Massa (Ferrari) 1:28.947 (lap 55)
    2 [b]Alonso[/b] (Ferrari) 1:29.487 (lap 49)
    3 Webber (Red Bull) 1:29.600 (lap 50)
    4 Vettel (Red Bull) 1:29.844 (lap 44)
    5 Button (McLaren) 1:29.883 (lap 49)
    6 Pérez (Sauber) 1:29.962 (lap 39)
    7 Petrov (Renault) 1:30.064 (lap 55)
    8 Hamilton (McLaren) 1:30.314 (lap 41)

    Full list:

    Total Pit Time
    1:44.700 Barrichello (3 stops + 1 drive through)
    1:17.709 Alguersuari (3 stops)
    1:12.437 Massa (3 stops)
    1:12.176 Webber (3 stops)
    1:12.165 Alonso (3 stops)
    1:02.851 Button (2 stops + 1 drive through)
    51.705 d’Ambrosio (2 stops)
    50.218 Petrov (2 stops)
    49.849 Sutil (2 stops)
    49.747 Trulli (2 stops)
    49.195 Di Resta (2 stops)
    49.009 Schumacher (2 stops)
    48.442 Buemi (2 stops)
    48.256 Kobayashi (2 stops)
    48.092 Heidfeld (2 stops)
    46.639 Vettel (2 stops)
    46.426 Hamilton (2 stops)
    24.865 Kovalainen (1 stop)
    23.716 Rosberg (1 stop)
    23.438 Pérez (1 stop)

    Full list:

    Vettel 0-14, 15-36, 37-58
    Hamilton 0-16, 17-36, 37-58
    Petrov 0-16, 17-36, 37-58
    Alonso 0-12, 13-27, 28-42, 43-58
    Webber 0-11, 12-26, 27-41, 42-58
    Button 0-17 (drive through), 18-19, 20-37, 38-58
    Massa 0-13, 14-31, 32-48, 49-28

    Not exactly sure about the tyre compounds, Webber did his 2nd stint on prime while the others seem to have done option-option-prime and Ferrari did option-option-option-prime.

    1. About Ferrari strategy watching the race I had a few moments of deja vu from Abu Dhabi with Alonso following Webber and forgetting about Petrov. New people, old habits. Now Vettel is the man to beat.

  14. Good start, congratulation to Petrov.Just imagine where Renault would have been it we would have had Kubica. I am disspointed the way Button handled the things.If Red Bull would have carried KERS then I think Webber would have out drag Hamilton. Tough luck for Mercedes they really needs to bounce back hard in Malaysia.

  15. You’re missing the big picture here. Fi has spent 2 desperate years and millions changing rules, cars and circuits to try to encourage more overtaking. So what have the stewards done?
    Ruined all that work by telling all the drivers that if they try to overtake – the other car can push them off with impunity and THEY will get penalised. Charlie Whiting and the Stewards should be shot for not seeing past the end of their noses!

  16. Vettel seemed happier with this win than the one in Melbourne but I think really must really look out now for the rest.

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