Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

No home advantage for Webber at Red Bull

2011 Australian GP team reviewPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Red Bull began 2011 the way they ended 2010 – with Sebastian Vettel charging to victory.

But the scale of his advantage will be a worry to team mate Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’23.529 (-0.866) 1’24.395
Race position 1 5
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 2 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Sebastian Vettel 98.109 93.006 92.713 92.803 92.342 92.605 92.502 92.537 93.24 92.572 92.669 92.902 93.698 112.075 98.385 91.548 90.8 91.81 91.018 91.055 91.288 91.084 90.875 92.24 91.699 91.328 91.568 91.113 91.339 91.054 91.707 91.611 91.406 91.871 92.597 113.737 99.321 93.632 91.005 90.53 90.14 90.419 90.503 89.844 90.47 90.669 90.297 90.471 90.71 90.732 90.873 91.087 90.671 90.656 90.899 89.962 90.516 91.946
Mark Webber 101.467 93.725 93.208 92.933 92.899 92.916 92.9 93.262 93.33 94.248 114.995 100.221 93.661 94.118 94.236 92.497 92.534 92.905 92.73 92.529 92.301 92.342 92.472 92.746 92.92 111.733 97.841 91.348 91.386 90.924 90.796 90.397 90.562 90.474 90.8 90.496 90.627 90.482 90.739 91.67 113.49 97.445 89.686 90.108 89.803 89.804 90.53 90.122 89.713 89.6 90.165 89.825 89.996 89.695 91.124 90.203 90.472 92.279
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel

Just like last year, Vettel was the fastest man in all three parts of qualifying.

He set a new fastest lap of Melbourne with a time of 1’23.529 at the beginning of Q3. He was on course to better it with his final effort until he ran wide at turn 14, but still had the best part of a second in hand over his team mate.

Though secretly concerned about the vulnerability of his KERS-less car at the start, he got away cleanly and was almost two-and-a-half seconds ahead by the end of the first lap.

Vettel was never headed in the race, except for three laps after he made his first pit stop. It was a near-perfect start to his title defence.

Mark Webber

Webber’s form in his home race has often been a weakness and the yawning gap to his team mate will have been doubly painful.

After qualifying Webber said: “Obviously, disappointed to get bumped off the front row as well. Tried my best. Mystified to the gap to Seb, to be honest. I will have to go through it and have a look at where I can improve and go from there.”

By the end of 58 laps’ racing Webber was 38 seconds behind his team mate, partly due to needing an extra pit stop for tyres.

An error on his out-lap following that third pit stop cost him fourth place to Fernando Alonso.

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

106 comments on “No home advantage for Webber at Red Bull”

  1. Mark, Sebastian is faster than you….

    .. but seems like the tyres played a big part in it. Webber evidently had trouble switching them on, or in fact, had trouble having confidence in them to the same level Seb did.

    Either way, he looked pretty damn dejected after the weekend.

  2. At least Vettel didn’t walk away with the fastest lap, god it was tough to find any faults with Vettel’s performance all through the weekend.

    Webber on the other hand…poor pace considering his equipment and even then I would’ve expected him to be 3/4 tenths slower than Vettel, not 8!!

          1. What wasn’t really reported after that race was that they inspected Webber’s chassis and it had the same types of cracks.

            And then they patched the cracks in Sebastian’s chassis, and Webber used it to win in Silverstone and Hungary (after his other cracked one was written off in Valencia). It was only the subsequent chassis for both after that where the gap widened.

  3. Yeah, Webber was the disappointment of the weekend. I guess the telemetry would have shown where he lost ground, so I expected him to be much stronger in the race. Nevertheless, he would have been on the podium, hadn’t it been for his bad pitstop-strategy. It seems that he lost his 4th place because of his slow final pitstop.

        1. Whilst we are speculating I’ll throw my theory into the ring. He didn’t have time to do a warm down lap as he had to get to the airport ASAP to give himself enough time to work out how to use the self serve check in machine that QANTAS makes everyone use, and work out how to attach the luggage label to his bag, drop off his bag, and then answer question as to whether his luggage has a “q-code or a thermal tag”.

    1. I heard it was actually RBR making sure he still had enough fuel left for scrutineering. Seems its still a pretty tough job getting the fuel exactly right, DiResta also mentioned fuel was a bit of a concern during the race.

    1. I don’t think so. Felipe did the lap with fresh soft tyres, 7 laps before the end of the race. In that time Vettel was lapping in late 1.30s so no he couldn’t.

  4. Car looks fast, but chewed its tyres up.

    Things ive read about the RB6s lack of KERs is maaking me wonder if the cars sidepods wont allow for KERs like the other teams have, or make it hard to accomadate? They are by far the smallest on the grid. Its purley speculation on my part, no doubt answered in Sepang where KERs will be nice to have.

      1. I was wondering if its possible for teams to remove KERs for some races, like Monaco and Singapore when its less important, and use the weight distribution to increase the handling? like i said, if thats possible.

        1. I am sure they can. Their system is just a bit more compromized by putting it all over the car instead of in one neat package.
          Makes them have more reliability woes with it as well.

      2. Horner also said they do have KERS already designed into the car but removed it, the doen’t fit in with the comments about about making it fit, they already have, it was consider a reliability risk.

  5. Seems the talk at RBR is there could be a chassis problem with Webber’s RB7… being stripped down to find the issue. Incredibly bad luck at his home race, again.
    Stopping at pit lane, low fuel?

    1. I was at the race and noticed that Vettel’s car had a good degree more black heat shielding up the sidepods (to the extent where it covered up part of the Red Bull name) than Webber’s. Could they have been running different specifications of chassis?

    2. Maybe a chassis problem. But I don’t think that explains all.

      Look at onboard footage from turn 1. Vettel was so much smoother than Webber every time. And the same for turn 10 I think. I don’t know whether that can be all mechanical, but Vettel was driving that car very smoothly.

  6. Imagine the scene, a RedBull executive meeting.

    So whats this years agenda?
    Do we back a WDC superkid, or do we back someone about to hang there gloves up, while knowing that Massa is Alonso`s tail gunner.

    It`s a no brainer I`am afraid.

  7. Did anyone hear what Horner said to Vettel over the radio after the race.

    “Great way to start the year. The trophy you wanted.”

    Fair enough he probably ment Vettel had got the first win of the year but never the less thats gotta pour salt all over a rather sore Mark Webber.

    Not trying to stir anything up, it’s just the first thing I thought when I heard it.

      1. He said he wanted the trophy with the Kangaroo on it as it was different to all the other trophies.

        “I like to come here, especially as a German. In our country it takes a long time before someone calls you a friend or a mate.

        “I really like the track, and if you finish on the podium they have a nice trophy on Sunday afternoon. It used to have and I hope it still has a kangaroo on the trophy. It’s something that you can get only here.

        “I love racing, I love driving the car, but I love racing also for these little things. It might be funny in a way, but little things like picking up a trophy that is special or is different to all the trophies you get everywhere else!”

        Maybe he wasn’t too chuffed with having a Santander logo the first time he won a Grand Prix.

          1. have you not considered that the kangaroo on the trophy was actually a Qantas logo? They were the major sponsor after all.

      2. Just remember that a couple of years ago, Mark won the German Grand Prix in front of Vettel. That’s just normal rivalry between two drivers I would say.

      3. “Great way to start the year. The trophy you wanted.”

        Notice how he said “trophy”, not race, when talking about Monaco no one ever says “I want to win that trophy”, its always “I want to win monaco”

        Anyway I digress, the reason for Horner saying that is because Vettel likes Kangaroo’s and the trophy used to have a Kangaroo on it.

        Google “Vettel Kangaroo” and see all the results.

          1. Googling “Vettel Kangaroo” could lead to absolutely hilarious NSFW pictures.

            Challenge issued.

            HAHA, I like it, me and a friend James actually started an internet game where you take 3 random words and google them with safe search off… and wonder what the hell those pics have anything to do with the original words.

      4. Vettel wanted this trophy, because he likes Kangaroos, and he thought the trphy had a Kangaroo on it.

        The older AusGP trophies had Roo’s on them, but the current one doesn’t.

    1. Yeah, like Webber wasn`t dreaming of it since He started F1. I`am still surprised after what happened at Silverstone last year that He could turn up at work an still give it 110%.

    2. I can see how it can be read that way but I don’t think Sebastian Vettel or Christian Horner would have the audacity (at least not publicly) to come out with something like that aimed at Mark Webber.

      The guy wants to set the precedent and defend his title from the off. That’s the way I see it.

      1. Christian Horner is very arrogant. He has a history of saying things like that. Recently he said “McLaren cannot catch us” or something similar. And then his comment on Lewis (not happy with McLaren) was very cheeky.

        1. I’ve always thought that the Oz GP trophy of recent years looks just like a giant Mercedes logo. I know that it’s supposedly modelled on the steering wheel of Sir Jack’s Cooper, but it looks like a Merc logo to me.

  8. If Vettel continues his top form, can’t help but feel all the Red Bull eggs will be in one basket before long, specially seeing as Alonso and Hamilton will most likely get the same treatment. I’m still not entirely convinced RBR will be totally dominant this year – there were enough signs this weekend to give the rest of the teams hope.

    1. I’m pretty sure neither McLaren nor Red Bull could stand the distaste of sidelining a driver before they’re mathematically out of it.

      Just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.

          1. Id like to know what you think about Webbers lack of pace. This is very uncharacteristic of him. It is clear there was a problem with his car, now whether that is by accident or on purpose is the question.

          2. I think that summs it up nicely. I must say his words after winning the GP certainly sounded like the man now taking charge of the team to go where he wants it to go.

            A bit strange to hear his evidently young voice say words you would expect of Alonso or Schumi. But he certainly has the ambition to let these guys behind him soon.

          3. I’m fairly sure it was psychological. Vettel and Webber tussled badly last year, seems likely that Vettel (and maybe RBR?) would want this rivalry sorted early in his favour. But I don’t see any reason for scuppering Webber deliberately, the season is just starting and they may well have to rely on Webber again as a contender, and they definitely don’t need to dent his confidence to the degree Ferrari have done with Massa (counterproductive as he’s not good enough just now to take points of Alonso’s rivals).

          4. I think the main reason Seb wanted to win this race is that he failed to finish it the two previous times. A kangaroo is a nice little bonus.
            I don’t think it has much to do with Mark, as Seb doesn’t seem concerned with him since Brazil last year. Just knows his place in the team too well.
            Sorry for Mark, but I don’t see him outqualifying his teammate in normal circumstances any time soon. Be it his true speed or team orders, we’ll never know for sure.

  9. I have a lot respect for Vettel, but I think he should stop with the “philosophical” rants that he gives after his wins/poles. They make no sense in my opinion and his boss thinks the same.

      1. Or just not have the fastest car, in qualifying or the race. Starting back a few places on the grid will be the real test for Vettel. I like him and think he’s amazingly quick, but I definitely want to see him under pressure again to fight on track and make up positions the hard way. That’s the only way he will be able to prove he is indeed a truly exceptional driver. Or develop into one.

  10. Impeccable stuff from Vettel, he kept his head down and charged on. That start was one of the best i’ve seen, he nailed it.

    Webber on the other hand just couldn’t get near him, worryingly so. I can only think such a huge gap was down to the car.

    The choice to not use KERS was a gamble but given how tight they can be on downforce it was well worth the risk, evidently.

  11. The Curse of Albert Park strikes again. It is an unwritten rule of the sport that Mark Webber’s success in Australia is inversely proportional to the amount of media hype he receives. How else can you explain that fact that, given a car that is shaping up to be Adrian Newey’s masterpiece, Webber could only equal a result he acheived in a Minardi?

    1. Just throwing my two cents in… while Webbo made the mistake on his out lap, surely the fact it took 7 and half seconds to change his tyres in that last stop also contributed to him dropping behind Alonso? Certainly when compared to the 3.5 or 4 seconds it took everyone else?

      Shame that DC and martin missed that in their commentary…

      1. Yep, shame DC and Brundle missed the poor pitstop for Webber, that clearly lost him the place as Alonso also went off the track after his stop.
        And kangaroos or not, would be interesting to hear what Christian Horner says if Webber wins at the Nurburgring again…
        “that’s the trophy you wanted, the one with the sausage and leather shorts on” :)

    2. This is pretty much it. He’s under a lot of pressure from local media and fans. Pretty much every journalist wants to interview him, and only him over the course of the week. He’s expected to do stuff like a BBQ or drive across a bridge, as well as the monkey on his back about his previous poor results.

      Hopefully, the fickle Australian media will soon stop going as bonkers as they currently are, or he at least moves as far away from them as possible (i.e. the UK). For our sake, I hope the media does stop it’s current frenzy. Especially annoying when you’re in the habit of reading F1 comments, and you catch a glimpse of what Barry from Frankston has to say.

      1. I wouldn’t say it’s pressure from the ocal media … more a case of them having unrealistic expectations. The main commentators are practically ready to crown him World Champion as soon as he goes to the top of the timing sheets in Free Practice, and they don’t hesitate to mention his name at every opportunity. Jenson Button won the race from fourth on the grid in 2010, so they made a really big deal out of it when Webber qualified on the second row, taking it as proof that Webber would win rather than as proof that he could (which is all Button demonstrated). And that’s not the only time they’ve done it – they go out of their way to talk up Webber’s chances.

  12. not finding much discussion of the possibly illegal “start only” kers system redbull is rumored to be using… if you search you will find some stories on that… a system charged in the garage and only used for the start for advantage and allowing better cog balancing with the weight savings and better aero because they don’t need to fit the entire system in the car… my point is that if it is proven to not rely on a charge from the field it would be illegal… as it would not be recovering any kinetic energy… also a huge benefit from more braking control… also… seeing talk of wing flexing again…
    newey is good… but i bet some close looks will be made…

  13. The answer is very plain to see: After the ‘inconvenience’ that Webber was to RBR and Vettel last year this year they will be giving him a lesser car than Vettel. Expect Webber be behind vettel in grid and races and RBR announce that they are replacing Webber for next season. Regrettably Webber lost his chance last year at South Korea.

    1. FIA have confirmed Webber’s chassis was actually made of concrete therefore making him much slower than Vettel, and everyone else. The answer is very plain to see.

  14. Um… I think that you are all forgetting that last season there was barely a 10th of a second between them! Have a look at the difference in build between Mark and Seb. If having 1 lap more fuel makes a difference in lap time, then surely the diference in stature has one too. I know they both have to meet minimum weight but it’s got to do with where the ballast is placed in the car. I find it hard to believe that Mark could be THAT much slower or damaging to his tyres than Seb without some kind of mechanical defect playing a role. I guess we will see soon enough though.

  15. Well, watching it all unfold at the actual race was hugely disappointing. Me and my mate were trying to convince ourselves that Petrov had yet to pit, and were both a little shocked to learn he was racing in position, and Webber was actually 5th.

    It’s hard to say, being the first race of the season, whether Webber is still trying to come to grips (no pun intended) with the tyres, or the lack of pace was due to something more sinister. I’m hoping Red Bull clear this up, because 8 tenths is inexcusable if there’s no underlying reason. We all say they’re professional sportsmen, but I always felt that the pressure of a decent car – and therefore an expected podium, at the least – at Albert Park is a bit much for Mark, especially seeing as he’s typically very strong in Malaysia…it’s like a weight has been lifted.

    1. This actually isn’t that different from the first race of last season. Webber qualified in a similar position in Bahrain last year, and finished down in 7th place. I think Webber isn’t always fully prepared for the 1st race of the season. It takes him a couple of races to warm up, while his teammate is on the ball right from the beginning. Guess we wil have to wait until after Malaysia to see if its true though.

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