Vettel resists Hamilton to win in Spain

2011 Spanish Grand Prix report

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel clinched his fourth win out of five this year at the Circuit de Catalunya.

But it wasn’t as straightforward as his other wins as he had to cope with a faulty Kinetic Energy Recovery System and sustained pressure from Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel made a good start from second and passed pole sitter Mark Webber around the outside at the first corner.

But Fernando Alonso made an exeptional getaway from fourth place and dived past both Red Bulls to lead, to a roar of approval from the Spanish crowd.

Alonso held the lead but couldn’t leave the chasing Red Bulls and Hamilton’s McLaren behind – the leaders remained covered by a couple of seconds.

Vettel made an early first pit stop on lap eight to try to get ahead but Alonso reacted on the next lap, as did Webber. While Vettel picked off the likes of Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, Alonso stayed ahead.

Hamilton delayed his stop by another lap and came out in third ahead of Webber.

Vettel came in early for his second stop as well – heading for pit lane on the 18th lap – and Alonso stayed out, resigning himself to losing the lead. He also dropped behind Hamilton.

That left Vettel and Hamilton in a battle for the lead, and the McLaren driver was able to cut into the Red Bull driver’s lead. Radio messages between Vettel and his team revealed he was having to turn KERS off at times, and reactivate it later.

That allowed Hamilton to use the Drag Reduction System to close in on Vettel on the main straight, but couldn’t get close enough to try to pass. The RB7 was clearly faster than the MP4-26 through the faster corners on the Circuit de Catalunya.

With Vettel unable to back off, every driver bar the two McLarens and Red Bulls were lapped – even Alonso, who had led to begin with.

Button recovered from a poor start during which he fell to tenth place. He took Sebastien Buemi on lap three and later took Massa as well.

Once again he ran one fewer pit stop than most of his rivals and was able to stay of soft tyres for longer. He breezed past Webber and Alonso on lap 35 to take third.

Alonso made an early fourth pit stop for a second set of hard tyres but that couldn’t stem the huge amount of time he was losing to the leaders. It handed fourth to Webber who closed in on Button, but dropped off the pace at the end.

The two Mercedes were sixth and seventh, Nico Rosberg spend most of the race stuck behind Michael Schumacher, who made a very strong start.

Nick Heidfeld recovered from starting last by getting his hard tyre stint out of the way early on, then using his three fresh sets of soft tyres to carve through the field.

He passed Sergio Perez and Massa to take eighth and had just caught the Mercedes when the race finished.

Massa retired in the gravel trap at turn seven shortly after Heidfeld passed him. He’d struggled during the race and spun at turn ten shortly after putting hard tyres on.

Kamui Kobayashi in the other Sauber rounded off the points finishers – both drivers used hard tyres for their second stints and ended the race on softs.

Vitaly Petrov finished out of the points in 11th. Behind him were the two Force Indias, led again by Paul di Resta.

Having started in the top ten Pastor Maldonado could only finish 15th, two places ahead of his team mate with Jaime Alguersuari in between.

Jarno Trulli was the only Lotus to finish. Team mate Heikki Kovalainen crashed out on lap 48 and four drivers were later penalised for failing to slow under the resulting yellow flags.

The two Virgins and Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT were the final finishers.

Another victory for Vettel gives him a 41-point lead in the drivers championship over Hamilton, who is the only driver to finish a race ahead of him this year.

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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99 comments on Vettel resists Hamilton to win in Spain

  1. SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 22nd May 2011, 16:36

    Nice racing by the 2 fastest men on the grid. Well done to both teams

    • Rob said on 22nd May 2011, 18:05

      Nice racing by the 2 fastest Teams* on the grid. Well done to both teams

      Fixed.

      • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:27

        You don’t think Vettel and Hamilton are the 2 quickest?
        Look how far behind their team-mates ended up.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:35

        Yeah, Button and Webber were so close to the front two weren’t they? And Vettel had no KERS.

      • The New Hope said on 22nd May 2011, 19:30

        Hmmm….they finished one and two, and are in the same positions in the championship. Unless what I have typed here is not in English, they are the two fastest men on the grid.

        • sulzerpower said on 22nd May 2011, 20:42

          Lol @ David BR. Ref Vettel had no KERS, he did occasionally, the on screen graphics clearly showed him using it too during some (not all) of the laps where he was fending off Hamilton. Backed up by his engineer who told him he could use it at some points.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd May 2011, 21:23

            Exchange “no” with “limited” then. And I lol @ you getting mixed up as well.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2011, 6:49

            And it was much the same for Webber with KERS.
            Their system just is not up to being used all race, they have to switch it off to prevent it overheating at times, I guess.

    • SVettel (@) said on 22nd May 2011, 21:15

      It seems liek we’re in for a few mor exciting and tense races yet :D

  2. kbdavies said on 22nd May 2011, 16:41

    Lewis could have won if the McLaren strategists did not choke again. On his first stop, they put on a set of brand new options, and brought him out into the Alonso/Vettel train?? For what? Hoping he would be able to overtake them? the whole point of saving the new options is to drop your driver into clean air, so he can make the best use of them. At this stage, used options would have made sense.
    Also on his 3rd stop, in trying to cover Vettel, they brought him in after his options had only done 10 laps. They were good for at least 15, and Vettel had gone on the harder compound.
    I think this race just shows that Lewis is the ONLY reason McLaren are close to RBR on pace.
    It was funny to see DC almost choke when Martin suggested Lewis the driver of the day because he did not have the better car.
    The truth is the Red Bull is still faster than the McLaren, KERS issue or not. Seb did not use it for qualifying, and he still ended up in front of Lewis 4/10ths faster. Yes, RBR have a much bigger advantage in qualifying, but it does not disappear during the race, its just reduced.
    You could almost smell the relief on Vettel as they came in from the race and during the post race conference. He was really scared for those 10 laps despite having the same tires as Lewis, and a faster car.
    Though they both showed today that they are a cut above from the rest, in equal machinery, Lewis would beat Seb. He knows it,and deep down, Seb knows it.

    • John H said on 22nd May 2011, 17:01

      They were good for at least 15, and Vettel had gone on the harder compound.

      If I’m thinking of the same stint I’m pretty sure they left him out for long enough to see what the comparison was, which was actually similar (worn softs compared to fresh hards) so they brought him in, probably also because there was a decent gap in the traffic.

      I agree that Hamilton is the main factor in getting that McLaren up there though, Alonso did the same in Turkey. DC’s RBR favouritism showed through a bit there.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd May 2011, 17:42

      Hamilton lost about 6 tenths in his first stop and almost 8 tenths in his second one. Seems he might have won if the McLarens had managed to do the pitstops as fast as Red Bull did.

    • Phiwe said on 22nd May 2011, 18:03

      I concur

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:30

      Lewis could have won if the McLaren strategists did not choke again.

      Stop complaining about Mclaren’s strategists. Mclaren’s strategy is what got Hamilton in front of Alonso and Webber. And Jenson’s strategists single handedly got him on the podium today.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:38

        I agree. Every single time Hamilton loses a straight fight, it’s the team. Top, top class driver, excellent drive today, but he simply can’t win ‘em all.

      • DaveW (@dmw) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:05

        Hamilton ripping off a fastest lap or two on 10-lap-old tires is what got him from 4th to second. The team bringing him in early and than, once again, effing up a pitstop, cost him the win. McLaren need to get a six-sigma guy to look at pit stops, or something.

        Also Vettel has to give a shout to Jenson Button for letting him pass casually on the inside, practically laying down a path of rose petals and setting out tea-lights. Just like Australia. I feel like in the old days, if you were the slower guy, one way you earned your money was to drive widely when the faster opposition came up behind on pit overlaps.

        Button got on the podium because the Ferrari had the performance of an ice cream truck, and every other car between him and Hamilton save Webber, was so slow it got lapped.

      • kbdavies said on 22nd May 2011, 20:48

        @Todford –

        Its Lewis,s driving that got him in front of Alonso and Webber. One thing that can ALWAYS be said of Lewis is that he does what is asked of him every weekend more often than not – which cannot be said for the team.
        The litany of McLaren errors costing Lewis places due to bad strategy/pit stops are endless.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 23rd May 2011, 8:09

          Rubbish. Did you see Hamilton overtake either Webber or Alonso? By saying Lewis’ driving got him in front of Webber and Alonso, means that he overtook them on track. Considering he couldn’t overtake them, it was strategy that got him in to P2 in the first place.

      • Ilanin said on 22nd May 2011, 22:07

        I’m not sure you can call it single-handedly given that the strategy almost certainly wouldn’t have worked if you’d given it to any of the other top drivers…

        • dragon said on 23rd May 2011, 9:42

          Eh, it’s a mix. He did seem to continue to reel off fast laps on worn tyres which was impressive, and that played a large part, but his strategists helped him as well. Cost him a win? That’s stupid talk!

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:10

      I’m wondering why they didn’t try the undercut at the last stop when he was so close to Vettel. McLaren keep making this mistake and it’s costing them.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:31

        To be fair to all the comments above its easy to say after the event.
        IF Hamilton had stayed out 2 – 3 laps longer before the final stop, even if losing a second a lap to Vettel it wouldn’t of mattered he had more than enough pace to close Vettel back down and then could of got the drive out of the corners on fresher rubber. On equal tyre the RBR was just to quick out of the final fast corner, on reflection Hamilton never had a chance in the DRS zone

    • Randy (@randy) said on 22nd May 2011, 20:34

      Oh please, suddenly after the race everyone is a master strategist.

      Seriously, do you think that you know better than McLaren’s strategists how to use soft tyres? Before bantering about ****** decisions i like to remind myself that these guys are the best paid experts in the sport, chosen from the best minds available, armed with years worth of experience and they tend to know a thing or two.

      Plus, having McLaren Technology Centre to fiddle with gives them a lot more data than we have. It’s just looking through a rain of possibilities.

      Surely they will micro manage this race and draw conclusions from it. So will Red Bull. And everyone else. It’s just that i don’t see a point in shouting “They are so rubbish, They have no idea how to race!” because it just portray a massive ignorance.

      • Suma said on 23rd May 2011, 4:14

        Randy, I think what they’re trying to do (as we normally do after the race) is discussing how the race went in their opinion.

        Yes they were saying that the strategy was rubbish, etc. But they also expressed their analysis on why it’s so rubbish. And I think this is more important. I don’t say that I agree with them. But hey, it what makes this interesting. And the last thing we want to do is cutting this natural process by saying something like “do you think that you know better than McLaren’s strategists”?

        Instead, imho why don’t you say that it doesn’t go like that because of….

        I think most of us are here not just because we want to see Keith’s great analysis on the race. But I think we’re also want to participate in some degree. And expressing our own analysis is one of them. Just look how long the commentary section compare to other F1 sites.

        Besides, in my opinion, this great website born because someone (Keith) dares to express his analysis. And as I know, he is not working at McLaren Technology Center.

        Aren’t you Keith?

    • Taimur said on 23rd May 2011, 19:46

      ‘In equal Machinery Lewis would beat Seb’. Hahahahaa. Look whos talking about machinery now. When opinions are thrown about Lewis having never experienced a mid-field team, then it doesnt matter. Now that someone else has a better car, its time to cry.
      Vettel is the youngest world champion, a crown he took from Lewis. Even when Lewis won his title in 2008, it was Seb who almost spoiled his party overtaking the mighty Mclaren in a Toro Rosso making him 6th and almost done and dusted.
      Don’t get me wrong, Lewis is a great driver but I’m sick of listening to ‘I think God is on my side’ or ‘I felt that Senna was in the car with me’ or ‘in equal cars ill beat him. No you won’t Lewis, you won’t…

      • DeVante said on 25th May 2011, 17:19

        What to say about Lewis and Jenson with the same car? And Jenson is a World Champion too…Let me guess, the mp4 fits better on Lewis style, no?

  3. The Limit said on 22nd May 2011, 16:43

    The impressive element to Vettel this season is his maturity. He doesn’t seem to get flustered under pressure like he used to, and its nice to see that pay dividends for him. As for McLaren they must feel proud with todays result, especially after the last grands prix when they were so disappointing. It was a good race, not great but certainly entertaining. I really thought early on that Fernando was going to pull off some sort of miracle but it wasn’t to be. Great move by him to pass three cars at the start though. As Vettel himself said, ‘where did Fernando come from’. Took the words right out of my mouth!

  4. VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 16:45

    I think that the McLaren was faster on race pace.

  5. Massa was the biggest let down of the weekend but Webber’s been the let down of the season (so far).

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 22nd May 2011, 16:49

      Massa was incredibly slow all time, he never defended and spun.

    • bosyber said on 22nd May 2011, 16:59

      Well, Massa was confirmed by Ferrari to have gone out with a gearbox failure, that’s not really his fault. And he is right: the Ferrari is slow on hards, although I also think they have lacked pace this year already on the second stint if on options (very visible with Alonso and Massa boh).

      • John H said on 22nd May 2011, 17:03

        He spun way before his gearbox failure. Seriously, Massa was poor today and we can’t blame the tyres this season (again).

      • Massa was the biggest let down of the weekend

        He can’t use the gearbox excuse for quali :P

    • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 17:39

      Steph +1, +1
      Massa was poor (again not helped by the Ferrari pits), Webber another no show after dragging the car onto P1 only because of Vettel’s KERS problems, as his race performance showed.

    • Phiwe said on 22nd May 2011, 17:52

      Couldn’t agree with you more

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:53

      I agree Steph (as usual) :P

  6. Fixy (@fixy) said on 22nd May 2011, 16:46

    Vettel: 1, 1, 1, 2, 1 – Impressive!

    • Yep. I’ll forget how bad Webber’s been for a mo’ and just say how brilliant Seb has been. Yes, he has the fastest car (in qualifying at least) but he’s stuck it on pole consistently and the only time he doesn’t he had a kers problem and still starts 2nd meaning he’s started a race from the front row for the tenth consecutive weekend.

      He’s doing the absolute maximum and Webber who was close to him last year is being blown away. Vettel regularly gets criticised for displaying absolutely no race craft but at China and today with kers problems he defended brilliantly and he has put in some crucial overtakes during the race. He came up behind Button and Massa and just forced his way through and put his foot down.

      He’s doing everything he needs to so although it’s frustrating as a rival fan that the RB7 is so quick Vettel is showing how good he is and I don’t even mind his pointy finger.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:36

        Vettel regularly gets criticised for displaying absolutely no race craft but at China and today with kers problems he defended brilliantly and he has put in some crucial overtakes during the race. He came up behind Button and Massa and just forced his way through and put his foot down.

        I couldn’t agree more. Vettel haters keep harping on about how he has no race craft, but so far this season whenever he has shown that he can overtake with ease, and manage his tyres and race pace as well as anyone else on the grid.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:12

          Come on, his overtakes have been with much better tyres and a vastly superior car to boot.

          His defending has been absolutely top-notch though.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:37

            I agree Icthyes, and you (in general) can’t take anything from most overtakes this season. I include Hamilton pass vs Vettel for the win, he was always going to pass as was Vettel against Button and Massa. It was good to see a few clean passes from Vettel though.

          • David BR said on 22nd May 2011, 19:53

            Agree with Icthyes. That’s not to diss Vettel, just that he hasn’t really been in a situation where he had to pass in near equal conditions. His defending has been excellent though.

            Just to stir things up, didn’t he weave (L, R,L) before the first corner?

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 20:01

            How Alonso missed him is beyond me.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 23rd May 2011, 6:34

            Just because he hasn’t been in the situation, doesn’t mean he cannot do it. Even with fresh tyres we have seen the likes of Hamilton and Alonso struggle to get by cars in front. Vettel got by Button and Massa with such ease today, and that was actually a huge turning point in the race. If he had spent a couple of laps behind them, Alonso could have extended his advantage on Vettel and Webber could have jumped him as well. Those two overtakes were crucial, and to make them both within just a few corners was pretty outstanding.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 23rd May 2011, 7:58

            Not in china. In the first stint he made a move on Hamilton into the hairpin of turn 15 which were done on tyres in nearly equal condition. I know it was the DRS zone, but Hamilton couldn’t do the job there in the last stint when he had much fresher tyres, so i think that counts for something.

    • rfs said on 22nd May 2011, 17:13

      Results since belgium last year: 4, 2, 1, DNF, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1

      • Atticus said on 22nd May 2011, 17:28

        Yeah I noticed that too. He became exceptionally determined after that collision with Button. The low point was the moment when he told on radio ‘seriously guys, are you ******* with me or what?!’ when he was told his engine was losing power in Monza last year.

        From then on he recovered an impressive 4th place and has been barely touchable since then.

        Remember he DNF from 1st place in Korea too due to a technical issue.

        Simply irresistable. Not only he managed to save his last season and almost literally grab the title from the grip of Fernando but he all but secured this year IMHO.

        Finest drivings of late in the finest machine.

  7. TFLB said on 22nd May 2011, 16:49

    Red Bull and Ferrari simply can’t allow this to continue. Webber and Massa must be replaced at the earliest possible date.

    • Himmat S. said on 22nd May 2011, 16:58

      EPIC LOL!!! But yeah, Massa was supreamely disappointing. I think Webber was good for 3rd had it not been for Alonso.

      • bosyber said on 22nd May 2011, 17:00

        Had it not been for Alonso, Red Bull would likely have been 1 and 2; maybe after a fierce fight with HAM at the end for Webber on 2nd.

      • TFLB said on 22nd May 2011, 18:51

        Third is not good enough if you’re being destroyed by your team mate every race.

  8. Mole said on 22nd May 2011, 17:00

    Its a shame Button fell so far back, his strategy was clearly good enough to win! Interesting to see how slippery Alonso’s car was, and how the McLarens had unusually sacrificed top speed for downforce. I think McL bought Hamilton too early for his second stop too, he had an advantage of 2/3 laps by going longer which was eradicated on the second stop!

  9. mild7nick said on 22nd May 2011, 17:02

    Does anyone agree that 4 pitstops is still too many for a Grand Prix?

    I thought the hard tyres brought by Pirelli this weekend were especially poor and have no place in F1.

    At the end on light fuel loads, the Red Bull and Mclaren were only lapping 2-3 seconds faster than the GP2 cars this morning. That’s not right.

    • VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 17:09

      At the end on light fuel loads, the Red Bull and Mclaren were only lapping 2-3 seconds faster than the GP2 cars this morning. That’s not right.

      Here’s what the drivers say.

      “The viewer doesn’t know if we do a 1m24s or a 1m35s. It is a show. We need viewers to exist and the viewers have gone through the roof this year. We haven’t done anything wrong; we’ve gone in the right direction.”

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/91620

      • VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 17:11

        Hamilton said:

        “They [the new rules] do help, as in the past as fast as you could be, you just could not get close enough to capitalise on it. Whatever you did you were always in the bad air and you could not really race them. It enables you to take opportunity of the true pace of cars and I quite like it.”

    • John H said on 22nd May 2011, 17:09

      “I thought the hard tyres brought by Pirelli this weekend were especially poor and have no place in F1.”

      I agree. There is a simple solution. Have only one compound that lasts about 18-20 laps for the average driver, but allows one extra set to be used in a race if the driver is aggresive on them.

      Oh, and ban DRS while you’re at it too!

    • Adrian Morse said on 22nd May 2011, 17:42

      Indeed Button said that the audience doesn’t care whether we do 1m24s or 1m35s, but Webber on the other hand said that F1, as the pinnacle of motor sport, should maintain some distance to the lower formulae, and I agree with him.

  10. mild7nick said on 22nd May 2011, 17:19

    Agree, is there really the need for this prime and option rubbish anymore? Just give them some real tyres and let em race!

    • VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 17:22

      If Red Bull/Vettel were on lasts seasons tyres, Vettel would be chalking up 5 wins instead of 4.

      To suggest that they are not ‘racing’ on these tyres is naive at best.

      • DaveW (@dmw) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:12

        RBR doesn’t need quirky tires to throw away a win with bad strategy. So I don’t think there is any evidence that the tires have kept the points closer, as it is, incrementally.

  11. VXR said on 22nd May 2011, 17:19

    I agree. There is a simple solution. Have only one compound that lasts about 18-20 laps for the average driver, but allows one extra set to be used in a race if the driver is aggresive on them.

    So all of the drivers will be “aggressive” on their tyres if they know that they have an extra set to use. They will all pit at the same time on the same compound. They will all have roughly equal pace on the same compound. Thereby leading to slightly faster cars getting stuck behind slightly slower ones. Getting rid of the DRS will only compound that situation.

  12. Ishaaq said on 22nd May 2011, 17:25

    Hi everyone!
    Im new to the F1F community..Anyway, after witnessing that brilliant race, me and a few freinds decided we’d really like to go to Silvertone this year and catch the action live. However as were all students, money is tight and we were wondering wether the ÂŁ100+ ticket price for general admission is good value considering we dont get access to the grandstands or if we should raise the extra funds for a grandstand seat. Any help would be much appreciated, so thanks in advance.

  13. U2F1 (@u2f1) said on 22nd May 2011, 18:19

    Anybody have details about the pit stops? I think Ferrari are really struggling there.. on an avg their pit stops are .5 to 1 sec slower than the other top teams around them ..

    Don’t think this is helping them too much. Hope Stefano and team are looking into it

    Keith .. are you covering pit stop timings in your detailed analysis?

  14. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:20

    I think the one thing we can take away from this race is this:
    F1 needs the DRS

    All I keep hearing about is how the Pirellis have made it more interesting and the DRS has done none of that. Well apart from the slight selectiveness of that, it’s true. But the DRS wasn’t brought in to make things exciting; that’s what the Pirellis have been for, as that argument already points out. The DRS has been brought in to stop drivers getting stuck behind slower cars. Today it still wasn’t enough. Yeh, that’s the fault of the track, but the DRS is (supposedly) tailored to the track and if it had just been longer it would have done its job today, just as if it was on the pit straight in Turkey it wouldn’t have been a mockery.

    Without Pirelli, we wouldn’t see all these contrary strategies that have made F1 so good this year. Without the DRS though, we’d still have the same old situation of cruising up to someone on the same strategy and getting stuck, just like we saw today because it wasn’t placed properly.

    • The New Hope said on 22nd May 2011, 19:32

      I love the DRS.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:44

        I gotta disagree with that one, the race showed 100% we don’t need DRS. It it hadn’t been for the fast last corner where the RBR was amazing, Hamilton would of drove straight past Vettel without a fight, powerless to stop him. How dull would that of been.

        • Brain Hunt said on 23rd May 2011, 2:04

          And on the next lap if Vettel had kept within 1 second he would have the same chance of regaining the place, however if lewis would have moved more than 1 second ahead the position would be secure. Therefore the DRS has aided the faster driver….good thing?

          • Jeffrey Powell said on 23rd May 2011, 9:41

            Quite right keep DRS and get rid of these ridiculous tyres. Give them two sets of Qualifiers for the final Q3 and let them start on fresh tyres. Then if a following car is quicker he can make use of decent tyres equal to the guy in front and as Martin Brundle says drive the wheels of it to make his pass. In the case of the last race Lewis would perhaps still not have been able to pass Seb. But with real racing tyres that last he might have got a bit closer at what would be higher lap speeds with both cars closer to their potential limits. But what two great drivers these are and best of all a charming happy German with a charming happy Brit. Great Stuff.

        • Jim said on 23rd May 2011, 9:50

          Remember that the DRS is not supposed to give the following driver a free pass, but to negate the advantage that the leading driver has due to the “dirty air” in his wake. And it’s still being tuned – in Turkey it made passing too easy, in Spain it didn’t seem to make much difference.

          Personally it feels like an ugly hack, but I expect the teams like it because it’s so much simpler than fixing the aerodynamics, and it looks like it’ll be around for a while.

          • Mike said on 23rd May 2011, 11:58

            I think it did make a big difference in Spain, It’s why after the last corner of every lap Hamilton was well back but had almost caught Vettel by the end of the straight.

            I think without the DRS Lewis wouldn’t have got even close.

            I really look forward to when they have 2 DRS zones as I think it will help bunch the cars up.

    • DaveW (@dmw) said on 22nd May 2011, 19:50

      OK, but let’s say that there was the ideal DRS or whatever passing aid you want. Alonso would have been demoted to 5th by lap 5 by some extremely casual passes, Hamilton would have dusted Vettel well before stint 4. Is that the excitement people want?

      I was not waving a big yellow and blue flag when Alonso shot through on lap one, but I was happy that his brilliance at the start and flawless driving for two stints was not summarily mooted so Vettel would not be “stuck behind” a slower car. Alonso earned that spot, he should not have had to give at away freely for the Show.

    • Russ said on 22nd May 2011, 20:27

      Love it too.. been reading the anti-DRS comments on here for a while and just don’t get it

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2011, 6:54

      Yes, currently we need it, but the way it worked here was just about fine to keep the following cars close enough

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd May 2011, 9:32

      I came to the exact opposite conclusion:

      http://twitter.com/#!/f1fanatic_co_uk/status/72277778472517632

      http://twitter.com/#!/f1fanaticlive/status/72295173077483520

      The race was easier to follow without all the ridiculously easy DRS passes. The fact there weren’t more passes for position was mainly down to the nature of the track which we all know is an overtaking-free zone.

      Had Hamilton been able to blast pass Vettel with his DRS open it would have been a rather hollow victory. Instead we had the suspense of waiting and watching to see if he could find a way past.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2011, 9:45

        I agree with you on how DRS being just about good enough to stay a bit closer really made this a great race.

        Finally we saw a thrilling multi lap battle going for a good time. The one thing missing in China, where despite Vettel defending well he was always going to be passed by Hamilton.

      • David BR said on 23rd May 2011, 15:36

        I agree about the race being easier to follow. Since there was only the two of them in it, with Button fair behind, I actually wondered whether Hamilton should have held off his attack until the final laps, keeping 2 secs back say, preserving the tyres and waiting to see if Vettel’s faded first, then maximizing any speed advantage he had (he seemed to have some. May not have made any difference at all, but I felt he went for the pass too soon.

  15. The Limit said on 22nd May 2011, 20:11

    Alonso did earn ‘that spot’ at the start, it was a brilliant piece of opportunistic driving for which Fernando is known for. However, the essential truth is that the Ferrari was simply not fast enough for Alonso to pull away. Its not the first time over the years that we have seen Fernando making a slow car look faster than it really is, but he was always going to be easy meat for the likes of the Red Bulls and McLaren because their cars are just quicker than the Ferrari. DRS and KERS are fascinating talking points and both can be debated until the cows come home, but this year’s tyres are the main difference in performance as far as I am concerned.
    For me, this is the most interesting aspect. You can go for glory on Saturday by using a set of soft compounds or save them till the race on Sunday. Also, the drivers are having to nurse the tyres all the more, under full fuel loads, and like Alonso was early in the race, under pressure. Very, very difficult.
    Even with these aids, there was still only one real opportunity for the drivers to overtake other cars at Barcelona and that was down into turn one. The same as it was twenty years ago when Mansell and Senna had their famous duel into that very corner.
    Vettel performed superbly today, but then again he knew that as long as he gapped Hamilton coming out of the last turn Lewis was always going to find overtaking him difficult. It was a solid drive by a driver at ease with himself, and his car, which is easily the class of the field. Even Hamilton admitted being in admiration of the Red Bull’s downforce levels after the race, which tells you alot indeed.
    But if people want to blame anybody for Alonso’s disappointing finish to todays race, which started off with so much promise, don’t blame this year’s regulations. Blame lies with the designers back in Italy who have failed to give Fernando a car worthy of his undoubted talents. I think that is clear for all to see.

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