Sebastian Vettel withstood everything Lewis Hamilton could throw at him to win his fourth race of the year.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’21.181 (+0.2)||1’20.981|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Friday didn’t go according to plan for Vettel in Istanbul. In Barcelona he hit trouble on Saturday, missing almost all of final practice with a KERS problem.
He made it out in time for one run, which was good enough for him to top the times sheets.
But the KERS problem recurred in Q2 and Q3, and consequently Vettel missed out on pole position for the first time since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Despite starting off-line he got away well enough to pass his team mate. But he was astonished to see Fernando Alonso fly past the pair of them down the inside at the first corner.
He was the first of the leaders to pit on lap eight, but dropped back into traffic. Although he was able to pass Jenson Button and Felipe Massa easily with his new tyres, Alonso managed to get in and out of the pits and keep the lead.
Next time around was a different matter – Vettel came in on lap 18 and took the lead off Alonso when the Ferrari pitted on the following lap.
But now he had the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton to worry about. Vettel spent much of the final third of his race watching his mirrors as Hamilton reeled him in on the start/finish straight, only to drop back as the RB7 stretched its legs through the high-speed turn three and Campsa.
Significantly, Vettel did not run into the same trouble on his hard tyres that Webber did at the end of the race, which would have made keeping Hamilton behind much more difficult.
Vettel said: “I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think we were massively down but when the guy puts some pressure on and then especially gets close enough to get into the zone with the rear wing it helps as it gives you three-tenths per lap.
“Arguably he is close in the first sector and he cannot stay that close around the high speed corners but he was pushing a lot. I was hoping to always get enough into the last sector as that is where we seemed to struggle a bit to maintain the gap on the straight.”
Webber looked on course to repeat his 2010 victory after topping both sessions on Friday and taking pole position.
But his race went downhill quickly as Alonso and Vettel beat him to turn one, and Hamilton jumped him at the first round of pit stops.
Webber spent his third and fourth stints stuck behind Alonso – “we were frustrated by Fernando who seemed to pit every time I did”, he said.
He passed the Ferrari at one point, only to lose the place again immediately.
Alonso handed him fourth by pitting early on lap 39. Webber went off in chase of Jenson Button – who had breezed past them both earlier – but as his tyres went off later in the race he had to settle for fourth place.
2011 Spanish Grand Prix
- 2011 Spanish Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for the best driver of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend
- Red Bull: Vettel soaks up pressure for fourth win
- McLaren: Hamilton strong on “disastrous” Pirellis
- Ferrari: Alonso stars, Massa struggles
- Mercedes: Rosberg wanted Schumacher to let him pass
- Renault: Heidfeld eighth after “worst fire of my career”
- Williams: Maldonado reaches Q3 but still no points
- Sauber: Kobayashi gets point after puncture
- Force India hold back on aerodynamic upgrade
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