Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Barcelona, 2011

Red Bull: Vettel soaks up pressure for fourth win

2011 Spanish GP team reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel withstood everything Lewis Hamilton could throw at him to win his fourth race of the year.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 2 1
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’21.181 (+0.2) 1’20.981
Race position 1 4
Laps 66/66 66/66
Pit stops 4 4

Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
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 59 60 61
Sebastian Vettel 95.274 90.633 90.549 90.346 90.12 90.023 90.062 90.326 92.911 107.78 90.311 89.673 89.497 89.944 89.723 89.949 90.17 93.001 104.115 88.061 87.394 88.078 88.571 88.782 88.511 88.544 88.447 88.394 88.824 89.704 88.998 89.161 90.247 92.572 106.533 88.563 88.689 88.562 88.865 88.953 88.802 88.193 87.933 88.987 88.007 88.087 88.177 91.072 104.905 87.774 87.456 87.839 87.215 87.639 88.207 87.871 87.557 87.435 87.474 87.162 87.205
Mark Webber 96.329 90.827 90.082 90.197 90.196 90.28 90.055 90.497 90.568 94.633 108.38 89.526 89.314 89.453 89.664 89.453 89.716 90.192 93.22 104.615 88.259 88.511 89.029 89.709 89.306 89.728 89.478 89.806 92.309 108.174 90.346 90.41 91.48 91.252 90.655 91.215 90.556 90.475 90.426 88.657 89.789 89.363 88.83 89.795 89.724 90.071 92.31 104.453 87.461 87.187 87.519 87.187 88.386 88.104 87.703 87.67 88.162 88.438 87.452 87.554 88.46
Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Barcelona, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel

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?t 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.”

Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide

Mark Webber

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.

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images