Red Bull: Vettel finally cracks under pressure

2011 Canadian GP team review

Vettel led under pressure for the third race in a row – and this time it got to him.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’13.014 (-0.415) 1’13.429
Race position 2 3
Laps 70/70 70/70
Pit stops 3 3

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 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Sebastian Vettel 138.174 126.919 125.303 125.715 96.175 94.827 95.452 101.724 133.172 128.183 127.373 121.938 92.888 93.332 94.273 94.094 94.275 94.636 98.313 119.585 106.537 128.207 131.282 136.761 140.547 127.452 123.983 122.236 122.993 121.708 122.295 122.034 121.847 92.422 91.444 109.685 130.783 125.563 124.599 90.847 90.311 89.874 89.632 89.52 88.848 88.105 87.924 87.202 87.011 86.431 87.354 101.713 92.865 84.791 82.319 96.098 113.953 126.105 120.643 81.152 80.45 80.307 80.797 80.347 79.474 77.837 77.38 77.217 81.858
Mark Webber 141.667 126.285 124.915 124.669 108.19 99.785 98.355 106.014 113.733 130.509 125.454 120.76 97.12 96.44 95.902 97.044 95.692 94.64 102.86 128.42 107.379 106.385 126.852 137.728 141.046 126.401 122.77 122.455 123.595 120.584 122.089 121.962 120.437 94.879 106.795 108.845 114.342 125.357 123.029 92.977 93.308 91.626 90.723 89.689 89.999 89.918 88.267 89.156 102.968 93.617 84.626 84.455 85.759 81.887 84.435 99.176 107.463 120 120.284 82.583 81.276 80.454 82.1 79.572 79.845 79.63 80.875 80.449 79.83
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel added his name to the Wall of Champions in first practice, damaging the front-right corner of the car.

But it scarcely put him off his stride. On Saturday he was fastest in final practice and took his sixth pole position of the year.

He spent most of the race in the lead, coming under pressure chiefly at restarts from the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, both of whom he successfully repelled.

But he regretted not pushing harder following the final restart when Jenson Button started to loom large in his mirrors.

For the third race in a row he was under pressure in a sprint to the flag – but this time he cracked.

On the penultimate lap he locked his front-right wheel at the hairpin and Button was close enough to use the DRS and start putting him under real pressure. Halfway around the final lap the car momentarily got away from him at turn six and Button was through into the lead.

He said afterwards: “I was building up something like a four second lead and then I thought that the people behind would run a similar pace so I wasn?t trying to pull away too much because I don?t know what might happen afterwards with tyres or another safety car phase.

“I was probably a bit too cautious there. If I would have pulled away by six or seven seconds then it would have been a different story”.

Even so, Vettel increased his margin at the head of the points table to 60 – more than two whole race wins.

Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide

Mark Webber

After a straightforward Friday Webber hit trouble on Saturday and once again the car’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System was to blame.

He never made it out of the pits in the final practice session and had to qualify without KERS, ending up fourth.

Contact with Lewis Hamilton on the first racing lap saw him lose ten places. But he quickly began to make up ground.

By lap eight he was ninth having passed the Force India, Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button, who had pitted.

Following the first restart he took Vitaly Petrov but was unable to make an impression on the other Renault.

By lap 54 he’d moved up to third thanks to some well-timed strategy calls.

Trying to pass Michael Schumacher while fighting a rearguard action against Button proved difficult. He went straight on at the final chicane more than once, and had to yield position to Schumacher on one occasion.

Eventually he ran too wide at the exit of the chicane and the car almost got away from him, allowing Button to pounce. But with three laps to go he finally prised the final podium place from Schumacher’s hands.

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

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55 comments on Red Bull: Vettel finally cracks under pressure

  1. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th June 2011, 18:44

    Actually he might have done the right thing. Who knows if he might have messed up building a further gap and got zero points?

    • dyslexicbunny said on 13th June 2011, 18:56

      While it would have been great for the championship, it’s all ifs and buts. However, I don’t particularly feel bad for him “only” finishing second.

      Webber just can’t seem to get lucky at all. No love from KERS. He might not out qualify Vettel but he certainly can push himself to rebound.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2011, 19:10

      Yeah, he is doing the percentage game. It worked for Alonso twice (and for others) so why not.

      He still extended his lead to become champion by mid season or shortly after that!

      • Robbie said on 13th June 2011, 19:48

        I guess if anything surprises me it is that the team didn’t make him more aware that he better get on it as JB was flying…it almost sounds like SV’s radio wasn’t working…I decided this…I decided that…I didn’t think anybody would be lapping any quicker etc etc…where was the communication to him to make him aware of the situation in a more timely manner?

        Not that I minded…I’m fine with SV and the year he is having but it was refreshing to see someone else on the top rung.

      • Tim said on 14th June 2011, 9:08

        If Vettel was really playing the percentages he could’ve just waved Button past for the win and taken a secure second place.

        The fact that he was pushing hard enough to make a mistake (which he did very well to catch, it could have easily put him out of the race) suggests he was pushing hard for the win.

        It would have been fascinating to see whether Button would’ve mugged him at the last chicane using the DRS.

  2. Patrickl said on 13th June 2011, 18:45

    “Vettel finally under real pressure and he cracks again”

    Webber was really struggling with overtaking. They really need a proper KERS implementation for that. If he had any KERS at all.

    • sharmin. (@spartle) said on 13th June 2011, 19:58

      Mark had KERS and it was working on and off. Seb had exactly the same problem. They both said in the press conference.

    • Oliver said on 13th June 2011, 22:01

      Webber also has a tendency to brake early for corners, he has done that consistently at the start of races so often that he often gets overtaken. Explains why he had a coming together with Hamilton.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2011, 23:58

      I think the irony of the RBR KERS situation is that they have the least to gain from it (having significantly less power than other units) and as a result, the least to lose when it doesn’t work.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 14th June 2011, 2:44

      “Vettel finally under real pressure and he cracks again”

      No, the original headline is more accurate.

    • alex said on 14th June 2011, 19:19

      he didnt make a mistake because button was behind… come on…

  3. Atticus said on 13th June 2011, 18:50

    An interesting fact emerged as I personally run the championship points according to the previous point systems of 2003, 1991 and 1961.

    According to nowadays system Vettel has a little bit over two-win-worth of a lead of 60 points. According to the 2003 system he would have more proportionally (25), which is surprising taking into consideration that this system ought to reward the winner more.

    Like the 1991 and 1961 ones did. He would have a lead in them worth 33 and 29 points respectively.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2011, 19:12

      Actually it rather means that those two wins he did not get hurt him more in the current system, proving it does what it should be doing.

      • Atticus said on 13th June 2011, 19:19

        Of course, but on the other hand if it does what it should be doing, then he would have had to pull away much more with his five victories compared to the 2003 system.

        Your point stands, it’s just that this five results should have counted for more in aggregate then those two.

    • Compared with the old, the new system really rewards the 2nd more than the winner, oddly.

      • Atticus said on 13th June 2011, 19:29

        It’s something like a middle way.

        The proportion of the points the 2nd gets compared to the winner is now 0.72.

        In the 2003 system it was of course 0.8, so it rewarded the 2nd more.

        In the 1991 and 1961 system it was 0.6 and 0.66 respectively, so they rewarded the 2nd less.

        The current system resembles the 1961 one the most.

        It’s just so that it doesn’t translates into practice this year somehow.

  4. Tango said on 13th June 2011, 18:52

    Webber is indeed once again unlucky. But Vettel seems to make real good use of his extraordinary (for a RB cf past three years) run of reliability. He gives the impression to just glide above the melee. In his two worst races he finished second. It will be hard to maintain such rythm, but it is mighty impressiv

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th June 2011, 18:57

      Agree… even when he seems to be on the backfoot, a SC comes out or the rain starts again! As Webbo said, tho, you make your own luck.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th June 2011, 18:56

    Happy with Mar’s race. I’m glad he made the mistake which eventually gave Button the position, because Button taking the checkered flag first made me shout in emotion!.

    Those couple of laps with Schumi, Webbo and Button all together were one of the best things so far this season. But they really need to sort out the DRS zone. Having been a dry race, overtakings would’ve been epically easy with 2 DRS-zones and only one activation point. There’s really no chance to defend!

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th June 2011, 20:19

      I think Webber had a very good race, considering he was in 14th after lap 7.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 14th June 2011, 4:14

      I don’t think the two zones were the problem, I think the problem was them under estimating it’s effect on the longer of the straights.

    • 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 14th June 2011, 11:09

      Yeah the DRS zones, i thought i was watching Le mans again. It was like they guys with DRS had V12 engines or something.

  6. Vettel cracked… yes, as Hamilton and Alonso. Good luck for him because his final result on second is another big step to get the Drivers’ Championship. Button race was really impressive and he trully deserved to win. He was lucky in his own way because Lewis’ crash didn’t spoil his car. He’s becoming the “Prince of the Rain”. We all know Senna will always be the King of that.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th June 2011, 21:07

      I wouldn’t exactly call Hamilton and Alonso’s Canada performances a crack under pressure situation… but both Alonso and Hamilton have cracked under pressure before, so I guess Seb shouldn’t be too hard on himself.

      In the WDC Seb just got a big boost.. he gained a lot on his 2 serious championship threats (Hamilton, Alonso). Button is pretty harmless in the WDC fight, he will be back to his mediocre self within the next couple of races.

  7. Jack_Burton said on 13th June 2011, 19:19

    Cracks under pressure and gets second? I don’t think it quite works like that but I appreciate your obvious enthusiasm.

    • BBT said on 13th June 2011, 20:02

      Cracks under pressure on last lap results in second and no chance of 1st, it works exactly like that.

  8. Ady said on 13th June 2011, 20:02

    I wonder what the effect of cruising had on Vettel? Button was pushing hard for many laps, and worked out the parts of the track he could use best, but Vettel only realized he needed to push a few laps towards the end.

    Seeing the speed of Button he pushed without the knowledge that Button had of the drying track, and therefore contributed to the mistake.

    • BBT said on 13th June 2011, 20:03

      spot on, good assessment…

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 13th June 2011, 20:11

        Ditto. But I’m not sure I’d call that ‘cracking’, as Keith has it.
        Second might be ‘first of the losers’, but it’s still a decent wedge of points.

        • BBT said on 13th June 2011, 20:25

          ..well apart from taking a fancy to the wall on Friday it was Vettels only mistake of the weekend, his restarts where flawless. However cracking under pressure means making a mistake in demanding circumstances which is what he did, no?, so the statement is technically correct. ;-) :-)

          • dennis said on 13th June 2011, 21:33

            It’s ‘technically’ correct, but still unappropriate. Imagine the last safety car would not have happened… Vettel was almost 11 seconds infront of the other cars.

            Button did a brilliant job keeping the tyres together and taking his chances. I am convinced he would have gotten a REAL chance to overtake Vettel before the chicane anyway. But I still think his victory was more of a freak accident, just like Vettel’s mistake.

  9. corky said on 13th June 2011, 20:09

    Maybe SV was surprised at the rate JB was closing in,saw him in his mirrors and ran wide did he crack who knows?But Vettal’s car did not work as well on slicks as it did on wets/inters.
    JB does well in these conditions as he is smooth and confident,a fine race and well deserved victory.

  10. Damon said on 13th June 2011, 20:51

    @vxr where for out thou??? I want to hear your verdict on vettel cracking under the pressure! :)

  11. Bendanarama said on 13th June 2011, 20:53

    If you watch the replay, it gets even more fascinating, because you can actually see Vettel getting more ragged – He actually dips the right side on the wet coming out of the Chicane as well, sliding the rear. Throughout that whole last lap you can see Button taking a tighter line. Absolutely brilliant duel.

    • Tom said on 14th June 2011, 0:35

      Yea, Vettel said he only made the one mistake, but it is clear watching that final lap that his one big mistake was preceded by several minor ones. He was under pressure and it showed in his driving.

  12. Mads (@mads) said on 13th June 2011, 21:37

    I think the problem for Seb was that he was gunning it at the restart and then he just tried to maintain the gap, i.e. not going as quickly as he could, where Button was absolutely on it all the time after the final restart and in those conditions a well heated tyre works wonders, a bit like Nico Hülkenberg in Brazil 2010 qualifying. He build up the heat and he just kept getting faster and faster, where Vettel probably had too little heat in his tyres and then when he saw Button closing he had to regain pace quickly and that led to a mistake.

  13. georges10099 said on 13th June 2011, 21:55

    im happy vettel didn’t win as it was beginning to get a bit boring with the same winner. Even though i was angry about the ham v but incident, i was mega happy for but to win. Shame he finished on the podium really (vettel) as it gives him more of a lead in the championship!

    this season has all of the echoings to 09. by the time silverstone comes around, mclaren will be the leading team and red bull will begin to fall back. After all, they are just a drinks company ;) oj. but i do reckon that mclaren will soon catch red bull up and rb will begin to fall back. that car cannot get any better!

    • xtophe (@xtophe) said on 13th June 2011, 23:04

      Making KERS work more consistently will be vital I think. I’m not sure how much better they can make the RB7, but I can’t see RBR cave in like Brawn did, atleast not due to resource problems.

    • DavidS (@davids) said on 14th June 2011, 7:41

      What happened with Brawn in 2009 won’t happen with Red Bull, just as it didn’t happen last year.

      The reason Brawn was so far ahead at the start of the year was mainly down to scrapping development in the 2008 Honda early and starting on the 2009 car. The resources left to develop the car at the pace of Ferrari/McLaren/Red Bull dried up quickly.

      Red Bull’s funding is more secure, and as 2010 proved, they can keep up in the development race, and even pull ahead. I wouldn’t hold onto hope that McLaren will emerge with the fastest car mid-season.

      • Good points DavidS. Personally I think Ferrari might well be the ones to watch in the next few races. Their pace in qualifying was as impressive as Massa’s return to form.

  14. MattHT (@mattht) said on 13th June 2011, 22:18

    A crack maybe, but only a very small one, not the implosion his rivals would have hoped for. It may be a glimmer of light for the Ferrari’s and Mclaren’s to see a chink in his armour, but I really can’t see it affecting him too much. I think he’ll do very well round Valencia.

  15. dlaird said on 13th June 2011, 23:25

    He will need to crack alot more to lose this championship. Who knows. I am wondering what effect the Off throttle blown diffuser limitation will have on the top teams. I do not see Vettel losing the WDC this year. Still alot of races to go.

  16. Eggry (@eggry) said on 13th June 2011, 23:49

    He was quite lucky too. He pitted twice proper time when SC is out. He couldn’t blame any other. just Button did much better job. Anyway I want more Vettel crack for the championship!

  17. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2011, 23:55

    Button was sooo close to Vettel when he dropped the wing for the first time behind him. I don’t think I’ve ever studied a piece of F1 anatomy as much as I did at that point.

    A great race from Webber, he seemed really pleased with it. Disappointing that KERS gives him problems yet again but it doesn’t seem to perturb him too much. I knew there would be a coming together following the first safety car but not Hamilton and Webber, it just happened so slowly! Great recover up to 3rd.

    Vettel also did a great job. Yes, he cracked under pressure and it won’t be the last time, but the guy in first has the most to lose. I don’t think anyone at Red Bull could have seen Button coming early enough for them to think they weren’t comfortable with pushing more.

  18. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 14th June 2011, 3:20

    Pressure took out the best out of Vettel.Good work by Webber after first corner spin.

  19. DaveW said on 14th June 2011, 4:18

    Cracking is accurate. But look at it this way. Even my wife, who barely watches the races, when she saw the interval come up .952 or something on the penultimate lap at the hairpin, she was like, it’s over, because DRS makes it academic. Vettel knew that if he didn’t get the gap to 1s again, he was toast on the back straight. So he was driving 12/10ths that last lap. The way he came out of turn 4, sideways, I knew he was desperate to hold the gap. It was either that, or ram Button off the road on the back straight. He didn’t simply need to keep it on the road, he needed to gap Button, which was a much bigger task.

    • juan fanger (@juan-fanger) said on 14th June 2011, 14:45

      Yes, major pity Vettel went off prior to the DRS zone because Button would have overtaking him into the last chicane and then (with a bit of luck) seen a Webber/Schumacher/Petrov podium :)

    • Haha, I love the way you paint the picture of Vettel’s desperation DaveW. But I think that’s spot on really. It’s almost as if he awoke to that realisation that DRS=Toast on the back straight and started driving like a man possessed but without any of the control. And the rest, as they say, is history.

  20. Carl said on 14th June 2011, 15:42

    At each SC last lap, SV would back off the throttle and compress further the line of cars behind him. He would then choose to accelerate at his leisure gaining a considerable lead on his followers.

    I recall that at a race i cannot pinpoint at this time, LH was leading the pack and chose to let the SC outdistance him causing a compression behind him that resulted in some contacts among the following competitors. He was penalized for it.

    Why is it that the same rule doesn’t apply to SB?

    • DaveW said on 14th June 2011, 15:52

      It was Fuji 07, and Hamilton was not penalized, IIRC. Hamilton’s actions, allegedly, caused Vettel, in an STR, to ram into the back of Webber. Which in turn caused Webber to verbally abuse young Vettel. (Words he has long since eaten along with pounds and pounds of crow.) One difference to that case, in Fuji, it was a monsoon, and noone could see anything, including Hamilton.

      But yes, Vettel was being very cute behind the SC ,and at one restart, the field came close to a pile-up as Vettel slowed to a crawl going into the hairpin. A couple drivers had to duck out of line.

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