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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Maksutov said on 15th June 2011, 7:17

    I am not so sure that Vettel cracked under pressure, as everyone makes it out to be. He has already proven to be exceptional even under “more” pressure for longer periods of time. It is more likely that he simply caught a wet part of the track which is what happened…

  7. Dar4Ferrari (@dar4ferrari) said on 15th June 2011, 21:31

    i think if SV truly ‘cracked under pressure’ he wouldn’t have had the cool head to save a sure DNF….he made a mistake…as did Massa during the race…the difference was sebs mistake only cost him 7 points Massa’s possibly cost him 17

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