Red Bull’s defeat at the hand of two teams and Webber leading home Vettel both invite questions about whether this upturn in form was a blip or part of a trend.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’30.216 (+0.137)||1’30.079|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Vettel had a decidedly off-colour weekend in his home race, which saw several of his long-running streaks of success come to an end.
He missed out on the front row of the grid as Webber beat him to pole position. If much of Vettel’s performance this weekend looked like a blip, this was perhaps the one thing that didn’t – Webber has gradually reduced and overturned Vettel’s qualifying advantage over the course of the season.
Vettel dropped behind Fernando Alonso at the start and soon after a radio message revealed he had a problem with his brakes.
He had a costly spin at the RTL Kurve which nearly cost him further places to Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa.
By the time his braking problem was sorted Vettel had fallen behind Massa, and he now began trying to take the place back.
He wasn’t able to make a pass stick on the track, but he knew they both had to make a final pit stop, which came on the last lap.
While Red Bull nailed Vettel’s stop, Ferrari fumbled Massa’s, promoting Vettel to fourth. Even so, it was the first time he’d finished a race outisde the top two places since retiring from the Korean Grand Prix last year.
Webber might have been hoping for more from his third pole position of the year than his fourth consecutive third place, but at least he put one over his team mate.
As was the case at the Nurburgring in 2009, Webber seemed to get more out of the car than Vettel did.
Starts have been a persistent problem for Webber this year and once again he was beaten off the line, Lewis Hamilton jumping him as the lights went out.
But Webber reeled in the McLaren and got ahead for one lap in the first stint before Hamilton reversed the move.
Webber pitted before Hamilton and a quick out lap, plus a pit stop half a second faster than Hamilton’s, put him back in the lead.
Webber’s next visit to the pits at the halfway distance was slower and it cost him two places. He made an attempt to pass Hamilton around the outside of turn two but found himself eased onto the kerbs.
He fell five seconds behind Alonso in the third stint and a late final pit stop couldn’t pull him back into the battle for the lead. Vettel’s last-lap promotion to fourth place means Webber only reduced his team mate’s championship lead by three points to 77.
Webber said he wasn’t sure if Red Bull’s defeat meant the second half of the championship was going to be much harder for them, but conceded this was the second time they’d lost “fair and square”:
“I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think we can blame a four second pit stop at Silverstone. I think we got beaten fair and square in Silverstone, so this isn?óÔé¼Ôäót the first time we?óÔé¼Ôäóve been beaten, so this is the second race.
“Is it the form for the second part of the championship? Difficult to say, because we?óÔé¼Ôäóre going to go to a track next weekend which should be a bit better for us than this track. Let?óÔé¼Ôäós see.”
2011 German Grand Prix
- Rate the race result: 2011 German Grand Prix
- 2011 German Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for your German GP driver of the weekend
- McLaren: Surprise win in Germany for Hamilton
- Red Bull: McLaren and Ferrari ahead in Germany
- Ferrari: Alonso beats Red Bulls despite cool weather
- Mercedes: Three-stopper costs Rosberg a place
- Force India: Sutil helps team overtake Toro Rosso
- Renault: Petrov dissatisfied with strategy
- Sauber: Kobayashi out in Q1 but claims points
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