Red Bull: Vettel poised to clinch second title

2011 Italian GP team review

It will take a major upset to keep Sebastian Vettel from retaining his title after his eighth win of 2011.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 5
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’22.275 (-0.697) 1’22.972
Race position 1
Laps 53/53 4/53
Pit stops 2 0

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
Sebastian Vettel 120.073 142.07 139.306 90.735 90.084 89.596 88.846 88.548 88.456 88.337 88.589 88.652 88.221 88.502 88.585 88.924 88.664 88.742 88.827 92.736 106.887 87.928 87.882 88.058 87.977 87.56 87.673 87.486 87.554 87.233 87.289 87.497 87.092 87.759 91.213 106.359 87.857 87.158 87.004 87.058 87.048 87.293 87.282 86.798 87.548 87.146 87.473 87.192 86.557 87.419 87.333 87.656 90.41
Mark Webber 123.389 143.389 136.943 90.994

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 22.124s
Pit stop 2 Medium 21.378s

A Red Bull on pole position is hardly a rare sight in 2011, but even so Christian Horner called Vettel’s tenth pole of the season “unbelievable and completely unexpected”.

Despite a lurid moment at Ascari after his first run in Q3, Vettel returned to the track to lower his mark putting him almost half a second clear of the field.

“On the second run I think I had one or two cars ahead down the road, which always helps you in Monza,” he said.

“But we would not have thought of going on pole by that big margin today on a track which, to be fair, the last two years did not suit us.”

Despite questions over whether his set-up, which gave him the lowest straight-line speed in qualifying, would leave him vulnerable in the race, Vettel insisted otherwise. He insisted they’d taken a gamble in qualifying, and were not concerned about their race pace.

And so it proved. Vettel may have lost the lead to a fast-starting Alonso, but he retaliated swiftly, hounding the Ferrari out of every slow corner.

On lap five he drew alongside the Ferrari at Curva Grande and, with breathtaking bravery, kept his foot down at nigh on 320kph as Alonso edged him onto the grass alongside the ever-narrowing run-off.

“I decided to stay left,” said Vettel. “I think he didn’t see me in the beginning, I was with two wheels on the grass. Fortunately turn three opened up down to turn four and I stayed flat-out and saw the opportunity to pass.”

Having stolen the inside line for the della Roggia, Vettel seized the lead of the race and disappeared off into the distance.

By the end of the first stint, he was already over ten seconds clear. It was up to 15 before he backed off in the last four laps.

Having scored two wins since the summer break Vettel now has a large enough lead to clinch the title at the next race.

With his closest championship rival admitting defeat, Vettel said: “The ultimate goal this season when we started was to defend our title.

“I think we are in a good position, but the rest we will see.”

Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide

Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Start tyre Soft

Unlike his team mate, Webber did not switch to a new engine this weekend. This appeared to have an effect on the amount of running he did on Saturday, reducing his laps in qualifying to preserve the unit.

He qualified fifth with an intermittent KERS problem, and admitted afterwards he could have done better: “The tyres were certainly strong enough for the first lap, so two runs was the way forward I think, but ultimately I didn’t get enough out of the car on the tyres on one run only.”

Starts have been Webber’s weakness this year. He lost two places away from the line in Monza, making it a net 20 places he has lost on lap one of races this year.

But he responded quickly by passing Jenson Button on the first lap of the restart.

He went after Felipe Massa on the next lap and had his nose in front of the Ferrari as they braked for Rettifilio.

But Massa edged the Red Bull onto the kerbs and Webber bounced into the side of the Ferrari, knocking his front wing off.

The wing went underneath his front wheels as he reached Parabolica and he crashed. That was Red Bull’s first retirement of the year.

“I tried to get back to the pits, trying to lose the minimum time possible,” said Webber.

“The car wasn’t too bad for the first part of the lap, but at some stage the wing got caught underneath, so I couldn?t turn the car or brake. I went straight out of Parabolica and that was the end of my race.”

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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29 comments on Red Bull: Vettel poised to clinch second title

  1. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 12th September 2011, 17:40

    Can I just say; that trophy at least is (to me) a lot more decent than what was basically a Santander statue. They should keep the sponsors as sponsors; and trophies as trophies.

    • +1. Not to mention the Santander trophy looks like poo.

    • Ironic for a company that deals in money, but the Santander trophies look cheap and quite tacky- they look completely unprestigious.

      • TheBrav3 said on 12th September 2011, 19:57

        +1000000 Santander trophies are ridiculose i mean it’s their logo if i was an f1 driver that would rlly f me off. Well done you’ve got on the podium have a mcdonalds sign! what’s next will the mclaren drivers have to get vodafone tatoo’d on their tongues?

      • Maybe if Vettel had agreed to open a savings account on the spot he would have got a nice toaster or a set of kitchen knives instead. And Vettel wouldnt have trouble with the minimum balance rules.

  2. So sad for Mark, so impressed with Vettel, but even more impressed with the RB7.

    Fast everywhere and so reliable!! Vettel finishing every single race so far and in all but one on the podium is just amaizing.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 12th September 2011, 17:47

      He’s set to beat Schumi’s 17-podium season record soon; though to be fair; Schumi did that in a 17-race season

    • Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1) said on 12th September 2011, 18:52

      Good, but dull. Also I believe Webber has finished top 5 in all but one, showing the car is definately capable of doing what he has done with it. If Alonso, Button or Hamilton did it it would be much more impressive

      • dkfektor said on 13th September 2011, 19:09

        please explain how. if vettels 8 wins and 10 poles havent impressed you then i dont know how buttons constant slower speed to his teammate and hamiltons constant driving errors and underperforming his cars ability does.

  3. Jake (@jleigh) said on 12th September 2011, 19:00

    Just read MB’s BBC column and it turns out that Vettel made an official complaint to the stewards about being forced onto the grass while passing Alonso. A bit pathetic if you ask me!

    Also, apparently one of the stewards wanted to investigate the Hamilton/Schumacher incident and punish Schumi.

    • TheBrav3 said on 12th September 2011, 20:04

      Vettel was a bit of a tit in the interviews after the race he said alonso put him on the grass at the start but it was the other way round vettel and hamilton put alonso on the grass. Which he didn’t complain about. When vettel tried to overtake it was his choice to go round the outside on the curva grande and should have known it was going to get tight. It was a great move there was no need for the water works. I don’t even like alonso and im happy to say there was nothing wrong with his driving nothing wrong with michaels either every driver should race like that.

      • If you listen to the drivers before going out on the podium, Vettel mentioned being pushed onto the grass and Alonso said FU. In the drivers press conference Vettel began by saying that he didn’t think Alonso saw him there, but Alonso basically said, hey, it’s Seb, he’s up a 100 points in the Championship, I’m going to make it hard for him (read: yeah, I saw him).

        So it appears SV was trying to be pretty sporting about it, but I think at a certain point, Vettel or someone else in RBR (maybe Marko) decided that two can play that game, just to tweak Alonso back.

      • But at that point he hadn’t seen what had happened from anywhere else then his own cockpit. It is not the easiest to judge.
        Also, yes he knew it was going to get tight, but if you read the rules it is illegal to crowd a car beyond the edges of the track. Which Alonso clearly did.
        To me it seemed like Vettel very diplomatically said to Alonso that he put him on the grass, and laugh about it, to let him know. I think the reason he went to the stewards was because Alonso showed no sign of regret or apology.
        Alonso should at least have had some dignity and given Vettel an apology for forcing him into a very dangerous situation.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 12th September 2011, 20:51

      Also, apparently one of the stewards wanted to investigate the Hamilton/Schumacher incident and punish Schumi.

      The driver steward, Derek Daly, was extremely critical of Schumacher’s incident with Barrichello last year in Hungary, saying he should have been banned from the sport (episode 11 of The Flying Lap).

  4. redlight said on 12th September 2011, 19:30

    I have a dream that if RBR and Vettel get their titles good and early they could swap Webber for Schumi for the remainder of the season.

  5. TheBrav3 said on 12th September 2011, 20:07

    Wouldn’t it be an amazing end to the season if somehow vettel lost? The bookies started paying out in about april and all anyone can think about is vettel it would have to be an amazing 6 races for anyone but vettel to win the championship.

  6. I think I heard something about that engine choice for Webber not having been completely according to their plan. In the end, its probably good he did not use a new engine for those few laps only!

  7. Vettel’s move on Alonso was amazing though I think it shows RB7′s incredible downforce. Still being hard by Alonso, it was brave move.

  8. David BR said on 12th September 2011, 23:35

    Everyone’s down-laying Vettel a lot. Brilliant driving all-round I thought. Just look at Webber, not exactly a slouch, for a good idea of how good Vettel has become.

  9. JohnBt said on 13th September 2011, 2:06

    Soft and supersofts in Singapore can alter the wrap up, but Vettel is in a totally different level so I think high chances he’ll grab his second WDC. But there’s no difference even if he collects his title in Japan.

    Got a feeling he’ll blitz through Singapore, all he needs is just a very very very tiny bit of luck.

    A good fight from Alonso, Webber, Hamilton and Button does help though.

  10. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th September 2011, 3:11

    The move of Vettel on Alonso have to go on the top 3 best moves of the season.

  11. F1fan55 said on 13th September 2011, 9:47

    Being a Webber fan is tough sometimes. Sure, he crashes for the first time in ages, but he only loses his front wing. I breathe a sigh of relief, until he crashes at the last corner! Why couldn’t he have crashed at a Lesmo or Ascari?! Typical Webber luck though, you think he’ll be alright and them BAM he’s not.

    Oh well, congrats to Vettel.

    • TheBrav3 said on 13th September 2011, 22:26

      I think i’d still prefer mark webber luck to rubens barrichello luck! But yes it’s tough for me 2 as a webber fan

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th September 2011, 7:45

    Without a doubt Vettel’s most crushing win this year. Absolute dominance when he got past Alonso. I see he is doing well in the DOTW poll, fully deserved. Seeing him physically pull out such a huge gap over Alonso was impressive.

    We did notice on the pit lane walk on the the Wednesday how much the mechanics were tinkering with Webber’s car. Putting a new engine in it answers my questions over that!

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