Red Bull: Vettel supreme as championship beckons

2011 Singapore GP team review

Sebastian Vettel was in superb form as he claimed his third consecutive win.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’44.381 (-0.351) 1’44.732
Race position 1 3
Laps 61/61 61/61
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
Sebastian Vettel 116.91 115.464 114.935 114.261 113.91 114.295 114.243 114.205 114.268 114.519 115.081 115.909 116.921 125.178 135.991 113.269 113.723 113.558 113.759 114.11 113.113 113.671 113.56 113.101 113.386 113.842 113.682 115.883 113.95 141.845 176.486 167.733 160.738 111.139 111.102 110.992 112.335 112.089 111.469 111.907 111.238 111.652 111.762 111.488 111.76 112.27 112.25 111.563 121.643 134.673 108.688 110.695 110.241 110.514 109.78 109.41 110.412 111.924 109.976 110.391 117.895
Mark Webber 121.853 116.411 115.362 115.649 115.688 115.501 116.018 116.263 116.953 118.427 118.251 125.738 137.429 116.164 116.964 114.117 114.319 115.538 116.496 113.77 114.331 115.056 114.807 115.092 114.966 114.155 114.045 114.323 124.803 163.857 126.192 154.53 159.743 117.717 113.092 112.32 111.861 111.543 111.68 111.864 111.426 111.542 111.767 112.464 111.702 112.179 120.274 134.12 111.944 110.82 114.519 113.345 111.238 110.088 111.002 111.239 112.703 111.309 111.42 113.354 114.693

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 30.023s
Pit stop 2 Soft 30.809s
Pit stop 3 Super soft 30.796s

Vettel took a comfortable 11th pole position of 2011 and didn’t even need to complete his final lap in qualifying, in which he could have gone faster.

He said: “On the last run, I maybe tried a bit too much going into the really tricky chicane around turn ten.

“I think I could have made it, but I decided to abort the lap, as it can be so easy to damage the car.

“I was happy with my first lap ?ǣ I think the track ramped up a little bit by the end, so it was possible to go faster, but all in all it was a perfect session and I?m very happy, especially around here.”

Vettel finished the first lap two-and-a-half seconds clear of Jenson Button and just kept piling on his advantage after that.

There were few wrinkles in an otherwise perfect day for Vettel. The first was the safety car, which wiped out his 22-second lead over Button.

But a perfectly-executed restart meant he was four seconds up the road before Button could make a start on passing the three lapped cars between them. He more than doubled that advantage over the next lap while Button was still threading his way through traffic.

Lotus added some spice to his race by waving Heikki Kovalainen into his path as Vettel left the pits following his final stop.

Vettel had followed the Lotus into the pits and had spotted the potential for trouble: “I watched the lights ?ǣ they have a system with lights, I think, so I watched their lollipop and saw them going off when I was just approaching.

“I was aware of the situation. I think initially that Heikki didn?t see me, it?s a difficult angle so I had to lift but I think it was more of a misunderstanding, obviously not Heikki?s fault.”

Having charged away from Button as he pleased all night up to that point, Vettel was strangely short of pace in his final stint. Race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin warned him not to push to claim the fastest lap which would have completed his first perfect result in an F1 race.

Meanwhile, Button was closing in at over a second per lap while Vettel was taking care passing a growing number of lapped cars.

“You want to push harder and harder as once you really get sucked into this rhythm on this track,” he explained.

“It is hard to pace yourself. You know that you have to look after the tyres etc… so the stop in the end we didn?t have to pit but decided to do so in case of another safety car where we would be more vulnerable on a used or scrubbed set in the end. We did the right calls.

“At the end with quite a lot of traffic, if you take some time and wait until there really opens a gap to avoid any misunderstanding you might sacrifice a couple of second easily.”

His lead was down to 1.7 seconds at the line but that was enough for his ninth win of the season. That leaves just the small matter of collecting a single point from any of the five remaining races to confirm his second consecutive world championship.

Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide

Mark Webber

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 30.462s
Pit stop 2 Soft 31.204s
Pit stop 3 Super soft 30.413s

Webber’s weekend got off to a poor start when he collided with Timo Glock in the first practice session: “I thought Glock was letting me through,” he said, “but he didn?t know I was there. So when we got to the apex, our cars touched.”

He joined Vettel on the front row but slipped to fourth at the start.

Webber took advantage of Fernando Alonso’s tyre troubles to pass the Ferrari on lap ten. But he made his first pit stop three laps later than the Ferrari driver, falling behind him again.

Pitting a second time under the safety car, Webber remained behind Alonso as the race restarted. But as they headed for the tight chicane at turn ten Webber made lunged down the inside and pulled off an unlikely pass to claim third.

He made little inroad into Button’s lead, and dropped back quickly in the final stint.

Having claimed a podium finish at a track he has little affection for, Webber reflected on his nagging problem of 2011: slow starts: “I find myself having to come back through too often this season.

“I can?t make the starts I made last year at the moment. I need to work on those. We will look at them and definitely improve.”

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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21 comments on Red Bull: Vettel supreme as championship beckons

  1. Vettel fully deserves to the champion, he really has shown to be a class act. He has been given the fastest car, and he has most certainly made the most of his opportunity.

    As for Webber, considering he also has the fastest car, he really should be finishing second behind Vettel, and then winning when Vettel isn’t there to win. I feel that if Webber can’t beat slower cars when he has the fastest, then maybe Red Bull should be looking for someone who can.

  2. I must admit Vettel keeping an eye on what was going on at Lotus really is another astonishing feat these top drivers manage.

    From the fact the Red Bulls were managing their KERS usage all weekend, not using it in the last stint migth well have been part of the reason why Vettel was not able/willing to push to keep the gap. Not that he needed much more than he had in hand, but others might have blinked earlier.

  3. Nothing will change for Mark unless he starts getting off the line well. Not saying he’d inmediately challenge Vettel, but he might stand a chance to win a race at some point…

    • Mr draw said on 26th September 2011, 22:03

      It seems like he finally discovers his awful starts are letting him down this season. If he starts working on it now, maybe he will solve the problem at the end of the season. Vettel is laughing his ass off.

  4. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 26th September 2011, 21:43

    I was surprised by Mark’s frank admission that he simply hasn’t been fast enough at this track; you don’t often hear drivers talk about their own driving in this manner.

    Nevertheless it is disappointing that Mark is unable to challenge Vettel this year, as I would like to see him do well. I suspect Japan will suit him better.

    With regard to Webber’s start, before the race I was a bit worried that Hamilton might get stuck behind a slow-starting Webber, and so it proved. I wonder whether this scenario was discussed between Lewis and engineers prior to the race.

    • redlight said on 27th September 2011, 1:35

      Japan may suit Webber better but this doesn’t mean he’ll be anywhere close to Seb there. Seb has been dominant at Suzuka the last two years, even when the track was new to him in ’09 he had Webber well beaten.

    • xxiinophobia (@xxiinophobia) said on 27th September 2011, 7:36

      I almost tried to see if I could suck a friend into a wager on Webber falling to 4th on the start and Alonso climbing to 3rd. Missed opportunity, that.

  5. i’m so disappointed in webber this year. the qualifying stats showed that webber and vettel were the closest matched team-mates last year (0.05 seconds on average, in favour of vettel, including some absolute disasters for webber, like bahrain). this year has been anything but – it’s comparable to schumacher and irvine/barrichello/herbert.

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 27th September 2011, 2:17

    He won and deserve it. I just hope 2012 is not the same.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 27th September 2011, 7:05

      That boy knows how to make the RB7 fly. Well deserved.

      On 2012, I wish we had 4 top teams on pair. Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes. How I wish Schumacher was there fighting for P1 with Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Button (Okay, let’s add: Webber and Massa…)

  7. i hope 2012 more competitive season, Ferrari and McLaren will be better i think.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th September 2011, 7:14

    Fantastic weekend yet again from Vettel. He is just absolutely relentless and I couldn’t be happier for him.

    “I can’t make the starts I made last year at the moment. I need to work on those. We will look at them and definitely improve.”

    Can’t help but feel Webber it’s a little late in saying that!

  9. This boy is seriously good,he’s just top quality.

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