Rate the race result: 2011 Korean Grand Prix

2011 Korean Grand Prix

Start, Korea, 2011

Start, Korea, 2011

With Red Bull beaten to pole position and high tyre wear predicted, expectations were high ahead of the Korean Grand Prix.

But the hoped-for fight for victory never materialised and for many the race fell short of expectations.

The race which saw Sebastian Vettel’s tenth Grand Prix win of the season, was rated 6.9 out of ten, ranking it 13th of the 16 races so far this season.

Chris Holland-Skinner was among those who enjoyed the race:

Thoroughly enjoyed that, there was plenty of action for me, the DRS wasn?t too strong and there were many stand out performers.

Highlight of the race for me was Hamilton and Webber battling through the middle sector on lap 34, was fantastic to watch!
Chris Holland-Skinner

Among those who were less impressed was Mr Draw:

There was little to spice things up: there was almost no tyre wear and there was very little overtaking. I was hoping for a heavy tyre-struggle and an immense fight for the lead, but it didn?t materialise at all.
Mr Draw

2011 average race
ratings so far

China 9.241
Canada 9.095
Germany 8.43
Hungary 8.344
Britain 7.96
Malaysia 7.775
Belgium 7.772
Monaco 7.684
Japan 7.570
Italy 7.494
Spain 7.319
Turkey 7.306
Korea 6.915
Australia 6.751
Singapore 6.390
Europe 3.871

The Drag Reductions System continues to divide opinion among fans. TommyB gave it a thumbs-up in Korea:

The detection zone was in a great place. An overtake into turn one would then result in the car having a chance to re-pass in the DRS zone.

Then the faster car would have a chance to slipstream on the following straight. We saw this happen with Kobayashi and Senna.
TommyB

But DryYoshi was categorically unimpressed:

DRS is awful, worst detection point ever, if you pass at the first corner you just get re-passed at turn three.
DryYoshi

But it’s not all about overtaking, as Kate pointed out:

Hamilton’s battle with Webber reminded me of the last lap battle between Webber and Button at Abu Dhabi 2009. It demonstrated that the car doesn?t need to get by for it to be entertaining.
Kate

Helen enjoyed the race, but felt the track left something to be desired:

I enjoyed it and have done for most of the season. I remember the snooze-fest of the early 2000s, so I appreciate the action going on all down the field.

The Korean track doesn?t look like one I?d save up my pennies to go and see though. Lots of empty seats again at a race, which is a shame for F1.
Helen

Has tyre conservation become too important in race strategy? 73Ben thinks so:

For me it feels like the formula has become too focused on endurance, with qualifying being neutralised by virtue of the fact that fresh rubber is more important than grid position.

Then in the races we have seen that the attacking drivers, such as Hamilton, Alonso and Webber have been neutralised by the fact that if they drive naturally they end up going slower.
73ben

Wigster offered words of praise for a driver who was seldom seen during the race coverage:

I think Kovalainen deserves some credit for finishing in front of both Saubers, neither of who appeared to have any particular problems, but unfortunately we didn?t see any of that on TV.
Wigster

How do you think the Korean Grand Prix compared to the rest of this year’s races? Does it deserves its place towards the bottom of the list?

Have your say in the comments.

2011 Korean Grand Prix

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20 comments on Rate the race result: 2011 Korean Grand Prix

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th October 2011, 9:02

    Thanks for going through all the hundreds of comments to compile this piece
    Daniel. Personally I rated it a 7, seems I am right in the middle of the pack there.

    I agree especially with what TommyB and Kate wrote.

    In reflection, it seems that the worse ratings are for races that promised something but then did not live up to high expectations. Singapore being unchallenged after a bit of fear of rain, Korea not living up to either the tyre endurance nor the Hamilton pole promise and Australia showing itself not to have been that much different from past years.
    And Turkey not seeing a repeat of last years battle and getting far too much of DRS.

  2. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 9:04

    I think Korea was evidence that DRS really does add something to the Formula. I think that without it, the race would’ve been much more dull than it ended up being. The battle between Webber and Hamilton, after their tandem pitstop and throughout the final third of the race, was the highlight for me and came as direct result of DRS. Without it, Webber wouldn’t have been able to put Hamilton under as much pressure as he did.

    The biggest problem with Korea was that the majority of overtaking manoeuvres did take place as a direct result of DRS. When that happens, it’s not an indictment of the system but rather the entire circuit itself. DRS should not become the only means by which you’re able to overtake someone, it should compliment the rest of the circuit and provide an extra opportunity to pass someone. That’s why I like the idea of putting DRS zones into places where it’s traditionally difficult to pass without it. But saying that, I would’ve thought the Korea straight wouldn’t need a DRS zone to produce overtaking, but it turns out it did.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 25th October 2011, 9:25

      But DRS also took away some great passes made at the SF straight. Even when Rosberg and Webber passed into Turn 1, they just got repassed down the DRS straight. I still think it’s overrated and much of what we’re getting is down to the tyres.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 10:00

        @Journeyer But that’s exactly why I thought the battle between Kobayashi and Senna (I think) was so brilliant. Koba played it smart and surrendered the place into Turn 1 knowing he would get the DRS along the straight and re-passed Bruno. Then, Bruno managed to re-pass Kobayashi into the next hairpin.

        It was exciting, it was fair, it added an extra dynamic to the concept of defensive driving and Bruno still had to work to make the pass. It gave us a short but very exciting scrap that we wouldn’t have had if DRS hadn’t been a factor.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 25th October 2011, 10:50

          Hmmm. Still not sold on it. If you have an overtaking tool that can remove overtaking places as well as adding them, then what’s the point?

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 13:23

            @Journeyer

            Forgive me, I don’t quite understand. How did the Korean DRS zone remove an overtaking place?

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 25th October 2011, 13:53

            Almost no one bothered overtaking into Turn 1 because they’d get repassed down the back straight into Turn 3 anyway. And those who did try (Rosberg, Webber) did indeed get repassed.

            Whereas without DRS, we would’ve seen at least 2 successful passes stick.

  3. Kiril Varbanov (@kiril-varbanov) said on 25th October 2011, 9:44

    Does it deserves its place towards the bottom of the list?

    Yes, it does.
    The race itself was pretty boring, except for the battle between Hamilton and Webber. DRS could never be something that will get my approval – no way to defend doesn’t mean battle.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 10:05

      @kiril-varbanov

      DRS could never be something that will get my approval – no way to defend doesn’t mean battle.

      I’m sorry, but I have to disagree.

      If Hamilton had ‘no way to defend’ against DRS, then Webber would’ve passed him on his first DRS attempt. But he didn’t. In fact, despite Webber being in the DRS zone lap after lap, Lewis finished ahead of him. That proves DRS doesn’t mean a ‘slam-dunk’ overtaking opportunity – you still have to be genuinely faster to make the move.

      Some DRS zones this year have been better than others, for sure. But the fact remains that the majority of DRS ‘attempts’ this season have not resulted in overtakes. Which is also a good thing. Saying that DRS is ‘indefensible’ is just plain incorrect and hyperbolic.

      • Kiril Varbanov (@kiril-varbanov) said on 25th October 2011, 12:23

        I respect your opinion, but I will also have to disagree. Why?
        If two cars are “equal” (no matter how subjective that might be) in performance, the DRS-enabled car allegedly gets 10 to 15 km/h more. How is that fair?
        What are the options of the defendant? Unfair / dangerous moves, KERS preserving strategy and full push in the DRS zone? Aren’t we paying too much attention to something that’s outside of the usual racing? What was wrong with having KERS output up to 160 HP, for example, or the traditional boost button that was used to rev the engine to the highest RPM?

        While I understand that the DRS gimmick was created to help the spectacle – missing overtakes due to relentlessly dull track designs, subsequently helping the presumably faster car to overtake, I just cannot agree with it.

        IMHO, most fans don’t like DRS. Suggesting poll to Keith :)

        • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 13:22

          @kiril-varbanov

          What are the options of the defendant?

          In my opinion, dirty air. That’s the one advantage a driver who is ahead has that the car behind doesn’t. It’s not been as big a problem this year, thankfully – thanks to KERS, Pirelli tyres, etc – but it is still the single biggest headache for modern Formula 1 cars when it comes to overtaking.

          Over the years, we’ve seen a number of drivers catch a rival at a very rapid rate only to enter the dirty-air zone and struggle to find an opportunity to overtake without a major contrast in overall grip. I personally like the idea behind DRS as it is not designed to give the ‘attacking’ car an unfair advantage but to equalise the playing field by trying to cancel out the unfair disadvantage of dirty-air. That’s what I think the purpose of DRS should be – not to make overtaking easy but to simply to give the ‘attacker’ an opportunity to make a move. If you are within 1 second of a rival, chances are you’re faster than them. If you utilise DRS to help pass a rival and then instantly pull away by more than 1 second yourself, that’s perfectly fair and desireable in my honest opinon.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th October 2011, 22:25

            @magnificent-geoffrey Couldn’t agree more with you. I’ve always defended DRS and justified it’s existence. You really have to envisage and appreciate that the hundreds of liters/second pouring off these cars is always going to create a huge area behind the diffuser and beyond that is just chaos for a chasing driver. If you ever cross a road after a car has just gone by you can feel how turbulent the air is.

            Between the end of this season and the beginning of the next, the teams and the FIA really need to get their heads together and iron out the application of DRS, which I believe is where most of the counter-arguements are coming from. For 2012 they will have the benefit of experience.

  4. 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 25th October 2011, 10:02

    I didn’t like how Webber got a good move done into T1 but got penalized as he was then unable to defend against DRS immediately after.
    I thought Lap 1 was good though!

  5. Lachie (@lachie) said on 25th October 2011, 10:36

    I think it speaks volumes that the top 5 races this year weren’t won by Vettel.

  6. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 25th October 2011, 18:20

    I wonder if there’s any correlation between number of voters and result of tha poll. This because I didn’t vote this time, I just could’t decide what to give. Because I have been entertained, but for some reason tha atmosphere was even more desolate than Turkey. It was à strange experience, it was like it was entirely somewhere else…

  7. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 25th October 2011, 20:13

    Well, I gave it an 8, so in my opinion Korea should be higher up.

    However to your question Keith, there’s no bottom as such to that list. There are the 9-ers of China and Canada, then 13 races are pretty much bunched up between 8.4 and 6.4 and then there’s Valencia( insert throw-up emoticon here).

    Imo there were no boring races this year apart from Valencia(and maybe Melbourne). Alll in all, great season!

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th October 2011, 22:28

    I rated the race a 9. I don’t think i’ve seen such divided opinion of a race so far this year. This article does a good job of addressing the polarising opinion of the race so thank you, @iamdanthomas

    At first I was scepitcal of the positioning of the DRS detection point being so close to the activation point, however, in hindsight, it worked.

    It creared a great battle between Webber and Hamilton.

    Let’s not forget also just how great a race Alguersuari had!

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