Vettel extends his F1 domination in Indian Grand Prix

2011 Indian Grand Prix review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Sebastian Vettel had the Indian Grand Prix under control from the first lap of the race and took his 11th win of the season.

He was never threatened by Jenson Button, who finished second, while Mark Webber slipped to fourth behind Fernando Alonso.

Alonso had lost ground at the start as he ran wide at the first corner, falling behind Button. As they came onto the long back straight Button lined up Webber and took second place.

Behind them several cars had made contact: Rubens Barrichello lost his front wing at the first corner and ran wide, pushing Kamui Kobayashi off.

The Sauber driver drove into the path of Timo Glock when he returned to the track. The pair made contact, which ultimately put both out.

As they reached turn three Narain Karthikeyan hit Jarno Trulli, tipping the Lotus into a spin, but both continued.

Vettel set about extending his customary advantage at the start. Webber had a couple of looks at Button in the DRS zone, enough to force the McLaren driver to defend, but not enough to make a pass.

Behind them were the two Ferraris, Felipe Massa having passed Lewis Hamilton off the line.

The two Mercedes were next, Michael Schumacher behind Nico Rosberg. Like Vettel in Korea, Schumacher had avoided using his KERS when the lights went out, using it all on the long back straight, and moving up to eighth.

Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna were behind them but they soon came under attack from the Toro Rossos. Using their superior straight line speed and the added boost of the DRS zone, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi both moved ahead. Senna complained his KERS wasn’t working as he fell back into the clutches of Pastor Maldonado.

By lap 17 Vettel’s lead had stabilised at just over four seconds. Webber, Alonso and Hamilton pitted together shortly after. Vettel and Button stayed out the next time by but Massa did come in.

Massa and Hamilton clash again

On lap 24 Massa made a slight mistake at turn one and suddenly Hamilton was all over him. On the next lap Hamilton had a run at the Ferrari going into turn five.

Massa moved to defend his position but Hamilton was able to get down the inside of the Ferrari. Massa turned in, and contact was as inevitable as it was avoidable.

The stewards concluded Massa had caused the latest collision between the two and handed him a drive-through penalty. Hamilton had to pit for a new front wing.

Massa’a race quickly went off the rails as he had to switch to the unfavourable hard tyres – a legacy of having lost a set of softs during his qualifying crash. The vibrating front wing from practice made a reappearance and shortly afterwards he was out of the race.

Heading into turn nine Massa hid the kerb on the inside and suffered a repeat of his suspension failure from qualifying. The visibly unhappy Ferrari driver stalked back to the pits.

None of this troubled Vettel who was troubled only by the occasional dawdling backmarker on his way to victory. Button closed on him during the pit stops, Vettel pitting after the McLaren driver on their two visits, but was always able to re-establish his lead.

Alonso closed on Webber during the second stint and the Red Bull driver made an early switch to hard tyres, hoping to preserve his advantage. It didn’t work: Alonso came out of his final pit stop back in front of the Red Bull driver.

Schumacher jumps past Rosberg

The Mercedes drivers also traded places at the final round of pit stops. Schumacher stayed out longer on the soft tyres to jump ahead of his team mate and claim fifth.

Hamilton progressed no further than seventh, complaining of understeer in his McLaren after the contact with Massa. Alguersuari claimed eighth for Toro Rosso but his team mate retired halfway through.

Senna ran in the points towards the end of the race but it was an illusion – he hadn’t made his mandatory switch to hard tyres and once he did he slipped to 12th.

That promoted Sutil and Sergio Perez. The latter used the opposite strategy to Senna, starting the race on hard tyres and getting rid of them early, going on to claim the final point.

Vitaly Petrov did likewise and had a couple of scruffy off-track moment on his way to 11th. Paul di Resta was another driver who started the race on hard tyres, hoping for an early safety car period which never happened. He finished 13th.

The Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen was 14th having run as high as tenth during the race. He finished ahead of the delayed Barrichello.

Behind Jerome d’Ambrosio, Narain Karthikyean brought his HRT home ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who made an extra pit stop late in the race. Trulli was the final runner.

With both titles already won, Vettel continues to amass more records. Today he had his first perfect result (pole, win, fastest lap, led every lap) and set a new record for most laps led during a season.

The Indian Grand Prix may have been a new event at a new track. But with Vettel continuing his domination, another run-in for Massa and Hamilton, and Webber and Alonso battling for position, the race had a decidedly familiar feel.

2011 Indian Grand Prix

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103 comments on Vettel extends his F1 domination in Indian Grand Prix

  1. Dragon (@dragon) said on 30th October 2011, 14:27

    Webber: What is this new devilry?
    Massa: A Hamilton, a demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!
    *Hamilton drives onto road, bursts into flame*
    Button: He cannot stand alone! I am with you, Felipe!
    Massa: Go! Smooth, tyre preserving driving is no more use here.
    Massa: I am a servant of the secret Teflonso, wielder of the flame of Montezemolo. Go back to GP2 from whence you came! You cannot pass.
    *Hamilton sticks car up inside*
    *jerks wheel violently to the left*

    apologies, but the race was a little dull, so this is how it played out in my head.
    ^Disclaimer: Author does not find either party at complete fault, but is rather sick of both drivers conduct in 2011.

  2. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 30th October 2011, 14:43

    we all know (including Vettel fans & i”am not 1 of them) that his “domination” is due to the RB7 supremacy it’s not the first time that cars made by Adrian Newey look very fast we all remember how Nigel Mansell was dominating drivers like AYRTON SENNA!!! in 1992 but hopefully we all know that this season will be his best f1 season ever & if i’m wrong he will repeat himself in the next years but if i’m not wrong he will be the new Mika Hakkinen (when he seemed to stop Michael Domination )

    • 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 30th October 2011, 14:49

      I’m a Vettel fans and I don’t think its all down to the car. You need some bloke to steer it and drive the wheels of it.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th October 2011, 16:48

      Vettel’s title’s aren’t any more down to the car than Senna’s, Alonso’s, Hamilton’s, or anyone else’s.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 30th October 2011, 17:58

        you made a wrong comparison my friend for me Vettel 2011=Mansell 1992
        senna’s title was not due only to the car he was fighting a double world champion the professor alain prost in mclaren & then in a competitive ferrari (641) & he showed exceptional performances (susuka 1988 interlagos 1991…)
        in 2005 alonso didn’t has the fast car(kimi scored 5 poles with mclaren even truli,button,ralf shumacher,heidfield scored poles)
        in 2006 he fought with micheal until the last race (ferrari & renault each team has scored 7 poles)
        lewis hamilton won his title in the last corner of the championship and during that season he fought with massa , kimi,sometimes fernando even vettel himself win a race that year

        i don’t know why all Vettel’s fans don’t accept the truth that his supremacy is due to the car & if it’s not so why he didn’t come in Ferrari(he’s saying always that he’s dream is racing one day for Ferrari) instead of extending his contract with Redbull until 2014 which was going to end in 2012 and requiring the services of Adrian Newey until that date

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th October 2011, 18:19

          Alonso’s Renault and Hamilton’s/Senna’s Mclarens were still very, very strong cars in order to win them their titles, and in Alonso and Hamilton’s cases, far more reliable cars than their main competitors.

          Sure, Vettel’s 2011 Red Bull may be a bit more dominant than Alonso’s Renault in 2005, but his results have been vastly superior. Those two factors balance each other out when comparing the drivers. If Vettel’s titles are down to the car, so are everyone else’s.

          It’s been obvious for a while that Vettel is a special talent, and I’m convinced that no-one, except maybe Alonso could possibly match him when in equal machinery. You can worry about Vettel in a Ferrari in the future, but for now, you’re the one who’s got some accepting to do.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 30th October 2011, 19:16

            “exept maybe alonso could match him”!!!!!!!!!!
            Alonso is in another planets no one can match him even lewis hamilton he’s good in everything (setup/strategy/qualifying/overtaking/wet/drivingon the limit/a real leader…….)
            by the way in equal machinery Vettel was defeated by paul di resta in the 2006 gp2 series

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th October 2011, 19:33

            by the way in equal machinery Vettel was defeated by paul di resta in the 2006 gp2 series

            Rubbish. So what if Di Resta defeated Vettel in F3 when in the same team? Didn’t Hamilton beat Alonso when in the same team? More recently than your example as well?

            Drivers improve and/or get worse throughout their careers. Alonso has improved (far moreso than Hamilton), and clearly Vettel has improved since then, to the extent where he is as good as anyone on today’s grid.

          • uan (@uan) said on 31st October 2011, 15:24

            what’s really telling is if you combine Hamilton’s and Alonso’s results from the 2007 season when that McLaren was as strong as the RB7 is this year, they don’t come anywhere near matching what Vettel by himself is doing. And while the RB7 is a good car, it hasn’t always been the best car in the field (think Monaco for instance). It’s really Vettel making the car look invincible, rather than the other way around.

  3. adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 30th October 2011, 14:50

    Once again I get the feeling I’ve seen this race before. Vettel winning from pole, Button providing false hope until the closing laps, Webber inexplicably getting slower and slower throughout the race, slipping back behind Alonso, Schumacher keeping things interesting by edging out Rosberg, and obviously Hamilton and Massa.

    My opinion on the collision was that although Massa did indeed cut across Hamilton’s nose, there wasn’t much else he could do other than drive off the track, like Brundle said in the commentary. I wouldn’t use the word “blame” but I do think Lewis could have done more to avoid the collision by making a more conventional overtake. Using just the DRS he was close enough to force Massa to defend into turn 4, so why was he saving it all for the exit of the hairpin to try and overtake into a high speed corner, instead of combining the KERS and DRS down the long straight to make what surely would have been an easy pass under braking or before?

    Just my opinion!

  4. Disappointing race. Though it is still puzzling to see Webber struggle with keeping up the pace with Alonso. Similarly with Lewis in the initial phase of the race, who was 0.8-1.0 secs a lap slower than Button/Vettel!?

    Vettel’s having it easy. I reckon he wasn’t even pushing at 80-90% today, judging by his fastest lap at the end which was 0.7secs faster than Button’s.

    Compared with Schuey’s 2002 and 2004 seasons you’ve got to say that Vettel’s dominance this season is arguably more impressive. Firstly, he is only coming the back of his first WDC and is only in his 4th full season. Secondly he has won races in which the RBR wasn’t the fastest car (Spain, Monaco).

    Using the 2004 points system, Vettel has scored 153 out of a max 170 points so far. Schuey scored 148 out of a possible 180 in 2004, and 156 out of a possible 170 in 2002! Though to be fair Schuey did slack off majorly once he wrapped up his 02 and 04 championships. And you don’t see that happening with Vettel at any moment…

  5. Carl Craven said on 30th October 2011, 17:22

    It was simple, there was enough room for two cars around that corner, and while Lewis was not exactly ahead, Massa should have known he was there and given space. Massa could have avoided that incident. Racing incident or not, it was Massa fault. I also believe Massa did the same in Monaco, but that time Lewis got punished.

    I’m not a Lewis Hamilton fan.

  6. maxthecat said on 30th October 2011, 22:57

    I like Lewis i really do but giving Massa the penalty made no sense to me. Obviously if someone tries to pass you and you’re on the racing line you’d better drive clean of the track to let them through!

    I’ve got no idea what you lot expected Massa to do? It was his corner and he was entitled to take it.

  7. Totally agree with you Geoffrey.

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 31st October 2011, 1:58

    Apart from the first couple of laps battle between Webber & Button & Hamilton Massa’s incident,the reaction of Mr Bean on their crash was something to savour for life.The race was an epic fail ,though I want to thank the organizer that they at least could manage to have 95,000 people on raceday.there were some good mid field battle.

  9. kenneth Ntulume said on 31st October 2011, 6:21

    I swear, am off the unfair disrespect i had for Vettel, and i apologize for my huge underestimation of his talent, much as he has an “unfairly” superior car! he sure is talented enough to use it to devastating effect, how come he is so ahead of Mark Webber, well unless these guys have different spec cars……Vettel, right now, you are the best F1 one driver

  10. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 31st October 2011, 7:25

    Believe it or not that was Vettel’s first Grand Chelem!

  11. Vettel…domination; Hamilton…Massa. That’s pretty much the baclk half of this season. Taking nothing away from Vettel; his work is amazing, but this seaons is just sort of going out with bad taste . Aside from Vettel, we have sad-sack Webber moaning about tires and going slow; Massa pouring his sippy cup out every five minutes, Hamilton gazing at his navel. To me the real quality story now is the Button/Alonso battle for second. Obviously that lacks some glitz because 1. second place is first-loser and 2. neither of these guys is really doing much exciting besides driving their cars to their respective capability.

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