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2011 Korean Grand Prix report

Anyone who thought Sebastian Vettel would ease off after he sealed the 2011 Drivers’ World Championship in Japan were shown on Sunday that he would do nothing of the sort, taking a dominant victory in the Korean Grand Prix.

It was his 10th win of the season and, together with Mark Webber’s third-place finish, was enough to seal the Constructors’ Championship for Red Bull.

f1 reports  2011 Korean Grand Prix report

It wasn’t as easy for Vettel as it has been in the past though. Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position on Saturday afternoon, denying the Red Bull drivers of their 16th pole position of the season.

After starting alongside Hamilton on the front row, Vettel made a decisive move on the opening lap to pass the McLaren. The championship may be over, but it seems no one has told the youngest double world champion ever. Make no mistake – the final races of the season will be just as hotly contested as the rest of them.

Once past, Vettel started to pull out a gap to Hamilton, but his work was undone when Petrov took Schumacher out of the race and a safety car was deployed so that the marshals could clear up the debris. Once the safety car pulled in it was once again business as usual for Vettel who built up a big enough lead to mean he only surrendered it during his pitstops.

McLaren have certainly done a great job at closing the performance gap to Red Bull, which was evident when Hamilton put his car on pole. However, the car’s race pace in Korea was still someway off that of the car from Milton Keynes. Hamilton became increasingly aware of this as the Grand Prix unfolded. Not only was he unable to stay in touch with the world champion, but he also had his mirrors full of Mark Webber. Partly to blame for Hamilton’s lack of downforce and therefore speed was his front wing filling up with marbles.

Webber did manage to get past him briefly on lap 34 only for Hamilton to edge back past immediately afterwards with the help of KERS and the DRS. Whatever your views on the technology, you can bet that Hamilton is quite a fan of them at the moment.

f1 reports  2011 Korean Grand Prix report

In a bid to steal a march on next year’s car Ferrari has admitted that it has already turned its focus onto its 2012 challenger and it is starting to show in the pace of Massa and Alonso at the moment. After qualifying fifth and sixth the pair made a great start, however, it wasn’t long before their pace dropped off. On worn rubber they lost out to Button – who finished fourth in the end – and Rosberg who was putting in a typically strong performance. Massa eventually crossed the line sixth with Alonso 10 seconds down the road in fifth. Ali so may well have been closer to the podium if it wasn’t for being stuck behind his team-mate earlier in the race.

f1 reports  2011 Korean Grand Prix report

One of the main talking points of the weekend was, unsurprisingly, Lewis Hamilton. Having grabbed pole position on Saturday afternoon, breaking the Red Bull dominance in Q3, he appeared unusually subdued. It was the same after the race, in which he drove brilliantly. The pressure has clearly been building up over the past few months with his team-mate consistently outperforming him and mounting speculation about his personal life and the impact of not having a driver manager. However, he silenced many doubters on Sunday. Let’s hope that the form continues.

f1 reports  2011 Korean Grand Prix report

As for Vettel and Red Bull, well, it’s quite remarkable what they have both achieved so far in their very short careers. Yes, Red Bull has Adrian Newey’s design genius, but that’s only one reason out of many why they have been so dominant in the last couple of years. What we’re seeing at the moment is more than just a good driver in a competitive car. Many people are already hailing the young German as ‘one of the greats’. I personally think it’s a bit early to put him up there with the likes of Senna, Prost and Fangio, but he’s making a convincing case for it isn’t he?

Add your comments

6 comments on 2011 Korean Grand Prix report

  1. Michael Spitale, 17 October 2011 14:28

    Great start, and great pass gives Vettel great win.

  2. Ray T, 17 October 2011 16:52

    It was actually a great race for 2-5th. Vettel has won the WDC, Red Bull has no reason to hold back Webber, yet I’m sure we will see again in India that Webber is just slower, always.
    In my opinion, RBR is still sandbagging, they could go faster if they had to, and they are actually holding back Vettel from even faster laps.
    Bizarre behaviour by Ferrari to allow Massa to hold up Alonso, small wonder he proclaimed, “I give up” on radio near the race’s end. Ferrari has to focus on the task better to get more points.
    Petrov continues to un-impress, his spiking of Schumacher was not acceptable.

  3. Hamfan, 17 October 2011 16:58

    Great race for Vettel. Not sure what happened to Webber seeing as how the Maccas appeared to be struggling for pace. Toro Rosso drivers – both seats under threat, I hear – did a great job too. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at Ferrari – has Alonso upset them? – can’t imagine why they held him up for so long (“Felipe, destroy Fernando’s race”)..

    But it was an after-the-banquet atmosphere, what with the title already settled and it being a flyaway race. And I reckon over 50% of Brundle’s and DC’s utterances during commentary now include the word ‘tyre’ – ‘tyre management’, ‘tyre strategy’ etc etc. That kind of commentary belongs in LMS/ALMS. And when it’s not tyres it’s ‘DRS’, ‘open flaps’, etc – sorry, but it’s getting boring listening to this stuff. Just give us all out lights-to-flag racing, please Bernie. Take away some of the aero stuff, by all means, if it stops close racing, but please, please let’s jettison the joke tyres and DRS (or just the tyres for a start).

    PS. Where was EJ?

  4. Lewis Lane, 17 October 2011 18:45

    Having given a bit of grief to him for some of his driving this year, i’d like to give credit to Hamilton and Webber for keeping it clean and racy during that scrap. Good stuff.
    Yet again Vettel shows the art of being quick when he needs to be, as JB does on a regular basis. Not sure what was going on with the Petrov/Schumacher incident – Alonso only missed the back of the Merc by inches as it turned in… very odd.

  5. Fer Benjumea, 18 October 2011 17:22

    Hi Lewis Lane,

    In the Petrov-Schumacher incident, I saw some Alonso’s onboard footage as he was overtaking Petrov on the clean side.

    Somehow both Alonso and Petrov brake too late and the later being on the dirty side over marbles totally missed car control and went straight into the Mercedes.

    Alonso being just after the pitstop and in new rubber, I think it was a silly mistake of Petrov to try to keep the position on the wrong side.


  6. Lewis Lane, 18 October 2011 19:08

    Thanks Fer Benjumea, i missed that. Sounds like they were too busy racing each other, and not watching what else was going on to me then….

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