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Brazil race
Brazil Interlagos circuit
Mark Webber wins in Brazil

Race - Webber posts first win of 2011 at final round 28 Nov 2011

Everything finally went Mark Webber's way at Interlagos on Sunday, as he took the lead from fast-starting Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel on the 40th lap as the double world champion suffered from an overheating gearbox.

Vettel had opened a lead from pole position but was obliged from the 13th lap to nurse the transmission, turning down his engine, shortshifting and using only the higher gears in a manner he later likened to Ayrton Senna and his drive here in 1991 except that, as he quickly pointed out, Senna won.

As Webber simply blew into the distance, setting three fastest times in the last three laps to celebrate an overdue success after a tough year, Vettel kept going at a pretty good pace on a day when McLaren and Ferrari came up short, and was able to finish 10s ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button who worked back to third place after being overtaken by Fernando Alonso's Ferrari on the 11th lap.

The Red Bull one-two hoisted Webber into third place in the drivers' championship, 12 points adrift of runner-up Button, but a crucial solitary point ahead of Alonso.

The Spaniard had seemed set for a podium finish for a long time, as Button and McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton lacked pace on the softer Pirelli tyre. But Button switched to the harder tyre as early as Lap 31 whereas Alonso didn't until Lap 54, and thereafter the roles were reversed. The McLaren showed Red Bull speed at last, as the Ferrari struggled, and on the 62nd lap Button retrieved his podium slot, leaving Alonso fourth well ahead of team mate Felipe Massa.

Hamilton's disappointing afternoon ended with transmission failure on the 47th lap after he had struggled in fifth place.

An excellent sixth place fell to three-stopping Adrian Sutil after an uncompromising fight with Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, and with two-stopping Paul di Resta eighth it was another good race for Force India. They finished just four points shy of Renault, in sixth place overall in the constructors' championship.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, however, lost his chance of points after an early brush, ironically on the approach to the Senna S, with Bruno Senna. The Brazilian was running well in ninth place at the time but his race fell apart thereafter as he was given a drive-through penalty and later struggled with gearbox troubles on his Renault. Schumacher sustained a puncture and fell to the back of the field before climbing to an eventual 15th.

Ninth place for Kamui Kobayashi was sufficient to keep Sauber in seventh place overall as Renault's Vitaly Petrov defended 10th position and the final point from late attack by Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso. Sauber thus ended the year with 44 points to Toro Rosso's 41.

Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi was 12th ahead of Sergio Perez, who lost places after a spin while Rubens Barrichello was Williams' only finisher in 14th, in what could be have been his 327th and final F1 appearance, after Pastor Maldonado stopped out on the track after 26 laps.

Behind Schumacher, Heikki Kovalainen's 18th position ensured Team Lotus of the lucrative 10th place overall, with Senna 17th ahead of Jarno Trulli's Lotus, Jerome D'Ambrosio's strongly-driven Virgin and Daniel Ricciardo's HRT. The Australian had been trailing team mate Tonio Liuzzi, whose car stopped with 10 laps to go.

Timo Glock's Virgin had been the first retirement, after losing its left rear wheel as it left the pits after the German's pit stop on the 21st lap.

On a day when Aussies thus finished first and last, Webber said he'd take the win even if Vettel was a little unlucky, and dedicated it to family friend Bob Woods, "who is very poorly."

Mark Webber Wins at Interlagos in Brazil
Sunday 27th November 2011

Mark Webber clinched his first victory of the season in Brazil when a "serious" gearbox problem forced Sebastian Vettel to hand over the lead.

Vettel defied the odds and managed to keep his gearbox working to the end and finished in front of Jenson Button who had a great battle with Fernando Alonso to finish on the podium yet again. Alonso was fourth ahead of Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil.

Race Report
It was bright sunshine at Interlagos and the much-promised rain didn't look like turning up. It was 25C in the pitlane and 47C out on track.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Hamilton, 5.Alonso 6.Rosberg, 7.Massa, 8.Sutil, 9.Senna, 10.Schumacher, 11.DiResta, 12.Barrichello

Start:
It was a fairly even getaway when the red lights went out, Vettel took off smartly from pole, Mark Webber was not so quick from P2 and had to go defensive against Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso got another strong start and was immediately in front of Lewis Hamilton - he looked to squeeze between Webber and Button, but then decided to try the outside line and unfortunately for him found Button going wide, too.

Felipe Massa was straight past Rosberg and almost inside Lewis Hamilton, but the McLaren driver managed to hold onto the place through the Senna esses. Another Brazilian driver wasn't doing so well further back. Rubens Barrichello had qualified 12th but got bogged down at the start and lost seven places. By the end of Lap 1 he was back in a sorry 19th place.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Alonso, 5.Hamilton, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Sutil, 9.Senna, 10.DiResta, 11.Schumacher, 12.Petrov, 13.Buemi, 14.Kobayashi, 15.Kovalainen

The big shock was that Michael Schumacher actually lost a place at the start - something that hasn't happened all year. By Lap 2 he was past Paul Di Resta, though and closing on Bruno Senna.

At the front, Sebastian Vettel set off like the familiar scalded cat and had a DRS-free 2.2 second gap by Lap 2. By Lap 6 both Red Bulls looked like clearing off into the distance and Jenson Button was coming under pressure from Fernando Alonso who had Lewis Hamilton just behind him. At the same time Adrian Sutil was beginning to put pressure on Nico Rosberg for P7.

By Lap 9 confirmation came over on team radio that there would be no rain for 30 minutes.

On Lap 10 the home fans groaned as Michael Schumacher put a move up the inside of Bruno Senna down the start/finish straight to grab P9. The front-on camera made it look as though Schumi cut acutely in front of Senna, but when the stewards investigated the collision they gave Senna a penalty for causing the contact.

It resulted in parts of the Renault front wing getting bent backward and braking off while it gave Michael Schumacher a rear puncture (very much like his 2006 race when a puncture sent him to the back). Senna got a drive-through penalty for the move, but ultimately his chances were ended by the loss of fourth gear from Lap 20.

Schumacher limped back to the pits, spreading tyre debris around the track as he went. This debris actually helped Fernando Alonso pass Jenson Button a lap later because heading into Turn 6 Button didn't want to drive over it - and then noticed he had Alonso on his outside and couldn't go defensive. It was a great move by Alonso and he began to pull away from Button.

Jenson pitted at the end of Lap 15 kicking off the first round of pit-stops. Hamilton, Alonso and Rosberg came in a lap later, Vettel on Lap 17 and Webber on Lap 18. Nobody gained or lost places through it.

However there were signs that all was not well in the leading Red Bull car. On Lap 14 Vettel's engineer radioed through that he needed to short-shift in second gear, cutting the revs to avoid stressing the gearbox. By Lap 17 that had extended to 2nd and 3rd gear. By Lap 24 that had upped to a very tight-lipped "Sebastian we have a serious gearbox problem." After the race his engineers admitted they didn't think he would get beyond half distance.

Positions after Lap 22
1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Button, 5.Hamilton, 6.Massa, 7.Sutil, 8.Rosberg, 9.Petrov, 10.DiResta, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Buemi, 13.Perez, 14.Alguersuari

Timo Glock exited his pitbox with only three wheels firmly attached and as he turned left at the end of the pitlane, only three wheels came with him, the fourth preferring to go straight on. That was that for Timo in 2011.

Up until Lap 23 Vettel had been reducing his pace slowly. But from Lap 24, when Mark Webber put in a 1:17.030, the gap quickly reduced from 2.8 seconds to 0.5 seconds on Lap 28. By the end of Lap 29 Webber was past and Vettel had to accept the inevitable.

Button came in for more tyres on Lap 32 - he went for the harder Prime tyre while Hamilton, who was just 0.9 behind his team-mate before the stop, got a set of Soft Option tyres. Alonso pitted for more Softs on Lap 36, but Felipe Massa - who had stopped much later than the other front runners - would only make one final pit-stop opting for a two-stop race.

The Brazil GP was clearly a place that inspired gearbox problems, because apart from Senna and Vettel's problems, Hamilton's car was beset with gearbox issues that couldn't be solved by judicious downshifting. Paul DiResta also had gearbox problems in the Force India.

Button and Hamilton's stops had put them behind the going-long Felipe Massa and Button closed in and then got past the Ferrari going down to Lake Descent (Turn 4) on Lap 39. Hamilton had a lot more trouble getting past and was just too far back on the main straight. So McLaren chose to bring him early for his final set of the harder Prime tyre.

Ferrari decided to spoil his fun by bringing Massa in a lap later and Hamilton was still behind him. Finally on Lap 48 the McLaren gearbox gave up the ghost and Lewis coasted downhill into retirement.

Positions after Lap 48
1.Webber, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Button, 5. Massa, 6.Rosberg, 7.Sutil (3 stops), 8.Alguersuari (1 stop) 9.DiResta, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Petrov, 12.Buemi

Everyone by now had stopped at least two times (except Alguersuari) but it was expected that Jenson Button would try and run till the end on his Primes, Felipe Massa would also run till the end (albeit a long way from the front four) and that everyone else would stop again for the Prime tyre they had yet to put on.

Adrian Sutil, despite his three stops was hot on Rosberg's tail in pursuit of P6 and looked to have past him up the inside into Turn 1 on Lap 49 - except Rosberg failed to accept that and left his braking very late and got the place back. A lap later and Sutil - on fresher tyres - had learned what to do and was far more brutal in the move he pulled. P6 was his from Lap 50.

The big battle going on in the midfield, unwatched by the TV cameras, was the battle for 7th and 8th in the constructors' championship with the places: 9.Kobayashi, 10.Petrov, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Buemi, 13.Barrichello, 14.Perez. Perez had dropped back after a spin, but Kobayashi was doing his Sauber best to keep ahead of the two Toro Rossos. They were one point ahead and just needed to keep that advantage.

It was a big surprise to see Jenson Button heading down pitlane for another set of tyres at the end of Lap 52. Would he put on a set of Softs to sprint to the line? No, it was another set of the hard tyres - to guarantee the balance of the car. Ferrari decided to make their final stop for Alonso two laps later and he came back out 4.6 seconds in front of Jenson still in P3.

The McLaren team then radioed through: "Jenson, you can do qualifying laps till the end of the race" and Button duly obliged. On Lap 55 Button put in the Fastest Lap with a 1:15.989 - he followed that up a lap later with a 1:15.998. The gap to Alonso came down from 4.6 seconds to 3.6, to 2.9, to 1.4 on Lap 58. While the Red Bulls were enjoying trouble free pit-stops on Laps 58 and 59, Button closed the gap to Alonso to 0.6 on Lap 59.

Jenson then began the calculation of where best to use KERS and employ the DRS to get past the Ferrari. He steamed very close to Alonso down the start/finish straight, tucked right behind him through Turns 1, 2 and 3 then pulled alongside him going down into Lake Descent. After that he was gone.

He began to haul in Sebastian Vettel at 0.8 a lap, but the Red Bull was already 11 seconds down the road. Vettel had been given periodic warnings about his gearbox all through the race - especially on Lap 45 where he put in the fastest lap of the race and was told off straight away. But despite the pressure from Button it held out.

Mark Webber sailed on in the lead and had some Vettel-like fun at the end, putting in three successive fastest laps on the last three tours finally bringing it down to a 1:15.324 on Lap 71. It was a welcome victory, making it only two Brazilian GPs out of the last 12 where the polesitter had won.

Vettel's P2 was a minor miracle "like Senna in 1991" he thought (where Ayrton won with his car jammed in gear) and Button's P3 confirming him as runner up in the drivers' championship. Alonso took P4 ahead of a distant P5 Massa and a great drive from Sutil for P6 ahead of Rosberg, DiResta, Petrov and Kobayashi.

The Japanese driver had secured Sauber's place above Toro Rosso, while the old adversaries Barrichello and Schumacher finished the race in 14th and 15th.

It wasn't the most exciting of Brazilian GPs but at last Mark Webber had finished in front of his team-mate. Definitely something that will aid him when he takes to the trails of his Tasmanian Challenge in the weeks ahead.

FH

Times
01. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h32:17.434
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 16.983
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 27.638
04. Alonso Ferrari + 35.048
05. Massa Ferrari + 1:06.733
06. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
09. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
10. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
17. Senna Renault + 2 laps
18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
19. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
20. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
Did Not Finish
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 62
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 37
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 27
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 22

Brazil Interlagos circuit
Mark Webber Wins at Interlagos in Brazil
Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mark Webber claimed his first victory of 2011 as he relegated his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to second place in the season-ending race in Brazil.

The Australian took the lead on the 30th lap as Vettel was under team orders to nurse a serious gearbox problem.

Webber claims first win of 2011 at season-ending race in Brazil

Until then, Germany's Vettel had looked set to cap his triumphant season with his 12th race win.

He had led off his record 15th pole position with Webber taking close order in second place.

But after the first round of pit stops, the technical problem on the normally ever reliable Red Bull of the two-time champion came to light.

McLaren's Jenson Button overtook Fernando Alonso of Ferrari for the final podium position late in the race to retain second spot in the championship behind Vettel. Seb did a great lap for pole, but today I had the rub of the green Mark Webber

Abu Dhabi winner Lewis Hamilton went out with a faulty gearbox in the second McLaren as he bid unsuccessfully for back-to-back victories.

But few could begrudge Webber his belated win, repeating his 2009 success at the same circuit and his seventh career triumph in F1.

"Seb did a great lap for pole, but today I had the rub of the green. It would have been nice to have a race with Seb all the way through but he had a problem," he told the post-race media conference.

"I enjoyed the last few laps. It's always nice when I could pit a bit later than people and cover people off. Nice way to finish," he added.

"It was a real shame for me as I had a good start," said Vettel.

Home hope Felipe Massa claimed fifth place in the second Ferrari with Adrian Sutil an excellent sixth for Force India.

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes finished seventh with rookie Paul Di Resta in eighth in the second Force India car.

Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber and Vitaly Petrov for Renault rounded out the point-scoring.



Drivers' Standings after the Brazil GP on Sunday 27th. November 2011 (final)

PositionDriverCountry TeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelGerRed Bull-Renault392
2Jenson ButtonGBMcLaren-Mercedes270
3Mark WebberAusRed Bull-Renault258
4Fernando AlonsoSpaFerrari257
5Lewis HamiltonGBMcLaren-Mercedes227
6Felipe MassaBrzFerrari118
7Nico RosbergGerMercedes GP89
8Michael SchumacherGerMercedes GP76
9Adrian SutilGerForce India-Mercedes42
10Vitaly PetrovRusRenault37
11Nick HeidfeldGerRenault34
12Kamui KobayashiJpnSauber30
13Paul di RestaItaForce India-Mercedes27
14Jaime AlguersuariSpaToro Rosso-Ferrari26
15Sebastien BuemiSwiToro Rosso-Ferrari15
16Sergio PerezMexSauber14
17Rubens BarichelloItaWilliams-Cosworth4
18Bruno SennaBrzRenault2
19Pastor MaldonadoVenWilliams-Cosworth1
20Pedro de la RosaSpaSauber0
21Jarno TrulliItaLotus-Renault0
22Heikki KovalainenFinLotus-Renault0
23Vitantonio LiuzziItaHRT-Cosworth0
24Jerome d'AmbrosioBelVirgin-Cosworth0
25Timo GlockGerVirgin-Cosworth0
26Daniel RicciardoAusHRT-Cosworth0
27Narain KarthikeyanIndHRT-Cosworth0
28Karun ChandhokIndLotus-Renault0


The 2011 formula one grand prix season

DateGrand PrixCircuit
March 13th. BahrainSakhir
March 27th.Australia Melbourne
April 10th. MalaysiaSepang
April 17th. ChinaShanghai
May 8th. Turkey Istanbul
May 22nd. SpainCatalunya
May 29th. MonacoMonte Carlo
June 12th. CanadaMontreal
June 26th. Europe Valencia
July 10th. Great Britain Silverstone
July 24th. Germany Nurburgring
July 31st. Hungary Hungaroring
August 28th. Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
September 11th. Italy Monza
September 25th. SingaporeSingapore
October 9th. Japan Suzuka
October 16th. KoreaYeongam
October 30th. BahrainSakhir
October 30th. IndiaNoida
November 13th. Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit
November 27th. Brazil Sao Paulo

The 2011 Formula One season will be the 62nd FIA Formula One season. The calendar will expand to twenty rounds - the longest season in the sport's sixty-year history - with the inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix.Pirelli returns to the sport as tyre supplier for all teams, taking over from Bridgestone.Red Bull Racing enter 2011 as the reigning Constuctor's Champions. Sebastian Vettel will be the defending Driver's Champion. The Bahrain GP was cancelled owing to political unrest and then rescheduled for later and then finally cancelled altogether.

The Formula 1 teams are united in their opposition to the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix but concede that they would be legally obliged to attend should the World Motor Sport Council give the race the green light.

Guardian article.



Drivers and teams for the 2011 formula one grand prix season

Team Engine Driver Driver Test Driver Test Driver Test Driver Test Driver Test Driver
Red Bull Racing Renault Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button Pedro de la Rosa Gary Paffett
Ferrari Ferrari Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa Giancarlo Fisichella Jules Bianchi Marc Gene
Mercedes Mercedes Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Renault Renault Nick Heidfeld Vitaly Petrov Bruno Senna Romain Grosjean Fairuz Fauzy Ho-Pin Tung Jan Charouz
Williams Cosworth Rubens Barichello Pastor Maldonado Valtteri Bottas
Force India Mercedes Adrian Sutil Paul di Resta Nico Hulkenberg
Sauber Ferrari Kamui Kobayashi Sergio Perez Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso Ferrari Sebastien Buemi Jaime Alguersuari Daniel Ricciardo
Team Lotus Renault Heikki Kovalainen Jarno Trulli Karun Chandhok Luiz Razia Davide Valsecchi Ricardo Teixeira
Hispania Racing Cosworth Narain Karthikeyan Vitantonio Liuzzi
Virgin Racing Cosworth Timo Glock Jerome d'Ambrosio Sakon Yamamoto

Include file updated November 29th. 2011

Abu Dhabi race
Abu Dhabi circuit
Abu Dahbi winner
Abu Dhabi top 3
Abu Dhabi Lewis Hamilton
Abu Dhabi Lewis Hamilton
last 3 at Abu Dhabi
back of race at Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Etihad legs
Abu Dhabi Etihad stewardesses
Lewis Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi winner

Abu Dhabi race
Abu Dhabi race




Abu Dhabi Sebastian Vettel out
Race: Hamilton Wins In Abu Dhabi
Sunday 13th November 2011

Lewis Hamilton claimed the victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after Sebastian Vettel retired on the opening lap.

Vettel's phenomenal season came to a shuddering halt on the grass past Turn 2 as a sudden deflated rear tyre wrecked his race. Spinning off the track and limping back to the pits, it was soon discovered that Vettel's RB7 was irreparably damaged.

Hamilton inherited the lead while Alonso overtook first Mark Webber and then Jenson Button to move up into second place on the opening lap where he eventually finished, having pushed Hamilton most of the way.

Race Report There was evening sunshine in Abu Dhabi with the sun going down on the Yas Marina circuit with an ambient temperature of 26C and the track at 31C.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Schumacher, 9.Sutil, 10.DiResta, 11.Perez, 12.Buemi

Start:With the McLarens enjoying a straightline speed advantage Sebastian Vettel's job at the start was to get a gap before the DRS kicked in after Lap 2. He got the drop as the lights went out and Vettel looked to be well away. With such a short run to Turn 1 there weren't too many shufflings of the order but Alonso got alongside Mark Webber and was past him in the run down to Turn 2.

However all the drama was ahead as team leader Vettel failed even to get to the hairpin; a right rear tyre suddenly deflated sending him off the track and to the back of the pack. He limped back to the pits but by that time he'd done too much damage to his rear suspension with the flailing tyre. His first retirement since Korea 2010.

Alonso continued his storming start and even without the DRS Fernando was able to get the draft from Jenson Button and passed him round the outside into Turn 8/9. Michael Schumacher was ahead of Nico Rosberg, but Rosberg managed to get him back with some fairly combative driving later in the lap.

Positions after Lap 1 1.Hamilton, 2. Alonso, 3.Button, 4.Webber, 5.Massa, 6.Rosberg, 7.Schumacher, 8.Sutil, 9.Perez, 10.DiResta, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Buemi, 13.Petrov, 14.Alguersuari, 15.Kovalainen

Lewis Hamilton had a 2.5 second gap at the end of the first lap and Alonso was able to move clear of Button, but Jenson was coming under pressure from 4th place Mark Webber. On Lap 4 Webber overtook Button in the first DRS zone and then Button overtook Webber back in the second DRS zone. Thus disproving what many drivers thought - that the DRS zones were going to be ineffective.

Lewis tried to shake off the dogged Fernando Alonso and set fastest laps on Laps 5, 7, 8, and 9. Alonso was matching him all the way resetting fastest lap on Laps 6, 7 and 8. While Button looked to be shaking himself grdually clear of Mark Webber with a fastest lap on Lap 7 as well.

By Lap 10 Hamilton's gap to Alonso was still only 2.7 seconds, Alonso was pulling clear of Button by 4.5 seconds and Button was 1.9 seconds clear of Webber. On Lap 13 the gap was only 2.3 seconds, while further back Jenson Button was suddenly a lot slower in the middle sector and Webber right on his tail. It then transpired that Button had a KERS failure. By Lap 15 Webber was through, while the McLaren team tried to work out ways of re-setting it.

At the end of Lap 15 Hamilton's lead was just 1.9 seconds and a lap later both Hamilton and Alonso pitted. Taking a leaf out of Red Bull's book the McLaren Team pitted Button on the same lap with Lewis rolling out and Jenson rolling in. Massa had come in on Lap 15 but Webber's Lap 17 pit-stop was a diasaster, the Red Bull being stopped for 9.4 seconds. It dropped the Aussie from 3rd to 5th and he set off after Massa.

Hamilton had got a slight advantage in the pit-stops and on Lap 18 he was 3.3 seconds clear, though the McLaren and Ferrari were fairly evenly matched on soft tyres. By lap 23 that lead was just 3.0 seconds.

Positions after Lap 23 1.Hamilton, 2. Alonso, 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Webber, 6.Rosberg, 7.Sutil, 8.Schumacher 9.DiResta (not stopped), 10.Kobayashi, 11.Maldonado (not stopped), 12.Petrov

Webber was gradually hauling himself back into contention and closing on Massa, just as Massa was able to close on Button in the first half of the lap, while Button could ease slightly ahead in the final sector. By Lap 29 Mark was able to get into DRS zone contention. On Lap 30 he was able to get past Massa in DRS 1 and then Massa got him back in DRS 2.

The Ferrari vs Red Bull battle allowed Jenson some respite and suddenly he had the luxury of a 2.7 gap, which then became a 3.7 second gap on Lap 31 as Massa kept Webber behind.

Throughout the race both Williams drivers were on a mission to impress potential Middle East sponsors and Maldonado was in no hurry to get out of the way of the leaders and got a drive-through for his troubles - on Lap 32 his battle with Alguersuari seemed to occupy all his attention again and they both held up the Massa vs Webber battle.

At the same time, Button had worked out how to reprogramme his KERS... except this meant resetting it every couple of laps: "The worst thing of all was not knowing if I was going to get engine braking at a coner or not," said Jenson afterwards. This still accelerated him clear of his pursuers in 4th and 5th.

Hamilton may have hoped to break the chain to Alonso with some fast laps around Lap 31 and 32 that gave him a 5.6 second lead, but Alonso responded with a fastest lap of his own. He was helped by Vitaly Petrov who took a second off Hamilton on Lap 34.

The surprise choice of the afternoon happened at the end of Lap 35 when Mark Webber came in for tyres but emerged with another set of Option tyres, meaning that he would need to stop three times in the race, as he had yet to go for the harder Prime tyre. All the front runners would stop only twice, with the exception of DiResta who stopped just once.

Webber began to close on Button's place but the Brit could afford to let him go knowing that he had to stop again. Massa pitted on Lap 40, just after Lewis had come in. Although he was now behind Webber, Mark still needed to be 20+ seconds in front of Massa for his final last-minute pit-stop.

Ferrari's strategy now was to see if they could keep Fernando Alonso out long enough to build up a big enough lead on the softer tyre. Thanks to a succession of backmarkers Hamilton's lead was down to 3.1 seconds on Lap 39, before he came in. On the harder Prime tyres Lewis was already setting personal best sector times by his second lap out and so Alonso was forced to come in before Lewis started to go considerably quicker. As he came into the pitlane he had to follow in an HRT but Hamilton was well clear by the end of Alonso's slower-than-usual 5.2 second stop - when the action resumed on track Lewis had a 4.4 second gap. And that started to grow by 0.4 to 0.5 a lap.

Behind them Mark Webber was flying, setting a succession of fastest laps as all the other contenders were now on the slower tyre.

Positions after Lap 45 1.Hamilton, 2.Alonso, 3.Webber, 4.Rosberg (1 stop) 5.Button, 6.Massa, 7.Schumacher 8.Sutil, 9.DiResta (1 stop) 10.Perez, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Barrichello

Webber set fastest laps on Lap 44, 46, 47 and 49. But by then Massa had spun his car at the exit of Turn 1 and Webber had more than enough time to come in for one final stop. In fact third place Jenson Button had to hurry up just in case Mark got too far down the road in front of him.

Nico Rosberg stopped for the final time on Lap 48 and rejoined in P6 for a late race charge to try and catch Felipe Massa. He was well clear of team-mate Michael Schumacher and by the finish on Lap 55 he was just 1.7 seconds behind Massa. Webber duly took his Primes on Lap 54 and coasted home in P4.

At the front Lewis Hamilton extended his lead over Alonso to take his first Abu Dhabi win and his first top step since Germany. Alonso was a long way clear of the fire-fighting Button who had been adjusting anything and everything from the moment his KERS cut out on Lap 12.

Schumacher came home in 7th ahead of the Force Indias of Sutil and DiResta and a fine drive from Kamui Kobayashi to take a vital single point in 10th that hoisted Sauber in front of Toro Rosso in the Constructors' championship.

The DRS zone had provided for a lot more changes of order and variation of strategy than 2010 but the racing looked as artificial as the changing colour patterns on the Viceroy Hotel. Red Bull embarked on the lengthy post mortem of what happened to Vettel's tyre, a difficult process given that most of it was spread out on the Yas Marina circuit.

FH

Times
01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h37:11.886
02. Alonso Ferrari + 8.457
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.881
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 35.784
05. Massa Ferrari + 50.578
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 52.317
07. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:15.900
08. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:17.100
09. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:40.000
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Senna Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 49
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 18
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1

Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi
GP battle with Fernando Alonso
By Sarah Holt
Sunday, 13 November 2011

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton returned to form to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel retired.

Hamilton was gifted the lead when Red Bull's world champion retired on the opening lap because of a puncture going through the second corner.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso pushed hard and tried to take the lead at the final pit stop but Hamilton was too strong.

McLaren's Jenson Button took third from Red Bull's Mark Webber while Paul di Resta was ninth for Force India.

Hamilton said on arrival in Abu Dhabi that winning the final two races here and in Brazil would help turn around a difficult season in which he has struggled on and off the track.

"He just turned it on here and looked like the old Lewis again," said BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - top three drivers

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - top three drivers

"There is nothing missing in his armoury but sometimes he seems emotionally like he's not in the race. But there were no tantrums. He just got in it and got on."

Hamilton has been in confident mood and full of enthusiasm for the Yas Marina circuit, where he lost out on victory at its inaugural 2009 race when he was forced to retire.

There was some irony, then, that Vettel, who won the two previous races here in the desert, retired to gift Hamilton the lead.

The double world champion spun at the second corner when his right rear wheel suddenly punctured and his Red Bull slid onto the grass.

He damaged the car further on his way back to the pits and looked furious when it dawned on him he was out of the race. ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG This was a Hamilton that has not been seen in 2011, calmly ticking off the laps at the front, resolute in the face of a challenge from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the sport's most relentless competitor, doing just enough to keep the Spaniard at arm's length without extending his car and tyres more than he needed to

"He had damage to the floor and the exhaust and part of the wishbone," explained BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz. "He couldn't carry on."

It was Vettel's first retirement since last year's Korean Grand Prix - more than a year ago - and ended his run as the only driver to finish every race so far in 2011.

"I don't know what happened," Vettel said. "We lost pressure all of a sudden out of the exit of Turn One. I don't why. There is nothing that I did differently to any of the other laps.

"We need to find out why, maybe I cut the kerb at a funny angle. It is tough, but I used the opportunity to learn a bit on the pit wall."

Vettel had snatched pole from Hamilton by just 0.141 seconds but the Englishman has been strong here all weekend and ran a controlled race to capture his third win of the season to match Button.

Hamilton dedicated the win to his mother Carmen, who was there to greet him with a hug when he got out of the car.

Alonso, who appeared to have made up with his former foe by complimenting him in the build-up to the race, pushed Hamilton hard in the final phase of the race.

When Hamilton pitted for the harder tyres with 16 laps to go, Alonso stayed out to try and build up his lead but came in four laps later. World champion Sebastian Vettel

Vettel baffled by puncture

The Spaniard had not done enough and Hamilton resumed his lead to win by nearly nine seconds.

"I feel fantastic," Hamilton said. "It was one of my best races. To hold off one of the best drivers in the world is very tough to do.

"I'm just happy. This is great. It's early days but this is definitely the start of something. We've got another great race ahead of us in Brazil. I've just got to keep my mind on the game."

Alonso added: "It was a fantastic race for me as well. We fight most of the race three-five seconds distance to Lewis.

"We were close but we had some traffic in the pit entry behind a HRT and in the last stint they had a little bit more pace so it would have been difficult to win the race even if we had got into the lead. I'm happy with second."

Button finished third but had to battle Webber and Ferrari's Felipe Massa for position after losing his Kers power boost system for half the race.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "Jenson spent 20 laps without Kers. Then we re-set it and then it would fail and during that time he was trying to keep rhythm and pace and his brake balance was swinging wildly with the failure of Kers."

Webber had been running in third for much of the race but the Australian was switched to a three-stop strategy and ran until the final lap before making his obligatory stop for the harder 'medium' tyres, which put him back behind Button for the final podium place.

"Well obviously on the second stop, we fitted the option tyre again to cut the race into something different. It was worth a bit of a punt," Webber said.

"The two DRS (overtaking zones) were tricky. The first one was easy but the second wasn't so easy. The DRS was a bit of a gimme today.

"We had pretty good pace and I was close to Jenson Button at the end of the first stint. Then we had a bad first pit stop. We lost a lot of time. It put us on the back foot. We lost track position. That's where we lost the podium."

Massa gained one place to finish fifth ahead of Nico Rosberg, who bravely re-passed Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher after losing out to him at the start.

Adrian Sutil, who is under pressure for his seat at Force India, beat his team-mate Paul di Resta, who crossed the line in ninth after an unconventional one-stop strategy.

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi took the final points with 10th and veteran Rubens Barrichello fought hard in his Williams to take 12th after starting at the back of the grid.

Abu Dhabi Sebastian Vettel out
Abu Dhabi Sebastian Vettel out
Abu Dhabi start
Abu Dhabi start
Abu Dhabi start

India GP at Delhi
Delhi circuit
Race: Vettel Wins Inaugural Indian GP
Sunday 30th October 2011

Sebastian Vettel claimed win number 11 of the season in what proved to be a low-key Indian GP despite all efforts to make it exciting.

Two DRS zones, a massive difference in the lap times for the tyres and an intriguing track layout were expected to play a role in a dramatic debut race.

But it was not to be. There were very few changes in the order after half distance with Vettel taking a comfortable win ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Race Report
It was hazy sunshine in Delhi as the cars lined up on the grid. There was a minute's silence where drivers and team personnel gathered at the front of the grid to remember Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.

At the last moment there was concerned activity about Fernando Alonso's front wing where a flap met the endplate. Ferrari mechanics were keen to move round and obscure any photos or TV cameras that were getting a view of the work that was all fixed in time. Ironically it would be Felipe Massa's front wing that would cause problems in the race. The ambient temperature at the Buddh International was 31C with the track at 38C

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Button, 5.Hamilton, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Sutil, 9.Buemi, 10.Alguersuari, 11.Schumacher, 12. DiResta

Start: It was a fairly even getaway from either side of the grid with Fernando Alonso surprised that the theoretical best side of the grid was maybe not as quick as the other. Alonso ran wide at the first turn and allowed Jenson Button up into P3 and Lewis Hamilton was hustled out of P5 by Felipe Massa.

Michael Schumacher got another brilliant start from P11 to position himself just behind Nico Rosberg on the opening lap. Jenson Button wasn't settling on P3 though and overtook Mark Webber on the main straight to take P2. Both Toro Rossos lost out from their great qualifyng position with Alguersuari and Buemi dropping back.

Further back down the field there were bumps and collisions between the cars at the back of the grid with Kamui Kobayashi leaving the track and rejoining hastily and getting thumped into retirement.

At Turn 4 one of the HRTs tagged Jarno Trulli's rear tyre and spun him round. At the end of the first lap Sergio Perez, Timo Glock and Rubens Barrichello all headed for the pitlane.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso 5.Massa 6.Hamilton, 7.Rosberg, 8.Schumacher, 9.Sutil, 10.Senna, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Buemi 13.DiResta

Vettel did his usual job of driving away at the front of the race and by Lap 4 had a 4.2 second lead over Button who was coming under a lot of pressure from Mark Webber. The DRS zone opened from Lap 2 and Webber was poised just 0.7 behind Button. On Laps 4, 5 and 6 Button had to get defensive and use KERS down the main straight to keep Webber behind.

By Lap 7 a pattern was developing with Webber fastest of all in the first sector and Jenson fastest in the middle sector. Gradually Button increased his pace till the 0.7 gap increased to 0.9 and then on Lap 10 Button set the Fastest Lap at 1:31.275. Vettel's lead peaked at 4.8 seconds and from that point on Button started to haul Vettel in by a tenth here and a tenth there.

Further back Lewis Hamilton should have been closing on Felipe Massa, having technically qualified in P2 but was falling off Massa in P6 and by Lap 12 was 2.9 seconds behind. He, in turn, was moving clear of Nico Rosberg who was unable to shake off Michael Schumacher.

The Toro Rossos having started badly were making up places and through Laps 14/15 both Alguersuari and Buemi made their way past Adrian Sutil. Heikki Kovalainen was 13th on Lap 15, the Lotus keeping up with the mid-grid teams..

The serious pitstops started on Lap 16 with Webber, Alonso and Hamilton all coming in for more soft tyres, Massa and Nico Rosberg came in a lap later. Alonso had come out directly behind the yet-to-stop Michael Schumacher and had to follow for a lap before he could overtake him using DRS on Lap 18. The delay almost put Felipe Massa in front of him after Massa's pitstop.

Positions after Lap 21
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso 5.Massa 6.Hamilton, 7.Rosberg, 8.Schumacher, 9.Senna (not stopped), 10.Alguersuari, 11.Kovalainen (not stopped), 12.Buemi 13.Sutil

Button closed up on Vettel after the stops but Vettel opened the gap again while Mark Webber was being conclusively dropped and becoming a distant P3.

The major drama of the race happened after Felipe Massa ran wide in Turn 1 on Lap 23 allowing Lewis Hamilton to close within a second and get the DRS assist. He had to get defensive against the McLaren on Laps 23 and 24 but on Lap 25 Hamilton had had enough of following and decided to try and get through at the fast Turn 5.

Hamilton was up alongside the Ferrari on the inside and Massa saw him but went to turn in anyway. Hamilton, at the last moment, realised Massa wasn't going to leave him space and tried to back out of it but the two collided. Massa was able to continue but Hamilton had to go back to the pits for a new front wing and rejoined in P9. The incident was immediately under investigation from the stewards.

While they were reviewing the tapes Sebastien Buemi's strong-running Toro Rosso retired with what looked like engine failure. Massa was experiencing trouble on the downshift now, but there was such an ocean of space for him in front of Nico Rosberg in P6 that he had plenty of laps to sort it out.

By Lap 29 he learned he had a drive-through for causing the collision with Hamilton. He served it straight away then experienced a repeat of the vibrating front wing problem from practice and had to come in to have it replaced. He was put onto hard tyres from Lap 31 onwards but three laps later repeated his error from qualifying and hit another of the high inner kerbs and broke the Ferrari front suspension (on Lap 34) - thus ending yet another traumatic race.

Up at the front, Fernando Alonso was closing on Mark Webber's P3 and by Lap 33 the gap was just 2.0 seconds. Vettel had a lead of 5.1 seconds over Button and the two Mercedes seemed to be having their own race in front of Lewis Hamilton who could only keep pace with them thanks to his damaged McLaren.

Positions after Lap 33
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso 5.Rosberg 6.Schumacher, 7.Hamilton, 8.Alguersuari, 9.Sutil, 10.Perez, 11.Massa, 12.Petrov

So just after half distance the top 10 drivers would be the top 10 drivers on Lap 60 but with two important changes.

Mark Webber found Fernando Alonso closing to just 1.4 seconds and on Lap 37 decided to change to hard tyres. Alonso stayed out for two laps before taking on his set of hard tyres and exited the pitlane just in front of Webber. Although Mark closed under DRS down the long back straight he didn't have enough momentum to make the pass into Turn 4 and his chance was gone.

Similarly when Nico Rosberg pitted on Lap 45 Michael Schumacher was able to continue for a number of laps on the soft tyre and build a small gap for when he rejoined on his hard tyres, taking P5 off his team-mate.

In terms of position changes, that was it till the flag. Mark Webber closed on Fernando Alonso tantalisingly too late. By Lap 59 of 60 he was just 1.0 behind and able to use the DRS on the final lap, but Alonso wasn't to be caught.

Vettel had a 5.1 cushion on Lap 53 but began to worry his team by putting in fastest laps on Laps 53 and 55. Mark Webber took the fastest lap on Lap 58 and Vettel took it back on Lap 59. Despite his team asking him not to, the World Champion reduced it to 1:27.249 on the final lap and finished eight seconds clear.

It was a great win for Vettel with the McLaren of Jenson Button keeping him honest to a checkered flag waved by Sachin Tendulkar. Alonso and Webber came home a distant P3 and P4 followed by Schumacher and Rosberg, Hamilton, Alguersuari, Sutil and a great drive from Sergio Perez for P10. In the last few laps he was under pressure from a Vitaly Petrov who'd had some wild tank-slapping moments in the race but held it together.

Without the drama generated by the Massa/Hamilton clash it would have been a 'highlight free' race, but nobody was in any doubt that it had been a great addition to the GP calendar.

FH

Results
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:35.002
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 8.433
3. Alonso Ferrari + 24.301
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 25.529
5. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:05.421
6. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:06.851
7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:24.183
8. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
10. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
12. Senna Renault + 1 lap
13. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
15. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
18. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
19. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 4 laps
Did Not Finish
Massa Ferrari 33
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 25
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 13
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 3
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1

India circuit
India GP chiefs agree to pay Formula 1 team taxes

Sunday 30th October 2011

The organisers of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix have stepped in to defuse the threat of teams boycotting the race because of a wrangle over tax.

The 12 Formula 1 teams and drivers are concerned they will be hit with big tax bills at next month's race.

But Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) have now offered to pay any customs duties and taxes if required.

JPSI have estimated that the final duty payable on equipment will be eight crore rupees, which is just over one million pounds.

The sport's expansion into new territories can mean big business for both its participants and the host country.

But McLaren team principal and chairman of the F1 teams' association Fota had explained that the teams also wanted guarantees that they would not fall foul of local tax legislation.

"The teams are concerned about the implications of withholding tax in India and being taxed locally," Whitmarsh had explained at the Italian Grand Prix. "You don't go somewhere if you're going to be penalised."

JPSI have now offered to pay the costs of teams releasing their equipment from customs ahead of the race on 30 October.

The company said in a statement it "has full support from the government, the sports ministry and the customs department for the F1 event".


Korea GP
Korea race stadium
Korea race start
Sebastian Vettel
Race: Vettel takes dominant Korean victory
Sunday 16th October 2011

Sebastian Vettel followed up his Championship victory with his tenth race win of the season in Korea as Red Bull secured the Constructors' crown

Despite starting second and being beaten by pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton off the line, Vettel made the most of a drop of rain to take the lead off the McLaren when he slipped up at Turn 4.

From there it was all Vettel, who slowly but surely built up a lead. And even when the Safety Car came out after Vitaly Petrov took out Michael Schumacher, no one could challenge the Red Bull driver.

Race Report
There were a few spots of rain falling in Yeongam as the cars formed up on the grid. A small amount of light drizzle was forecast, but it wasn't predicted to last long. The ambient temperature was 21C and the track at 24C.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Hamilton, 2.Vettel, 3.Button, 4.Webber, 5.Massa, 6.Alonso, 7.Rosberg, 8.Petrov, 9.DiResta, 10.Sutil, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Schumacher.

Start: There were fears that the dirty side of the grid would give dreadful starts to the even numbers on the grid, but as the red lights went out it was a fairly uniform getaway.

Lewis Hamilton led away and although Jenson Button got alongside Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1, the World Champion had the inside line. With a strong headwind down the 1.1km straight the effect of giving other cars a tow was emphasized despite no DRS.

Hamilton went defensive into Turn 3 and kept Vettel at bay, Felipe Massa was in P5 going into Turn 3 but judged his braking to perfection and passed Webber in P4 and a surprised Jenson Button in P3. Massa, Button and Webber ran in a gaggle to Turn 4 where Button tried an ineffective pass on Massa round the outside - Webber who had dropped back to allow Button room in the straight down to Turn 4 then saw his generosity rewarded by Felipe and Jenson running wide and he nipped through for P3.

Alonso also made his way past Button and slotted in behind Massa, demoting the Brit to P6 as Nico Rosberg made a late-braking move around the outside of Turn 4 that never looked like coming off.

Meanwhile there had been a change of leader at the same corner. Sebastian Vettel had saved his KERS up for the run down from Turn 3 to Turn 4. Lewis Hamilton was very fair and allowed him room but couldn't defend once the Red Bull was up the inside.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Massa 5.Alonso, 6.Button, 7.Rosberg, 8.Petrov, 9.DiResta, 10.Schumacher, 11.Sutil, 12.Alguersuari

At the front of the race Sebastian Vettel started to steadily open up a gap to Lewis Hamilton and by Lap 8 it was 2.3 seconds. Webber pulled away from Felipe Massa and it was team-mate Fernando Alonso who couldn't get past the Brazilian, which allowed Jenson Button and then Nico Rosberg to close up on the two Ferraris.

By Lap 11 Button was looking at Alonso into Turn 4 - but thinking better of it. On Lap 13 Alonso tried to find a way past Massa into Turn 4. When Felipe started to defend his place it became clear that there were no Ferrari team orders. Button couldn't get past Alonso as the Spaniard had his DRS enabled following Massa and the same for Rosberg.

So on Lap 13 both Rosberg and Button headed for the pits. Rosberg got the jump on Button and they ran side by side in the pitlane - with Nico slightly ahead - until the exit when Rosberg ran wide and Button nipped past. Because it was the DRS straight that followed Rosberg was able to use the rear wing to pass Button into Turn 3 - but a lap later Button was able to get him back using his DRS and place a Force India between himself and the Mercedes to establish a gap.

The rest of the front runners pitted on Laps 14 and 15, (and Vettel on Lap 16) but a slight delay for Fernando Alonso put him behind Michael Schumacher. Schumacher was lining up Perez (yet to stop) inTurn 3 when Petrov missed his braking point and went sailing into the back of him.

The Russian driver was defending from Alonso on the long straight and took the inside (dirty) line as he went to brake into Turn 3. Alonso switched to the outside to get the place back and left his braking far too late - Petrov with his eyes on Alonso, took Schumacher's rear wing off and almost ploughed into Alonso, who was deep in the tarmac run-off.

The Safety Car was dispatched so the large amount of debris could be cleared up. As the cars lined up behind the positions were now...

Positions after Lap 17
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Button, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Alonso, 8.Alguersuari, 9.DiResta, 10.Sutil, 11.Maldonado, 12.Buemi

In the middle stint Mark Webber had been given the yellow-walled soft Prime tyres and behind him Jenson Button had the (theoretically quicker) supersofts. As Vettel led another confident restart on Lap 21 Button tried a move on Webber around the outside of Turn 4 which never looked like coming off and didn't. That was as close as Jenson would get to Webber till the end of the race.

After the restart Vettel didn't seem to be producing the gaps he had done in the first stint and by Lap 26 the gap to Hamilton was just 1.0 seconds. Meanwhile, Webber was closing on P2 Hamilton. Behind them, Nico Rosberg was coming under big pressure from the two Ferrari drivers. Finally on Lap 27 the Mercedes driver had an enormous lock-up just before Turn 3 and Massa was able to dart past, followed rapidly by Alonso. Rosberg pitted for more tyres.

At the front it was now a similar three-car battle with 2.0 seconds covering the first three cars on Lap 28. But as Webber got close to Lewis Hamilton and dropped into the DRS, so Hamilton had to stop driving for speed and adopt defensive tactics as he couldn't get quite close enough to use his DRS against Vettel.

There then followed an extraordinary display of good defensive driving from Lewis Hamilton who set his car up so that he would use all his KERS immediately after the DRS zone to give him the boost to keep in front of Webber into Turn 3. The McLarens were both understeering horribly and this was evident in the final sector and the final fast left. Webber was usually 0.4 to 0.6 quicker through this twenty second section alone, which pulled him clear from Jenson Button who couldn't deploy DRS.

At the end of Lap33 Red Bull decided to bring Mark in to use his speed advantage, but found Hamilton arriving in the pitlane as well. Both took on a set of soft tyres. The following lap was an epic of side-by-side manoeuvres as Hamilton did the difficult bit and kept a gap through Turn 3 then ran wide in Turn 4. Webber dived up the inside of Turn 5 and looked to be past, but Hamilton wasn't finished and cut back to take the line that he would hold through the next series of turns and eventually finish back in front of the Red Bull. Epic stuff.

Massa pitted earlier than Alonso (Lap 34) and Fernando used the opportunity to start putting in fastest laps of the race on Laps 35 and 36 and then pitted for tyres to exit in front of Massa. Released from his team-mate he started to drive what he would later describe as "qualifying lap after qualifying lap" to catch Jenson Button

Positions after Lap 38
1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Button, 5. Alonso, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Alguersuari, 9.DiResta, 10.Buemi, 11.Sutil, 12.Perez

By this time Vettel had an almost ten second gap to Hamilton and would not be caught. Hamilton continued to manage his lap with the sole aim to keep Webber behind. While Alonso homed in on Jenson Button, Webber calculated where he could get past Hamilton.

On Lap 49 the cars had to pass a backmarker and the Red Bull had a lot more momentum down the start/finish straight. Webber jinked out and took Hamilton at Turn 1, but the Mclaren dirver wasn't phased. He had KERS stored up for his usual defence into Turn 3 and going back down the straight breezed past the Red Bull again courtesy of the DRS + KERS.

Hamilton had been saving fuel and tyres till the end of the race and in the closing laps both drivers switched the mix on their fuels. On the penultimate lap Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race and his defence was complete.

Behind them Alonso closed up to Button and by Lap 51 (of 55) he was just 0.7 back. But a couple of laps later Alonso had a scarey moment coming through the fast final corner and flirted with the barrier and called time on his chase with the dramatic radio message, "I give up, I give up." He sounded very frustrated.

Despite a warning to Vettel not to abuse his tyres, the World Champion decided to go for the Fastest lap on his final circuit and took it with a 1:39.605, almost a second quicker than Hamilton the lap before. It showed how much Red Bull had in reserve.

Beyond the Hamilton vs Webber and the Button vs Alonso battles, Nico Rosberg failed to hang onto 7th place from a hard charging Jaime Alguersuari who benefited from Rosberg's early stop to change flatspotted tyres and who was fast running out of grip.

Vettel won from a marginally happier (than Saturday) Hamilton and a poker-faced Mark Webber to claim Red Bull's second successive Constructors' crown. Button came home in P4 and reckoned he wouldn't have done any better even if he hadn't been mugged at the start. Alonso and Massa came home 5th and 6th, with Alguersuari 7th, Rosberg 8th, Buemi 9th and Paul diResta 10th.

The predicted four or five tyre stops had ultimately turned out to be two tyre stops, but it had been another engaging race even if many of the grandstands remained half empty.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:01.994
02. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 12.019
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 12.477
04. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 14.694
05. Alonso Ferrari + 15.689
06. Massa Ferrari + 25.133
07. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 49.538
08. Rosberg Mercedes + 54.053
09. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:02.762
10. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:08.602
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:11.229
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:33.068
13. Senna Renault + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
15. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
17. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
21. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
Did Not Finish
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 31
Petrov Renault 17
Schumacher Mercedes 16

Korea circuit
Korea GP

Sunday 16th October 2011

Japan GP
Race start
round and round
Red bulls
Race: Button Wins GP, Seb The Title
Sunday 9th October 2011

Jenson Button may have clinched Japanese GP victory, however, he could do nothing to stop Sebastian Vettel from claiming the World title.

Starting first and second on the grid with Vettel ahead of the McLaren driver, the German did all he could to stop Button from taking the lead - even pushing him onto the grass. But with the Red Bull running out of tyres faster than the rest of the field Button found his way past in the pit-stops.

It was another thrilling race with a resurgent Fernando Alonso taking second place, Michael Schumacher surviving a hefty impact from Mark Webber's front wing and going on to become the oldest driver to lead an F1 GP. Plus there was the inevitable coming together of Massa and Hamilton.

Race Report
It was a bright sunny autumnal day at Suzuka with an ambient tempretaure of 24C and the trac at 35C.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Hamilton, 4.Massa, 5.Alonso, 6.Webber, 7.Kobayashi, 8.Schumacher, 9.Petrov, 10.Senna, 11.Sutil, 12.DiResta

Start: It was a clean get-away for the grid (unlike 2010) with Jenson Button getting a great start from P2. Vettel thought he had a good start too but still veered across to the right and pushed Jenson Button to the inside.

Button had his front tyre tucked inside Vettel's rear and the Red Bull kept on coming, pushing the McLaren onto the grass. Button slowed and dropped in behind Vettel but this allowed Lewis Hamilton to move up to P2. Behind, the Ferraris slotted in in grid order.

Big loser from the start was Kamui Kobayashi who was starting from his best ever gridslot, P7. The anti-stall kicked in for the Japanese Sauber driver and he bogged down, losing many places.

Positions after Lap 1 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Massa 5.Alonso, 6.Webber, 7.Schumacher, 8.DiResta, 9.Sutil, 10.Petrov, 11.Buemi, 12.Kobayashi

With the DRS enabled after Lap 2 it didn't look to be giving the drivers a huge advantage down the straight into Turn 1, but on Lap 6 Alonso made it past Massa in a choreographed move that switched the Ferrari order. Despite being evenly matched in qualifying Vettel started to open up a gap to Hamilton. On Lap 5 it was 2.3 seconds, by Lap 7 it was 3.9 seconds and team-mate Button was catching him rapidly.

Lewis slowed and pitted at the end of Lap 8, when it was revealed that he was suffering from a slow puncture. Vettel radioed in that he was losing the rear tyres during Lap 9 and came in for his first pitstop at the end of the lap. This triggered a whole round of pit-stops with Button, Alonso, Webber and DiResta in the lap after that. Massa was temporarily in the lead until he pitted at the end of Lap 11.

Positions after Lap 12 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Webber, 7.Petrov (not stopped), 8.Schumacher

In the second stint Jenson Button began to close on Vettel and Felipe Massa got into the DRS zone of Lewis Hamilton who was falling away from third place Fernando Alonso. Button closed the gap down from 2.8 seconds on Lap 15 to 1.6 seconds on Lap 18 with a couple of fastest laps thrown in.

Vettel then dived into the pits for more soft tyres at the end of Lap 19 and Red Bull executed a fantastic double pit-stop with Sebastian leaving the pitbox just as Mark Webber arrived. Button came in a lap later and exited in front.

Just as Lewis Hamilton was due to stop for his second pit-stop Felipe Massa tried a highly optimistic pass on the outside going into the final chicane. It was never going to come off, but as Hamilton moved out right the pair made contact yet again. The incident was investigated - just as the Button/Vettel one was - but no action was taken. Hamilton had a slightly longer pit-stop as the team checked out the car for damage.

Positions after Lap 23 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Massa, 6.Schumacher (stopped once) 7.Hamilton, 8.Sutil, 9.DiResta, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Barrichello

The incident between Massa and Hamilton looked to have taken off some Ferrari bodywork which was in the middle of the track approaching the chicane, and on Lap 24 the Safety Car was dispatched to pick it up. There was also some at Turn 7 and the cars circulated for three tours while it was picked up by the marshals.

At the restart, leader Jenson Button backed the pack right up before setting off at pace. His next lap (28) was the fastest lap of the race as he set about establishing a race-winning gap. By Lap 30 he had opened it up to 2.2 seconds, by Lap 32 it was 2.8 seconds.

At the end of Lap 32 Vettel's tyres were gone again and now teams were switching from the soft Option to the medium Prime tyres. Vettel pitted on Lap 33, Webber on 34, Hamilton on 35, Button on 36 and Alonso on 37.

Because of the safety car backing up the pack, when Vettel emerged after his pit-stop he was back down in P11. Delayed by the Saubers and Force Indias, he found Perez in between himself and Button when Jenson rejoined the track. In fact the gap had become so big that Fernando Alonso slotted into it (for nte P2) after his pit-stop. All the while Michael Schumacher hadn't pitted and so he was able to establish the record of the oldest man ever to lead an F1 race.

On Lap 38 there was action up and down the length of the field with Hamilton cruising past Massa on the straight, Vettel keen to get back on terms with Alonso and Mark Webber passing a Force India on the inside at 130R.

Positions after Lap 38 1.Schumacher (stopped twice), 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Vettel, 5. Webber, 6.Rosberg (stopped twice) 7.Hamilton, 8.Massa, 9.Petrov, 10.Kobayashi

Vettel using his DRS down the straight could get close to Alonso, but was never in a position to pass. On Lap 41 Michael Schumacher pitted for the last time and rejoined in P6, behind Hamilton and in front of Massa. Though he was on fresher tyres he couldn't put pressure on the McLaren and never got to within a second of Lewis Hamilton. Massa followed his gearbox all the way to the line just 0.9 back.

On Lap 44 Button had a 4.3 second lead over Alonso but this soon began to drop. By Lap 48 the lead was down to 2.1 seconds, by Lap 50 it was only 1.0 seconds and the Ferrari driver sensed a chance. At which point Button put his foot down and started to set personal best sector times, and then purple fastest sector times and then on Lap 52 the fastest lap of the race a 1:36.568.

The Briton took the race victory but the margin was a slim one. He parked his car at the end of the pitlane, worried about running out of fuel on the slowing down lap. Alonso claimed a P2 that was aided by the Safety Car and Vettel had to settle for P3 (his worst ever Japanese GP result). Webber came home in P4, Hamilton a glum P5 and Michael Schumacher an eventful P6. Midway through the race he had been given a hefty nerf from Mark Webber's front wing, which broke bits off the Red Bull but he had survived a puncture - unlike Felipe Massa in Singapore.

The performance of the Ferraris and McLarens at a circuit where Red Bull were thought to reign supreme had been remarkable, but the day was all about Sebastian Vettel claiming his second World Championship. It was as inevitable as Massa and Hamilton making contact.

FH

Results
01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h30:53.427
02. Alonso Ferrari + 1.160
03. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 2.006
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 8.071
05. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 24.268
06. Schumacher Mercedes + 27.120
07. Massa Ferrari + 28.240
08. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 39.377
09. Petrov Renault + 42.607
10. Rosberg Mercedes + 44.322
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 54.447
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:02.326
13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:03.705
14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:04.194
15. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1:06.623
16. Senna Renault + 1:12.628
17. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:14.191
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1:27.824
19. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1:36.140
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
23. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 35

Suzuka circuit
Japan GP

Sunday 9th October 2011

Singapore GP
Singapore circuit

Lewis Hamilton nose change
Michael Schumacher and Lewis HamiltonSebastian Vettel leads the Singapore GP
puncture
Race: Vettel takes the win, not the title
Sunday 25th September 2011

Sebastian Vettel stormed to his ninth victory of the season, dominating the Singapore GP from lights to flag.

The Red Bull driver was flawless,however his Singapore win left him a single tantalisng point short of his second World Championship. Jenson Button finished second with Mark Webber third. A disappointed Fernando Alonso, two-time winner of the race, could only manage fourth place.

Meanwhile, the drama of the race was caused by Michael Schumacher crashing into the back of Sergio Perez, sending his Mercedes airborne and bringing out the Safety Car. Thankfully Schumacher was not hurt.

Race Report
It was warm and humid in Singapore with an ambient temperature of 31C and the track at 34C.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Button, 4.Hamilton, 5.Alonso, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Schumacher, 9.Sutil, 10.DiResta, 11.Perez, 12.Barrichello

Start:Both McLarens had great starts, but with such a short run down to Turn 1 there wasn't much space to take advantage of it. Jenson Button was immediately in front of Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton tried the inside line on Webber but was squeezed to the inside by the Red Bull which allowed Alonso past Webber and Massa past Hamilton. In fact getting off the throttle was so bad for Lewis that he lost a place to Nico Rosberg and later in the lap Michael Schumacher.

Felipe Massa, with Rosberg on his outside at Turn 1, left no room and pushed the Mercedes driver onto the run-off tarmac. Rosberg rejoined behind Massa and so wasn't penalised. Massa wasn't penalised either for forcing him off the road, though it looked a questionable move.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber 5.Massa, 6.Rosberg, 7.Schumacher, 8. Hamilton, 9.Sutil, 10.DiResta, 11.Perez, 12.Maldonado

Vettel took off like a proverbial scalded cat and after two laps had a 3.5 lead over Jenson Button. By Lap 6 that was up to 8.2 seconds. In the meantime, Lewis Hamilton carefully picked his way past the two Mercedes drivers courtesy of the DRS zone between Turn 5 and started to close on Massa.

Mark Webber was closing on Fernando Alonso but reported back that his KERS was only working intermittently. Paul Di Resta, the leading driver who had opted to start on the Soft tyre, was keeping up with Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil on the SuperSofts.

Jenson Button was only able to lose the attentions of Fernando Alonso very slowly in the first stint but gradually the gap opened up and he came under pressure from Mark Webber. Webber managed a storming pass on Alonso on Lap 10 going into Turn 15, but it was clear that his tyres were going off because the lap before he had lost two seconds to Jenson Button in front.

Alonso and Schumacher both came in for tyres (Rosberg having started off the pit-stops for tyres on Lap 9). On Lap 11 Massa looked like he was holding Hamilton up, but they both came in for tyres at the end of the lap. They set off together and on lap 13, Hamilton tried to go round the outside into Turn 7. Massa was having none of it and closed the door and took the line for the corner. Hamilton misjudged how far the Ferrari was in front and clipped his rear tyre as he pulled into line. The result was a broken front wing for Hamilton and a puncture for Massa. The stewards investigated and decided that Hamilton's clip was an avoidable collision.

In front of them Webber pitted on Lap 13 while Button and Vettel pitted on Lap 14.

Positions after Lap 16
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.DiResta (not stopped) 4.Alonso, 5.Webber 6.Rosberg, 7.Perez (not stopped) 8.Schumacher, 9.Sutil, 10.Kobayashi (not stopped), 11.Trulli (not stopped). At this stage of the race Felipe Massa was in 17th place and Lewis Hamilton back in 19th having served a drive-through penalty.

Paul Di Resta finally pitted from 4th place on Lap 19 and exited the pits in P8 in pursuit of his team-mate.

Lewis Hamilton may have dropped behind Felipe Massa with his woes, but he was reacting a lot better and by Lap 23 he had passed the Brazilian when Massa made an error under acceleration. An easy pass. Nico Rosberg had already kicked off the second round of pit-stops on Lap 22. By the time Alonso pitted on Lap 26 Hamilton was already up tenth place.

Positions after Lap 27
1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso (stopped twice), 5.Di Resta 6.Sutil, 7.Perez, 8.Rosberg (stopped twice) 9.Schumacher, 10.Hamilton (stopped twice) 11.Barrichello, 12. Buemi

On Lap 29 Nico Rosberg ran wide onto the marbles and was passed by Sergio Perez. Rosberg was having none of it and even though he was half a car length back tried a move into the chicane that saw him hit Perez's rear wheel and push him onto the run-off. The impact lost the Mexican time and Rosberg took the place. (Thought he stewards looked at the incident theys aw nothing wrong with it)

An aggrieved Perez then came under pressure from Michael Schumacher the following lap. Schumacher couldn't find a way past into Turn 7 then went to dive up the inside of Perez and found the Sauber driver lifting off unexpectedly early. Schumacher's car hit his rear tyre and was launched in a lower speed, lower height version of Mark Webber's accident in Valencia (with Kovalainen) but got out of the car unhurt.

It immediately brought out the Safety Car and a myriad of hastily scheduled pit-stops. When the field was released at the end of Lap 33 the positions were: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso 4.Webber, 5.Di Resta 6.Rosberg, 7.Sutil, 8.Perez, 9.Hamilton 10.Maldonado, 11.Massa, 12.Buemi

After the re-start there were a great number of lapped cars in the line-up and Vettel, Button, Alonso and Webber carved their way through. However the great number must have caught Fernando Alonso off-guard as Mark Webber did a cheeky little overtaking move on him into Turn 10 to take P3 on Lap 34.

Lewis Hamilton made his way in turn past Perez, Sutil, Rosberg and DiResta who were all trying to take their tyres to the end. Lewis was on Supersofts and was chasing down Fernando Alonso's fourth place. When his tyres went off - with Alonso just 12 seconds down the road - he had to come in for more and had to pass the same drivers all over again to get back to where he started - in fifth. Alonso, pitted from fourth and stayed fourth.

In the closing stages of the race the only battle was between a gungho Jenson Button and a conservative Sebastian Vettel. With a number of Fastest Laps Button got the gap down to the leader from 9.6 seconds on Lap 54 to 3.7 seconds on Lap 58. Backmarkers intervened, especially two squabbling Williams drivers, and the chance to close up was lost. Even so, Button was back to 6.5 seconds behind on the penultimate lap - Lap 60 - and at the line it was just 1.7 seconds. Mark Webber finished a distant third, Alonso, a distant fourth and Hamilton twelve seconds further back in fifth.

Paul DiResta managed his tyres to the line to record his best GP result in sixth, Rosberg took P7, Sutil P8, Massa P9, and Perez brought home a robust Sauber car that had withstood two heavy Mercedes impacts, to take P10.

Vettel was one point shy of becoming World Champion so the Red Bull celebrations had to be put on ice. But you can bet they'll be hiring a venue for Japan.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h59:06.537
02. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1.737
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 29.279
04. Alonso Ferrari + 55.449
05. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 1:07.766
06. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:51.067
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
09. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap
10. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps
15. Senna Renault + 2 laps
16. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
17. Petrov Renault + 2 laps
18. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps
21. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 5 laps
Did Not Finish
Trulli Lotus-Renault 48
Schumacher Mercedes 29
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 10

Singapore circuit
Singapore GP

Sunday 25th September 2011

Italy GP
Monza circuit
Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton
Race: Vettel storms to Italian win
Sunday 11th September 2011

It took only five laps of the Italian GP before the winner was decided as Sebastian Vettel took the lead and pulled away from the field.

Behind him Fernando Alonso held onto P2 for much of the race before giving way to Jenson Button; but the Spaniard was able to stay just far enough in front of Lewis Hamilton to give Ferrari a podium at their home race

Race Report
It was warm and sunny at Monza for the start of the Italian Grand Prix with an ambient of 29C and the track at 41C. For this race there were two DRS zones, one between the start line and the first chicane and the other between the second Lesmo corner and the Ascari chicane.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Alonso, 5.Webber, 6.Massa, 7.Petrov, 8.Schumacher, 9.Rosberg, 10.Senna, 11.DiResta, 12.Sutil

Start:
Sebastian Vettel got away sluggishly and Lewis Hamilton wasn't able to capitalise. Vettel moved across to his right to push Hamilton towards the pitwall as they raced down to Turn 1 side by side, but Hamilton could only go so far right as Lewis had the fast-starting Alonso on his inside. The Ferrari driver had produced another blinding getaway from P4 and as the Red Bull and McLaren squeezed over, he managed to get in front into the braking zone - with his rear tyre clipping the grass.

Alonso was through the first turn in the lead and Vettel slotted into P2 having almost banged wheels with Hamilton in his move across the track. Hamilton took P3 into the corner ahead of Felipe Massa who also had a great start but had to file in behind Hamilton and in doing so allowed Michael Schumacher to get in front of him.

Jenson Button had a dreadful start from P3 and was only able to keep in front of Mark Webber, however all the drama was happening behind. Tonio Liuzzi impacted another car into the braking zone and lost control, his HRT sliding sideways across the grass on the inside towards the chicane and the cars queueing up there.

Liuzzi hit the innocent Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov taking them out of the race. It also trapped the undamaged Rubens Barrichello between the two crippled cars while the field drove round them. After problems on the opening lap Daniel Ricciardo also had to bring his HRT car in. There was such a huge amount of debris at Turn 1 that it was only safe to dispatch the Safety Car.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Schumacher, 5.Massa, 6.Button, 7.Webber, 8.DiResta, 9.Maldonado, 10.Perez, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Kovalainen

Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Rubens Barrichello also used the opportunity to pit and change tyres, while Kobayashi managed to lose his front wing on the opening lap as well.

The restart was on Lap 4 and Lewis Hamilton lost contact with Alonso and Vettel in front; in fact he dropped so far back that Michael Schumacher was able to use the power of his Mercedes engine down the straight and pass the McLaren without DRS. Mark Webber breezed past Jenson Button at the same time.

On Lap 5 Sebastian Vettel was right on the back of Alonso going into Turn 1 and pulled alongside him heading towards Turn 2. Vettel was on the outside of Alonso going round Curve Grande but it would put him on the inside of Turn 2, the Roggia chicane. At this point, Alonso moved across and forced Vettel to put two wheels on the grass. Vettel kept his foot in and made a brilliant pass.

At the same time, Mark Webber was trying a move round the outside of Felipe Massa into Turn 1 that never looked likely to come off. Webber went to turn in as though there was going to be two lanes through the chicane and Massa just took the chicane as usual.

Webber lost his front wing spinning Massa around backwards and various cars nipped past including Jenson Button. Massa was able to continue without pitting but Webber had to head back to the pits for a replacement front wing. However at the end of the back straight he was unable to turn in and went straight on across the grass into the barriers at Parabolica.

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton were straight onto the back of Fernando Alonso and on Lap 7 DRS was enabled, allowing both to close up further. But Schumacher was struggling to get past the Ferrari and Hamilton was struggling to get past Schumacher.

Positions after Lap 8
1.Vettel, 2.Alonso, 3.Schumacher, 4.Hamilton, 5.Button, 6.Maldonado, 7.Massa, 8.Perez, 9.DiResta, 10.Alguersuari, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Buemi

As Sebastian Vettel started to open up an unassailable lead, all eyes focused on the battle for third place, Schumacher vs Hamilton. Lewis had said before the race that he was going to take it easy, but every time he sought a way past Schumacher the German driver blocked him, testing that resolve. On Lap 13 Hamilton got past Schumacher on the straight, but Schumi had saved up his KERS and used it to get straight back past Hamilton after Turn 1.

All the time Jenson Button was catching the pair of them and when Hamilton got pushed onto the grass by Schumacher in an extraordinarily dangerous move by the German on lap 16, Button was able to get past his team-mate. Heading towards the Ascari chicane, Schumacher chose to defend the inside line against Button and he swept around the outside in another banzai overtaking move.

The glory didn't last long as Schumacher pitted at the end of the lap, Button pitted a lap later and Hamilton the lap after that. Unfortunately for Lewis the undercut had given Michael a speed advantage and he came out still behind Schumacher. On Lap 20, Schumi was guilty of making a double move in blocking Hamilton and FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting contacted the Mercedes team with a warning.

Schumacher then faced the humiliation of being radioed by his Race Director twice in two laps asking him to leave more space for Hamilton at Ascari, something unprecedented in modern F1. The Mercedes team could also see the bigger picture in that by blocking Hamilton he was potentially losing time to the fast-closing Felipe Massa.

Eventually Hamilton got past on lap 27 when the German missed a gear in the run down to Ascari and Hamilton, like Button, got past round the outside. At this stage of the race Button was putting in fastest laps and personal bests in his pursuit of Alonso's second place.

Positions after Lap 28
1.Vettel, 2.Alonso, 3.Button, 4.Hamilton, 5.Schumacher, 6.Massa, 7.Perez, 8.DiResta, 9.Alguersuari, 10.Buemi, 11.Maldonado, 12.Senna

Vettel had a 14-second lead on Lap 31 and barring problems was not going to be caught. Button had closed right up on the back of Alonso by that time, but in the last few laps of his stint the gap started to lengthen again, to 1.5 seconds - Button having taken too much out of his tyres in the early phase of the stint.

Button pitted for the medium, Prime tyre on Lap 34 and Alonso and Hamilton followed suit a lap later. The Ferrari struggles to put heat into the harder tyre and on Lap 36 Button simply out-accelerated the Ferrari away from the first chicane in possibly the easiest overtaking move of the day.

Although Alonso hung on close for a while, eventually he needed to start looking in his mirrors for the fast approaching Lewis Hamilton. Both McLarens were putting in fastest laps of the race but Hamilton was setting more in his pursuit of the final podium place. (On Lap 52 he took the Fastest Lap with a 1:26.187) Vettel had stopped for the final time on Lap 36 and when Massa got his Primes on Lap 42 there was 7.2 seconds of clear air between Alonso in P3 and Hamilton in P4. Schumacher faded in the final stint confident in holding onto P5.

There was only a second between Hamilton and Alonso as the cars crossed the line for the penultimate time and Hamilton arrived on the back of the Ferrari 150 gearbox in the braking zone for Ascari on the 53rd and final lap. One more lap and he would have done it.

As it was, Vettel had a lonely race to his second and more emotional Monza victory, followed home by Button, Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa. A great drive from Jaime Alguersuari took him from P18 to P7 and Paul DiResta just about hung on for P8 ahead of the fast-charging Bruno Senna.

Most importantly the tifosi had got a Ferrari man on the podium and could celebrate accordingly, but it was the Red Bull team who had the most to celebrate. They had beaten their Monza bogey with a pole position and a win and now Sebastian Vettel is just one race away from his second World Championship.

Team boss Christian Horner dedicated the win to 'Erin' a member of the Red Bull team who had passed away before the race. Nobody minded that Mark Webber had finished his race early, Red Bull had passed another milestone.

FH

Times
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h20:46.172
02. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 9.590
03. Alonso Ferrari + 16.909
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 17.471
05. Schumacher Mercedes + 32.677
06. Massa Ferrari + 42.993
07. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
08. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
09. Senna Renault + 1 lap
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
14. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
15. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
Did Not Finish
Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 40
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 34
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 23
Sutil Force India-Mercedes 11
Webber Red Bull-Renault 6
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 3
Petrov Renault 1
Rosberg Mercedes 1
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1

Monza circuit
Italy GP

Sunday 11th September 2011

Belgium GP at Spa
Spa circuit
Belgium new track seating
Spa Eau Rouge
Spa Silver
map of Belgium
belgiumphoto
Spa Silver 1 stands 2
Race: Vettel Wins Belgian Thriller
Sunday 28th August 2011

Iebastian Vettel claimed the victory in a thrilling Belgian GP, which saw six different drivers each lead one lap or more.

Blistering tyres, a lack of dry running, different strategies and the sweeping corners of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit all played a crucial role in what proved to be one of the best races of the season.

Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Mark Webber all had a turn at the front of the pack but, after 44 laps, it was inevitably Vettel who was in the P1 slot.

The reigning World Champ finished ahead of Webber and Button, who had started from P13.

Race Report
It was a cloudy Spa Francorchamps with no rain in sight as start time approached, but at the Belgium track it is never far away and there was always the possibility with an ambient of just 16C and the track at 23C.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Massa, 5.Rosberg, 6.Alguersuari, 7.Senna, 8.Alonso, 9.Perez, 10.Petrov, 11.Buemi, 12.Kobayashi

Start:Sebastian Vettel got away well from pole and led into La Source hairpin, Lewis Hamilton couldn't take any advantage and was outmuscled by Felipe Massa down the hill towards Eau Rouge.

The star move came from Nico Rosberg who came through the first turn on the inside poised to take P2. Rosberg's great start was helped by Mark Webber getting another poor one as his car bogged down away from the line. It had looked as though Rosberg was in trouble as his overheating brakes created clouds of smoke on the grid, but it was Webber who fell rapidly backwards

Behind the frontrunners there was chaos created by an inept start from Bruno Senna. Senna locked up his brakes into the hairpin and cannoned into the side of Jaime Alguersuari taking the Toro Rosso driver out of the race and pushing him towards Alonso who had to take to the emergency run-off tarmac.

Timo Glock made a suicidal dive up the inside and took off large parts of Paul DiResta's Force India and also managed to take a rear endplate off Jenson Button's car. Button ran over Senna's discarded front wing in the run down to Eau Rouge and terminally damaged his own.

Back at the front, Nico Rosberg's Mercedes had a big power advantage going up the hill towards Les Combes and managed to outbrake the Red Bull to take the lead.

Positions after Lap 1
1.Rosberg 2.Vettel, 3.Massa, 4.Hamilton, 5.Alonso, 6.Buemi, 7.Perez, 8.Webber, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Petrov, 11.Sutil, 12.Button

Both Ferraris were impressively quick through Eau Rouge and on Lap 2 Alonso was easily past Hamilton for P4. Sebastian Vettel was able to wait for the DRS wing to be enabled on Lap 3 and then cruised past Rosberg. At the same time Mark Webber and Jenson Button pitted for tyres and Jenson for a new front wing as well.

Fernando Alonso closed on Massa who was showing signs of wanting to hang on to his place today and not give it up. If Alonso wanted to get past he would have to do it the hard way. On Lap 4 Nico Rosberg had to defend hard against Massa while Alonso was trying to get past Felipe, and Lewis Hamilton was catching them all up.

On Lap 5 Alonso got past Massa down into Rivage, almost ran wide and pushed Massa offline in the process. Lewis Hamilton tried to get past them both at the same time but had to make do with squeezing past Felipe. Massa pushed the McLaren to the very edge of the track but Lewis still got through.

While this was happening Sebastian Vettel pitted to change his very badly blistered front tyres.

On Lap 6 Sebastian Buemi was pictured with a deranged rear wing after contact with Sergio Perez. Both disappeared for repairs and Perez got a drive-through for his troubles. Thus the leaderboard on Lap 6 looked very different from Lap 1.

Positions after Lap 6
1.Rosberg, 2.Alonso, 3.Hamilton, 4.Massa 5.Kobayashi, 6.Petrov, 7.Vettel, 8.Sutil, 9.DiResta, 10.Maldonado, 11.Webber, 12.Barrichello.

On Lap 7 Fernando Alonso passed Rosberg and a lap later Hamilton was through courtesy of the DRS zone. At the end of Lap 8 Fernando pitted and when he emerged from the pitlane he found Mark Webber's Red Bull bearing down on him from La Source.

They both tried to get through the bottom of Eau Rouge, Webber passing Alonso on the outside. As the cars ran alongside for a nanosecond it looked like there might be an almighty accident, but Alonso lifted and let Webber through. It was breathtaking stuff.

Webber progressed past Sutil, but Alonso on fresher tyres was able to use the DRS zone to reclaim his position ahead of Webber by Lap 10. Vettel passed Rosberg, while Hamilton pitted for the first time.

Kamui Kobayashi had yet to stop for tyres and was in P4, running much slower lap times than the cars behind who had changed. When Lewis Hamilton went to pass him in the DRS zone going up to Les Combes, for some reason Kobayashi over lapped his back tyre onto Hamilton's in the braking area. As Hamilton moved left to improve his turn-in he found Kobayashi's tyre against his rear wheel which flicked him hard against the barriers and out of the race. Surprisingly the stewards saw this as a racing accident and no action was taken against the Japanese driver.

With the barrier heavily impacted the Safety Car was sent out and Vettel immediately used this to his advantage to change tyres. Webber should have come in too, but a radio blank meant that Mark didn't get an answer when he asked if he should box his Red Bull.

Positions after Lap 15 behind the Safety Car
1.Alonso, 2.Webber, 3.Vettel, 4.Massa, 5.Rosberg, 6.Sutil, 7.Perez, 8.Petrov, 9.Schumacher, 10.Barrichello, 11.Button, 12.Maldonado

As soon as the Safety Car came in Nico Rosberg was past Massa, and Vettel was past his team-mate as early as La Source hairpin. On Lap 18 Vettel used the DRS to overtake Alonso for the lead while Jenson Button got past Petrov and Perez in one move, the Mexican braking early for La Source as Petrov and Button cruised up to his gearbox

Button then unleashed a string of overtaking moves as he headed for the front. On Lap 22 he was past Schumacher, on Lap 23 Sutil. On Lap 25 he got by Massa into the bus-stop chicane outbraking him round the outside and on Lap 26 Rosberg was passed.

Because of the excessive camber used by Red Bull to get heat into their tyres for qualifying, the blistering of the front tyres was still a concern, and Ferrari were confident that Red Bull were going to stop one more time than themselves. Alonso was holding onto P2 with Vettel ahead and Webber behind.

Both Webber and Button had used their two tyre compounds, and so on Lap 29 Alonso pitted for the medium compound he had yet to run. Vettel covered him and changed a lap later along with Massa and Rosberg.

On Lap 31 Mark Webber pitted, handing over the lead briefly to Jenson Button who was then overtaken by Vettel on his fresh rubber. Button pitted on Lap 32 and set off after Mark Webber in P4 again. In the mean time a puncture for Felipe Massa sent him back down pitlane and out of the top six.

Positions after Lap 34
1.Vettel, 2.Alonso, 3.Webber, 4.Button 5.Rosberg, 6.Schumacher, 7.Sutil, 8.Petrov, 9.Maldonado, 10.DiResta, 11.Massa 12.Kobayashi.

Both Jenson and Mark were going two seconds a lap quicker than the two men in front of them. Webber was able to chase Alonso down for P2 on Lap 37 and by Lap 40 of 44 Button had the gap to Alonso down to 1.5 seconds. He was past him on Lap 42 for the final podium place.

In the closing stages of the race the Mercedes duo were running close together, Michael Schumacher having taken advantage of the Safety Car period and just as Jenson was passing Fernando, so Michael eased his way past Nico on the run up to Les Combes to take P5.

On the final lap Massa caught and passed a very very slow Petrov for P8 with the Russian taking P9 and Pasto Maldonado his first points in F1, in P10. It had been a dramatic race despite the lack of rain and one of great relief for Adrian Newey. After the race the Red Bull technical chief explained that there had been a great worry that the blistered Red Bull tyres would suffer structural damage between the tyre wall and the tread. A very risky situation.

But they had come through for a 1-2. In all truth it should have been Mark Webber's victory, but yet again the Aussie paid the price for a poor start. However with a new contract for 2012 he still has many more races to challenge Seb's 17 wins.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h26.44.893
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 3.741
3. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 9.669
4. Alonso Ferrari + 13.022
5. Schumacher Mercedes + 47.464
6. Rosberg Mercedes + 48.674
7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 59.713
8. Massa Ferrari + 1m06.076
9. Petrov Renault + 1m11.917
10. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1m17.615
11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1m23.994
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1m31.976
13. Senna Renault + 1m32.985
14. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
16. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
17. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
Did Not Finish
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 27
Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 13
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 12
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1

Spa circuit
Belgium GP

Sunday 28th August 2011

Hungarian GP at Hungaroring
Hungaroring circuit
Nick Heidfeld on fire
babe in Hungary
Mercedes engine 1
Fernando Alonso 2
Fernando Alonso 1
Hungary crowd 1
Hungary track
Jenson Button
Kamui Kobatashi
Lewis Hamilton
Mark Webber
Mercedes Engine 2
Mercedes Engine 2
Nico Rosberg
Pastor Maldonaldo
Pastor Maldonaldo
Qualifying Hungary
Safety car Hungary
Sebastian Vettel
Torro Rosso
Race: Button Marks 200th With A Win
Sunday 31st. July 2011

Jenson Button won an action-packed Hungarian GP to celebrate his 200th grand prix in style.

In a race of shifting fortunes that saw Vettel, Massa, Hamilton and Alonso spin or have off-track excursions, Button kept his car on the island. It also helped that he ignored a team call to come in for Intermediate tyres!

Hamilton led for most laps in a race that had three leaders, but his spin put paid to his hopes, as did a stop for Intermediate tyres when the rain suddenly stopped falling. He came home in fourth behind Alonso in third and Vettel in a handy second place.

Race Report It was a wet Hungaroring, with drizzly rain falling on the grid and an ambient temperature of 17C with the track at 18C. It was unquestionably a case of starting on the Intermediate tyre in these conditions.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Massa, 5.Alonso, 6.Webber, 7.Rosberg, 8.Sutil, 9.Schumacher, 10.Perez, 11.DiResta, 12.Petrov

Start: Polesitter Sebastian Vettel got his car away from P1 with no problems and was followed tentatively into Turn 1 by the two McLarens in grid order. However Jenson Button was able to get good drive round the outside of Turn 1 and pulled alongside Lewis Hamilton into Turn 2.

Vettel took the outside line around Turn 2 and Lewis followed him round while Jenson dived inside. Lewis made the exit of the turn first and held onto P2 with Jenson dropping in behind.

Further back Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made storming starts from P7 and P9 going past the Ferraris into Turn 1 while Massa and Alonso lost traction. For a change, Fernando Alonso had made the better start than Massa and was past him into Turn 1, but both slipped behind the Mercedes.

Mark Webber had another dreadful start slipping behind them all but recovering a place from a Force India.

In fact so good was Michael Schumacher's start that he tried to challenge Nico Rosberg for P4 in the run down to Turn 4, but Rosberg held on to the place. Schumacher slipped back during the opening lap and Alonso challenged the slithering and sliding Mercedes through the final turn of the lap, where Schumi ran wide. Alonso was back to P5.

Positions after Lap 1 1.Vettel 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Rosberg, 5.Alonso, 6.Schumacher, 7.Massa, 8.Webber, 9.DiResta, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Barrichello, 12.Petrov

Adrian Sutil had a nightmare opening lap dropping from 8th on the grid to 20th after losing control of his Force India.

As early as Lap 2 Sebastian Vettel was coming under pressure from Hamilton especially into the slippery Turn 2. Alonso ran wide there on Lap 4 and lost the place he'd gained on Michael Schumacher and would have to repass him

A lap later and Hamilton pressured Vettel into a mistake at Turn 2, the Red Bull ran wide and Lewis cruised past. Jenson Button was right onto Vettel's gearbox and was told he could use "the yellow button" to overtake if he wanted.

Both Ferraris were struggling to get heat into their tyres - Fernando Alonso ran wide in Turn 12 and lost more time and had to repass his team-mate, then Felipe Massa went off the circuit at Turn 2 spinning his car gently into the barriers and losing a chunk off his rear wing.

By Lap 8, though, the Ferrari looked menacingly quick and Alonso was right onto the gearbox of Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes cars had started quickly but their rear tyres were going off quickly. On Lap 9 Alonso was able to pass Rosberg using the DRS zone.

Webber and Massa were in for tyres at the end of Lap 10, swapping Inters for super-softs; Button on Lap 11, Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg and Alonso on Lap 12. All going onto the red-walled super-soft Option tyre.

The advantage of stopping earlier than Vettel was soon apparent as Jenson Button - on warmer tyres - was able to dive up the inside of the Red Bull driver into Turn 2 to take P2, and Mark Webber did the same on Alonso to take P4.

So the positions on Lap 14 were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Button, 3.Vettel, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Rosberg, 7.DiResta, 8.Schumacher, 9.Massa, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Barrichello, 12.Petrov

Lewis set about posting a series of fastest laps as the track dried out, setting a new benchmark on Laps 15,16, 17 and 18. Team-mate Jenson Button took less life out of his tyres early in the stint but reset the Fastest Lap on Laps 19 and 20. Mark Webber took it on lap 21 with a 1:27.413 but he was under great pressure from Alonso who was just 1.1 seconds behind.

Lewis's lead over Button had gone out to 9.1 seconds at one stage (Lap 20), but Button began to peg him back and by Lap 25 it was just 4.3 seconds. However at this stage of the proceedings all eyes were fixed on the fiery Renault of Nick Heidfeld, which was on fire even as it left the pits. The Renault car had been stationary too long in its pitbox and overheated.

Heidfeld managed to escape the flaming chassis quickly as he parked it on the grass on the inside of the run down to Turn 1, by the pitlane exit. Marshals raced to extinguish the flames but as they were putting it out, there was a small explosion at the side of the car which detonated carbon fibre to a height of about a metre off the ground which caught a marshal rushing past.

For a few seconds it looked like Race Control might bring out the Safety Car but ultimately it was dealt with under waved yellows. It made getting out of pitlane quite awkward, though. Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso both pitted again on Lap 25, Lewis Hamilton on Lap 26, Jenson Button on Lap 27 and Vettel on Lap 28. At the same time Michael Schumacher parked his Mercedes with a failed gearbox.

On Lap 29 the positions were: 1.Hamilton, 7.3 ahead of... 2.Button, 6.6 ahead of... 3.Vettel, 2.8 ahead of 4.Mark Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Kobayashi (one stop), 7.Massa, 8.Rosberg, 9.DiResta, 10.Barrichello, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Petrov

Fernando Alonso was right onto the gearbox of Mark Webber on Lap 32 and tried to overtake him using the grip on the outside of Turn 1, it didn't come off. Rather than waste time behind the Red Bull, Alonso pitted for the third time on Lap 37 and took on another set of super-soft tyres, looking for the undercut. He immediately set the Fastest Lap on Lap 38, a 1:24.718.

Just as Vettel was radioing back that his rear tyres were gone, Mark Webber came in and the Red Bull team sent him out on the yellow-walled soft tyres. Lewis came in on Lap 40 for a set of super-softs, Vettel pitted on Lap 41 for softs and Jenson Button pitted on Lap42, also for softs.

Button and the two Red Bulls were intending to make their Prime soft tyres last till the end of the race, but Alonso and Hamilton would have to make up time to pit again.

On Lap 43 the positions were: 1.Hamilton (7.6 seconds clear) 2.Button (1.8 seconds), 3.Alonso (2.2 seconds), 4.Vettel, 5.Webber, 6.Rosberg, 7.Massa, 8.Alguersuari, 9.Petrov, 10.Buemi.

Alonso looked to have used up the life of his tyres very quickly as by Lap 45 Vettel was straight past him with a DRS pass into Turn 1. It was also bad news for the other super-soft runner Lewis Hamilton, as Jenson Button was lapping faster than him on the harder wearing Option tyre. Vettel was catching them both.

On Lap 47 rain began to fall again and the race took another twist. Lewis Hamilton lost control in the Turn 6/7 chicane and spun his car on track to point it in the right direction. In doing so he forced Paul Di Resta wide and off the track to take avoiding action.

Button was past, but the two McLarens were soon running very close at the front. Button led the race from Hamilton through Laps 48 to 50 but on Lap 51 Jenson ran wide into Turn 2 and Hamilton took the lead again. On Lap 52 Button was back past Hamilton using the DRS into Turn 1 and then spoiled it all by running wide into Turn 2 again. Hamilton back in the lead. Mark Webber dived into the pitlane for Intermediate tyres in response to the slowing track.

As the rain continued to fall and the two McLarens slid around at the front, Lewis Hamilton came in for Inters at the end of Lap 52. Button was called in too, to stack behind Lewis, but chose to stay out for another lap. In that gap the rain stopped falling and it became apparent that Inters weren't needed.

Webber immediately came back in to get rid of his Inters and when Fernando Alonso breezed past Hamilton, he was straight in to replace his disastrous tyre choice. Alonso himself had come in for a new set of Prime tyres on Lap 47. Hamilton had been given a questionable drive-through penalty from inconsistent stewards for his spin in front of a lapped car (DiResta).

The same stewards apparently failed to see the Renault team's release of a burning car as unsafe! (During the race at least).

Lewis had dropped to fourth place after the Inters mistake, but the drive-through penalty put him down to 6th place on Lap 57 out of 70. He rejoined behind a 4th place battle between Felipe Massa and Mark Webber.

While that was all happening, Jenson Button put in the Fastest Lap on Lap 58, a 1:23.937 which opened up the gap to Vettel to 6.4 seconds. Mark Webber passed Massa who was struggling with his tyres and Hamilton was able to get past him into Turn 6. On Lap 59 Hamilton reset Fastest Lap in his pursuit of Mark Webber and his fourth place. The two of them came up against a train of cars led by Kamui Kobayashi who had run out of grip on tyres he was trying to last till the end of the race. The train included two Toro Rosso's a Force India and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

Kobayashi eventually lost places to them all (clipping Alguersuari in the process) and managed to get in front of Mark Webber before Turn 12. Lewis Hamilton took advantage and nipped up the inside of Webber to take P4 in a brilliant piece of opportunism. Webber pursued Hamilton to the line but even with the advantage of the DRS couldn't make the pass before the end of the race.

Vettel didn't challenge Button in the closing stages and came home in P2 behind a jubilant Jenson Button, taking his second race win of the season at his 200th GP. A distant Alonso came home third, probably quite surprised at being on the podium when fifth place looked the most likely result. Hamilton took 4th, Webber 5th, Felipe Massa an eventful 6th and Paul DiResta a best ever 7th, holding off Buemi and Rosberg to the line.

It had been a drama-filled race with spins or off-track excursions from Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Massa. Button kept his car on the island and won another memorable grand prix. From a Red Bull perspective, it was exactly the right Mclaren driver to win.

FH

Results
01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h43:42.337
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 3.588
03. Alonso Ferrari + 19.819
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 48.338
05. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 49.742
06. Massa Ferrari + 1:17.176
07. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
09. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps
15. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps
16. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 4 laps
18. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps
19. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 5 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 5 laps
Retirements
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 56
Schumacher Mercedes 27
Heidfeld Renault 24
Trulli Lotus-Renault 18

Hungaroring circuit
Jenson Button wins in Hungary as Lewis Hamilton falters
By Sarah Holt
Sunday 31st. July 2011

McLaren's Jenson Button won a thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix that was won and lost on tyre strategy as the race was affected by intermittent wet weather.

Button fitted prime tyres at his third stop before the rain fell and he passed team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the lead.

Hamilton pitted six times, including a drive-through penalty, but passed Mark Webber's Red Bull to finish fourth.

Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel was second with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third.

Button marked his 200th grand prix by recording his second win of the season at the Hungaroring, where he claimed his very first grand prix victory five years ago.

Remarkably, the 31-year-old Englishman is the only man to win an F1 race at the track in wet conditions - the only two races to have been hit by rain since the inaugural race in 1986.

"This is the first place where I won a grand prix, in 2006, in these sorts of conditions," said Button.

"I'm always lucky with these conditions. You are not always going to make the right call in these conditions but I feel I'm pretty good at making the right call when it comes to tyre choices - but I'm not the only one.

"We had good pace today and I was able to make the soft tyres last.

"The reason why we won today was because we were quick. If it didn't rain it wouldn't have made any difference."

Vettel recovered from some early mistakes to comfortably take second on a three-stop strategy and he now leads the championship by 83 points from team-mate Webber. When you need a man with a cool head, Button is the man with a sixth sense

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle

"The start of the race I was struggling on inters and I tried to keep Lewis behind but it was important to move away from the pack behind," said Vettel.

"The second stint overall was a little bit better and the last stint I felt the pace was there, [but] I had some issues with the brakes.

"It was more important to bring the car home but all in all it's fair to say that Ferrari and McLaren on race pace in the last couple of events have made a step forwards."

Hamilton goes into the summer break third in the championship, 88 points behind Vettel, with Alonso one point back in fourth and Button remaining fifth, 100 points adrift.

Button had run behind Hamilton, who had passed Vettel for the lead, in the second phase of the race after jumping Vettel at the first round of stops.

But when Hamilton opted for the soft tyres at his third stop, Button followed the example set by Webber and chose the prime tyres.

That decision was crucial when the rain fell just over 20 laps later and the two McLaren drivers swapped the lead several times before Hamilton dived back to the pits for intermediate tyres and Button sailed off into the distance.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle said: "When you need a man with a cool head, Button is the man with a sixth sense. ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG
Vettel has not won for three races now, and there is no doubt, though, that Red Bull are slightly on the back foot, but still he left Hungary with a bigger championship lead than he had when he arrived.

"Button brilliantly won the Hungarian GP. He was the class of the field but supreme steel was seen this afternoon as the drivers had to cope with extremely difficult conditions."

After a strong start, Hamilton threw his race away with the decision to fit soft tyres at his third stop.

His lead was already in jeopardy before the rain fell as both Red Bulls and Button had chosen the harder tyres and were aiming to get to the end of the race while Hamilton would have had to stop again.

When the rain came Hamilton at times struggled to control his McLaren and he made the decision to stop again for intermediate tyres. It was a decision team chief executive Jonathan Neale later said was down to the 2008 world champion.

As the wet weather faded away, Hamilton's decision proved to be the wrong one and he quickly returned to the pits to finish the race on prime tyres. Jenson Button overtakes Lewis Hamilton

A drive-through penalty for rejoining in front of Paul di Resta's Force India after a spin put him behind Webber, but he was able to use his fresh tyres - with a little assistance from the congested midfield pack - to pass the Australian for fourth.

"Jenson was pushing me hard the whole race and the better man won today," said Hamilton.

"I was struggling a lot with the graining on my left front tyres. I don't know whether that was my fault by pushing too hard."

On the decision to change to intermediates tyres, Hamilton added: "It wasn't necessarily the best call, but that's motor racing. We can definitely say the team has done a fantastic job and for us to have been the most competitive cars this weekend means we go into the break in good spirits."

Alonso had chosen a similar strategy to Hamilton, also opting for the soft tyres on the third stop as he attempted to get past Webber, who had been holding him up since the first stops. But he quickly dived back to the pits for hard tyres as the rain fell and took third.

The Spaniard was satisfied with the result after finding himself overhauled by the two Mercedes' off the line and delayed in hunting down the Red Bulls by a slow second stop.

"This is good again for us," said the double world champion. "We expected hotter temperatures and more problems with degradation for our main competitors.

"It was difficult conditions for us but we reach another podium and that is a good target for each weekend." There was a small explosion on the left of the car. I never saw anything like that before

Renault driver Nick Heidfeld

Ferrari's Felipe Massa battled back from a difficult race to finish sixth behind Webber. The Brazilian was followed by Di Resta, who collected his first points for Force India since Malaysia.

Nico Rosberg, who found himself fourth on the opening lap, settled for ninth. His Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher retired after spinning off the track.

Toro Rosso celebrated their 100th grand prix with both drivers in the points. Sebastien Buemi finished eighth with Jaime Alguersuari 10th.

There was a dramatic moment when Nick Heidfeld's Renault caught fire coming out of the pit-lane, although the scary incident was not deemed dangerous enough to bring out the safety car.

An explosion after the German had climbed out of the car was caused by the engine's air bottle exploding.

The German explained: "The pit stop took longer than it should have and something overheated.

"I had a fire in Barcelona as well but this one got quite close and I felt some heat so I had to get out quickly. There was a small explosion on the left [of the car]. I never saw anything like that before."

Hungaroring

McLaren's Jenson Button emerged the fairy tale victor in his 200th Grand Prix, after a gripping Hungarian race had seen Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton take turns leading early on before the 2009 champion pushed irresistibly to the fore.

Vettel led the first four laps on a track made super-slippery by drizzle, but had no answer to the forceful Hamilton who pushed ahead on the fifth as the German ran wide in Turn Two. Button jumped Vettel when they switched to slicks on Laps 11 and 12. For the next 29 laps Hamilton seemed a shoe-in for the victory with Button riding shotgun and keeping Vettel under control.

But when Hamilton pitted on Lap 40 he took another set of super-soft tyres, whereas Button, and the Red Bull drivers (Mark Webber on Lap 39, Vettel on 41), went for the more durable softs and a better chance of making it to the finish without another stop.

Then it began to rain a little again, and suddenly Button was first after Hamilton half spun in a chicane on the 47th and lost what had been a 5.6s lead. Worse, however, as he spun himself back into second place Hamilton unwittingly forced Paul di Resta to take avoiding action which badly delayed the Scot's Force India which was in strong contention for a top-seven finish.

As Button's race suddenly came alive, Hamilton's fell to pieces. He regained the lead from Button on Lap 51, then pitted at the end of Lap 52 after he and Button had passed and repassed one another in a frenzied but clean duel. Now, however, like Webber on Lap 51, Hamilton opted for intermediate tyres, but it was a mistake as it started to dry again. Both had to stop yet again for soft tyres, on lap 54, and Lewis had a final stop to serve a drive-through penalty on Lap 56 for the incident with Di Resta.

Button, meanwhile sailed serenely on, delighted with the call to switch to the soft tyres and his determination to resist a pit call to stop for intermediates on the lap that Hamilton did. As Vettel experienced minor brake problems in the closing stages, Button was thus able to stroke it home to a brilliant 11th triumph that was in many ways reminiscent of his first, in similar conditions, here back in 2006.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso recovered from having to chase the fast-starting Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher at the start, then getting trapped for a while behind Webber's Red Bull, as a four-stop strategy helped him through to a solid podium finish.

Behind the Spaniard, Hamilton overtook Webber on the 63rd lap to salvage something from an ultimately disappointing afternoon, leading the Australian home by just under a second and a half.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was a lonely sixth after an early spin, with Di Resta taking an excellent seventh a comfortable distance ahead of the remains of a huge battle for eighth. This eventually fell to Sebastien Buemi, who had started his Toro Rosso 23rd, as the Swiss fended off Rosberg to the line.

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari had been in this scrap too, together with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, and the lapped Force India of Adrian Sutil and Sauber's Sergio Perez, but half spun trying to pass Kobayashi in Turn One shortly before the Japanese driver stopped for fresh rubber. The Spaniard quickly recovered for 10th place, making it a good day for Franz Tost's team, with Kobayashi taking 11th ahead of Renault's Vitaly Petrov, Rubens Barrichello's Williams, Sutil and Perez, and Williams' Pastor Maldonado.

Neither Lotus finished, while Nick Heidfeld's Renault came to a fiery halt just after a pit stop when an exhaust caught fire. The German was unharmed. Schumacher also failed to finish, spinning on the exit to Turn Two after tagging Massa as they fought over sixth.

That left Timo Glock to bring his Virgin home 17th ahead of Daniel Riccardo's HRT, Jerome D'Ambrosio who half spun his Virgin in the pit road, and Tonio Liuzzi who lost a whole load of time on the opening lap that he could never thereafter make up for HRT.

Vettel extends his world championship points lead with 234, while Webber remains second on 149, with Hamilton third on 146, Alonso fourth on 145 and Button closing in again with 134. Red Bull's lock on the constructors' championship shows no sign of waning with 383 points to McLaren's 280 and Ferrari's 215.


German GP at Nurburgring
Nurburgring circuit
Start
Start1

Circuit image
Start2
Start3
Crash1
Crash2
Old Schumacher
History
History small
Pitlane1
Pitlane2
Lewis Hamilton wins
Lewis Hamilton receives trophy.
German GP: Faultless Lewis Wins In Germany
Sunday 24th. July 2011

Lewis Hamilton claimed his second race win of the season as McLaren took advantage of the cold conditions at the Nurburgring.

Starting second on the grid the Briton drove a near-perfect race that included an audacious overtaking move around the outside of Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber yet again failed to convert pole position into a win, coming home third behind Alonso and in front of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Race Report
It was cold and damp at the Nurburgring with drops of rain falling as the cars assembled on the grid. The biggest problem for the drivers was getting heat into the front tyres with an ambient of just 13C and the track at 15C. Sebastian Buemi had been moved to the back of the grid after the stewards found an irregularity in fuel taken from the car after qualifying.

Red Bull had a number of 'spotters' round the circuit watching for rain because of the localised nature of the weather. Christian Horner said that conventional weather radar wasn't going to be as effective as usual. It was raining as the cars set off on the formation lap but the much-expected showers never came.

Six Rows of Grid : 1.Webber, 2.Hamilton, 3.Vettel, 4.Alonso, 5.Massa, 6.Rosberg, 7.Button, 8.Sutil, 9.Petrov, 10.Schumacher, 11.Heidfeld, 12.DiResta

Start: Polesitter Mark Webber was slow off the line as the red lights went out and Lewis Hamilton was easily past him and into a defensive position on the inside for Turn 1. Behind, Mark Webber was under pressure from Alonso and team-mate Vettel, who in turn had to fight off Felipe Massa. Vettel kept one Ferrari behind him but not the other.

In pushing Massa wide onto the run-off tarmac, Vettel also opened the door for Nico Rosberg, who was a long way back going into Turn 1 but was able to cruise into P5 for Turn 2 ahead of the second Ferrari.

Further back, Jenson Button had a dreadful start losing places to Sutil and Petrov and then, further round the opening lap, Michael Schumacher as well. Meanwhile Nick Heidfeld ran into by Paul Di Resta spinning both cars. The stewards would investigate and give Heidfeld a drive-through for causing the collision.

However, start of the race was made by Kamui Kobayashi who started from P.17 and ended the opening lap in P.12

Positions after Lap 1
1.Hamilton, 2. Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Vettel, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Sutil, 8.Petrov, 9.Schumacher, 10.Button, 11.Barrichello, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Maldonado, 14.Alguersuari

The Ferrari is slow to get its tyres up to temperature and on Lap 2 Fernando Alonso ran wide in Turn 2 and Vettel was straight through into P3. Alonso, ever patient, built up tyre temperature and was back challenging Vettel on Lap 6 while ahead of them Mark Webber was right on Hamilton's gearbox.

Felipe Massa was anxious to get past Nico Rosberg from Lap 2 onwards but despite deploying the DRS after Lap 3 couldn't find a way past.

On Lap 8 Fernando Alonso passed Vettel for P3, going up the inside into Turn 1. Two laps later and Vettel spun off the road when he put one wheel onto the wet kerb margin and lost a lot of time but no places thanks to Rosberg dropping so far back. That put him into a small train with Rosberg and Massa which he gradually pulled away from. On Lap 12 Massa was eventually able to outdrag Rosberg into Turn 1, much to the relief of engineer Rob Smedley (who'd been telling him exactly where he should use his KERS).

Nick Heidfeld had just been informed that he was to get a drive-through penalty for his opening lap indiscretion when he tried to go round the outside of Sebastien Buemi up to the Michael Schumacher-designed Veedol Chicane. Buemi simply didn't see him, moved out wide and found a Renault there, sending it bouncing into the gravel with a lot of damage and retirement. Buemi got a puncture for his troubles.

Lap 12 was also notable for Lewis Hamilton running too deep into the Veedol Chicane and being slow on the exit. Mark Webber was able to get alongside him into the final corner and Lewis had to give way as Mark had the inside line. However Hamilton wasn't finished yet. He lined up behind the Red Bull going down the straight and dived down the inside in a brilliant re-overtaking move.

The front three were very close together now and Webber was coming under pressure from Alonso behind. On Lap 14, in a bid to keep Alonso behind, Webber braked very late and the three were almost side by side as they went through the corner together. At the same time, Vettel was coming under pressure from Felipe Massa who was eager to find a way past.

At the end of Lap 14 Webber and Rosberg pitted, on Lap 15 Schumacher pitted, then on Lap 16 Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel pitted. As Lewis and Fernando left the pitlane, they exited onto a track where Mark Webber was duelling with the yet-to-stop Felipe Massa battling into Turn 1. The undercut had given Webber the lead once Massa was taken out of the equation.

Felipe duly pitted a lap later, but Vettel had been unable to make the undercut work for him and Massa moved into (net) P4 by stopping later with Vettel back to (net) P5.

Positions on Lap 18: 1.Webber, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Sutil(not stopped), 5.Button (not stopped), 6.Petrov (not stopped), 7.Kobayashi (not stopped), 8.Massa, 9.Vettel, 10.Rosberg, 11.Schumacher.

Button had found a way past Petrov on Lap 12 and McLaren had opted to put him onto a different strategy than Hamilton. Sutil pitted on Lap 23 and Button finally came in on Lap 25.

The race had split up into a battle between the front three, the late stoppers such as Sutil, Button and Kobayashi, and the early-stopping front runners of Massa, Vettel, Rosberg and Schumacher. Michael then exited this as he spun the car in exactly the same place as Vettel had done earlier and lost places as a result (although most of these cars then pitted and got out of the way)

When everyone had taken their first pit-stops the positions on Lap 26 were: 1.Webber, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Vettel 6.Rosberg, 7.Sutil, 8.Button, 9.Schumacher, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Maldonado, 12.Perez.

The front three were exceptionally close and on Lap 29 just 1.6 seconds covered them. Alonso set a new fastest lap of the race just as Mark Webber pitted for the second time. Hamilton came in for his stop a lap later but Alonso stayed out this time round. As Lewis exited the pitlane, Mark Webber was arriving in the braking zone of Turn 1. Hamilton led through the turn but was slow on exit and Webber came round the outside of him into Turn 2. Wise to this, Lewis moved his McLaren out wide and with Webber on the outside he had to drop back behind Hamilton for Turn 3.

The following lap Fernando Alonso looked to have got past them both as he came in for tyres and accelerated to Turn 1 ahead of the fast arriving Lewis Hamilton. Lewis did what Mark Webber had tried to do the previous lap around Turn 2 but was significantly quicker and was up into P1 with an outstanding manoeuvre.

Further back Jenson Button was closing on Nico Rosberg and passed him on Lap 35. He had closed on Sutil quickly after his pit-stop and passed him on Lap 31 and looked to be chasing down the battle for P4/P5. But a lap later his engineers radioed for him to come in and retire after a hydraulic failure, denying race fans a three-way battle for P4.

From Laps 34 to 36 Lewis - now leading the race - put in a series of fastest laps to establish the biggest lead in the race so far. By Lap 37 he was a mighty 3.1 seconds in front of Alonso with the Ferrari 3.4 seconds in front of Webber. Little changed in the next ten laps with Alonso edging out more of a gap to Webber and Vettel continuing to follow Massa, even through the second pit-stops.

On Lap 48 Lewis had a 2.8 lead over Alonso, who in turn had 5.7 on Webber. All the front runners had to use the harder Prime tyre and it was a question of how long they could make their soft Option tyres last. The primes were between 1.5 and 2 seconds slower and it had been predicted that some teams wouldn't run them till the final few laps.

When Vitaly Petrov came in for a set of the Primes all eyes turned to the timing screens to see how the Russian was faring. When he started putting in fastest sectors McLaren pitted Lewis Hamilton, at the end of Lap 51, (he had only a 2.0 second lead at the time). Would Ferrari respond? No.

Afraid that they wouldn't get the heat into the tyres, Ferrari left it as late as possible. Alonso pitted at the end of Lap 53 but already Hamilton was putting in personal best lap times on the feared Prime tyres and exceeding the Ferrari's pace. Fernando rejoined several seconds down. Webber didn't pit until Lap 56 and had already lost any chance of P2. The only issue left to resolve was who would get fourth place with Felipe Massa hanging onto P4.

Sebastian Vettel was all over the back of him and even with the DRS couldn't get past. They both needed to change tyres before the end. Red Bull told Vettel to watch what Massa was doing and do the opposite - if he pitted, stay out. If he stayed out, come in. He didn't heed the advice.

Thus on lap 59 out of 60 both cars came down pitlane together. Unusually Red Bull got a clear jump on Ferrari and Vettel was on his way again with Massa still stationary. Thus Vettel picked up P4 and Massa P5.

Hamilton crossed the line to record one of his most accomplished race wins four seconds clear of the Ferrari. The McLaren had benefitted from the cold conditions to come home in front of Alonso's Ferrari and Webber's Red Bull. Adrian Sutil scored a valuable P6 ahead of Rosberg P7 and Schumacher P8 with Kobayashi in P9 and Petrov in P10.

If Hamilton and Alonso can do the same in the warmer conditions of the Hungaroring next week, then it really might be game on.

FH

Results
01. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h37:30.334
02. Alonso Ferrari + 3.980
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 9.788
04. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 47.921
05. Massa Ferrari + 52.252
06. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:26.208
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
09. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
10. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
18. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
20. Chandhok Lotus-Renault + 4 laps
Retirements
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 44
Button McLaren-Mercedes 42
Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 23
Heidfeld Renault

Nurburgring circuit
German Grand Prix:
Race - Hamilton surprises with win.
Sunday 24th. July 2011

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton hit back emphatically at his critics with a beautifully judged drive to victory at a mostly dry Nurburgring on Sunday afternoon, in a race which he described to his crew as 'easy' during his slowing down lap.

Hamilton grabbed the lead from Red Bull's Mark Webber at the start as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel scrapped over third place on a track that was slightly slippery in places from a very light shower just as the grid formed. Vettel took third when Alonso made a mistake, but the Spaniard later repassed him and Vettel lost time first with a half spin in Turn 10 on the ninth lap, then with a rear brake problem.

Hamilton momentarily lost the lead to Webber on the 12th lap after a slow exit from the chicane, but immediately overtook him going into Turn One. Later, however, the Australian took the lead after an early pit stop on Lap 14. The reshuffled order saw Webber ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso very much in play.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa and McLaren's Jenson Button had meanwhile lost time at the start and had ground to make up.

Webber was again the first to make his second stop, again for soft Pirellis, on Lap 30. Hamilton and Alonso stopped on Laps 31 and 32 respectively, and this time McLaren got their man out ahead again to set the pattern for the race. All three ran as fast and as long as they could on their second sets of soft tyres, which were faster than the harder compounds. Behind them, Massa fought a great battle to keep a recovering Vettel at bay for fourth.

Hamilton clearly had the pace to keep Alonso behind, as Webber appeared to fade for a while. As the countdown began to the final stops, McLaren turned Hamilton round quickly again, as he was the first to stop on Lap 51, and though Alonso went two laps later and Webber another three beyond that, there was never any doubt about the outcome as the 2008 world champion won by 3.9s. Alonso crossed the line 5.8s ahead of Webber, but hitched a ride home on the Red Bull's sidepod after running out of fuel on the slowdown lap.

The Massa/Vettel duel was settled by Ferrari's crew on the penultimate lap as both dived into the pits together but Red Bull got their man out quicker, handing him fourth place. Massa was a hugely disappointed fifth.

Behind them, Adrian Sutil made tremendous use of a two-stop strategy to take an excellent sixth place for Force India after a measured drive, beating the three-stopping Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher who, like Vettel, spun in Turn 10. The two silver cars were hounded throughout by Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber after the Japanese driver made a superb start, and he took ninth place just ahead of Vitaly Petrov who had tough battles with Button, Schumacher and Kobayashi on his way to 10th and the final point.

Sergio Perez was 11th in the other Sauber after an off-course moment, while Jaime Alguersuari was Toro Rosso's top finisher in 12th ahead of Force India's Paul di Resta who had to fight back from a spin in the third corner after the start. Pastor Maldonado was Williams' sole finisher in 14th after Rubens Barrichello hit mechanical trouble early on, the Venezuelan heading home Sebastien Buemi who survived a clash at the chicane which put out first-lap spinner Nick Heidfeld. After a post-race investigation by the stewards, Buemi was handed a five-place grid penalty for the next round in Hungary.

Heikki Kovalainen had an uneventful run to 16th for Team Lotus, ahead of the battling Virgins of Timo Glock and Jerome D'Ambrosio. Tonio Liuzzi chased them hard, having overcome a challenge from HRT team mate Daniel Ricciardo, but the Italian retired with electrical problems, leaving the improving Australian rookie to finish 19th ahead of Lotus debutant Karun Chandhok who had a few off-course adventures.

The highest profile non-finisher was Button, who got stuck behind Petrov early on and lost a lot of ground before finally finding a way by. He was running sixth on the road when he was called in to retire on Lap 35, due to hydraulic problems.

Hamilton's win moves him to third in the title chase on 134 points to Vettel's 216 and Webber's 139, with Alonso on 130 and Button grounded on 109. Red Bull extended their constructors' points score to 355, with McLaren on 243 to Ferrari's 192. Mercedes pulled further ahead of Renault, with 78 to 66.

Nurburgring

The original Nurburgring, the Nordschleife, ran for an awe-inspiring 22.5 kilometres (14 miles). It was so long and so complicated that drivers simply could not remember a racing line. The Nurburgring was, in fact, two circuits: the Nordschleife and the Sudschleife. In total they had an amazing 172 corners.

It was safety which sealed the demise of the legendary track. Following Niki Lauda's terrifying accident there in 1976 in which he suffered horrendous burns, the Nurburgring's license to hold Formula One events was withdrawn.

The track underwent huge redevelopment to create a new circuit and in the spring of 1984 a race was held featuring 20 identical Mercedes 190Es and a grid composed of some of the best-ever Formula One drivers. Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Keke Rosberg, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, James Hunt, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, John Surtees and Denny Hulme were just a few of the names to take part. Senna, then a relative youngster, won from Lauda and Reutemann.

The European Grand Prix was held at the new track later that year, and again in 1985, but it disappeared again after commercial difficulties. With the ascendancy of Michael Schumacher, from nearby Kerpen, the track was once again back in Formula One in 1995. Posing as the Luxembourg Grand Prix for 1997 and 1998, it then once more became the home of the European Grand Prix until 2006. From 2007 it has played host to the German Grand Prix every other year in an agreement which sees the race alternate between there and Hockenheim.

The track may not be as challenging as the old circuit, but it is still possible to take a trip down memory lane - literally. For just a few euros one can take a car onto the old track and soak up what was one of the most feared and yet respected circuits in the history of motorsport.

Nurburgring Automotive GmbH
Nurburgring Boulevard 1
53520 Nurburg
Germany


British GP at Silverstone
Silverstone Circuit 2
Jenson Button and Prince Harry
Florence Brudenell Bruce
Lewis Hamilton and Prince Harry
Starting grid at Silverstone
Start at Silverstone
Start of British GP
Alonso
Ferrari
Button chasing Lewis
Cars
Champagne at Silverstone
Jenson Button
Traffic jam
Winners at Silverstone
Vettel: Alonso, Ferrari deserved to win
Sunday 10th. July 2011

Sebastian Vettel: At the [second] pit stop we had a problem - the car was already back on the floor, but then we had to lift it back up again. By then I had lost the lead and came out in third...

A less than 'optimum' performance prevented Sebastian Vettel from winning the F1 2011 British Grand Prix today - although team orders did help ensure he took second.

Vettel dominated in the early stages and was looking well set to take yet another victory. However a slow second stop - when the rear jack failed - cost him around 11 seconds and when he rejoined he was down in third and stuck behind Lewis Hamilton. Although he eventually got the jump on the McLaren man, by successfully stopping early for the third and final time on lap 36 to get the undercut, by then he had already lost too much ground to Fernando Alonso.

He eventually finished more than 15 seconds adrift of the Ferrari, coming under considerable pressure near the finish from Mark Webber, at least until the Aussie was instructed to 'hold station'.

Despite 'only' finishing second though, Vettel still stretches his lead in the drivers' championship and he will now go to the Nurburgring in two weeks time with an 80-point cushion - the equivalent to more than three race victories.

"I had an excellent start and with hindsight I wouldn't have minded if there had been more rain because I really liked the conditions when we were racing on the intermediate tyres," Vettel said post-race. "We seemed to be in very good shape and I was pulling away. We probably waited a little bit too long to go onto the dry tyres, but it was right as there was no need for us to take a risk and we were in control.

"At the [second] pit stop we had a problem - the car was already back on the floor, but then we had to lift it back up again. By then I had lost the lead and came out in third. I struggled to pass Lewis, I thought I could go much quicker, but I never really had the chance. Once I was very close, but it didn't work.

"We got him at the [final] pit stop, but by then Fernando was already gone. It was a good result for us [though], but we had some problems and, if you're not at your optimum, then there's always someone there to beat you. Ferrari was very quick all weekend and they deserved the victory today."

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner meanwhile defended the decision to enforce team orders, noting that it made 'absolute sense to consolidate a big haul of points'.

"After a very interesting race that initially started very well for us on the intermediate tyres, second and third is still a very strong result at this circuit, considering everything that has gone on this weekend," Horner stated.

"Unfortunately we had a rear jack failure on Sebastian's second pit stop, which cost him a lot of time in the pits and dropped him behind Fernando. Having said that, Fernando was very fast today, but at least we would have had the track position going into the latter stint. Having run second early on, Mark had an issue at his second pit stop, but he managed to re-pass Hamilton with a brave move into Turn six. In the closing laps and with the two cars going wheel to wheel, from a team point of view it made absolute sense to consolidate a big haul of points today and not risk having both cars in the fence, which nearly happened to Lewis and Felipe [Massa] on the last corner.

"From a team point of view it's been a very strong day - we gained 33 points and both drivers are now first and second in the Drivers' Championship. On the exhaust issue, hopefully we have now achieved clarity on this and can draw a line under it going forward," Horner concluded.

British GP: Alonso Reigns In Britain
Sunday 10th. July 2011
Fernando Alonso won the British Grand Prix thanks to an improved Ferrari, a slow McLaren and a dismal Red Bull pit stop.

With Red Bull and McLaren scrambling to re-engineer their cars this weekend, Fernando Alonso took full advantage and Ferrari's first win of the season.

Though the Spaniard was slower in wet and mixed conditions, once the Silverstone track dried out he was unstoppable. His pass of Vettel may have come courtesy of a pitlane slip-up by the Red Bull team, but he finished the race a long way clear of Vettel who squabbled with Mark Webber for P2 in the final two laps.

Lewis Hamilton had run as high as second in the race but had to settle for P4 after a clumsey late-race overtaking move from Felipe Massa almost took them both out of the race.

Race Report

It had been raining in the hour before the start time at Silverstone which had left the pit straight dry, but the back of the circuit from Copse to the Hangar Straight very wet. The ambient temperature was 20C with the track at 22C, but no immediate prospect of more rain. It was too wet to risk slick tyres and everyone started on Inters.

Grid:1.Webber, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Button, 6.DiResta, 7.Maldonado 8.Kobayashi, 9.Rosberg, 10.Hamilton 11.Sutil, 12.Rosberg

Start:He may not have got pole but when the red lights went out, Sebastian Vettel timed his getaway to perfection and was easily up inside polesitter Mark Webber into Turn 1 and Fernando Alonso slotted into P3.

There were plumes of spray from the wet track as the cars circulated on the opening lap. Behind the front three, Jenson Button got past Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton, starting from P10, managed to sneak past Rosberg, Kobayashi and Maldonado in the first four turns. Coming down the Hangar Straight he was easily past Paul DiResta into Stowe for P6.

Michael Schumacher also got another demon start, making up four places. So at the end of the opening lap the positions were: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Button, 5.Massa, 6.Hamilton, 7.DiResta, 8.Kobayashi, 9.Schumacher, 10.Maldonado, 11.Sutil, 12.Rosberg

Although he was up to P4 Jenson button looked very tentative and both Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton overtook him easily on Lap 2. Sebastian Vettel was able to open up a gap in the damp conditions, likewise Mark Webber over Fernando Alonso. By Lap 3 Vettel had a 3.4 lead over Webber and the Aussie had a 3.0 gap over Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton was charging hard and all over the back of Felipe Massa and on Lap 4 actually overtook him going into Brooklands but went straight on onto the run-off tarmac and gave the place back, dropping back for a time behind Massa.

On Lap 5 the DRS was enabled, by which time Vettel had a lead of 4.6 seconds over Webber who had 3.5 on Alonso. By Lap 7 Vettel had a 5.8 gap over Webber who went over the kerbs at the end of the Becketts sweeps and lost time, and by Lap 8 had Fernando Alonso breathing down his neck. The Ferrari looked decidedly second best in the wet, but easily the fastest car in the dry.

A spin from Kobayashi on Lap 9 lost him two places; then replays showed why the Sauber had been revolving. Michael Schumacher had been able to use his DRS for the first time that lap and misjudged his speed at the end of the Wellington straight, cannoning his front wing into the rear tyre of Kobayashi and breaking off the Mercedes front wing.

So it was a trip back to the pits for Schumacher and the perfect time to risk some slick tyres. He was first onto the soft Options and proved that they could work better than inters by becoming the fastest man in the race (but now back in P17). Heidfeld was in next for them followed by Jenson Button.

On Lap 10 Vettel had a lead of 8.1 seconds as the front-runners started to be fed information on Schumi's progress. On Lap 12 Button and Hiefdled came in, then a lap later it was Webber, Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. The fact that Alonso was pitted first for tyres meant that Massa ran longer than optimal, and so in the pit-stop shuffle he lost a place to Hamilton and started to come under pressure from Jenson Button.

Button was flying on his warmed up tyres setting the fastest lap on Lap 14, he came steaming down the Hangar Straight and when Massa moved to cover the inside, Button opted for the outside line. They were side by side through the corner but on the exit, the Ferrari driver unexpectedly kept on coming to the outside, even though the Mclaren was next to him on the track.

The helicopter shot showed how dangerous a position it was and Button was forced to go off track to avoid a collision but kept his foot in nonetheless. Now he had the inside line for Vale. He made it through to P5, but locked his tyres in the process.

At the same time Lewis Hamilton made the most sublime pass on Fernando Alonso into Copse corner. On the same time tyres Hamilton dived past Alonso at the last minute, going off the racing line through the wet and getting his car through without running wide before Maggots. Breathtaking stuff.

On Lap 15 the positions were: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Button, 6.Massa, 7.DiResta, 8.Sutil, 9.Schumacher, 10.Rosberg, 11.Perez, 12.Kobayashi.

Michael Schumacher, despite his battered Mercedes, was still in front of Nico Rosberg, but was facing a stewards decision on causing an avoidable accident. Because of the short-cut nature of a Silverstone pit-stop, a drive-through penalty had been changed to a ten-second stop and go penalty, and so Schumacher duly had to come in and serve his time in the Mercedes pitbox.

Between Laps 16 and 22 the fastest lap was slashed by the front five with Button, Hamilton, Webber, Vettel and Alonso all bettering it. Hamilton in P3 and Alonso in P4 were catching the Red Bulls, but Alonso was also catching Hamilton very quickly now the track was drying out. On Lap 22 only eight seconds covered the front four.

On Lap 24 Alonso used the DRS zone to overtake Hamilton with ease and a lap later Lewis was in for more tyres. Alonso was clearly the fastest man on the track putting in a succession of fastest laps between Lap 24 and 26. Webber, Button and Massa pitted on Lap 26 while Vettel and Alonso came in a lap later.

Vettel's stop was disastrous with a rear jack problem hampering the rear left tyre chage and the Red Bull was stationary for over 10 seconds. Alonso sailed past him in the pits, and when both rejoined the track it was all change. Alonso led with Hamilton not far behind in P2.

The positions on Lap 28 were: 1.Alonso, 2.Hamilton, 3.Vettel, 4.Webber, 5.Button, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8.Perez, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Alguersuari, 11.Sutil 12.Schumacher.

Vettel's stop hadn't been as woeful as Paul di Resta's, the Brit having run as high as P.7 before his second pit-stop. When he appeared in the pits his engineer yelled "stay out" at the last minute. Alas Paul was already in pitlane heading towards Adrian Sutil's tyres. The subsequent delay put him well down the order and an incident with Buemi later in the race removed his front wing.

After the second stops Hamilton closed on the Ferrari of Alonso for the first lap, but this wasn't going to be a repeat of the earlier heroics as Fernando put the hammer down and simply drove away from him. Vettel closed up onto the gearbox of Hamilton, but good defensive driving from Hamilton kept him behind. By Lap 34 Alonso had a 9.4 second gap to Hamilton and had virtually made his escape. At the same time Jenson Button was making steady progress on Mark Webber's fourth place and by Lap 35 was just 1.9 seconds behind him.

Unable to find a way past the Mclaren, Vettel pitted on Lap 37 for more tyres. To show how much of a short-cut the pitlane is, he actually registered across the line in P2 ahead of Hamilton while he was having his tyres changed. Lewis pitted a lap later in response but it was too late. Vettel had already taken P2.

On Lap 38 team radio reported that Jenson Button was going to come in to try and leapfrog Mark Webber - who was just 1.1 ahead of the Mclaren at the time. So Red Bull immediately pulled him to prevent this and Button stayed out because they'd lost the advantage of surprise.

When Button came in a lap later, the McLaren front jack man went to reach for his second gun and the lollypop man misread the situation as "all-clear" and released Button. Thus Button got to the end of the pitlane with a wobbly, unasecured front right wheel and had to park up, his race over.

When Felipe Massa pitted very late - on lap 42 - the positions were: 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Webber, 5.Massa, 6.Rosberg, 7.Perez, 8.Heidfeld, 9.Schumacher, 10. Alguersuari.11.Sutil

Alonso now had an unassailable lead over Vettel whose KERS wasn't working, but he was under no threat from P3 Lewis Hamilton who was dropping back. When the McLaren team reported to a shocked Lewis that he had to save lots of fuel, Mark Webber was soon up with the Mclaren and passed him in the DRS zone.

In the last stages of the race there were three epic fights, Nico Rosberg fighting off a determined Perez, Mark Webber closing in on Vettel for P2 and Felipe Massa rapidly catching Lewis Hamilton.

Though Mark Webber was radioed by the team to hold station in P3, the Aussie was having none of it and almost got past his team-mate in the Luffield-Woodcote complex. Vettel had enough race craft to keep in front of him to the flag and Webber wasn't trying to get past him at all costs.

Massa was 13 seconds behind Hamilton when Webber had got past him, but because of Lewis saving fuel was picking up three seconds a lap. Massa caught Lewis on the final lap just when the McLaren team told Lewis he was clear to race again. By this stage his brakes had cooled so as Felipe made a run on the outside into the final turn he cut too sharply across the understeering McLaren which clattered into his side.

The Ferrari lost control, went off the road onto the run-off and almost finished the race off the track. Lewis retained P4 by 0.024 of a second.

However the main event was Fernando Alonso winning at a canter, Ferrari's first win of the year. Although he had been helped by Red Bull's delayed pit-stop and Vettel's failure to get past Hamilton when he needed to, the Ferrari 150 looked by far the fastest car. Thankfully, as the race had started with Intermediate tyres the team weren't obliged to use the much-feared hard Prime tyre which they had struggled with in Spain.

Behind Massa in 5th, came Rosberg ahead of Perez and Heidfeld, with Michael Schumacher scrambling back to 9th to get two points on a day when he really should have been sixth.

It was yet another incident-packed race for 2011 and one that will involve an extensive debrief in the Red Bull motorhome.

FH

Results
01. Alonso Ferrari 1h28:41.194
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 16.511
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 16.947
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 28.986
05. Massa Ferrari + 29.010
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:00.665
07. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:05.590
08. Heidfeld Renault + 1:15.542
09. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:17.912
10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:19.108
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:19.712
12. Petrov Renault + 1:20.600
13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth -1
14. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth -1
15. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes -1
16. Glock Virgin-Cosworth -2
17. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth -2
18. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth -2
19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth -3
Button McLaren-Mercedes -11
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari -26
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari -28
Trulli Lotus-Renault -41
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault -49

Silverstone circuit
British Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso storms to Silverstone win
By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone
Sunday 10th. July 2011

Alonso wins incident-packed British GP

Fernando Alonso took Ferrari's first win of 2011 with a stunning drive at a thrilling British Grand Prix.

The Spaniard took the lead following a pit-stop problem for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel but the Ferrari had genuine race-winning pace.

Vettel was left to fend off team-mate Mark Webber, who was told to hold position by team boss Christian Horner.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, holding off Ferrari's Felipe Massa in an exciting last-lap duel.

"This isn't a gift to Ferrari," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard. "They've got to the lead of this race by merit."

Jenson Button retired following a problem at his final pit-stop, when he set off to rejoin the race without a wheel nut on his right front wheel and he had to stop in the pit exit.

Vettel's race also turned on a pit error. The German took the lead at the start from Webber, who began from pole, as the drivers had to cope with tricky conditions on a track that was wet over half its length but dry over the other.

The Red Bulls appeared to be in control early on in the mixed conditions, with Vettel leading Webber, and Hamilton taking third from Alonso on lap 15 with a brilliant move at the fast Copse corner. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

Silverstone win 'nice surprise' for Fernando Alonso

But as the track dried, the race turned on its head.

Alonso started to pump in fastest laps, closing on Hamilton and re-passing him on lap 24, and then on the Red Bulls.

He and Vettel came in on the same lap, 27, for their penultimate stops, and a delay fitting the left-rear wheel to the Red Bull enabled Alonso to pass Vettel in the pits and take the lead.

Vettel rejoined behind Hamilton and was unable to overtake him on the track as Alonso extended his lead with another run of impressive fastest laps, building it to 10 seconds by the time the Red Bull made its final pit stop.

The German managed to jump Hamilton, who came in on the next lap, but although Vettel was now second behind Alonso, the Ferrari continued to pull away to victory.

Vettel admitted that Ferrari had deserved their victory: "I think you have to accept fair and square Ferrari beat us today.

"There has been a bit of a trend over the last couple of races, they have been very strong on race days, so it shows us we need to keep pushing and improving the car."

He added: "It would have been a tight race because Ferrari had very good pace. It was not just us being unlucky and finishing second because of a mistake. Fernando was very competitive."

A delighted Alonso hailed his Ferrari colleagues as he spoke of his victory. Continue reading the main story

This is the big thing about Ferrari, the passion, the victory and the love for victory

Fernando Alonso

"It is a special event for every driver competing in F1, we know the history of this race, a special grand prix and I had the privilege to drive (this morning) the Froilan (Gonzalez) car that was the first Ferrari win in F1," he said.

"Today we won in the same circuit with the same passion, the same group of people who work for this fantastic team. This is the big thing about Ferrari, the passion, the victory and the love for victory."

Vettel was left to fend off Webber, who closed right up to the German in the final couple of laps and made a couple of attempts to pass before being told by Horner: "Mark, you have to maintain the gap."

"I'm not fine with it, no," Webber said after the race. "[If] Fernando retires on the last lap, we're battling for victory.

"Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end. I was trying to do my best with the amount of conversation on the radio."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he understood Webber's frustration but added: "We cannot give away a load of points. We did not want to see our drivers in the fence at some time in the last two laps, which is how it would have ended up.

"Mark is not out of the championship race but we could not afford to risk losing points. Mark should be fine with that, he is a team player. Second and third is a very strong result."

Vettel now has an 80-point lead over Webber in the championship, with Alonso moving up to third place, 92 points behind the leader.

Hamilton and Button are tied on points in fourth and fifth places, three points behind the Spaniard.

Hamilton lost third place to Webber with six laps to go and slipped back into the clutches of Massa.

The two men battled side by side through the final corner, and Massa actually finished the race off the track as Hamilton fought back hard to maintain fourth place.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was sixth, from Sauber's Sergio Perez, Renault's Nick Heidfeld, Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari.

McLaren and Sauber were fined by motorsport's governing body the FIA following the race, both found guilty of unsafe pit-stop releases.

McLaren were fined 5,000 euros (£4,433) for the problem with Button's car, while Sauber were fined 20,000 euros (£17,773) after the team released Kamui Kobayashi into the path of Williams' Pastor Maldonado.

British Grand Prix: Race - Alonso storms to superb Silverstone victory
British Grand Prix, Race,
Silverstone, England,
Sunday, 10 July 2011

Fernando Alonso was always the dangerman for Red Bull after qualifying so close to them, and on Sunday afternoon he put Ferrari back in Victory Lane with a beautifully-judged performance that owed a little to a delay during Sebastian Vettel's second pit stop.

Vettel appeared to settle for second place once it became clear that he could not catch the red car, having lost crucial time in the pits when there was a problem with a rear wheel. He was 16.5s adrift of the Spaniard by the flag, but had team mate Mark Webber on his tail and threatening to pass until team boss Christian Horner instructed them to "maintain the gap," as they struggled with their tyres in the closing laps.

Behind them, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had a real dust-up for fourth place. The Englishman had driven beautifully from 10th on the grid, making up places hand over fist in the early stages when lunchtime rain obliged everyone to opt for Pirelli's intermediate rain tyres. The rash of stops to change them began on Lap Nine, and meant that nobody thereafter had to use the hard slicks but could run as many softs as they had available.

Hamilton overtook Alonso on the 15th lap and ran third behind Vettel and Webber, but a better stop for Alonso on the 27th lap put the Ferrari ahead of the McLaren again. After Vettel's delay that lap, the Spaniard moved into a lead he never thereafter surrendered.

Vettel fell to third behind Hamilton because of his problem, but the Red Bull driver pushed ahead after their final stops. Vettel got very close to Hamilton on Lap 35 exiting Woodcote but couldn't make it stick, and opted instead to stop for tyres again on Lap 36. Hamilton did likewise on Lap 37, but the German moved ahead in the stops, and then Hamilton was instructed shortly afterwards to back off in order to conserve fuel. He could do nothing about Webber, who overtook on the 46th lap, and that set up his fight with Massa.

Down into Vale on the last lap, Massa pushed ahead but Hamilton refused to give up and pushed down the inside of the left-hander. They made brief contact which damaged the McLaren's front wing, but as Hamilton dived back for the inside line exiting the first part of Club Massa stayed to the outside but ran wide and then into the run-off area. They crossed the line officially split by 0.024s, with Hamilton dramatically maintaining fourth.

What at one stage looked hugely promising for McLaren turned into a major disappointment when Jenson Button had to retire at the end of the pit lane on the 39th lap, while running second during the rash of final stops and fighting for a top four position; his car was released from the pits too soon, and the nut had not been fitted to the right front wheel.

Further back, Mercedes's Nico Rosberg kept his cool despite massive race-long pressure from Sergio Perez's Sauber, with Nick Heidfeld taking ninth for Renault after fending off Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes driver had earlier damaged his nose and earned a 10-second stop/go penalty for spinning Kamui Kobayashi as they fought over seventh place ahead of Rosberg and Perez; Schumacher recovered but later the Japanese driver retired.

Jaime Alguersuari took the final point after a determined chase of Schumacher ultimately proved fruitless, and just held off Force India's Adrian Sutil and Renault's Vitaly Petrov by the flag.

Earlier there had been a mix-up in the Force India pit when Paul di Resta, running a superb seventh early on, was accidentally given Sutil's tyres and lost a lap while this was rectified. The bitterly disappointed Scot was only 15th.

There was also a close finish between the Williamses. Their hopes of points evaporated very early on, and Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado rarely featured after the opening laps and finished in that order, 13th and 14th, 0.8s apart.

Behind Di Resta, Timo Glock and Jerome D'Ambrosio were 16th and 17th for Virgin, as Tonio Liuzzi drove hard in his HRT to keep the Belgian honest and finished a lap ahead of rookie team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Neither Team Lotus driver made it home, Heikki Kovalainen dropping out early with gearbox problems and Jarno Trulli likewise hitting mechanical trouble with an engine oil leak. Sebastien Buemi joined the other five retirees after slicing his left rear tyre in a racing incident with Di Resta, and had to stop when the rubber flew off the rim of his Toro Rosso.

Vettel, of course, continues the lead the title chase, with 204 points, from Webber on 124, as Alonso jumps the McLaren drivers with 112 to their 109 apiece. Red Bull extend their constructors' lead, with 328 points to McLaren's 218 and Ferrari's 164.


European GP at Valencia
Hamilton and Massa
Valencia harbour
Vettel winner
Vettel leads
Vettel Red Bull
Europe - Vettel wins from Alonso in Valencia
Sunday 26th. June 2011
Sebastian Vettel scored his sixth victory of the season in Valencia on Sunday, without anyone getting anywhere close to his Red Bull.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battled with Mark Webber, however, and ultimately prevailed as the Australian's RB7 misbehaved in the closing stages and prevented him attempting to regain the second place he had held on two occasions.

Lewis Hamilton was 46.1s behind Vettel on a day when McLaren lacked pace, heading home Felipe Massa's Ferrari and team mate Jenson Button.

The Alonso/Webber fight was the main focal interest at the front as Vettel simply ran off and hid. Webber held it, under pressure, from Lap One to 20, but then Alonso overtook after exploiting his DRS going into Turn 12. The Spaniard then stayed there until his second pit stop on Lap 29, whereupon Webber went back in front having stopped a lap sooner.

His third and final stop on Lap 42 promoted Alonso again, and as Webber had run wide going into the pits and lost crucial time, the Ferrari driver was able to stop on Lap 45 and then stay ahead. Webber then fell away quite dramatically, as his car developed a gearbox problem. He was so far ahead of Hamilton, however, that his podium place was never in doubt.

Nico Rosberg finished a lonely seventh for Mercedes, ahead of a mighty scrap between Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari, who ran a great two-stop strategy, and on-form three-stopper Adrian Sutil, who was only 0.4s behind him in his Force India as they finished eighth and ninth, a lap down. Nick Heidfeld had an undramatic run to 10th and the final point for Renault, ahead of Sergio Perez who drove his Sauber heroically with only one stop and deserved a point for the effort.

In another of those no longer so rare races in which nobody retired, Williams' Rubens Barrichello headed home Sebastien Buemi in the other Toro Rosso, Paul di Resta's Force India, Vitaly Petrov's Renault (in which he had made a terrible start and immediately lost places), Kamui Kobayashi's two-stopping Sauber, a delayed Michael Schumacher who had the front wing of his Mercedes damaged by Petrov as he rejoined after his first pit stop, and Pastor Maldonado's Williams.

Heikki Kovalainen beat Team Lotus team mate Jarno Trulli to 19th place, while Timo Glock saw off Virgin partner Jerome D'Ambrosio, who was involved in a mighty scrap early on with Tonio Liuzzi's HRT before pulling clear. Liuzzi thus took 23rd, well ahead of team mate Narain Karthikeyan.

Vettel now has 186 points to Button and Webber on 109, Hamilton on 97 and Alonso on 87. In the constructors' stakes, Red Bull have 295 to McLaren's 206 and Ferrari's 129.

European GP: Vettel Wins Lacklustre Euro GP
Sunday 26th. June 2011

Sebastian Vettel scored his sixth win of the campaign in the European GP where the fight at the front resembled F1 of seasons past.

Despite a double DRS zone, Pirelli tyres and KERS the Valencia street circuit proved resistant to providing an exciting race. Vettel came home in front of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber with Lewis Hamilton a distant fourth.

24 drivers completed the grand prix, the highest number ever to finsh an F1 race.

Race Report

The sun beat down on the Valencia grid with not a cloud in the sky and an ambient temperature of 28C

Grid: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Massa, 6.Button, 7.Rosberg, 8.Schumacher, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Sutil, 11.Petrov, 12.DiResta

Start: As the lights went out it was Lewis Hamilton in P3 who got a bad start while the two Red Bulls in front managed to get away cleanly, under no threat from the McLaren.

The man on the move was Felipe Massa who got another blinding start from P5 and was up between Hamilton and team-mate Alonso into P3 very quickly. He looked to go up the inside of Mark Webber and take P2 into the first corner. Webber moved across to cover but left a gap wide enough for the Ferrari. Massa thought better of diving into it.

As he wavered he was overtaken around the outside by Fernando Alonso who was easily past Hamilton and swept into P3 via a trouble-free outside line. It all looked so simple. Hamilton dropped back into P5 with Rosberg in P6 who got up the inside of Jenson Button who had to give way to the Mercedes driver.

Further back everybody kept their front wings intact and nobody had to head off to the pitlane.

Lap 1 Positions: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Hamilton, 6.Rosberg, 7.Button, 8.Schumacher, 9.Sutil, 10.Heidfeld, 11.DiResta, 12.Barrichello, 13.Kobayashi

Straight away Nico Rosberg started to drop back from the front runners and by Lap 4 was 4.2 seconds behind fourth place Hamilton. By Lap 6 Jenson Button was through and past him, easily outbraking him into Turn 2. Ironically this wasn't a DRS zone. In Valencia the DRS zones were relatively ineffective, allowing cars to close up, but rarely pass.

At the front, the Ferraris were hanging on to the Red Bulls with Lewis Hamilton not far away either. On Lap 8 just 6.7 seconds covered the top 5. Jenson Button had lost touch with the top five having taken so long to get past Rosberg and even when past him wasn't able to close on them in free air.

On Lap 13, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil pitted for tyres. A lap later, Mark Webber pitted but both Ferraris stayed out. At the end of Lap 15 Vettel, Alonso, Button and Schumacher came in.

While they were on in-laps and outlaps Lewis Hamilton had the hammer down. It looked like Ferrari had left Felipe Massa out too long, and so it proved. He emerged from the pitlane substantially behind Hamilton now back in P5 with Jenson Button still P6.

Cameras switched to Michael Schumacher's front wing which was floating loose - replays showed that he had emerged from the pitlane and tried to go up the inside of the earlier-stopping Vitaly Petrov. Petrov got to the apex of Turn 2 first and drove over the front of Schumi's front wing - in much the same way as he'd done in Turkey. Stewards would investigate but no action was taken.

Webber's early stop had given him a distinct advantage over Sebastian Vettel and he'd closed up to less than two seconds behind but on Lap 17 he came across an HRT just after Turn 17 and lost a whole second in four corners. He waved angrily but didn't get the time back. Vettel was tantalisingly out of reach now.

Lap 17 positions: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Button, 7.Rosberg, 8.Alguersuari (not stopped), 9.Sutil, 10.Heidfeld, 11.Barrichello, 12. Perez (not stopped)

On Lap 20, only 2.9 seconds covered the front three drivers. Fernando Alonso was now right on Mark Webber's gearbox and by Lap 21 he managed to get up the inside of him into Turn 12 for P2. Webber didn't fall back, though and on Lap 23 put in the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit of Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton came in for more tyres on Lap 25 and immediately put in the fastest lap. Mark Webber pitted on Lap 27 as Lewis sprinted around for another fastest lap, early in his stint - being warned by his team not to take too much life out of the tyres. The response from Hamilton was: "I can't go any slower".

Fernando Alonso didn't stop till Lap 29 and the delay in coming in lost him the place to Mark Webber. Vettel stopped on Lap 30 while Felipe Massa waited even longer than Alonso and Webber caught and passed him on Lap 31.

The positions on Lap 32 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Massa, 6.Button, 7.Alguersuari (one stop), 8.Rosberg, 9.Sutil, 10.Heidfeld, 11.DiResta, 12.Barrichello.

Vettel had just a 1.8 second lead over Webber while the Australian was a mere 1.7 seconds in front of Alonso who had twelve seconds on Lewis Hamilton. Massa wasn't helped by a jammed rear wheel on his pit-stop that put him only just ahead of Jenson Button. Button was being delayed by an overheating KERS which had packed up and losing him time, though he was over half a minute in front of next man Rosberg and still going faster than him.

So now the big battle was between the top three with P4, P5, P6 and P7 all strung out while Alguersuari led the strategy battle for the rest of the points places. On Lap 35 Hamilton was 18.3 seconds behind third place Alonso.

From Lap 36 onwards Sebastian Vettel began to push and open the gap, setting fastest laps on Lap 36, 38 and 39. By Lap 41 he had opened up a 3.9 gap to Webber who pitted to take on medium compound Prime tyres for the last stint on Lap 42 (of 57). Hamilton pitted for his Primes the same lap.

It had been Webber's choice to come in early and it was the wrong one, Alonso was able to run three laps longer on his Option tyres and by the time that Webber was bringing his Primes up to temperature, Alonso was out of the pits in front of him and back into second place. Though Webber got close on Alonso's first lap out of the pits (into a gaggle of lapped cars), he couldn't get close enough to make a move and subsequently fell back. A little later his team radioed through that he had a gearbox problem, asking him to short-shift till the end of the race.

Vettel didn't pit till the end of Lap 47, with Massa and Button coming in for their final time on Lap 48. Massa had been closing the gap to Hamilton rapidly while Lewis had taken the life out of his third set of Option tyres, but yet again, staying out late had gifted Hamilton a huge advantage over the Ferrari. When Massa rejoined, Hamilton had established too big a gap in font of the Brazilian to be caught.

Thus Hamilton, Massa and Button cruised to the flag in that order of P4, P5 and P6. In front of this procession, Sebastian Vettel was having fun, opening the gap to Alonso and setting the Fastest Lap on Lap 53 with a 1:41.852.

Thus he duly took his sixth win of the season setting a new record at having finished the first eight races in either P1 or P2. Fernando Alonso was pleased to get P2, his best result in Valencia and Mark Webber thought this was his strongest race of the season.

Lewis Hamilton in P4 thought that that was where he would have ended up even if he'd kept the Ferraris at bay on the opening lap, whereas Felipe Massa's slow tyre stop robbed him of a place. 24 out of 24 cars finished what was a boring race by 2011 standards.

Jaime Alguersuari had a remarkable race, starting in P18 and coming home in P8 resisting pressurelate on from P9 man Adrian Sutil and making a two-stop strategy work.

However the main story was that the FIA's ban on changing engine maps after qualifying doesn't seem to have dented Red Bull's ability to win.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h39:36.169
02. Alonso Ferrari + 10.891
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 27.255
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 46.190
05. Massa Ferrari + 51.705
06. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:00.000
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:38.000
08. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
09. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
10. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
15. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
16. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
17. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
18. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
20. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
23. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
24. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps

Sebastian Vettel's rivals concede defeat in title race
Sunday 26th. June 2011

Sebastian Vettel's rivals have admitted defeat in the race for this year's title following the Red Bull driver's sixth win of the season in Valencia.

German Vettel extended his championship lead to 77 points after eight rounds, leading from start to finish.

And despite there being 11 races left in the season, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton said: "It's finished really. In the sense of the title it's almost over."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso added: "The [title] is not in our calculations."

The 2005 and 2006 champion insisted: "If anyone thinks we can win the championship being eight-tenths of a second behind [Red Bull] they don't understand Formula 1."

Vettel and Red Bull have been almost completely dominant throughout the season.

The 23-year-old has secured pole position in seven of the eight races so far, going on to win six of them, and is the first man to finish first or second in the first eight races of a Formula 1 season.

If Vettel is going to show a vulnerability, it is when he is under pressure, needs to make up or defend place - as Jenson Button proved in the Canadian Grand Prix

In total, Vettel has dropped only 14 points all season, and his pace compared to his rivals in the last two races has been even more impressive given that the Canadian and European Grands Prix are not circuits ideally suited to the Red Bull's strengths - in particular on high-speed corners.

But the reigning champion refused to dwell on his championship lead after winning in Valencia.

"If you look at F1 compared to other sports it's a very long season," he said. "You will have some races where it will work and races when you will struggle and it will be difficult.

"I think you need to look at last year as an example. It shows that we [Red Bull] had good races up to a certain point and then things went wrong.

"Of course, our target is to be in the lead and make sure we stay there but the most important race to lead the championship is after the last one." Continue reading the main story

I think second place is the maximum we can have in these days, so to be here between the Red Bull cars is a great achievement

However, with the gap to McLaren driver Jenson Button and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber now 77 points - McLaren's Hamilton is 89 points adrift and Ferrari's Alonso 99 points off the pace - Vettel's rivals all believe the race is only on for second.

Hamilton and Button are even concerned that the gap between them and Red Bull could be more pronounced in the next race at Silverstone.

"We've taken a step back this weekend - or maybe the others have gone forward," said Hamilton. "I think we're quite a bit down in downforce.

"We haven't made an upgrade on that for several weeks, especially rear downforce, and I think that in the next race we may really struggle again.

"I'm really not looking forward to Silverstone. Ferrari are a lot faster than us and the Red Bulls are on another planet."

Button added: "We need some really good upgrades.

"We need to get our heads down and come up with something - particularly aerodynamically, I think. We need to take some risks.

"There's a big gap behind us to the Mercedes and a big gap in front of us in terms of Ferrari and Red Bull."

Alonso, meanwhile, reiterated his pre-race belief that his focus is solely on beating the chasing pack to second behind Vettel.

"I think second place is the maximum we can have in these days, so to be here between the Red Bull cars is a great achievement [today]," said the Spaniard.

"Our aim is to fight with the McLarens."


Race Report: Button Pips Vettel At the Post
Jenson Button wins in Canada
Race Report: Button Pips Vettel At the Post
Sunday 12th. June 2011

Jenson Button claimed his first victory of the season in Canada, beating Sebastian Vettel, who proved he is human by making a mistake on the final lap, having led all the way until then.

It was a chaotic race of five Safety Cars with the race starting behind the SC, re-emerging after a Lewis Hamilton incident, coming back out on Lap 20 for intense rain and then putting in nine more laps when the race was restarted on Lap 25 after a two-hour red-flag delay.

It came out again when Alonso crashed out after tagging Button on Lap 37 and it made its final appearance on Lap 57 so that marshals could clear the debris from Nick Heidfeld's shunt.

Race Report It was brightening after a long period of rain in Montreal, but with standing water still on the track, the decision was taken to start behind the Safety Car. This meant that everyone had to start on full wet tyres. It also meant that the two DRS zones would not be activated until the race director decided it was safe to do so. The track was only 20C with an ambient of 19C.

Mercedes engineers radioed to Michael Schumacher that rain was expected fifteen minutes into the race. Ferrari's Rob Smedley told Felipe Massa it would be twenty. Jaime Alguersuari opted to start from the pitlane in his Toro Rosso with a full wet set-up. Both McLarens had been given a semi-wet set-up from qualifying, also Pastor Maldonado.

Grid:1.Vettel, 2.Alonso, 3.Massa, 4.Webber, 5.Hamilton, 6.Rosberg, 7.Button, 8.Schumacher, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Petrov, 11.DiResta, 12.Maldonado, 13.Kobayashi, 14.Sutil

Start: The Safety Car led the field away and so the order remained the same until it came in at the end of Lap 4. Immediately Lewis Hamiltom tries to dive past Mark Webber up the inside into Turn 1 to take P4. Webber left him some room, but Lewis couldn't get his car stopped in time and he spun the Red Bull. Hamilton lost a few places, Webber dropped to P14.

The following lap Jenson Button had a moment after Turn 3 allowing both Schumacher and then Hamilton past him as he lost traction. Hamilton closed rapidly on Michael Schumacher and started to look for ways past him into the Turn 10 hairpin.

Lap 5 Positions: 1. Vettel, 2. Alonso, 3. Massa 4.Rosberg, 5.Schumacher 6.Hamilton, 7.Button, 8.DiResta, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Kobayashi,11.Petrov, 12.Maldonado

On Lap 6 Schumacher had Hamilton alongside him wide on the outside of Turn 10 and almost pushed him off track. The McLaren ran wide and Jenson Button got in front of his team-mate again. Then, at the end of the lap, coming through the final chicane, Button was slow allowing Hamilton to get a run at him down the straight.

Hamilton chose to put his car alongside Button where there isn't an overtaking place before the start/finish line and as Button moved across to take the normal racing line, Hamilton hooked his front right behind Jenson's rear left, then bounced into the pitwall.

He dragged a broken rear wheel round the circuit for half a lap until he was told to stop by the McLaren team, who suspected a suspension failure. At the same time a Safety Car was dispatched to recover Hamilton's car and also pick up McLaren debris on the straight.

While all this was happening, Lewis was under investigation on three counts, for his incident with Webber, running too fast behind the Safety Car in the opening stint of the race and then for hitting Jenson. Something must have been awry with the McLaren delta times as Button was also under investigation for running too quickly behind the SC.

Button decided to gamble and came in for Inters on Lap 7 behind the Safety Car. As they formed up on Lap 9 the positions were now: 1.Vettel, 2. Alonso, 3. Massa 4.Rosberg, 5.Schumacher 6.Kobayashi 7.Heidfeld, 8.Petrov, 9.Webber, 10.DiResta, 11.Maldonado, 12.Button.

Webber was suffering from an intermitant downshift problem and his engineer advised that they might change a steering wheel during one of the pit-stops. Button was duly called in for a drive-through for exceeding his delta time and served it the moment that the Safety Car came in on Lap 12. It dropped him to P15, but as the track dried out it was clear that the Inters were the tyre to be on.

On Lap 15 Button passed Barrichello, Sutil and Maldonao on one lap. At the front of the race on Lap 16 Vettel now had a 5.5 second gap on Alonso, but Button was two seconds a lap quicker than the leaders and closing rapidly. Such was his pace that Rosberg and Alonso both came in for Inters too.

The race order on lap 18 was now: 1.Vettel, 2. Massa 3. Kobayashi 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Petrov, 8.Button 9.DiResta, 10.Rosberg, 11.Schumacher.

Then on Lap 20 the skies opened and it began to pour down with very heavy rain, overwhelming the inters. All those who had changed onto them needed to change back very quickly to full wets when they could. Such was the severity of the downpour that Race Director Charlie Whiting put out a Safety Car.

Alonso and Button retreated to the pits for full wets, while Vettel used the opportunity to change to a new set of wets and still come out in the lead.

This as they lined up behind the safety Car on lap 21 it was all change yet again, the race order now being: 1.Vettel, 2. Kobayashi 3.Massa 4.Heidfeld, 5.Petrov, 6.DiResta.7.Webber, 8.Alonso 9.De la Rosa, 10.Button, 11.Rosberg, 12.Schumacher, 13.Sutil, 14.Alguersuari

As they toured round, cameras switched to the weather radar which revealed that we would have 20 minutes of rain at Intensity 2 and then more at Intensity 1. Leader Sebastian Vettel radioed back from behind the Safety Car that it was undriveable between Turns 9 and 13.

On Lap 25 the Red Flag was waved and the cars came to a halt on the grid, it being too wet to continue. Drivers got out of the car and waited as marshals struggled to rid the circuit of standing water and the rain continued unabated.

There was a two hour and four minute break while the race director waited for conditions to ease before the cars could get underway again. All were now obliged to change to the full wet tyres. At this stage Lewis Hamilton had been the only casualty, and that of his own haste, not the conditions.

The cars started off on Lap 26 behind the Safety Car and spent an age touring round. Laps 27,28,29,30,31,32,33 and 34 passed before it was brought in. It had been such a cautious decision that cars were already contemplating changing to Inters before it was withdrawn.

On the restart, Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa fought out a who-will-be bravest duel into the final chicane (not yet with DRS activated) and Turn 1 with Kobayashi holding the place after being very late on the brakes.

Schumacher, Sutil and Barrichello came in for inters at the end of Lap 35. Heidfeld, DiResta and Button a lap later. The lap after that the rest of the front runners - with the exception of Vettel - came in with Ferrari double-stacking Massa and Alonso. Vettel pitted a lap later.

Alonso's delayed stop for tyres had put him back with Jenson Button who was on much hotter tyres and came steaming up the inside of the Ferrari into Turn 3. The McLaren got its nose in front on the inside, but for some reason Alonso thought he could make it through, too. They touched.

Alonso spun gently backwards into the barriers, his car beached on the kerb, while Button limped back to the pits with a puncture and resumed the race plain last. Another Safety Car was dispatched to allow the recovery of Alonso's stricken Ferrari.

The positions as they formed up behind Berndt Maylander's Mercedes SLR was: 1.Vettel, 2.Kobayashi, 3.Massa, 4.Heidfeld, 5.DiResta, 6.Webber, 7.Schumacher, 8.Petrov, 9.Rosberg, 10.Sutil, 11.Barrichello, 12.Maldonado.

Rosberg had lost out to team-mate Michael Schumacher and as Vettel bunched the care before the restart Adrian Sutil hit him from the rear dislodging part of his front wing.

On Lap 41 we were go again with a racy Michael Schumacher all over the back of Mark Webber. On Lap 42 Mark ran wide at the hairpin and Schumi was through. At the same time Paul DiResta tried a clumsy move on Nick Heidfeld into the final chicane and lost part of his front wing, plus earned a drive-through into the bargain.

By Lap 44 Button had made his way from last place up to P.14. Schumacher was also flying and set a new fastest lap on Lap 45 while driving straight round Nick Heidfeld.

On Lap 46 the DRS zone was enabled. The race order was now: 1.Vettel, 2.Kobayashi, 3.Massa, 4.Schumacher, 5.Heidfeld, 6.Webber, 7.Petrov 8.Barrichello, 9.Rosberg, 10.Maldonado, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Button.

Schumacher was now just 10 seconds off the lead. On Lap 49 Button passed Maldonado and Alguersuari for P10. A lap later and Mark Webber was one of the first to go for slick tyres. He began to set personal best sector times and so Button followed him in a lap later. It was his sixth trip down the pitlane during the race.

On the same lap Michael Schumacher came up to the back of the battle for second and third place between Kobayashi and Massa. The Japanese driver ran wide in Turn 5, covered the line and slowed Felipe Massa down to prevent him overtaking and then Michael Schumacher swept by them both. From P4 to P2 in one easy move.

On lap 52 both Schumacher and Massa pitted for slicks and rejoined in the same positions, except now Michael had some backmarkers in between himself and Massa.

When Massa tried to go round one and off the dry racing line, he lost control and slewed his nose into the wall dislodging it. He had to race back to the pits to change it and rejoined in P12.

At this stage Mark Webber and Jenson Button were both charging hard, Mark Webber's progress was halted when he came up behind Schumacher.

The order on Lap 54 was; 1.Vettel, 2.Schumacher, 3.Webber, 4.Kobayashi, 5.Button, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Petrov, 8.Barrichello, 9.Alguersuari, 10.Rosberg.

Button was reducing the fastest lap by chunks and on lap 55 he was easily up into P4. Kamui Kobayashi was falling back very quickly and a lap later Nick Heidfeld had so much more traction in Turn 2 that he simply drove into the back of the faltering Sauber.

This broke Heidfeld's front wing and as he ran towards Turn 3 it broke in front of him and he was launched over the top of it and into the escape road. There was so much debris on the track that the Safety car had to come out yet again on Lap 57. This closed the cars up with a race order of: 1.Vettel, 2.Schumacher, 3.Webber, 4. Button, 5.Kobayashi, 6.Petrov, 7.Barrichello, 8.Alguersuari, 9.Rosberg, 10.Maldonado, 11.Massa.

Vettel escaped after the restart yet again and looked to be disappearing up the road to leave the real fight between Schumacher, Webber and Button for the remaining two podium places. Petrov was soon past Kobayashi as Massa started to pick off places.

On Lap 63 Mark Webber managed to pass Michael Schumacher on the back straight but cut the cicane in the process and had to give the place back. He managed to do so without allowing Button through. A lap later and Webber cut the chicane again, but as he rejoined the track, lost traction on the wet, fishtailed and allowed Button through into P3.

Button was flying and on Lap 65 he passed Michael Schumacher into the final chicane easily thanks to the DRS and set the fastest lap of the race. With five laps to go he was just 3.1 behind Vettel, who was 1.5 seconds a lap slower.

Vettel had to ratchet up his engine mode as the gap between the Mclaren and the Red Bull reduced. On Lap 67 (out of 70) his lead was just 1.3 seconds. The race was close to running over the two-hour mark, but there was just enough time to run all the laps.

Mark Webber eased his way past Schumi on lap 6u and the dream of a podium for Michael was over.

Vettel was now just about matching Button's sector times, but the McLaren was getting ever closer. On the final lap it looked as though Jenson would be close enough to use the DRS down the final back straight, but heading towards the hairpin at Turn 10 Vettel cracked under pressure, ran wide and allowed the Mclaren through.

Button surged through to take the win on the last lap. Vettel had led every lap until the very last one. Webber lost time and only just finished ahead of Schumi in P4 with Petrov finishing fifth and a recovering Felipe Massa passing Kamui Kobayashi with centimetres to spare for P6 at the flag.

It had been an epic race over an enormous period of time. Red Bull had failed to win in Canada yet again, but Vettel had increased his lead in the Championship to the point where he is almost three wins ahead of his nearest rival.

Ferrari had started in P2 and P3 and finished with a P6. But it was Button's day and he had at last proved that if you put Vettel under enough pressure he will make mistakes.

FH

Results
01. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h23:50.995
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 2.709
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 13.828
04. Schumacher Mercedes + 14.219
05. Petrov Renault + 20.395
06. Massa Ferrari + 33.225
07. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 33.270
08. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 35.964
09. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 45.100
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 47.000
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 50.400
12. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari + 1:03.600
13. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
14. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
17. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 3 laps
Did Not Finish
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 62
Heidfeld Renault 57
Sutil Force India-Mercedes 50
Alonso Ferrari 44
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 36
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 8

Jenson Button wins stunning Canadian Grand Prix

Sunday 12th. June 2011
by Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Montreal

Jenson Button took a stunning victory in a dramatic, rain-affected Canadian Grand Prix by passing Sebastian Vettel on the last lap of an absorbing race.

Vettel's Red Bull ran wide under pressure to gift the win to Button, who recovered after a collision with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was third to deprive Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher of a podium place.

Vettel now leads the championship by 60 points from Button.

An incident-packed race saw the safety car used five times and included a two-hour stoppage for heavy rain. Button himself made five pit stops on his way to victory as well as an enforced visit to the pits for a drive-through penalty for speeding under the safety car.

An emotional Button described the win as possibly the best of his career.

He said: "I really don't know what to say, it's been a very emotional race. The incident with Lewis - I couldn't see anything and I've apologised to him.

"It was really a fight from then on, but I kept on pushing and I managed to get past Seb at the end. Another great win for me and possibly my best."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "What a race. He is driving fantastically and we know he deserves it and hope everyone else does too.

"He just attacked and attacked and delivered a fantastic race. We knew he had to put pressure on Sebastian, and Sebastian made a mistake. From Jenson, that's the stuff of champions, that's the stuff of dreams."

Vettel conceded ruefully: "If you have it in your hands and give it away it is not the sweetest feeling."

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle said: "At one point we were wondering if Button would catch the Hispanias before the race restarted under the safety car and now he's won the race! That is one of the races of his life and the best grand prix of a spectacular career."

Co-commentator David Coulthard added: "What a fantastic drive from Jenson Button - it looked like it was all lost and he's well aware you count the winners at the chequered flag."

While Button celebrated, Hamilton left the track after an ignominious race that saw him drop from second to fourth in the championship.

Persistent rain through the morning left the track drenched and the race was started under the safety car.

The drama in one of the most sensational races for years began almost as soon as the drivers were released on lap five, and Hamilton was at the centre of it. Sebastian Vettel (l), Jenson Button (c) and Mark Webber (r)

Formula One Canadian Grand Prix - top three drivers

First he collided with Webber, who gave him room at the first corner only for the McLaren to slip off the kerb and into the Australian.

Webber spun, and Hamilton had to go around the outside of the Red Bull, rejoining behind Button.

Determined to make up ground, Hamilton pressed his team-mate hard. Button made a mistake at the final chicane at the end of lap eight and Hamilton saw his chance.

He dodged out from behind Button to his team-mate's left, but Button continued on the racing line, edging towards the pit wall, apparently looking in his mirror.

Hamilton kept coming and became pincered between Button and the pit wall. The two cars collided, spraying debris over the track.

"What is he doing?" screamed Button on his radio. After the race he said he had not seen Hamilton, but that they had spoken in the two-hour stoppage and agreed it was "just one of those things".

Hamilton said: "While I fell back behind Jenson he made a mistake into the last corner, so I got the run on him.

"I was on the outside, it felt like I was half way up alongside him - although I haven't seen the video - and whether he saw me or not he kept moving across, and I was in the wall. It was only the tyre that was busted. I put the 'diff lock' on and the team told me to retire."

Hamilton initially believed the car was undamaged, but it turned out the driveshaft had been damaged and the team had been correct to tell him to stop.

The decision to start the race under the safety car was made as the drivers had virtually no experience of the Pirelli wet tyres.

When they were released on lap six, Vettel fended off a brief challenge from Alonso and then streaked away into the distance.

Button was the first leading driver to change to intermediate tyres, after he came into the pits following his collision with Hamilton on lap eight, which brought out the safety car while the debris from the McLarens was cleared from the track.

The race was restarted on lap 13, and the Englishman was soon lapping quicker than anyone else, prompting other drivers to follow his lead in changing tyres.

About half the field came in, including Alonso on lap 17. But within two laps the rain returned, heavier than ever. The safety car came out again on lap 20 before the race was suspended on lap 25.

After a stoppage of two hours and five minutes, they resumed, again under the safety car, before being set loose on lap 34.

Almost immediately the drivers started to stream into the pits for intermediate tyres, so much had the track dried while they were following the safety car.

But four laps after the re-start, the safety car was deployed yet again when Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso collided on lap 37, leading to the Spaniard's retirement.

Button was last when the race was restarted on lap 40 but he fought his way through the field thanks to choosing the right time to change to intermediate tyres and then dry-weather slick tyres.

By the time a collision between Nick Heidfeld's Renault and Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber brought out the safety car again with 12 laps to go, Button had climbed to fourth place behind Vettel, Schumacher and Webber.

The race restarted two laps later and Vettel immediately built a lead while the three men behind him battled for position.

Webber, who had brought himself back into contention by becoming the first leading driver to stop for slick tyres, slipped back to fourth when he misjudged the final chicane on lap 64.

Button passed Schumacher on the next lap and set about closing the three-second lead to Vettel with five laps remaining.

They entered the last lap less than a second apart and Vettel made his first serious mistake in a race this season, putting a wheel off line on to the wet part of the track at Turn Six and half-spinning, handing the lead to Button.

Vettel said: "Of course I'm disappointed. It was a very difficult race from start to finish. We led every single lap apart from the last one.

"I was probably a bit conservative and when I saw Jenson coming through I was pushing.

"I think it would have been enough but I made a mistake. I ended up in the wet and it was quite easy for him to pass."


Report: Seb Gifted Maiden Monaco Win
Monaco circuit
race1
race2
Report: Seb Gifted Maiden Monaco Win
Sunday 29th. May 2011

Sebastian Vettel claimed a fortuitous maiden Monaco Grand Prix win, but for the second time in two days his performance was overshadowed after a driver was injured in a heavy shunt.

On Saturday, an accident involving Sergio Perez led to qualifying being delayed, while on Sunday Vitaly Petrov was involved in a late-race crash that red-flagged the race.

It was a grand prix packed with incident which could easily have been won by Jenson Button, who finished third, or by Fernando Alonso, who finished second. Button's strategy was ruined by a Safety Car brought out by a Felipe Massa accident in the Monaco tunnel and Alonso was stymied by Petrov's accident.

Lewis Hamilton was later called before the stewards for some robust overtaking moves in the race.

Race Report

It was sunny and warm in Monaco with no likelihood of rain over the 78 laps. The ambient at 23C the track at 44C

Grid:1. Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Webber, 4.Alonso, 5.Schumacher, 6.Massa, 7.Rosberg, 8. Maldonado, 9.Hamilton, 10.Petrov

Start: As the lights went out Michael Schumacher got a dreadful start and went from P5 to P10 very rapidly. At Ste Devote Michael also got his braking wrong and drove his Mercedes into the back of Lewis Hamilton's rear wing and removed some carbon fibre.

In front of him, Fernando Alonso had already got the jump on Mark Webber for the second race running and was easily past him for P3. The Spaniard was almost in a position to challenge Jenson Button into the first turn.

The rest of the grid got away very much in grid order, though Schumi managed to recover one place with a great dive into the Station (Fairmount) hairpin inside Hamilton who generously gave him room and didn't turn in on him. Michael managed the same trick on Nico Rosberg later in the race (who also realised that his team-mate was through and didn't contest the place).

At the end of the opening lap Vettel had a massive 2.4 second lead.

Lap 1 Positions: 1. Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Maldonado, 8.Petrov, 9.Schumacher, 10.Hamilton, 11.Barrichello, 12.DiResta

Vettel started to open a gap to second place Button and by Lap 5 it was 4.6 seconds. After which Button began to steady the gap and then haul him in.

What was immediately obvious was that the two Mercedes cars were very heavy on their rear tyres and starting to slow up the cars behind them. Michael Schumacher had Lewis Hamilton all over the back of him by Lap 7 and had dropped back from Petrov by almost five seconds. On Lap 8 he was three seconds off the leaders' pace.

Hamilton, using his DRS, got up inside Schumi into Sainte Devote on Lap 9, surprising the German, but he gave Lewis room to make a dramatic pass. At the end of Lap 12 he was in for more tyres and sunk to the back of the grid (not before Rubens Barrichello had overtaken him into Mirabeau) . Nico Rosberg was enjoying the same kind of luck with his rears and holding Massa back. Massa was looking at passing Rosberg into Tabac on Lap 14 and a lap later he got him there. Maldonado passed him, too. Massa was now P5 and Maldonado P6.

Rosberg was then in for tyres too, his race effectively ruined.

On Lap 16 Button became the first of the front runners to come in for more SuperSoft tyres and he exited into a huge hole created by Rosberg's lack of pace. Red Bull covered this by bringing in Sebastian Vettel a lap later. Unusually, he found his pitcrew with the tyres not ready after one of the tyre blankets got stuck to a tyre. When he resumed the track he was behind Button a fact singularly unobserved by the commentary team.

Fernando Alonso was now in the lead and Button was sprinting on his new tyres. Vettel had taken on Soft tyres and was much slower than Button. Alonso dived for his pit-stop but didn't manage to emerge in front of Vettel. So the front three were now: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso.

Mark Webber should have been in fourth position at this stage, but Vettel's delay in the pits had a knock-on effect and delayed Webber when he came in straight afterwards. He fell back as far as 14th place, because at this stage of the race only three cars had made their first stop.

On Lap 19 the positions were: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa(not stopped),5.Maldonado (not stopped), 6.Petrov(not stopped), 7.Hamilton(not stopped), 8.Barrichello(not stopped), 9.DiResta(not stopped), 10.Kobayashi(not stopped), 11.Sutil(not stopped), 12.Heidfeld(not stopped).

Jenson Button started to pull out a huge gap on the SuperSoft tyres and by Lap 25 he had a 13.1 second lead. Further back Lewis Hamilton had a poor pit-stop when his tyres weren't ready and he dropped further back down the order.

Paul DiResta lost his front wing trying to get past an uncooperative Alguersuari at the Station hairpin and was given a drive-through penalty for his troubles. It looked more like a genuine but ambitious attempt to overtake - a racing incident, but such is the scrutiny of the stewards this year...

On Lap 28 the positions were: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Alonso, 4.Petrov (not stopped), 5.Barrichello (not stopped), 6.Kobayashi (not stopped), 7.Sutil (not stopped), 8.Heidfeld (not stopped), 9.Buemi (not stopped), 10.Webber, 11.Massa, 12.Hamilton

By Lap 32, the yet-to-stop Rubens Barrichello was holding P4 and was 50.6 seconds behind Fernando Alonso in P3. Jenson pitted and emerged into this space on yet another set of Option, SuperSoft tyres. It meant he would definitely have to stop again.

Lewis Hamilton had got onto the back of Felipe Massa's rear wing and was harrying him all the way around the track, hard on his gearbox at almost every point of the circuit. On Lap 33 he made an optimistic move on Massa into the Station Hairpin, not as clean as Schumacher on him, but not as clumsy as DiResta on the Toro Rosso.

Massa instead of turning out, actually turned into the accident and made it worse. Both cars continued with a small loss of carbon fibre. Earlier in the race a frustrated Massa had been unable to get past Nico Rosberg and driven into the back of him going up the hill into Beau Rivage losing a front wing endplate.

Later that lap Hamilton got the better of Massa going through the Monaco tunnel, making an incredible move - two cars flat out through the right-hander. Except Hamilton was on the racing line and Massa wasn't. The Brazilian lost control of his Ferrari into the barriers, bringing out the Safety Car.

Alonso immediately pitted, but Vettel kept on going. He had been accidentally given Soft tyres instead of SuperSoft tyres at the first pit-stop and was continuing. The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 38 and the race order on Lap 39 was: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Alonso, 4.Sutil 5.Kobayashi 6.Webber, 7.Hamilton, 8.Maldonado, 9.Petrov, 10.Heidfeld, 11.Buemi, 12.Barrichello.

Button pitted again on Lap 48 and Hamilton on Lap 49. Hamilton had been awarded a drive-through penalty for his clash with Massa, which was unsurprising, but no worse than many GP racing incidents.

On Lap 50, the leader Vettel had stopped once, second place man Alonso had stopped twice and third place man Button had stopped three times. Button began to put in a series of fastest laps from Lap 50 to chase down the two cars in front, while it increasingly looked as though Vettel was going to try and run from Lap 16 to Lap 78 on one set of tyres.

Alonso's tyres were significantly younger than Vettel's as well. He was hoping that the Red Bull's tyres would suddenly reach the end of their working life - which had been predicted to be 45 laps. Lap 16 + 45 equalled Lap 61 and by Lap 61 they were all in line, though Vettel had the benefit of a diminishing fuel load and five laps run under the Safety Car.

As the laps ticked down Alonso looked to be the most likely to pass Vettel with Button holding a watching brief. Further back Adrian Sutil had manged to use the Safety Car period to his advantage and was holding P4 until Kamui Kobayashi launched a suicidal lunge up the inside of the Force India going into Mirabeau on Lap 65.

Kobayashi was so far back that he hit Sutil's rear tyre with his front left, pushed him wide and took the place. Sutil's tyre looked to be damaged in some way as he lost a place to Webber the following lap. The cars behind Sutil began to be severely held up as the ailing Force India limped round and on Lap 69 it all came to a head when the leading group of three cars met up with Sutil's train along the harbour front.

Sutil ran wide and let Maldonado through, then ran over the kerbs of the swimming pool exit. Lewis Hamilton, who had just pulled off an overtaking move on Petrov, came up to the wayward Force India not sure what it was going to do next and backed off slightly. Alguersuari ran straight into the back of the Mclaren then hit the barriers on the outside of the swimming pool, taking the following Petrov with him.

It was an immediate Safety Car, which turned into a Red Flag two laps later with the cars forming up on the grid at the end of Lap 71 (of 78). The medical crews extracted Petrov, who had a non-threatening leg injury.

Disappointingly cars were allowed to change tyres on the grid, so the last lap climax of Alonso hunting Vettel down on his very old tyres was not going to happen. Button lost the opportunity, too, as they could all use SuperSofts on the six-lap sprint to the flag. Lewis Hamilton was allowed to have repairs carried out on the rear wing that Alguersuari had deranged.

When the race was restarted after one lap behind the Safety Car (thus five racing laps) Mark Webber was able to overtake Kamui Kobayashi for P4 with a great overtaking move into the Nouvelle Chicane (Lap 77). Lewis Hamilton had already tried to do what he'd done to Schumi to Pastor Maldonado into Sainte Devote and got up the inside of the Williams into Turn 1, when the Venezuelan turned in on him, the contact spun him into the barriers.

Sebastian Vettel had no problems maintaining a lead over the final short sprint and took what was by his standards, a fortuitous win. It really should have been Alonso or Button's race. Mark Webber finished a distant fourth, but with Kamui Kobayashi and Lewis Hamilton under investigation by the stewards late after the race - the others places were yet to be decided.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2h09:38.373
02. Alonso Ferrari + 1.138
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 2.378
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 23.100
05. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 26.900
06. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 27.200
07. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
09. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps
13. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
15. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
17. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
18. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 5 aps
Retirements
Petrov Renault 68
Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 68
Massa Ferrari 33
Schumacher Mercedes 33
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 31
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1

Where it went wrong for McLaren in Monaco

Sunday 29th. May 2011
By Mark Hughes
BBC F1 commentary box producer

For the second time in two weekends, McLaren came away from a grand prix having touched the hems of victory - but yet again it was Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who prevailed.

Five victories from six races for the reigning world champion is making him look invincible - and this perception may actually be what led McLaren to making what, in hindsight, were two crucial choices at Monaco that lost them the possibility of the win.

Both were aggressive choices, one on Saturday another on Sunday, that circumstance punished.

On Saturday the team decided that Lewis Hamilton would do only one run in Q3, late in the session.

It meant he would be out when the track was at its quickest, and that he would save a set of new super-soft tyres that could give him an advantage on race day.

It was a plan with a certain logic to it. The McLaren is invariably not quite as fast as the Red Bull over one lap of qualifying, but around Monte Carlo Hamilton's acrobatic skills might just have allowed him to make the difference.

He would need everything aligned in his favour, but if Red Bull was to be beaten to pole anywhere, the Monaco streets were favourite.

Aligning every last thing in Hamilton's favour, of trying to achieve something against the odds, was what his Saturday strategy was all about, but it carried with it risks.

ANDREW BENSON BLOG

As if the Monaco Grand Prix had not already been dramatic enough, Lewis Hamilton's controversial comments afterwards will ensure it makes even bigger headlines across the world

At Monaco, with walls and barriers to hit rather than run-off areas, there is a much higher likelihood of red flags.

Get one of those at the wrong time - after your rivals have set their times but before you have done yours - and there is obvious potential to be caught out.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened. Sergio Perez's accident came after Vettel, Button and Webber had set their times but before Hamilton had set his.

Depending upon your view, it was either unlucky or ill-considered. There was a risk - and that risk had become reality.

All of which left Jenson Button - starting from second to Hamilton's ninth after a more conventional strategy - as McLaren's main hope for the race.

As the race got under way, with Button running second to Vettel and ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, so the team displayed the same aggressive attitude in the running of Jenson's race.

They pitted him early in order to jump him ahead of Vettel, fitting him with a fresh set of option tyres that allowed him to pull away from the Red Bull which, in error, had been fitted with the slower primes.

So far, so good. The early stop potentially made Button vulnerable later in the race, but it had got him into clear air with fast tyres and he made great use of that.

The real gamble came as the second round of stops approached. Again he was brought in early, on lap 32. Monaco Grand Prix from the pit lane

At this point he was fitted with another set of option tyres - which put him definitively on a three-stop strategy, with the rules requiring that you use both types of tyre during the race.

From where he was on lap 32, the fastest way to run the remaining 46 laps was to split it up into two further stints, so much quicker was the option tyre than the prime.

Of course, it made you very vulnerable to a safety car compared to those who had already used both types of tyres, because they could get away with not pitting again in these circumstances and you couldn't.

Just as on Saturday, that risk became reality. The crucial safety car came on lap 34 and the Button victory strategy was essentially doomed.

Again the logic was understandable. To stand a chance of beating a faster car you surely need to do something different.

But maybe the Red Bull is not as unbeatable as the results are making it seem. In both Malaysia and Turkey Vettel's lead was made impregnable by slower cars - Nick Heidfeld's and Nico Rosberg's respectively - getting between him and his real rivals at the start of the race.

It gave him enough of a lead over the cars he was really racing, specifically the McLarens, that difficult strategic choices did not need to be made; he could simply pit in response to them and still come out ahead.

What China, Spain and now Monaco have all suggested is that actually on race day the McLaren's pace is at least as good as the Red Bulls, maybe better. What is also apparent is that with all the overtaking now possible (though not at Monaco), pole position per se is not as vital as it was.

It could just be that if McLaren relaxed a little, didn't stake all on high-risk aggressive strategy, they might just be able to take the fight to Red Bull regardless.

The championship now looks a tough stretch, given Vettel's lead, but straight race wins, even a sequence of them, are more than feasible. Let's hope so.


Spanish GP:
Another faultless race from Vettel
Circuit de Catalunya
Vettel and Hamilton
Arial view
Spanish GP: Seb Holds Off Hamilton
Sunday 22nd. May 2011

Sebastian Vettel refused to buckle under pressure as he held off a late charge from Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix to claim his fourth win of the season.

The defending World Champion's latest win sees him stretch his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship to 41 points ahead of the McLaren driver.

Unlike in previous races where Vettel could manage the race from the front, today the World Championhad to fight hard, without KERS for the latter part of the race. Jenson Button claimed the final podium place with Mark Webber fourth and Fernando Alonso fifth.

Race Report

It was bright and windy at the Circuit de Catalunya track with bright sunshine and an ambient temperature of 27C with the track at 35C.

Grid: 1.Webber, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Alonso, 5.Button, 6.Petrov 7.Rosberg 8.Massa, 9.Maldonado 10.Schumacher, 11.Buemi, 12.Perez

Start: With a long run down to the first turn, KERS energy would be important and Lotus's Heikki Kovalainen was going to be hard-pressed to keep hold of P15 without it. The big question was - would Red Bull be able to use theirs after Sebastian Vettel lost his in qualifying?

Fernando Alonso has had some very poor starts this year, but in Barcelona when the red lights went out, he produced the start of the season, drilling his Ferrari down the inside of polesitter Mark Webber into the apex of Turn 1 and the lead. Webber tried to close him out, but left a gap at least a 150 Italia wide and Alonso went through it.

At the same time that Mark's attention was pre-occupied with Alonso on the inside, he found Sebastian Vettel cruising round him on the outside and he was down to P3. Lewis Hamilton held position in P4 but was slow through the first turns. However P5 on the grid, Jenson Button, had a nightmare start and dropped back behind the two Mercedes, Petrov and Felipe Massa after getting too much wheelspin off the line.

Michael Schumacher got a good start and was immediately ahead of Massa and Rosberg but couldn't find a way past Petrov

Lap 1 Positions: 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Hamilton, 5.Petrov, 6. Schumacher, 7.Rosberg, 8.Buemi, 9.Massa, 10.Button, 11.Perez,12.Alguersuari, 13.Maldonado, 14.DiResta.

What became immediately apparent at the start of the race was that the top four were beginning to break away from Petrov in P5. What was also immediately obvious was that cars wouldn't be able to use the DRS wing to much effect down the start/finish straight.

Massa had got back past Buemi after the Toro Rosso driver's great start and on Lap 4 Button got past the Swiss driver to take P9. Petrov had opened up a gap in front of Schumacher and now Michael gathered a train of Rosberg, Massa and Button. Because the three following cars could all use their DRS on the straight this effectively held them in position till tyre wear began to take effect.

At the front, Alonso's supreme start meant that neither Red Bull had been able to clear off into the distance and they were held in a four-car train. By Lap 8, fourth place man Lewis Hamilton had over 11 seconds on the following Petrov and two seconds covered the front four.

On Lap 9 it all began to change as Sebastian Vettel dived for the pitlane and the first of what would be four tyre stops. He exited the pitlane just behind Jenson Button but on fresher tyres was soon past. In fact Lap 10 of the Spanish Grand Prix showed that Sebastian Vettel could really put moves on when he wanted to as he cleared Button, Massa, Rosberg and then Schumacher in the space of one lap.

It could have been important, as a lap later and Webber and Alonso were both in for their first pit-stops (on a four-stop strategy) and when the Spaniard exited the pits he found himself still in the lead. Lewis came in a lap later and managed to jump up to P3 ahead of Webber.

The positions on Lap 12 were: 1.Alonso, 2.Vettel, 3.Hamilton, 4.Webber, 5.Button (not stopped), 6.diResta (not stopped), 7.Schumacher, 8.Trulli (not stopped), 9.Kovalainen (not stopped), 10.Petrov, 11.Rosberg

Button appeared to be going longer than the front runners and when he pitted on Lap14 it was clear he had the option of going for a three- or four-stopper. He'd already made up places leapfrogging Petrov and Rosberg in that stop and was straight onto the tail of Michael Schumacher and past him using superior traction. Thus he'd pitted from P5 on Lap 14 and was back into P5 by Lap 15.

There was an ocean of time between Button in P5 and Mark Webber in fourth place twenty-seven seconds down the road. At this point of the afternoon a podium finish for the McLaren driver seemed a very unlikely prospect, but it was like the Tour de France when one rider goes off the front of the peloton to try and catch a breakaway group. Button started to close down the group in front on his fresher tyres, knowing that he had one less stop to make.

On Lap 18 Vettel was in again for tyres, followed a lap later by Alonso and Webber. This time round Vettel was able to take the lead off Alonso. Lewis Hamilton was able to stay out much longer and even put in a Fastest Lap on Lap 20. When Lewis came in for his second stop on Lap 23 he'd taken second place off Alonso demoting the Spaniard to third with Webber holding fourth.

The positions on Lap 24 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Webber, 5.Button (one stop), 6.Schumacher (one stop), 7.Rosberg (one stop), 8.Petrov (one stop), 9.Buemi (one stop), 10.DiResta (one stop), 11.Massa

Button stopped for the second time on Lap 30 and while Alonso and Webber had taken on harder tyres, Button had gone for the Options which were worth up to two seconds a lap. A lap earlier Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso had come in together and almost had a coming together in the pitlane. The Red Bull had got away early and the Ferrari was released almost into his path - the pair cruised down the pitlane side by side with Alonso on the blue hache marks but centimetres in front.

When they got out on track Alonso had the advantage and held his place into Turn 1. Webber clearly had a faster car but equipped with the same hard tyres and the same age of tyres, couldn't get past. Behind them, Button closed up.

On Lap 34 Vettel pitted and Hamilton followed suit the next lap. At this stage of the race the front two had rapidly formed their own breakaway, while Webber and Vettel fell back into the clutches of Button - who had stopped one time less, but was proving the theory correct, that the Option was two seconds quicker than the Prime.

Mark Webber could clearly have gone faster if he'd found a way past Alonso, and unlike his team-mate in the lead, Webber had a working KERS. On Lap 34 Mark Webber scrambled past Alonso into Turn 10 but ran in too deep and Alonso craftily nipped back past him into Turn 11.

However neither were safe from the rampaging Jenson Button who still had the slower Prime tyre to run. He got round Webber on the outside into Turn 1 using the DRS on Lap 36. Webber resisted him, despite the strategy imbalance and they bumped tyres but continued. Such was Button's pace that he was up to and past Alonso by Turn 11 of the same lap.

The positions on Lap 37 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button (two stops), 4.Alonso, 5.Webber, 6.Schumacher (two stops), 7.Rosberg (two stops), 8.Petrov (two stops), 9.Massa, 10.Buemi (two stops).

All was not well with Felipe Massa, gear slection problems sending him into a spin on Lap 38 and ultimate retirement on Lap 59.

Fernando Alonso pitted for more hard tyres on Lap 40 and when Webber kept on going, it meant that the Ferrari driver was unlikely to better his P5 position. Button, now in third, was significantly slower than the front two who were in a race of their own separated now by less than two seconds. On Lap 42 Vettel's advantage was just 1.2 seconds.

The closeness of the front two put extra pressure on the final pit-stops. Vettel came in on Lap 48 and Red Bull produced a textbook turnround, while McLaren were 0.6 slower a lap later. They were half a minute in front of third place Jenson Button.

Hamilton came out behind Vettel and began to put in great times on his fresh tyres. Heikki Kovalainen had gone off the road on Lap 50 and when Hamilton, Button and Webber passed the waved yellows at that spot they all put in their fastest sectors of the race so far. In fact Mark Webber reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:27.187 that lap. After the race the stewards asked them to come to the office to explain, but ultimately no sanction, other than a reprimand, was made.

The positions on Lap 50 when the top eight had made their final stops were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Schumacher, 7.Rosberg, 8.Massa, 9.DiResta, 10.Heidfeld, 11.Petrov.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were trading fastest laps and personal bests at the front and the gap varied between a second and 0.6 in the final thirteen laps of the race, but although Hamilton could deploy KERS and the DRS, such was the traction and speed advantage of the Red Bull through the final high speed corner that the McLaren couldn't get anywhere near the car in front until the final 100 metres of the straight.

A few times Hamilton was close enough to have a look and Vettel had to cover, but that was as close as it got. Behind them, Mark Webber put on a sustained charge to close down the gap to Jenson Button to as little as 2.3 seconds. But On Lap 63 (of 66) his tyres started to go off and he eventually came home twelve seconds behind the Brit.

Vettel took the win and became the 20th person out of 21 to win the Spanish GP from the front row of the grid. Button made it a McLaren 2-3 with a determined drive recovering from a disastrous start. Mark Webber came home in fourth, a poor result for a polesiting car whose KERS was working; the Aussie suffering from being stuck behind Alonso for too long.

Alonso was a distant and lapped fifth, Michael Schumacher came home sixth in front of his team-mate for a change - though that was helped by Nico Rosberg's rear wing and his radio both failing. Despite all that Rosberg was only 0.8 behind him at the flag.

Nick Heidfeld drove a great race from the back of the grid to take P8 ahead of a feisty performance from Sergio Perez in P9 and a remarkable comeback for Kamui Kobayashi who had to pit with a puncture on Lap 1 and claimed the final point.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h39:03.301
02. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 0.630
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 35.697
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 47.966
05. Alonso Ferrari + 1 lap
06. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
07. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
08. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
09. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
14. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 2 laps
17. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps
18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
20. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps
Not classified/retirements:
Massa Ferrari 60
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 49
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 29

Vettel holds off Hamilton to win Spanish Grand Prix

Sunday 22nd. May 2011
By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at the Circuit de Catalunya
Highlights - Spanish Grand Prix

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel held off a stern challenge from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to win a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix.

It was Vettel's fourth win in five races, but the huge pace advantage Red Bull showed in qualifying vanished and Hamilton pressured him throughout.

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button made one fewer stop in taking third.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso led the first 18 laps but faded to fifth behind Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"That was an immense fight," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard and Vettel's pleasure at holding off Hamilton's challenge was clear from the world champion's thrilled response to his team's congratulations on the slowing down lap. "Yabba-dabba-dee," the 23-year-old screamed.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

Vettel has had to work hard for all four of his wins

Read more from the blog

The world champion acknowledged he had been pushed hard until the end.

"McLaren were very strong, Lewis in particular," he said.

"The last few laps I felt like China, with my tyres falling away. He [Hamilton] was always getting in the DRS zone but in the last few laps I got a good run in the last sector to make it stick."

While frustrated at finishing just 0.6 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton was hugely encouraged by McLaren's pace compared to the Red Bulls.

"I wasn't expecting to be so quick today, as the race went on we had some serious pace, but he [Vettel] was massively quick in the high speed corners," said Hamilton.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle added: "That will be a warning sign to Red Bull." Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button

Spanish Grand Prix - top three drivers

Red Bull had been expected to dominate the race after qualifying nearly a second clear of their rivals, with Webber on pole ahead of Vettel.

The thrills began as soon as the lights went out at the start of the race, when Alonso catapulted away from fourth place on the grid to lead into the first corner.

Alonso's start was one of the best seen for a long time as he shrugged off the disadvantage of starting on the dirty, more slippery side of the grid to power off the line.

He tracked the Red Bulls down to the first corner and dived down the inside to claim the lead, drawing huge cheers from the 80,000 crowd of his adoring compatriots.

"That was fantastic," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard. "The motivation he had to lead this grand prix."

Ultimately, it did not help Alonso but, while holding off a train comprising Vettel, Webber and Hamilton, he was able to lead superbly through the first pit stops until the key turning point came on lap 18 of the 66-lap race.

That was when Vettel came in for his second stop, and he made up enough time on his out lap to jump Alonso, who pitted on the next lap in a vain attempt to hold on to the lead.

Hamilton and McLaren did not make that mistake, and were able to keep the pressure on the Red Bull. Continue reading the main story

McLaren were very strong, Lewis in particular

They kept running until lap 23, coming out just over four seconds behind Vettel.

They battled intensely for the rest of the race, Hamilton edging ever closer to Vettel before both their third and final pit stops, closing to within 1.2 seconds each time, only to lose a second at the stops on both occasions.

They spent the final 10 laps nose to tail and although Vettel's pace was compromised at times throughout the race by his Kers power-boost system working only intermittently, it returned for the final laps of the race.

Hamilton had a look at passing him a couple of times but Vettel was able to hold on.

Button finished more than 30 seconds behind the lead pair after choosing a three-stop strategy compared to the four of the other leading runners.

"We never planned to do anything but a three-stop strategy as I thought doing two stints on a prime tyres was no good," said Button.

"It would have been interesting to see what would happened if I didn't have a bad first lap, but all in all it was a good day and good to get a podium."

The decision helped him push Webber down to fourth place and the Australian will rue a poor start from pole position that left him third by the first corner, from which point his race unravelled.

Webber 'hampered by poor start'

Webber spent much of the race stuck behind Alonso, finally clearing the Ferrari when it pitted on lap 39.

Webber has been one of the harshest critics of some of the easy passes that have come about as a result of the rapidly degrading tyres and DRS overtaking device that have been introduced this season.

But he may well have been wishing for some of the easy passes that were seen at the previous race in Turkey. They vanished at this track where overtaking has always been so difficult.

Alonso fell further back throughout the race, but was well clear of the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, which were sixth and seventh.

And Alonso admitted that his result was "what we deserved this weekend".

"It looks a little bit sad when you start losing positions but we need to understand that P1 was maybe not our position at that moment," the Spaniard told the BBC.

"We were not competitive, especially in the race pace, we were too slow - with the hard tyre even more.

"There are clearly two teams ahead of everybody. We need to change this situation. We need to work more and more and we'll see. Monaco is so special, anything can happen but in Canada, we need to make a step forward."

Renault's Nick Heidfeld was eighth, with the Sauber drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi took the final two points positions.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was a relieved man.

"It was a full-on race, Fernando changed the dynamics completely getting into the lead," said Horner.

"He did not have fantastic pace but it was very hard to overtake. We managed to get Seb past with the undercut and he made that really work for him and hang on, but McLaren gave us a tough run today."

Hamilton, Button, Webber and Jaime Alguersuari were investigated after the race for not slowing down when yellow flags were waved after Heikki Kovalainen crashed out in his Lotus.

All four were subsequently reprimanded but no further punishment applied.


Turkish GP:
Another faultless race from Vettel
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Vettel crash during practice
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Turkey GP: Vettel Cruises To His Third
Sunday 8th. May 2011

Sebastian Vettel demonstrated his maturity and Red Bull their pace as the German put in a faultless drive to take his third win of the season.

Starting from pole position, the defending World Champion stormed into the lead, completely untroubled by those behind him.

From there it was but a walk in the park for the Red Bull driver, who only relinquished the lead when he stopped for fresh tyres.

Cruising across the line, having opted for a four-stop strategy, which included a late stop to ensure that no one on fresher tyres could take the victory away from him ala China style, Vettel bagged another 25 points towards his title defence.

Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were involved in a thrilling battling seven laps from the end of the grand prix. It started earlier in the race when Alonso past Nico Rosberg in the opening few laps and then later took Webber with the use of his adjustable rear wing.

The Aussie had no answer for the Ferrari driver as he stormed by and had to settle in behind him. Both drivers opted for four-stop strategies to give them the edge in the closing stages but it seemed to give Webber more of the edge and paid Alonso back, overtaking the Spaniard to finish second in a Red Bull 1-2.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton lost his chance of fighting for a podium finish when his third stop took precious extra seconds due to a problem with his front right wheel nut.

He dropped down the order but fought back to fourth place before coming in for his fourth stop, which put him behind team-mate Jenson Button, who was on a three-stopper to Hamilton's four. With Hamilton on fresh rubber, Button had no answer to his team-mate, who took the position off him without a breaking a sweat.

Nico Rosberg, another four-stopper, was the next to take Button, a welcome feeling for the Mercedes GP driver, who seemed to spend much of the race dropping down the order. He had been P2 after the opening lap.

Nick Heidfeld, Vitaly Petrov, Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi completed the points.

Full report to follow...

Results
01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30:17.558
02. Mark Webber Red Bull +8.807
03. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +10.075
04. Lewis Hamilton McLaren + 40.232
05. Nico Rosberg Mercedes + 47.539
06. Jenson Button McLaren + 59.431
07. Nick Heidfeld Renault + 1:00.857
08. Vitaly Petrov Renault + 1:08.168
09. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso + 1:09.300
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber + 1:18.000
11. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 1:19.800
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes + 1:25.400
13. Adrian Sutil Force India + 1 lap
14. Sergio Perez Sauber + 1 lap
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams + 1 lap
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso +1 lap
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus + 1 lap
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus + 2 laps
20. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin + 2 laps
21. Narain Karthikeyan HRT + 3 laps
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT + 5 laps

Sebastian Vettel clinches Turkish Grand Prix

Sunday 8th. May 2011
by Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Turkish Grand Prix to seal a third win of 2011 as a fierce fight unfolded behind him.

Mark Webber passed Fernando Alonso with five laps to go to seal a Red Bull one-two but Alonso hung on to the last podium spot for improving Ferrari.

The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button engaged in a fascinating battle but Hamilton's decision to make one more stop paid off with fourth.

Nico Rosberg relegated Button to sixth as Button's tyres faded late on.

While the battles down the field lit up the track behind him, Vettel made smooth progress as he built up a lead of almost six seconds before his first stop on lap 10. Turkish Grand Prix - Top three drivers

Turkish Grand Prix - Top three drivers

The world champion made sure he was not caught out during a final flurry of stops and came in for a fresh set of hard tyres to ensure there would be no repeat of China, when he was denied victory by Hamilton with four laps to go.

This time Vettel crossed the line eight seconds clear of his team-mate Webber and just 10 seconds beyond Alonso's Ferrari.

"He is flawless at the moment," said BBC F1 analyst David Coulthard. "He is setting the standards in qualifying and how to win a grand prix."

After a difficult start to the season, Ferrari leave Turkey as Red Bull's closest rivals.

Formula 1's teams had arrived for the first European race intent on closing down their rivals with a raft of updates.

Ferrari were no exceptions and added several new components - including new front and rear wings - in an attempt to close down Red Bull and McLaren.

Alonso had spoken confidently before the race about seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel" and his faith was restored by his first podium of the season.

The Spaniard got away cleanly to pass Hamilton off the line and was able to match the pace of his rivals throughout the race.

The proof of Ferrari's step forward came when Alonso, with the help the moveable rear wing, flew past Webber for second place before his third stop at Ferrari.

"Alonso is relentless. He just won't give up and I admire him for that," said BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. Sebastian Vettel Vettel has converted three of his four poles into wins this season

"It's a comeback from Ferrari and standing on the podium will be Alonso's reward."

Alonso remains fifth in the championship, and 52 points off Vettel's lead.

Hamilton retained second in the title hunt after a fourth place at Istanbul Park that the Englishman had to work hard for.

A sticky start saw Hamilton lose ground off the line to Alonso's looming Ferrari and Button, who had started sixth.

The two McLarens then staged a fascinating battle which saw the English team-mates swap positions on track several times.

"I don't remember drivers in the same team getting past each other so often without mistakes being made," commented Coulthard.

The McLaren squabble only ended when Ferrari's Felipe Massa passed Hamilton and then triggered the first round of stops.

Hamilton had earned his victory in China with a clever strategy and decisions on the pit wall paid off again in Istanbul as he chose a four-stop strategy while Button stopped three times.

A fresher set of tyres helped Hamilton zone in on his team-mate in the closing stages and Button was also overhauled by Rosberg as his older tyres began to lose their grip.

Rosberg had qualified in third in an improving Mercedes and jumped Webber at the start.

But the German did not have the pace over 58 laps on heavy fuel and, although he defended bravely, he found himself repeatedly overhauled and finished fifth.

His team-mate Michael Schumacher lost his front wing in a tangle with Vitaly Petrov's Renault on the second lap and from then on the seven-time world champion seemed to constantly find himself mired in defensive action.

Schumacher finished 12th while the Renaults of Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld, Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso and Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber rounded out the top 10.

A difficult weekend for Paul di Resta ended when Force India told the Scot to retire after spotting a problem with his car.

Vettel reigns supreme in Turkey
The only problem Sebastian Vettel had on his four-stopping way to victory number three of 2011 in Turkey on Sunday afternoon came as he went into the 57th and penultimate lap and had to lap the duelling Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil in the last corner. Otherwise, he made it look easy, leading virtually throughout after making a great start.

Making it another great day for Red Bull - and a very different result to 2010's here - Mark Webber brought his RB7 home second after passing Fernando Alonso's Ferrari on the 51st lap. Both also stopped four times for fresh Pirellis.

Lewis Hamilton made a strong start but got hung out to dry after running wide and dropping from fourth to sixth, and thereafter McLaren switched him from a three-stop strategy to 'Plan B', four stops. Team mate Jenson Button stayed on three, and was running fourth by lap 48, but Hamilton overtook him with ease on his fresher rubber on lap 49, and five laps later Nico Rosberg followed suit to claim fifth for Mercedes.

Behind Button, Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov dragged their Renaults past Sebastien Buemi's enthusiastically driven Toro Rosso in the closing stages to take distant seventh and eighth places, but the three-stopping Swiss clung on to take two points for ninth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, who was the other runner of significant note to get home on three stops. He climbed from last place on the grid to claim the final point for Sauber.

Felipe Massa had a race filled with battles, most notably with Michael Schumacher, but the former three-time winner here could not better 11th for Ferrari ahead of the Mercedes driver, whose race was compromised by a first-lap collision with Petrov in Turn 12 which necessitated a new front wing.

Behind them, the Sutil/Perez battle resolved itself in the Force India driver's favour, though officially they crossed the finish line a lap down, separated by 0.0s. And behind them, Rubens Barrichello's three-stop race took him to the line in 15th place for Williams, 0.1s ahead of four-stopping Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso. Pastor Maldonado took 17th for Williams, in a race which included a drive-through penalty for pit-lane speeding, from Jarno Trulli who had a great intra-team scrap with Heikki Kovalainen until the Finn's Lotus developed technical problems in the closing stages and dropped back in 19th place. Virgin's Jerome D'Ambrosio took 20th in a race that team mate Timo Glock did not even start after suffering gearbox problems on the way to the grid, and Narain Karthikeyan led home HRT partner Tonio Liuzzi after the fleet Italian's race was spoiled by a long stop to investigate mechanical problems.

Paul di Resta didn't make it to the finish after his Force India faded after his fourth stop, but apart from Glock was the only non-finisher.

While the race for the lead never developed, there was yet more fantastic racing all the way down the field with some gripping battles, notably between Webber and Alonso, Rosberg and the two McLaren drivers, and Schumacher with virtually anyone around him on the track.

Vettel now has 93 points in the world championship from Hamilton on 59, as Webber jumps ahead of Button with 55 to 46. Alonso is fifth with 41. In the constructors' stakes, Red Bull have 148 to McLaren's 105 and Ferrari's 65, with Renault on 42 and Mercedes 26.


China GP:
Spin
Winner
Start
Track
Pit
Finish

Hamilton takes sensational Shanghai win
Sunday 17th. April 2011

Lewis Hamilton scored a fabulous victory for McLaren in a Chinese race of excellent drives, catching and passing Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on the 52nd of the 56 laps as the reigning world champion's gamble on a two-stop strategy - and a 25-lap run on Pirelli's hard rubber - just failed to pay off.

Behind them, Mark Webber drove a brilliant race from 18th to third in the second Red Bull, only seven seconds behind Hamilton, after catching and despatching Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, then doing the same to Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and McLaren's Jenson Button in the closing stages.

It was an odd race, that began with Button and Hamilton leading from Vettel, before Vettel repassed them as the first pit stops were made. He jumped Hamilton just before his stop on Lap 13, but admitted he was somewhat bemused when leader Button initially drove into the Red Bull pit before frantically being waved through to McLaren next door!

Rosberg had stopped on Lap 12 and then had a spell in the lead for Mercedes from Lap 17 until he stopped again on Lap 25. That put Vettel back in the lead until he stopped for the second and last time on Lap 31, whereupon Massa had a spell in front. The Brazilian was right back on form, comfortably outpacing team mate Fernando Alonso this day.

Such are the characteristics of the Pirellis that the form of races is not established until the final stints, and by Lap 40 Vettel was out front, 3.6s ahead of Massa with Rosberg third from Hamilton, who had overtaken Button. Steadily Massa reeled in Vettel, but it was the McLarens that were on the move. Hamilton took Rosberg on Lap 42, Massa on 44, and then slashed a 3.7s deficit to Vettel before forcing his way by in Turn Seven on the 52nd lap.

For a while it seemed that Button might follow suit, but Webber had the freshest tyres. He ran the primes until Lap 10, then switched to the softer options and, having made his final stop on Lap 40, was flying. As Button began to move in on Vettel, having passed Massa and Rosberg, Webber was stalking him and dived by on the penultimate lap to make the podium after a superb effort.

Three-stopping Rosberg was left fifth, ahead of the disillusioned Massa and Alonso for whom two-stop strategies had not worked out, while a decent afternoon's work left Schumacher eighth. Renault's two-stop strategy didn't do the trick either, but Vitaly Petrov took ninth place from Paul di Resta on the 52nd lap, and Kamui Kobayashi pushed the Scottish rookie out of the points for the first time in his short Formula One career soon afterwards.

By the finish Di Resta was under heavy pressure from Nick Heidfeld too, after the German had had an adventurous race trapped in the midfield. He held off the Renault, however, but was disappointed to miss out on a point after yet again being Force India's faster driver.

Rubens Barrichello was 13th for Williams after a race spent dicing mainly with Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus, while Toro Rosso's promising afternoon evaporated right at the start as Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi dropped back. The Spaniard became the race's sole retirement when he lost the righ-rear wheel after his first pit stop, while Buemi had to be satisfied with 14th after a deeply disappointing afternoon.

The Swiss driver headed home Adrian Sutil, who was involved in a collision for which Sauber's Sergio Perez was given a drive-through penalty. The Mexican finished 17th, behind Kovalainen, and ahead of Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Jarno Trulli in the other Lotus, who had relatively uneventful races. Jerome D'Ambrosio was again Virgin's faster runner, heading home Timo Glock in 20th and 21st places, while Tonio Liuzzi caught and passed HRT team mate Narain Karthikeyan on the final lap after having to make up a lot of ground following a drive-through penalty early on for jumping the start.

Vettel now has 68 points from Hamilton's 47, with Button third on 38 from Webber's 37, Alonso's 26 and Massa's 24. Red Bull still lead the constructors' championship, with 105 points to McLaren's 85, Ferrari's 50 and Renault's 32.

China GP:
Lewis Ends Seb's Dominance

Sunday 17th April 2011

Hamilton's mechanics were frantically repairing a fuel leak on his car before the start of the race, but their hard work paid off as he finished ahead of Vettel to break the Red Bull's stranglehold on race wins.

Vettel came home in P2, but arguably the star of the race was Mark Webber who started from P18 on the grid to make it to a podium place on the penultimate lap. It was an epic race with exactly the kind of overtaking Pirelli had been asked to deliver.

Race Report
The track was bathed in sunshine with the ambient temperature up to 22C and the track at 29C. There was drama in the McLaren garage at the very last minute as Lewis Hamilton's MP4-26 failed to start up. There was a scramble to get the air box off and the problem sorted and he finally managed to get out of the pitlane with just 35 seconds before it closed. He had to go to the grid with body parts missing off his car.

Mark Webber, starting back in P18, decided to go for hard tyres on the opening stint although most of those around him were on the softer Option tyre.

Grid:1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Hamiton, 4.Rosberg, 5.Alonso, 6.Massa, 7.Alguersuari 8.DiResta, 9.Buemi, 10.Petrov

Start: As the red lights went out polesitter Sebastian Vettel bogged down and Jenson Button was easily past up the inside and he had to defend aggressively against Lewis Hamilton. Vettel squeezed him towards the inside but couldn't close the door with the McLaren right alongside. Hamilton into P2.

Nico Rosberg also fancied his chances at getting past Vettel round the outside of Turn 2 but the World Champion was able to position his car to keep the Mercedes driver back, which in turn put Rosberg under pressure from the two Ferraris. Felipe Massa got another great start and was up past Alonso into Turn 1. Like Malaysia there was no serious contact on the opening lap and no trips to the pitlane for new tyres or front wings.

Lap 1 Positions: 1.Button, 2.Hamilton, 3.Vettel, 4.Rosberg, 5.Massa, 6.Alonso, 7.DiResta, 8.Sutil, 9.Schumacher, 10.Alguersuari, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Petrov, 13.Buemi, 14.Heidfeld.

Mark Webber made up only one place on the opening lap and was P17 as he crossed the line first time round. Similarly the Renault team didn't mirror their great starts of previous races with Petrov going backwards at the end of the lap, losing places to Alguersuari and Kobayashi. The big gainer was Michael Schumacher up from P14 to P9.

In the opening stint, the gaps slowly started to open up, though the effect of the DRS wasn't immediately apparent. Cars following each other down Shanghai's long straight weren't making automatic moves past each other, largely because the FIA had limited the DRS activation zone on Saturday.

The top three drivers each put in fastest laps in the first seven tours with Button holding just a 1.2 second gap for most of the first stint. Mark Webber's afternoon looked like it was coming apart on Lap 9 when Sergio Perez ran side by side through a series of corners and got past him. At the end of Lap 10 Webber pitted to get rid of the harder Prime tyre - which bizarrely wasn't as effective as the softer Option. It was to pay dividends at the end of the race.

Nico Rosberg was the first of the front runners to pit at the end of Lap 12 from P4 , at the same time his team-mate Michael Schumacher put in the fastest lap having stopped for new tyres two laps earlier. On Lap 11 it was clear that the McLaren tyres were going away because both of them were a second slower than the pursuing Ferraris and Vettel was bustling to get past. After the race Martin Whitmarsh revealed that Jenson Button stopped a lap later than he should have and the lap times certainly bore that out.

When Button stopped at the end of Lap 13 he looked down at his dashboard at an inopportune moment and drove straight into the Red Bull garage for tyres, who then ushered him through to the McLaren pitbox next door. As a result he lost the place to Vettel when they emerged onto track as Vettel had come in behind him.

What was worse, staying out a lap too long had pushed Lewis Hamilton's tyres over the edge and he was overtaken by Felipe Massa at the end of Lap 14 before pitting. At this stage the |Ferraris' pace was looking good. Massa kept his position in front of Hamilton beyond the first stops which gave us an order on Lap 17 of:1.Rosberg, 2.Petrov (not stopped), 3.Vettel, 4.Button, 5.Massa, 6.Hamilton, 7.Heidfeld (not stopped), 8.Schumacher, 9.Alonso, 10.DiResta, 11.Sutil, 12.Kobayashi

The winner from the first round of pitstops was Nico Rosberg who now led the race. His team-mate, who had stopped even earlier, was delaying Fernando Alonso quite badly at between 0.5 and a second a lap. In the end Michael's older tyres just proved incapable of holding the Ferrari back and Alonso just drove round him on Lap 25.

Mark Webber had made his way up to P11 by Lap 23 and was involved in a hectic battle between Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi ahead of him in 9th and 10th. On Lap 24 Rosberg had a lead of 4.1 seconds over Vettel who was 2.1 ahead of Button, who was only 0.8 ahead of Massa.

Button pitted at the end of Lap 24; Hamilton, Rosberg and Webber pitted on Lap 25. When the Ferraris and Vettel didn't come in for tyres it became evident that they were only going to be stopping twice, while the McLarens, Webber and the Mercedes were stopping three times.

The positions on Lap 27 were: 1.Vettel(1), 2.Massa(1), 3.Alonso(1), 4.Rosberg(2), 5.Button(2), 6.|Hamilton(2), 7.DiResta, 8.Sutil, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Petrov

At this stage of the race all the three-stoppers started to gain significant chunks of time on the two-stoppers and when they closed up to their gearboxes, they were as good as past them. Rosberg, Button and Lewis Hamilton all closed up on Fernando Alonso and were past him without serious effort. On Lap 30 Hamilton passed Alonso on acceleration alone from Turn 14 and as he said afterwards: "I've never overtaken anyone there before unless it was a backmarker."

Alonso pitted on Lap 32 and Massa on Lap 33, but the big competition was now between the two Mclaren drivers who were both closing on Rosberg.

The positions on Lap 34 with all the front-runners having stopped twice now were: 1.Rosberg, 2.Button, 3.Hamilton, 4.Vettel, 5.Massa, 6.Schumacher, 7.Webber, 8.Petrov(1), 9.Alonso, 10.Perez(1).

On Lap 36 Lewis Hamilton made an unexpected (from Button's point-of-view) overtaking move on Button. Button went to turn into the first corner and found the other Mclaren almost alongside him. Jenson let him through and Lewis was away.

On Lap 37 Button pitted followed by Hamilton a lap later as down the order Mark Webber made one of many great moves in the race, this time on Michael Schumacher (who himself was on top form). All the three-stoppers came in about the same time. On Lap 39 it was Rosberg and on Lap 40 it was Webber. Right at this time, the BBC was able to show coverage from earlier in the race of Fernando Alonso's DRS wing opening before Turn 16 outside of the activation zone.

Such had been the three-stoppers' pace that they had already got ahead of Fernando Alonso by the time they put their last set of tyres on. The positions on Lap 41 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Massa, 3.Rosberg, 4.Hamilton, 5.Button, 6.Alonso, 7.Schumacher, 8.Webber, 9.Di Resta, 10.Kobayashi.

Hamilton - released from Button - was right onto Rosberg's gearbox. The Mercedes team had radioed through that he had to save fuel to get to the end of the race and he proved no match for an aggressive Hamilton who overtook him into Turn 6. Lewis suffered a flatspot on his front left while trying to find a way past Rosberg which gave him a worrying vibration till the end of the race.

Behind them Mark Webber was flying on the softer tyre and put in a fastest lap of 1:38.993 and was going three seconds faster than his team-mate Vettel. Now it was a case of the three-stoppers hunting down the two-stoppers in front of them. On Lap 45 Hamilton put an overtaking move on Felipe Massa that lasted from Turn 14 the previous lap through to Turn 1 on the next. Massa defended but the Mclaren got great traction out of the final corner and was past him on the straight.

On lap 45 Mark Webber breezed past Alonso for P6 as Rosberg failed to make a move on Massa, missed his braking into Turn 14, ran wide and allowed Button through.

Positions on Lap 48: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Massa, 4.Button, 5.Rosberg, 6.Webber, 7.Alonso

Jenson took some time to get past Massa and was finally through on Lap 49 as Mark Webber closed on both Rosberg and Massa.

On Lap 51 both Rosberg and Webber passed Felipe Massa, while at the front Lewis Hamilton stalked race leader Sebastian Vettel. On lap 52 Lewis made an easy overtaking move on the World Champion to take the lead as Webber closed on Rosberg's P4 position.

Unlike Hamilton, Button was barely closing on Vettel and when Mark Webber easily passed the Mercedes driver on Lap 54 to take P4 Jenson looked in great danger of losing his podium place. As it turned out, Webber caught and passed Button with ease on the penultimate lap to take an amazing P3 from P18 on the grid.

Hamilton crossed the line to take an epic victory ahead of the two Red Bulls in a historic race which saw 23 out of 24 cars finishing. Button had to be content with P4 and Mercedes translated their good grid slot for Rosberg into P5 with a strong performance from Felipe Massa in P6. In the closing stages of the race Michael Schumacher closed in on Alonso's P7 at an amazing rate of knots but failed to overhaul him by the line. Petrov was nearly half a minute back in P9 having gone for two stops.

There has not been so much overtaking action in the closing stages of a dry F1 race for quite some time. Pirelli had certainly delivered what was asked of them.

FH

Results
01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:36:58.226
02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +5.198
03. Mark Webber Red Bull +7.555
04. Jenson Button McLaren +10.000
05. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +13.448
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari +15.840
07. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +30.622
08. Michael Schumacher Mercedes +31.026
09. Vitaly Petrov Renault +57.404
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber +1:03.273
11. Paul di Resta Force India +1:08.757
12. Nick Heidfeld Renault +1:12.739
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams +1:30.189
14. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso +1:30.671
15. Adrian Sutil Force India +1 Lap
16. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus +1 Lap
17. Sergio Perez Sauber +1 Lap
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams +1 Lap
19. Jarno Trulli Team Lotus +1 Lap
20. Jerome d' Ambrosio Virgin +2 Laps
21. Timo Glock Virgin +2 Laps
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT F1 Team +2 Laps
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1 Team +2 Laps
Did not finish
24. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso +47 Laps

Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel in China Grand Prix

Sunday 17th. April 2011

Lewis Hamilton enjoys stunning Chinese Grand Prix win

Lewis Hamilton said his victory in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix was one of the best of his career.

The Englishman used his McLaren team's three-stop strategy brilliantly to chase down Sebastian Vettel and take the lead with four laps to go.

"I never really knew right to the end I could do it," he said. It is one of the best grand prix wins I can remember. Hamilton finally got the chance he had been waiting for and the result was one of the most exciting Formula 1 races for a very long time

Hamilton closed to within 21 points of Vettel to be second in the drivers' championship and stop the German kicking off the season with a hat-trick of successes.

Both he and team-mate Jenson Button passed pole-sitter Vettel at the start. Red Bull elected to put their driver on a two-stop strategy in a bid to make up ground, but Hamilton found himself with much fresher rubber than Vettel and the two Ferraris in the latter stages, enabling him to overtake a series of drivers.

Reflecting with a degree of emotion on his 15th career success, Hamilton said: "This is one of the best GP wins I can remember. I got a great start and that gives you momentum.

"I knew the Red Bull had the real pace but the way it panned out with strategy and pit stops, I couldn't have asked for more.

"When you start you have to believe opportunities will come. I always think when I come into a race 'I can win this' ".

Start was key to victory - Hamilton Hamilton performed his critical manoeuvre up the inside of a gentle left-hander, turn seven - not noted as an obvious spot for overtaking.

He said: "Sebastian is a great world champion. He is very good at defending, he has a great car, good traction and slightly better down-force. I had to take him at a place where he wouldn't expect it.

"You put so much into a season with preparations over winter. It feels like a long time since I won a GP (Belgium, August 2010). It feels like an eternity.

"My new option tyres seemed to last longer and the pit stops were fantastic. The car felt great and I was trying to nurse my tyres while picking up pace.

"The emotion comes from the desire to win and to be better and to compete against tough rivals. When you haven't won it feels like an eternity.

"The car has been great and we are having to push with everything we have to close the gap. We were smarter on strategy and on making it work."

I was looking down and when I looked back up I could see I was in the wrong place

Jenson Button explains the error on his first pit-stop

The result was a satisfactory one for McLaren as a whole, with Button's fourth place contributing 12 points to a team haul of 37, four more than Red Bull accrued.

That was despite a bizarre incident in which Button lost valuable time during his first pit stop when he momentarily parked his car between the Red Bull crew before being waved on to his correct position.

Button said of the incident: "I was looking down and when I looked back up I could see I was in the wrong place."

He went on: "Massive congrats to Lewis. It was one of those races with lots of overtaking, lots of action. I wasn't quick enough and really struggled to look after the tyres for some reason.

"It's enjoyable but also you're a sitting duck when people have new tyres. You try to fight back but you don't have the traction, it's tricky."

McLaren's chief operating officer Martin Whitmarsh added: "It's been a challenging weekend, so much emotion; there is so much action in the race that if you get it only slightly wrong you're toast.

"The first win of the year has been very emotional. You always worry about not winning a race in a season."

His team trail Red Bull by 20 points in the constructors' championship, with Ferrari 35 points shy of McLaren in third.


Malaysia GP:
Another faultless race from Vettel
Winner Sebastian Vettel
Start
Heidfeld jumps 6 to 2 at the start round the outside.
Liuzzi

Race - Vettel keeps cool to win Malaysian thriller
Sunday 10th. April 2011

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel made it look so easy as he scored his second victory of the season and extended his world championship points tally to 50 on Sunday afternoon in Malaysia. The German took the lead at the start, nursed his tyres through three pits stops, avoided using his problematic KERS from the 29th lap after instruction from his team, yet was still 6.1s ahead of a charging Jenson Button in the McLaren with a lap to go.

Button did the impossible by running 19 laps on a set of Pirelli's prime tyres where previously nobody had managed more than 16, but the 3.2s gap at the chequered flag reflected the side-by-side weaving that Vettel did in triumph as he reached the finish line.

Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren had been in the fight all afternoon, once he had overtaken super-fast starting Nick Heidfeld's Renault in the first stops, but unlike his team mate the Briton lost pace on the primes, fell behind Button after the third stops, and needed a fourth to make it to the flag in seventh after running off the track.

Heidfeld likewise kept in play throughout to beat Mark Webber's Red Bull to the final podium slot, after the KERS-less Australian fought back from a terrible opening lap and four pit stops.

Behind them, Felipe Massa brought his Ferrari home fifth after three stops, only 0.2s ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso, who seemed set to take Hamilton's third place until he hit the back of the McLaren on the 46th lap and needed a fourth stop for a new front wing. He had been struggling for some time with a DRS wing which stopped working properly.

Kamui Kobayashi mixed it with anyone and everyone all afternoon, including some wonderful side-by-side racing with Webber as confirmation that the DRS wing concept worked superbly here, and took eighth place for Sauber in Hamilton's wake and ahead of Michael Schumacher who was able to muscle his way ahead of Paul di Resta's Force India with two laps remaining.

Once again the Scottish rookie beat team mate Adrian Sutil, who needed a stop for attention to first lap damage only three laps into the race, but couldn't hold off seven-time champion Schumacher's Mercedes as his Pirellis were finished. Nevertheless he maintained his great record of scoring points in both of his Grands Prix.

Nico Rosberg had a miserable race for 12th in the second Mercedes, ahead of the duelling Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi, who overcame a stop-and-go penalty for pit-lane speeding to beat team mate Jaime Alguersuari to 13th. Heikki Kovalainen just failed to catch the Spaniard by the flag, as Lotus beat Virgin and Timo Glock in the newer teams' race to complete the finishers.

Vitaly Petrov had just repassed Kobayashi for eighth place on the 53rd lap when he had a big off which sent his Renault bouncing so high over a kerb that his car's steering column seemed damaged on landing, but though he hit an advertising hoarding he didn't hurt himself. His race, however, was over.

Tonio Liuzzi didn't make the finish either as his HRT stopped when running 18th, nor did Jerome D'Ambrosio's Virgin which had been just ahead of him. Jarno Trulli's Lotus also ran into unreliability, as did Sergio Perez's Sauber and Narain Karthikeyan's HRT, while both Williams drivers, Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello, had early problems and failed to get home.

Vettel now has 50 points to Button's 26, with Hamilton on 24, Webber on 22, Alonso on 20, Massa on 16 and Heidfeld and Petrov on 15.

Red Bull move further into the lead of the constructors' championship with 72 points, with McLaren on 50 ahead of Ferrari on 36 and Renault on 30.

Malaysia GP:
Another faultless race from Vettel

Sunday 10th April 2011

Sebastian Vettel made it back-to-back wins in 2011 as he eased to victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The World Champion had another faultless race from start to finish. He was followed over the line by McLaren's Jenson Button while Renault grabbed their second podium of the season through Nick Heidfeld.

Grid: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Button, 5.Alonso, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Massa, 8.Petrov, 9.Rosberg, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Schumacher, 12.Buemi, 13.Alguersuari, 14.DiResta, 15. Barrichello, 16.Perez, 17.Sutil, 18.Maldonado, 19.Kovalainen, 20.Trulli

Conditions: Drty. There were reports of showers occurring 4kms away from the circuit, with a few drops of rain felt on the grid. The ambient temperature was 28C with the track at 31C.

Start: As the lights went out it was Mark Webber who went rapidly backwards (he'd radioed in on his formation lap that there was a problem with his KERS which was then turned off). Going rapidly forwards were the two Renaults of Heidfeld and Petrov who chose the outside of Turn 1 to get past the Ferraris and mix it with the McLarens. Nick Heidfeld made it up past Lewis Hamilton for P2 and Vitaly Petrov had to be robustly resisted by Jenson Button to prevent him from getting P4.

For the second race running Felipe Massa got a great start and squeezed ahead of his team-mate. Michael Schumacher, too. At one point he'd stuck his Mercedes W02 between both Ferraris, but Alonso got him back before Turn 5. What was extraordinary, was despite the jockeying for position there was no serious contact between cars, no front wings damaged on the opening lap - though Barrichello had an early puncture.

Positions at the end of the opening lap: 1.Vettel, 2.Heidfeld, 3.Hamilton, 4.Button, 5.Petrov, 6.Massa, 7.Alonso, 8.Schumacher, 9.Webber, 10.Kobayashi, 11.Alguersuari, 12.Buemi, 13.Rosberg, 14.DiResta

On Lap 4 Kamui Kobayashi got past Mark Webber. The Japanese driver had a series of overtaking battles throughout the afternoon, the first being with Webber. Mark had got past him on the opening lap, and Kamui used his DRS to get back past him on Lap 4 - without the benefit of KERS he couldn't defend so well in these situations. However by Lap 6 the Australian was past again.

In the early laps of the race there were anxious looks to the skies as showers closed in on the circuit and everybody wanted to leave their opening pit-stop for tyres till the last minute - in case the change had to be to Intermediates or Wets. Vitaly Petrov ruined his good start by running wide at Turn 13 and allowing Alonso past him.

On Lap 7 Kobyashi was past Webber, on Lap 8 it was Webber on Kobayashi, one turn later it was Kobayashi on Webber. At the front Lewis Hamilton looked like he was being held up by Heidfeld's Renault as Vettel started to open up a gap of a second a lap. It went from 5.2 to 6.3 to 7.4 on Lap 10.

At the end of Lap 10 Mark Webber came in for tyres (the first of four sets) and exited in P17. Jenson Button looked much slower than Lewis Hamilton at this stage of the race and Felipe Massa began to close in on him.

On Lap 12 Hamilton came in for tyres which triggered a wave of stops, just as a few drops of rain started to fall. The shower that hit the circuit was very light and burnt off the track quickly and the much-anticipated wet-race chaos failed to materialise

The sum total of the changes of the first pit-stops were a race order on Lap 16 of: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Kobayashi (not stopped), 4.Button, 5.Alonso, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Webber, 8.Massa, 9.Petrov, 10.DiResta, 11.Perez (not stopped), 12.Schumacher.

Nick Heidfeld and Ferrari had lost out in the pit-stops with Massa dropping behind his team-mate, but Alonso right on the tail of Jenson Button. On Lap 17 he was past him into Turn 1 and off to chase Hamilton. Nick Heidfeld also lost out in the first round of pit-stops.

Lewis Hamilton was catching Vettel at this stage of the race and lowered the gap from 6.3 seconds on Lap 17 to 4.9 seconds on Lap 21, but it was Alonso behind who was the fastest man of the trio, closing on the pair of them. Similarly, Felipe Massa was out of phase with Mark Webber, whose tyres were much older and the Brazilian breezed past him into Turn 4 on Lap 22 to take P6.

Michael Schumacher was involved in a bit of a ding dong all afternoon with Kamui Kobayashi who'd lost Mark Webber down the road and was left to have fun with the seven times World Champion instead.

On Lap 23 Lewis Hamilton pitted for the second time, followed a lap later by Button and a lap later by Sebastian Vettel. Vettel came out behind the Heidfeld versus Massa battle and if those two didn't stop in a hurry, he looked like he might have a problem, given the Renault's traction on the straight. Luckily he had the DRS at his disposal to dispatch Massa and Heidfeld pitted to get out of his way.

Button's stop - three laps in front of Alonso - really worked to his advantage because when the dust settled he was up to P3. In fact Jenson started to close on Lewis Hamilton on this set of tyres. On Lap 29 Vettel led by 3.9 seconds from Lewis, who was just 1.8 seconds ahead of Button who had four seconds on Alonso.

The positions on Lap 30 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Button, 4.Alonso, 5.Webber, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Massa, 8.Kobayashi, 9.Petrov, 10.DiResta, 11.Schumacher, 12.Alguersuari

Already there were doubts about the KERS on Sebastian Vettel's car with the World Champion asking his engineer: " Rocky, do you want me to use KERS or not...?" The answer was "Negative". This information was radioed through to the McLaren team who reported it back to their drivers. In terms of pace on the track it heralded a push by Vettel who really started to open the gap up to Hamilton while Button closed on his team-mate.

At the next round of pit-stops Lewis came in first but had a sluggish 6.9 second stop as the front left tyre jammed and Jenson Button came out in front of him when he made his stop a lap later. Vettel and Alonso duly pitted in response, with Alonso rejoining behind the Hamilton versus Webber battle. Mark was out of sequence with the front runners and would need to stop again.

So the Lap 42 positions of 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Hamilton, 4.Webber, 5.Alonso, 6.Petrov (about to stop again) 7.Heifeld, 8.Massa, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Schumacher, 11.DiResta, 12.Sutil

When Mark Webber pitted for his fourth and final time it released Fernando Alonso who was soon on the back of the clearly slowing Lewis Hamilton. Ever since Button had got ahead of Hamilton, the latter had been going backwards at a second a lap. Alonso's problem was that he didn't have his DRS wing working and so he had to overtake the McLaren the hard way.

All the way through Lap 45 Hamilton had to choose his line carefully to keep in front but on Lap 46 Fernando was clearly faster and looked to launch himself from behind the Mclaren in the run up to Turn 4. It looked like he got too close to the back of the Mclaren and thumped his front wing against Hamilton's rear tyre, taking off one end of vanes.

He had to return to the pits for a new front wing and dropped to P7. Thus the order was now: 1.Vettel, 2.Button, 3.Hamilton, 4.Heidfeld, 5.Massa, 6.Webber, 7.Alonso, 8.Kobayashi, 9.Petrov, 10.DiResta, 11.Schumacher, 12.Sutil.

Mark Webber, on the freshest set off tyres was making inroads into the gap to Felipe Massa, at the same time Nick Heidfeld was rapidly catching Lewis Hamilton whose rear tyre had survived the impact from the Ferrari front wing, but the whole set looked slow.

On Lap 50 the KERS-less (but DRS equipped) Mark Webber closed up and passed Felipe Massa in a dramatic move running on the outside of Massa around Turn 1 and then on the inside into Turn 2. He set off after Nick Heidfeld who had Hamilton only 1.1 seconds in front and was lapping that much quicker. Lewis put up no resistance when the Renault came past on Lap 52.

On Lap 53 Hamilton ran off the road in Turns 7 and 8 and immediately pitted for new tyres; he rejoined way back in P8. Nick Heidfeld with tyres that were four laps older than Mark Webber's started to see the Red Bull large in his mirrors. The Renault had amazing traction on the main straight that stretched his advantage in the DRS zone and while his tyres lasted out he could keep ahead of Webber.

On Lap 54 Petrov exited the race from 7th place in dramatic style. Having run wide, he bounced his car over the grass and a gully sent it airborn, smashing the steering column as it landed back on the track and slewing to a halt by a 150m braking board.

Fernando Alonso closed the gap to 5th place Massa by the line, but was a lap away from using his DRS and making things a whole lot more interesting.

Sebastian Vettel crossed the line for his second dominant win of 2011 in a race that threatened but never delivered rain. Button came home second from Heidfeld, Webber, Massa, Alonso and a gloomy Hamilton in P7. The Pirelli tyres had delivered a three-stop/four-stop race with all the swings of good and poor pit-stops and good and poor sets of tyres.

We also saw many drivers fail to have efficiently working DRS wings, malfunctioning KERS and tyres that behaved unexpectedly. Button reported that you could try and look after them and they still deteriorated.

With the longest straight coming up in Shanghai we can expect more of the same in a week's time.

FH

Results
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h37:39.832
02. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 3.261
03. Heidfeld Renault + 25.075
04. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 26.384
05. Massa Ferrari + 36.958
06. Alonso Ferrari + 37.248
07. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 49.957
08. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:07.239
09. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:24.896
10. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:31.563
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:45.000
12. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
16. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Petrov Renault + 4 laps
Not classified/retirements:
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 47
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 43
Trulli Lotus-Renault 32
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 24
Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 23
Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 15
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 9

Sebastian Vettel beats Jenson Button in Malaysian Grand Prix

Sunday 10th. April 2011
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Sepang

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was in a class of his own as the world champion won a dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix.

McLaren's Jenson Button was runner-up to go second in the championship and Renault's Nick Heidfeld was third.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were penalised after clashing on track while disputing third place. Hamilton dropped to eighth but Alonso kept sixth spot.

Scot Paul di Resta picked up his second point with 10th for Force India behind Michael Schumacher's Mercedes.

Vettel ran a sensible race, handling his tyres well on Sepang's blistering circuit and coping with intermittent use of the Kers power-boost system in the second half of the race.

The German comfortably collected the 12th grand prix win of his career to stretch his championship lead to 24 points.

"The fight behind him is close but Vettel has such an advantage out front in the championship now," said BBC commentator Martin Brundle.

"It was a tremendous effort from Button and Heidfeld but can anyone stop Vettel from dominating grand prix racing at the moment?"

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG
Strong as the Red Bull is, it appears as if it is beatable, as long as a rival gets everything right - but they need to start doing that soon

Vettel added: "We could control it, but it was never easy. When Jenson was behind me I could control the gap.

"Kers was a little bit on-off during the race. Two weeks ago [when he won in Australia] we never raced it at all.

"Today if I didn't have it at the start the race would never have unfolded as it did. Then we had a problem and had to turn it off, but it came back on again."

McLaren had a hectic race in which Hamilton and Button were both hustled by Alonso

It was Button who ultimately came out on top as he collected his first podium of the season to kick start his championship charge.

He said: "It was a really confusing race in a way, understanding the pit-stops and wondering if it was worth looking after the tyres.

"The last stint, on the prime tyre, the car came alive and there was so much more grip.

"I had the team telling me to back off and look after the tyres, but in the racer's mind you always want to attack.

"If you try to preserve them by backing off then sometimes you make the situation worse: if you back off, you can lose downforce and that damages the tyres a lot more [because the car is sliding around due to lack of downforce]."

Alonso was the architect of his own downfall when he tried to pass Hamilton for the final podium place with 10 laps left. Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Nick Heidfeld

Malaysian Grand Prix - top three drivers

The Spaniard clipped Hamilton's right-rear tyre and lost some of his front wing as he attempted to pass his former McLaren team-mate.

A stewards' investigation into the incident later found Hamilton of making more than one change of direction in his attempt to defend from Alonso, while the Ferrari man was charged with causing a collision.

Both drivers had 20 seconds docked from their overall race time but only Hamilton lost position as a result. The McLaren driver dropped one place to eighth and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi moved up to seventh.

Hamilton retained his third place in the championship but is now level on 22 points with Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"It was close and the rear wing didn't work in the last part of the race so I could not overtake [into Turn One]," the Spaniard said. "It maybe cost me a podium."

But he was encouraged by his strong pace in the race after struggling in practice and qualifying.

"Today we were fighting with the McLarens and Webber - and that was a surprise for us," Alonso said.

Alonso was forced into a fourth stop for a new nose and finished sixth overall but he still managed to finish ahead of Hamilton, who was struggling with excessive tyre wear for much of the race.

Heidfeld easily passed him to take his first podium since the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix before Mark Webber followed suit to take fourth place for Red Bull and complete his own comeback from a dreadful start.

"This is racing, I guess," Hamilton said dejectedly. "I started second and did everything I could to keep up and I don't really have too much to say.

"It started [when] I got stuck behind Heidfeld, I had Jenson on my inside and Heidfeld on my outside so squashed into Turn One. Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton despondent after Malaysia race

"It was difficult to defend without hitting them but that's racing sometimes.

"Through the race, my tyres went off, we boxed [pitted] too early, that made us box earlier again, all the time we were boxing early.

"My tyres were done on the end. I have to take it on the chin and see how it goes."

The race pattern was set at the start, when the Renaults surprised the pack by coming round the outside and Heidfeld displaced Hamilton as he moved up to second, while team-mate Vitaly Petrov also gained three places.

"The start was very crucial," Vettel said. "I thought I had a very good start, but then I saw Lewis coming up, and then all of a sudden I saw something black [Heidfeld's Renault] in my mirrors! That was a good thing to happen to me for my first stint."

For the second race running, Alonso got caught up in the scramble and saw his team-mate Felipe Massa sail past him.

Massa had his own work cut out during the race defending his position and the Brazilian did well to collect sixth ahead of the recovering Alonso.

Webber had to run the entire race without Kers - which he later admitted was a major disadvantage - and he was the biggest loser at the start as he found himself 10th at the end of the first lap.

The Australian, who arrived in Malaysia desperate to return the second Red Bull to the sharp end of the field, dug in and moved forward with a four-stop strategy, passing Massa right at the last, to claim a hard-won fourth place.

"Webber was just swamped into the run down to the first corner," explained BBC analyst David Coulthard. "It's a great comeback."

Di Resta was beaming after he passed Nico Rosberg on his way to 10th place and had a go at Schumacher, who finished ninth, in the second Mercedes.

"I'm quite happy, I must say," said Di Resta. "I knew it would be too tough to keep Michael behind us.

"We have to be confident that in China we can be battling cars that are a bit faster."

Petrov had another lively race but retired late on when he misjudged his return to the track after running wide.

He bounced over a kerb, the car took off, and as it slammed back down on to the track the steering column broke, and the car careered uncontrollably into a polystyrene marker board.

There was further disappointment for Williams with Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado both failing to finish for the second race running. The team are hopeful that planned upgrades for China will turn around their fortunes.

The 24 drivers will re-enter the fray in just five days' time for Friday practice in Shanghai for next weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.


Australia GP:
Vettel In A Class Of His Own
Winner Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel
Lewis Hamilton
Start of Australia GP
spin

Invincible Vettel wins with ease in Melbourne
Sunday 27th. March 2011
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel got his world championship defence off to the best possible start in Albert Park on Sunday evening. The German beat Lewis Hamilton's KERS-assisted rush as they had a drag race to the first corner, and thereafter that was all she wrote.

Vettel was 2.4s ahead at the end of the opening lap, and simply controlled the pace to win by 22.2s after a problem with the floor of Hamilton's McLaren caused an off-course moment in Turn One on Lap 32 and cost him some downforce.

At times the Englishman was able to match Vettel's pace and he did a better job controlling his tyres in the first part, as both ran two-stop strategies in a race in which all the gloomy predictions about Pirelli's tyres proved completely unfounded.

Behind them, Red Bull's Mark Webber originally ran third ahead of fast-starting Vitaly Petrov in the Renault, who benefited when McLaren's Jenson Button kept Ferrari's Fernando Alonso out wide going into Turn One at the start. As Webber faded after being the first to change tyres, Petrov moved into the third place he maintained throughout as he became the first Russian ever to stand on the podium after an excellent race.

In the closing stages he must have been thinking of Abu Dhabi as a recovered Alonso, who like Webber was on a three-stop strategy, began to haul him in. But as Petrov finished 8.2s adrift of Hamilton, the Spaniard's Ferrari was still 1.2s behind by the flag.

Jenson Button had a miserable race for McLaren, unable to pass a tough Felipe Massa in the opening stages despite the drag reduction rear wing. He got by the Ferrari on Lap 11 after having to run off the track as Massa squeezed him, whereupon Alonso also slipped ahead of Massa. The race stewards later gave the 2009 champion a drive-through penalty for going outside the track limits, and that compromised his race completely.

At the end, however, he pushed ahead of three-stopping Massa at the end of the pit straight going into Lap 54, and brought the second MP4-26 home in sixth place behind an unhappy Webber, who pulled off the track immediately past the pits after crossing the line. Adrian Newey said later that he had no idea what was wrong with the Australian's car during a disappointing race.

Sauber's Sergio Perez was another sensation. Driving on his debut with the spirit of Pedro Rodriguez at his shoulder, the young Mexican drove an incredible race with just one pit stop (up to four had been predicted) and beat team mate Kamui Kobayashi for seventh place on a great day for Peter Sauber's team. The Swiss cars' pace was too much for Toro Rosso, who saw a resurgent Sebastien Buemi fighting with Massa for ninth place. The Swiss moved ahead on Lap 51, only to be repassed by the Ferrari three laps later.

Rookie Paul di Resta ran 10th in the opening stages after narrowly avoiding a Turn Three clash between Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari. He was overtaken by Force India team mate Adrian Sutil, got ahead again after their first of two stops, and traded lap times with the German as they headed home 11th and 12th. It was a very strong performance from the young Scot.

Alguersuari recovered from the first-lap tag with Schumacher, which damaged his Toro Rosso's front wing and necessitated an early pit stop, while Schumacher got his right rear Pirelli torn off and later retired his Mercedes on safety grounds after replacing the damaged tyre at the end of the lap. With Nico Rosberg losing his engine after damage from a strike by Rubens Barrichello's Williams, it was not a great day for the Silver Arrows

Nor was it for Nick Heidfeld, who was totally overshadowed by his Renault team mate and could not better an unimpressive 14th place ahead of Jarno Trulli's surviving Lotus and Jerome D'Ambrosio's Virgin.

Barrichello hit Rosberg in Turn Three when an adventurous overtaking move went wrong, which was a shame as he's been flying in the early stages after losing ground in the opening lap traffic. Williams Team mate Pastor Maldonado was the first retirement when his FW33 stopped out on the track.

Timo Glock made several pits stops for attention to his Virgin, while Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus succumbed to a water leak.

Vettel now leads the world championship with 25 points to Hamilton's 18, Petrov's 12, and Alonso's 10, while Red Bull lead the constructors' title chase with 35 points from McLaren on 24, Renault on 15, Ferrari on 14, Sauber on 10 and Toro Rosso on one.

Australia GP: Vettel In A Class Of His Own

Sunday 27th March 2011

Sebastian Vettel started his title defence with an emphatic victory in Australia, easily heads and shoulders above the rest.

Starting from pole position, the German, who was seventh-tenths quicker than his nearest rival in qualifying, carried that pace over into the grand prix. He stormed into the lead and despite an early challenge from Lewis Hamilton, maintained it through to the end of a surprisingly low-key grand prix.

Bright sunshine bathed the Melbourne track at Albert Park before the start of the Australian Grand Prix. Although the ambient temperature wasn't a whole lot different from qualifying - an autumnal 17C with the track slightly higher at 23C.

All the front, ten cars were starting on the soft tyres and you had to look back to Sergio Perez in P13 as the highest placed hard tyre runner. As the lights went out Sebastian Vettel got a perfect get-away from the very clean side of the grid. After the race Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted that they hadn't got KERS on the car at all and were relying on sheer traction.

Lewis Hamilton - with KERS in P2 - was immediately passed by Mark Webber and looked to be losing a position to him. He managed to get inside the Red Bull driver into Turn 1 and held his line and position. Behind, there was a hurly burly as Vitaly Petrov had a great start from P6 and jumped up to P4 in his Renault.

Best start of all was from Felipe Massa who started from the slow side of the grid, jinked inside and was up past Rosberg, and his team-mate. It was a fabulous start to make up for poor qualifying. Petrov's squeeze up the inside pushed Button wide and Felipe followed him through in the gap. He tried to get Petrov into Turn 3 but Petrov was having none of it.

On the other hand his team-mate was more wary into Turn 1, having had a nightmare there last year. Alonso chose the outside of Button and got pushed almost onto the grass, lost pace and lost places. However joint worst start was from Rubens Barrichello who went straight on into the gravel run-off at Turn 3 and Michael Schumacher, whose rear wheel got tagged by Alguersuari and developed a puncture forcing him back into the pits.

The positions at the end of Lap one were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Petrov, 5.Massa, 6.Button, 7.Rosberg, 8.Kobayashi, 9.Alonso, 10.DiResta, 11.Buemi, 12.Sutil

Michael Schumacher's floor was damaged by the punctured tyre flapping round on his way back to the pits on the opening lap and he continued on for another 20 laps before calling it a day.

On Lap 2 Fernando Alonso forced his way past Kamui Kobayashi, while Jenson Button tried to find a way past Massa. Massa was blocking fairly and proving very difficult to pass even when Jenson deployed his DRS (Drag Reduction System)

At the front Sebastian Vettel opened up an immediate gap of three seconds over two laps, but then Lewis Hamilton pegged it back and the two drivers began to exchange fastest lap. Behind them, Webber and Petrov were dropping back while Button was darting behind Massa's rear wing. By Lap 8 he'd had enough and tried to overtake on the outside into Turn 12 but Massa didn't oblige and give way.

It was a question of bounce wheels at 180mph or take the exit road. Button took the exit road and passed Massa. The complication was that Alonso was now right behind Massa and if Button moved over to let Massa past he'd be letting both Ferraris past. McLaren asked Race Control what they should do and were told they'd get back to them. But didn't.

Button stayed in position and then the Ferraris pitted so he couldn't give the position back. A few laps later he was awarded a drive-through by stewards.

Mark Webber started off the first round of pit-stops at the end of Lap 11, followed by Alonso and then Massa, By Lap 13 the gap at the front between Vettel and Hamilton had reduced to just 1.5 seconds. Vettel pitted first and came out behind Jenson Button who was due his drive-through penalty in two laps' time. Vettel drove straight past him and straight off the road to make the passing move between Turns 4 and 5.

Hamilton pitted on Lap 16 but Vettel had already opened up a bigger gap using his second set of soft tyres and putting in a new Fastest Lap along the way. Button served his drive-through and dropped down to P.12.

The positions on Lap 20 were: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Webber, 4.Petrov, 5.Alonso, 6.Massa, 7.Perez, 8.Rosberg, 9.Kobayashi, 10.Barrichello, 11.Buemi, 12.Button.

Rubens Barrichello had recovered strongly from his first lap excursion and put in a crafty overtaking move to get past Kobayashi into Turn 3 as they lapped a slower car. Three laps later he came from too far back to have a go at Rosberg and speared his Williams-Cosworth into the side of the faultless Mercedes driver. Barrichello limped back to the pits for a new nose and a subsequent drive-through penalty.

Rosberg didn't fare quite so well from the sidepod impact. Only 23 laps gone and both Mercedes cars out.

Once Jenson Button had taken on his second set of tyres he was able to put pressure on Kamui Kobayashi and on Lap 25 we saw the first 'live' pictures of a DRS overtaking move as the McLaren just about got past the Sauber into Turn 1.

Mark Webber had fallen a long way back from the Vettel vs Hamilton duel at the front and pitted for more tyres on Lap 26 followed by Alonso on Lap 27. Both of them seemed to have opted for a three-stop strategy and would need to stop again.

The positions on Lap 34 were thus: 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Petrov, 4.Webber, 5. Alonso, 6.Button, 7.Massa, 8.Sutil, 9.Di Resta, 10.Perez, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Buemi

Attention switched to the front of Lewis Hamilton's car which looked to have a failure of the front tray strap allowing the bottom of the car to drag along the road. Despite the sparks flying, the damage didn't seem to have too much of an impact on Hamilton's lap time.

Alonso closed up on Webber, close enough to deploy his DRS down the straight without being able to catch the slippery Red Bull. In the end he didn't have to force a pass because Webber pitted early (for the third time). Apart from a slow tyre stop, Mark drove onto the grass as he misjudged his braking on the outlap. It was a free gift to Ferrari who immediately brought Alonso in and were able to get him out comfortably in front and up into P4.

Mark Webber, now on the softer tyre, was able to get close to Alonso as he got his hard tyres up to temperature. He couldn't get close enough for a pass and slowly began to drop away from Alonso.

Jenson Button was rapidly catching Felipe Massa and managed to pass him on the straight quite easily this time round. Button was being pursued by Perez who had stopped only once for tyres and would also not stop again. Once overtaken by Button, Massa dived into the pitlane rejoining in P10 with nine laps to go.

With Vettel, Hamilton, Petrov and Button only stopping twice for tyres, the race order was almost set with Vettel a manageable twelve seconds in front of Hamilton; Lewis almost twenty seconds in front of Petrov who was gradually being caught by Alonso in P4, with Webber P5, Button P6, Perez in P7 and Kobayashi in P8.

Alonso managed to reduce the gap to Petrov from 2.2 to 1.6 to 1.1 seconds on the final lap, but he was never close enough to make a pass, thus giving the Russian his first podium in F1. It was a good day for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel's run of strong results from 2010 continued.

The biggest winner of the GP weekend was McLaren whose cars had run race distances for the first time this year. It remains to be seen of there was enough of Lewis Hamilton's undertray left at the end to keep his car legal.

FH

Results
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h29:30.259
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 22.297
3. Petrov Renault + 30.560
4. Alonso Ferrari + 31.772
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 38.171
6. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 54.300
7. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:05.800
8. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:16.800
9. Massa Ferrari + 1:25.100
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
15. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
16. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps
Not classified/retirements:
Glock Virgin-Cosworth 50
Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 49
Rosberg Mercedes 22
Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 19
Schumacher Mercedes 19
Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 10

Both Saubers have been disqualified for a technical infringement to do with the rear wing actuators.

Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton in Australian GP

Sunday 27th. March 2011
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Melbourne

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel got his title defence off to a perfect start with a pole-to-flag victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton finished second to seal McLaren's turnaround in form but team-mate Jenson Button was sixth after being penalised for cutting a corner.

A brilliant start from Russian Vitaly Petrov propelled him to his first podium with third for Renault.

Scot Paul di Resta was 10th for Force India on his debut.

He finished 12th but the two Saubers were disqualified for a technical infringement.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso jumped Mark Webber's Red Bull in his final pit stop to take fourth place from the Australian, who could only equal his career-best finish at his home race.

There was more frustration for Mercedes as both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg retired from the race.

On this evidence, McLaren and the rest have some work to do if they are to stop Red Bull running away with the championship

It was a faultless race from the man intent on chasing Schumacher's record seven world championships as Vettel pulled clear at the start, stopped twice and always looked to have plenty in reserve as he controlled the race from the front.

"A stunning performance from the man who's led every lap of the last three grands prix," said BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle.

"That is a calm and steely Vettel, and frankly I don't think anyone was going to beat him."

Ominously for the rest of the field, team principal Christian Horner revealed after the race that neither of the Red Bull cars was running a Kers boost system.

"It was a fantastic day for Sebastian and the team, he was dominant in qualifying and totally dominant today," said Horner.

"We felt Kers was a potential risk, and we made a decision not to run it. It didn't look like we needed it."

Vettel himself insisted the race had not been as straightforward as it appeared.

"It was not easy, the start was crucial," he said.

"I had a good getaway, but didn't know if it was enough until I saw Lewis and Mark [Webber] battling for position. Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Vitaly Petrov

"After my stop it was crucial to get past Jenson, which I could do immediately, so that was very, very important. There were a lot of things to learn today and we need to have another look at the race."

Hamilton hailed his second place as a great achievement for McLaren after the team's poor performance in pre-season testing.

Vettel had already built a 2.6-second lead at the end of the first lap while others toiled behind him.

Button found himself down in sixth after losing position to Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Petrov, who had brilliantly nosed his Renault up from sixth on the grid.

As the race developed Button tried time and again to pass Massa, activating the moveable rear wing designed to aid overtaking, but the Brazilian defended strongly and Button was left asking his team over the radio; "How's he getting away from me?"

There were more headaches to come for Button when he cut a chicane in an attempt to pass Massa and was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty.

"There's no question that he gained an advantage," said BBC analyst David Coulthard.

"He knew that two doesn't go into one around that curve. He had to go off track and had to pay a penalty for that."

Button had a stab at holding up Vettel - who had pitted for the first of his two stops to leave Hamilton at the front for McLaren - before serving his penalty but the German soon flew past him and comfortably resumed his lead when Hamilton came in.

After his stop-go penalty Button fed back in 12th but he crossed the line in sixth after what Brundle described as an "adventurous race".

Despite Button's busy day, he and team-mate Hamilton will be relieved that McLaren's hard work at their Woking factory to turn a winter marred by a lack of pace and unreliability into a competitive start to the campaign.

Hamilton managed his race well and took his car across the line for second despite warnings from his team that his car was damaged. It quickly became evident the undertray and floor of the car was broken, which as Hamilton pointed out afterwards, badly affected the amount of downforce.

"We were clearly catching Seb earlier in the race, but in the end I was simply trying to nurse the car home," Hamilton said.

Renault proved they had taken a step forward over the winter, in part thanks to their innovative car design with its front-exiting exhausts, as Petrov collected third place with a cool drive.

The Russian repeated his trick from the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by holding off the looming Alonso.

Robert Kubica was second for Renault at last year's race in Melbourne and Petrov's performance suggested he is fully capable of leading the team on the track in the absence of Kubica, who is recovering from serious injuries in a rallying accident.

"I'm very happy to be alongside Sebastian and Lewis on the podium, but from first practice the car has looked very strong, we focused on the race, and the team did everything perfectly," said the Russian.

Petrov's Renault team-mate Nick Heidfeld, the stand-in for Kubica, finished a lowly 14th.

Alonso had got himself caught up in Button's wake as the McLaren went backwards off the line and the Ferrari ran wide into the first corner.

The Spaniard slid to 10th but he picked his way smoothly through the field before passing Webber for fourth place.

Both drivers were on a three-stop strategy but Webber conceded fourth place to Alonso on the final stop after he ran wide on his return to the parkland circuit.

"It was very frustrating, I was pushing as hard as I could but I wasn't getting much back to be honest," said Webber.

"I haven't been on the pace all weekend and I need to find out why."

There had been a lot of talk about tyre strategy and management in the build-up to the race as this season's Pirellis tyres have been designed to degrade more quickly than 2010's Bridgestones.

Most of the field made straightforward two-stop strategies work but Sauber raised eyebrows as Sergio Perez, making a hugely impressive F1 debut, stopped just once on his way to seventh.

"It was a dream start for me to finish in the points and to have such a nice race," the young Mexican said afterwards.

"To be honest we never thought we could do only one stop, we thought two or three. But I managed the tyres quite nicely, and I'm really happy for the team."

Both BBC F1 summariser David Coulthard and chief analyst Eddie Jordan made Perez their driver of the day.

With Brundle suggesting other tracks would be much harder on tyre wear than Albert Park proved to be, and Perez proving to be a real find, Sauber will take a lot of satisfaction from their performance in Melbourne.

Mercedes arrived in Melbourne with high hopes of a podium but their weekend ended miserably inside two laps.

Schumacher, who had a puncture at the start, was retired from the race as a precaution before his old Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello added to his misery by ploughing his left wheel into the side of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, sending him back to the garage for good.

"I had a good start but someone knocked on my rear right and there were consequences from that," Schumacher told BBC Sport.

"I had an entertaining few laps but the team quite rightly for safety decided that I should come in."

Di Resta was pleased after a calmly impressive debut. "I thought it was quite productive for a first race, although I think our speed showed in where we finished, we knew it would be hard for the first three grands prix," said the young Scot.

He confirmed he had let Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil pass him twice.

"He was on a different strategy. I did make a few mistakes, especially on in-laps, with procedures, and we were a bit optimistic on performance, so had to go with quite a big fuel conserve in the last part of the race."

Barrichello was the second driver to serve a drive-through penalty for his move on Rosberg and later had to retire from the race.




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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Formula_One_season
Circuits, Drivers and teams from CNN
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