Formula 1 News

Korean GP: Vettel victory hands title to Red Bull

Another flawless drive by the German and a third place finish by his teammate Webber helped the team to retain his constructor's crown.
Sunday, October 16, 2011

YEONGAM, South Korea, Oct 16, 2011 (AFP) - Double world champion Sebastian Vettel won the Korean Grand Prix in crushing fashion Sunday to help his Red Bull team retain the Formula One constructors title after a dominant season.

Just a week after cruising to third place in Japan, where Vettel confirmed himself as the 2011 drivers world champion, the 24-year-old German was uncatchable as he drove to his 10th win this year, and 20th of his career.

Vettel started second on the grid, but took the lead from Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren on the opening lap to pull clear and produce a flawless drive to the chequered flag.

He came home in a winning time of one hour, 38 minutes and 1.994 seconds, 12.019 ahead of Hamilton, who drove a splendidly controlled defensive race to stay ahead of Vettels Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.

The Australian finished third, ensuring Red Bull clinched their second successive team title, ahead of Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren, and two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

"Fantastic Seb, well done, a great drive," said Red Bull team chief Christian Horner. "Mark, we have won the constructors -- well done!"

"Yes, yes, yes and yes again," screamed Vettel, the sports youngest double champion. "Yes and that makes 10 wins now!"

Vettel delivered a final flourish with the fastest lap of the race on his last circuit as the top five were separated by just 15 seconds.

Felipe Massa was sixth in the second Ferrari ahead of Jaime Alguersuari of Toro Rosso, Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, Sebastian Buemi of Toro Rosso and British rookie Paul Di Resta, who grabbed a point for Force India team in 10th place.

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, 42, was forced into an early retirement after being his Mercedes car was damaged in a collision with Vitaly Petrov of Renault, for which the Russian apologised.

On a cool, grey day with intermittent drizzle, the race started in dry conditions with Hamilton leading off the grid from his 19th pole position.

Behind him, the field squeezed up through the first two corners feeding into the long back straight where Vettel pulled into Hamiltons slipstream.

Having set himself up, the new double champion exploited his position with a bold passing move under braking into turn four. The Red Bull swiftly opened up a 1.2 seconds lead, Hamilton having given no resistance.

Button also made a poor start and fell to sixth on the opening lap as the leaders jostled for places, and by the start of lap two Vettel led Hamilton ahead of Webber, Massa, Alonso and Button.

The order remained unchanged until lap 14 when Button pitted first ahead of Rosberg. On release, they ran side by side with Rosberg narrowly ahead in the pit lane before Button conceded position, only to regain it immediately as Rosberg appeared to falter in the fray.

Hamilton pitted a lap later and was followed in by Vettel, Red Bull immediately covering the Mercedes strategy before an uncontrolled attack by Vitaly Petrov saw him slide into Schumacher at turn three on lap 17.

The Renault driver slammed into the back of the old champions Mercedes, causing serious damage to both cars. Schumacher lost his rear wing and suffered a puncture and had to retire on track.

Petrov limped to the pits before abandoning his race with broken steering as the safety car came out for three laps. On resumption, Webber resisted a charge from Button as the order resettled with Vettel 1.4 seconds ahead of Hamilton, Webber and Button, up to fourth.

Webber then closed on Hamilton and began a series of attempts to pass him, with thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing on lap 33 as they interchanged positions before both pitted and, within a lap, resumed their battle.

But the duel cost both drivers time and allowed Vettel to pull clear by more than 10 seconds. The scrap for second also encouraged Button, in fourth, to close the gap with Alonso hot on his tail.

Again and again, they scrapped and challenged, but in the dramatic action Hamilton hung on and behind him each driver did the same.

"I give up!" said Alonso at one point, in a radio comment in English -- designed, it was suggested, to encourage McLaren to relax.

Button did not and nor did Hamilton, but it was Red Bull whose points carried the day and the season.

2011 KOREAN GRAND PRIX PROVISIONAL RESULTS

POS.
GRID
CHG
PTS
No
DRIVER
TEAM
LAPS
TIME/RET
1
2
1
25
1
Sebastian Vettel
RBR-Renault
55
1:30:01.994
2
1
-1
18
3
Lewis Hamilton
McLaren-Mercedes
55
+12.0 secs
3
4
1
15
2
Mark Webber
RBR-Renault
55
+12.4 secs
4
3
-1
12
4
Jenson Button
McLaren-Mercedes
55
+14.6 secs
5
6
1
10
5
Fernando Alonso
Ferrari
55
+15.6 secs
6
5
-1
8
6
Felipe Massa
Ferrari
55
+25.1 secs
7
11
4
6
19
Jaime Alguersuari
STR-Ferrari
55
+49.5 secs
8
7
-1
4
8
Nico Rosberg
Mercedes
55
+54.0 secs
9
13
4
2
18
Sebastien Buemi
STR-Ferrari
55
+62.7 secs
10
9
-1
1
15
Paul di Resta
Force India-Mercedes
55
+68.6 secs
11
10
-1
14
Adrian Sutil
Force India-Mercedes
55
+71.2 secs
12
18
6
11
Rubens Barrichello
Williams-Cosworth
55
+93.0 secs
13
15
2
9
Bruno Senna
Renault
54
+1 Lap
14
19
5
20
Heikki Kovalainen
Lotus-Renault
54
+1 Lap
15
14
-1
16
Kamui Kobayashi
Sauber-Ferrari
54
+1 Lap
16
17
17
Sergio Perez
Sauber-Ferrari
54
+1 Lap
17
20
21
Jarno Trulli
Lotus-Renault
54
+1 Lap
18
21
24
Timo Glock
Virgin-Cosworth
54
+1 Lap
19
24
22
Daniel Ricciardo
HRT-Cosworth
54
+1 Lap
20
22
25
Jerome d'Ambrosio
Virgin-Cosworth
54
+1 Lap
21
23
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi
HRT-Cosworth
52
+3 Laps
Ret
16
12
Pastor Maldonado
Williams-Cosworth
30
+25 Laps
Ret
8
10
Vitaly Petrov
Renault
16
Accident
Ret
12
7
Michael Schumacher
Mercedes
15
Accident

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