Webber ends season on a high in Brazil

The second Red Bull streaks away from the rest of the field at the start

The second Red Bull streaks away from the rest of the field at the start

Mark Webber took his sole victory of the season in Interlagos today. He finished well ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who nursed a gearbox issue throughout the entire race. Jenson Button was 3rd, after 2 spirited battles with Fernando Alonso. Here is what happened:

At the start, Fernando Alonso got past Lewis Hamilton for 4th, while Felipe Massa moved into 6th. Jaime Alguersuari fell down the field, while Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov leaped up.

Kovalainen’s charge soon faded, being passed by Barrichello and Perez, while Alonso and Hamilton challenged Jenson Button for 3rd. However, the DRS zone from Turns 3 to 4 proved to be too short for the Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher tried a move around the outside of Bruno Senna. but clashed with the Renault entering the corner, slightly damaging Senna’s front wing and leaving Michael with a puncture, dropping him to the back of the field.

Senna clashes with Schumacher - the last time this happened, Rubens Barrichello was making his F1 debut!

Senna clashes with Schumacher - the last time this happened, Rubens Barrichello was making his F1 debut!

Alonso moved closer to Button with DRS, then made a fantastic move around the outside of Ferradura to take 3rd. This left the two McLarens to battle it out for 4th. Senna pitted on Lap 13, but didn’t change his front wing, indicating a 3-stop strategy.

Sebastian Vettel was instructed on his radio to short-shift on 2nd gear, and that he had a gearbox issue. Jenson Button was the first frontrunner to stop on Lap 16, while Alonso and Webber began to close on Vettel.

Alonso and Hamilton stopped a lap later, while Sebastian was told to short-shift in 3rd gear as well. He pitted on Lap 18, followed a lap afterwards by Mark Webber.

The collision between Schumacher and Senna was ruled in Michael’s favour, with Bruno suffering a drive-through penalty. Webber’s in-lap before his first stop was unusually slow, costing him 3 seconds in the battle with Vettel and Alonso.

A dislodged wheel cost Timo Glock his race, while Vettel was again told that his gearbox issue was “serious”. Bruno Senna’s race went from bad to worse, as a double shift cost him 16th place.

The Red Bull gearbox issue got even worse, as it became clear that Vettel had to short-shift every single gear. A spin and by Pastor Maldonado ended his race, while Mark Webber closed on his teammate. A dejected Vettel swiftly allowed Webber past, as the Aussie took the lead.

Both Renaults stopped on Lap 30 and 31, and Button followed suit, taking on the harder tyre. Hamilton took on softs 2 laps later, followed closely by Alonso. However, both Senna and Hamilton had their races compromised, as they were informed that they also had gearbox issues.

Hamilton's turbulent season ends disappointingly

Hamilton's turbulent season ends disappointingly

On the medium tyre, Button sailed past Felipe Massa for 4th. Within a few laps, the second McLaren had also closed right up behind Felipe. However, the Ferrari was less generous to Lewis, and he pitted on Lap 45 to avoid losing too much time.

Massa pitted a lap later, and emerged just ahead of the McLaren. Unfortunately, round 6 of their season-long fight never materialised, as Hamilton pulled over with a critical gearbox failure.

Adrian Sutil passed Nico Rosberg on the main straight, before the Mercedes sliced back under to retake the position, in a daring move. It didn’t last long though, as Adrian re-passed Rosberg the following lap.

Despite rumours that Button could make it to the end on his set of medium tyres, he was forced to pit for another set with 18 laps to go. Alonso took on the primes several laps later.

The two Red Bulls stopped within 11 and 12 laps of the end of the race. With the pit stops out of the way, the focus switched to the battle for 3rd between Alonso and Button. Going side by side into the first corner, Jenson shoved his way past the Ferrari with help from DRS and KERS.

Despite another poor race, Massa treats his fans to a few burnouts

Despite another poor race, Massa treats his fans to a few burnouts

Button soon set personal bests in every sector, in an attempt to catch the flailing Vettel, who made quite a large mistake at Turn 4. However, it wasn’t enough, and the McLaren settled for 3rd in the end.

This left Webber to set the fastest lap en route to winning his first race in the last 26 attempts. Vettel was 16 seconds behind, while Button abandoned his chase for 2nd. Alonso finished ahead of his teammate by nearly half a minute, and Adrian Sutil finished an excellent 6th. Nico Rosberg headed Paul di Resta, with Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov topping off the top 10.

The Red Bulls celebrate a job well done

The Red Bulls celebrate a job well done

Button’s move on Alonso ensured that Webber moved into 3rd in the driver’s championship by a single point. It was a relieving race for Webber after a difficult season, and he will head into the winter knowing that he might be able to challenge Vettel next year.

And so today marks the end of another season of F1. I loved the racing this year, but it was just a pity about the battle for the championship – or lack of. Regardless, we have seen excellent drives all year round, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to next year.

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