Tag Archives: Red Bull

Team orders are ugly and unpopular, but they have to be made – and obeyed

The use of team orders by more than one major team this weekend has left a sour taste with many F1 fans. The fanbase is divided – at Red Bull, there are those who feel Sebastian Vettel should have respected the order to hold position, and those who claim that he should race as hard as he could, regardless of the situation.

In the case of the Mercedes team orders, things are more clear-cut. Nico Rosberg passing fuel-saving Lewis Hamilton would have had no adverse affect on the team’s standing in the championship, and it was a more “pure” outcome – if they weren’t teammates, Rosberg would have passed Hamilton easily.

I fully agree with those who argue that Nico shouldn’t have been held up, and that he deserved to take the podium spot. However, the fact that he still obeyed team principal Ross Brawn shows a degree of respect within the team, something that is not apparent at Red Bull.

If another team orders debate arises at Red Bull, neither driver will think twice about ignoring such an instruction from the pit wall. This might be fun to watch, but it raises huge risks for the team, and can destroy any professional friendship between the drivers and/or their bosses. Sebastian and Mark would do well to avoid a repeat of Turkey 2010 in the future.

Whether the fans like it or not, Formula 1 is a team sport at heart, and the team should always come first. Ferrari understand this, having ironed out any hope of a rivalry between Alonso and Massa in recent years. Meanwhile, the current constructors’ champions are faced with dealing with two ego-fuelled rebels, who will now lock horns on-track at the first opportunity. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate that Ferrari’s system is more consistent and safe.

Vettel’s ignoring of his team’s instructions has unraveled any remaining friendliness between himself and Webber, that much is certain. Compare this to Rosberg’s choice, which has gained him respect within the team, and by Hamilton. If such an issue arises again, both drivers should be able to deal with it in a professional manner which benefits the team. Red Bull have no hope of this.

This isn’t about adrenaline-fueled glory runs, or brazen chest-bashing. It’s about understanding that the team is more important than the individual driver, and how sacrifices should be made for long-term benefits. If a three-time world champion can’t comprehend this, the Red Bull have a serious problem on their hands.

Vettel backstabs Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has won the Malaysian Grand Prix, but the fallout from today’s events will surely stain what was an impressive 1-2 victory for the Red Bull team.

Mark Webber led much of the race, but was instructed to dial down his engine in the final stint to save fuel and tyres. Vettel, who was close behind throughout the race, was instructed to hold position, but instead locked horns with his Red Bull teammate, and eventually came out victorious.

The podium ceremony was awkward to say the least, with Webber angrily quipping “Multi 21, Seb?” to his teammate beforehand. Mark was also seen gesticulating at Sebastian on-track during their battle.

Mercedes were embroiled in a similar battle, but both drivers decided to respect the team orders. Lewis Hamilton finished 3rd, and was struggling with low fuel with a few laps to go, but Nico Rosberg was blocked from battling his teammate. While clearly unhappy, the two drivers respected the situation to seal a good result for the Mercedes team.

Ferrari failed to capitalise on their excellent grid spots. Fernando Alonso tapped Vettel’s car on the opening lap, then crashed out a lap later after his front wing lodged under the nose during braking. Felipe Massa slipped back, but steadily fought his way back up to 5th position by the end.

Jenson Button was set to complete a great 5th place for McLaren, but a disastrous pit stop resulted in his front right wheel coming loose, and he dropped all the way down to 14th. Sergio Perez was forced to pit in the final laps, but still scraped a 9th-placed finish.

This article will be updated.

Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying: Vettel eases to pole, Raikkonen penalised

Sebastian Vettel has taken a comfortable pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix, in tricky conditions where rain fell halfway through the session.

Championship leader Kimi Raikkonen initially qualified 7th, but received a 3-place grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg. The Ferraris will start 2nd and 3rd, with Felipe Massa out-qualifying Fernando Alonso for the fourth race in a row.

Q1

Vettel came within almost 0.2 seconds of being knocked out of Q1. Himself, along with Mark Webber, showed little to no pace throughout the first part of qualifying, with the Australian only lying 11th, and Sebastian 15th.

There was an interesting split between drivers who were attempting to use the medium tyres to gain grid position, and those who were conserving them for the race. Adrian Sutil was one of the few drivers pushing hard in Q1, setting a 1:36.809 to finish fastest.

Jules Bianchi produced another impressive qualifying performance, coming within 0.5 seconds of getting into Q2. He beat teammate Max Chilton by over 1.2 seconds.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

17) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:38.157

18) Valtteri Bottas – 1:38.207

19) Jules Bianchi – 1:38.434

20) Charles Pic – 1:39.314

21) Max Chilton – 1:39.672

22) Giedo van der Garde – 1:39.932

Q2

Paul di Resta was the first driver to go out on track, and was the first to pit – which was a mistake.

Rain fell about halfway through Q2, rendering half of the track unusable on slicks, and the other half bone dry. Intermediates were required, and Di Resta wasn’t able to set a fast time because of this. Despite this, he valiantly tried to go out again, but spun twice in the process.

Once again, the Red Bulls struggled, with Vettel only getting into Q3 by the skin of his teeth. Romain Grosjean was eliminated in Q2, as it emerged this weekend that the Frenchman is not receiving parts that are going onto teammate Raikkonen’s car.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Romain Grosjean – 1:37.636

12) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:38.125

13) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:38.822

14) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:39.221

15) Paul di Resta – 1:44.509

16) Pastor Maldonado – N/A

Q3

With the rain still falling, Q3 was busy from the offset, as teams feared the conditions would get worse the longer they waited.

This wasn’t the case though, and with several minutes to go, the track had dried to the point where drivers began to consider the slick tyres. Vettel pitted, but took on a fresh set of intermediates. His teammate stayed out, which backfired later on.

Webber briefly went fastest, but was quickly beaten by Lewis Hamilton, and then Fernando Alonso. There wasn’t enough time for him to get a new set of inters, and his current set were too worn for him to set another lap, so he fell to 5th place.

Vettel, meanwhile, went almost a second faster by going out on track at the right time. Raikkonen and Hamilton had one last chance to unseat the Red Bull, but couldn’t improve on their previous times. Felipe Massa then pipped his teammate to 2nd place, for the 4th race in a row.

Raikkonen finished the session 7th, but was demoted to 10th after he was judged to have held up Nico Rosberg near the end of Q3.

Times from Q3:

1) Sebastian Vettel – 1:49.674

2) Felipe Massa – 1:50.587

3) Fernando Alonso – 1:50.727

4) Lewis Hamilton – 1:51.699

5) Mark Webber – 1:52.244

6) Nico Rosberg – 1:52.519

7) Jenson Button – 1:53.175

8) Adrian Sutil – 1:53.439

9) Sergio Perez – 1:54.136

10) Kimi Raikkonen (+3) – 1:52.970

 

 

Vettel heads Red Bull lockout, Hamilton shines in Australia qualifying

After a 16-hour delay, qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix finally got underway, with Sebastian Vettel taking a comfortable pole position, 0.4 seconds ahead of Mark Webber.

However, the star of the day was undoubtedly Lewis Hamilton, who excelled in his new Mercedes role to take 3rd position. Teammate Nico Rosberg initially impressed in the damp Q2 session, but fell away as the session progressed.

Here is what happened across the 30-minute session:

Q2

Similar to yesterday’s qualifying, Nico Rosberg was immediately fast, remaining at the top of the timesheets for the majority of Q2. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton all went head-to-head, each of them improving across the 15 minute session.

The track was still damp from rain earlier that morning, which gradually dried out. With several minutes to go, McLaren made a brave call, and switched both Button and Perez to the slick tyres. It failed to pay off, with both cars sliding off on their first laps. Jenson immediately pitted, while Sergio struggled on, and finished 15th.

Button recovered from his poor call, and snatched 4th on a new set of intermediates.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:38.067

12) Adrian Sutil – 1:38.134

13) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:38.778

14) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.042

15) Sergio Perez – 1:39.900

16) Valtteri Bottas – 1:40.290

Q3

While the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Mercedes drivers exited the pits on intermediates, the other remaining drivers waited in the pits, in anticipation of the the track drying out further.

This occurred with 5 minutes to go, and the frontrunners were forced to scramble back to the pits for the super-softs.

Quickly enough, the times began to tumble. Button, Hamilton and then Vettel lowered the fastest time by huge margins, with Vettel eventually setting a 1:27.407 on his second last attempt.

Mark Webber was in with a shot of pipping his team-mate, but his terrible home form continued, with the Aussie making a mistake in the final sector and dropping 4 tenths.

The Ferraris slotted into 4th and 5th, with Massa just getting ahead of Alonso. Hamilton hugely impressed with 3rd, while Nico Rosberg was forced to settle for 6th place.

None of them were able to unseat Vettel at the front though, and he starts the 2013 season in a commanding position.

Times from Q3:

1) Sebastian Vettel – 1:27.407

2) Mark Webber – 1:27.827

3) Lewis Hamilton – 1:28.087

4) Felipe Massa – 1:28.490

5) Fernando Alonso – 1:28.493

6) Nico Rosberg – 1:28.523

7) Kimi Raikkonen – 1:28.738

8) Romain Grosjean – 1:29.013

9) Paul di Resta – 1:29.305

10) Jenson Button – 1:30.357

Australian GP practice times: Red Bull lead, McLaren stuck in the midfield

With the first two practice sessions for the 2013 F1 season out of the way, the order of the grid is becoming more clear. It is apparent that Red Bull haven’t lost much track over the winter, topping both FP1 and FP2, although Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes are showing interesting flashes of pace.

However, the big news is over at McLaren, who have suffered a shocking start to their 2013 campaign. Over 2 seconds slower by the end of second practice, team principal Martin Whitmarsh called it “one of the hardest days” he’d done in the team.

Let’s have a look at what happened this morning:

First practice

A traditionally slow start heralded the beginning of the 2013 season, as teams were hardly eager to start testing on a “green” surface. Daniel Ricciardo set the first proper lap with half an hour completed, which got the ball rolling nicely for the rest of the drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen led much of the early running, setting a 1:27.8 to comfortably move ahead at the front.

As the frontline teams moved out of the garage, it became clear that Mercedes had made progress over the winter, with both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg setting threatening times. The Ferraris were showing decent pace, with both drivers lapping at the top on the medium tyres.

When Sebastian Vettel left the pits, he made an impact within several laps, going fastest at only his second attempt. Felipe Massa tried to re-take the top spot soon after, but a mistake at Turn 5 – like many other drivers on Friday – put an end to that.

Mark Webber was unable to do as well as his teammate, reporting unusually high rear tyre wear towards the end of the session.

Times:

Pos. Driver               Team                  Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1:27.211            16
 2.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1:27.289  + 0.078s  17
 3.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1:27.547  + 0.336s  16
 4.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1:27.552  + 0.341s  18
 5.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1:27.668  + 0.457s  18
 6.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1:27.877  + 0.666s  17
 7.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1:28.013  + 0.802s  17
 8.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1:28.426  + 1.215s  19
 9.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.440  + 1.229s  19
10.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1:28.520  + 1.309s  15
11.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.597  + 1.386s  19
12.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1:28.786  + 1.575s  19
13.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1:28.910  + 1.699s  18
14.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1:29.443  + 2.232s  20
15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1:29.928  + 2.717s  19
16.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:30.203  + 2.992s  17
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:30.729  + 3.518s  17
18.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:30.969  + 3.758s  19
19.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1:31.263  + 4.052s  24
20.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1:32.176  + 4.965s  23
21.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1:32.274  + 5.063s  21
22.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1:32.388  + 5.177s  18

Second practice

Being over a second off the pace in first practice, McLaren’s day got even worse in FP2, with team leader Jenson Button being a shocking 2.3 seconds off the Red Bull’s times.

Lotus were particularly consistent, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean taking 4th and 5th, with Nico Rosberg behind the two Red Bulls at the front. Ferrari had less pace on the super-soft tyre, and coupled with Massa’s KERS issue, it meant that they weren’t as fast near the end of the day.

With McLaren oddly stuck in the midfield, Sauber and Force India each got one driver past Button, while Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso got within 0.05 seconds of Sergio Perez.

The Williams team seems to have gone backwards, with a lowly 16th being the best they could manage in FP2. Further back, Marussia appear to have made gains on the Caterham team, with Jules Bianchi going half a second faster than Charles Pic.

Mercedes suffered reliability issues near the end of the session, with both Hamilton and Rosberg stopping with gearbox problems. Mark Webber had a spin at Turn 13, but avoided a crash at his home event.

Times:

Pos. Driver                Team                  Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:25.908           33
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:26.172  + 0.264  31
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:26.322  + 0.414  26
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:26.361  + 0.453  37
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus Renault         1:26.680  + 0.772  30
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:26.748  + 0.840  35
 7.  Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1:26.772  + 0.864  28
 8.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:26.855  + 0.947  32
 9.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1:27.435  + 1.527  34
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari        1:28.187  + 2.279  34
11.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.294  + 2.386  30
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:28.311  + 2.403  37
13.  Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.566  + 2.658  32
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:28.627  + 2.719  31
15.  Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1:28.772  + 2.864  33
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:28.852  + 2.944  36
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:28.968  + 3.060  35
18.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1:29.386  + 3.478  38
19.  Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth     1:29.696  + 3.788  30
20.  Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault      1:30.165  + 4.257  37
21.  Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth     1:30.600  + 4.692  34
22.  Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1:32.450  + 6.542  11

Conclusions

Obviously, Red Bull are the force to be reckoned with, but rain is forecast for qualifying and the race, so that might throw a spanner in the works. Otherwise, a Vettel win is the most probable option at this stage.

Lotus look very consistent, and they might just still be sandbagging a little, so keep an eye out for them this weekend, particularly Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari and Mercedes have shown promising flashes, but a win looks out of their reaches for the moment. Still, these four teams are currently creating a closely-packed 4-way duel at the top.

McLaren, meanwhile, are teetering dangerously close to the midfield, mixing it with the Force Indias and Saubers on Friday. Unless rain falls, getting through to Q3 might even be a stretch for Button and Perez.

Williams aren’t going anywhere fast, but the Toro Rosso car might just have some hidden potential there. At the back, it’ll be a much more closely-fought contest than 2012, with Marussia currently gaining a small edge over Caterham.

But this is still speculation, and we’ll have to confirm or deny my predictions come qualifying. See you then!

First pictures of Red Bull RB9

Red Bull are the latest team to reveal their 2013 F1 car, called the RB9.

Pictures are hard to come by at the moment, since the “reveal” was simply a 3-minute video, and the team are currently doing their best to stop any photography of the actual car.

A screenshot from the launch video is a start though. We can see that the blue on the sidepods has been replaced with purple, and an even more aggressive stepped nose has been adopted.

The rear of the car is rather similar to the 2012 model, and Adrian Newey has referred to it as an “evolutionary” car.

More details will be added as they emerge.

Vettel thrown out of qualifying, will start from 24th after fuel infringement

In a stewards’ decision which may well prove to be the pivotal point of the 2012 season, Sebastian Vettel has been thrown to the back of the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel pulled over at the end of Q3 today, and failed to make it to parc ferme. After inspection, the stewards found that his car had only 850ml of fuel in it – less than the 1 litre required for a fuel sample.

The same breach of rule occurred to Lewis Hamilton in Spain, with the same reprocussions.

Fernando Alonso will now start from 6th position, and is in a perfect position to claw back the 13-point deficit. Tomorrow’s race has taken an extremely exciting twist…

Update: Team principal Christian Horner has stated that Vettel will start from the pit lane. This implies that Red Bull will be changing bits and pieces on Vettel’s car overnight.

Vettel dominates, Alonso minimizes damage in India

Sebastian Vettel has taken a 4th victory in a row at the Indian Grand Prix, while Fernando Alonso did everything he could to keep the championship in sight.

The Red Bull took yet another emphatic win, but teammate Mark Webber was forced to fend off Alonso and Lewis Hamilton during the race. After a disappointing show by Kimi Raikkonen, the title battle is now surely down between two drivers. Here is what happened:

At the start, the Red Bulls held first and second, while Fernando Alonso put the McLarens under intense pressure. Going three abreast on the main straight, Alonso found his way past Jenson Button for 4th place.

On lap 4, the Ferrari eased past the second McLaren, by which time the Red Bulls were long gone. Michael Schumacher limped back to the pits with a right rear puncture.

It became clear that Button was unable to keep up with the frontrunners, as teammate Hamilton had no issues overtaking him.

Further back, Sergio Perez fell into the clutches of Nico Hulkenberg in the battle for 8th and 9th. Despite having DRS, Hulkenberg was unable to get past the Sauber, with Sergio successfully defending his position down the straight.

However, a few laps later, the Force India found its way past. Perez reacted, being the first to pit on lap 15. After his stop, he attempted a late out-braking move on Daniel Ricciardo, but overshot turn 4. A later pass attempt on the Toro Rosso resulted in a broken front wing and puncture.

The two Williams drivers were in combat, with Bruno Senna sneakily finding his way past Pastor Maldonado. The Brazilian soon found himself getting into the top 10, catching Nico Rosberg out at turn 4.

Kimi Raikkonen spent the first half of the race stuck behind Felipe Massa, the Lotus struggling from a low 7th gear. He emerged ahead of the Ferrari after his stop, but an easy use of DRS placed Felipe ahead once again.

Pastor Maldonado tried to get past Sergio Perez, but sliced across the Sauber, giving himself a puncture, and damaging Perez’s front wing. Pastor crawled back to the pits, holding up leader Sebastian Vettel in the process.

After the only set of stops, Fernando Alonso was finally able to close up to the back of Mark Webber, but the Red Bull was just about able to keep the gap above 1 second, meaning Fernando couldn’t activate DRS.

A brake failure for Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT speared him into the barriers at turn 4, but no safety car was deployed. However, the yellow flags was enough for Alonso to close the gap to Webber, and with 12 laps to go out-braked him to take 2nd place from the Red Bull.

The slowness of the Red Bull was confirmed as a KERS failure, and Lewis Hamilton was quickly informed of the issue. The McLaren began pulling a second per lap out of Webber’s lead, and was all over the Red Bull with a few laps to go.

Sebastian Vettel was informed of a possible issue of his car, as his undertray began sparking against the ground, but it wasn’t enough to spoil Red Bull’s party. Vettel took the chequered flag with 9 seconds to Alonso, while Webber successfully defended against Hamilton until the end.

Jenson Button took the fastest lap on the final lap in 5th, while Kimi Raikkonen’s title hopes are completely over after finishing 7th.

Third Red Bull lockout in a row in India

Sebastian Vettel has taken a closely contended pole position for the Indian Grand Prix, once again leading teammate Mark Webber.

Championship contender Fernando Alonso could only manage 5th, while the McLarens pose a challenge to Webber, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button 3rd and 4th.

Q1

The Force Indias were out on track first, pleasing the local fans.

Hulkenberg and Di Resta took control of the session for the initial few minutes, until they were unseated by Felipe Massa. Interestingly, the Brazilian assisted Fernando Alonso in getting a slipstream down the main straight, but Alonso still did not catch up to his teammate’s time.

The Williams car proved to have huge potential, as Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna went ahead of everyone else, until Sebastian Vettel finally set a time, a 1:26.621, which was comfortably faster than all other drivers.

A spin for Massa ruined any chances of retaking the lead. Vettel improved on his time by 0.3 seconds, while Mark Webber could only manage 3rd.

The only battle to avoid 18th place was between the Toro Rossos, with Jean-Eric Vergne once again being knocked out of Q1. A spin into the gravel trap ended Heikki Kovalainen’s session early.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:27.525

19) Vitaly Petrov  - 1:28.756

20) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:29.500

21) Timo Glock – 1:29.613

22) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:30.592

23) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:30.593

24) Charles Pic – 1:30.662

Q2

The midfield teams shared top spot for a while, until Lewis Hamilton went on top.

The Red Bulls soon stamped their authority on the field, with Vettel and Webber being the first to set 1:25s.

Hamilton was set to improve further, but understeered at turn 6 and ran onto the grass. Eventually, he and Button retook 3rd and 4th, but still couldn’t catch the Red Bulls.

Despite encountering traffic, Kimi Raikkonen still got into the top 10. However, fast times from Maldonado and Hulkenberg put him under additional pressure, and forced him to set another lap.

Felipe Massa was set for another embarassing Q2 exit, but just saved face with a 10th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

10)

11) Romain Grosjean – 1:26.136

12) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:26.241

13) Bruno Senna – 1:26.331

14) Michael Schumacher – 1:26.571

15) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:26.777

16) Paul di Resta – 1:26.989

17) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:27.219

Q3

Fernando Alonso was first up, setting a 1:25.773. Surprisingly, Vettel made a mistake on his first lap, running wide at turns 6 and 7.

Mark Webber got ahead of the Ferrari by 0.4 seconds, while Lewis Hamilton struggled on his opening laps. After ruining his first set of tyres, Vettel pitted earlier than his rivals.

Kimi Raikkonen was unable to make an impact, while Button was 4 tenths off Webber’s time. Vettel’s next lap was a better one, putting him on top by 0.05 seconds.

After poor opening sectors on the last lap, both Red Bulls opted to pit, putting them at risk from other drivers. However, the Ferraris didn’t have enough pace to challenge, while the McLarens could only manage 3rd and 4th, with Hamilton pipping Button.

Kimi Raikkonen’s championship hopes continued to slip away, with a poor 7th place. Despite the front row lockout, the Red Bulls were not as dominant as feared, so the battle for the championship is still open.

Vettel survives tyre scare to win in Korea

Sebastian Vettel has taken his third victory in a row at the Korean Grand Prix. It wasn’t easy sailing all the way though, as both Red Bulls incurred serious tyre degradation near the end of the race. After crawling the last few laps, Vettel eventually led home teammate Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso taking 3rd place, losing control of the world championship in the process.

Lewis Hamilton had a complete disaster of a race, while the Toro Rossos took an impressive double points finish. Here is what happened:

At the start, Vettel slided past Webber into the first corner, while Fernando Alonso put huge pressure on the Red Bulls. Jenson Button’s race only lasted two corners, being taken out by Kamui Kobayashi in the braking zone at the end of the straight, ending the McLaren’s race.

Sergio Perez made good progress, benefiting from the Kobayashi carnage to move up to 9th. However, up front, Sebastian began to sail away at the front, having dispatched of his rivals with ease.

The two Toro Rossos began to tussle amongst themselves, being held up by Pastor Maldonado. After asking for team orders, Daniel Ricciardo still benefited when Maldonado ran wide, allowing both himself and Jean-Eric Vergne through.

Unsurprisingly, a drive-through penalty was the order of the day for Kobayashi, after causing two retirements on the first lap.

The stranded Mercedes of Roseberg caused some pain for the stewards, causing double-waved yellows to be out for 10 laps while the car was cleared. Afterwards, DRS was finally enabled, allowing several drivers to make passing moves the following lap.

Nico Hulkenberg was clearly unhappy with the balance of his Force India, struggling to keep 7th from Romain Grosjean and Perez.

Lewis Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to pit, taking on the soft tyre. On the same lap, both Hulkenberg and Grosjean also pitted, the Force India just about keeping its position.

After the first set of stops, there was no change up front, but Fernando Alonso was hard-pushed to hold off Sergio Perez, who hadn’t pitted. Hamilton swiftly got involved in the battle, and regained 4th from the Sauber. Perez began to slide down the order, and by lap 18 was down to 6th place.

Lewis’ pace was quickly shattered, as he reported a huge loss of downforce from his car. Going several seconds a lap slower, he was easy pickings for Felipe Massa, dropping down to 5th position. Kimi Raikkonen tried a move, but the McLaren held firm. Several entertaining laps ensued, with the Lotus trying every type of overtake, but Lewis impressively held his position.

However, he opted to bring his second stop forward, releasing Raikkonen into 5th.

The second round of stops was similarly fruitless for Alonso, failing to make any progress to Webber in front. Despite a mistake from Vettel on his in lap, he emerged comfortably in front of his teammate.

Just out of the points, Paul di Resta made a move on Michael Schumacher for 11th. Sergio Perez, whose disastrous first stint put him out of contention for big points, began to challenge the Mercedes.

Further ahead, Nico Hulkenberg put an excellent move on Lewis Hamilton, who then was forced to hold off Romain Grosjean. A bad day got much worse for McLaren, after they informed Lewis that he would have to stop for a third time.

After his third stop, Hamilton emerged in 10th place. He put a move on Jean-Eric Vergne for 9th, but the Toro Rosso impressively held the former world champion off.

8th-placed Daniel Ricciardo had an off at the braking zone at turn 3, and within several laps had been reeled in by Vergne and Hamilton. He relectantly allowed teammate Jean-Eric through, but was able to hold off Hamilton until the end. He was assisted, though, by a bizarre incident, where a large piece of astroturf lodged itself in Lewis’ sidepod, and forced him to slow down.

The Red Bull drivers were warned to conserve their front right tyres, but were reassured that they could make it to the end of the race. In the closing laps, there were some worried faces on the Red Bull pit wall, but Vettel managed to crawl around the track to take his third victory in a row.

Alonso was unable to catch Webber in the end, while Massa did well to take 4th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton finished 10th, with his championship ambitions well and truly over.

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