Tag Archives: Sebastian Vettel

Vettel pips McLarens to Abu Dhabi pole

Sebastian Vettel pulled out another last-gasp lap to steal pole position off Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was 3rd, just 0.009 seconds off his teammate. Mark Webber was 4th, with the Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Rubens Barrichello failed to set a lap time in his Williams, after suffering an oil leak earlier on that day. He will start in 24th place alongside his teammate, who took a 10-place penalty for an engine change.

With this, there was no shootout to see what midfield car would be knocked out. Both Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher went out on soft tyres late on in Q1, but abandoned their laps when it became clear Rubens wasn’t taking part.

Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified Jarno Trulli for the 15th time this year, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to out-perform both his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:42.979

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:43.884

20) Timo Glock – 1:44.515

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:44.641

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:44.699

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:45.159

24) Rubens Barrichello – No time set

Q2

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

The Red Bulls and McLarens battled it out at the top of the timesheets for a while, before the red flags came out.

Felipe Massa, and then Jenson Button, had dislodged a bollard at Turn 8, and it landed on the racing line. When racing resumed, Hamilton remained ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top.

Pastor Maldonado was 17th, and with his grid penalty, will start on the back row alongside his fellow Williams driver.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, while a mistake by Sebastien Buemi ensured he only qualified 13th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:40.874

12) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.919

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:41.009

14) Bruno Senna – 1:41.079

15) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:41.162

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:41.240

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.760

Q3

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Q3 saw a fantastic shoot-out between the McLarens and Vettel, each driver just pipping the other after every lap.

A cooling track resulted in times being slower than in Q2. Lewis initially led Sebastian going into the final run, but Jenson Button threw himself into the mix by taking top spot on his final lap.

Hamilton then snatched the lead back, but only just – a gap of 0.009 seconds separated the McLarens. However, just when it looked as if it could be a McLaren front row lockout, Vettel smashed his Red Bull into pole position by 0.141 seconds.

It was his 14th pole position this year, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from the 1992 season. However, it must be considered that there were only 16 races that year.

Interestingly, while Vettel and Button managed to go faster in Q3 despite the dropping temperatures, Lewis Hamilton felt that his Q2 lap was much better.

Mark Webber and the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa never challenged for pole, each finishing 4th, 5th and 6th. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil considerably further back. Paul di Resta was the only driver not to set a time.

Vettel untouchable as he takes win number 11 in India

Vettel heads the field, while Alonso is a bit off line

Vettel heads the field, while Alonso is a bit off line

Sebastian Vettel took another commanding victory today at the Indian Grand Prix. The German held a constant lead to Jenson Button in second, while Fernando Alonso was 3rd after battling past Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton collided for the fifth time this year with Felipe Massa, the Ferrari suffering an absolutely torrid race. Here is what happened:

At the start, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli were damaged in seperate incidents, while Jenson Button got past Mark Webber on the main straight. Lewis Hamilton dropped to 6th, while Sergio Perez pitted after the first lap for a surprisingly sudden tyre change.

Rubens Barrichello punts the back of his teammate

Rubens Barrichello punts the back of his teammate

Despite multiple accidents, only Kamui Kobayashi retired. After a few laps, all of the drivers who started on primes had already switched to the soft compound.

Webber attempted to pass Button, but not even DRS on the main straight could get the Red Bull through – and Jenson’s good defensive driving wasn’t helping either. While the pair squabbled over 2nd, Vettel extended his lead to over 4 seconds.

Jaime Alguersuari moved past Bruno Senna to take 10th place. A KERS failure was revealed to be the issue with the Renault’s car, as Bruno was instructed to enter “recovery mode”.

Button soon shook off Webber’s assault, and began to chip into Vettel’s lead. Pastor Maldonado became the latest car to drop out with a drive issue, as Alguersuari passed Adrian Sutil for 9th.

Webber, Alonso and Hamilton all pitted on Lap 17, all taking on the soft tyres. Soon afterwards, Michael Schumacher passed Alonso after the Ferrari exited the pits. After Sebastian responded to Jenson’s increased pace, the McLaren pitted, with Vettel following him in a lap later.

Massa clashes with Hamilton yet again

Massa clashes with Hamilton yet again

After a very poor first stint, Lewis Hamilton finally got on the pace, and began to challenge Felipe Massa for 5th place. After getting close to the Ferrari on the main straight, the McLaren got up the inside, but clashed with Massa, in a severe case of deja vu. Hamilton pitted while Massa stayed out in 5th, but seemed to struggle with the handling of his car.

The stewards decided that Felipe had turned into Lewis, and so the Ferrari was dealt a drive-through penalty, emerging in 7th position. Massa pitted a lap later, replacing the front wing and putting on hard tyres, presumably to test the compound out for teammate Alonso. Replays the next lap showed that Felipe’s previous front wing – the controversial one – was shown shaking and crashing into the ground on the straight, prompting the stop.

Onboard with Massa as he gets too friendly with a vicious kerb

Onboard with Massa as he gets too friendly with a vicious kerb

Just when his race couldn’t get any worse, it did. Massa ran over a kerb in similar fashion to his incident in qualifying, again smashing the suspension and taking the Ferrari out of the race.

After being caught by Fernando Alonso, heavy rear tyre wear prompted Webber to stop for the harder tyre with 22 laps to go. Decent pace for the Red Bull made the decision for Ferrari, as Fernando pitted and emerged ahead of Mark.

Vettel takes another dominative victory

Vettel takes another dominative victory

Button pitted on Lap 47, with Sebastian pitting a lap later, the gap between the two staying constant at 3 seconds. Further back, Michael Schumacher was being caught by Nico Rosberg in the battle for 5th and 6th. Bruno Senna pitted on Lap 58 for his mandatory set of primes, dropping out of the points to 12th.

Unfortunately, the Mercedes battle failed to materialise. At the same time, Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line in the lead for the 11th time this year, taking the fastest lap along the way. Button’s challenge never came to fruition, and finished a lonely 2nd, with Fernando Alonso holding off Mark Webber for 3rd. Lewis Hamilton was 7th, Jaime Alguersuari an impressive 8th, with Sutil and Perex finishing off the top 10.

Vettel on pole while Massa crash disrupts Q3 in India

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole position for the 13th time this season, as Q3 was disrupted by a crash from Felipe Massa.

The Ferrari hit a kerb on his final lap, breaking the suspension and sending Massa into the barriers. This prevented several drivers from setting their fastest lap time, allowing Vettel to easily take pole.

Mark Webber will start second, despite qualifying 3rd, as Lewis Hamilton has been docked 3 places after disobeying yellow flags in qualifying. Fernando Alonso will start 3rd. Here is the full report:

Q1

The two Lotus cars led the field out for the first qualifying session in India. The Renault drivers set the pace in the early few minutes, while the frontrunners stayed in the pits.

Fernando Alonso soon set a 1:27.4 on the harder tyre, while teammate Massa was shown running onto the grass, and was swiftly followed by Rubens Barrichello.

Sebastian Vettel moved into the 1:26 range, with Lewis Hamilton 2nd. Timo Glock dropped out of the session, having suffered a gearbox failure, and not set a time within the 107% rule.

The Saubers emerged from the pits with 7 minutes to go on the option tyre. Sergio Perez went 8th, with Kamui Kobayashi 11th. Bruno Senna was dangerously held up by Jaime Alguersuari exiting the pits at Turn 1, gesticulating angrily.

Amazingly, Jenson Button felt the need to take on soft tyres at the end of Q1, and to make matters worse, the McLaren emerged behind backmarkers. However, Button moved his way past to take 3rd place. Michael Schumacher was forced to slice past a HRT to move out of the drop zone, again on the soft tyres.

After abandoning his last lap, Kobayashi was the main driver taken out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:27.876

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:28.656

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:28.752

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:30.216

22) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:30.238

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:30.866

Outside 107% rule:

24) Timo Glock – 1:34.046

Q2

With a difference of 2 seconds between the option and prime, soft tyres were the norm for Q2.

Sebastian Vettel took a 1:24.657 to take 1st, with Hamilton and Webber behind. Both Toro Rossos moved into the top 10, while Button again struggled with his tyres, being forced to use 2 sets of the option tyre.

Adrian Sutil pushed Michael Schumacher out of the top 10 in the dying few minutes, while Paul di Resta took 12th. Schumacher improved, but was 0.012 seconds slower than 10th-placed Alguersuari.

Jaime was 0.000 seconds faster than 11th-placed Vitaly Petrov, but the Toro Rosso driver set his lap time first.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov – 1:26.319

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:26.337

13) Paul di Resta – 1:26.503

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:2.537

15) Bruno Senna – 1:26.651

16) Rubens Barrichello – 1:27.247

17) Sergio Perez – 1:27.562

Q3

Lewis Hamilton – who will be dropped 3 places on the grid after an incident in practice – was first out. The McLaren driver only set a 1:26.4, and was swiftly beaten by the Ferraris.

Vettel soon went fastest on a 1:24.4, which was matched by Hamilton. Interestingly, the Pirelli soft tyres seemed to be faster on their second and third laps, so the frontrunners stayed out longer than expected.

Webber was 0.071 seconds off Vettel’s time, as all 10 drivers exited the pits, the first time in quite a while.

With 2 minutes to go, Jenson Button was still massively off the pace, 3 seconds slower in the first sector alone. Sebastian Vettel increased his lead at the front, while Lewis Hamilton abandoned his final run.

However, many drivers’ final laps were ruined by a crash from Felipe Massa. The Ferrari hit the inside of a kerb, ripping off the front suspension and sending Felipe into the barriers.

This resulted in Button only going 5th, with Massa remaining 6th and Nico Rosberg 7th. Lewis Hamilton was 2nd, but will start 5th. Mark Webber qualified 3rd (effectively 2nd), with Fernando Alonso just behind.

Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari failed to set a time, despite exiting the pits.

Vettel romps home with 10th victory of the year in Korea

Sebastian Vettel has taken his 10th victory of the year at the Korean Grand Prix, while Red Bull have sealed up the constructors’ championship.

Vettel took the lead on the first lap from Lewis Hamilton, who held up Mark Webber and Jenson Button for most of the second half of the race, preventing any chance of a battle for the lead. Fernando Alonso spent most of his race battling with Felipe Massa, eventually finishing 5th. Here is what happened:

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

At the start, Hamilton retained his lead to the first corner, while Felipe Massa leaped up to 4th place. The Red Bull refused to stay behind though, and out-braked Lewis into Turn 4, taking the lead. Jenson Button slipped from 3rd to 6th position.

While Lewis stuck to the back of Vettel, the main battle was between Webber, Massa and Alonso for 3rd, with Button clinging to the back of this group. After an excellent first few laps, Felipe was now backing his teammate into Jenson.

Button opted not to pass, and pitted on Lap 14, taking on new super-softs. However, he was released alongside Nico Rosberg, with the Mercedes taking the position. While Button sliced past him at pit exit, the excellent straight line speed of Rosberg’s car allowed him to retake the place.

Mark Webber pitted for primes, alongside Felipe Massa. After losing much time to the race leader, Hamilton took on new options on Lap 16, while Fernando Alonso decided on the soft compound.

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Despite indicating a different strategy during qualifying, Vettel took on super-softs at his stop. This timed perfectly with a sudden safety car deployment, for an incident at Turn 3. Vitaly Petrov messed up his braking, and launched into the back of Michael Schumacher, damaging the Renault’s front wing and breaking the steering arm, while Schumacher lost his rear wing. Both cars retired that lap, and Alonso was lucky not to be taken out in the crash.

After the safety car pitted, Button had moved up to 4th, and was challenging Webber for 3rd place. Kamui Kobayashi soon pitted for a front wing change, after hitting the back of Bruno Senna.

After several laps of tussling, a lock-up by Rosberg allowed both Ferrari cars through. Up at the front, Vettel held off Hamilton, while Webber closed in on both of them. Lewis’ tyres soon began to heavily wear, allowing Vettel to tear away, and allowed Mark to close up behind.

Hamilton and Webber both pitted on Lap 34, retaining their positions and taking on prime tyres. The two cars tussled it out in the midfield, while Vettel and Button pitted, oblivious to the cameras.

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

While Webber struggled to pass the McLaren, Alonso pitted from the lead, dropping to 5th, but moving ahead of Massa. As the race progressed, Mark still failed to get past Hamilton, while Button and Alonso joined the increasing queue.

Oddly enough, Webber kept moving off line at Turn 1, preventing any chance at using DRS down the main straight. This continued up until the end of the race, ensuring that Vettel comfortably took the chequered flag.

The stream of cars behind retained their positions, while Jaime Alguersuari, quiet but fast the entire race, swept past Nico Rosberg on the final lap to take 7th place. His teammate Sebastien Buemi was 9th, after a very good day for the Toro Rosso team.

Button wins, while Vettel seals title in Suzuka

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Sebastian Vettel is the new 2011 Formula 1 world champion!

The German driver finished 3rd in today’s Japanese Grand Prix, with Jenson Button winning the race, ahead of Fernando Alonso. Vettel lost the lead at the second round of pit stops, then fell behind the Ferrari later on. However, with no obligation to race for the win, he calmly sat back and clinched his second world title. Here is the full report:

At the start, Button made the best getaway, but was blocked by the Red Bull in front. This allowed Lewis Hamilton to sweep around the outside of Turn 1 and take 2nd place. Local hero Kamui Kobayashi slipped to 12th.

However, Button was less than pleased with the German’s move, and was complaining to his team for a penalty. Fernando Alonso easily moved past teammate Felipe Massa for 4th place.

While Lewis clung on to Vettel at the start, he appeared to slow with a slow puncture on Lap 9. He pitted, releasing Button to catch the Red Bull.

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Sebastian pitted on Lap 10, while Button and Alonso picked up the pace. Both cars, plus Mark Webber, all stopped the following lap. Once the running order calmed down, it became clear that Hamilton had lost two places from his tyre problems.

Sebastien Buemi became the first retirement of the day, as a faulty wheel came off during his pit stop, and the Toro Rosso coasted to a halt in the gravel trap.

The gap between first and second was only 2 seconds, while the top 6 were separated by just 9 seconds. Oddly enough, it soon became apparent that Lewis Hamilton was again struggling with his tyres, allowing Felipe Massa and Mark Webber to give chase behind.

Vettel’s tyres wore off quicker than expected, with both Red Bulls pitting on Lap 20 – with only a few seconds between each pit stop. Jenson followed the same strategy, and emerged just ahead of the championship leader.

Within a few laps, the safety car was deployed. As Felipe Massa tried a move on Lewis Hamilton at the final chicane, Lewis squeezed the Ferrari and broke off a piece of Massa’s front wing, which landed in the middle of the track. The debris was causing cars to swerve to avoid it under braking, and the situation was deemed unsafe.

The safety car pitted after several laps, and Jenson tore away by over half a second per lap. Nico Rosberg continued his ascent through the field, pushing Vitaly Petrov aside to take 11th.

After being reeled in by Alonso, Vettel chose to switch to the harder tyre on Lap 34. Webber followed the tyre call the following lap, indicating heavy tyre wear by the Red Bulls.

Sebastian emerged behind Adrian Sutil, getting badly held up for a lap before passing the Force India. Despite being on the prime tyre, he set the fastest sector 1 time the next lap, prompting Button to bring forward his stop.

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Fernando Alonso pitted two laps later, and emerged ahead of Vettel. Meanwhile, Hamilton made a slightly more safe pass on Massa on the pit straight. For a few laps, Michael Schumacher was actually granted the lead of the race due to the pit stop, the German leading a race for the first time since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.

However, he soon pitted, slipping to 6th. Meanwhile, the battle for 2nd place began to heat up, with Vettel attempting several passes on Alonso, with the Ferrari driver cutting Sebastian off at every opportunity. Soon though, these battling cars began to catch Jenson Button at quite a considerable rate.

With 5 laps to go, the gap between first and second was 2.1 seconds. However, Jenson was able to pull out enough pace to maintain the gap to Fernando behind.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Button crossed the line to take an excellent victory, while Sebastian Vettel clinched the title from 3rd place. Interestingly enough, Jenson pulled over after the chequered flag, indicating the McLaren was extremely short on fuel.

The podium celebrations featured three world champions, one of which had just become the youngest ever back-to-back winner. After 9 wins out of 15 races, it is without doubt that it has been a fantastic season for the young German.

Vettel pips Button for Suzuka pole position

Sebastian Vettel muscled his way into pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was several thousands of a second ahead of Jenson Button, with teammate Lewis Hamilton failing to make his final run after a timing problem. Here is the full report:

Q1

Sebastian Vettel was out early in the session, setting a 1:33.051, with his teammate several hundreths of a second behind. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button soon went faster than the Red Bulls on the prime tyres.

Hamilton soon went 2nd, 0.02 seconds slower than Fernando. On the soft tyres, Adrian Sutil pipped the Ferrari for first place in the dying few minutes of the session. However, he was quickly displaced by Kamui Kobayashi.

Neither Nico Rosberg or Vitantonio Liuzzi left the pits after undisclosed problems with their cars. Jerome D’Ambrosio beat his teammate on his final flying run for 20th position.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:35.454

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:35.514

20) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:36.439

21) Timo Glock – 1:36.507

22) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:37.846

23) Nico Rosberg – No time

24) Vitantonio Liuzzi – No time

Q2

Vettel was once again out of the pits early, setting a 1:31.424, marginally ahead of Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton then lowered the benchmark by 0.3 seconds.

Pastor Maldonado set his times on the medium tyres, and as a result was nowhere near progressing to Q3. Kamui Kobayashi went 8th, but was promptly pushed back by Vitaly Petrov, with Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna behind.

The Toro Rossos, following their promising practice pace, were relegated to 15th and 16th.

Sergio Perez became the third driver of the afternoon not to set a lap time in his session, and the Mexican will start 17th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil – 1:32.463

12) Paul di Resta – 1:32.746

13) Rubens Barrichell0 – 1:33.079

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:33.224

15) Sebastien Buemi – 1:33.227

16) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:33.427

17) Sergio Perez – No time

Q3

Kamui Kobayashi was the first car out of the pits for Q3, but pitted before setting a time. Fernando Alonso was the first man to set a flying lap, but the Ferrari ran wide at Spoon corner.

A 1:30.617 was Lewis Hamilton’s time, with Button and Vettel each a further 0.1 behind. Mark Webber was half a second off the leading group.

Only 6 out of 10 cars exited the pits for the final few minutes. Hamilton failed to cross the line by the chequered flag, Fernando Alonso went 5th, with Felipe Massa 4th. Sebastian Vettel pushed his way onto provisional pole, and Jenson Button missed out by only 0.009 seconds.

Mark Webber was 6th, with Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi all electing not to run in Q3.

Vettel survives Button’s assault to win in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel once again had the luck of the gods, as he won the Singapore Grand Prix. The Red Bull was being caught massively by Jenson Button in the closing stages, but slow backmarkers ruined the McLaren’s charge. Mark Webber completed the podium, while Lewis Hamilton clashed with Felipe Massa – and the stewards. Here is the full report:

Vettel leads, while Button and Alonso tear past Webber

Vettel leads, while Button and Alonso tear past Webber

At the start, Webber bogged down as expected, dropping to 4th behind Vettel, Button and Alonso. Lewis Hamilton had a torrid start, falling to 8th behind Michael Schumacher.

Vettel started to pull out a massive lead after Lap 3, while Lewis tried to get past Schumacher. A poor exit from Turn 5 allowed the McLaren to get past, with the help of DRS. In a similar move, Hamilton quickly found a way past Rosberg 2 laps later.

Soon Felipe Massa found himself being chased by Hamilton. Nico Rosberg was the first driver to pit, on Lap 10, indicating a 3-stop strategy. Mark Webber sliced his way past Fernando Alonso, with the Ferrari pitting on that lap for a set of prime tyres.

Timo Glock became the first retirement from the race, the Virgin car pulling off the field just 11 laps in. Replays showed Glock spinning and hitting the wall at Turn 18, before soon retiring.

Hamilton makes a foolish move on Massa, with disastrous results

Hamilton makes a foolish move on Massa, with disastrous results

The battling Hamilton and Massa pitted the next lap, with no change of position. When the McLaren tried a move on the Ferrari at Turn 7, Lewis clipped the back of Massa, breaking his front wing and giving Felipe a puncture.

Both cars, as well as Webber, pitted for repairs. Vettel and Button stopped on Lap 15 for primes. Paul di Resta bravely dived down the inside of Sergio perez to take 3rd position – effectively 10th after the pit stops.

A drive-through penalty was swiftly served to Hamilton for his collision. A struggling Vitaly Petrov in 13th was swamped by both Williams cars, losing two places in 3 laps.

After staying out on the primes and moving up to 3rd place, Paul di Resta was the last of the frontrunners to stop, taking on the super-softs. Alonso began to lose his second set of tyres, as Webber honed in on his 3rd place.

Both Ferraris pitted on Lap 26, indicating 3-stoppers for both Massa and Alonso. Further back the field, Adrian Sutil willingly allowed teammate Paul di Resta past for 5th place.

However, the strategy aspect of the race was soon turned on its head, as the safety car was deployed. Michael Schumacher was challenging Sergio Perez for position, but clipped the back of the Sauber, launching the Mercedes into the barriers.

The top 3 drivers all pitted under the safety car. Once the safety car peeled off, Mark Webber launched another move on Fernando Alonso to retake 3rd place.

Incredibly, Vettel managed to pull out a 10-second lead over Button within a few laps, mostly due to backmarkers holding up the McLaren. The other silver car was scything through the field, taking Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta to move into 6th, after previously falling to 16th.

Two slow Williams drivers held up Button and ruined a possible last-gasp charge

Two slow Williams drivers held up Button and ruined a possible last-gasp charge

With both Vettel and Button measuring the life left on their tyres, Webber pitted on Lap 48, taking on the option compound. Both Button and Hamilton pitted a lap later, leaving Sebastian in complete control of the race.

Vettel and Alonso stopped from 1st and 2nd with 11 laps to go, the Red Bull nearly colliding with a Lotus at pit exit. Soon after, Jarno Trulli pulled over due to a gearbox problem.

After yet another fightback, Hamilton worked his way back up to 5th after his pit stop. Meanwhile, Button decided to pile on the pressure to Vettel in the final few laps, reducing his 12-second lead to 7 in only 5 laps.

Vettel is within one point of the championship

Vettel is within one point of the championship

In fact, for a while it appeared as if Jenson was going to take the lead, being almost 2 seconds per lap faster. However, backmarkers soon ruined Button’s party, as both slow Williams cars destroyed whatever advantage the chasing McLaren had.

After Jaime Alguersuari binned his Toro Rosso into the wall at Turn 18, Vettel’s victory was secured. He crossed the line 1.7 seconds ahead of Button, who ensured the title fight would continue to Suzuka. Mark Webber was 3rd, with Fernando Alonso 4th, and Lewis Hamilton fighting back to 5th. Paul di Resta took an excellent 6th place, after a risky strategy paid off.

Vettel leads Webber in Singapore qualifying

Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position, ahead of teammate Mark Webber, for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel only set 1 lap in Q3, and a slow final sector meant Webber failed to beat his teammate. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were 3rd and 4th, with Fernando Alonso 5th.

Q1

Renault were well off the pace in Q1

Renault were well off the pace in Q1

Sebastian Vettel’s early benchmark for his rivals was a 1:47.137 on the prime tyres. Lewis Hamilton pipped the Red Bull by 0.1 second, with Button a further 0.02 seconds ahead.

Sebastian quickly improved on the McLarens by half a second. With a Ferrari struggling for control, Fernando Alonso went 4th. Replays showed Lewis Hamilton locking up and sliding wide at Turn 7. His teammate complained to his team about chronic understeer on his car.

Several drivers, including Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta, were the first to go onto the super-soft tyres. Perez went 7th, with Di Resta 9th.

Vitaly Petrov pulled himself out of the drop zone on his final lap, but only just. His teammate Bruno Senna promptly moved into 15th, pushing Vitaly back into 18th position.

Heikki Kovalainen once again beat Jarno Trulli, while at HRT, Ricciardo beat Liuzzi, whose 5-place grid penalty from Monza proved completely ineffective.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Vitaly Petrov – 1:49.835

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:50.948

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:51.012

21) Timo Glock – 1:52.154

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:52.363

23) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:52.404

24) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:52.810

Q2

Kobayashi failed to set a time

Kobayashi failed to set a time

Mark Webber was the first out on super-softs, but suffered slight understeer, setting a 1:45.651. This allowed Button and Vettel to better Mark on their first runs.

However, the session was abruptly halted, as Kamui Kobayashi crashed at the triple chicane. The Sauber made a mistake at the first kerb, then the second launched Kobayashi into the barriers.

After a 5 minute delay, the session resumed. Felipe Massa went 5th, with Nico Rosberg just behind the Ferrari in 6th. Lewis Hamilton suffered a puncture on his final run, but his previous times were enough to let him into Q3.

Bruno Senna improved to 11th, but decided not to make a final run. Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta diced for 10th, with the Force India making it through to Q3. Barrichello and Maldonado were 12th and 13th, with the Toro Rossos 14th and 16th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:47.616

12) Rubens Barrichello – 1:48.082

13) Pastor Maldonado – 1:48.270

14) Sebastien Buemi – 1:48.634

15) Bruno Senna – 1:48.662

16) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:49.862

17) Kamui Kobayashi – No time set

Q3

A massive queue emerged as the frontrunners battled for position on their first flying laps, with Lewis Hamilton nearly clashing with Felipe Massa. The McLarens went 1st and 2nd, with Webber 3rd. Vettel was up next, blasting the rest of the field away by 4 tenths of a second.

As most cars went out for their final run, Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and both Force Indias opted to stay in the pits.

Nico Rosberg was nowhere near the top teams, 1.6 seconds off the pace. Felipe Massa took 6th place, with Mark Webber taking 2nd. Jenson Button snatched 3rd off Hamilton, and Alonso could only manage 5th.

A poor final sector was the deciding factor between the Red Bulls, and Webber once again will start behind Vettel on the grid.

Vettel takes control of second practice

Sebastian Vettel assumed top spot for second practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Unlike first practice, the troublesome damaged kerbs were removed in between the two sessions, and will be replaced overnight.

While on the soft tyres, Vettel was in complete control of the running order, leading by up to an entire second. After most drivers switched to the super-softs, Fernando Alonso challenged the Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton aborted several runs before finally taking 3rd place. Felipe Massa was 4th, with Mark Webber 5th. The rest of the field were over 2 seconds behind Sebastian.

Jenson Button’s session was prematurely ended, after the McLaren made a mistake at Turn 14, and was unable to engage reverse gear to return to the track. The Briton finished the session 10th.

Sebastian Buemi was the only driver to make major contact with the wall, taking off his front right suspension and wheel.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:46.374           33
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:46.575   0.201   28
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:47.115   0.741   22
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:47.120   0.746   23
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:47.265   0.891   28
 6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:48.418   2.044   27
 7.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:48.866   2.492   32
 8.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:49.578   3.204   27
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:49.730   3.356   29
10.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:49.751   3.377   10
11.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:49.792   3.418   14
12.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 1:50.241   3.867   31
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:50.345   3.971    8
14.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:50.399   4.025   29
15.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:50.790   4.416   28
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:50.897   4.523   24
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:50.937   4.563   30
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1:51.950   5.576   26
19.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:52.257   5.883   15
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:52.489   6.115   25
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:53.579   7.205   25
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1:54.649   8.275   25
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:54.754   8.380   29
24.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1:55.198   8.824   26

Vettel rivals concede 2011 title

All of Sebastian Vettel’s title rivals have all but given up hopes on challenging for the 2011 championship crown.

This comes after a crushing victory for the German, slicing past Fernando Alonso in the early stages and dominating the race from there.

Teammate Mark Webber, who has barely led a lap this year, never mind win a race, was the first to concede the title:

"I think we're all battling for second now. Seb needs to have a very, very 
incredibly disappointing finish to the season for anyone to take the 
championship off him at this point.

He's in a great position. He's done a great job. And clearly the car was good 
today, so it was a missed opportunity for me."

Fernando Alonso was next up, stating that the title was well out of reach:

"Sure, it would have been fantastic to do the double after 2010, but we must 
stay cool and concentrate and try to reach targets that are within our reach: 
today we did just that. It’s true the title has gone now, but there is still 
great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have 
just reached in the drivers’ championship."

Lewis Hamilton was more blunt with his statement, saying:  “I doubt it’s still possible to beat Sebastian for the title, but we’ll keep pushing.”

Vettel has a 112-point lead over Fernando Alonso, and a 117-point lead over Button and Webber, with Hamilton a further 9 points adrift. There are 150 points up for grabs in the final 6 races of the season.

In order to win the championship at the next round in Singapore, Vettel must win the race, with Fernando Alonso 4th or lower.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers