F1: Red Bull reigns in Spain with Vettel under pressure from Hamilton
Spain, Sun 22nd May 2011: In a tense battle of dominance Red Bull Sebastian Vettel held off the advances of McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton over the 66 laps of Grand Prix of Barcelona at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
Hamilton’s fellow Brit team mate Jenson Button held off, on one less pit-stop to secure third place.
Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull -Winner
“It was pretty tough today. At the beginning of the race I thought I had a good start, I didn’t understandwhere Fernando came from! He started behind me, 16 metres behind, and half way down the straight hewas already side-by-side. He went on the inside of Mark and I went on the outside, so he was leadingafter the first corner.
We couldn’t get close enough to use the DRS, but we got him with the pit stop. Fairly early, everyone was getting the options out of the way, so there was half the race left on the hardtyres. It looked like the McLarens were very strong; they stayed out longer on a different strategy, whichbought them up to second behind us. From then on I knew that it would be very, very close; going into thelast 10 laps felt the same as in China.
My tyres were going away from me and I prayed the same washappening to Lewis, as he was catching up and they seemed so much quicker, especially on the lastsector. At the end of the straights he would be right in my mirrors, so you don’t know if you should defendor not. It was very close, but on the last two laps, I could make it stick. KERS was on and off, which meantI was playing around with brake distribution a lot.
McLaren and Lewis especially gave us a hard timetoday. It’s quite a release when you cross the line and you know that you made it, so I’m very, veryhappy. It was a great result and after yesterday a good confirmation that we are strong but, as expected,McLaren and Ferrari are giving us a hard time and are pushing hard – I’m very happy today. ”
Lewis Hamilton -Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 2nd,
“I was pleasantly surprised by how fast we were today. In race trim, I actually think we were quicker than the Red Bulls, except through the really high-speed stuff.
“I pushed as hard as I could all afternoon, and I’m really happy with the result – a few more laps and it might have been a different order at the front, but I just ran out of time at the end.
“Despite DRS, it’s still very difficult to overtake at this track – you can’t follow through Turn Three or Turn Nine, so that makes it really hard. Also, I was in Sebastian’s [Vettel] dirty air and the car was sliding a lot – it was incredibly tough behind him.
“We’re probably still losing out a bit too much in qualifying, but our race pace is right there. So, as you’d expect, we’ll be looking at ways of improving our qualifying pace.
“I was also really happy to see Jenson come through and finish on the podium it’s a great result for the team. Now I’m already looking forward to Monaco – it’s a circuit where high-speed downforce is less critical and where the driver can make a difference, so it should be a strong track for us.”
Jensen Button – Vodafone McLaren Mercedes- 3rd
“I had a terrible start and was on the outside into Turn One and Turn Three, where I lost further places. I was down in 10th at the end of the first lap, which was extremely disappointing.
“After that, I didn’t think third would really be possible, but as the others all made their pitstops so early, and as my tyres still felt good, I started to think it might be on. After Turkey, it was really fantastic to make the strategy work for me today.
“We stayed on the Option for as long as possible and I did three stops to the others’ four – and the result was that I had a great race. I overtook Mark [Webber] and Fernando [Alonso] within a lap of each other. I knew I wasn’t going to catch the first two, but I pushed as hard as I could just in case something happened ahead of me.
“Tyre life with these Pirellis is like a switch – once you lose the rears, the lap-times just drop. We got it just right today – and, when I finally got onto the Prime, the circuit was in a good condition and the tyre worked pretty well. I really felt like I raced today.
“Finally, I want to say a big thank-you to the team today – we chose a fantastic strategy, the pitstops were perfect and we made everything work. This was the result of a superb team effort.”
Mark Webber-Red Bull -4th
“I don’t think my start was hideous, but Fernando got a phenomenal one. Obviously from then on itwasn’t the start we had planned and it was a bit of a chess game. People were covering each other’s pitstops and I really didn’t do much racing on track. At the end of the race I finished 40 seconds behindLewis and Seb. It was an interesting day today and shows how fine the margins are; we were frustratedby Fernando who seemed to pit every time I did! At certain stages I was quick and at others I wasn’t –that’s the way it was today.”
Fernando Alonso took the leading the opening lap on the first corner he dived down the inside of Webber on the dirty, tricky side of the track to take both Red Bulls, to a standing ovation from the roaring home crowd, he maintained the lead till the first pitstop on lap 10, his first of four.
Fernando Alonso-Ferrari 5th
“The best bit of the race was obviously the start. We have worked so much on this area andyou could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! Itried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do. It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves.
That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality. We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing thatsuited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications webrought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lostground to Red Bull and McLaren.
Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is aspecial race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount ofdownforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case lastyear and we were competitive. I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championshipafter just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen,I’m sure of it.”
Final Race results Sunday, 22 May – Race Result
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||66||Winner||2|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren||66||+0.6 secs||3|
|3||Jenson Button||McLaren||66||+35.6 secs||5|
|4||Mark Webber||Red Bull||66||+47.9 secs||1|
|5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||65||+1 Lap||4|
|6||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||65||+1 Lap||10|
|7||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||65||+1 Lap||7|
|8||Nick Heidfeld||Renault||65||+1 Lap||24|
|9||Sergio Perez||Sauber||65||+1 Lap||12|
|10||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber||65||+1 Lap||14|
|11||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||65||+1 Lap||6|
|12||Paul di Resta||Force India||65||+1 Lap||16|
|13||Adrian Sutil||Force India||65||+1 Lap||17|
|14||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||65||+1 Lap||11|
|15||Pastor Maldonado||Williams||65||+1 Lap||9|
|16||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||64||+2 Laps||13|
|17||Rubens Barrichello||Williams||64||+2 Laps||19|
|18||Jarno Trulli||Lotus||64||+2 Laps||18|
|19||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||63||+3 Laps||20|
|20||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||62||+4 Laps||23|
|21||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT||61||+5 Laps||22|
|Ret||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||58||+8 Laps||8|
|Ret||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT||28||+38 Laps||21|
|13||Adrian Sutil||German||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|15||Paul di Resta||British||Force India-Mercedes||2|