2011 Brazilian Grand Prix: Mark Webber Finally Wins

The 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix delivered exciting racing as expected by all the Formula1 fans. It is somehow surprising that Hermann Tilke and his set of designers find it difficult to build exciting race tracks such as Interlagos. However, that is for later talk.

The broadcaster in India (ESPNStar) takes an ad-break after every 7 laps and an average lap around the Interlagos was around 1 min 18 secs.  This meant an ad-break would appear almost every 10 minutes!

Key thoughts from the GP:

–          Vettel who clinched his 15th pole of the season on Saturday (Read post: 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix Qualifying Report), led from lap 1 only to suffer gearbox issues from lap 5 onwards which ultimately led him to give way to his team-mate Webber who finally went on to win the race.

–          Conspiracy theories suggested that Red Bull Racing fudged Vettel’s gearbox issues to allow Webber through and clinch his first race win of the 2011 Formula1 season. The race victory also saw Webber overtake Alonso and finish 3rd in the Driver’s World Championship by 1 point. Webber’s last win was at the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix.

–          Button drove a brilliant race yet again to finish 3rd and cemented his 2nd place in the championship table. Hamilton retired from gearbox failure mid-race marking his 3rd retirement of the season. Hamilton’s last mechanical retirement was also at the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix.

–          Most notable drive of the race was Sahara Force India’s Adrian Sutil, who managed to out-qualify and out-pace his rookie team-mate throughout the GP weekend. The most defining move was when Sutil overtook Mercedes’ Rosberg into entry of Turn1 proving that the Indian-owned F1 team has been the 4th fastest team in race trim in the recent races.

–          Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished 4th and 5th respectively. As expected, the Ferraris struggled on the medium tyre and cost Alonso a potential podium position. Massa was the only driver in the Top 5 to run on a two-stop tyre strategy and finished half a minute down on his team-mate.

–           Webber, Vettel and Button were the final podium positions at Interlagos. However, only 7 drivers have made it onto the podium this season.

–          Local drivers Senna, Barrichello and Massa had an average race in Brazil. Senna was awarded a penalty for on-track contact with Schumacher. Barrichello finished 14th, whereas Massa equaled his season’s best performance of 5th. Massa has failed to finish higher than 5th all season – no. of races finished in 5th position – six!

–          Senna ultimately finished 17th a position down on the other Lotus racing team car of Kovalainen. Some much improved pace from Team Lotus Racing.

–          Sahara Force India had yet another double points finish when Sutil finished 6th and di Resta in 8th. They equaled their season’s best finish and scored 12 points from the race. The team finally ended 4 points behind the Lotus Renault GP team in 6th position. Their best season finish yet. As for Sutil, the strong finish in the race saw him finish 9th in the Driver’s Championship with 42 points, his best ever.

–          The 1-2 race finish was Red Bull’s second ever on the same track.

The off-season will be interesting with plenty of teams yet to confirm their drivers for the 2012 Formula1 season. The latest driver market news was Kimi Raikkonen joining Lotus F1 team for next season. (Read post: Kimi Raikkonen Makes Comeback With Lotus F1 Team For 2012)

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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