Red Bull won again in Sepang but two KERS failures revealed their vulnerability.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’34.870 (-0.309)||1’35.179|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race:
At Melbourne there was speculation Red Bull were running a special Kinetic Energy Recovery System that only worked at the start.
Although it turned out not to be the case, it wasn’t far from what happened to Vettel in Malaysia. He had the vital extra boost in hand at the start but had to drive much of the race without KERS after it failed.
Fortunately for him by that time he’d already made the advantage of starting from pole position count.
It’s not clear why the stewards didn’t class Vettel’s behaviour at the start, where he clearly made two moves away from the racing line to defend his lead, as the same kind of weaving which Lewis Hamilton was given a penalty for later.
Hamilton was poised to dive down the inside when Vettel feinted right for a second time, and while Hamilton was held up Nick Heidfeld split the pair of them and inadvertently helped Vettel build an eight-second lead in the first 11 laps.
Vettel’s lead was reduced by Hamilton during the second stint but in the third stint he stretched his advantage again despite having lost his KERS.
Jenson Button took up the chase later in the race. But by this stage Vettel was managing the gap en route to his fifth win in six races and a perfect start to his championship defence.
Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide
Webber’s KERS failed before the start leaving him easy prey when the red lights went out. From third on the grid he fell to tenth.
Unlike Vettel, Webber committed to ‘Plan A’ which turned out to be a four-stop strategy. A lengthy scrap with Kamui Kobayashi delayed him to begin with.
But despite no boost button and four visits to the pit lane he was able to make some progress and overtook Felipe Massa for what would become fourth place.
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Hamilton says Sepang driving “didn’t put anyone in danger”
- Domenicali praises Massa’s “return to form” in Malaysia
- 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?
- Red Bull stay ahead but KERS is still a weakness
- Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying
- Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren
- Renault recover from Friday drama for podium
- Schumacher scores for struggling Mercedes
- Two more retirements “not acceptable” at Williams
Browse all 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix articles
46 comments on “Red Bull stay ahead but KERS is still a weakness”
11th April 2011, 18:08
I clever bloke, but got pretty annoyed when Newey described Red Bull as a ‘privateer team’ after the race
11th April 2011, 20:14
Well, by definition they are, a privateer team is a team that is not affiliated directly with a manufacturer. I.e. Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren, they are all manufacturer teams the others are in essence privateers
11th April 2011, 20:22
I consider Sauber, Williams, Team Lotus, Virgin, HRT privateers. Red Bull might not make cars but they are massive global company that are using F1 for marketing (the owners, obviously the team is in it for the fun).
12th April 2011, 0:55
and Virgin aren’t?!
12th April 2011, 2:09
Got you there. Bigtime.
12th April 2011, 10:45
Not really, if you consider that are only getting very limited funding.
To be honest, I think we need a new word, to describe a team that has to rely on finding sponsors to build it’s own budget.
Like Sauber, Williams or HRT.
12th April 2011, 2:10
Got you there.
12th April 2011, 10:37
True Virgin are privateer and are a massive company, way bigger than Red Bull. But when it comes to budget Virgin are the main sponsor except they don’t pump tons of money into it. Red Bull have the budget of a factory team, I think that’s why they are not really considered privateer.
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
11th April 2011, 18:20
They seriously need to improve their KERS. Their car seems to be very sensitive to ‘dirty air’, it’s a beast when on pole, but when it’s fighting for positions, it’s not as good as the others (or maybe it’s their drivers).
If the others manage to get close to them, and overtake them in the process, they’ll struggle badly to recover.
11th April 2011, 18:35
partialy agree. I also felt they are more rely on aero grip than other cars. They’ve never won by overtaking except in start or very unusual situation(2010 Brazil). Despite their insane quali performance, when they are behind of Ferrari or Mclaren, it have been almost impossible to pass both of them.
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
11th April 2011, 19:32
that’s what Vettel’s lacking, really….
the last time he won a race at any other position than pole was precisely at Sepang last year.
11th April 2011, 20:18
And that was a good start coupled with Webber leaving the door open (hard to believe those stupid mirrors were allowed for so long!)
11th April 2011, 20:31
What drivers have actually made an overtake for the lead that was not either in the first corner or though the pits? I remember Canada, Turkey aaand.. That’s it.
He started from pole in over half the races last season, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he didn’t have many wins that were not from pole position.
You cannot judge a drivers ability to overtake on the number of non pole position to win races. That is absolutely worthless.
11th April 2011, 18:21
Well Red Bull are not a vehicle manufacturer, are they?
11th April 2011, 18:23
(that was a reply to ‘zecks’)
11th April 2011, 18:36
As far as the start, the Schumacher Chop(s), have become so ingrained in the sport since the 90s, now no one even notices or cares. When is the last time a driver got penalized for start-line swerving. I haven’t gone to the archives, but I can’t recall it happening recently Its bizarre, right, because when is swerving more dangerous—in a raging ball of accelerating cars on cold tires with cold brakes, or when one car is 50 feet in front of another and pulling away?
11th April 2011, 20:11
The swerving is not to do with being dangerous, rather it’s about gaining an unfair advantage
11th April 2011, 20:17
Webber against Barrichello at the Nurburgring in 2009. He hit him, mind you.
12th April 2011, 3:18
Well, Webber got a drive thru for his actions after all…
Didn’t stop him ;)
11th April 2011, 22:44
12th April 2011, 14:30
Except the ‘Schumacher Chop’ is within the rules, as long as its only one move. Vettel did not only make one move, he went once, then back to line for the corner, then back over again to block Hamilton.
11th April 2011, 18:28
I agree. I think if Vettel can’t maintain the lead, then he will struggle more without the power of a Mercedes or Ferrari engine, and especially without KERS (IF they have problems again).
Although I don’t think that’ll be the case in Shanghai. The run down to the first corner isn’t long, and the corner style probably suits Red Bull quite a lot. Not to mention Renault will probably intervene again. They have amazing traction!
11th April 2011, 19:03
Yes, if both of Renault get in front of the mclarens and ferraris that will play in hand for Red Bull, assuming Seb will take another pole. I wounder, is there some agreement between these teams, it looks like Renault is working on Red Bull, Renault dont have the pace to chalenge them, yet they have good starts and a good pace to hold the main competitors back.
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
11th April 2011, 19:34
but the back straight is incredibly long!. They’ll surely struggle there.
11th April 2011, 18:40
in Melbourne, they looks like invincible but now they’re in much more risky situation than last year. Already Mclaren match them with quali pace and even Ferrari could challenge them in race. Their KERS is troublesome and not competitive as Mclaren(I’m still not sure how Ferrari’s is. but it looks like better than RB’s)
Yeah. China will be real challenge to them. Welcome another 3 way battle.(even tighter!)
11th April 2011, 18:47
Actually a pretty good drive from Webber, given how many places he lost off the line and not having KERS working all race.
Vettel, great qualifying. Not the first time he was a bit rough off the start, but the Stewards had to give a penalty to Hamilton, eh! Shame, I would have liked to see how Vettel would have fought back.
And it might have gotten Heidfeld in the lead for a few laps extra!
11th April 2011, 18:54
I never noticed the subtle weaving at the start when watching the race live. When watching it back I was furious that he didn’t get a penalty. Yet again Red Bull are doing a great job. Looks like it’s Mark Webbers turn to have the bad luck with reliability this season.
11th April 2011, 20:16
Well they both had bad luck in this race, Marks was just more so.
11th April 2011, 19:23
Did anyone else wonder why Webber looked so dejected after the race? Given that he had no KERS and a terrible start which languished him back to 9th almost instantly, he drove an excellent race to 4th (albeit inheriting two positions he was fortunate to get).
It could have been far worse for Mark.
Perhaps he senses the title is already slipping away from him? I know it must be hard watching your team mate have two wins on the slate and you having less than half as many points, but still, Webber can take a lot of positives from the race which could easily have been far worse. Chin up fella, still 17(/18) races to go yet!
13th April 2011, 0:56
Mark could have won this race. Two races with no KERS must be frustrating. It is interesting to see from looking at the graph above he made 2.5sec on vets in every pit stop.
11th April 2011, 20:29
According to the Technical Report, Webber had the KERS battery pack replaced after Qualification and before the start. Either the batteries are a duff batch or the control electronics used by RBR is problematic.
11th April 2011, 23:17
I read an article that they may not fix Webbers KERS before China. That must be not true, surely?
13th April 2011, 1:17
Not bloody good enough if that’s true. I bet if it was on vets car as a last resort Horner would take time out and remove himself from vets a$$hole, slap on some overalls & get his hands dirty to even try & solve this problem…
12th April 2011, 1:25
Yep. Vettel clearly made 2 blocking move. He should have been penalised.
12th April 2011, 3:24
Webber recovered well since his start. Red Bull’s biggest problem has been reliability. They have the pace in the car but if they struggle to finish the race due to error of the car then they will have a hard time defending their title this year.They need to sort out their KERS issue.
12th April 2011, 9:51
Q: So you didn’t have KERS with Seb from lap 30 on?
CH:We just chose not to use it.
Q: Was there a problem with it?
CH: No problem at all with Seb’s KERS.
Shouldn’t be a problem then for RBR to cure the electrical issue that killed Webber’s KERS if they have one unit working.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
12th April 2011, 10:04
Where’s that from? It doesn’t quite match up with what Vettel said.
12th April 2011, 22:21
12th April 2011, 22:23
(link failed first time)
12th April 2011, 13:03
I’m sorry but I have got to disagree with Keith on two counts here,
1) Webber’s Plan A was 4 stops (because even before race started Brundle/DC mentioned that Webber is looking at 4 stops) whereas Vettel’s Plan A was 3 stops, so I’m pretty sure Vettel was also committed to his Plan A
2) Secondly about weaving: Driver A sees Driver B on the inside and blocks him, Driver B moves further inside or moves outside and Driver A blocks him again, now that is weaving. In Vettel’s case when he made the first move Hamilton was neither behind him nor beside him. Secondly, it would have been weaving if the pole position was like last year where Vettel would have to block Hamilton first (move 1) and then block him again on the inside line (move 2). Since Vettel started on the same line I don’t see how this can be considered weaving.
I do see many a difference in opinion with fellow fanatics on how Lewis is unfortunate to get a penalty for weaving whereas Vettel got scot-free. If Lewis is unfortunate to get penalized for weaving then how can you advocate the same penalty for Sebastian? The offence is the same or are we seeing at different set of rules for each teams?
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
12th April 2011, 13:45
I didn’t say it was wrong for Hamilton to get a penalty:
12th April 2011, 14:58
Apologies, that was for the general population calling for Sebastian’s Head
12th April 2011, 13:12
Did Webber have a problem with his DRS towards the end? He seemed to be within the 1s gap behind Heidfeld but he appeared to not bother with it.
Anyway, brilliant stuff from Seb, I expect no less really.
You can sense a real reluctance to use KERS and so far they don’t seem to be suffering too much without it. There will come a crunch moment for them though.
12th April 2011, 18:44
seems to be unnoticed, but rbr performed a 2.7 second 4-tire change (vettel, lap 26). absolutely incredible!
12th April 2011, 20:03
Isn’t this a bit like saying you don’t think Barcelona’s football team doesn’t have very good substitutes? ;)
13th April 2011, 11:34
kERS was nothing more than a minor distraction
Comments are closed.