Vettel led under pressure for the third race in a row – and this time it got to him.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’13.014 (-0.415)||1’13.429|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Vettel added his name to the Wall of Champions in first practice, damaging the front-right corner of the car.
But it scarcely put him off his stride. On Saturday he was fastest in final practice and took his sixth pole position of the year.
He spent most of the race in the lead, coming under pressure chiefly at restarts from the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, both of whom he successfully repelled.
But he regretted not pushing harder following the final restart when Jenson Button started to loom large in his mirrors.
For the third race in a row he was under pressure in a sprint to the flag – but this time he cracked.
On the penultimate lap he locked his front-right wheel at the hairpin and Button was close enough to use the DRS and start putting him under real pressure. Halfway around the final lap the car momentarily got away from him at turn six and Button was through into the lead.
He said afterwards: “I was building up something like a four second lead and then I thought that the people behind would run a similar pace so I wasn’t trying to pull away too much because I don’t know what might happen afterwards with tyres or another safety car phase.
“I was probably a bit too cautious there. If I would have pulled away by six or seven seconds then it would have been a different story”.
Even so, Vettel increased his margin at the head of the points table to 60 – more than two whole race wins.
After a straightforward Friday Webber hit trouble on Saturday and once again the car’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System was to blame.
He never made it out of the pits in the final practice session and had to qualify without KERS, ending up fourth.
Contact with Lewis Hamilton on the first racing lap saw him lose ten places. But he quickly began to make up ground.
By lap eight he was ninth having passed the Force India, Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button, who had pitted.
Following the first restart he took Vitaly Petrov but was unable to make an impression on the other Renault.
By lap 54 he’d moved up to third thanks to some well-timed strategy calls.
Trying to pass Michael Schumacher while fighting a rearguard action against Button proved difficult. He went straight on at the final chicane more than once, and had to yield position to Schumacher on one occasion.
Eventually he ran too wide at the exit of the chicane and the car almost got away from him, allowing Button to pounce. But with three laps to go he finally prised the final podium place from Schumacher’s hands.
2011 Canadian Grand Prix
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