Red Bull: McLaren and Ferrari ahead in Germany

2011 German GP team review

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Red Bull’s defeat at the hand of two teams and Webber leading home Vettel both invite questions about whether this upturn in form was a blip or part of a trend.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 3 1
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’30.216 (+0.137) 1’30.079
Race position 4 3
Laps 60/60 60/60
Pit stops 3 3

Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Sebastian Vettel 103.606 99.486 98.322 98.449 98.339 98.444 98.204 99.3 105.031 99.127 99.516 99.521 99.31 99.77 100.062 103.44 115.012 98.07 97.352 99.009 99.607 97.305 96.993 96.865 97.094 97.052 97.096 96.991 96.747 96.947 96.831 96.637 96.829 97.047 97.236 96.934 97.304 96.744 96.864 98.954 112.598 98.068 95.447 95.39 96.299 95.356 94.587 94.692 94.643 95.306 94.762 94.752 96.43 95.779 95.169 95.736 95.287 94.953 97.571 111.983
Mark Webber 102.625 99.618 98.621 98.189 97.659 97.85 98.089 97.927 98.028 98.287 98.499 98.982 99.958 101.232 115.036 97.003 98.668 96.947 96.947 96.585 96.551 96.532 96.38 96.535 96.557 96.487 96.728 96.558 97.04 98.909 114.195 96.982 96.852 96.759 96.269 95.87 95.838 95.861 95.408 95.706 95.657 96.283 95.453 95.318 95.367 95.472 95.634 95.314 95.112 94.748 94.694 95.197 94.964 95.23 96.035 97.546 112.92 94.855 95.088 94.468

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel had a decidedly off-colour weekend in his home race, which saw several of his long-running streaks of success come to an end.

He missed out on the front row of the grid as Webber beat him to pole position. If much of Vettel’s performance this weekend looked like a blip, this was perhaps the one thing that didn’t – Webber has gradually reduced and overturned Vettel’s qualifying advantage over the course of the season.

Vettel dropped behind Fernando Alonso at the start and soon after a radio message revealed he had a problem with his brakes.

He had a costly spin at the RTL Kurve which nearly cost him further places to Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa.

By the time his braking problem was sorted Vettel had fallen behind Massa, and he now began trying to take the place back.

He wasn’t able to make a pass stick on the track, but he knew they both had to make a final pit stop, which came on the last lap.

While Red Bull nailed Vettel’s stop, Ferrari fumbled Massa’s, promoting Vettel to fourth. Even so, it was the first time he’d finished a race outisde the top two places since retiring from the Korean Grand Prix last year.

Sebastian Vettel 2011 form guide

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2011

Mark Webber

Webber might have been hoping for more from his third pole position of the year than his fourth consecutive third place, but at least he put one over his team mate.

As was the case at the Nurburgring in 2009, Webber seemed to get more out of the car than Vettel did.

Starts have been a persistent problem for Webber this year and once again he was beaten off the line, Lewis Hamilton jumping him as the lights went out.

But Webber reeled in the McLaren and got ahead for one lap in the first stint before Hamilton reversed the move.

Webber pitted before Hamilton and a quick out lap, plus a pit stop half a second faster than Hamilton’s, put him back in the lead.

Webber’s next visit to the pits at the halfway distance was slower and it cost him two places. He made an attempt to pass Hamilton around the outside of turn two but found himself eased onto the kerbs.

He fell five seconds behind Alonso in the third stint and a late final pit stop couldn’t pull him back into the battle for the lead. Vettel’s last-lap promotion to fourth place means Webber only reduced his team mate’s championship lead by three points to 77.

Webber said he wasn’t sure if Red Bull’s defeat meant the second half of the championship was going to be much harder for them, but conceded this was the second time they’d lost “fair and square”:

“I don’t think we can blame a four second pit stop at Silverstone. I think we got beaten fair and square in Silverstone, so this isn’t the first time we’ve been beaten, so this is the second race.

“Is it the form for the second part of the championship? Difficult to say, because we’re going to go to a track next weekend which should be a bit better for us than this track. Let’s see.”

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    57 comments on “Red Bull: McLaren and Ferrari ahead in Germany”

    1. I’m sure Red Bull will remain competitive for the rest of the season – i.e in position 1, 2 or 3. It’s on such a knife-edge that in terms of the championship, Red Bull being the best car during the race at one or two circuits more will probably ensure both titles. And it’s difficult to see how that won’t happen. Pity Ferrari didn’t come good a few races earlier!

      Anyhow for me the real issue is how Webber has suddenly become competitive versus Vettel. It looks here to stay, it’s no fluke, which only adds to the question of what happened in the first half of the season.

      1. If u guys notice at the start.. usually massa always had good start compare to alonso. massa almost beat vettel at the start. vettel swerve to left to avoid massa through.

      2. The championship is still RBR’s to lose in my opinion, even if they can only muster performances like that in Germany every race weekend. They’re yet to have a DNF and are the only team who can say that. Sure it may happen yet, but consistency is key.

    2. Kind of weird seeing SebVet so far behind. Almost as if he had stayed at home. His absence from the front made the others seem almost on even keel. Ferrari, McLaren and the other RedBull are much closer to each other than I had imagined. All of which supports the idea that Vettle is in a league of his own when leading.

    3. Red Bull: McLaren and Ferrari ahead in Germany

      No. In Silverstone and Nurburgring we finally had equal cars, with performance been permutated through the race. In the key moments, the best drivers (Fernando and Lewis) made the difference.

      And I cant stand Webber and Vettel publicly pushing and desperatly asking the team for the best car again when they have that for more than half season.

      Can Red Bull rely solely in their drivers to deliver wins when McLaren and Ferrari are in parity?

      1. +1

        It’s a question Red Bull would probably prefer to duck.

        To be fair Vettel has shown mental fortitude – to add to his speed – when crunch time came during the final races. I also think he made the best of a bad day in Germany: if 4th is as bad as it gets for him, that’s a scary for Alonso and Hamilton’s chances, not to mention Webber’s (though I have my doubts on whether Red Bull will resist pulling the plug on Mark if he starts to draw close).

        Alonso must have done the maths: they need McLaren to be strong, which – and this is the extra bit – would mean Hamilton at least would beat him at some other tracks too. So he really does need Massa and Button to take points from the Red Bulls too, so that he (Alonso) coming 2nd at some races still gives him a chance.

        You’ve got to admire Alonso’s relentless determination and calculations!

        1. Absolutely spot on David BR!
          At Siverstone though Alonso was the class of the field when everyone seemed to have equal equipment. No gift from Red Bull their mistake on Vettel’s pit…. Alonso was 5 secs ahead at the end of that lap… and went awaaaaay! 20 secs away by second last lap. No way Seb would have kept ahead even if pitstop was a good one. Seb was battling to keep Webber behind and tyres were gone at races end. Hamiltons performance there was part low fuel load (which made him look better earlier, but cost him in the end).

      2. Whatever you may think the reasons for it were, a McLaren finished first, a Ferrari finished second, and a Red Bull finished third. That was either down to the cars or the drivers or a mixture of both. But there’s nothing wrong in the headline.

        1. But there’s nothing wrong in the headline.

          I know that :)

          My comment have nothing to do with your headline or your opinion, but with Red Bull’s statement.

      3. I agree, would be nice to see them this close fighting for the rest of the year.

        On the other hand, if finishing 4th with their WDC contender and getting another 27 points is a bad weekend for Red Bull, it only goes to show they have their act together.

      4. It’s not even McLaren and Ferrari who are ahead of Red Bull, but Hamilton and Alonso.

      5. Hewis Lamilton
        25th July 2011, 17:58

        Rumors that I have heard indicate that Vettel used a setup that was for a wet race.

        Better hold off on the equal car judgement for one more race.

        But yes, Red Bull can rely solely on their drivers. Namely SebVet, he is the best at the moment.

        1. im pretty sure if Vettel was on a wet set-up, him and RB would have said so.

      6. It’s a good point about how strange it is to hear dramatic Churchillian speeches now at RedBull. However, now, despite obvious technical dominance, RBR have dropped 4 races to other teams this year, and the last 3 out of 4. You should expect better than 60% return when you are putting sometimes .5s on the field in Q3. When you look at these losses, you see the RBR drivers simply getting beaten, losing out at a critical stage in a key fight. The trend is terrible for them now.

      7. What’s wrong with wanted the best car?

        I think in this race, the Red Bull was probably a bit weaker. Especially as the race went on, the Mclaren has remarkable performance on low fuel. They have all year.

        1. What’s wrong with wanted the best car?

          Nothing wrong, but why ask for more when they already have it?

    4. raymondu999
      25th July 2011, 16:03

      I think Red Bull have actually undone themselves this year. They have supreme downforce, yes, and that allows them to go super quick in the fast corners especially. But it seems that with these new Pirellis, this is just stretching them under load and chewing them up, overloading the Pirellis. Hence why their race pace in tracks such as Silverstone & Spain, ironically, have been lackluster.
      What do you think Keith?

      1. Lackluster= winning and finishing 2-3?

        1. raymondu999
          25th July 2011, 16:37

          I didn’t say the results were lackluster. I said their race pace was.

      2. Hewis Lamilton
        25th July 2011, 18:01

        Consider the setup for the German GP, rain was predicted for Sunday.

        1. Yes I can believe SV was set up for a wet race. I think Button did the same.

          But knowing how SV is the darling of RBR, their weather man must have thought rain was pretty certain. Anyone heards from him since? ;-)

          1. Ferrari also mentioned wet weather set up I think.

    5. Still a big box left untick for Vettel. His unability to pass Massa yesterday plus his failure to overtake Hamilton at Silverstone still raises doubts over Vettel’s performances. Is he one of the sport’s greatest racers?

      To be honest, I don’t think he is. He has showed incredible pace but compared to Alonso and Hamilton, he’s been quite dull so far.

      1. Very good point. Still, we always forget he’s just 24! He WILL still get better.

        1. Will he improve though? I tend to think this is a racing instinct you have or don’t have. Even the super cautious Button has this. Vettel’s undoubtedly very quick, has an excellent sense for both car and track (hence his skill in wet conditions) but almost always clumsy when aggressive. Other drivers seem to unnerve him and he doesn’t seem to have any real ‘rapid access’ repertoire of moves to defend or overtake. That’s not the same as Hamilton, Alonso or Schumacher making mistakes (colliding) from pushing too hard.

        2. I doubt Seb will get better in that regard. He’s not a natural racer, even though he can be blindingly quick when driving in clean air. If he does not have racing instincts, he will have to acquire them, learn by doing, by taking risks, by making mistakes. F1 doesn’t offer many opportunities to learn that sort of thing, especially when the driver doesn’t make any attempts to learn it.

      2. No, Vettel might (depending on where he is in 10years) be classes as one of the best drivers, probably over leading a race or in qualy, but not as a racer. The guy is quick, but as for racecraft, i don’t see or havent seen enough from him.

        Yesterday reminded me of Silverstone last year, when he had the puncture early in the race and all but gave up and was very nearly lapped until a saftey car came in and as if he realises something might be salvaged from it. What im getting at is, Vettel is all fine whilst the goings good, but when things like yesterday or the Silverstone ’10 happen, he just disapears and looks so average.

      3. raymondu999
        25th July 2011, 16:44

        What strikes me as interesting is that it seems to only rear its head in the dry. He actually isn’t bad at wet weather overtaking IMO. Vettel v Button Spa 2010 aside, that is.

        1. Agreed, but that’s because he’s one of the best drivers in the rain, hence faster.

          1. Like in Canada?

            1. Well, yes! He did fine most of the race. If you mean the mistake that cost him first, Button (another fine driver in the rain) really was closing him down rapidly and Vettel’s response was just a bit too much beyond the possible. I wouldn’t say that was proof against him.

      4. Looks like he just wants to fill the other guy’s mirror to force him into an error, but it doesn’t work everyday. His huge advantage in WDC fight may explain his cautious approach but constant calls to prove his skills will be a burden for the boy and he will feel the need to shut our mouths by being more aggressive.

        1. Hopefully! I really don’t mean this unkindly but Vettel spinning of in two or three races would be ideal – I’d then be happy to see him back to form to battle it out with the rest on roughly equal points as the season ends.

          1. but that’s the thing. Vettle doesn’t “battle”.
            He puts the car on pole and, because he’s the quickest man out there, he wins.
            But put him further back in the pack, and he can’t turn it around.
            the man can’t overtake. He’s not gutsy enough, or not cold blooded enough. everytime he tried last year, he ended up in a crash…

            I’d LOVE to see 3, 4, 5 guys fighting it out during the race. Yesterday gave us some of that. I can only hope it stays this way for the rest of the year.

            1. everytime he tried last year, he ended up in a crash…

              He indeed had two big errors. But in fairness at Silverstone he did come from 24th and last to get 6 points.

      5. My thoughts are that Vettel has vastly improved this year and in a worst case scenario is the 3rd best driver out there behind Alonso and Hamilton (in that order).

        Perhaps the greatest racers have the perfect combo of mind and heart and this allows for smart but beautiful racing?

        But I only see glimpses here and there (mainly from Schumacher – pass on Hamilton in Monaco for me easily best of the year) of that but not consistently from anyone…

    6. shame Hungary is next tho… a complete red bull track.

      1. So if they aren’t dominating the field there, they and their competitors know the writing is on the wall. And then they have four weeks of Newey thinking about it. Hm.

    7. I feel the team strategy for Webber in the second half was to conservative, I know everyone was worried about rain but telling Mark to conserve his tyres and staying on the softs way to long made the gap to Alonso to big to overcome. A safe strategy for the team but one that prevented Webber from showing his best game.

      1. And one which limited Webbers ability to close the gap further on SV maybe?

    8. I wish ‘reasonable’ result in Hungary and something I can call disaster in Spa and Monza…It would be amazing closing chapter of the season!

    9. When his engineer told him to do the opposite of Massa he didn’t pit on the penultimate lap. Also, the commentators mistakenly said that both would have crossed the finish line in the pit lane, but they pitted at the end of the second-to-last lap, not the last.

    10. Im confused as to where Mclaren will be in Hungary in relation to Redbull and Ferrari

      Hungary will be very hot, comparable to the weather felt in both Spanish based grand prix this year. This is where part of the confusion begins: in Catalunya, Mclaren’s MP4-26 put in a great performance and was the class of the field during the hot race, while Ferrari were a distant 3rd team. And in Valencia, there was similar high temps at the track, but it was Ferrari and Alonso who were hassling the RedBulls during the race, and Mclaren languished as 3rd best team.

      Hungaroring is a “Redbull track” so why not compare previous performances on “Redbull tracks?” At catalunya, Lewis Hamilton’s Mclaren was the fastest car on race pace, but couldn’t pass Vettel for he win, but it showed the Mclaren has the potential to win on a “Redbull track,” similarly with Ferrari at Silverstone, when Fernando Alonso took the win on the British “Redbull track.”

      So it could go either way for Mclaren and Ferrari based on previous races this year. I hope both are able to compete in the Hungarian GP, the unpredictability is making me excited for this race, what do you guys expect next Sunday?

      1. I have the same questions as you. No clue what next weekend will bring. Not sure if the Hungaroring is suitable for mayor updates, since it’s a rather unique circuit. guess the top teams will have a specific setup or even front wing or so for this track.

        For the sake of the championship and the last hope of a little excitement in it, I hope McLaren and Ferrari will once again be on top of RBR.

      2. I also not sure where Mclaren would be in Hungary. But I’d like to say Hungaroring is similar to Valencia than Catalunya. It’s hot but temperature is not all character of circuit. In terms of character of corners and speed, it’s similar to Valencia but not to Catalunya. Actually I’d rather to say it’s hot Monaco.

        Monaco? Great for all three teams, Valencia? Just for Mclaren and Ferrari…and I have to say why Ferrari struggled at Catalunya was much more down to tyre than aero. Now they sorted out of it Also Hungaroring has many bump which make hard to drive. I think when Red Bull and Ferrari dominated here last year, it was big factor particulary for Ferrari(which has better suspension)

        Conclusion? Sorry, I don’t know. It’s too hard to predict. But all I can say is, if Mclaren and Ferrari show same good pace in Hungary, they should be able to compete with Red Bull for the rest of the season. I think it’s quite likely so hopefully, I wish both Ferrari and Mclaren are ahead of Red Bull in Hungary. If they can beat Red Bull in Hungary, the rest of the season is in their hand.

        1. Valencia? Just for Mclaren and Ferrari->not Mclaren but Red Bull I beloeve you know it :D

          1. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren in terms of pace at the Hungaroring.

            We all know Ferrari have had issues warming up their tyres this year and despite this, both cars spent most of the race ahead of a Red Bull in an unusually cold Germany. McLaren, on the other hand, really struggled in the heat at Valencia and it is looking hot at the Hungaroring this weekend. Early forecasts prediciting 26C on Saturday. So I expect it will be another weekend where McLaren struggle, unless they have some excellent secret updates for Hungary which suddenly cure their issues in the heat.

    11. It was really nice to see the top three teams fighting out at the front, and just behind with Vettel and Massa (and i’m sure Jenson would have joined that battle had he not had hydraulic issues).

      However, I expect Red Bull to be back on the top step of the podium in Hungary, not because they have the best overall car, because that’s too hard to call at the moment, but because I believe they still have the advantage in Qualifying and it is notoriously difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring.

      I don’t think Red Bull will quite have the same advantage as they did last year, but I think the race (though interesting) may result in a processional result, somewhat like Barcelona. An interesting race, but still difficult for McLaren despite having arguably a faster car in race trim.

      I will say this though, I think that the GP in Hungary will inform everyone on to the true standing between Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren…and maybe, just maybe Ferrari’s upgrades from Silverstone were more sufficient than people suspected?

      1. Undercut on pitstops means you don’t need to overtake though – just be on the RB gearbox and pit a lap or two earlier – then the RB has the problem of overtaking.

        My vote goes to Alonso solely because I think the Ferrari will handle the heat better than Mclaren.

    12. Did anyone notice that when Webber passed Hamilton out of the chicane, the yellow flags were flying in that corner? Heidfeld’s car was swinging from a crane in the adjacent gravel trap at the same moment. Arguably, the pass was just after that corner, but if the pass stuck, Webber may have been obliged to give that spot back.

      1. He passed Lewis after the chicane, fully securing the place in the last corner, so no yellow flags there…

        Ironically, though, Mark’s first lap led this season (after 9 and a half races!) only lasted a few tenths of a second! I was so gutted…!

      2. I believe they looked at this on the BBC forum and noticed a green flag/flashing sign by the time Webber actually got past.

    13. Bad day in the office for Vettel.Will we see more of this mistake from Vettel?

    14. Whilst initially I thought Vettel should really have got past Massa on the road, having thought about it some more and knowing Massa’s erratic defending style, I actually think putting pressure on and staying behind was the mature thing to do in the circumstances.

      No doubt Hamilton would have either got passed or crashed, but on average that would have cost him more WDC points.

      Being remembered as another Schumacher/Prost or as another Senna/Villeneuve. That’s the choice perhaps.

    15. IT could well be a blip in form by Vettel, and possibly the car was as good as ever, as webber has been racing alonso and hanilton all season just like this race, and not vettel. so it might just have been vettel with a bad car setup this weekend.

    16. The rake the top 3 teams were running should dispense with any rumour heard or imagined, that some cars had a wet setup.
      Vettel was setting the fastest lap of the race at some point. You can’t do that with a wet setup.

      Vettel just felt the pressure of his home race. Button had an u settled car due to the recent upgrades.

    17. I was pretty shocked to see Seb in 4th, he didn’t have a good race. That spin instantly reminded me of Canada.

      He needn’t worry. The title is his to lose, as long as he remains consistently around the top he will win the championship.

      I just knew Hamilton would take 1st given how terrible Webber seems to be doing with his starts.

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