Webber ends season on a high with Brazil win

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix review

Posted on

| Written by

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Mark Webber scored his first victory of 2011 in the final race of the season at Interlagos.

He took the lead after team mate Sebastian Vettel slowed with a gearbox problem early in the race.

Jenson Button came out on top in a late battle with Fernando Alonso for third place.

Despite widespread reports of rain, the race started in dry conditions. Vettel kept the lead easily and sprinted off into a 2.2-second lead after just two laps.

Vettel streaks ahead

Webber took up second behind him while Button came under pressure from Alonso, who had passed Lewis Hamilton on the first lap.

Alonso kept pressuring Button and eventually drew alongside him at the exit of Sudia do Lago. The pair headed side-by-sided in the quick Ferradura right-hander, Alonso on the outside as he flashed around the outside and into third place.

Button slipped back into the clutches of his team mate but was soon heading to the pits for an early tyre change, which sparked off a series of stops from other runners.

Felipe Massa was one of the last to make his first visit to the pits, staying out long enough to briefly take the lead at his home race. But Vettel was soon on his tail and used the DRS zone to easily re-take first place.

Webber takes over the lead

It was around the time the first of several messages between Vettel and his race engineer revealed Red Bull believed Vettel had a gearbox problem. He was repeatedly told to manage the car by short-shifting.

Webber caught his slowing team mate and moved through into the lead on lap 30. But Vettel dropped back only gradually over the following laps and even set the fastest lap at one point, prompting fresh reminders from Guillaume Rocquelin to look after the car.

Vettel wasn’t the only driver with a gearbox problem. Hamilton was also advised of a similar fault on his car, but he wasn’t able to make it to the end of the race.

He had dropped behind Massa and made several attempts to pass the Ferrari before making what should have been his final pit stop. He was shaping up to attack Massa in the DRS zone when his car slowed and he pulled over into retirement.

Button takes Alonso

Meanwhile the other McLaren of Button was mounting a comeback after pitting twice for medium tyres. As the Ferrari struggled on the medium compounds he reeled in Alonso for third place, and took the place back in the DRS zone.

Button took over half a second per lap out of Vettel, but fell well short of catching him before the chequered flag.

Adrian Sutil claimed sixth place after an entertaining battle with Nico Rosberg. He passed the Mercedes driver heading into the Senna S only to be out-done on the brakes by Rosberg and fall back behind.

Sutil tried again on the next lap and this time squeezed Rosberg towards the inside of the corner to be sure of taking the place.

Behind them came Paul di Resta, coping with KERS and gearbox problems, cementing Force India’s sixth place in the championship. They ended the year just four points behind Renault.

Sauber seal seventh

Kamui Kobayashi brought his Sauber home eighth, 4.5 seconds behind di Resta, after being warned by his team not to take risks in battle with the Force India. He had both Toro Rossos behind at the time and Sauber were alert to the threat of losing their grip on seventh in the championship.

With Vitaly Petrov finishing tenth, Sauber were safe, the Toro Rosso pair taking 11th and 12th.

Sergio Perez was 13th in the other Sauber having lost time with a spin.

Rubens Barrichello started 12th on the grid but bogged down at the start and fell to 20th. He recovered to finish 14th, setting his fastest lap on the final tour as he strove to keep Michael Schumacher behind.

Schumacher had been delayed following contact with Bruno Senna on lap ten. The stewards held Senna responsible, and a drive-through penalty condemned him to 17th behind Heikki Kovalainen.

Lotus were one team who must have been grateful for the lack of rain, as it removed any serious threat to their previous tenth place in the constructors’ championship. The remaining finishers were Jarno Trulli, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull dominate again

Webber sealed his first win of the year with the fastest lap on the final lap of the race. The closest non-Red Bull finisher was almost half a minute behind.

Despite his gearbox problem, Vettel ended up almost 17 seconds behind his team mate, and over ten clear of Button.

It served only to underline the emphatic dominance of Red Bull throughout the season, and particularly in the second half. Their rivals have much to do in the next two months before testing for the 2012 season resumes.

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    70 comments on “Webber ends season on a high with Brazil win”

    1. Right, a convenient problem for Vettel to give Webber his first win of 2011 and more importantly, 2nd place in WDC.

      1. As I’ve said before elsewhere, if Red Bull were happy to give a direct team order in Silverstone, why would they obfuscate this one?

        1. I guess they were afraid of Mark refusing it. Mark has gone on record before to say he’d rather finish 2nd to a healthy Vettel (car-wise) than to beat an ailing Vettel

          1. @raymondu999 Fair comment, but I think Mark would listen to the team and do as they ask.

      2. I agree but remember it was 3rd….

      3. Except for the part where Webber didn’t get second place in WDC…

      4. I feel we were robbed of a great battle for the lead when vet let WEB through… clearly vettel had enough pace to at least battle his team mate for a lap or two. if i remeber, VET set a fastest lap (at the time) very soon after he let WEB through…

      5. And this is the part you facepalm because you notice how badly you failed as Mark didnt get 2nd in the WDC…

        1. It was about getting Webber a win, not 2nd in the championship.

          Who remembers who got second in the championship? Race wins are much more important.

          1. I was replying to him stating that it was done in order to get Webber 2nd in WDC

      6. It gave Webber 3rd, in WDC as Button scored too many points for Webber to challenge for 2nd.

      7. I have enough cynic in me to be a little suspicious but maybe Webber had some good luck.

        1. Indeed! He’s definitely due some from about 8 years or so of bad luck in the 2000s!

    2. Sauber seal seventh

      1. Just saw that myself – thanks!

    3. Whatever happened to Seb, Webber was on it all weekend for the first time since Germany I belive. It was a well deserved win, abeilt a lucky one.

      Hope the others catch Red Bull, tho, next year. Other than that, it’ll be interesting to see how foward Force India, and specially, Lotus (Caterham) can go!

      1. Yet another interesting battle in the works. Will Red Bull maintain their dominance to secure their thurd Constructor’s Title? Will Mark Webber finally gain a Championship to his name? Will Force India gain their first podium since Spa 2009? Will Caterham finally make the leap into the upper-midfield? Find out next year on, Formula One!

        *Commentator Mode OFF*

    4. You mean 3rd…

      1. What are you referring to?

        1. @keithcollantine
          The first comment I imagine

    5. Really nice drive from Button and Alonso. And it was fun seeing the Rosberg-Sutil battle as well.
      Webber did well to capitalize on one of the few times Vettel was in trouble this year. Lets hope he found out what causes him the trouble at the start and will be there more often next year.

    6. was a ok race.

      Shame DRS ruined the alonso button battle. it could of been a real tense edge of your seat fight. Instead it was over before it even started and you knew what was going to happen.

      The leader must, must, must be able to defend. we watch to see racing and to have a race you need to have a challenger and a defender.

      1. Shame DRS ruined the alonso button battle. it could of been a real tense edge of your seat fight. Instead it was over before it even started and you knew what was going to happen.

        I agree. It was a great battle until they reached the DRS zone, then it was over.

      2. I think it is shame that impossible overtaking ruined Alonso’s 2010 championship.DRS is not the answer but for sure who is faster can OVERTAKE and not get stuck behind slower car.With this cars like there are now DRS is only solution for overtaking since we get more and more track with stupid layouts that make overtake move very hard even impossible.If we don’t want DRS and i for sure would have it gone F1 car must get rid of AERO grip and bring back MECHANICAL grip more into play.If they don’t change that i would rather stick with DRS then to see at list some overtaking moves in race.

        1. the tyres have been a fine answer. Hence moves such as fernando on button out of the drs zone. and webber on alonso at spa and singapore.

          lewis on alonso at nuringburg also rings a bell. All out of DRS zone and exciting.

          its simply not needed. or at least shortened for some tracks(turkey).

          1. Yes my friend,but at start of the season.Around half point of season teams got to know them and Pirelli started to make more durable tyres that again reminded me to Brigstones.Why are people yanking because of number of stops because of tyres?If the tyres stayed like at the start it would be much more interesting.I don’t mind 3-4 stop race.O just a reminder:get rid of another stupid rule for two tyre compound! There is not tactic when u know that u must use both of them.If there is one someone might try one stop less or one stop more tactic.

            1. Pirelli have not been making more durable tyres. In fact, I believe that they have been making them quite softer than at the start of the season. The only difference is that the teams have wised up to the tyres, and know how to treat them properly

      3. The pass only looked easy because Button could have been level without DRS. Yes DRS makes passes in places where there’s usually passing easy, but it also creates passes where otherwise the circuit/car design wouldn’t allow it (Barcelona for example). If they’d put a zone on the start/finish straight it would have been silly, I think they got it right this week.

        I do agree with @dev022 though, would rather see cars able to follow closer and take away the DRS.

      4. It took Button about a lap and a half to set that move up, it was a masterpiece of strategic driving. He forced Alonso to use his KERS to defend into turn 4 the previous lap, then got the run up the hill with the help of his own KERS and a Toro Rosso, pushed Alonso onto the defensive through the Senna S and then got the better run onto the DRS straight. It wouldn’t have been possible without DRS because he needed to force Alonso onto the defensive in one passing position so he could get the run down into the second passing opportunity in turn 4 (which isn’t normally a passing place). That was a great move by Button and really showed what a clever driver can do using DRS.

        Of course, nobody in the anti-DRS lobby thinks long enough about a pass made with an open rear wing for this to become apparent.

        1. no one doubts it was a good and clever move. But without drs he would of still been along side alonso due to setting him up the corner before, but instead he would of had to out brake him.

          The DRS meant he didnt have to out brake alonso. Great for button, good driving but not as fans what we want to see. The defender must be able to defend.

          thats why i thought the double drs at last race was ok, cos at the least the guy being passed had a bite of the DRS in return. which is only fair IMO, dont understand why one driver is effectively allowed a quicker car, to me thats not racing.

          1. Hello,anybody here? Defender has to have a chance to defend?What about attacker being in the dirty turbulent air? Reason why DRS was “invented” because it is very hard to follow car in front where u are close to him.As i said before and i don’t know why is so hard to understand??Get rid of big wings and blown and whatever diffusors and other AERO mumbo jumbo,bring back MECHANICAL grip as dominant together with big fat tyres and we can watch some real racing.

            1. 1. No DRS.
              2. Wider Tyres.

              Would that make us all happy? It would me.

            2. 1. No DRS
              2. Wider Tyres

              Sounds like a plan to me.

            3. So good a plan I ended up saying it twice!! ;)

            4. Seriously hope DRS is banned soon, Never hated anything as much as this stupid thing.

              I want to see good, exciting racing & not push of a button & boring passing.

              Those who enjoy DRS should perhaps look at watching Nascar where you get meaningless & boring passing lap after lap.

              I was just starting to get a bit excited over the Alonso/Button fight today but DRS soon ruined that. Would have been epic had it gone on a bit longer & Button had to pull off a real overtake as he did several times at Interlagos back in 2009.

              The sooner DRS is banned the sooner the racing & overtaking will actually become really exciting again.
              DRS passing has all been super boring for me, Not enjoyed any of them.

    7. has the forum gone off for every one

        1. @keithcollantine I think @hello means the BBC Red Button forum.

          1. i did sorry should have said bbc,

    8. Vettel’s team radio made me physically ill! “I feel like Senna in ’91″…i swear to god i kicked the tv when i heard that..

      1. I actually found that pretty funny, I don’t think it was him being arrogant or really saying he is as good as Senna. Considering his problems during the race I admired his sense of humour.

      2. Talk about overreactions…

      3. Doesn’t he have the right to feel like Senna in 91 ?
        Ah no… He is only 2 times WDC.
        And as we all know “Senna is an incarnation of God, so only praise should be made to Him”.

        That’s going too far. Senna was a fine driver, one of the bests, that’s about it. This tendency to make him appear as a saint or a half-god reminds me of the pathetic/pathologic behaviour of members of the Maradonnian church.

        1. He is only 2 times WDC.

          As Senna was at the time, of course!

      4. Yeah, i don’t buy into the church of anything..for me Senna was the greatest of all time and i don’t think that’s an overstatement and unlike those “pathetic/pathological members of whatever” i agree that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion..but that wasn’t the point..Red Bull faked a gearbox problem to give Webber his first win of the season, which is more or less fair, but then Vettel comes on the radio and compares his pseudoperformance to one of the best of all time..that’s what got me ****** off..of course, if you’re a Vettel fan, this comment is automatically rendered moot

        1. I just want to point out that there is NO evidence that they faked the gearbox issue.
          It might look suspicious, but you can’t prove it.
          Also, Vettel did at no point compare his performance with Senna’s. He compared the feeling. That is an entirely different thing.

          1. It just seems a little odd that Vettel was told repeatedly to short-shift 2nd and 3rd and when you watch the onboard footage you can clearly see that he NEVER does..and he put up a few fastest laps after he let Webber pass him..after which he was again told that he has a serious gearbox problem and that he has to short-shift = maintain the gap. The message was probably coded so that Webber doesn’t realise he’s being handed the victory, because he said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to win like that. But that’s just my theory..

            1. It was clearly visible he shifted during the red lights, as Rocky told him to do, in stead of the blue lights they normally shift in.

              Or did you think shortshifting is changing gears at 8.000 rpms?

            2. “Red Bull faked a gearbox problem”

              So the data Red Bull showed journalists in brasil was made up was it? I guess they drained the oil out of the gearbox before the FIA could look at the car as well?

              And even if your opinion might be that Vettel is not good enough to compare himself to Senna (even in how he FEELS) does it not appeal to you that while racing a formula one car, nursing home a problem (or not as you would see it) the bloke can think back through all the past brazillian GP’s to 91 (when he’d have been 3/4?!) to bring up the comparison in the first place…

    9. Good job Vettel. I think it is a measure of the mans talent that he managed to get the car home in second place with a gearbox problem, a lesser driver would have retired the car. It will be interesting to see how the other teams close the gap to Red Bull next year or how Red Bull try to extend it! Looking forward to pre season testing already!!!!

      1. I believe that is legal this year :)

        1. Letting your team mate through may be legal but trying to con everyone into a gearbox problem for Vettel was not on.

    10. Class move by Massa letting Barrachello by at the end. And nice that Rubens showed his appreciation. Too bad his start was so bad and it was an uphill struggle from there.

    11. Brundle off to Sky then….

    12. I think Webber really should be utterly embarrassed of being gifted this win in Brazil. He was obliterated by his team mate throughout the season. Vettel took 15 poles and won 12 races, and he had to be gifted one. I think the team was quite keen for him to be second on the championship and they said as much when Vettel clinched the world title. As a driver I really think its over for him, lovely chap and decent driver he is, will get another battering next season and disappear into oblivion at the end of next year. Man, F1 is a mean business :)

    13. Good drive by Webber, and to take an advance on the DOTW discussion tomorrow, he will get my vote. I am sure that some will say Vettel did an amazing job given that his car was breaking down, but fact is that we will never know how much slower Vettel’s car became because of his gearbox problems. Also, I think Webber might have taken the fight to Vettel even without the gearbox probem, especially with Sebastian running off the road like he did.

      Another candidate for DOTW will be Sutil. He did even more emphatically this weekend what he has been doing for the second part of the season: putting his car into Q3 with his teammate languishing outside of it, and scoring the lion’s share of the points on Sunday. The only time I really recall DiResta outperforming Sutil (though I confess my attention was not 100% on that particular battle) was in Singapore, where he was supreme. With regard to Sutil’s anticipated replacement at Force India, I think David Coulthard summed it up nicely in the run-up to the race: for drivers that have been around for a few years, you know what they can do; but new drivers are more exciting, and may still prove to be something really special. I would ask though: how much quicker is a driver like DiResta going to get with another two or three years of experience?

    14. Sutil again showing why Force India should retain him, but I fear the decisions have been made. Well, their loss I guess. I’ve always liked Sutil even if he is a little reckless at times. He’s quite aggressive, hence the tyre issues, but to his credit has got on top of that throughout the back end of the season, this result today showing that again.

      Massa was the disappointment of the day. How different to 2008 when he trounced the field in such style. Now he ends the season in a Ferrari with no podiums from 19 races. Quite sad really.

    15. So do those saying Webber was ‘Gifted’ the win actually have any evidence that Vettel had no gearbox problem?

      Also agree on the DRS comments above, I’ve ruined more battles & not generated ‘exciting’ overtaking, its just all been dull passing which has harmed racing excitment & broke up some good battles which would have been more exciting without DRS.
      Hope its banned soon & never comes back!

    16. Of course the only race he wins is the only race that starts at 3am in Australia and I didn’t see it.

    17. Great race, Schumacher should have been more careful, not sure why they gave Senna the penalty but may be the fact that he had the kerbs on his left where he could have gone instead of hitting Schumacher. Great move by Alonso on Button.Button raced well,tough luck for Hamilton,but good finish for the Force India & Kobayashi.In the end a good doughnut from Massa something which we want to see in every race,still can’t understand WHY that is banned in F1???

    18. I can’t believe this season is over. It was a season dominated by one team and one driver but still produced exciting races. My favourite moment has to be Jenson Button’s charge to victory in Canada. It’s going to be a long winter!

    19. Kamui Kobayashi brought his Sauber home eighth

      I think this should say ninth!

    20. Good drive from Sutil, enjoyed watching him fight.

      A bit unfortunate for Vettel but at least his reliability issue came at the end of the season, not at the beginning like last year.

      Webber did well to capitalise on it, considering his usually dreadful starts. He may feel he was gifted a win but he had to be in the right place to take advantage. Considering he’s been very much propping up the top 5 this year he should be proud that he would at least finish 2nd in the race.

    21. Webber seemed to disagree with the headline. He looked fairly gutted in the interview. I say, beggars can’t be choosers.

      Off the topic, congratulations to Keith for completing the work of the 2011 season. He deserves to spray his own bottle of good champagne around.

    22. Webber was paying $7 before the race, should’ve put a sneaky $20 on him!

    23. I guess all the conspiracy theorists on here had their volume turned down on their TV’s, because anyone who didnt could clearly hear the shifting problems with 2/3 when Vettel pitted. Even Coultard and Brundle mentioned it.

      1. Not to be painful but they actually mentioned the car humping along on the limiter roughly in the pitlane, nothing to do with the gearchanges between 2nd & 3rd as it was on the racetrack.

    Comments are closed.