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2011 Formula 1 : Vettel wins exciting Spanish Grand Prix

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Sunday, May 22, 2011 | 7:20 AM

2011 Spanish GP winner : Sebastian Vettel - RBR-Renault

CATALUNYA, Spain : May 22, 2011 - After a spirited battle over the closing stages of the Spanish GP with Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) took his 13th victory in an exciting race.


After winning four out of the season's five races so far, reigning world champion Vettel now leads the world championship by 118 points from Hamilton (77), Webber (67) and Button (61). Red Bull comfortably leads the constructors' championship with 185 points from McLaren (138) with Ferrari a distant third on 75.

As the race got under way, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) out-dragged both Red Bulls off the grid to take the lead in Sunday's race at the Catalunya circuit.

As pole man Mark Webber defended his lead from Red Bull-Renault team mate Sebastian Vettel, Alonso came through from the second row to snatch the lead from Vettel into the first corner, with Webber and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) close behind.

Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) dropped to tenth place and had to battle to get past a very wide S├ębastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) to lie ninth at the end of the first lap as Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber-Ferrari) pitted with a left rear puncture.

On lap 3, Hamilton set a quick lap of 1'30.011 in fourth place, 0.8 sec behind Webber.

The top ten drivers all started on the softer option compound including Schumacher (Mercedes) who was expected to choose the harder option. Schumacher started from tenth place after failing to set a time during Q3 due to a technical problem.

It was Webber's first start from pole this season, and also the first time in six consecutive races that Vettel had not taken pole.

Nick Heidfeld started from the back of the grid after a fire on board his Renault during practice.

Button quickly made up the distance between himself and eighth-placed Felipe Massa (Ferrari) who in turn was right behind Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).

Alonso set a new fastest lap time of 1'30.007 on lap 7 as his every move was shadowed by Vettel from 0.8 sec behind.

Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Cosworth) was the first to make a routine stop for tyres on lap 8 followed by Vettel on lap 9 and he rejoined behind the Massa/Button scrap but he quickly got past Button and a few corners later passed Massa too, as his team mate Webber potted next.

Cars streamed into the pits for tyre changes as most were expected to be running a four-stop strategy in the hot and dry conditions at Catalunya.

With fresh tyres, race leader Alonso set a new quickset lap of 1'29.323 with Hamilton improving that to 1'29.076 on lap 13.

Despite the FIA ruling the Ferrari rear wing illegal, and the Italian team having to return to an earlier version for this race, Alonso was revelling in the lead in front of his home crowd. Vettel was 0.7 sec behind, with Hamilton closing to within 0.4 of the German.

Fifth-placed Button was the last of the top drivers to stop, clearly opting for a three-stop strategy.

Fifth-placed Di Resta had been holding up Schumacher and he pitted on lap 15, but as he peeled into the pit lane, Button arrived behind Schumacher and surged past into sixth place, 27.9 sec behind the race leader. With a 23 sec gap ahead of him to Webber, Button set a new fastest lap of 1'28.792 on lap 16.

On lap 18, Vettel strategically pitted for fresh soft tyres, exiting ahead of ninth-placed Massa who pitted on the next lap.

Alonso pitted on lap 19, releasing Hamilton into the lead and he promptly set fastest times in the first and second sectors of the next lap.

Massa pitted on lap 21, rejoining in 12th place.

As Hamilton continued to lead by 14 seconds, Vettel quickly caught up with and passed second-placed Alonso. On lap 22, Hamilton finally pitted for his second set of tyres, and rejoined in second place, 4.9 sec behind Vettel and crucially ahead of Alonso and Webber. The Australian was just 0.6 sec behind the Spaniard and looking for a way past.

Hamilton was lapping half a second a lap quicker than Vettel and cutting into the 4.3 sec gap between them, reducing it to 2.7 sec on lap 28. Vettel was facing a lot of slow traffic up ahead with Hamilton just 2.0 sec behind.

On lap 30, third-placed Button made his second stop, once again choosing the soft option, with only one more to come at which he would be obliged to fit the slower, harder compound for the closing laps.

"OK Jenson, a minimum of 13 laps," Button's engineer told him over the radio.

Webber was getting ever closer to third-placed Alonso, but got out of shape as he got too close and lost downforce in the corners. Although he used the DRS, opening the slot in his rear wing to reduce drag, he was unable to get alongside Alonso on Catalunya's long straight. Webber managed to get past under braking at the end of the back straight, but Alonso tightened his line and took the place back again.

On lap 37, Webber was struggling for pace, maybe having hurt his tyres in the scrap with Alonso, and Button caught him and sailed past under braking at the end of the main straight. Button carried that momentum forward to cruise past Alonso too and into third place behind team mate Hamilton, 18.3 sec ahead.

Massa spun in Turn 10 on lap 39, but was able to continue without further incident as Alonso pitted.

Hamilton was consistently quicker than race leader Vettel and was 1.2 sec off the German on lap 41 as Vettel prepared to lap Massa.

Hamilton was held up getting past Narain Karthikeyan (Hispania-Cosworth), but got through on lap 44 and quickly caught Massa, the McLaren surging past the Ferrari to put it a lap down.

"We think Vettel has no KERS," said Hamilton's race engineer as he stalked the Red Bull 1.2 sec ahead, with team mate Button riding shotgun 24.7 sec behind.

Vettel and Hamilton next lapped Rosberg with their sights next set on seven-times world champion Schumacher.

Webber pitted on lap 47 for hard tyres with 18 laps remaining. He was followed by Button and then race leader Vettel, with Hamilton once again released into the lead. Hamilton pitted one lap later, also taking on hard tyres. The 2008 world champion rejoined with his 1.2 sec deficit reinstated behind reigning world champion Vettel.

On lap 50, Heikki Kovalainen crashed his Lotus-Renault between Turns 7 and 8 after an impressive showing in qualifying, causing yellow flags to be waved in the sector.

Hamilton set a new fastest lap of 1'26.727 with 13 laps to go, and was creeping closer, 1.0 sec behind Vettel who had himself set his personal best lap.

On lap 54, the gap was down to 0.7 sec as Jarno Trulli (Lotus-Renault) turned into a corner without seeing Vettel, the German jumping onto the brakes and allowing Hamilton to get right up to him. As they came down the main straight, Hamilton used both his DRS and KERS systems to get closer down the main straight, but Vettel changed direction under braking and Hamilton had to back off.

Hamilton had to maintain a gap in order to stay out of the turbulent air behind Vettel.

"Use the yellow button if you need to, to get past," said Hamilton's race engineer, referring to running the Mercedes engine at maximum power down the straight.

Lap after lap the two circuited with less than half a second between them, with eight laps remaining.

Vettel was getting good traction out of the final chicane, eking out just enough of a lead to negate Hamilton's higher speed down the straight. Further back, the leaders' team mates, Button and Webber, were having their own battle for the final podium position.

On lap 60, Massa spun off again, but this time he beached the car in the sand to end a weekend to forget for the Ferrari driver.

With four laps to go, Vettel had managed to open the lead over Hamilton back up to 0.7 sec, with Webber 3.5 sec behind Button.

Current race leader Vettel, followed by earlier race leader Hamilton, next surged past lap one leader Alonso to lap both Ferraris.

On the final lap, Vettel had a 0.8 sec lead and despite relentless pressure from Hamilton, he stayed ahead to score his 13th win of his career, followed by the McLarens of Hamilton and Button, with Webber fourth.

Race result : 2001 Formula 1 - Spanish Grand Prix




























































































































































































































































Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1
1
Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 66
Winner
2
25
2
3
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 66
+0.6 secs
3
18
3
4
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
66
+35.6 secs
5
15
4
2
Mark Webber RBR-Renault
66
+47.9 secs
1
12
5
5
Fernando Alonso Ferrari
65
+1 Lap
4
10
6
7
Michael Schumacher Mercedes
65
+1 Lap
10
8
7
8
Nico Rosberg Mercedes
65
+1 Lap
7
6
8
9
Nick Heidfeld Renault
65
+1 Lap
24
4
9
17
Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
65
+1 Lap
12
2
10
16
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
65
+1 Lap
14
1
11
10
Vitaly Petrov Renault
65
+1 Lap
6
12
15
Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
65
+1 Lap
16
13
14
Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
65
+1 Lap
17
14
18
Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
65
+1 Lap
11
15
12
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth
65
+1 Lap
9
16
19
Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
64
+2 Laps
13
17
11
Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
64
+2 Laps
19
18
21
Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault
64
+2 Laps
18
19
24
Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
63
+3 Laps
20
20
25
Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth
62
+4 Laps
23
21
22
Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
61
+5 Laps
22
Ret
6
Felipe Massa Ferrari
58
+8 Laps
8
Ret
20
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault
48
Accident
15
Ret
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth
28
+38 Laps
21



2011 Formula 1 : Drivers championship standings










































































































































































Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1
Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault
118
2
Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes
77
3
Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault
67
4
Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes
61
5
Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari
51
6
Nico Rosberg German Mercedes
26
7
Nick Heidfeld German Renault
25
8
Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari
24
9
Vitaly Petrov Russian Renault
21
10
Michael Schumacher German Mercedes
14
11
Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari
9
12
Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari
6
13
Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes
2
14
Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari
2
15
Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes
2
16
Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari
0
17
Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Williams-Cosworth
0
18
Jarno Trulli Italian Lotus-Renault
0
19
Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgian Virgin-Cosworth
0
20
Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Lotus-Renault
0
21
Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Cosworth
0
22
Timo Glock German Virgin-Cosworth
0
23
Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth
0
24
Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian HRT-Cosworth
0


2011 Formula 1 : Team - Manufacturers' Championship Standings































































Pos Team Points
1
RBR-Renault
185
2
McLaren-Mercedes
138
3
Ferrari
75
4
Renault
46
5
Mercedes
40
6
Sauber-Ferrari
11
7
STR-Ferrari
6
8
Force India-Mercedes
4
9
Williams-Cosworth
0
10
Lotus-Renault
0
11
Virgin-Cosworth
0
12
HRT-Cosworth
0


[Source : F1, CRASH.NET]
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