Mark Webber grabs first win of the year in season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, November 27th 2011, 17:36 GMT|
Mark Webber finally claimed his first victory of the 2011 Formula 1 season in the very last race of the year, as gearbox troubles for world champion Sebastian Vettel opened the door for his Red Bull team-mate in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Red Bull absolutely dominated the Interlagos race, with Vettel holding the lead at the start, and Webber fending off the cars behind for second despite a slightly slower getaway.
Vettel soon opened up a stable three-second gap to Webber, as the Red Bull duo left the rest in their wake at a rate sometimes up to one second per lap.
But from the early laps Vettel was receiving radio messages warning him to short-shift to nurse a developing gearbox problem, and as the warnings became more vehement, his pace slowed enough for Webber to sweep into the lead on lap 29.
While the Australian went on to take his first win since the 2010 Hungarian GP, Vettel still had enough pace to hang on for second.
He was helped by McLaren's Jenson Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battling over third. Alonso passed Lewis Hamilton's McLaren at the start, then claimed third from Button with a spectacular move around the outside at Ferradura on lap 11.
Alonso then pulled away, only to lose pace on the harder tyres in his final stint, allowing Button to catch and re-pass him nine laps from the finish with an easy DRS pass after various earlier attempts were rebuffed.
Hamilton was set to battle with Felipe Massa - who stopped just twice while most made three pitstops - for fifth until a gearbox failure halted the McLaren, ensuring the Ferrari could keep the place.
Adrian Sutil charged to sixth for Force India, beating Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and the second Force India of Paul di Resta.
Ninth place for Kamui Kobayashi ensured Sauber beat Toro Rosso - which failed to score - to seventh in the constructors' championship. Vitaly Petrov completed the points-scorers for Renault.
His team-mate Bruno Senna clashed with Michael Schumacher at the Senna S early on, giving the Mercedes a puncture. The stewards awarded Senna a drive-through penalty for the collision and with gearbox troubles also developing, he fell to 17th, while Schumacher got back to 15th.
Rubens Barrichello was unable to score in what could be his final grand prix. A poor start dropped the Williams to 21st and he was only able to recover to 14th.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 71 laps; 305.909km; Weather: Cloudy. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h32:17.434 2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 16.983 3. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 27.638 4. Alonso Ferrari + 35.048 5. Massa Ferrari + 1:06.733 6. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 10. Petrov Renault + 1 lap 11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 13. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap 15. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap 16. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 2 laps 17. Senna Renault + 2 laps 18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps 19. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps 20. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps Fastest lap: Webber, 1:15.324 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 62 Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 37 Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 27 Glock Virgin-Cosworth 22 World Championship standings, round 19: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 392 1. Red Bull-Renault 650 2. Button 270 2. McLaren-Mercedes 497 3. Webber 258 3. Ferrari 375 4. Alonso 257 4. Mercedes 165 5. Hamilton 227 5. Renault 73 6. Massa 118 6. Force India-Mercedes 69 7. Rosberg 89 7. Sauber-Ferrari 44 8. Schumacher 76 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41 9. Sutil 42 9. Williams-Cosworth 5 10. Petrov 37 11. Heidfeld 34 12. Kobayashi 30 13. Di Resta 27 14. Alguersuari 26 15. Buemi 15 16. Perez 14 17. Barrichello 4 18. Senna 2 19. Maldonado 1 All timing unofficial