Vettel leads Webber home for one-two
Sebastian Vettel has kept his Formula One championship hopes alive with victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German led from start to finish, outpacing surprise pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) to the first corner and holding the lead for the every lap. It is Vettel’s fourth win of the season.
It took team-mate Mark Webber a few more corners to get past Hulkenberg, but when he did get through, he ran almost untroubled to take second and narrow the gap to Ferrari’s title leader Fernando Alonso to eight points.
Webber’s only drama during the race was a slight engine overheating problem, which meant he had to turn it down to preserve it.
The result has secured the Red Bull Racing the 2010 Constructor’s Championship.
With just one round to go this weekend in Abu Dhabi, the championship points situation is now a tricky deal for Red Bull.
Vettel’s deserved win keeps both of its drivers in with a chance of winning the championship, even though Alonso still has a eight point lead. If Red Bull had ordered Vettel to allow Webber through for the win, the Australian would be just one point behind Alonso …
“That’s the way it is,” Webber said after the race.
“P1 would have been nice but it was not possible. But I’m still in the hunt and it’s nice for me to come back after a poor race in Korea.”
In Abu Dhabi, Webber needs to win the race and Alonso has to finish third or worse for the Australian to win.
If the finishing order in Abu Dhabi is the same as Brazil, the Red Bull drivers will have 256 points each, and Alonso will have 261 and be the world champ.
Fourth and fifth places spelled the effective end of the McLaren drivers’ challenges. After an early error that let Alonso by, Lewis Hamilton drove a fighting race in a car that was only a match for the Red Bulls and Ferraris on the harder Bridgestone tyres and not in the crucial early stages on the super-soft rubber.
Hamilton set the fastest lap on the 66th of the 71 laps, but the presence of lapped traffic between his McLaren and Alonso’s Ferrari ruined his chances of moving up a place in the closing stages. Germany’s Nick Heidfeld was later given a drive-through penalty in his BMW Sauber for ignoring the McLarens in his mirrors.
Team-mate Jenson Button, still the reigning world champion for another week, is now out of the fight after finishing fifth.
Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg held onto sixth place despite wheel problems during two stops under the Safety Car, having snatched back a place from team mate Michael Schumacher when the racing recommenced.
Pole-sitter Hulkenberg did the best he could and drove smart under pressure from Robert Kubica (Renualt) to bring his Williams home an honourable eighth ahead of Kubica.
BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi took the final point after one of his typical races where he stopped late for fresh tyres and stormed back through rivals who had less grip.
The championship will be decided this weekend in Abu Dhabi, where the first time in F1 history, four drivers go to the final event with a chance of winning the crown.
Result; Brazilian Grand Prix
|2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||71||+4.2 secs||3|
|3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||71||+6.8 secs||5|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||71||+14.6 secs||4|
|5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||71||+15.5 secs||11|
|6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||71||+35.3 secs||13|
|7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||71||+43.4 secs||8|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams-Cosworth||70||+1 Lap||1|
|9||Robert Kubica||Renault||70||+1 Lap||7|
|10||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||12|
|11||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||14|
|12||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||70||+1 Lap||22|
|13||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||19|
|14||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||70||+1 Lap||6|
|15||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||9|
|16||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||70||+1 Lap||10|
|17||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||70||+1 Lap||15|
|18||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Cosworth||69||+2 Lap||20|
|19||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Cosworth||69||+2 Laps||18|
|20||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||69||+2 Laps||17|
|21||Bruno Senna||HRT-Cosworth||69||+2 Laps||24|
|22||Christian Klien||HRT-Cosworth||65||+6 Laps||23|
|NC||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||62||+9 Laps||21|
|Ret||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||49||Accident||16|
|7||Nico Rosberg||German||Mercedes GP||130|
|9||Michael Schumacher||German||Mercedes GP||72|
|11||Adrian Sutil||German||Force India-Mercedes||47|
|12||Kamui Kobayashi||Japanese||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||32|
|14||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Italian||Force India-Mercedes||21|
|17||Pedro de la Rosa||Spanish||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||6|
|18||Nick Heidfeld||German||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||6|
|24||Lucas di Grassi||Brazilian||Virgin-Cosworth||0|