Australian GP - Sunday - Race Notes

Vettel wins Australian GP

Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP 2011 

 © The Cahier Archive

Sebastian Vettel ran away from the field to take the Australian Grand Prix, in his Red Bull-Renault, 22.2 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren-Mercedes. Vitaly Petrov was in third place, 30.5 seconds behind in his Renault - his first podium, and the first for a Russian driver in Formula One.

The Austrian World Champion began his title defence with a win in the first race of the 2011 season which is the 11th of his career. The first three finishers ran their races with two-stop pit strategies, while Alonso and Webber in fourth and fifth used three-stops.

Fernando Alonso (31.7s) finished fourth in his Ferrari, followed by Mark Webber (38.1s) in the second Red Bull in fifth, Jenson Button (54.3s) in his McLaren in sixth (serving a drive-through penalty), Sergio Perez (65.8s) in the Sauber-Ferrari in seventh (scoring points in his first Grand Prix), his team mate Kamui Kobayashi (76.8s) in eighth, Felipe Massa (85.1s) in the Ferrari in ninth and Sebastien Buemi picking up the final point, one lap down.

Behind the points scorers, Adrian Sutil finished 11th in his Force India-Mercedes, followed by his rookie team mate Paul di Resta in 12th, Jaime Alguesuari in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in 13th, Nick Heidfeld in a troubled afternoon in his Renault in 14th, Jarno Trulli in his Lotus-Renault - two laps down, and the final finisher in 16th place was rookie Jerome d'Ambrosio, 3 laps down in his Virgin-Cosworth.

Before the start, neither HRT driver would take part in the race after qualifying outside 107% of the fastest driver in Q1.

At the start, polesitter Vettel made a good start, followed by Hamilton and Webber - Petrov taking fourth from Massa, followed by Button, Nico Rosberg, Kobayashi with Alonso falling to ninth when he is squeezed to the edge of the first corner.

Rubens Barrichello goes off into the grass, but continues. At the end of the first lap Jaime Alguersuari pits and rejoins on soft tyres. Michael Schumacher pits with a rear flat tyre - the two coming together on the first lap

Vettel leads Hamilton by 2.5 seconds on lap 1, and 3.2 seconds on lap 2.

Button battling to find a way to pass Massa ahead of him in fifth. Ferrari informs Massa that his brakes are getting hot.

On lap 7 Pastor Maldonado gets past Heikki Kovalainen into 16th place. Hamilton sets fastest lap and trims Vettel's lead to 2.8 seconds. Alonso starts to close in on Massa and Button.

On lap 7 Buemi passes Paul di Resta for 10th place. Massa battling side-by-side with Button, but the Brazilian continues to stay ahead.

At lap 10 Vettel continues to lead Hamilton by 2.7 seconds, followed by Webber (8.4s), Petrov (13.4s), Massa (20.4s), Button (20.7s), Alonso (21.3s), Rosberg (29.6s), Kobayashi (32.7s) and Buemi (34.7s) in tenth place.

On lap 11 Maldonado pulls to the side of the track, his debut Grand Prix is done.

On lap 12 Button gets side-by-side with Massa, and cuts to the inside of the kerbing to get ahead of Massa. Webber makes his first pitstop.

On lap 13 Alonso pits and switches to another set of soft tyres. Massa pits on the next lap. Button's pass of Massa is under investigation by the Stewards.

On lap 15 leader Vettel pits and rejoins in fourth, Hamilton takes the lead. Button is informed that he has to make a drive-though penalty for leaving the track while passing Massa. Alonso sets fastest lap.

On lap 17 Hamilton and Petrov pit, along with Rosberg and Adrian Sutil. Button takes his drive-through penalty the next lap. Kovalainen takes to the grass but continues. Vettel sets the fastest lap again.

On lap 18 Alguersuari, Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli and Schumacher pit.

On lap 20 Button pits and switches to soft tyres. Timo Glock pits.

At lap 20, with the first round of pitstops finished, Vettel leads Hamilton by 7.0 seconds, followed by Webber (22.9s), Petrov (25.4s), Alonso (26.5), Massa (37.2s), Perez (50.5s), Rosberg (55.3s), Kobayashi (55.8s), and Barrichello (56.3s) in tenth.

On lap 22 Glock pits again, while Kovalainen's race is over as he pulls to the side of the track with a water leak. Barrichello passes Kobayashi for ninth place. Schumacher stops again and retires in the pits.

On lap 23 Barrichello closes on Rosberg. Barrichello makes contact with Rosberg while attempting a pass and spins. Rosberg pulls over and with smoke coming from the car from damage - Barrichello pits for a new front wing. Perez pits.

On lap 25 Button utilises his movable rear wing and passes Kobayashi for seventh place into the first corner.

On lap 27 Webber pits for the second time and switches from hard to soft tyres.

On lap 28 Alonso pits for another set of soft tyres from fifth place and rejoins in sixth place.

On lap 29 Alonso sets the fastest lap. Buemi pits, while Barrichello serves a drive-through penalty for his incident with Rosberg.

At lap 30 Vettel leads Hamilton by 9.1 seconds, followed by Petrov (31.0s), Massa (51.2s), Webber (55.3s), Alonso (58.8s), Button (64.6s), Kobayashi (71.5s), Sutil (81.0s) and Di Resta (83.5s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Heidfeld pits. Massa pits from fourth place and rejoins in eighth place on hard tyres.

On lap 33 Kobayashi pits from seventh. Hamilton runs wide and takes to the grass but continues. Alonso puts in a string of fastest laps.

Hamilton appears to have damage to his undertray, appearing to scrape the track from time-to-time.

On lap 37 Vettel, Hamilton and Petrov (the top three), all pit for hard tyres. Alguersuari and Di Resta pit as well. Vettel and Hamilton stay one-two, Petrov falls behind Webber and Alonso. Button pits from sixth on the next lap switching from soft to hard tyres. Sutil pits as well.

On lap 40 Trulli pits. Perez sets the fastest lap.

At lap 40 Vettel continues to lead Hamilton by 9.4 seconds, followed by Webber (14.9s), Alonso (15.5s), Petrov (29.4s), Massa (50.2s), Button (57.8s), Perez (58.6s), Kobayashi (68.0s) and Buemi (72.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 41 Alonso hounds Webber for third.

On lap 42 Webber pits from third for his final stop and switches onto soft tyres. The Australian goes to the grass after exiting the pits, but continues.

On lap 43 Alonso pits and takes on hard tyres for the for the first time today, and rejoins ahead of Webber in fourth place. With Webber on soft tyres he rapidly closes on Alonso, taking fastest lap. Alonso responds with his own fastest lap.

On the radio the Ferrari team reminds Alonso to use his KERS, as the Red Bulls are not using theirs. They tell him to preserve it for the straights.

On lap 49 Button passes Massa for sixth place on the front straight, the two coming close to touching. Perez closes on Massa, but Massa pits for soft tyres and drops to tenth place. Alonso sets fastest lap.

At lap 50 Vettel leads Hamilton by 12.3 seconds, followed by Petrov (33.8s), Alonso (39.2s), Webber (41.0s), Button (56.7s), Perez (60.5s), Kobayashi (72.9s), Buemi (82.8s) and Massa (85.0s), the last car on the lead lap in tenth place.

Massa sets fastest lap. Barrichello pits again and retires in the garage.

On lap 53 Massa tries to pass Perez but doesn't get by.

On lap 55 Massa finally gets by into the first corner to take ninth place. Alonso closes to 2.2 seconds behind Petrov in third. Massa sets another fastest lap.

On lap 56 Alonso closes to 1.6 seconds of Petrov.

At the finish, Vettel wins the Australian GP, Hamilton with a damaged bottom plank finishes second, and Petrov finishes 1.2 seconds ahead of Alonso to take third.

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