- Korean Grand Prix
Driver-by-driver run downLaurence Edmondson and Chris Medland October 16, 2011
Sebastian Vettel - 1st Despite winning the title in Japan last weekend, Vettel was clearly a little bit disappointed to miss out on victory. Combined with Red Bull missing out on pole position to McLaren for the first time this season, he started the race fired up and channelled his determination to take his tenth win in a truly remarkable season. In the end it was a straightforward drive for him and he proved he had more in reserve with a one-off fastest lap on his final lap.
Lewis Hamilton - 2nd It was his first podium in six races and will hopefully be the springboard he needs to get his head sorted for the start of 2012. Amid suggestions that he had lost his mojo, Hamilton stormed to pole on Saturday and drove one of the best races of his season on Sunday. After a handful of laps it soon became clear that Vettel was in a class of one, but Hamilton did remarkably well to keep the Red Bull of Webber at bay. Their wheel-to-wheel battle invoked memories of Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux at Dijon in 1979, and, after all the flak he's taken in recent weeks, it's worth noting that Hamilton and Webber didn't bang wheels once.
Mark Webber - 3rd Given an empty track he would have been the second fastest man but simply could not find a way past Hamilton. The Korean International Circuit is broken into three distinct sectors and overtaking is only really possible in the first. The problem for Webber was that he was quick in the second and third sectors, but was seriously lacking traction out of the slow corners at the start of the lap. Even with his DRS working overtime he couldn't make a move stick into turn three and was not willing to risk a banzai move with Button and Alonso hot on his tail.
Jenson Button - 4th After the high of Japan, Button will feel a little bit downbeat to finish off the podium for the first time in five races. Korea is not one of his favourite circuits and that was clear to see as he looked a off the pace of Hamilton all weekend. A bad first lap didn't help, but realistically fourth place is representative of his performance.
Fernando Alonso - 5th Three words you never thought you'd hear Alonso say: "I give up." But, given the circumstances, Alonso's admission of defeat was understandable. He'd taken the best out of his tyres chasing Button down at half a second of a lap and they had nothing left when it came to launching an attack for position. Prior to that, he had spent a frustrating afternoon toiling behind team-mate Massa, which was the main reason he was behind Button in the first place. The fact that he pulled out a 9.4s lead over Massa - albeit with an experimental 2012 front wing his team-mate didn't have - was proof enough that the afternoon could have turned out differently.
Felipe Massa - 6th Massa has had plenty of opportunities to hone his post-race excuses in 2011, but on Sunday they were far from convincing. He argued that traffic in the pit lane during his first stop and on-track traffic around his second stop cost him places, and while they certainly didn't help, it was a lack of race pace that was his main shortcoming. Sixth place wasn't a disastrous result, but it was obvious for much of the race that his team-mate Alonso was faster and then proved in the final stint when the Spaniard exited the pits ahead and built up a 9.4s lead.
Jaime Alguersuari - 7th Another brilliant result for the Toro Rosso driver, which should go a long way to securing his place on the grid next year. He was the highest-placed driver to start on a fresh set of super-softs and it paid dividends as he was able to time his first pit stop perfectly with the safety car period. He continued to make his strategy work for him in the final stint when he set a series of blistering lap times to reel in Rosberg, who was on much older tyres.
Nico Rosberg - 8th As he battled with Button after his first stop it looked like he was on for one of his best races of the season, but by the finish he had suffered the indignity of being overtaken by a Toro Rosso. His race pivoted around a huge lock-up under braking while defending from Massa and the resulting pit-stop forced him to make an early second stop. That meant he had to eke 28 laps out of a single set of softs - over half race distance - and by the end of the race it had taken its toll.
Sebastien Buemi - 9th It was a strong performance, but the result could have been even better had he not lost four places on the first lap. He responded well and carved his way back through the field on fresh tyres in the first two stints before a relatively late final pit stop on lap 36.
Paul di Resta - 10th Another well-deserved point which takes his total up to 21 this year. He admitted that he should have started on new super-softs rather than used ones in order to attack, but his early pit stop on lap 11 allowed him to undercut some of his rivals using fresh rubber. However, the early stops eventually cost him and he was passed by Buemi on fresher tyres with six laps remaining.
Adrian Sutil - 11th A reasonable result after Force India split its strategy and he started on the slower tyre, dropping two positions in the opening laps to drivers on super-softs. He closed on di Resta in the final stint but didn't quite get close enough to attempt a pass.
Rubens Barrichello - 12th Considering the current pace of the Williams, 12th is a very respectable result. He lost out with the timing of the safety car and dropped to 15th, but fought back to finish on the lead lap.
Bruno Senna - 13th Suffered at the start once again, losing a number of places and having to fight his way back from 19th. Although he managed to keep his nose clean - unlike his team-mate - he didn't have the pace to dispatch other cars and slipped back at the end with worn tyres.
Heikki Kovalainen - 14th Another impressive result for Lotus as it keeps making steady progress as the season draws to a close. Finished the race quicker than all of those ahead of him up to tenth place, and Kobayashi behind on newer supersoft tyres. One more lap would have seen him pass Senna for 13th.
Kamui Kobayashi - 15th Went for a three stop strategy after picking up front wing damage which caused understeer, wrecking the tyres. Despite the setback he never had the pace to challenge for points, outlined by the fact that he couldn't close the gap to Kovalainen in his final stint.
Sergio Perez - 16th Wasn't in danger of scoring points but would have outperformed Kobayashi had it not been for a hole in his front right tyre which forced him to pit for another set of tyres on the final lap. Sauber now seems to have a problem looking after its tyres having been so strong in this area early in the season.
Jarno Trulli - 17th While the safety car had helped delay traffic, Trulli ran at a strong pace but suffered with blue flags in his final stint - to such an extent that his final lap was 3.5s slower than his team-mate. Was also competitive, and could have finished ahead of the Sauber's were it not for a badly timed pit stop.
Timo Glock - 18th Benefitted from the safety car bunching the field up to allow him more clear laps without blue flags, and said he got the "maximum" out of the car in terms of strategy and performance. Once again delivered the solid performance Virgin expects.
Daniel Ricciardo - 19th An impressive race to beat d'Ambrosio's Virgin, but shows his ambition by declaring his disappointment of not finishing ahead of Glock. Having tried to pass Glock after the safety car, he actually lost a spot to d'Ambrosio and lost time behind him. Still a good result to finish after not setting a time in qualifying.
Jerome d'Ambrosio - 20th Showed improvement from his poor performance in qualifying, but questions need to be asked as to why he started the race on the back foot. A bit of immaturity also cost him the place to Ricciardo as he battled with Kobayashi after the safety car period.
Tonio Liuzzi - 21st Damaged his front wing in turn four, putting him well adrift at the back by the end of the first lap. The safety car was unfortunately timed, being deployed just after he had been lapped and therefore leaving him a full lap down on the rest of the field, but at least saw the finish.
Pastor Maldonado - DNF - Engine Had started well, climbing up to 11th, but a drive-through penalty for cutting inside a pit lane bollard had already ended his chances of points before an engine problem caused his retirement.
Vitaly Petrov - DNF - Collision Was slightly unfortunate to cause an accident, gauging his braking on Alonso's - who also outbraked himself in to turn three - and as a result ploughing in to the back of Schumacher. Big enough to admit fault, but cost himself a chance of solid points.
Michael Schumacher - DNF - Collision Completely blameless as Petrov ran in to the back of him as tried to take turn three. Wasn't matching his team-mate's performance but still was looking at a points finish until that point.