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Vettel fends off Hamilton for Spanish success

Sebastian Vettel holds off Lewis Hamilton to win the Spanish Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel ensured it was business as usual in Barcelona after the defending F1 champion returned to the top step of the podium with victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver started the race from second on the grid but having taken the lead following the second round of the pitstops, the German was able to clinch his fourth win in five races this season – despite the best efforts of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to find a way through in the closing laps.

The start of the race had seen Fernando Alonso give the crowd reason to cheer as he blasted into the lead on the run to turn one, diving down the inside of both Mark Webber and Vettel into the first corner as the Red Bull pair diced for position.

Leading by 0.7secs at the end of the opening lap, Alonso was able to keep his lead ahead of the Red Bull pair to the second round of pitstops. However, Vettel – who had made a series of crucial moves in traffic on his out-lap after the first stop to stay close to Alonso – dived in to make his second stop one lap sooner than Alonso and was able to get ahead into the lead.

The second round of stops would also prove to be the crucial moment of the race for Hamilton, who had got ahead of Webber in the first round of stops to lie third. Staying out on track a number of laps longer before making his second stop, the Briton got ahead of Alonso and then set about chasing down Vettel for the remainder of the race.

Hamilton closed onto the rear of the Red Bull as the race wore on but despite the fact that Vettel was only able to use his KERS intermittently, the McLaren was unable to find a way through.

On more than one occasion, Hamilton found himself close enough to utilise his DRS on the start-finish straight, but despite the fact he was able to surge up the rear of Vettel's car, the German wasn't to be beaten as he clinched victory by six-tenths of a second.

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button took third place but only after a disastrous start to the race, where he was hung out to dry at the first corner and slipped down to tenth at the end of the opening lap. A decision to run a three-stop strategy compared to the four stops favoured by the cars around him, proved to be key to the Briton making up places as he found himself on the quicker soft tyres mid-way through the race while others had swapped to harder rubber.

Battling ahead of Alonso and Webber on one lap, Button then enjoyed a fine run to third place as Webber was unable to respond – leaving the pole-sitter nearly 50 seconds behind the winner in fourth.





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.05.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
21.05.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
21.05.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
22.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
22.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
22.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
22.05.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
22.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
22.05.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner

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Trouser Chili - Unregistered

May 22, 2011 5:04 PM

First of all great job by Vettel to drive around the Kers problems and hold off another late race charge of Hamilton. Hamilton still popping off about the RedBull down-force advantage though, getting a little tedious. Feel bad for Alonso after the start he had. But coughing up a second a lap to your rivals in a 66 lap race is not going to be fun and it cost him a full lap. Now about the tire "situation", the thing you have to remember is that Pirelli were specifically asked to create the tires they have by the FIA and honestly how do you argue with all the passing and lead changes? F1 is much more entertaining now that all of them have to make multiple pit stops, deal with varying fuel load, KERS and DRS. The rules are the same for everyone.

pitstop - Unregistered

May 22, 2011 6:09 PM

Well done to Seb for managing to hold off Lewis,well done to Lewis for driving such a brilliant race and making it so exciting to watch and well done to Jenson for driving what i think was one of his best races and for getting past Alonso and Webber,just great stuff!



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