A champion’s drive from Vettel in Australia

Posted on March 27, 2011

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Sebastian Vettel has cruised to victory in Australia, leading from lights to flag in dominant fashion.

Sebastian Vettel opened his 2011 account in style. Credit: Red Bull/Getty

The 23-year-old world champion stopped twice and never looked under any real threat from a pursuing Lewis Hamilton, who was hampered in the second half of the race by a broken floor.

Vettel always looked like he had extra pace if required today and the German has opened his account in 2011 in emphatic style.

He has underlined his status as favourite to retain the title in a car which looks fantastic. If the opposition is not careful, Vettel could dominate this year. Full of confidence and in the very fast RB7, he’s going to be hard to beat.

Christian Horner has just told the BBC the Red Bull cars were not using KERS this weekend so there is more speed which can literally be bolted on. It’s a very, very fast car.

Vitaly Petrov finished an impressive third in the Renault, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Jenson Button came home in sixth after an eventful race, including a drive through penalty for an illegal pass on Felipe Massa.

Others were less successful, with Mercedes and Williams both recording a double DNF. Nick Heidfeld has had a poor weekend on debut with Renault and the team can only wonder what Kubica could achieve with a car Petrov got on the podium.

The race was not a thriller but the Pirelli tyres fulfilled their promise of mixing up the strategy. We saw some two stop and three stop strategies – even a single stop from impressive Sergio Perez on debut with Sauber. Cars were on different tyres at different times – seen late on with a decent Alonso/Webber dual.

Given the inherent caution on strategy because this was the first race, it’s a good foundation for the future. The Pirelli tyres proved more durable than some feared but clearly different cars on different circuits will have to find the quickest way to get around.

Overall, I thought it made for an interesting race. There were some good dual and close racing, albeit not around the eventual race winner. On to Malaysia.

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 58 1:29:30.259 1 25
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 +22.2 secs 2 18
3 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 58 +30.5 secs 6 15
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 58 +31.7 secs 5 12
5 2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 58 +38.1 secs 3 10
6 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 58 +54.3 secs 4 8
7 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 58 +65.8 secs 13 6
8 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 58 +76.8 secs 9 4
9 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 58 +85.1 secs 8 2
10 18 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 57 +1 Lap 10 1
11 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 57 +1 Lap 16
12 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 57 +1 Lap 14
13 19 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 57 +1 Lap 12
14 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 57 +1 Lap 18
15 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 56 +2 Laps 20
16 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 54 +4 Laps 22
Ret 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 49 +9 Laps 21
Ret 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 48 +10 Lap 17
Ret 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 22 +36 Laps 7
Ret 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 19 Water leak 19
Ret 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 19 Puncture damage 11
Ret 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 9 +49 Laps 15

 

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Posted in: Formula One, Race