The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel took each other out of race winning contention in what is surly the incident of the season so far. Webber eventually finished third.
Hamilton won the 58 lap event in a time of 1:28:47.620 at an average speed of 130.117 mph. Renault’s Russian rookie Petrov set the fastest lap of the race with a lap of 1:29.165 (134.044 mph).
The first half of the first lap of the race didn’t go well for either Hamilton or Button. Hamilton was pasted by Vettel and Button was pasted by Schumacher (Mercedes) as everyone hurled down to the first corner. This was as a result of both McLarens starting on the dirty side of the grid. But Hamilton retook second place by going around the outside of Vettel as the pack entered turns three and four. Button also retook his original fourth place back for Schumacher by going around the outside of the German in turn 12. Anything you can do Lewis…
The first lap also saw Massa’s Ferrari touch Kubica’s Renault causing minor damage to both cars. Buemi’s Toro Rosso and Hülkenberg’s Williams also made contact, but they needed to pit for repairs to their cars.
Webber, Hamilton, Vettel and Button all pulled away from the rest of the field led by Schumacher until the tyre stops.
McLaren went through with their plan to bring Hamilton in on lap 16, but Red Bull jumped at the opportunity to bring Webber in ahead of him so that the Australian would come out still in front of the Englishman. The plan worked and Vettel – who had pitted the lap before – slotted in between Webber and Hamilton as the pair exited the pits in the order they entered.
The order was now: Webber, Vettel, Hamilton and Button. Hamilton did try to take second from Vettel on lap 18, but Vettel shut the door on him.
The middle part of the race was dominated by the front four who pulled away from the others with each passing lap. But rain of all things was now expected. Would it be bad enough to bring everybody in to change tyres and turn the whole race on its head? No. It did rain a bit; the track was so hot that the rain droplets just evaporated on contact with it.
But lap 40 of a pretty processional looking race was to provide the biggest moment of the season so far.
Vettel had been closing ever so slightly on Webber over the previous few laps and wanted to take the lead. He didn’t want his team-mate to win three races in a row. As the leaders approached turn 12 Vettel pulled out to Webbers left and pulled alongside him. He edged ahead and tried to cut back across the track to prevent Webber from counter attacking. But the pair touched and Vettel was sent spinning out of the race with a damaged right rear. Webber missed turn 12 and was almost T-boned by Vettel as he spun. The McLarens of Hamilton and Button inherited first and second. Webber limped around to the pit lane to change his nose cone.
Lap 48 made me shriek and cover my eyes, but probably provided you with lots of entertainment. Button dove down the inside of his team-mate on the approach to turn 12 and took the lead in the complex at the end of the lap. But Hamilton got a better run out of the last corner and the pair passed the pit wall side by side. The 2008 World Champion muscled the 2009 World Champion out of the lead in the first corner of lap 49. Now that is what I call racing!
A 1-2 finish looked in the bag, but on lap 52 McLaren told Hamilton and Button to slow down because fuel was “Critical.” Not what they or I wanted to hear with six laps to go and Webber charging like a bull at a red rag. (Red Bull, “Never show a red rag to a bull.” Get it?) 😉
To take my mind off the fuel gage in the McLarens heading to the big E we had Alonso (Ferrari) punting off Petrov’s Renault while they were fighting for points. Ferrari’s 800th Grand Prix may just as well not have happened. I forgot that they were actually racing. As a result of Petrov falling out of the top ten, Kobayashi capped of a much better weekend for himself and Sauber by securing the team’s first point of the season finishing tenth.
In the end I need not have worried about the fuel. Both Hamilton and Button made it home in a great team display. 😀 But all the talking until the next race in Canada will be about Red Bull and the incident that could cost them both championships.
- Webber 93pts
- Button 88pts
- Hamilton 84pts
- Alonso 79pts
- Vettel 78pts
- Kubica 67pts
- Massa 67pts
- Rosberg 66pts
- Schumacher 34pts
- Sutil 22pts
- McLaren 172pts
- Red Bull 171pts
- Ferrari 146pts
- Mercedes 100pts
- Renault 73pts
- Force India 32pts
- Williams 8pts
- Toro Rosso 4pts
- Sauber 1pt
PS: This is my 100th blog. 🙂