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Webber Wins Season Finale
Aussie takes his first chequered flag of the season in Brazil
Posted Nov 28, 2011 by Chris White
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Australian Mark Webber recorded his first win of the season at the final race of the year at the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, forcing team-mate and world champion Sebastian Vettel into second after suffering gearbox problems.
Vettel took his record 15th pole position of the season from the 19 races, and lead for the majority of the race, but he was forced to allow Webber through and ensure he reached the end of the race. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso battled for third position throughout, and it was the British driver who took the final place on the podium after passing Alonso with ten laps remaining, and maintaining the position until the end. However, while it was good news for Button and Vettel, finishing on the podium, Lewis Hamilton – Button’s team-mate at McLaren – wasn’t as lucky as Vettel with his gearbox, as he was forced to retire.
Jenson Button finished well enough to secure second in the drivers’ championship, finishing with 270 points, with Webber coming third on 258, Alonso fourth with 257 and Hamilton fifth on 227.
Vettel looked comfortable early on in the race, and many would have been excused for leaving the race early after seeing him tear into the lead, but on lap 30 he was forced to allow Webber through. From that point on, it was damage limitation for the world champion, and a case of simply finishing the race, while for Webber, it was keeping the car on the track and picking up his first win of the season in a year that has been dominated by his Red Bull team-mate.
See Webber make the race-winning pass on Vettel here:
Webber told the media afterwards “I felt good all weekend. Sebastian did a great lap to take pole, and it would have been nice to have had a battle with him throughout the race, but he had gearbox problems which is just part of motorsport. It’s very important for me and the team that we ended on a high though.”
Fernando Alonso was unlucky not to pip Button to third place, particularly because of the move he made on turn five to pass the McLaren man. After following Button for ten laps, Alonso passed him around the outside on the entry to turn five on lap eleven, in what was described by TV commentator David Coulthard as “incredible” and “the mark of a great driver.” See the move here:
Further down the field, Michael Schumacher was involved in an early collision with Bruno Senna on the entry to the turn named after the Lotus man’s uncle, and was forced to pit with a puncture, while Senna received a drive-through penalty. Home favourite Rubens Barrichello finished 14th in what many tip to be his final race after 19 seasons and 322 race starts. The Brazilian qualified 12th on the grid but found himself in 20th by the end of the first lap after making a poor start.
Virgin Racing were left embarrassed after Timo Glock was forced to retire on his way out of the pits, after losing his left rear wheel following a tyre change in which the wheel wasn’t re-attached properly.
Watch the pit stop involving Timo Glock here:
Full Brazilian Grand Prix result:
1 Mark WEBBER (Red Bull) 1:32:17.464
2 Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull) +00:16.983
3 Jenson BUTTON (McLaren) +00:27.638
4 Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari) +00:35.048
5 Felipe MASSA (Ferrari) +01:06.733
8 Paul DI RESTA (Force India) lapped
10 Vitaly PETROV (Renault) lapped
12 Sebastien BUEMI (Toro Rosso) lapped
13 Sergio PEREZ (Sauber) lapped
14 Rubens BARRICHELLO (Williams) lapped
15 Michael SCHUMACHER (Mercedes GP) lapped
17 Bruno SENNA (Renault) lapped
18 Jarno TRULLI (Lotus Renault) lapped
19 Jerome D’AMBROSIO (Virgin) lapped
21 Vitantonio LIUZZI (HRT) retired, 61 laps
22 Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren) retired, 46 laps
23 Pastor MALDONADO (Williams) retired, 26 laps
24 Timo GLOCK (Virgin) retired, 21 laps