Brazilian Grand Prix - Red Bull celebrates constructors' title at Interlagos Red Bull Racing secured the Formula One Constructors' Championship with another one-two finish in Brazil last weekend. Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber...
Brazilian Grand Prix - Red Bull celebrates constructors' title at Interlagos
Red Bull Racing secured the Formula One Constructors' Championship with another one-two finish in Brazil last weekend. Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber dominated and led the race from start to finish, only Fernando Alonso in his scarlet Ferrari could keep up with the Red Bull pair. In just six years time the Red Bull Racing team, owned by famous beverage producer Austrian Dieter Mateschitz and led by team principal Christian Horner, have developed from a 'party' team into a professionally run and fully matured Formula One team. Red Bull has dominated the 2010 season, with one race still to go they won eight Grands Prix, took 14 pole positions and last Sunday they scored their fifth one-two finish.
Vettel, who crossed the finish line in first position for the fourth time this year commented, "We are the 2010 Constructors' Champions! What a truly joyful day! I can't tell you how happy I am that we were able to take the constructors title today and I want to take a moment to thank the whole team for their amazing work." Webber was equally happy with the result, "Today is a sensational day for the team -- for everyone in Milton Keynes, in Red Bull and for all our suppliers -- the list goes on and on. We have won the Constructors' [title] and done it with a dominant one-two finish after a tough weekend in Korea."
But it must be said, Red Bull's success story really started after Mateschitz lured the brains behind the team, British designer Adrian Newey, away from McLaren in 2006, at the time it was reported Newey would receive about $10 million for his services. He is considered to be the best designer and engineer in Formula One, and cars designed by Newey have won many Drivers' and Constructors' titles. This year's design, the RB6, has proved to be the fastest car on the grid, and especially during the first part of the 2010 season, the RB6 was unbeatable.
In fact, the car was so fast other teams believed Newey had incorporated illegal tricks in the design of the car, they accused Red Bull of using flexible wings, an illegal ride height system and an illegal blown diffuser. At the request of other teams, FIA technicians checked and re-checked the RB6 from top to bottom on numerous occasions, but they never found anything that was not according to the technical regulations. The alleged flexing of Red Bull front wing saga also dominated the season, which led to one of Webber's famous remarks this year: "When people don't like what they see on the stopwatch, they have to justify their own positions sometimes."
Constructors' title down to team work
As always, Newey remained very modest about his role in Red Bull's achievements: "This is amazing, to have done it with this team from being a midfield runner to the point of winning the Constructors' Championship is a real achievement for all the team in Milton Keynes." He also thinks it was the team effort that brought the title to Red Bull's headquarters in Milton Keynes, "Really it's getting everybody to gel and work as a team together; it sounds corny but it really is to get everybody to work together as a cohesive unit."
Vettel spoke about the winning RB6 design, "It has been a pleasure for me so far this year to drive that car. We have had ups and downs and many have given us a hard time, sometimes right and sometimes not, but we are always on the edge trying to make the car quicker, which is so good. We are always pushing to get updates, even when they only offer a little bit extra." Vettel also praised Red Bull's team effort, "Regards to everyone here and back in Milton Keynes, it's their achievement -- we are one team and they can be very, very proud of what they have accomplished today. There are a busy few days before the next race, but I think back in Milton Keynes and here in Brazil, there will be a couple of drinks tonight."
"Today was all about the team," said Webber. "When you consider the quality of our opposition, winning the Constructors' Championship is a phenomenal achievement for a team in only its sixth season of racing. I'm absolutely stoked for the guys and girls in Milton Keynes because everyone has worked so hard to get the team into the position it's in today."
Four title contenders left after Brazil
Both Vettel and Webber were unbeatable at the Brazilian Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, during the first lap they overtook Nico Hulkenberg who was on pole, and from then on it was easy. Race winner Vettel said, "We had a straightforward race, no issues and we were able to control it." No engine problems this time for the young German, "Towards the end of the race I started to count the laps down and just hoped that everything will go fine -- and luckily it did." And his chances on winning the title in Abu Dhabi? "I can just hope that we're able to repeat our great performance there. Looking at the points I can only say that anything is possible and that we will keep on giving our very best."
Webber did have a few issues with the temperature of his engine: "The team informed me over the radio about the temperatures and I altered my driving style to get them under control. I braked a bit earlier than normal and used higher gears where possible. Given everything that was going on, I was pleased with my lap times, but my challenge for victory was compromised." Webber also remain optimistic about his title chances, "From a championship point of view I'm pleased they're close together because I want to get on with the last race. Abu Dhabi is going to be stressful for all of the title contenders; I'll do the best job I can and let the maths take care of itself."
Alonso could have clinched the Drivers' Championship in Brazil, but the Red Bulls were simply too fast. He leads the Drivers' Championship, and is chased by Webber and Vettel who are with eight and 15 points respectively, right behind him. The Spaniard had a good start from fifth on the grid, and overtook Lewis Hamilton on the second lap. His progress was then halted by Hulkenberg, who defended his third position with dogged determination after he was overtaken by both Red Bulls. This proved to be the key to the race, since by the time Alonso had passed Hulkenberg on lap 7, the Red Bulls had already disappeared in the distance.
Alonso about his approach this weekend, "We were very cautious in the very first corners, because everyone was very aggressive and we did not want to risk touching anyone." The Spaniard added, "Then, we immediately lost too much ground to Vettel and Webber: it took me several laps to get past Hulkenberg, while passing Hamilton is never easy." Alonso made his mandatory pit stop on lap 24 and rejoined the race again still in third position.
When the safety car came out after Vitantonio Liuzzi crashed into the barriers at the S do Senna, Alonso was again close behind Vettel and Webber. "We thought it might be an opportunity to attack, but there were too many back markers between me and Mark and it took too long to get past them: a shame, because at that point, the car was really very competitive," Alonso concluded.
It was a tough weekend for McLaren, Jenson Button is no longer a title contender, and Hamilton admitted he now needs a major miracle to clinch the title. Both drivers struggled to find grip all weekend. Hamilton even asked his team during the race whether his F-duct was still working. "The car just didn't feel like it did in practice. I was even struggling to overtake the back markers in a straight line -- Alonso shot past me at the start, too -- and it almost felt like my F-duct wasn't working perfectly," said the Briton, who is now fourth in the championship, 24 points behind the leader. "I pushed as hard as I could on every lap today, but this was a tough race for me," Hamilton added.
Button didn't make it into Q3 on Saturday, and had to start from 11th position on the grid. "I won the Drivers' Championship in Brazil last year, and I lost it here this year," he said. Button had a few good battles with Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi and tried to change his luck by making a very early pit stop, but to no avail. But he was nevertheless happy with the result, "I made some great passing moves, and the team made a couple of perfect calls on strategy. From where I started, I couldn't have done any better, so it feels good to have finished fifth."
FIA Stewards report
Not a very busy weekend for the FIA Stewards, on Friday Vitaly Petrov was fined 2,000 Euro, and Kobayashi 800 Euro for speeding in the pit lane. On Saturday, Lucas di Grassi was fined 1,000 Euro for the same offence. The Stewards, including former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert, investigated the claim Sebastien Buemi had impeded Nico Rosberg between Turns 12 and 12 during qualifying. After hearing both drivers and examining the data from both cars, they ruled Buemi had not impeded Rosberg and took no further action. On Sunday during the race, Nick Heidfeld was given a drive through penalty for ignoring waved blue flags.
Hulkenberg: from pole to eighth
Surprise pole sitter Hulkenberg really did all he could do, but there was no way he could have held off the Red Bulls, McLarens, Ferraris or Mercedes'. The 'Hulk' drove a strong race, made no mistakes and defended his position using all the tricks in the book. After he was passed by both Red Bulls during the first lap, he successfully kept Alonso behind him until lap 7, he then had Hamilton on his tail, who couldn't pass him either. Hulkenberg made his pit stop on lap 14 while in fourth position. He rejoined the race in 14th position, but he never gave up, by lap 10 he was in tenth position, with Robert Kubica chasing him.
Kubica would never disappear from his rear-view mirrors, and both drivers battled for position during the rest of the race. Hulkenberg, "I was struggling quite a lot with the car, it really wasn't easy to drive, but I kept Kubica behind me all the way." Kubica admitted his defeat after the race, "I didn't have enough of a performance advantage over Hulkenberg to get past: I was losing a lot of time in the low-speed corners, and I couldn't use our top speed advantage because I was stuck on the rev limiter for a long time on the main straight, so couldn't attack him."
Hulkenberg's eighth place also gave Williams some extra points in the Constructers' Championship, and they have now taken sixth place from Force India. Hulkenberg's pole position and excellent performance certainly came at the right time, as his future at Williams is all but secure. Unfortunately for him, it is not his talent that will be the decisive factor, but the amount of money a possible successor could bring to the financially struggling Williams team.
The most experienced Formula One driver of all times, his team colleague Rubens Barrichello, already praised the young German on numerous occasions, and when asked if Hulkenberg deserves a place at in Formula One he had no doubts, "He deserves to be in Formula One. Some people do not, but he does. He is a great talent!" Hulkenberg also hopes he can stay at Williams together with Barrichello, "I think I did everything right this weekend and that talent should come before money. I understand the financial side. I think Barrichello and I are the perfect driver combination. I hope we can continue to be together."
Disappointing race for Brazilian drivers
Especially Barrichello who once more, a bad time during his home Grand Prix. He has never won this race and during his 17-year long Formula One career he retired an incredible 11 times from the Brazilian Grand Prix, he scored his highest position in 2004 when driving for Ferrari when he climbed onto the third step of the podium. Last weekend his race went well until his first pit stop. There was a problem with the right rear wheel nut which wouldn't engage properly, and Barrichello lost valuable time in the pit lane and rejoined the race in 17th position.
He was fighting with Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari for 13 laps, but when he attempted to overtake him, the Spaniard ran over his front wing, and also damaged his left front tyre. Barrichello limped back to the pits for new tyres and a new front wing, and his chances to score points were once again ruined, he finally finished in 14th place. Barrichello about his unfortunate race said, "I just came in too many times to score points. I'm sorry for all the Brazilians who came here wanting a different result. All I can say is that I gave it my all until the very end."
Felipe Massa finished in 15th position right behind Barrichello, and he also had a very problematic race. His story was almost identical to Barrichello's story. When he came in for his pit stop, the right front wheel nut was not properly fastened. "When I went back out on track after the first stop I immediately felt that something was strange with the right front wheel and I had to come back to the pits immediately to change tyres again. From then on, my race was pretty much over," the disappointed Brazilian reported. He then collided with Toro Rosso driver Buemi, and he again lost a number of positions. "I would have liked to have been fighting it out at the front here, but it wasn't possible," Massa said.
HRT driver Bruno Senna had no technical problems and finished in 21st position. "I am very satisfied with the result I could achieve at my first Formula 1 race at home in Brazil. It was a good feeling before the race when the crowd was chanting and they gave me a lot of energy for the 71 laps. I am very thankful for the support of the fans and the team's good work," said the nephew of the late Ayrton Senna.
Virgin driver di Grassi did see the finish line, but he was not classified because he finished nine laps behind the leader. He also encountered major problems, "We had a mechanical problem since early in the race, which was getting worse and worse. We had to stop and investigate it because it was getting more and more difficult to drive the car." He parked his car in the Virgin garage, but his team managed to pin-point the problem and after losing seven laps he rejoined the race.
For the complete race result and the current standings in both championships, follow the links at the bottom of the page.
Last stop: Abu Dhabi
The Formula One fans don't have to wait long for this year's final showdown, next stop is Abu Dhabi this weekend on November 14. The four remaining contenders, Alonso, Webber, Vettel and Hamilton will fight for this year's title at a circuit which has become very popular amongst drivers and fans alike, the night race in Abu Dhabi. Last year the championship had already been decided during the Brazilian Grand Prix, and the race at the Yas Marina circuit was just a formality. But this year Abu Dhabi will host the final round for the Formula One Championship knowing that, for the first time in Formula One's history, four drivers will fight for the title until the very last lap.