That was… incredible! Vettel gets yet another victory in the bag. No pole to flag this time, especially after his crew messed up the pit stop. But the team’s decision to run a 1-stop strategy served him well. Vettel, Kobayashi and Liuzzi all did 1-stop races, and Petrov had only done one before his crash.
Petrov was hurt but not seriously when the front runners of Vettel, Alonso and Button got tangled up with his group of runners. Unlike last year, five of the drivers from the three youngest teams finished, with Trulli ahead of Kovalainen in his second P13 of 2011.
Williams got points for the first time, breaking their duck despite Hamilton taking out Pastor Maldonado. The McLaren driver had a scrappy race causing Massa and Maldonado’s crashes. Sutil was the driver who caused the mega crash at the end that took Petrov and Alguersuari out and resulted in the red flag. Thanks to the red flag, Vettel was able to put on fresh tyres and easily maintained his lead in the final laps. However, Webber managed to set another fastest lap: his fourth of the season with a 1:16.234. It’s still 1.8s off Schumacher’s 2004 record.
Kobayashi got up from 12th to 4th before having to give a place up to Webber in the final stages when he cut the chicane. However he stayed ahead of Hamilton. Sutil finished P7, a lap behind but ahead of Heidfeld, Barrichello and Buemi.
The other race retirees were Schumacher, whose car died on him just outside the pits, and Glock. There were two safety car periods. This race weekend has seen five red flags, two injured drivers and a lot of crashes. But it has also seen overtakes, a fierce battle for the lead, and fairly durable Pirellis.
There are bound to be penalties, with Hamilton expected to recieve one for the Maldonado incident (the Williams driver was classified as he had completed enough of the race laps), and D’Ambrosio also for not allowing the Lotuses through in the final laps despite blue flags. So we shall see…
There was a FR 3.5 race this morning. Ricciardo won. Nothing exciting though. They use fairly durable Michelin tyres, so there was less of the unpredictability. Championship table will also be updated for that series.