Vettel fights to win the Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on May 22, 2011 by

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Vettel celebrates his fourth win of the season

Sebastian Vettel fought off a pressing attack from Lewis Hamilton to secure victory at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona today.

For the majority of the race Hamilton remained within two seconds of the race leader, however his efforts were not enough to snatch pole from the Red Bull driver.

Jenson Button managed a respectable third despite being over half a minute off of second place. Mark Webber, who started on pole, finished the race in fourth with Alonso finishing in fifth despite leading the race for 11 laps at the start.

We made it – Sebastian Vettel

Race winner Vettel told the BBC: “It was pretty tough.”

“It was really close but thankfully in the last two laps I think I had quite a good run in the last sector; It wasn’t an easy race and obviously the McLarens, and Lewis especially, gave us a very very hard time.”

Lewis Hamilton, who is now 41 points behind the championship lead, said to the BBC: “I don’t think we can be disappointed, the team did a fantastic job throughout the pit stops and the weekend to get us up there in the fighting position.”

“We were able to just keep up with the Red Bulls because Fernando was holding them up and as the race went on we clearly had some serious pace but it was very tough to get passed Sebastian in the end.”

McLaren gave us a tough race today – Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principle

The next race is in seven days at Monaco, you can see the full race timings for today’s race here.

Mark Webber failed to capitalise on his pole position from qualifying

The Race – As it happened

Mark Webber lost his starting place of pole to Alonso who held the lead for 11 laps until he pitted.

Vettel pitted after 10 and 19 laps, a successful strategy which placed him in second place ahead of Alonso.

After 22 laps Webber was hot on the heels of Alonso and reduced the gap between the two (currently placed third and fourth) by a second a lap.

After lap 30 both pitted and were released by their pit crews at the same time, despite this Alonso managed to maintain his lead over Webber.

This left a 30 second gap between third place Alonso and second place Lewis Hamilton with only a two second gap between himself and Vettel that he was successfully closing until he switched to hard tyres during his third stop on lap 36.

Jenson Button had a quiet start to the race but just after half-way through he brushed the side of Webber’s car, stole 4th place and then straight away passed Alonso with ease to take 3rd position.

On lap 41 Alonso decided to use the slower hard tyres in the hope that they would last until the end of the race.

Sebastian Vettel had lost his KERS system by the 46th lap which helped the McLarens close the gap on pole position until he regained the system on lap 51.

Kovalainen crashed on lap 51

Vettel and Button pitted on lap 49 followed by Hamilton on lap 50. After the final round of pit stops the gap between first and second stayed relatively the same, just under two seconds between the two.

Yellow flags were deployed on the 51st lap when Heikki Kovalainen crashed at turn four. The safety car was not deployed allowing Hamilton to close the gap on pole position, reducing it to just a half second by the 55th lap.

By this time Button in third was half a minute off of second place and was busy fighting off Webber who was quickly reducing the three second gap between the two.

With nine laps remaining the McLaren team gave permission for Hamilton to ‘use the yellow button’, enhancing the fuel supply to the engine allowing him to try and snatch pole position from Vettel. However with only six laps remaining the gap remained the same.

On the 61st lap Felipe Massa flew off the track with a suspected engine fault.

At the end of the race the gap between Hamilton and Vettel was around half a second but second place Hamilton was unable to pass the Red Bull.

Jenson Button finished third with Webber in fourth and Alonso in fifth.

You can watch the race again in full on BBC iPlayer

Alonso managed to steal pole position from Webber at the first corner

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