F1 Brazil Race Results & Full Report: Vettel Wins, Webber Loses Points to Alonso, Red Bull Champions

What Happens When Team Orders Might Have Been Helpful

12:48pm EST — Sebastian Vettel won the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, after taking the lead from pole sitter Nico Hulkenberg at the start and holding it, relinquishing it only for a momentary pit stop when teammate and second place finisher Mark Webber.  The two gained points enough to win the constructors’ championship for Red Bull with a race to spare.  Fernando Alonso had a conservative championship run to third.  Most of the fighting was over eighth through thirteenth, with the only crash of the race, Tonio Liuzzi, bringing out the safety car.  He ran into the tire barrier right in front of Alonso, though the safety car did not bring any drama to the final fifteen laps, as lapped traffic settled in between Vettel, Webber, and Alonso.  Lewis Hamilton kept his championship hopes barely alive with a fourth place finish after a race that had hims worried about the grip in his tires.  Teammate Jenson Button finished fifth and lost any chance of winning back-to-back titles.  Much speculation will occur as to why the Red Bulls’ positions were not switched, leaving just a point between Alonso and Webber for the driver’s championship, rather than the eight points that separate leader Alonso from Webber, with Vettel fifteen back.

Hulkenberg took Williams to it’s first pole of the season and his maiden pole during a damp and drying qualifying session on Saturday, beating Vettel to the position by nearly a second.  Webber will start third, Hamilton fourth, and Alonso fifth.  Despite the damp, there were no incidents, just lots of times traded back and forth.  Alonso and Webber led Q1 and Q2, respectively, but the drying conditions that put options tires on all the Q3 starters at the end of the session made for furious position changes, as Hulkenberg kept his pole time through the final laps after the flag and bettered his own time to put a stamp on his first-place start for Sunday’s race and the quiet resurgence of Williams through the latter half of the season.  Button was knocked out in Q2 and will start eleventh, while Massa nearly was and will start ninth.  Button also had a scare while leading the circuit, his car nearly coming under attack from multiple armed men, while Sauber personnel were robbed at gunpoint, having their car broken into while they were in it and some items taken.  Christian Klien’s HRT stopped at the pit exit before his first lap out to grid up, the German filling in for Sakon Yamamoto all weekend, and he was forced to walk back as the circuit craned his car back; he started from the pit.  Bruno Senna received a five place grid penalty to start, as he qualified, last after a gearbox change.

The sun was shining and there were only fluffy clouds on the horizon as the field returned to the grid after the formation lap.  Hulkenberg got away cleanly, but Vettel took the lead into turn 1.  Webber was around Hamilton for third, with Alonso fifth as the top five got away from Petrov.  Webber was next around Hulkenberg as Hamilton tried to keep fending off Alonso.  Byt the end of the first lap, Vettel had a second and a half on Webber, withe a similar margin to Hulkenberg.  Alonso took a look on Hamilton down the front straight, but he could not do so, until Hamilton had a wiggle and Alonso took complete advantage to move up to fourth.  At the end of the second lap, vettel’s lead was up to two seconds over his teammate, Hulkenberg still third, but with Alonso just three tenths back.  At the end of the next lap, Alonso had no gap on the front straight, but he could not take Hulkenberg into Turn 1.  By the end of the fifth lap of seventy-one, Vettel led Webber, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Barrichello, Massa, Schumacher, and Button as the top ten.

Webber was nearly seven seconds ahead of Hulkenberg, who was still fending off Alonso, who was attacking and attacking until finally forcing the issue into turn two on L7, going wide and sliding through a small gap on the inside, in what his team told him was a “beautiful” pass, leaving Hulkenberg to annoy Hamilton.  In that first half a lap, Alonso had over a second on Hulkenberg.  Hamilton attempted to take fourth into Turn one, but Hulkenberg refused to let him past.  Hamilton kept trying, but he was also forced to fight off Kubica, who had Barrichello and Massa behind him.  Hamilton was also complaining that he had no grip.  Ten laps in, Vettel led Webber by 2.6s, Alonso (behind Webber 9.6s), Hulkenberg, and Hamilton, who was still being pressured by Kubica and the rest of the drivers held behind Hulkenberg.  Hamilton tried down the inside of Hulkenberg again, but could not make the pass as McLaren set up for a stop for Button from tenth.  Alonso continued to lose time to Webber, up to ten seconds behind after the team told him to “use our pace.”  Klien finally began his race.

Massa also pitted, on L13, coming back out in front of and then behind Button.  Barrichello was the next to pit, then Massa came back in, pointing to the right front in the box.  Hulkenberg was the next to pit, leaving Hamilton some clear track, with ten seconds to Alonso.  Hamilton looked to pit, but he did not.  KUbica went in right behind Hulkenberg, as did Heidfeld.  Button was up in position, staying in front of Hulkenberg.  At the end of L15, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, and Schumacher led the way, none having pitted.  Alonso continued to lose time to Webber, but Hamilton, whose “car has no grip,” was not catching up Alonso.  After Liuzzi pitted from eleventh, Button forced his way around Petrov for tenth.  Hulkenberg was then just behind Petrov, then Kubica.  Alonso finally began lapping at the pace of the Red Bulls on L18, with an eleven second gap ahead to Webber, but eleven and a half back to a struggling Hamilton.  The championship leader gained three tenths on the next lap alone, and eight tenths on the next.

Hamilton pitted on L21, with a good stop, rejoining the fray just ahead of teammate Button while also pitting Schumacher was out between Button and Hulkenberg.  In a bit of checking, Red Bull asked if Vettel’s tires were ok.  They wree told that things were “fantastic.”  Webber was over two and a half seconds behind Vettel at the end of L22, with Alonso still around ten seconds behind, likely conserving his engine and points early in the race.  Rosberg, who also had not pitted, was nearly twenty seconds behind Alonso.  Ferrari was moving on L24, with Alonso stopping on L25.  It was a very quick and clean stop, with Alonso giving it some gas on his way through the curvy pit lane, to be out well in front of Rosberg to keep third.  Red Bull was next it, with Vettel getting the first stop.  He lost the lead, but returned in front of Alonso.  Hamilton, meanwhile, had a diving move on Kobayashi.  Webber stopped on L26 in a very quick stop (3.5s).  He also rejoined behind his teammate but in front of Alonso.

After the front-runners’ pit stops, it was still Vettel leading Webber then Alonso, with the same gaps as before the stops: 2.7s between the teammates, and Alonso 10.7 behind Webber.  Alonso had a nice gap of eleven and a half seconds back to Hamilton.  Alonso lost over two seconds on the next lap, both to Webber and Hamilton.  Only Kobayashi and Rosberg had yet to pit by L29.  Button got Kobayashi and fifth in a bit of deja vu for the Japanese driver, as it was a neat replica of Hamilton’s pass just a few laps earlier.  Alonso kept losing time to the Red Bulls through lapped traffic, but Hamilton was not gaining.  It was the perfect position for Alonso and Ferrari, with Vettel leading and not Webber.  Further back, there was quite a bit of close racing, with Sutil, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, and Kubica all covered by less than two seconds while fighting for eighth.  Barrichello was well off the pace and out of line with a flat left front tire after contact with Alguersuari’s front wing.

At the halfway point, Vettel led Webber by just over three seconds, with a 14.9s gap back to Alonso in third, who had 10.4s on Hamilton in fourth, with teammate Button nearly eight seconds behind him in fifth.  Kobayashi, Rosberg, Sutil, Schumacher, and Hulkenberg completed the top ten.  Ferrari tweeted, “Fernando is managing the situation. The Red Bulls look too quick so it is better to be cautious.”  Hamilton, meanwhile, was radioing to ask if his F-duct was working, to which the team calmly responded that it was fine.  While Alonso was losing time to the Red Bulls, he was not losing time to Hamilton.  Webber, though was just under two seconds behind Vettel on L38, only to be back up to nearly three seconds at the end of L39.  Ninth through thirteenth were covered by two and a half seconds, with the gaps continually shifting and everyone chasing Sutil, who held that position and had Schumacher just two tenths behind.

With thirty laps left, the top five order and gaps remained unchanged, though Rosberg had passed Kobayashi for sixth.  Kobayashi and Sutil had yet to stop.  Webber’s front brakes were getting too hot for the team, who radioed to tell him to change the front wing setting.  di Grassi was into the garage on L43, ending his first home race, until he climbed back into the car to attempt some more laps.  Vettel was told about the large group fighting, as mentioned above, with the team telling him to take them one at a time and be careful.  Webber, though, was just a second and a half behind.  Alonso was holding steady with his gap behind, though Hamilton was losing time to Alonso.  Massa seemed to move right to the side for Vettel, then did the same on the front straight for Webber.  Buemi, though, was not so easy to get around, causing Webber to weave a bit before letting him through.  Kobayashi made his pit stop on L50, returning in fifteenth.

Twenty laps left had Liuzzi crash out, sitting on the side at the end of the Senna Esses, near pit out, closing up the gaps as the safety car was deployed.  Sutil, Heidfeld, Massa, and Petrov all pitted for fresh tires.  Hamilton did as well, as he had just radioed to his team that his was losing grip on his tires, returning behind teammate Button.  Liuzzi had gotten too far onto the kerb, forcing him into the tire wall, with Alonso right behind him and somehow not being hit by or hitting any of the debris.  Button pitted next.  At L53, Vettel had lapped the entire way up to Hulkenberg, in eighth. Rosberg was stuck in the pits for too long as Mercedes appeared confused as to the tire choice, having to come back to switch something.

On the restart, there were lapped cars between Vettel and Webber, and Alonso and Hamilton.  It was a sixteen lap sprint to the finish, with Hulkenberg and Petrov between the Red Bulls.  Kobayashi and Alguersuari were fighting for position.  Kubica moved out of the way for Webber, as Alonso also made his way through the traffic.  By the end of L56, Vettel had three seconds on Webber, with traffic between them, and Alonso had just four seconds to hunt down Webber.  Button was just a half second behind his teammate, though he soon lost another half on the next lap.  Alguersuari made things difficult for Alonso, shoving him well into the pit entrace as the elder went to lap around him.  The fighting for tenth was still furious, especially as the leaders were attempting to get through the crowd.  Button was again right behind his teammate.  Eleven laps to go and Vettel had his largest margin over Webber for the race, three and a half seconds, with Alonso another five and a half behind his biggest title rival.

While fighting for twelfth, Buemi and Massa has some contact, forcing Massa off the track at home and moving him back to fifteenth.  The top five were still Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, and Button, with a moderately safe margin of more than a second and as many as five between them at the end of L62.  Buemi and Sutil had some contact of their own, with the two locking wheels, but without forcing anyone out.  Alonso posted a race fastest lap on L62, puting himself just four seconds behind Webber, who was over four behind Vettel on L63.  The closest men on track were Alguersuari and Kobayashi, Buemi and Heidfeld, fighting for tenth and thirteenth, respectively.  Alonso gained another three tenths on Webber as the Australian lost them to Vettel while Hamilton’s race fastest lap still had him over eight seconds behind Alonso with six laps to go.  Alonso gained more on Webber each time around while Heidfeld recieved a drive-through penalty on L65 for ignoring blue flags.

Vettel still led Webber comfortably with five laps left, though Alonso continued to gain on Webber, and Hamilton to set race fast laps from fourth.  With three laps left and a four second gap to Vettel, Webber was released to “push if you need to,” presumably a reference to his previous overheating issues.  Massa was again in contact, this time with Petrov while attempting to pass, after Barrichello pushed his fellow Brazilian off the track.  They held station for the final lap, with Vettel, Webber, and Alonso on the podium and a Red Bull constructor’s championship to celebrate.

Final Positions for the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix:
1. Vettel
2. Webber +4.2
3. Alonso +6.8
4. Hamilton +14.6
5. Button +15.5
6. Rosberg +35.3
7. Schumacher +43.4
8. Hulkenberg +1 Lap
9. Kubica +1 Lap
10. Kobayashi +1 Lap
11. Alguersuari +1 Lap
12. Sutil +1 Lap
13. Buemi +1 Lap
14. Barrichello +1 Lap
15. Massa +1 Lap
16. Petrov +1 Lap
17. Heidfeld +1 Lap
18. Kovalainen +2 Laps
19. Trulli +2 Laps
20. Glock +2 Laps
21. Senna +2 Laps
22. Klien +6 Laps
di Grassi


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