It’s a Red Bull lockout of the front row as Vettel attempts to reset the default settings for F1 2011 after Jenson Button upset him in Canada. Did it work?
It’s probably as big a shift in weather and conditions as we’ve had this F1 season, from the deluge of the island track in Canada to the searing heat of a Valencian Summer for the 2011 European Grand Prix, but was that enough to see Vettel recover from the defeat he suffered in Canada at the hands of a quite simply brilliant Jenson Button? Well, yes, it was.
Just as he was in 2010, Vettel was on pole in Valencia and back on unrelenting form, leading as if by right from beginning to end; controlling the gap to the cars behind as if by divine intervention.
But admiration for Vettel’s relentless application to demolishing all competition apart, there wasn’t a lot to love in this race. Valencia hasn’t often really thrilled and today wasn’t a race, but a tyre-conservation exercise.
And Valencia didn’t offer up much in the way of DRS-fuelled overtakes either, with about a tenth of those Jenson alone managed in Canada.
But from the McLaren high of Canada – for Jenson, at least – it was a fairly torrid day for McLaren. Both Button and Hamilton were poor off the grid, and Hamilton continued to show a lack of maturity by refusing to look after his tyres and, after setting a few fastest laps, paying the price for his bullishness. He ended a poor fourth
Alonso was charged by the roar of the crowd at his home grand prix, charging past team-mate Massa at the beginning almost as soon as Massa had passed him, and swallowing up Hamiton in the same breath.
He managed to play leapfrog with Webber and even managed to look like he could challenge Vettel at one point, but it was an illusion; the young German had the race completely in his control.
Button managed only sixth – behind Massa – but did promise more after a great overtake to reclaim the place he lost to Rosberg off the line. But that promise came to nought.
Another great result for Red Bull, but not for F1.
A real non-race.
European GRAND PRIX 2011 RESULTS
- Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull
- Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
- Mark Webber | Red Bull
- Lewis Hamilton | McLaren
- Felipe Massa | Ferrari
- Jenson Button | McLaren
- Nico Rosberg | Mercedes
- Jaime Alguersuari | Toro Rosso
- Adrian Sutil | Force India
- Nick Heidfeld | Renault