Webber ends his drought as Red Bull share glory

 

Interlagos

Another race, another annihilation. Red Bull staged one final crushing demonstration in Sao Paulo yesterday as Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel blew away the opposition.

Webber finally won as he pleased after overtaking Vettel on the 40th lap, the double world champion's car suffering an overheating gearbox. His belated triumph put him one point ahead of Fernando Alonso in the overall standings, the Australian moving up to third place behind Vettel and Jenson Button. Webber celebrated with a string of fastest times in the final three laps of the Interlagos circuit, where he last won the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009.

The fact Vettel was able to set the fastest lap soon after his gearbox overheating had obliged him to cede the lead to his team-mate, thus-far winless this season, raised momentary suspicions that Red Bull were indulging in a little helpful subterfuge, even though some weeks back Webber had trenchantly declared that he wanted no such thing. But the extent of Vettel's problem became clearer as he said it reminded him of Ayrton Senna's victory here in 1991 when the great Brazilian also had to use the higher gears only.

"I had a good start and was able to pull a gap," he said. "But then I had a radio call to manage a gearbox problem so I had to turn down the engine and short shift the gears, and use higher gears everywhere. That's where the comparison with Ayrton came into my head, except that he won!"

On the 61st lap, Vettel lost nearly three seconds to Webber after sliding momentarily off track. But even so, an injured Red Bull was more than fast enough to keep Button's McLaren at bay. The Abu Dhabi-winning team just lacked pace in the crucial early stages of the race as the Red Bulls took control. Such was Button's loss of performance that Alonso was able to overtake him and pull away easily on the 11th lap.

"It was a difficult race on the softer tyres," Button said. "Fernando was very close in Turn 5 and I was ready to block him into Turn 6 but then I saw debris on the track ahead of me and was obliged to back off and let him pass. That was a bit disappointing and unlucky, but to be honest we just didn't have the pace on the softer tyre."

Alonso seemed on track for a podium finish but when he made the mandatory switch on the 54th lap to the harder-compound Pirelli tyres, which Button had opted for on the 31st lap, he found his Ferrari suffering from its season-long lack of grip. Button was charging in the latter stages, "doing qualifying laps every lap," and his relentless pursuit paid off as he was able to get by on the 62nd. That was the move that made sure of his runner-up position, and that Alonso would drop that crucial point behind Webber.

"We decided to take the harder tyre for the last two stints and they worked pretty well for me and I was able to hunt down Fernando and make the pass," Button added. "But third was as far as we could get."

It was a disappointing afternoon for Lewis Hamilton. He could only trail Alonso and Button in fifth place in a McLaren that eventually pulled off the track on the 47th with gearbox trouble.

"It would have been nice to have had a race with Seb all through," Webber said. "But this is a win I'll take. I've had some bad luck before, that's how motorsport goes."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable