2011 Korean Grand Prix – Race Report

Though the Korean Grand Prix wasn’t the best race of the year, it was still okay and much better than last year’s race. Some might feel it was the opposite and I myself had a lot riding on the race since the Drivers’ Championship was wide open back then (as was whether the circuit would be finished in time for the race).

Anyway, race direction grade and results as follows…

Race Direction: Okay

I’m letting the race director off on an Okay grade, though officially according to the standards I laid down he should have gotten a poor rating. There were only three yellow-flags in the race but only one (and admittedly the most important one) got caught on replay. I was teetering on wether or not penalize the director for Pit-stops. However, I do have to – while over half of the first pit-stops got caught on camera I was going to be generous and started counting the second pit-stops even before the half-way point of the race. Even after three retirements, however, the second half of the pit-stop count was short by two so I can’t give it a pass. However, why the rating got bumped up from Poor to Okay is because the director did focus on events all through the different tiers of racers, even the back lot. And for this I can’t give a poor rating (besides which all retirements got caught on camera).

The Top-10:

Sebastian Vettel was unstoppable once he overtook Hamilton on the start. However, Lewis Hamilton fought back and defended his position admirably until the end. A good day for Mark Webber, whose third position has now won Red Bull the Constructors’ Championship as well. Webber also gave Hamilton a run for his money on the final laps though couldn’t manage to overtake him.

Jenson Button drove an okay race. The most excitement he experienced was racing with Nico Rosberg in and after the pit-lane since the two would not let off. In the end though, Button finished a respectable fourth while Rosberg finished a rather humble eighth.

The Ferraris switched places from the start with Fernando Alonso finishing fifth and Felipe Massa finishing sixth. The most excitement experienced from them today was a bizarre and cryptic radio message from Alonso caught by the broadcaster: “I give up.” What this message was referring, I’ve no idea, but it certainly sounds very out of character for Alonso.

Toro Rosso had probably their best race of the season. Jaime Alguersuari drove  fantastic race, was at one point third in the running and finished a solid seventh by the end. His team-mate Sebastian Buemi didn’t shine quite as brightly but took ninth place for the team.

Force India slumped today though Paul Di Resta landed only one position down from the start, to tenth.

Golden Pineapple Award

Adrian Sutil is strengthening his hold on the Pineapple throne with his fourth Pineapple victory. A disappointing result for him considering he started from tenth place. Hopefully things will look up in India.

Drop-out count: 3

The most excitement experienced today on track was due Vitaly Petrov ramming his car to the back of Michael Schumacher. Petrov damaged the suspension on his left front wheel as well as totalled both his own front and Schumi’s rear wing. Schumi couldn’t go on and the debris left on-track caused a Safety Car session. Petrov made it back to the pits, but even with a replacement wing on hand the Renault mechanics couldn’t fix his suspension and the race was over for the Viborg Rocket.

Pastor Maldonado suffered a drive-through penalty for cutting straight to the pits rather than using the entry lane and his pathetic race day was ruined by technical difficulties that forced him to retire.

Back of the Lot-News

It seems whenever Toro Rosso is thriving Force India and Sauber suffer as a result. Today Sauber were particularly bad with neither driver making it to points. Kamui Kobayashi drove an uncharacteristically bad race and even Sergio Perez couldn’t keep up with the middle group. Both finished behind Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen, which is great news for him and Tony Fernandes, but very embarrassing for the Sauber team.

The Williams team was already doing poorly due to Maldonado’s drive-through and retirement. Rubens Barrichello’s rise from 18th to 12th was a slim consolation, though he did manage to beat Bruno Senna on pure one-on-one basis.

For the new teams it was the same old, same old, though I’ll applaud Daniel Ricciardo for leaving both D’Ambrosio and Liuzzi behind him. The fact that he wasn’t a match for Timo Glock is in part due to the fact that he is driving an inferior car and that Glock is in fact a really good driver (just stuck in a really sucky team).