Monday Motorsports: Spanish GP Win Gives Sebastian Vettel 4-for-5 Record in 2011

Sebastian Vettel crosses the finish line at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.Alvaro Barrientos/Agence France-Presse

Sebastian Vettel crosses the finish line at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.

With his Red Bull teammate having secured pole position during the qualifying on Saturday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Sebastian Vettel was technically not the fastest man entering the Spanish Grand Prix. But on race day, the pole sitter, Mark Webber, ultimately could not maneuver out of fourth place, while Vettel held off the Mclaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for his fourth win this season in five opportunities.

As Brad Spurgeon at the Formula One blog noted, victory came to Vettel in part by how he managed his tires and pit stops.

Vettel made his fourth and final pit stop on Lap 48, putting Hamilton into the lead of the race. Hamilton then made his fourth pit stop on the next lap, and when he returned to the track it was again just behind Vettel.

The rest was down to how the cars treated the tires. Vettel said that he suddenly remembered the Chinese Grand Prix in April, the only race he did not win this year, when Hamilton passed him for victory with only five laps remaining because his tires had worn out too much.

Jenson Button, Hamilton’s teammate, rounded out the podium, finishing nearly 36 seconds behind the leaders.

In other motorsports news:

• Helmut Marko, a former Formula One driver and an adviser to the Red Bull Formula One team, accused Ferrari of listening to in-race radio communications between Red Bull and its No. 2 driver, Mark Webber, at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday. Ferrari has not responded to Marko’s accusations.

• Carl Edwards claimed the $1 million prize at the Nascar All-Star Race on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, holding off the field during the race’s fourth and final 10-lap segment. Though the race was billed as a wild shootout, the only notable fireworks came after Edwards’ finish, when he ducked down to the infield grass for a victory spinout and dug his front tire deeply into the sod, causing his car to skip and land harshly, destroying its front end.

• Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway, two drivers expected to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, were left outside the race field after failing to earn one of the nine remaining spots on Sunday — historically known as Bump Day.Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti, two of the series’ most popular drivers, qualified only after rain delays threatened to deprive them of their qualification runs. The completed field of 33 drivers will race on May 29.

• Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion and current World Rally Championship driver, made his Nascar Truck Series debut last Friday,finishing 15th out of a 36-truck field at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Raikkonen is expected to continue making inroads into American racing on Saturday, with an entry in the Nationwide Series.

• At the National Hot Rod Association’s Summer Nationals event in Topeka, Kan., John Force Racing’s Robert Hight outdueled his teammate, Mike Neff, in the Funny Car final, delivering the 200th N.H.R.A. victory to the team. In Top Fuel, Spencer Massey held off Bob Vandergriff for a victory.

Copyright. 2011. The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved

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