F1 2011 Korean Grand Prix result: Hamilton on podium
PUBLISHED: 08:47 16 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:27 16 October 2011
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton claimed a podium finish in the 2011 Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam.
The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ace crossed the line second behind Sebastian Vettel at the Korea International Circuit.
Red Bull’s double F1 world champion took Hamilton on the opening lap and that proved crucial and the German eventually took the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of Lewis for his 10th victory of the season.
Vettel’s victory also helped Red Bull clinch the constructors’ championship.
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion from Hertfordshire, brilliantly held off Mark Webber’s Red Bull to take the second step on the podium.
Jenson Button finished fourth, behind Webber, with Fernando Alonso fifth for Ferrari.
Stevenage-born Hamilton got a clean start from pole position heading into the first corner.
However, he soon relinquished the lead on the opening lap to Vettel.
Button, meanwhile, dropped down to sixth behind the Red Bull of Webber and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Alonso after behind hassled on the first lap.
2011 Korean Grand Prix result
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
4 Jenson Button (McLaren)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
6 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7 Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)
8 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
With bright sunshine in the morning replaced by dark clouds, a few spots of rain started to fall at Turn 11 but it never came to much.
Vettel had pulled 4.5 seconds clear of Tewin F1 hero Hamilton by lap 13.
With tyre wear crucial, Hamilton ducked into the pits from second place for a new set of supersofts on lap 16.
He exited still second behind Vettel, but not long after the safety car was deployed due to debris on the track following a collision at Turn Three between the Mercedes GP of Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov’s Renault.
During the safety car period, the McLaren pitwall said to Hamilton over the radio: “Try and keep your brakes warm, Lewis.
“That was a very good first stint. The tyres are lasting a bit longer than we were expecting.”
Button was also told: “The order is Vettel, Lewis, Webber and yourself. The lap before the safety car, you were 0.5s faster than Webber.”
Normal racing resumed on lap 21 and Vettel nailed a couple of quick laps following the re-start, with Lewis hanging in there behind him.
Hamilton asked the pitwall: “Keep telling me the gaps.”
The reply came: “The gap is 1.4s at the moment.”
Hamilton was soon matching Vettel’s times and the gap closed to within a second, but Webber, on the prime tyre and a different strategy, caught up with the leaders – with just two seconds separating the top three.
Vettel opened up the gap again as Hamilton’s tyres started to degrade and the McLaren man had to fend off Webber’s attentions, the Red Bull swarming all over Lewis’ tail.
Hamilton and Webber both came in for new tyres on lap 34 and proceeded to squabble over second place wheel to wheel after exiting the pits.
A cracking duel developed between the pair, with one edging ahead and then the other passing and re-passing.
The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton: “Lewis, there are 19 laps to go. You’re doing a fantastic job to keep Webber behind you.”
Hamilton responded: “He’s massively quicker than me.”
The reply was: “Well, you’re doing a fantastic job to keep him behind. Keep it going. There are 16 laps to go.
“You could try saving all KERS for Turn Two to help you defend on the straight.”
This all played into Vettel’s hands, with the double world champion pulling 10 seconds clear at the front.
Button was another beneficiary of the dicing between Hamilton and Webber, closing to within two seconds of the Red Bull driver.
As Hamilton defended to keep Webber at bay, the pitwall said: “Your pace is still strong. You’re doing a brilliant job. There are 15 laps to go.”
Hamilton replied: “You said there are 15 laps to go about five minutes ago!”
With Hamilton, Webber and Button running nose-to-tail, Alonso closed to within three seconds, with 16 seconds covering the top five entering the final seven laps.
Webber finally overtook Hamilton on lap 49, with Lewis keeping his head to immediately re-pass down the straight.
Following a nail-biting battle, Hamilton just managed to hold onto second spot to the finish.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.