De startopstelling was al bijna verrassend. Voor het eerst dit seizoen vertrok er geen Red Bull van pole. Op de zaterdag was de pole binnengehaald door Hamilton.
De race begon goed voor Vettel. Hoewel hij van de tweede startplaats vertrok nam hij na een paar bochten al de leiding over van Hamilton.
Webber, als derde gestart, behield deze keer zijn positie. Het was deze keer Button, die een slechte start maakte. Als vierde gestart werd hij door beide Ferarri’s voorbij gestoken.Al snel haakte ook Rosberg aan voor de strijd om de vierde plaats.
Spannend werd het toen Button en Rosberg beide stopten voor nieuwe banden. De stop van Rosberg was net iets sneller en hierdoor kon hij hem er net bij Button voor zetten. Door een foutje van Rosberg was Button weer sneller uit de pits. Meteen daarna, gebruikmakend van het DRS, ging Rosberg er weer voorbij. Button bleek toch de snellere van de twee. Op het rechte stuk ging Button er weer voorbij.
Vettel was weer druk bezig om een voorsprong op te bouwen op Hamilton en Webber. Tot het moment, dat Petrov achterop Schumacher reed. Alonso kon nog net op tijd uitwijken.
Met een kapotte achtervleugel parkeerde Schumacher zijn auto noodgedwongen naast de baan. Petrov wist nog wel de pits te bereiken, maar de schade aan de ophanging was dusdanig, dat ook zijn race voorbij was. Na de race werd Petrov bestraft met een gridstraf. De volgende race wordt hij 5 plaatsen teruggezet.
De aanrijding was reden om de safety car te laten uitrukken, zodat de puinhopen opgeruimd konden worden.
Na de herstart behield Vettel gemakkelijk de leiding voor Hamilton en Webber. Door alle pitstops voor en na de safety car waren Button en Rosberg beide Ferrari’s voorbij gegaan. Rosberg zou zich later verremmen en daardoor voorbij gestoken worden door de Ferrari’s.
Vettel werkte opnieuw aan de opbouw van een ruime voorsprong en zijn leidende positie kwam in het restant van de wedstrijd niet meer in gevaar.
De strijd om de tweede plaats was nog niet beslist. Webber kon nog twee maal Hamilton voorbij gaan, om meteen weer zijn pas veroverde positie te moeten prijsgeven.
Voor de tweede stop was Webber duidelijk sneller dan Hamilton. Door bijvoorbeeld een ronde langer door te rijden had de tweede stop dan ook de beste kans kunnen zijn om Hamilton voorbij te gaan. Ze doken echter tegelijk de pits en daarmee was deze kans verkeken. Hamilton werd 2e en Webber 3e.
Button had het gat naar Webber dichtgereden, maar verder dan dat zou hij niet meer komen.
In de stand om de 2e plaats in het kampioenschap is Button iets uitgelopen op nummer 3 Alonso. Het verschil is nu 10 punten.
Bruno Senna, P13
“It was far from the best race I’ve had. I got a bad start, and from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle. Being stuck behind a number of other cars again restricted my ability to get points today; I don’t feel there were any specific weaknesses in my car itself but I was just unable to progress much from where I was. We will now see what we can do to better the situation, and come out all guns blazing in India. That’s a culture I’ve not experienced before and a race I’m looking forward to.”
Vitaly Petrov, DNF
“I tried to defend my position from Fernando but I was in the braking zone on the dirty side of the track which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael. I was focused on my battle with Fernando as there was potential for me to be ahead of him. We both braked too late as he missed the corner too. Up until that point I was happy with our strategy and how the race was going. I apologise to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault – once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it. But that’s racing and tomorrow is another day.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Again, I have mixed feelings coming away from this race. If I look at the weekend as a whole, we showed some good pace but perhaps did not capitalise on this. It was disappointing for Bruno not to qualify higher than he did yesterday and as a result the race was always going to be tough. Vitaly had a healthy grid position and was looking good until his mistake cost him on lap 16. If he had carried on as he did during the first stint of race – when he was on super soft (option) tyres – then we could have expected him to finish at least eighth or maybe seventh. Unfortunately it was not to be, but we’ll now look ahead to an exciting fixture in two weeks’ time – the Indian Grand Prix.”
Heikki Kovalainen, P14
“After the fantastic performance last weekend in Japan this is another big step forward for us – finishing 14th today, ahead of both Saubers and within touching distance of Senna on the final lap is for sure our strongest ever race and it’s a great feeling for me and the whole team to see us fighting with a big group of cars right from the very first lap. I had another amazing start, passing a bunch of cars into turn 1 and making it look like they were all in reverse. From there I had a good first stint on the options, managing to look after them well enough to stay out for an extra couple of laps that really helped in the first stop. We went onto the primes, and my pace on them was just fantastic, good enough to help me match the times of the cars ahead right up to about tenth. The second set of primes we put on were exactly the same – the wear rates were totally manageable and I could really push on every lap. We knew there were a few cars ahead who would struggle to get to the end, and if I’d had another half a lap I would have passed Senna for sure. As it was we finished ahead of both Saubers on pace and strategy and that’s a very good feeling. We’ve been strong all weekend and it’s great for the whole team that we’re heading towards the end of the season with a car that is giving us a chance to really show what we can do. Honestly, I’d like to get straight back in now and do it all over again – now I can’t wait for India!”
Jarno Trulli, P17
“That was a really strong race for us, definitely the best of the season, and I want to congratulate the whole team for the work they’ve done here and back at the factory for giving me and Heikki a car that we can really race with. For me, the start wasn’t so good – I lost a few places into the first corner but I made them back up again quickly on the first set of tyres, and when we changed to the primes my times were great. Heikki and I were keeping pace with the midfield and easily pulling away from the cars behind, but then in my second stop I had a bit of an issue with traffic in the pitlane which lost me a bit of time and brought me out just behind where we wanted to be. As soon as the blue flags started coming out late in the race I had to slow up, and if I hadn’t had those problems I’m sure I could have finished with Heikki ahead of Kamui and Sergio. Despite that it’s been a good weekend, and now we have another three races to build on today’s performance and finish the season as well as possible.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer
“A really excellent race and a great performance from the whole team. I know we said that last week in Japan was our strongest ever race but we have managed to improve once again and to beat both Saubers and match the pace of a group of teams ahead is very satisfying indeed. We started both cars on options and then switched onto the primes for the second stint and it was immediately obvious that they were going to degrade much less than we had thought which made the two stop strategy work. Jarno had a very strong middle stint but was unlucky to be held up, dropping him back into the traffic that ultimately meant he finished further back than he could have done. Heikki had a very good start and then drove well throughout the whole race. Towards the end we could see that the Renault’s tyres had given up and we kept telling Heikki to push. He was making up about six seconds a lap over the last two laps and with one lap more I am sure he would have passed him as well, but that does not take anything away from the job we have done today. We are having a very strong end to the season and now we need to make sure we continue this run in the last three races.”
De volgende race is op 30 oktober in Greater Noida, India