MOKPO, South Korea — With a crowd of 84,000 in attendance, the second annual Korean Grand Prix did not disappoint with Germany’s two-time F1 champion, Sebastian Vettel completing the 308km circuit in 1 hour and 38 minutes followed by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton coming in second for the McClaren team a full 12 seconds behind.
Hamilton won the pole position in Saturday’s qualifying race but was passed by Vettel before the completion of the first lap, from which Vettel never let go of the lead. This was a great day for Vettel whose engine blew in last years KGP as he started the 47th lap of the 55 lap contest.
Although Vettel was already crowned season champion earlier this month in Japan for the second straight year, there was no lack of tension during Sunday's race which saw the legendary Michael Schumacher crash spectaculary in turn three. While Vettel cruised to an easy victory, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton battled fiercly with Red Bull's Mark Webber for second place.
Schumacher was in the top ten and looking at a solid point gain for the season when Vitaly Petrov outbraked himself in to turn three while defending his car from Fernando Alonso and crashed in to the rear of Schumacher’s Mercedes. Both drivers tried to continue but Schumacher stopped on the track and Petrov pulled into the pits with both drivers out for the day. Schumacher showed no ill will towards Petrov saying that the two had raced closely in the past and that clashes were inevitible.
"Well I was suddenly 180 degrees in the wrong direction and saw my wing hanging down and a Renault wing flying past," Schumacher told the BBC. "But that's racing, it does happen occasionally. I haven't seen the total circumstance of it as I was focusing forward to Perez and not really paying much attention to what happens to the back, but there you go.
The race, which took place 250 miles south of Seoul in Mokpo (pop. 245,000) was attended by an estimated 160,000 spectators over the course of the weekend. After being plagued by rookie mistakes last year including a lack of sufficient hotel accommodations and huge traffic jams outside the race area, this year’s year’s event went well by all standards with several new roads being built to accommodate the huge crowds and shuttle buses being used to ferry attendees to and from the race.
As usual, Korean spectators were not lacking for enthusiasm as many watched F1 racing for the first time.
“The people of Korea seemed to really embrace this Grand Prix — the grandstands were packed and the enthusiasm for the sport was infectious,” said Martin Whitmarsh, director of the McLaren Mercedes team, in an interview with the New York Times.
Final Standings Korean Grand Prix 2011
|1||25||1||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||Red Bull RB7||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||55||1:38'01.994|
|2||18||3||Lewis Hamilton (GBR)||McLaren MP4-26||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||55||1:38'14.013||+12.019|
|3||15||2||Mark Webber (AUS)||Red Bull RB7||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||55||1:38'14.471||+12.477|
|4||12||4||Jenson Button (GBR)||McLaren MP4-26||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||55||1:38'16.688||+14.694|
|5||10||5||Fernando Alonso (ESP)||Ferrari F150th||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||55||1:38'17.683||+15.689|
|6||8||6||Felipe Massa (BRA)||Ferrari F150th||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||55||1:38'27.127||+25.133|
|7||6||19||Jaime Alguersuari (ESP)||Toro Rosso STR6||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||55||1:38'51.532||+49.538|
|8||4||8||Nico Rosberg (GER)||Mercedes-Benz MGP W02||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||55||1:38'56.047||+54.053|
|9||2||18||Sébastien Buemi (SUI)||Toro Rosso STR6||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||55||1:39'04.756||+1'02.762|
|10||1||15||Paul di Resta (GBR)||Force India VJM04||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||55||1:39'10.596||+1'08.602|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil (GER)||Force India VJM04||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||55||1:39'13.223||+1'11.229|
|12||11||Rubens Barrichello (BRA)||Williams FW33||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||55||1:39'35.062||+1'33.068|
|13||9||Bruno Senna (BRA)||Renault R31||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|14||20||Heikki Kovalainen (FIN)||Lotus T128||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|15||16||Kamui Kobayashi (JPN)||Sauber C30||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|16||17||Sergio Perez (MEX)||Sauber C30||Ferrari 056||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|17||21||Jarno Trulli (ITA)||Lotus T128||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|18||24||Timo Glock (GER)||Virgin MVR-02||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|19||22||Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)||HRT F111||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|20||25||Jérôme d'Ambrosio (BEL)||Virgin MVR-02||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||54||+1 lap|
|21||23||Tonio Liuzzi (ITA)||HRT F111||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||52||+3 laps|
|engine||12||Pastor Maldonado (VEN)||Williams FW33||Cosworth CA2011||Pirelli||30||16|
|collision||10||Vitaly Petrov (RUS)||Renault R31||Renault RS27-2011||Pirelli||16||8|
|collision||7||Michael Schumacher (GER)||Mercedes-Benz MGP W02||Mercedes FO108X||Pirelli||15||12|
|Driver||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull–Renault|
|Time||1:50.257 on lap 42|
And of course, the Korean Race Girls