Mon, May 23, 2011 - Page 20 News List

F1: Vettel fends off Hamilton’s charge to win Spanish GP

AFP, BARCELONA, SPAIN

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, right, takes the lead in the first turn at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix yesterday in Montmelo, Spain.

Photo: EPA

Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel drove his Red Bull to a narrow and dramatic victory ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in the Spanish Grand Prix yesterday.

The 23-year-old German used his natural speed and clever strategy to steal the lead after starting second behind teammate Mark Webber, resisted all that 2008 champion Hamilton could throw at him in the closing stages of the 66-lap contest.

After a thrilling duel, Vettel finished 0.6 seconds ahead of the 26-year-old Briton to reel off his fourth win in five races this season — his 13th career win — and extend his lead in the drivers’ world championship.

It was the first time that a driver, who did not start from pole, had won the Spanish Grand Prix in 11 years.

Hamilton came home second ahead of his McLaren teammate and compatriot Jenson Briton, who finished third ahead of Webber, who had started from pole, and fifth-placed two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Spaniard Alonso gave his home crowd plenty to cheer with a wonderful start and great charge for Ferrari in the early stages, but could not live with the leaders in the second half of the 66-laps contest.

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, 42, bounced back from his dismal race in Turkey by finishing sixth for Mercedes ahead of his teammate German Nico Rosberg, another German Nick Heidfeld of Renault and the two Sauber drivers Mexican Sergio Perez and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi.

Vettel now has 118 points and leads Hamilton (77 points) by 41 points, while in the constructors standings Red Bull have 185 points to McLaren on 138.

“A great drive Seb. Fantastic. A brilliant job,” Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said to Vettel on the slowing down lap.

“Yabbadabbadoooo,” Vettel said, his youthful enthusiasm shining through.

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