After six Grand Prix races Red Bull’s driver has opened a 58-point gap from his closer contender McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
The best driver in the best car can only lead to what is going on in the 2011 Formula 1 season: Red Bull Racing Sebastian Vettel as the leader of the championship with a comfortable advantage of 58 points over Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton (143 and 85 respectively), who comes in second. His title defense has been a smooth ride so far in the year where he has won five out of the six races disputed. Not even the new rules established for this season such as the Pirelli tires that wear out faster, or the KERS units, neither the Drag Reduction System have been an obstacle for him to impose his rhythm, which is obviously at a higher pace than the rest.
If it wouldn’t have been for a technical issue experienced during the Chinese Grand Prix, where he finished in second place, Vettel would have an astonishing perfect record this season. Unfortunately for him, his radio suffered some malfunctioning in the final laps. Unable to communicative with his team Vettel accused poor tire management and ended up losing the first place to Hamilton.
After demonstrating a strong mentality last season by turning into the youngest driver ever to win the World Drivers’ Championship -with an epic ending in the last race of the season disputed in Abu Dhabi Vettel is making of this 2011 his consolidation year.
Despite this, it is too early to anticipate his second championship in a row, for there are still 13 races to go, that could end up being 14 if on June 3 the F1 pronounces in favor of rescheduling The Bahrain Grand Prix, which was supposed to kick off the season on March 13. The political conflict that has been shaking the Middle East this year was the reason for the race to be postponed, and that could also cause it to be eliminated from the calendar.
What is not soon to say is that if teams called to fight for the title due to their history -and by that we refer to Ferrari and McLaren- don’t see an evolution in their cars, it is going to be impossible for them to compete head to head with Red Bull. Drivers like Alonso and Hamilton are as skilled as Vettel, but their cars are not in the same conditions as of press time.
Up next is the Canadian Grand Prix, which will be held on June 13. During its last edition Hamilton was the fastest driver on the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit at Montreal, and it represent his second victory in this racetrack after first place in 2007. A third victory from him combined with Vettel being forced to abandon the race is one equation that could bring more excitement to the season, for it would allow Hamilton to reduced distances with him to only 33 points.
What we want to emphasize here is how the scenario could change for Vettel if he is unable to finish just one race. This championship is far from over and the best is still to come.