17.38 Hope you enjoyed today’s race, people – we certainly did. Plenty of action out there despite the fact that the rains never came, and in the end the right man won it. That’s it from us – we’re off to throw a massive piece of meat in a sizzling hot pan, snap open a tin of something cold and plan a nice big winter holiday. See you in Australia!
Here’s how they finished the final race of the year:
1. Mark Webber
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Jenson Button
4. Fernando Alonso
5. Felipe Massa
6. Adrian Sutil
7. Nico Rosberg
8. Paul Di Resta
9. Kamui Kobayashi
10. Vitaly Petrov
11. Jaime Alguersuari
12. Sebastien Buemi
13. Sergio Perez
14. Rubens Barrichello
15. Michael Schumacher
16. Heikki Kovalainen
17. Bruno Senna
18. Jarno Trulli
19. Jerome d’Ambrosio
20. Daniel Ricciardo
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF)
22. Lewis Hamilton (DNF)
23. Pastor Maldonado (DNF)
24. Timo Glock (DNF)
17.33 And that’s it – after a year spent in Sebastian Vettel’s sizeable shadow, Red Bull’s Mark Webber has finally made an impression on the 2011 Formula One season. It’s far too little far too late, of course and it took a technical problem from his dominant teammate to get him there, but even we have to admit that it’s great to see Marko back in winning ways. Could this mean he’s a contender for next year? Quite possibly – but only as long as Vettel’s car continues to fall to pieces.
17.30 Wonder if Fat Ronaldo’s disinterested son has fallen asleep yet. We certainly won’t be nodding off – this has been a throughly intriguing race. And we’re not just saying that because we’re about to collect £30 from the bookies.
17.24 And there it is – the rear wing flap opens up like an expensive letterbox and Jenson passes Alonso into turn four. Clinical stuff. Meanwhile, Vettel’s taken a little journey off the track – Jenson couldn’t seriously make up the 11 seconds in eight laps, could he?
17.20 We never thought he’d do it, but it looks like Jenson’s finally on the back of Alonso. He’s within DRS striking distance – here’s hoping he can slip through with minimal drama.
17.14 Quick two-thirds distance update then – it’s Webber, Vettel, Alonso, Button, Massa, Sutil, Rosberg, Di Resta, Kobayashi and Petrov. Our £5 punt on Marko is looking good. What sauce shall we have with our steak tonight? Peppercorn? Bernaise? Blue cheese? Decisions, decisions…
17.11 Now, can Vettel’s ropey gearbox hold on until the end of the race? He’s currently five seconds behind Mark Webber and around nine ahead of Alonso. Would be a shame not to have the champ on the podium this afternoon, but we get the feeling that if anyone can nurse it home, it’s him.
17.05 Well, he hasn’t smacked Massa but Lewis is out of the race nonetheless – that croaky gearbox has finally given up on him. Third DNF of the year for the McLaren man. Shame.
17.03 Massa pits as well and it’s back on – Lewis less than a second behind the Ferrari once more. He fully expect post-race violence if he clatters him for the sixth time this season.
17.01 Bah – Lewis ducks into the pits. Still, probably just as well. He rejoins the race in 7th.
16.58 Lewis all over Massa. Could be some carbon fibre flying through the air any second now…
16.57 Schumi’s up to 17th now after his early drama, but still – he’ll be finishing the season with fewer points than teammate Nico Rosberg. Straw poll: should Schumacher give up? Surely it’s a yes…
16.54 Button’s through on Massa! Nice, clean DRS-aided move from JB. Alonso’s a little way down the road though – a good five seconds in fact. It’s not beyond Jenson, but he’ll need to push like a madman for the remaining 32 laps.
16.53 Weather update: still not raining.
16.51 Now Lewis has a gearbox problem – that’s his chances of a podium well and truly kicked in the trousers. Jenson’s behind both the Ferraris now, so chances of seeing a Union Jack amidst the champagne aren’t looking good.
16.46 Feels like an eternity since we’ve seen Mark Webber leading a race – he’s not won since Hungary last year. Still half the race to go yet, but it looks like Marko’s season is finally about to get off the ground. Could have done with a performance like this seven or eight months ago, but still…
16.41 There it is – Vettel lets Webber through to take the lead – but only after clocking a blisteringly fast lap and momentarily extending the gap. A little message to the team from a man unhappy about surrendering his lead, perhaps?
16.40 Having said that, Marko’s definitely closing. There’s a Williams out! Please don’t be Rubens, please don’t be Rubens. Phew – it’s only Pastor Maldonado.
16.34 Incredibly, Vettel’s still keeping Webber at bay, despite his technical issues. So there we have it – Vettel with a gearbox problem is as good as Webber in a perfect car.
16.31 Nearly a third of the race gone then, and it certainly feels as though – whether it rains or not – something spicy could be brewing. After the first round of pitstops it’s currently Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Massa, Kobayashi, Buemi, Perez, Sutil.
16.28 Drive-through for Bruno Senna after that tangle with Michael Schumacher. Extremely harsh, we’d say. Still, Schumi’s running last and in our eyes that’s no more than he deserves.
16.26 Seb drops in for new boots – this could be Marko’s moment. He’s due in this lap but can he leapfrog the world champion?
16.21 Gearbox problem for Vettel! He’s still running well but Webber’s definitely closing on him. We stuck a fiver on Marko earlier – looks like it could be steak for dinner tonight.
16. 20 Some rain would be amazing right about now.
16.18 Meanwhile Alonso’s just nailed one of the best moves of the season around the outside of Jenson Button. Unspectacular race for JB so far – he’s got Lewis all over the back of him now.
16.15 Bloody hell – Schumi’s just annihilated himself after a massively clumsy move on Bruno Senna for 9th. Front wing has fallen to pieces and he’ll be lucky not to have picked up a puncture. Could this be the sixth retirement of the season for Michael?
16.11 Poor old Rubens Barrichello is the race’s biggest loser so far – he’s slipped down five places to 17th. We’ve got a feeling that man’s going to need a hug in a couple of hours time.
16.08 DRS has been activated, and looks like it could be a matter of a couple of laps before Alonso uses it to slip past the second of the two McLarens. Jenson’s about four seconds behind Webber already, so it’ll be no use to him.
16.06 Vettel already looking frighteningly comfortable at the front. Eddie Jordan reckoned he might hand the race to Webber – possibly the most nonsensical opinion EJ’s spouted all season.
16.03 Slick start from the Ferraris – Alonso is through on Lewis with Massa making up some ground off the line too. Vettel’s got a couple of car lengths on Webber already. Looks like everyone made it through the first lap intact…
16.02 We’ve got a sudden strange feeling that something absolutely mental is about to happen.
15.59 Tyre blankets are off, and the formation lap is under way. Quick reminder of the grid – it’s Vettel on pole, then Webber, Jenson, Lewis, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Sutil, Senna and Schumacher.
15.56 We’ve just stuck a fiver on Webber (6/1) and two quid on Alonso (14/1). Suffice to say that if Vettel wins again we’ll be doubly miffed.
15.55 321st and possibly final race of Rubens Barrichello’s career. Will be very sad not to see him back next year.
15.51 Fat Ronaldo: still fat. Still really fat.
15.49 What snacks is everyone going for this afternoon? We’ve gone for coffee with hazelnut syrup and chilli flavour Doritos. Surprisingly palatable combination.
15.45 Interesting point from DC there – if Jenson has a good day out today, he’ll have scored more points than anyone else in the second half of the season. If only he hadn’t waited until Canada to start winning….
15.30 This is it, folks – race 20 of 20. The sun’s out over Interlagos but there’s talk of rain, meaning the Brazilian Grand Prix is far from another foregone conclusion for Sebastian Vettel. Can Webber finally get away well and claim his first win of the year? Could one of the midfielders throw caution to the wind and pull off a massive shock? We’re just half an hour from the green light, so stick your feet up and charge your mug with something caffeinated – the final F1 Grand Prix of 2011 starts in just over 20 minutes.