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December 28, 2011
F1 2011 frozen in time
It's no easy task to sum up nearly 5,800 kilometers of racing held over nine months and stretched over five continents. So we tried to do so with photos that captured the essence of F1's 2011 edition.
Robert Kubica was missed not just by F1 fans, but also by Renault who made their wishes for him to recover very public. And boy did they miss him. After two podiums in the first two races of the year, the team steadily slid backward.
The cancellation, re-instatement and re-cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the few blights on the 2011 season. Despite the popular protests against the dictatorial government continuing until now, the country is listed on the 2012 calendar.
The return of KERS, the addition of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) rear wing saw overtaking figures sky-rocket. The 2011 season saw a record total of 1,120 overtaking maneuvers. 126 of these were at the Turkish GP alone; another record.
Pirelli’s F1 return brought with it tyres designed to reward drivers with better driving feel and who were better at managing both wear and degredation. It also led to a lot of pit stops. The Hungarian GP alone saw 85 stops for tyre changes amongst 24 drivers.
It wasn’t often that one saw Sebastian Vettel disappointed after a race in 2011. But the Canadian GP was such an occasion. The German was pressured into a mistake by Jenson Button, who’s thrilling win was the highlight of a season when he truly came into his own.
The sight of Michael Schumacher’s red helmet higher up the race classification and occasionally mixing it with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari was a welcome one for his many fans. His drives in Canada, Belgium and India were particularly encouraging.
Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa saw more of each other than they would have liked in 2011. The pair literally came to blows six times on a racetrack; five of those in race conditions. To compound their woes, they were both shaded by their teammates.
Being at the Indian GP during race weekend was a dream come true for Indian motorsports fans. The adulation heaped on the venue and the running of the event by the mainstays in the F1 press, administrators and drivers was the icing on the cake.
Fernando Alonso and Ferrari didn’t have much to cheer about in 2011. However, beating Red Bull in a straight fight at Sliverstone along with nine other podium finishes was proof of the Spaniard’s class. Expect much more in 2012.
After waiting until the last race of 2010 to top the points table, Sebastian Vettel made it a one-man show from the start of 2011 to the finish. His second title in as many seasons puts him in elite company in the annals of F1 history.
As if the staging of an F1 race in India was not enough, the year-ending FIA Gala was held in Gurgaon. Drivers from all FIA sanctioned championships, like World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb (right) received their championship trophies.
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