And that's a championship again! RBR-Renault secured its second consecutive Formula 1 manufacturers' championship at the Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam, though not without at least a small fight. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) became the first non-Red Bull pole-sitter of the 2011 season in Korea. By Turn 4, however, Sebatian Vettel had claimed P1 and his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber passed Jenson Button in the other McLaren to move into 3rd place.
Vitaly Petrov (Renault) took out both Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) and himself on Lap 15, clobbering the German's rear-end with enough velocity to keep moving and nearly retire Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) as well.
The best racing of the day was the dogfight between Hamiltion and Webber for P2. Beginning on Lap 35, the two raced in tight quarters all the way through Lap 50 when Hamilton finally took second for good with just 5 laps to go.
Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) ran well, moving as high as P3 early in the race on pit rotation and finishing solidly in the points at 7th.
With both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships once again secured by Red Bull, some attention should be given to the team's chief technical officer, Adrian Newey. Newey joined Red Bull Racing's Formula 1 team upon its formation in 2006 explicitly for the challenge of taking a team from scratch to champions.
Newey was an Indy Car fixture in the mid-80s, designing cars which won both multiple series championships and Indy 500s. In 1990, however, he made the jump to Formula 1 with Williams, winning 5 constructors' championships between 1991 and 1997 and designing cars Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, and Alain Prost piloted to drivers' crowns. When he moved to McLaren more championships followed, including two trips to the top for Mika Hakkinen.
Both of these squads, however, were already established units, making the project at Red Bull both the biggest challenge and a great triumph for one of racing's biggest outside-the-cockpit figures. Well done Mr. Newey, well done.
Even with the championships decided, lots of great racing action lies ahead. 26 points separate 2nd through 5th places, with 3 races to go and drivers from McLaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull all in the running for second step on the season podium. And to add even more suspense to proceedings, a brand-new event and cicruit await when Formula 1 racing visits New Delhi this weekend for the innaugural Grand Prix of India.
Driver standings - Top 10
349 - Sebastian Vettel (Germany) - RBR-Renault
222 - Jenson Button (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
212 - Fernando Alonso (Spain) - Ferrari
209 - Mark Webber (Australia) - RBR-Renault
196 - Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
98 - Felipe Massa (Brazil) - Ferrari
67 - Nico Rosberg (Germany) - Mercedes
60 - Michael Schumacher (Germany) - Mercedes
36 - Vitaly Petrov (Russia) - Renault
34 - Nick Heidfeld (Germany) - Renault
Constructor standings - Teams scoring points
558 - RBR-Renault - Vettel, Webber
418 - McLaren-Mercedes - Hamilton, Button
310 - Ferrari - Alonso, Massa
127 - Mercedes - Rosberg, Schumacher
72 - Renault - Heidfeld, Petrov
49 - Force India-Mercedes - Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta
40 - Sauber-Ferrari - Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez
37 - STR-Ferrari - Sebastian Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari
5 - Williams-Cosworth - Rubens Barrichello, Pastor Maldonado
Next event: Indian Grand Prix - New Delhi - October 28-30