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GP Week : Issue 144
40 Lightning doesn’t strike twice they say, but it did for Sebastian Vettel over the last two races as he saw another potential victory slip through his grasp with another mechanical problem, despite such bullet-proof reliability earlier in the season. The double world champion led from pole for 30 laps before ceding position to team-mate Webber due to a gearbox problem that developed as early as lap 5. The problem meant he had to short-shift through second and third gears in order to stop the gearbox, which was losing oil, from overheating. When the car was returned from parc ferme an inspection found only small amounts of oil left, underlining just how remarkable a race Vettel had run. “ The race was dominated by trying to manage the problem that Sebastian had; he did an unbelievable job to keep his car alive to the end of the race,” lauded team principal Christian Horner. “ The problem appeared on lap 5, due to a gearbox that was losing oil. Temperatures were therefore creeping up, but he adopted his driving technique and did an awesome job to get the car to the end.” Despite not being able to challenge him for the victory, Vettel said Webber deserved the win, his one and only of the 2011 campaign. “I got the message we had a problem, which was a shame as we had a great start to the race. After that, it was obvious that that I had to shift early and save the gearbox,” explained Vettel. “I hoped it would recover so I kept pushing, but it didn’t happen and then the target was to see the chequered flag. Mark had a great race and deserved to win.” Flawless reliability deserts champion in final two rounds