Here is the performance podium, where I rank the three drivers who I feel drove the best at the Buddh International Circuit, and not necessarily in the order in which they finished the race.
1) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Having lost the lead of the championship to Sebastian Vettel in Korea, it was vital that Fernando Alonso bounced back in India.
Starting from fifth, Alonso produced a typically fighting drive, racing three-wide with the McLarens down the long back straight and then making short work of both of them soon afterwards. After the pit stops he never gave up in his pursuit of Mark Webber, and when the Red Bull driver developed a problem with his KERS system the Spaniard was ready to pounce and passed the Aussie to move into second.
Although his car wasn’t quick enough to compete with Vettel, he limited the damage in terms of the championship, and with a deficit of only 13 points with three races left he is still firmly in the title hunt.
2) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
Since the end of the European season, Sebastian Vettel has been unstoppable, and a dominant drive in New Delhi earned the German his fourth successive victory.
Still on a high from taking the championship lead in Korea, Vettel produced a trademark performance, getting the jump from pole and then scampering away from the rest of the field. Whenever it looked like he was in danger of being challenged, he upped the pace, always finding a few tenths when he had to.
Despite a problem with his car’s floor in the closing stages, Vettel held firm to take his 26th career victory and solidify his advantage at the top of the drivers’ standings.
3) Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
Having endured a disappointing few races, Lewis Hamilton bounced back in India and narrowly avoided getting himself onto the podium, finishing fourth.
Hamilton had a poor start to the race, losing two positions on the opening lap, but he recovered to pass his teammate Jenson Button and set about catching those in front of him. After a downshift issue was fixed by changing his steering wheel at his pit stop, the Englishman picked up the pace and nearly managed to catch Mark Webber to take third place.
Had the race been a lap longer, it’s likely Hamilton would’ve snatched that position, and with just three races left he will be looking to finish off the year – and his McLaren career – in style.