Vettel cruises to victory in India


Sebastian Vettel took yet another lights-to-flag victory as he cruised to a fourth successive win at the Indian Grand Prix.

Vettel led away from the start and was never threatened, taking the chequered flag almost ten seconds clear of title rival Fernando Alonso.

Alonso produced a characteristically determined drive to charge through from fifth on the grid to second, passing Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber in the closing stages, but he never realistically had the pace to challenge.

Webber finished third, just holding off Lewis Hamilton for the final podium place after suffering from KERS issues towards the end of the race.

The two Red Bulls escaped at the start of the race, leaving the rest to battle it out behind them. There was a great battle as Fernando Alonso used the Ferrari’s superior straight line speed to outdrag the McLarens down the long back straight, only to lose out to both of them in the braking zone for turn 4, although he recovered to pass Lewis Hamilton into the following corner.

Further back Jean-Eric Vergne got into Michael Schumacher, leaving the Mercedes driver to limp back to the pits with a puncture.

Alonso wasted no time getting down to work, taking advantage of the DRS to pass Jenson Button for third on lap 3.

Button was struggling for pace, and shortly afterwards lost fourth to his teammate Hamilton. He would endure a quiet rest of the afternoon, eventually finishing down in fifth place.

Felipe Massa drove a solid if unspectacular race to come home in sixth, keeping the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen at bay for most of the race.

Raikkonen did pass Massa briefly after the Brazilian’s pit stop, but timed his move too early and got in front of his former teammate before the DRS detection point, leaving himself an easy target for Massa to easily retake the position on the back straight.

Nico Hulkenberg followed Raikkonen home in eighth, whilst Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna completed the points positions.

Senna had to fight hard to take the final point, being stuck behind Nico Rosberg for a lot of the race, but the Brazilian managed to take the place with a bold move around the outside at turn 4.

There were small bursts of action through the race. Sergio Perez was forced to retire from the race with puncture damage after colliding with Daniel Ricciardo, whilst Pastor Maldonado also suffered a flat tyre after coming together with Kamui Kobayashi.

But the main entertainment focused on the fight for second. The race had looked like ending with a comfortable Red Bull 1-2 in the first stint, but the pace of Alonso after the only round of pitstops saw him close up to the back of Webber.

It looked for a while as though Webber had survived the initial assault from the Spaniard as he began to edge clear once more, but a KERS issue on his Red Bull gave Alonso his opportunity, and he took advantage of the DRS to pass the Australian and split the Red Bulls.

Webber then had to fight to keep a resurgent Lewis Hamilton behind him, but the McLaren driver just ran out of laps and was unable to get himself onto the podium.

But they were not in the same class as Vettel, who survived a scare in the closing stages when his car started rubbing along the ground and producing sparks to take his fifth win of the season and extend his lead in the championship to 13 points with just three races remaining.

Race Results
1) Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault – 1:31:10.744
2) Fernando Alonso Ferrari – +9.437 seconds
3) Mark Webber Red Bull – +13.217 seconds
4) Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes – +13.909 seconds
5) Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes – +26.266 seconds
6) Felipe Massa Ferrari – +44.674 seconds
7) Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault – +45.227 seconds
8) Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Ferrari – +54.998 seconds
9) Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault – +56.103 seconds
10) Bruno Senna Williams-Renault – +1:14.975 seconds
11) Nico Rosberg Mercedes – +1:21.674 seconds
12) Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes – +1:22.815 seconds
13) Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +1:26.064 seconds
14) Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari – +1:26.495 seconds
15) Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari – Lapped
16) Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault – Lapped
17) Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault – Lapped
18) Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault – Lapped
19) Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth – Lapped
20) Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth – Lapped
21) Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth – Lapped
22) Michael Schumacher Mercedes – Retired
23) Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth – Retired
24) Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari – Retired

Stephen D’Albiac

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