Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vettel Takes Championship Lead In Korean Grand Prix

©2012 MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took a six-point lead in the Drivers Championship at the Korean Grand Prix, unseating Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at the top of the leader board. Teammate Mark Webber crossed the finish line second followed by Alonso who took the third-place podium finish. It is the first time that any team has finished first and second this season.   

With four races to go and only 100 points still available, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton appears locked out of a bid for the championship with his 10th-place finish and sitting 62 points behind Vettel. Likewise, Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) finished in fifth place, stretching his point lead over Hamilton but still remains a daunting 48 points away from the top of the Driver's Championship. Although mathematically available to others, it clearly looks as if the race is now between Vettel and Alonso.

Top ten finishers in order:

Sebastian Vettel- Red Bull
Mark Webber- Red Bull
Fernando Alonso-Ferrari
Felipe Massa- Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen- Lotus
Nico Hulkenberg- Force India
Romain Grosjean- Lotus
Jean-Eric Vergne- Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo- Toro Ross
Lewis Hamilton- McLaren

It was a Red Bull Front row with Webber on pole but Vettel taking the lead easily into the first corner. "Yeah, very pleased, fantastic, I’m very, very happy. I think it was a fantastic race. Obviously the foundation was to have a good start, which I wasn't sure because I was starting on the dirty side but I have to say I had reasonable grip and a very good launch" said Vettel. "We had two brilliant pitstops. So, really, really happy."

Mark Webber had a less-than-perfect start despite beginning on pole. When asked, he replied, "The start wasn't sensational. I’ll have to look into it but yeah, probably the initial getaway wasn't too great."
"Yeah, the first two stints were quite tricky for me and then the last stint I was much happier with the balance but it was all too late then. So, good drive for Seb, great day for the team, the guys did a great job. Of course I’m disappointed but I’m happy to get a good result in the other side as well."
Fernando Alonso had to make do with third. When asked if he felt the Championship battle was on and if there was more to come from him and Ferrari he replied, "Yes, definitely. I think we have to be happy with the performance today, we finished third and fourth, just behind Red Bull that at the moment are difficult to beat. So, it was a good day for the team, for Felipe, for me, and I think we also overtook McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship, which is something that maybe we didn’t expect two or three races ago, so definitely we are moving in the right direction. We just need a little last step to be as competitive as Red Bull and I think it will be a beautiful last four races to the end." Alonso looked outpaced by his teammate Felipe Massa after the final pit stop but race engineer Rob Smedley radioed that he was "a little bit too close to Fernando" and to back off a little.
Although Hamilton followed close behind Alonso in the early laps of the race, a broken rear anti-roll bar caused severe tire wear and he was forced to pit three times during the race - on Laps 13, 26 and 42 - the only driver in the field to do so.  

While Romain Grosjean finished well and remained out of any collisions today, Kamui Kobayashi was not as lucky. Kobayashi, whose seat is in serious contention with Sauber next year, clipped the right-front tire of Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg forcing both out of the race and ending any chance Button might have had toward the title. Kobayashi received a drive-through penalty for causing the incident but was later forced to retire due to damage sustained to his car. 

Jenson Button on McLaren Team Radio: "I've just been hit by Kobayashi. What an idiot!" Kobayashi would later broadcast on Twitter: "It was my mistake at start Sorry for Jenson and Nice (Nico) Also to my team." 

As for the rest of the field, Sergio Perez finished 11th, ahead of Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Charles Pic and Narain Karthikeyan. Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button did not finish.

Please join us October 28 at the Buddh International Circuit for the Indian Grand Prix.

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