Elated Vettel Conquers Korea
Sebastian Vettel celebrated clinching his second World championship a week ago in style with what turned out to be a comfortable victory after snatching the lead under braking into turn 4 of the first lap. Meanwhile, second placed Lewis Hamilton was more preoccupied with holding off Mark Webber in the closing stages. The Australian’s third place wrapped up the Constructors’ title for Red Bull at a circuit were they suffered a double non-finish last year.
Jenson Button followed up in their wake for fourth with Fernando Alonso right behind him despite declaring “I give up!” His Ferrari team mate, Felipe Massa trailed some way back. On the final lap, Jaime Alguersuari passed Nico Rosberg for seventh as the Mercedes driver was running low on fuel. Sebastien Buemi and Paul di Resta rounded out the points scoring positions.
Driver of the Day:
A tough decision, as David Coulthard eluded to at the end of the race but I’m going to give it to the subdued Hamilton who looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He produced some answers to the criticism thrown his way with a tidy run to second – his brief duel and exchange of positions with Webber the highlight of the race. After effectively losing Friday practice, McLaren looked very weak in the final sector and the approach to the DRS zone, something that both Hamilton and Button did well to manage.
At the front, Vettel, Webber, Button and Alonso all had great days at the office but a special mention further down the pack to Alguersuari who did phenomenally well to take seventh at the head of a strong weekend for Toro Rosso that puts them on the tail of Sauber in the standings. Even further back, Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen finished ahead of both Sauber drivers who endured a torrid race.
Sauber had a forgettable weekend and now have Toro Rosso breathing down their necks in the Constructors’ standings. Toro Rosso success just heaped more misery on Williams who have started resembling the best of the “new” teams. However, it is Vitaly Petrov who seemed to be so busy watching Alonso on his outside that he took off his eyes off Schumacher braking ahead of him, ending both their races, that had the worst day. A five-place grid penalty for India was inevitable.
Frankly, there wasn’t a lot to talk about, but it’ll be interesting to see if more comes out in FOM’s race edit to explain Alonso’s declaration that “I give up!” UK commentary suggested it was a desperate ploy to lull Button into a false sense of security but McLaren were not taking the bait if it was. He’d given his all to catch Button – was it just frustration at having nothing more to fight with? Or could it have been aimed at Ferrari? Could Alonso have challenged for a higher position if Massa had simply got out of his way? It’s probable but it’s also good to see Alonso having to find is own way up the order.
Lots of great driving but very little action. Hamilton and Webber’s duel for a lap stood out but it was more about suspense than thrills – will they/won’t they get past? More often than not, they didn’t and there was a sense that DRS was making it more of a nose-to-tail parade, rather than less.
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1h38.01.994|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+12.477|
|7.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+49.538|
|9.||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+62.762|
|10.||Paul Di Resta||Sahara Force India-Mercedes||+68.602|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Sahara Force India-Mercedes||+71.229|
|13.||Bruno Senna||Renault||+1 Lap|
|14.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap|
|15.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16.||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|17.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap|
|18.||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|19.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|20.||Jérôme D’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|21.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||+3 Laps|
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:39.605
Fastest Pitstop: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 19.985s (entry-exit)
|Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||Lap 30||Clutch|
|Vitaly Petrov||Renault||Lap 16||Collision damage|
|Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||Lap 15||Collision damage|
World Drivers’ Championship:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||349 Points|
|2.||Jenson Button||222 Points|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||212 Points|
|4.||Mark Webber||209 Points|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||196 Points|
World Constructors’ Championship:
|1.||Red Bull-Renault||558 Points|
What did you make of the Korean Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Did Petrov deserve a five-place grid penalty? Did Alonso give up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Clive Mason/Getty Images