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Vettel Wins Inaugural Indian Grand Prix

By saltire | 30 Oct 2011 | 7 Comments | 2,494 views

F1 may be visiting a new circuit but once again it was a Red Bull which took the plaudits with Sebastian Vettel claiming victory in Greater Noida; his eleventh win of the season and 21st in total. Not content with adding another win to his growing list of records, the German added fastest lap and most laps lead in a single season to his list of achievements, taking the latter record from Nigel Mansell who had held it since 1992. Jenson Button had another productive weekend to finish second ahead of third place driver Fernando Alonso with Mark Webber who had started second but dropped back in the field during the race finishing fourth.

Jenson’s podium secured McLaren’s second place in the Constructor’s championship ahead of Ferrari who will finish third, further down the table, points finishes for Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber mean the battle is on to secure sixth place with only ten points separating the three. In the driver’s championship, the fight for second place is hotting up with Button leading Alonso and Webber by 13 and 19 points respectively, and, with fifty points still available from the remaining two races it’s looking unlikely that Hamilton, who’s 38 points adrift can catch up.
Red Bull Racing/Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Driver of the Day:
With little on track action there wasn’t any one driver who deserved driver of the day. Vettel was flawless once again but starting on pole and seemingly unchallenged, apart from a few laps post pit stops when Button tried to reel him in on fresher rubber, I’m loathe to give him the nod. There were solid performances from Button, Alonso and the Mercedes pair whilst Jaime Alguersuari continued his points run to take Toro Rosso into contention for sixth in the Constructor’s championship.

Good Day:
It was a good day for Mercedes as Schumacher and Rosberg finished fifth and sixth respectively, on balance their points positions were probably higher than they deserved, based on race pace alone. Meanwhile, Alguersuari’s eighth place must have done his chances of retaining his seat next year immesurable good as he secured back to back points performances.

Notable mention must go to Narain Karthikeyan, the Indian driver, dropped in favour of Daniel Ricciardo hadn’t driven an F1 car since Valencia yet put in a solid performance to finish ahead of the young Australian, with the silly season now in full swing I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Narain next year if HRT are struggling for finance.

Bad Day:
Without doubt it was a race to forget for Felipe Massa. Whilst fighting for position, he collided with Hamilton on the run up to turn five; the pair seem to have an almost magnetic attraction for each other! Both were able to continue their race but Massa was deemed responsible, serving a drive through penalty for the privilege of his error. As if that wasn’t enough, his day was to go from bad to worse as he re-lived his own groundhog day moment, a near identical accident to qualifying when he broke his front suspension mounting the raised orange kerb behind the rumble strip and ending his race.

Race Rating:
A track that promised so much delivered very little in the way of action and enjoyment, it’s all becoming so predictable at the front with Red Bull’s bullet proof reliability.

Full Result:

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:35.002
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +8.433
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +24.301
4. Mark Webber      Red Bull-Renault +25.529
5. Michael Schumacher       Mercedes +65.421
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +66.851
7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes      +84.183
8. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari       +1 Lap
9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 Lap
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault +1 Lap
12. Bruno Senna Renault      +1 Lap
13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes      +1 Lap
14. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault +2 Laps
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth +2 Laps
16. Jérôme D’Ambrosio       Virgin-Cosworth +3 Laps
17. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth +3 Laps
18. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth +3 Laps
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault +5 Laps

Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:27.249

Fastest Pitstop: Michael Schumacher, Mercedes – 20.893s (entry-exit)

Not classified/retirements:

Felipe Massa Ferrari Lap 33      Suspension
Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari      Lap 25 Engine
Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth Lap 13 Gearbox
Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth Lap 3 Collision damage
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari Lap 1 Collision

World Drivers’ Championship:

1.   Sebastian Vettel 374 Points
2. Jenson Button       240 Points
3. Fernando Alonso 227 Points
4. Mark Webber 221Points
5. Lewis Hamilton 202 Points

World Constructors’ Championship:

1.   Red Bull-Renault       595 Points
2. McLaren-Mercedes     442 Points
3. Ferrari 325 Points
4. Mercedes 145 Points
5. Renault 72 Points

What did you make of the Indian Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Did Massa deserve a penalty for his tangle with Hamilton or was it just a racing incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

Photo: Red Bull Racing/Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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  • Reboot

    A good balanced summary, I would give driver of the day to Jenson as he gained the 2 places, had to work hard to keep webber behind at times and at least least briefly applied a little pressure to Vettel.

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  • Mav

    Have to give Vettel driver of the day. Not his fault he’s making it look easy.

    Bad day: it’s a good job Massa was absolutely useless or I might have noticed how poor Webber was.

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  • Marina

    Even though it was kind of predictable, I enjoyed this race for some reason. The new track seems pretty neat.

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  • saltire (author)

    Didn’t realise Vettel had managed the Grand Chelem en route to his win, that’s obviously why he was after the fastest lap on the last lap.

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  • Mav

    It’s nice to see a trophy that actually fits the FIA’s rules and which can be drank out of for a change, rather than the usual bits of half melted plastic. Yeah, I’m talking about you Santander.

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  • Karen

    2nd most watched race this year in the UK, and the highest rated qualifying of the year.

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