It is beginning to become very hard to find new ways to describe just how dominating Sebastian Vettel and his superb Red Bull race car have become. Today Vettel won the Grand Prix of India for the second year in a row, leading the 2 year old race from lights to flag once again. This victory is his 4th straight, going back to the Singapore street circuit. That was where the Red Bull technical team delivered exhaust and aero upgrades, which have helped Vettel lead every Grand Prix lap for the last three straight races, something no one in F1 has been able to do since Ayrton Senna did it way back in 1988. Just one more superlative to add to the 25 year-old Vettel’s thick and impressive resume, who now looks like the easy favorite to run away with his 3rd straight World Driver’s Championship.
This is a track that seems custom made for the swift almost mistake free German and his Adrian Newey designed Red Bull, “It has been an incredible two years for us here to get pole on Saturday and win the race on Sunday,” said Vettel. “It’s a very special grand prix, I really like the flow of this circuit. Sector one is a bit slow with long straights, but sector two and three is very nice.”
Vettel’s closest competition Fernando Alonso served notice today with a superb second place drive that he and his Ferrari will not be giving up on the title without a fight. Alonso had a brilliant race, starting with a stunning first lap battle with the McLaren cars of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Alonso, who had started the race in 5th, was actually able to get by both Lewis and Jenson during the first lap, but Button was able to re-pass Fernando later on in the lap. But that was only temporary, because Alonso used his DRS to fly right by Jenson on lap 4 for the 3rd spot. Fernando maintained that position for most of the race, when he got some good news on the radio. Mark Webber, still ahead of him in second place, but at least 8 seconds behind the flying Vettel, reported on lap 45 he was having issues with his KERS power boost.
Alonso steadily closed the gap to Mark until on lap 49 he got past Webber for second, once again in the DRS zone. “It is good news for us, seeing we could fight Red Bull in the race. We more or less knew this, in qualifying we are not close enough to fight for pole position but we are closer in the race – this was a perfect example. Everything was fine in the race and I pushed 110% every lap”
Everything might have been fine for Alonso in the race, but looking forward, the fact that he lost ground to Vettel today, going from 6 points behind Vettel to 13 points back, is not a good sign for his title hopes with only 3 chances remaining. Sure, there are 75 total points out there for winning each race, but the chances of that happening now, especially with the next 2 tracks on tap, Abu Dhabi and Austin Texas right in the Red Bull wheelhouse, Ferrari will need some miracles to start happening quick. Any huge upgrades from the Ferrari factory seem like a very remote possibility, so Alonso’s best hope may be a chink in the Red Bull’s reliability armor, like the KERS failure Webber had today.
Pretty slim hope in my view, but there is still lots to shake out in these last few races, including whether or not Ferrari can stay ahead of McLaren-Mercedes for the second spot in the Constructor’s title chase.They now have a 10 point lead over their historic rivals after India. Only a one week break till the next round in Abu Dhabi, and then the F1 field returns at last to American shores in 3 weeks.
Cannot wait for that and hope to have some new ways to describe the excellence that is Sebastian Vettel!
Indian Grand Prix Results – 28 October 2012 – 60 Laps
POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT LAPS TIME/RETIRE
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 60 1h31m10.744
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 60 9.437
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 60 13.217
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 60 11.909
5. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 60 26.266
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 60 44.674
7. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 60 45.227
8. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 60 54.998
9. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 60 56.103
10. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 60 1m14.975
11. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 60 1m21.694
12. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 60 1m22.815
13. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 60 1m26.064
14. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 60 1m26.495
15. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 59 1 Lap
16. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 59 1 Lap
17. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 59 1 Lap
18. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 59 1 Lap
19. Charles Pic France Marussia-Cosworth 59 1 Lap
20. Timo Glock Germany Marussia-Cosworth 58 2 Laps
21. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 58 2 Laps
22. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP 55 5 Laps, Gearbox
R Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 42 Spin
R Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 20 Damage
Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 60 1:28.203