Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vettel's Perfect Drive Takes Indian Grand Prix and 2013 F1 Championship

Photo Credit: Infinti
Prior to the 2013 Indian Grand Prix on the Buddh International Circuit, the drivers' and manufacturers' championships were on the break of being locked up. The fourth-to-last race on the 2013 Formula 1 tour, German racing superstar Sebastian Vettel needed only to add five more points than Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso to seal his fourth consecutive title. Capturing pole for Sunday's 60-lap main event, Vettel enters the Indian Grand Prix on a hot streak with five-straight victories.

It was a picture perfect start for Sebastian Vettel as he left the Mercedes-AMG cars in his dust. This early lead was short-lived as Vettel relinguished the top spot for a Red Bull Racing tire stop. Including Vettel many of the top cars starting on the soft compound rubber upgraded to medium compound Pirelli tires within the initial laps.

Within a field scrambling for position behind the leading Red Bull-Renault was Fernando Alonso who was starting the Italian Grand Prix eighth with only a remote chance at challenging Vettel for the 2013 drivers' title. Despite Vettel's potential victory being enough to secure the championship, Alonso's efforts would also be conflicted by a collision with Mark Webber's Red Bull-Renault on the start. With front end damage to his Ferrari, Alonso was forced to pit road for repairs. Alonso would struggle for track position since the early race mishap. Deeper in the field on the first lap, another collision occurred between the Caterhams of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic as well as Max Chilton's Marussia-Cosworth. The Caterham-Renault of van der Garde would be the race's first retirement.

Starting 17th after some great Formula 1 race runs on past events, French driver Romain Grosjean was facing an uphill battle competing in India. Starting on soft compound Pirelli slicks, Grosjean's Lotus-Renault lasted 13 laps before making his switch to medium tires. Grosjean would make an intrepid climb early and quickly made his way into the top-5.

As the Indian Grand Prix progressed, Sebastian Vettel began to show his class-leading form. Making his final pit stop on lap 31, the German driver's Red Bull-Renault set out a commanding interval between himself and the second-place runner. Despite the team pride with their lead driver, an opportunity at a Red Bull Racing 1-2 finish was denied on lap 39. An alternator problem on Mark Webber's car has cost the Australian another strong finish in as many grand prix races.

During the late stages of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, the story was Kimi Raikkonen trying to stay out on medium compound tires placed on his Lotus-Renault back on lap seven. His vehicle was immensely off the pace with other vehicles running on fresher Pirelli. Fighting to hold on to third place, Raikkonen was actually creating drama within his own team as Romain Grosjean was closely following on faster Pirelli tires. With reports of heated team communications towards Kimi Raikkonen's car, the Finnish driver would yield to Grosjean. With a lap 58 pit stop, Raikkonen would finish the Indian Grand Prix seventh.

Crossing the line 29.8 seconds ahead of runner-up Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel officially became the 2013 Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion with a convincing victory at the Buddh International Circuit. An elated German driver celebrated his sixth-straight grand prix win and fourth-consecutive Formula 1 points title with some rarely-seen tire donuts on the racetrack. Leaving his mark on the track, the win was repeats triumphs in 2011 and 2012 making Vettel the only grand prix winner of the Indian Formula 1 race. The Formula 1 race stewards did issue a 25,000 euro fine for the post-race celebration but the penalty likely represented money well spent by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing who also gains the crown as the manufacturers' champion. With Fernando Alonso unable to claim a single point, Vettel has padded his point lead by 25 points.

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

With a quiet second-place run, Nico Rosberg headed the Mercedes-AMG team its first podium since the Hungarian Grand Prix victory by Lewis Hamilton. In the second Mercedes-AMG race car, Hamilton came across the finish line sixth.

Taking the third spot on the Indian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean benefitted gained pivotal track position thanks to a one-stop strategy performed with his Lotus F1 Team. The result becomes Grosjean's third-consecutive third-place finish in the 2013 Formula 1 season. With 16 races completed in 2013, Romain Grosjean has scored as many points as he did after 19 races in 2012. While his future in Formula 1 was in question at the start of this Formula 1 year, Grosjean's performance especially as of late could allow his stay in the Lotus F1 Team to be extended.

Photo credit: Mercedes AMG

Just outside the podium, some great performances has the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez's McLaren-Mercedes scoring major points. For Perez, the finish is McLaren's highest placement in a 2013 grand prix event through what has become a dismal season for the typical Formula 1 front-runner.

The next race for the 2013 Formula 1 tour will be held in the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be held on the Yas Marina Circuit on November 3rd.

2013 Formula 1
Indian Grand Prix
Race Results

1 1 Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Renault
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
4 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari
5 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes-Benz
6 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
7 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault
8 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes-Benz
9 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes-Benz
10 19 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
11 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
12 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams F1 Renault
13 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
14 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
15 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
17 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth
18 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth
19 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari
20 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault
21 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault
22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault

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