F1: Vettel Ignores Team To Take 'Clean Sweep'

Mike Stevens | Nov 1, 2011

Sebastian Vettel on Sunday couldn't resist pushing for F1's coveted 'clean sweep' in India.

Having started from pole, and while comfortably leading at the new Buddh circuit, the back-to-back world champion pushed hard towards the end of the race to also capture the fastest race lap.

Two weeks ago in Korea, the German - having similarly cruised to victory - was chided by his Red Bull bosses after ignoring a request to resist the lure of being the race's quickest driver.

In India, they tried again. "I got some calls from my engineer reminding me what is the target, (that) there is no trophy for fastest lap," confirmed Vettel.

Those calls came before the penultimate lap, when the 24-year-old sped up. On the last lap, he was faster still.

"We spoke about doing that after the last race and Seb apologised," team boss Christian Horner said, according to the Telegraph.

"And yet two weeks later here we are. But he's a sensible boy. I'm sure that he builds in a pretty big margin."

Red Bull did its best to guarantee that 'margin' by instructing Vettel to turn his engine down, and the KERS system off altogether.

"And he was still setting purple sectors at the end," added Horner.

Vettel denied that collecting statistics and challenging records at present is one way to motivate himself now that he is dominating the sport.

"We are still hungry so we are not lacking motivation," he insisted. "All the people come with their questions but we seem to give them the right answers."

(GMM)

Webber's Words on Qualifying 2nd, Finishing 4th

“We lost the podium in the middle of the race really. It’s pretty much the general story of this year; I just don't have the pace at the end of the stints, so I run out of tyres and then lose strategy, it means I have to pit earlier and it makes life harder.

In the end, I wasn’t quick enough. I had a reasonable pace at the start of the stints, but as they go on, we go back into the clutches of the other guys.

We were struggling a little bit with the balance at the end of the stints. It was a good fight with Fernando, but the McLarens and Ferraris were pretty strong in the first sector, Jenson got me on the first lap on the back straight.

I was quick against him in the first few laps, but after that, as soon as you fight you chew up the tyres. So that's the way it goes, disappointing, but now we go to Abu Dhabi."

Hamilton-Massa feud enters 'dangerous phase'

The feud between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa is entering a "dangerous phase", a Brazilian correspondent wrote after Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.

The 2008 championship challengers' series of on-track collisions continued at the new Buddh circuit, but this time it was Massa who was penalised.

The suspicion is that by finally putting some blame on the Ferrari driver, tensions might equalise and the quarrel may end.

Johnny Herbert was the driver steward in India, but Alex Wurz has also fulfilled the FIA role in the past.

"In my opinion," said the former Benetton and Williams driver, "it was 50:50. It was a normal racing incident."

Still, tensions are high. Briton Hamilton put his arm around Massa after the minute's silence on the grid to mark the deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.

"He hadn't spoken to me for a long, long time," revealed the McLaren driver. "I wished him good luck for the race and he gave me a really small acknowledgement, but I wasn't expecting anything more really."

Brazilian Massa later rubbished Hamilton's pre-race efforts.

"He just said 'Have a good race'. This is trying to -- what?" he asked reporters. "'Have a good race' is not part of any talking."

Then came the collision, and Hamilton did not comment at length afterwards as, according to the Telegraph, boss Martin Whitmarsh advised the driver to leave the track quickly.

According to O Estado de S.Paulo journalist Livio Oricchio, it is not just the media intrigue that must stop.

Shortly after two fatalities in premier motor racing, "Next time, it is them (Massa and Hamilton) who could be hurt," he noted.

Sir Jackie Stewart, a staunch advocate of safety, was told the pair have touched on track in six of the 17 Grands Prix so far this year.

"It's an alarming statistic," said the triple world champion.

Whitmarsh urged them to sort it out.

"They're young drivers but they're not that young," said the McLaren chief. "They're men. They've been coming together too frequently.

"Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react and, in truth, Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances of Jenson Button at the moment," he added.

(GMM)

Buemi close to tears as 2012 decision nears

Sebastien Buemi was close to tears after exiting Sunday's Indian Grand Prix in a cloud of smoke.

The Swiss is under immense pressure to prove to Toro Rosso that he should be retained for 2012, as team owner Red Bull looks to place young hopefuls Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Jaime Alguersuari on the other hand appears increasingly established at the Faenza based team and in India pulled out his gap to Buemi to 11 points.

Buemi however was running eighth when his Ferrari engine failed.

He solemnly admitted to Blick newspaper that, given the driver situation for 2012, his current form is worrying.

"Sure. For 2012 only the results matter," said the Swiss on the eve of his 23rd birthday.

"I hope the bosses will see that out of us (Buemi and Alguersuari) I'm the fastest driver on the track.

"Without luck, what can I do? I give everything but you're helpless against fate. I will continue to push even though I've never seen so much Scheisse (sh*t)."

There are just two races left in 2011 for Buemi to show Red Bull that he should continue to be backed.

"In Abu Dhabi and Brazil you will again see a strong fight from me, even though I have much to lose in the battle. But I never give up," he said.

As for whether he sees himself at Toro Rosso for a fourth consecutive season in 2012, he answered: "I can only hope."

(GMM)

Rosberg eyeing Ferrari switch - source

Nico Rosberg could be eyeing a switch from Mercedes to Ferrari, a "source" has told a German tabloid newspaper.

Mercedes chiefs Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug in India indicated they want to keep the 26-year-old beyond his contract, which according to reports is set to run until the end of next season.

But they also acknowledged that the "market is open".

"In general you can go to the wrong team at the wrong team, which is a mistake every driver should try to avoid," said motor sport director Haug.

Interestingly, Rosberg's link to Ferrari follows the latest controversy involving Felipe Massa, after which the Brazilian continued to angrily slam his nemesis Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari has said it will honour Massa's 2012 contract but may look to replace him beyond then.

Explaining Massa's anger after his collision and penalty, Hamilton's boss Martin Whitmarsh noted that the 30-year-old is "under enormous pressure within that team".

The Cologne tabloid Express, meanwhile, noted that Mercedes is actually yet to confirm Rosberg, even for next year.

And the newspaper quoted a source as saying: "Nico is thinking about Ferrari."

(GMM)

Raikkonen return would be 'nice' - Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he would welcome Kimi Raikkonen back to F1.

The 2007 world champion, having driven mainly in world rally but also Nascar-style racing since leaving Ferrari two years ago, is being strongly linked with a comeback with the Williams team.

New reports, including in the major Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, claim the 32-year-old has been training hard for the past four months to get back into shape for F1.

"It would be nice to see him do it," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Finnish broadcaster MTV3. "I am not sure if he is serious about it."

Throughout the Indian Grand Prix weekend, Williams chairman Adam Parr batted away the Raikkonen speculation.

But he finally relented on Sunday in a television interview with the BBC.

"From what we can all see, he (Raikkonen) is very hungry to come back," said Parr, as Williams reportedly contemplates pairing Raikkonen with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

"And I think having a world champion in your midst of course energises people."

Contrary to recent speculation, Helsingin Sanomat said Williams does not need to secure new sponsors to sign Raikkonen.

"We need to get the best driver lineup for next year," said Parr.

(GMM)

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Filed under: f1, Racing, mark webber, sebastian vettel, News, enthusiast, india f1 gp, indian f1 gp

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