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2013 Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix: Vettel Seals Championship With India Win Photo:
 
 
Peter Anderson | Oct, 28 2013 | 0 Comments

Sebastian Vettel dominated the Indian Grand Prix weekend to take the race and championship in style. His teammate Mark Webber suffered a race-ending alternator failure while running a strong second.

The German parked his bull in the middle of the main straight after a series of celebratory doughnuts before rushing back to the pits to weigh-in and take his place on the podium.

Daniel Ricciardo came home in tenth place for the final point on a day that belonged to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

Vettel nailed his car to the number one spot in all three sessions at the Buddh circuit. The Mercedes were quick, too, but all the teams noticed the soft compound tyre coming apart pretty quickly.

Free Practice 3 was shortened by twenty minutes after the Delhi smog drifted across the track.

The Williams team were walloped with a €60,000 fine for a repeat of their detaching wheel dramas from Japan.

Vettel again took pole position, this time by a whopping 0.7s from Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Webber took fourth, but in a canny move would start the race on the more fancied medium tyre.

He was followed by the Ferrari of Massa, Raikkonen's Lotus, then Alonso. Both McLarens made the top ten, Perez ninth and Button tenth.

The surprise of the sesssion was Romain Grosjean who could manage only 17th while Daniel Ricciardo took 11th ahead of the Force Indias and teammate Vergne.

 

RACE

It was a murky day for the race, but not so murky the race would be delayed.

Lewis Hamilton got a great start, passing Rosberg but was then heavily blocked by Vettel. Webber bogged down and got caught up with Raikkonen and Alonso, with bits of Ferrari going everywhere.

Webber dropped to seventh, Alonso back into tenth.

Gutierrez went early and he was penalised sixteen laps later with a drive-through.

Massa fired through to second on the back straight, following Rosberg past Hamilton. Further back Alonso ran into Button, tagging the McLaren off the track, but without a puncture.

As is customary, Vettel finsihed the second lap miles ahead, with a 2.5 second gap. di Resta pitted at the end of lap to ditch the soft tyres, as did Vergne.

Vettel pitted the following lap, again to rid himself of the soft tyre. Alonso came in for a new front wing and took the opportunity also to get jettison the softer rubber.

Webber passed Raikkonen for fourth on lap six as Vettel looked to get past the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in thirteenth.

The dire predictions for the soft tyre, however, didn't quite come true. The expected flurry of stops on lap five failed to eventuate, with just a couple of runners coming in that early. Raikkonen was the first to show signs of serious degradation on lap seven, pitting at the end of that lap.

Rosberg came out behind Vettel who himself was behind Gutierrez, who he promptly passed. At the end of lap 9, Webber took the lead as everyone around him pitted.

On lap 12, Hamilton was being urged to save his tyres. Vettel was whittling Webber's lead away as he carved through the field, using DRS to maximum effect. By lap 13 he was in third place.

Grosjean pitted on lap 14 as he tried to sort out his terrible grid position with an out-of-sync strategy.

Vettel got by Perez for second on lap 21. Alonso shouldered his way past Gutierrez for the second time on lap 22, going around the Sauber which was carrying huge straight line speed.

Rosberg and Massa had an entertaining battle on lap 24, with Rosberg taking a huge dive at the Brazilian and almost pulling it off.

Daniel Ricciardo was having a blinder of a race, running fourth in the Toro Rosso while Perez maintained third. Webber's tyres started to show signs of wear on lap 27 as his lap times began to deteriorate.

Massa, Rosberg and Hamilton were battling hard for sixth, with just 1.4 seconds between them, when Rosberg pitted to try and jump the Ferrari. Webber pitted on lap 29 with the German, emerging in second place as Perez came in too.

Webber fitted soft tyres for a short middle stint, punching in a super-fast out-lap.

Massa and Hamilton pitted on lap 31, with Alonso straight into the Ferrari pit after Massa departed. Vettel was called in at the end lap 31 for his second stop, leaving him on the medium tyres for 28 laps.

Webber's tyres quickly began falling apart as his lap times began to fall after a handful of laps, albeit in clear air. Meanwhile Grosjean cruised past Felipe Massa and Button and Alonso enjoyed a brief tussle, with Alonso taking the lead after a three corner see-saw.

Webber pitted in lap 33, emerging in third, just behind Daniel Ricciardo who was still on the medium tyres. The Toro Rosso driver pitted at the end of the lap, releasing Webber into second to chase down Vettel, but it was a big gap, well over twelve seconds.

He was radioed by the team to take it easy, but it didn't matter because two laps later, his alternator gave up.

"Disappointing, but there's not much I can do - there was something wrong with the car, so we had to stop straight away," said Webber.

"I felt some problems with the gearbox and I told the guys but they thought it would clear but it seemed to come back almost immediately. In the end I still have a smile on my face as I couldn't do any more today."

This left Raikkonen in second, Rosberg third and Grosjean in fourth. Each of them were yet to stop, but amazingly, Adrian Sutil was going to attempt a one-stopper in his Force India, despite a Pirelli suggestion of not running the tyres longer than 35 laps.

Raikkonen was asked by his team to save fuel which wasn't music to his ears as Rosberg was closing the gap on him at almost a second a lap, while setting fastest laps.

By lap 52, Rosberg was right on him and breezed by on the back straight with DRS, taking second. Raikkonen's tyres were going away but it was too late to stop again.

At the front, Vettel was advised to stop using the drink bottle. The bottle is powered by the electrics, with the spectre of Webber's failure hanging over the German.

Hamilton was chasing down Massa for fifth, reeling off quick laps to get closer.

Hulkenberg had to retire from the points after an excellent string of points finishes after the team found a problem with the floor of his car.

Raikkonen and Grosjean came together on lap 57 as the Finn pushed his teammate wide. Raikkonen eventually relented, which brought Massa on to his tail and then past.

Hamilton drew up on to the Lotus but also had Perez behind him. Perez took the opportunity to go past both of them, leaving the Mercedes driver to try and fight on fading tyres.

Raikkonen pitted on lap 59 as the team radioed Grosjean to short-shift. The Finn went back out and set the fastest lap of the race.

Vettel crossed the line with a pit stop and change in hand to take his fourth world championship in a row and yet another in a long line of dominant wins.

Rosberg came through in second while short-shifting Grosjean beat Massa to third and Perez fifth.

RESULTS

  1. Vettel - Red Bull-Renault - 1h31:12.187
  2. Rosberg - Mercedes + 29.823
  3. Grosjean - Lotus-Renault + 39.892
  4. Massa - Ferrari + 41.692
  5. Perez - McLaren-Mercedes + 43.829
  6. Hamilton - Mercedes + 52.4
  7. Raikkonen - Lotus-Renault + 1:07.900
  8. Di Resta - Force India-Mercedes + 1:12.800
  9. Sutil - Force India-Mercedes + 1:14.700
  10. Ricciardo - Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:16.200
  11. Alonso - Ferrari + 1:18.200
  12. Maldonado - Williams-Renault + 1:18.900
  13. Vergne - Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
  14. Button - McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap
  15. Gutierrez - Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
  16. Bottas - Williams-Renault + 1 lap
  17. Chilton - Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
  18. Bianchi - Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
  19. Hulkenberg - Sauber-Ferrari + 6 laps
  • Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:27.679

DNF

  • Webber - Red Bull-Renault 40
  • Pic - Caterham-Renault 36
  • van der Garde - Caterham-Renault 2

 
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