Vettel dominates in India; extends championship lead

Sebastian Vettel raises his arms in triumph after winning his fourth race in a row sunday in India. Photo courtesy of Sutton Imagesports

BUDDH, India-Despite starting well and running with a front wing that was nearly scrapping the ground, Sebastian Vettel easily won the Indian Grand Prix Sunday at New Dehli from start to finish to give the defending world champion his fourth win in a row and extend his lead in the Formula One World Championship over Fernando Alonso, who finished in second 9.4 seconds behind. Mark Webber narrowly held off Lewis Hamilton to take third.

"Big thanks to the team, everyone - I said it on the radio - every single one is pushing very hard," Vettel said. “There's not one thing that stands out and makes a difference. Not today, not yesterday but this weekend; I think it's all of us working hand in hand together, if we're here at the track or back in Milton Keynes everyone is pushing hard and I think that's what makes the difference. I'm very happy and glad to be part of that and just enjoying the moment."

Vettel increased his lead right from the beginning of the race, and had a gap 0f 3.6 seconds by lap 15. His fellow countryman, Michael Schumacher did not have so much luck, as the seven times world champion suffered a first lap puncture on the opening lap and was lapped most of the race by other drivers. Even at one point, the Mercedes driver ignored blue flags and was being investigated after the race. Schumacher was only one of two retirements throughout the entire race, departing two laps from the finish. Sauber’s Sergio Perez was the other, leaving the race on lap 22.

By lap 27, Vettel held just over a ten second lead while Webber comfortably held second place for most of the race until his KERS power system failed and was passed by Alonso with 11 laps to go in the race. Vettel improved on his time and extended his lead to 11.3 seconds, until he was told that his front wing was beginning to drag onto the circuit. However, the problem was not a factor for Vettel, and the German went on to win his fourth victory in a row, edging even closer to that third world championship in a row. Webber , with Hamilton closing in on him, just held off the Briton to take the final podium spot, putting team Red Bull with both of its drivers on the podium.

Jenson Button had a quiet race, finishing in fifth, while Felipe Massa took sixth for Ferrari, which at one point was nearly out of fuel. Kimi Raikkonen finished in seventh, while Nico Hulkenberg was eighth with the home town Force India entry. Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna rounded out the top ten.

Vettel leads the championship by 27 points over Alonso with three races to go; but the German was only concerned about the circuit, which he has won this race two years in a row. Vettel in addition, seemed to enjoy the way the track felt.

"It has been incredible; two years for us both times to come here, get the pole on Saturday and win the race on Sunday; it's fantastic. There's always a very nice trophy so I'm very happy to pick up another nice one this year. A very special grand prix; I don't know what it is about this circuit but I like the flow of it. Sector one is a bit slow with long straights but sectors two and three are really nice and I think we all enjoy that."

Mark Gero

A 12 year veteran writer who has covered race weekends for RIS for three years. Also did the same for the last two years, I have been a member of AARWBA.

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Volume 2012, Issue 9, Posted 11:26 AM, 10.28.2012