Another win for Sebastian Vettel sends him 13 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the championship standings with only three races left.  The Indian Grand Prix was the penultimate Asian race and we have the race in Abu Dhabi this weekend to look forward to before F1 moves to the Americas.

In Other News…

Nico Hulkenberg has signed for Sauber for the start of next season.  He has impressed everyone with his great driving and overtaking this season for Force India, and is now destined for a team slightly higher up the order.  The front runner in replacing Nico at Force India looks to be Adrian Sutil who used to race for the team prior to 2011.  Jaime Alguersuari has been linked with either replacing Nico or joining him over at Sauber.  Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso have confirmed that they are keeping both of their drivers next season.  Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have impressed the team with their combined total of 21 points so far.  They have always looked slightly lack lustre in Qualifying, but in the Race they always seem to pull out a good drive to get into the bottom half of the points.  Vettel has denied links with Ferrari after much speculation exploded last week over a potential move to the Italian team.  Vettel said, “There is nothing to tell, nothing I have signed.  It is amusing.  I don’t know where it came from.” (BBC, 2012).  As I suspected, Red Bull would never let Vettel go willingly to one of their main rivals.  Whoever decided to make this up was being daft!

 

Qualifying

The usual story for Q1 saw Marussia, HRT and Caterham drop out along with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.  Kamui Kobayashi avoided 18th place by only 0.012s.  Close margins indeed.  Q2 saw Kobayashi gain 17th place behind Force India’s Paul Di Resta in 16th.  Di Resta’s teammate Hulkenberg achieved 12th place.  Ricciardo in the other Toro Rosso gained 15th just behind Schumacher in 14th.  The Williams of Bruno Senna made it to 13th on the grid while Grosjean in the Lotus had to make do with 11th after being 0.02s slower than Massa who made it into the top 10.  Rosberg decided not to post a time which left him with more sets of tyres and 10th place.  After being fastest in Q1 overall Maldonado could only manage 9th behind Sauber’s Sergio Perez 8th and Raikkonen in 7th.  The top 6 all ran in pairs.  Alonso and Massa were 5th and 6th respectively for Ferrari,  the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 3rd and 4th, and the two Red Bulls were 1st and 2nd.  Vettel grabbing pole once again in front of his teammate Webber.

The Race

I’m going to be honest.  It wasn’t the most entertaining race I have ever seen.  The most interesting thing that happened was the straight leading up to turn 4 where Alonso battled both McLarens and after a few laps of trying he got himself 3rd.  Double overtakes and then the two McLaren’s re-overtaking the Ferrari was great to watch.  Lots of punctures though, an unusual amount if I’m being honest.  Schumacher, Perez and Maldonado were all victims of tyre destruction.  The second most interesting occurrence was a five wheel change during a pit stop.  Many of you will now say, “but a car has four wheels, can’t you count?”, I am of course referring to the steering wheel as wheel number five.  Hamilton had to change his during a pit stop along with the four normal wheels.  All of that organisation in 3.3 seconds is rather impressive by anyone’s standards.  Alonso again managed to pounce on Mark Webber’s Red Bull which had an overheating KERS issue.  This allowed Fernando to speed past him going into turn four after the second DRS zone.  Unfortunately Alonso wasn’t fast enough to catch Vettel who had created a massive margin over second place.

So for the fourth race in a row Vettel wins and increases his lead in the championship.  Asia definitely seems to be his continent of choice for race wins as he has won five out of the eight Grand Prix to take place on the continent.  Will Alonso in his Ferrari be able to catch him?  In three races time we’ll know the answer.

The Awards
Who has done well this week…

Driver of the Day
Fernando Alonso

The man is on a mission and he was the only driver out there who looked hungry for places and points

Mr Consistent
Sebastian Vettel

Again he was in a world of his own, unchallenged and yet another easy victory.  Whatever Red Bull have done to the car it is certainly working

Best Overtake
Fernando Alonso

Supreme on the run down to Turn 4 dispatching the McLarens and Mark Webber.  Some great driving from all of them, but Alonso desperately wanted the points.

The Captain Obvious Award
David Coulthard

“Change of steering wheel, there’s an issue with his wheel!”
That is certainly why they changed it David…

 

So that is it for India, next up it is Abu Dhabi where I hope it will be a more entertaining overtaking filled race.

 

Full Championship Standings

Full Race Results

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This article was first posted on November 1, 2012