Vettel extends winning streak to the Indian Grand Prix
Published On Oct 30, 2012 01:57 PM By Kritika
Frankly, no points for guessing who was lucky for the second time on the Buddh International Circuit this year. Bagging his fourth consecutive win in this year's season of Formula One championship, it was also Sebastian Vettel's second successive Indian Grand Prix title. The last time a driver bagged four Grand Prix titles in a row was in 2009, when Jenson Button won the Bahrain, Spanish, Monaco, and Turkish Grand Prixs and eventually went on to become the F1 world champion that year.
Vettel's victory at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday upped his lead in the championship by 13 points over Alonso. Given the lead, the fact that there are only three more races left in the season, and Vettel's constant and fabulous performance on the tracks, there is little doubt that the young German driver will successfully defend his world champion title for the second time.
The race started with Sebastian Vettel in the lead and went on to maintain that position throughout the race. He was followed by teammate Webber, Button, and Hamilton. And though Alonso started from fifth on the grid, he was soon raced past Button and Hamilton to race at third. However, Lewis Hamilton quickly made a comeback and got back into P3. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher had take an early pit-stop due to a right rear puncture suffered during the first lap after contact with Jean Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso. But Schumacher came under investigation for the blue flags during lap 37, and went on to retire from the race during lap 57 due to gearbox concerns.
By the time lap 20 came to an end, Sergio Perez had retired due to a puncture he suffered while cutting across Daniel Ricciardo exiting from the pit, and Vettel had set the fastest lap at 1m 31.1 s and continued to lead with Webber, Alonso, Hamilton and Button following at P2, P3, P4 and P5, respectively. Webber had started to develop problems with KERS from lap 20 and also lost time due to two backmarkers. This put Alonso on Webber's tail, who was unable to defend his position for long. Alonso stormed past the Australian in the DRS zone during lap 49 and went on to clock in the fastest lap at 1m 29.2s in lap 50.
At lap 50, Vettel continued to lead with Alonso, Webber, Hamilton and Button following him in the listed order. On lap 53, Vettel started to experience some problem as the underside of his car started to spark as it dragged on the ground. This led Ferrari to urge Alonso to pressurise Vettel, but the German yet managed to retain the lead until the end. While Vettel and Alonso raced for the first position, Webber successfully fended off attacks from Hamilton for the third position on the podium.
Eventually, Sebastian Vettel finished first, with Fernando Alonso, and Mark Webber zooming past the finish line as the second and thrid car respectively. McLaren's two British drivers, Hamilton and Button, finished fourth and fifth respectively and were followed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa finishing in sixth. Lotus's Kimi Räikkönen continues to maintain his third position at the driver's leaderboard despite finishing in at the seventh position. And the top 10 line-up was completed by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg finishing in at eighth, Lotus's Romain Grosejan at ninth and William's Bruno Sena at tenth.
Even though Sebastian Vettel didn't really get a fabulous start for the 2012 Formula One season, he fought all odds to up his leadership margin by 13 points over a man who led him by 40 points during the beginning of the season. The second-time defending champion's rather extraordinary stint started in Singapore last month, from where he went on to surpass Ayrton Senna's record of leading every lap of a race for three consecutive grand prix races.
And given his Sunday victory at the Buddh International Circuit, it seems like the German is in no mood to mellow down. Another fact worth a mention is Vettel's lead for 205 consecutive lap, and he is only 100 laps away from matching up with Alberto Ascari's record of 305. Given Vettel's love for setting records, it is likely that he may match or even surpass that record by the end of this season.
But it wasn't just the German driver's outstanding performance that impressed people across the world. Ferrari's Spanish driver Alonso, a strong contender for this year's world champion title, also wooed enthusiasts as he drove from the fifth position at the grid to finish second at the podium. It will be interesting to see if the Spaniard is able to close in on the 13 point score-difference with Vettel at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is scheduled to be held on November 4.