Vettel scores his fourth consecutive victory in Indian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel extends his lead in the Formula One world championship to 13 points with a fourth consecutive victory in the Indian Grand Prix.

By winning the Buddh International Circuit, his 26th career in the sport, the German has set new records by becoming the first driver to lead three races from start-to-finish since Ayrton Senna in 1989. In addition, he has led for 206 consecutive laps when compared to Senna’s 264.

As for his championship rival Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver drove a fantastic race to minimise the damage to his title bid by battling through to second position.

Red Bull’s rivals may have claimed pre-race that they were determined to prevent Vettel making a clean break, but the champion team actually looked more dominant than ever on lap one, as Vettel and Mark Webber disappeared into the distance while the McLarens and Ferraris battle with each other.

Alonso managed to draft past both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button on the long straight thanks to the Ferrari’s superior straight-line speed, then saw them go back around him – one either side – at Turn 4.

Button came out best and took third, with Alonso managing to get back past Hamilton into fourth position.

Alonso then overtook Button for third place as soon as DRS became available. Hamilton did likewise soon afterwards.

Third seemed to be Alonso’s limit until the second half of the race, when Webber began drifting off Vettel’s superior pace and into the sight of the Spaniard’s Ferrari.

As Webber reported a lack of KERS, Alonso stepped up his chase despite the issue in trying to conserve fuel.

With ten laps to go, Alonso was able to use his superior straight-line speed advantage to breeze past Webber.

As for Vettel, there were some unusual sparks appearing under Vettel’s car and it will be interesting to see if his RB8 will pass post-race scrutineering. The plank must be at a minimum width and any wear could result in disqualification.

The most impressive action was in the pits, in particular Lewis Hamilton pit stop that required a rapidly fitted new steering wheel as well a new set of Pirellis. All five wheels were changed in just 3.1 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton gave chase after Mark Webber in the final moments but could not separate the Red Bull from the podium.

Button finished in a lonely fifth, losing valuable time behind a yet-to-stop Romain Grosjean.

Felipe Massa resisted Kimi Raikkonen for sixth. The Lotus jumped the Ferrari by pitting one lap later, only for Massa to use DRS to immediately re-pass his rival.

Grosjean fell into the midfield at the start, then recovered with some successful overtaking and by running until lap 36 before pitting for a fresh set of soft compounds from Pirelli.

The Lotus got back up to ninth position, chasing Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

Hulkenberg had initially sparred with Sergio Perez, but the Sauber made an early pitstop then retired after picking up a puncture while fighting with Daniel Ricciardo’s.

Perez was one of three drivers who sustained tyre damage in combat. Jean-Eric Vergne tagged Michael Schumacher at the first corner of the race, breaking the Toro Rosso’s wing and slicing into the rear tyre on the Mercedes.

Pastor Maldonado also got a puncture in a tussle with Kamui Kobayashi. But Bruno Senna saved the Williams team day with an assertive drive to tenth that included a late pass on Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.

So not the most dramatic Indian Grand Prix and yet in terms of the championship, only 13 points separate race winner Sebastian Vettel and runner-up Fernando Alonso with only three races left.

As for the battle in the constructors’ championship, Red Bull Racing extends their lead and could win the title unless Ferrari outscores them by five points or McLaren by 15.

Indian Grand Prix race results after 60 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h31:10.744
2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +9.437
3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +13.217
4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +13.909
5.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +26.266
6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +44.600
7.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +45.200
8.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +54.900
9.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +56.100
10.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +1:14.900
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1:21.600
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1:22.800
13.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:26.000
14.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1:26.400
15.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
16.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +1 lap
17.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
18.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
19.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +1 lap
20.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
22.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +5 laps

Fastest lap: Button, 1:28.203

Not classified/retirements:

De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth                 41 laps
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               21 laps

World Championship standings, round 17:

1.  Vettel       240
2.  Alonso       227
3.  Raikkonen    173
4.  Webber       167
5.  Hamilton     165
6.  Button       141
7.  Rosberg       93
8.  Grosjean      90
9.  Massa         89
10.  Perez         66
11.  Kobayashi     50
12.  Hulkenberg    49
13.  Di Resta      44
14.  Schumacher    43
15.  Maldonado     33
16.  Senna         26
17.  Vergne        12
18.  Ricciardo      9

1.  Red Bull-Renault          407
2.  Ferrari                   316
3.  McLaren-Mercedes          306
4.  Lotus-Renault             263
5.  Mercedes                  136
6.  Sauber-Ferrari            116
7.  Force India-Mercedes       93
8.  Williams-Renault           59
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         21

Next race: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina. November 2-4.

11 thoughts to “Vettel scores his fourth consecutive victory in Indian Grand Prix”

  1. Despite sparks appearing under the race winning RB8, Sebastian Vettel has commented that he was not affect by this issue. has the story.

    Indian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel dismissed the apparent problem with his Red Bull’s underside during the closing stages of the race.

    Ferrari urged runner-up Fernando Alonso to keep giving chase to his title rival after an unusual amount of sparks appeared from underneath the Red Bull late on.

    Vettel remained nine seconds clear and secured his fourth consecutive win.

    “I noticed the problem, I think it was when I got DRS from a backmarker pretty close to the end of the race,” he said.

    “I didn’t feel anything with the balance and on the other laps.

    “We need to analyse the problem, but it didn’t cost us or slow us down.”

    The world champion led throughout the race, and said it had been crucial to get away at the start on a day when Alonso’s Ferrari in particular appeared close to Red Bull’s pace.

    “I enjoyed the race a lot,” said Vettel. “It was crucial to open a gap in the first stint, to break DRS to Mark [Webber].

    “It was quite close at Turn 1, I was able to get good exit out of Turn 3, then was able to open the gap, not just to Mark but also the cars behind.”

    The result extends Vettel’s championship lead to 13 points with three rounds to go. Despite his current dominant form, he insisted he was not yet allowing himself to consider a third world title guaranteed.

    “To think of the championship, this was a good step for us,” he acknowledged.

    “We have seen for us how quickly things can change. This feels so fantastic and it is great to have a race come the way you want it to. I am proud and happy and enjoying it.

    “That was today and we are focusing on Abu Dhabi next week. There is a lot more to come and we take things step by step.”

  2. As for Mark Webber, the Red Bull driver was left feeling helpless by the loss of KERS during the Indian Grand Prix. has the details.

    Mark Webber bemoaned the ‘demoralising’ loss of KERS which compromised his race and left him clinging on to the final step of the podium in India.

    The Australian had been running a comfortable second in the early stages but from one-third race distance said he began to suffer from intermittent KERS issues.

    In the closing stages, that left him increasingly vulnerable to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was ultimately able to coast past on the back straight, and then the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.

    Webber managed to fend the Briton off over the final three laps to hang on to third, but admitted that was little comfort given his pre-race victory ambitions.

    Asked about when his KERS issues began, Webber said: “I think it was around lap 19-20, maybe a bit earlier.

    “It was on and off, and then completely off. It was a moving target.

    “We needed to screw around with brake balance, and just manage as best we could [to not] lose rhythm and tempo.

    “We needed to keep the focus, but it is so demoralising on that straight with no KERS – it is not really a battle.”

    Webber had been able to pull away from Alonso the middle stage of the race, only to once again drop back into the Spaniard’s clutches as his KERS gave out.

    He then came under pressure from Hamilton, but was able to hang on and seal third by just seven tenths of a second.

    “I managed to break DRS and get away from Fernando, [when the] KERS there or thereabouts.

    “Then the blue flags did nothing for backmarkers, the guys don’t know how much they kill us in the corners.

    “When I had no KERS Fernando came past – they have good top gear – and that was it.

    “I pushed as strong as possible to get to the end of the race, but I was lucky Lewis made a mistake on lap 57.

    “That was important because he was starting to get a bit of momentum. I was keen to keep him out of DRS as much as possible.

    “I am pretty happy with how I drove but not enough – we could have got more points today for sure.”

  3. This was a fantastic drive by Fernando Alonso. Passing both McLarens and then the Red Bull of Webber to take an important second position. The Ferrari driver is convinced he can still win the drivers’ championship. has the news story.

    Fernando Alonso says his championship hopes have not been dashed at all by Sebastian Vettel’s fourth consecutive victory in India.

    Vettel took another commanding win at the Buddh circuit on Sunday to increase his lead over Alonso to 13 points with three races to go.

    The German has outscored Alonso 100 to 48 in the last four races and will head into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the hot favourite for another victory.

    “Nothing changed in one race,” said Alonso about his championship hopes. “There are 75 points and we are 13 behind and we know we need to improve.

    “We are not fast enough, especially on Saturday, but we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or USA.

    “As we saw with Mark [Webber] with the KERS problem, it can happen to Seb or it can happen to us, so I am optimistic.”

    Alonso conceded however that Ferrari needs to take a step forward in order to be able to fight Red Bull and not just limit the damage in the remaining races.

    “I think we need to bring some new parts to Abu Dhabi and hopefully improve a little bit the competitiveness of the car and get closer to Red Bulls on Saturday and hopefully Sunday as well,” he said.

    “There are three races remaining and the championship is the main target. We need to recover some points. It would be nice to finish in front of Seb there and if we win even better. For that we need to make a step forward as at the moment we are not able to win.”

    “I think Brazil will be quite good and hopefully I am going to be happy.”

    The Spaniard was nonetheless encouraged by his race pace after being able to beat Mark Webber and stay relatively close to Vettel.

    “I think it is good news for us seeing that we could fight Red Bull in the race,” he said.

  4. Sergio Perez described his Indian Grand Prix as “a total disappointment” after retiring from the Buddh event just 20 laps into the race.

    The Sauber driver retired the damage after he had to complete a full lap with a punctured tyre after contact with a Toro Rosso.

    “Today was a total disappointment,” Perez admitted.

    “First of all I had to pit after 14 laps because the front left tyre was blistering badly. We don’t know yet why this happened.

    “I wanted to recover the lost positions but touched Daniel Ricciardo’s front wing when I overtook him. The rear right tyre came off the rim and damaged something at the rear of the car. So my race was over after 20 laps.”

    Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also endured a difficult day after being stuck in traffic for most of the race.

    The Japanese driver, who made contact with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado, finished down in 14th.

    “I have to say it wasn’t our weekend here,” he said. “In the race I was never alone, I always had someone in front of me but not enough straight line pace to overtake. This was frustrating. I was stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo and there was nothing I could do.

    “The issue with Pastor Maldonado was a bit strange. He had overtaken me but then he suddenly came on my racing line again. I could not avoid having contact.

    “I think we should make sure we have a smooth weekend in Abu Dhabi and forget about this one here.”

    The result left Sauber still 20 points behind Mercedes in the standings with three races to go, and team boss Monisha Kaltenborn accepted it would be harder to beat the German squad now.

    “A disappointing race,” she said. “Kamui fought hard but his grid position was too much of a handicap. Sergio made a good start but then had unexpected problems with his front left tyre.

    “After an early pitstop he had a puncture and was forced to stop because the car felt strange. Our goal to fight for fifth position in the constructors’ championship will now be more difficult to achieve.”


  5. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has blamed his set-up error on Saturday in the run-up to qualifying which resulted in a poor grid position that ultimately means missing out on a podium finish. has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen reckons his Lotus was capable of delivering a podium in India but that starting from seventh on the grid made it almost impossible to fight his way into such a position.

    The Finn, who finished over 45 seconds off winner Sebastian Vettel, was left rueing a set-up change prior to qualifying which he claimed left him ‘grip-less’.

    Raikkonen then indicated that finishing in the same position in the race was a direct result of that.

    “I really thought that we had a car this weekend that we would be able to fight for a podium with and I am very sure that we had,” he said. “But the mistake we made yesterday took all those chances out.”

    Raikkonen’s race consisted of a prolonged spat with Felipe Massa, and he briefly got ahead of the Brazilian for sixth position by pitting a lap earlier, only to then watch the Ferrari breeze past him in the DRS zone.

    “I got once past after he came out [of the pits] but he just passed me in a straightline,” said Raikkonen. “I had a very good car today but I just couldn’t do anything, which is we were not able to pass anyone on a straightline.

    “Quite disappointing but that is how it goes. We put ourselves in that position yesterday so we’ve paid the price now.”

    Raikkonen added that his slim chances of fighting Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the title had now all but gone.

    The 33-year-old is 67 points behind Vettel with 75 points left on the table.

    “The championship is gone pretty much, but that doesn’t matter really,” He said. “I am just disappointed with what we did yesterday because we had a very good car today so we couldn’t do anything with it.

    “Hopefully in the next race we can be a bit more smart and we have the speed again so I can challenge for a podium.”

  6. Bruno Senna reckons that scoring another point for Williams in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix is evidence that the pace of the race-winning FW33 is getting back on track after the team’s disappointing showing in Korea.

    Both he and team-mate Pastor Maldonado reported that they were much happier with the car’s handling and performance during the 60-lap race, and in Senna’s case that resulted in his eighth points finish of the season with tenth place.

    “We had a strong car in the race and after a disappointing qualifying yesterday, getting a point means that I am happy with today’s performance,” said Senna, who started the race from 13th in the grid.

    “It was a fun race because I was fighting with cars that were very similar on pace so I had to make my overtaking manoeuvres stick, and so that was very satisfying.

    “The car has felt much better this weekend so we will head to the next race with a lot more confidence.”

    Maldonado, who made it into Q3 with a strong qualifying performance that put him ninth on the grid, also felt that he was capable of finishing in the points.

    But he made contact with Kamui Kobayashi and lost a lap recovering the car to the pits with a puncture.

    “The car was feeling good today and I was confident that I was going to score points, but my race was effectively over when I was hit and picked up a puncture which put me towards the back and lost me a lot of time,” said the Venezuelan, who finished 16th.

    “It was a very unlucky race for me in the end, but we can take some positives in the fact that the pace of the car has improved and we should be more competitive for the final three races of the season.”


  7. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was left feeling confused over why he had a poor start to the Indian Grand Prix. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton says he was baffled about the reasons for his poor start to the Indian Grand Prix.

    The British driver had qualified in third position but came under attack from team-mate Jenson Button right after the start.

    The duo were embroiled in a battle over the first corners, with Button emerging ahead and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also passing Hamilton down the straight as a result.

    Hamilton, who finished the race in fourth position, admitted even without a good start he would have been unable to challenge the cars in front.

    “I don’t yet understand why I got such a poor start – it lost me ground and then I fell under attack from the guys behind,” said Hamilton.

    “During the first lap, I was primarily focusing on not colliding with Jenson, then I saw Fernando [Alonso] in my right mirror. He was towing me from very far back.

    “Even if I’d had a better start than I did, the guys in front were still maybe a bit too fast, particularly in the first stint.

    “During that first stint I started having a downshift problem – I was having to change down with my right hand instead of my left, so the team elected to change the steering wheel at the pitstop.”

    The McLaren driver came close to beating Mark Webber to third place in the closing stages of the race, but in the end had to settle for fourth after running out of time.

    “I tried to chase down Mark [Webber] in the closing laps, but by then it was too late and he was going too quickly for me to be able to mount a serious challenge,” he said.

    “But I never give up, and, right until the very last corner, I thought I might just be able to catch him, but in the end it wasn’t to be.

    “Still, I loved it out there today – I can’t remember the last time I’ve pushed so far, so hard, for so long, right on the limit – it felt great.

    “It felt fantastic, in fact, to be in the middle of such a battle.”

  8. Michael Schumacher escaped a sanction for ignoring blue flags during the Indian Grand Prix, after being summoned to see the stewards.

    Schumacher was investigated for having impeded Romain Grosjean during the race at the Buddh International Circuit.

    But after the German and his Lotus rival spoke to the stewards after the race, it was decided that Schumacher had not held up his rival deliberately.

    A statement issued by the FIA said: “The Stewards considered that the driver car 10 [Grosjean] did not close the gap sufficiently to require car 7 [Schumacher] to move out of the way in accordance with Appendix H Article 2.4.5 (d) of the International Sporting Code.”


  9. Despite the late race scare with sparks appearing from the underside of race-winning Red Bull, the team has said it had no concerns over Sebastian Vettel’s floor issue. has the news story.

    Red Bull said it had no serious concerns about Sebastian Vettel’s car in the closing stages of the Indian Grand Prix, despite the sparks seen coming from underneath his car.

    Footage of Vettel’s car showed that the front area of the floor under the nose was striking the ground at the end of the main straight – prompting questions about whether the plank under the car would be worn away.

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the matter did not lead to much worry on the pit wall through, as the sparks appeared to have been caused by some debris.

    “I think it was a bolt that has come out of one of the front parts of the plank, and it is that that sparked and then dropped off,” explained Horner, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the matter.

    “Unless it is something else that was caught underneath the car, but it seemed to disappear within a lap or so.”

    Horner said that the key to Vettel’s victory was in managing the pace to ensure that it did not take too much out of the tyres.

    “I think we were unsure going into the race whether it was going to be a one-stop or a two-stop, so we didn’t want to take too much out of the tyres in the early part of the race,” he said.

    “It was a question of monitoring what was going on behind us, and managing the tyres. So, in that instant, you are not taking everything you have out of it.

    “He then wanted to see roughly what pace he still had in the car at that stage, and of course if you do pick up DRS as well from a backmarker that can be worth half a second.

    “In the first stint we were very strong and then it was a case of managing the race. In the second stint the guys were fairly nervous about the hard tyre doing a long stint and so therefore we wanted to make sure that we didn’t take too much out of the tyre.”

  10. McLaren’s Jenson Button is expecting no repeat of the tyre issues in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. has the details.

    Jenson Button does not expect to encounter the same extreme soft tyre wear that he reckons cost him a chance to fight at the front of the Indian Grand Prix when Formula 1 resumes battle in Abu Dhabi in a week’s time.

    The Briton, who finished a distant fifth, revealed after the Buddh race that his McLaren suffered significant wear on the front option tyres in the first stint.

    Such was the extent of the issue that he was unable to keep with pace with Fernando Alonso or team-mate Lewis Hamilton. This after he had dramatically fought his way past them both on the opening lap.

    “I think both McLarens struggled on that softer tyre, but I really struggled and I couldn’t keep the guys behind me,” said Button. “I was really struggling with the rear movement.

    “I don’t know if it is because I had more laps on my option tyre after qualifying but I destroyed the fronts and I was on the canvas very early on in the stint.

    “So it was tricky and then I got stuck behind [Romain] Grosjean which cost me time but I was never really beat the cars in front. The last stint was good, but being 10 or 11s behind made it impossible to catch them.”

    Button believe that the problems he endured could be circuit-specific with India being one of only a few races that tends to prove harder on front tyres than rears, which punished him more than Hamilton because of his tendency towards understeer.

    “I always end up with more understeer than Lewis, maybe it’s just the way we drive, even if we take out more understeer with the car, I always seem to struggle with understeer,” said Button. “We’ll look at the data and work out why we are not quick enough on that tyre.

    “It’s a very different circuit in Abu Dhabi. This circuit is front limited, whereas Abu Dhabi and most other circuits are rear limited so it is a very different balance that we will have and a different limitation which will probably help us.

    “I think some of it was not being able to do a long run on Friday so trying to find a set-up for that tyre was always going to be difficult. The prime was a lot easier because we did a lot more laps on it. The car came alive on the prime tyre but it was too late and the guys were too far ahead.”

    Button set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap, and reckoned that this, along with that first lap dice, were the high points of an otherwise disappointing day.

    “The first lap was great,” said Button. “I got past Lewis at the start and then he dived up the inside of me at Turn 3. I was trying to get a good exit off the straight to have a go at Mark [Webber in second place], but Lewis jumped up the inside and then we were side-by-side on the backstraight, trying to get the tow off Mark.

    “And then Fernando came on the inside and tried the move, but it was all quite a lot of fun.

    “That was the highlight of my race and getting the fastest lap on the last lap as well. I know that’s something that other people [Vettel] always try and get.. he did win the race but I’ll give him that one.”

  11. Red Bull still needs to deliver three ‘perfect’ race weekends if it is going to pull off another world championship title according to team principal Christian Horner, despite the team’s recent run of dominance.

    Horner, who has watched Sebastian Vettel win the last four grands prix and build a 13-point advantage over his nearest title rival Fernando Alonso, insists the outfit must not take it for granted that its record-breaking run of form will continue to the end of the season.

    “We certainly cannot afford to be complacent because Fernando Alonso keeps turning up,” explained Horner, after Vettel and Mark Webber delivered a one-three finish in the Indian Grand Prix.

    “He did a strong race today, and it was a shame we couldn’t keep Mark [Webber] ahead of him, as he had a KERS issue from lap 20.

    “We have got a great lead now in the constructors’ championship but it is only 13 points in the drivers’. We have managed to eke out a gap and, considering where we came from four races ago, it is impressive.

    “But we have to keep that momentum going. It is the first time Seb has won four races in succession, and it was an incredible performance from him this weekend.

    “With 75 points available from three races, it is going to be crucial for us to have perfect weekends.”

    While Alonso continues to insist that he is ‘100 per cent convinced’ he will win the title this year, Horner says that his outfit is refusing to build up its own prospects.

    “Talk is cheap at the end of the day,” he said. “I think it is down to what you do on the track.

    “We can all prophesise, but it is a question of our focus now being on Abu Dhabi to extract the most out of the car, the drivers, the strategy, and the reliability that we can. It is going to be a question of having three perfect weekends.”

    He added: “Fernando is a quality driver and Ferrari are a quality team, and they are doing a strong job.

    “He is remarkably consistent and we are going to have to perform at our very, very best if we are going to maintain our lead ahead of him.

    “We have worked hard to get into this position and there is a real determination within the team to carry this momentum into the remaining three races.”


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