Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is edging ever closer to taking his fourth consecutive Driver’s title after securing his third victory to date in the FIA Formula One 2013 Korean Grand Prix.
The reigning World Champion may not have been in the lead all the way through the race, but maintained his pole position spot from qualifying yesterday when it mattered most and he took the chequered flag as the winner.
Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen made his way through the top 10 to pick up second place for himself in the end. The Finnish driver was closely followed by his French team mate, Romain Grosjean who grabbed the final spot on the podium to complete the race in third place.
There was a surprising fourth place finish for Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, who showed impressive form in qualifying yesterday which saw him end the session in eighth place and as a result of Mark Webber’s 10 place grid penalty he was promoted into seventh place and he continued to drive well throughout the race. Mercedes’ driver Lewis Hamilton seemed to struggle with his tyres in the latter part of the race but made it to the end of the 55 lap marathon and crossed the line to take fifth place.
Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa spun and he collected the former double World Champion in the process.
Fortunately, Alonso’s track position at the time was not too affected and he carried on where he left off. Massa on the other hand, suddenly slipped to the back of the pack. Massa had more misfortune towards the end of the race when he found himself under investigation by the stewards with McLaren’s Sergio Perez for causing a collision. It has not yet been reported if the stewards will take any further action as the incident was to be investigated after the race. Alonso finished the race in sixth place and Massa was a few places behind in ninth position.
Hamilton’s team mate, Nico Rosberg seemed to have a fairly problem free race until lap 28. The front wing suddenly dropped on his car and the nose became loose which led to sparks flying from his car and an unexpected pit stop for a new front wing. The German managed to recover from the incident and he finished the race in seventh place.
McLaren’s Jenson Button was another of the few drivers who had had a bumpy start as the race got underway. The Englishman got knocked by one of the other drivers in the field, which caused damage to his front wing and he had to make an unexpected pit stop for a replacement. The 2009 World Champion continued to race on after this, but seemed to struggle with his tyres as the end of the action was fast approaching but he picked up some valuable points for eighth place.
Button’s team mate, Perez found himself in another spot of bother aside from the incident with Massa. The Mexican driver caught the attention of the stewards early on in the race when they decided to investigate he and Force India’s Paul Di Resta for forcing another driver off the track. It is yet to be confirmed if the stewards will take any further action as it was due to be investigated after the race. Di Resta then found himself off the track permanently on lap 26 when the Scotsman slid off the track and this spelt the end of his race making it his fourth consecutive retirement.
Di Resta’s team mate, Adrian Sutil did not do much better either, when he seemed to lose control of his car under braking on lap 37 and knocked into Vettel’s team mate, Webber. Sutil continued in the race after making a visit to the pits for a new front wing, but had more trouble ahead when he was issued with a drive through penalty on lap 42 for speeding in the pit lane. The German driver then entered the pits on lap 52 and did not emerge again which led to double retirements for the two Force India drivers in the race.
After the earlier incident with Di Resta, Perez suffered a problem on his own on lap 31 when the tread from the right front tyre flew off his car and it is suspected that this was due to locking up his tyres. The safety car was deployed on lap 32 until lap 36 in order for the marshals to clear the debris from the track that came off Perez’s car. Perez overcame the tricky situation after making a pit stop for a tyre change and new front wing to then finish the race in the 10th and final point scoring position.
If the action in midfield was not enough to keep the stewards busy, there was more to add to their workload with the goings on at the back of the field. Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde was found to be at fault for forcing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi off the track on lap eight. Van der Garde was issued with a drive through penalty as a result of the incident.
Van der Garde came under fire for a second time later on in the race, when the stewards decided to investigate him for the reason of speeding behind the safety car and Marussia’s Max Chilton also caught the attention of the stewards for this.
Aside from the those already mentioned who failed to make the finish line, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo was the last driver to add to the list when he was spotted off the track and looked to be going nowhere fast.
The drivers and teams now just have one week to get themselves ready for the challenge of Suzuka circuit when the Japanese Grand Prix takes place. If today’s race at the Yeongam circuit was anything to go by, it is certain that next week and the races that follow will not disappoint in terms of the action delivered, as the drivers battle against each other to secure the best position in the Driver’s Championship and for Vettel in particular to achieve his wish of securing a fourth consecutive title.