As expected Sebastian Vettel did what he needed to wrap up the Drivers’ title in India.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has achieved double success following the FIA Formula One 2013 Indian Grand Prix to become World Champion for the fourth season in a row. Vettel has also led the Austrian team to another Constructors victory of the same number. By taking the chequered flag, the German has also added to his personal record of securing a hat trick of pole positions and race wins at the Buddh International Circuit and making this weekend his 10th win of the season.
Vettel’s dominance of the top spot left the rest of the field to scrap over the remaining positions behind him. Vettel’s fellow countryman, Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, initially lost his second place qualifying slot, but managed to get back on track to finish in the position at the end of the race.
Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean impressed with his performance on race day after falling at the first hurdle of the Q1 session yesterday and had a competitive scrap for position with his team mate, Kimi Raikkonen towards the end of the race. The French man had the upperhand in the end and secured the third and final spot on the podium.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa maintained his qualifying performance from yesterday into today’s race and pipped his team mate, Fernando Alonso once again over the race weekend. Massa just missed out on a podium spot after picking up fourth place for himself. Alonso had a bit of an eventful start as the race got underway, following contact with Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber. Alonso also had a slight coming together with McLaren’s Jenson Button. Alonso finished just outside the top 10 point scoring positions as a result of the ups and downs the Spaniard experienced in the race.
Button’s team mate, Sergio Perez was one of the surprises during the race as he put in a solid performance and some of the drivers around him began to suffer with their tyres. The Mexican driver equalled the best finish for the team so far this season that Button achieved at the Chinese Grand Prix to cross the line for fifth place.
Rosberg’s team mate, Lewis Hamilton began and ended the race behind the German. The 2008 World Champion seemed to keep out of the limelight through the majority of the proceedings and quietly claimed a sixth place finish.
Grosjean’s team mate, Raikkonen did not manage to recover after losing a place to him as the race was coming to a close. The Finnish driver still grabbed some valuable Championship points though after securing seventh place for himself. Raikkonen did have an unsettled start though, as he unfortunately became a victim, when Webber’s car tapped his as a result of the incident with Alonso.
Force India’s Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil finally overcame their recent run of bad luck in the last few race weekends with some ending in retirement. The pair had a shaky start in qualifying yesterday though when they both missed out on the top 10 shootout of Q3. Di Resta and Sutil ended the race in eighth and ninth place respectively to pick up some valuable points for the team.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, seemed to have a fairly problem free race and made his way through the field during the race to grab the final top 10 point scoring position for himself.
Beyond the all-important 10 places, the rest of the pack from 11th to 19th place making up those who made the finish line, fought over the remaining positions in the final classification list. Button was included among these as he appeared to lack the pace of his team mate, Perez and suffer following the incident at the start of the race with Alonso. The 2009 World Champion had to settle for 14th place in the end.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also accompanied the Englishman out of the points. The Mexican driver came under fire by the stewards, as it was reported on lap 13 that he was under investigation for a jump start and had to serve a drive through penalty for this. Gutierrez caught the attention of the stewards for a second time on lap 30 together with Grosjean, for the purpose of making more than one change of direction on the track. It was later announced that no further action would be taken with the pair.
Gutierrez’ team mate, Nico Hulkenberg experienced more downs in the race than ups despite qualifying in seventh place yesterday. The German was also investigation by the stewards on lap 33 with Williams’ driver, Valtteri Bottas for the purpose of track limits and squeezing another driver off the track. It was then reported that the stewards would take no further action with this. Hulkenberg faced more disappointment when he was spotted in the garage getting out of his car on lap 56 and this spelt the end of his race.
Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde was the first driver to retire from the race before it had barely begun. The Dutchman reported via the team radio that he and Marussia’s Max Chilton had a coming together at the start of the race. Chilton was able to continue but it was suspected that van der Garde’s car had suffered damage which forced him to take no further part in the action. Van der Garde’s team mate, Charles Pic joined him in retirement on lap 38 when the French man entered the garage in his car and looked to be going nowhere fast.
Vettel’s team mate, Webber had more to commiserate on a personal level rather than celebrate, when he suddenly pulled off the track in his car on lap 40 and retired from the race. It was reported via the team radio that his third exit from a race this season was due to an alternator failure on his car.
Now Vettel has the Driver’s title in the bag, he has just a short time to taste the smell of success together with the team’s celebrations as Constructors Champions once again, before the Formula One fraternity get back to business as usual on the track in just a week’s time when the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place.
Vettel will have nothing to lose at the Yas Marina circuit now that he has maintained his Championship crown, but his closest rivals and the rest of the field still have everything to gain with more points up for grabs, as they continue to battle against each other for the remaining places in both championships. It is certain that Vettel will also still set his sights on scoring a few more points and possibly aim for his seventh consecutive race victory this season.