Sunday, 16 October 2011

Superb Vettel beats Hamilton to secure Red Bull constructor's crown

Sebastian Vettel oblitterates the competition as he wins the Korean Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel was back to winning form, after an utterly dominant display in Korea, to take his tenth victory of the season. Vettel beat a rejuvenated Lewis Hamilton, who was second. Mark Webber's 3rd place, along with Vettel's win, secures Red Bull the Constructor's Championship for the second year running.

Vettel got a good start, as did pole sitter Hamilton. Both Ferrari's flew off the line though, but Mark Webber's early braking for Turn 1 cost Alonso and Massa any chance of making progress. As the cars went into the long straight, Vettel had a look at Hamilton, but the McLaren man was defiant, and not giving up without a fight. Fernando Alonso eased past Jenson Button, while his Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa got brilliant traction out of Turn 3, and got himself into 3rd position. Later that lap, Vettel took the lead with a great pass, after amazing traction, and better straight line speed out of Turn 3. The race then settled down for a while, with nothing of note taking place.

Petrov torpedoes Schumacher
 Jenson Button began putting the Ferraris under pressure, but couldn't make a move stick. On lap 14, he and Nico Rosberg pitted together. Rosberg was out of his box first after yet another fast Mercedes pit stop, but the German broke too late coming out of the troublesome pit lane exit, allowing Button back past.
However that meant Rosberg crossed the DRS detection line behind the McLaren, and was able to easily open his wing and pass the McLaren into turn three. The next time past, Button used the same advantage to pass the Mercedes for good. Felipe Massa then came in for Ferrari, but after a slow stop, Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher got away before him, costing Massa huge amounts of time. It didn't get any better for Alonso, who was stuck between Petrov and Schumacher after his stop.

Huge tyre marbles on the Korea track
Petrov was defending his place from Alonso using his DRS as they reached turn three. But neither braked early enough for the corner. As Alonso took to the run-off Petrov had nowhere to go and violently torpedoed the Mercedes of Schumacher, putting both out of the race. The safety car came out after the incident, which could have caused problems for Vettel, but his speed over Hamilton meant he was fine.
He now came under increased pressure from Webber, who was quicker than the McLaren after switching to the soft tyres for his second stint. Hamilton’s mirrors were full of the Red Bull for the rest of the race. Massa and Alonso's job was now to pass Nico Rosberg, and they finally did it on Lap 27, an enormous lock up from Rosberg allowing both Ferrari's through.

Webber's attempts to get past Hamilton began to intensify, with the faster Red Bull time and time again trying to get past the slower McLaren. Then Red Bull made a mistake which may have cost them a one-two. McLaren radioed Hamilton to pit on lap 34. As with Button’s first pit stop, the message was broadcast on the television feed. Red Bull seemed not to take account of that as they brought Webber in on the same lap, losing a chance to set some laps in clear air and potentially pass the McLaren. Hamilton switched to soft tyres for the final stint, but a slight wide at Turn 4 allowed Webber alongside. This began the best piece of action seen in the whole race, the pair dancing side-by-side at high speed through turn seven, eight and nine, then again around turn 11, as Hamilton firmly but fairly rebuffed Webber’s attack.

Button and Alonso began to catch this two car battle, and the four of them finished very close together, but in the same order. Felipe Massa was a distant sixth. Jaime Alguersuari capped off a brilliant drive to seventh, by passing Nico Rosberg on the last lap. Sebastien Buemi was ninth in a brilliant race for Toro Rosso, while Paul di Resta scored a point for Force India. 1st and 3rd won Red Bull their second consecutive constructor's world championship, richly deserved.

Vettel has now won 10, and who can stop him winning in two weeks time when we visit India for the first time?

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