Four Straight Wins for Vettel
By: James Musoke on October 28, 2012 | 7:20 A.M. EST
Sebastian Vettel moved 13 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship with a commanding victory in India. (Photo: Getty Images)
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was first to take the checkered flag at the Indian Grand Prix, earning his fourth consecutive victory of the season. The two-time defending champion has lead the last three successive races from start to finish, and is the only driver to record a victory at the Buddh International Circuit.
The German drove a flawless race, only to be burdened with KERS reliability problems that seemed to affect both Red Bull cars. Vettel then appeared to hit some more trouble, as the underside of his car started to spark as it dragged on the ground. The surging Ferrari of Fernando Alonso complicated matters more, but that did not faze Vettel, who cruised to his fifth victory of the season.
“All in all, it was a very good race for us and I’m happy with the result,” said Vettel. “McLaren and Ferrari were quick on the hard tire today, so it was important to have a gap to them. I saw some sparks at the end from the car, but we saw a lot of cars throwing sparks this weekend, and we joined them. It was a great day for us and an important step.”
Alonso kept his title hopes alive by taking advantage of Red Bull’s KERS issues and passing Webber for second place on the 48th lap, but could not muster enough pace to catch up to Vettel, who is now 13 points clear of the Spaniard going into Abu Dhabi next weekend.
“It’s not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we will never give up,” Alonso said. “I think we are happy today, we have to congratulate them, they were fantastic this weekend so well done Red Bull, well done Sebastian – but yeah, we want to be happy and we want to enjoy Brazil, not only here so I’m sure we will do it.”
Webber had to settle for third place after holding off a tough challenge by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who also tried to take advantage of Red Bull’s mechanical woes. Hamilton, who is also struggling to keep his title aspirations alive, took fourth place, with teammate Jenson Button rounding out the top five positions.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished in sixth place, ahead of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen who pestered the Brazilian throughout the race but could never engineer a solid pass over the Ferrari.
Force India’s Nico Rosberg finished in eighth place, fending off an attack from Lotus driver Romain Grosjean who finished just behind in ninth. The final point of the day when to William’s driver Bruno Senna, who now sits in 16 place in the championship with 26 points.
Vettel is a strong favorite to claim his third successive championship, after dominating the last four races to overtake Fernando Alonso who held a steady lead for the majority of the season. There are now 75 points available in the remaining three races, setting up what should be a tight shootout to the finish. Raikkonen trails Vettel by 67 points in the championship, and is still mathematically in the hunt for the championship, as is Mark Webber, who is 70 points adrift of the defending champion.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is up next in the Championship, followed by the inaugural North American race in Austin Texas and the Brazilian Grand Prix to close out the 2012 season.