F1 2012

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominate Indian Grand Prix 2012

German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel wins Indian 2012 Grand Prix for the second time in a row, while Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso finishes in a distant second in front of Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

As a matter of fact, the German Red Bull driver was never challenged in the second year of the Indian Grand Prix taking place on Sunday, winning it in an even more comfortable and dominant manner than he did in the previous year. Starting from P1, Sebastian Vettel only faced a slight challenge from Red Bull team mate Mark Webber in the first corner, before controlling the race and winning it in a very superior style. In terms of the statistics, it was his fourth consecutive victory, and the first time since the late Ayrton Senna in 1989 that a driver has led every lap for three races in a row.

That did not prevent him from causing rising eyebrows and nervous leg moves at the Red Bull conning tower, when his undertray generated a few sparks under braking towards the end, and when Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso pushed hard to overtake Mark Webber, as the Australian ran into KERS problems, and began to close the gap slightly. Sebastian Vettel had a huge buffer zone, however, and won by 9.4s to move 13 points ahead of the Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver in the drivers' standings.

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was very busy at fending off Lewis Hamilton's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in the closing stages of the race, as his car was born-again on Pirelli's harder tire, after failing to match the pace of both Red Bull's and Ferrari's on the soft tires. It must be mentioned here, that Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso starting from P5, succeeded in leap-frogging the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes duo on the straight after the first corner of the race, before being overtaken by Lewis Hamilton, thus splitting the silver car pair.

In terms of numbers, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton just failed by 0.6s to kick off Mark Webber from the final podium position while team mate Jenson Button, who had earlier held third before Alonso overtook him and then suffered a slight delay with a sticking left-rear wheel during his pit stop, finished lonely in fifth position. Sebastian Vettel, who was close to set a hat trick by starting from P1, winning the race and scoring the fastest lap on the final tour, was beaten by Fernando Alonso, Williams' Bruno Senna and Jenson Button himself. It was small solace for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, who had hoped to fight for victory.

Sixth place went to Brazilian Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa after a superb drive, fending off an eagerly challenging Kimi Raikkonen all the way to the finishing line. The Finn momentarily moved ahead in the pit stops, but Felipe Massa soon re-passed the Lotus and kept ahead thereafter. Nico Hulkenberg delivered again an impressive drive for Force India by holding off a challenging Romain Grosjean in the other Lotus, while another strong performance from Bruno Senna witnessed the Brazilian catch and pass Nico Rosberg's Mercedes to snatch the final point in the final stages of the race.

Force India's Paul di Resta was 1.1s behind Rosberg by the flag after a lonely race, then came Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo who fended off the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi by less than half a second. The Japanese driver was involved in small discord with Pastor Maldonado while they were fighting with Bruno Senna, which resulted in the Venezuelan pitting with a cut right-rear tire on his Williams. The stewards, including 1980 world champion Alan Jones, agreed that it was just a normal racing incident.

Jean-Eric Vergne got the front wing of his Toro Rosso face lifted in the first corner traffic, which resulted in a cut right-rear tire for Mercedes of seven times world champion Michael Schumacher. Both pitted for repairs at the end of the first lap, then fought their way back. The excellent driving efforts earned Jean-Eric Vergne 15th place. Michael Schumacher on the other hand was later investigated for ignoring blue flags (although no further action was taken) and the German eventually retired his Mercedes after a gearbox issue.

Pastor Maldonado recovered to 16th, half a second behind Vergne, while Vitaly Petrov comfortably won the Caterham race against team mate Heikki Kovalainen as Charles Pic beat Marussia team mate Timo Glock home.

Narain Karthikeyan successfully nursed his brakes to get his HRT home as the final finisher in 21st, while team mate Pedro de la Rosa joined Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez in the list of retiring cars after crashing because of brake failure. The Spaniard was unharmed. The Mexican, meanwhile, was fighting Hulkenberg for eighth early on when he sustained a cut rear tire, and retired after two further stops.
Sebastian Vettel's victory thus puts him 13 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the hunt for the driver's title with 240 points to 227, with Kimi Raikkonen a distant third on 173, followed by Mark Webber on 167 and Lewis Hamilton on 165.

In the constructors Formula 1 World Championship, Red Bull moves up to 407 points compared to Ferrari's 316, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' 306 and Lotus' 263.

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