Vettel claims fourth consecutive race victory in India

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth race victory of the 2012 season while also celebrating passing 200 consecutive laps leading a race. Title rival, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso overhauled the second Red Bull of Mark Webber, who was suffering from another KERS failure for second place as the race came to a close to keep his title hopes alive, the Spaniard is now 13 points behind Vettel.

The race got off to a fantastic start, Jenson Button got the jump on Lewis Hamilton off the start into turn one, only for Hamilton to come back at Button into turn three, meanwhile Fernando Alonso got an immense tow down the straight to overtake both McLarens as they were having their own drag race down to turn four. But there was another twist; both McLaren came back at Alonso to get into turn four first, Button ended up the net winner of this segment of the race coming out of turn four in third place. While this was happening, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg made an excellent start to leap from 12th on the grid to ninth, while Maldonado dropped back two places to 11th.

Although Button did gain third place initially, he did not hold onto it for long as both Alonso and Hamilton breezed past Button’s McLaren in the DRS zone in the run down to turn four by lap six.

Michael Schumacher’s weekend got even worse after his dismal qualifying; having contact with Toro’s Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, suffering a puncture which meant a pitstop, dropping him to the very back of the field and later retired his car on lap 57. Sergio Perez had a similar incident with the other Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo on lap 20, with the same result, Perez pulling into the garage and out of the race. Maldonado was pitched off the track with a rear puncture on lap 31 after contact with Kobayashi’s front wing as the Venezuelan cut across the front of the Japanese.

There was a number of great battles during the race; Felipe Massa and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen battling for sixth place for the majority of the race, Raikkonen did make a move around the outside of Massa as the Brazilian exited the pitlane; but immediately came straight back at the Finn retaking sixth place. Williams’ Bruno Senna had a great race making a number of excellent overtakes, including an opportunistic overtake of his team mate as the Venezuelan was out of position after being overtaken by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Senna made a move on Mercedes Nico Rosberg to claim the final point on the 52nd lap for Williams, a fighting display from the Brazilian.

McLaren’s Hamilton had a chance to catch and overtake Mark Webber for third place with the Australian suffering technical issues but it seems that Webber regained his KERS as he started to pump in faster laps holding off the hard charging Hamilton; who finished just 0.6 seconds behind the Australian. McLaren team mate Jenson Button finished another 13 seconds down the road in fifth place; although the Briton did snatch the fastest lap away from Vettel on the final lap. Felipe Massa did claim sixth place; holding off Raikkonen by just 0.6 seconds as the pair crossed the line.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Bruno Senna rounded out the top 10 finishers, in that order. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, let’s hope that Abu Dhabi will be as exciting as India, the Indian Grand Prix reminded me of the racing of old in the late 80s/early 90s.

Top 10 classified finishers at the Indian Grand Prix:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
5. Jenson Button (McLaren)
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
10. Bruno Senna (Williams)

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