Vettel wins Korean Grand Prix to snatch WDC lead from Alonso!

Fernando Alonso lost the lead in the world drivers championship after two DNF’s in Spa, Belgium and Suzuka, Japan while finishing third at the Korean Grand Prix behind the Red Bull’s of Mark Webber and race winner Sebastian Vettel; who now holds a 6 point lead over the Spaniard going into the last four races of the season. Unless Ferrari have some big improvements coming; I honestly don’t see Alonso regaining the lead from the German; baring any Red Bull mechanical failures, I firmly believe that this is Vettel’s/Red Bull’s championships to lose at this point!

It was a shocking race for McLaren; one point from a possible 43 is extremely poor; Jenson Button’s race ended at the third corner as he was hit by both Sauber’s; Sergio Perez clouting the Britons left rear into turn one and Kamui Kobayashi playing pinball between Button’s McLaren and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes; both drivers taken out of the race while Kobayashi continued on; but later retired on lap 17 after serving a drivethrough penalty for causing an avoidable collision. Lewis Hamilton was initially fighting for a podium position with Alonso but dropped back with a rear rollbar failure; which ultimately saw him drop back to 10th place after making three tyre stops.

It was a good race for Ferrari; Alonso jumping Hamilton off the line into third place where he stayed throughout the race. Felipe Massa had a great race finishing in fourth place after being told “You are too close to Fernando; drop back at least a second” over the radio by Ferrari. Suffice to say that Felipe was the faster driver on the day, closing to within a second of Alonso before playing the team game and dropping back from his title challenging team mate. This 3 -4 finish allowed Ferrari to move ahead of McLaren in the constructors championship capitalising on McLaren’s woes.

It was a reasonable day for Lotus with Kimi Raikkonen finishing in fifth place after a titanic battle with Hamilton during the middle section of the race while Romain Grosjean, firstly managed to not hit anyone during the race and like his team mate; also had great battles with Hamilton and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. The Frenchman eventually taking the chequered flag in seventh place.

The Yeongam circuit was very good to Toro Rosso; both cars finishing in the points; Jean-Eric Vergne finishing just a couple of seconds ahead of his Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo in eighth and ninth respectively although it could have been seventh and ninth if it weren’t for Ricciardo suffering from brake fade allowing his team mate and Lotus’ Grosjean to catch and pass him during the closing laps. Ricciardo managed to fight off Lewis Hamilton’s advances during the final couple of laps, which was really a case of which is worse; failing brakes or a broken roll bar.

Force India had a mixed day; Paul di Resta never really broke into the top 10; while Nico Hulkenberg pulled off a brilliant opportunistic pass on both Hamilton and Grosjean to jump from eighth to sixth place while the Frenchman and Englishman were squabbling over the place that Hulkenberg stole from under their noses; Hulkenberg has really impressed me this season!

Obviously Red Bull had a fantastic day claiming a 1 – 2 finish; I have to admit it’s nice to see Webber managing to get to the end of the race without mechanical issues or being taken out through no fault of his own. I would have preferred to see Webber convert his pole position into a victory; but Vettel got a better start and jumped the Australian off the line; Webber came back at the German in the run upto turn 3 but couldn’t make it stick! Plus realistically, I couldn’t see Webber being allowed to win the race when Vettel is the main title challenger; despite claims that Red Bull will allow the two drivers to race each other, Mark knows the score; he’ll be a team player!

I’m a fan of Kobayashi but what in the hell was he thinking going into turn 3 on lap one? The Japanese claims that he was tagged which caused him to lose control but to me it looked like he misjudged his braking and clattered into Button and Rosberg. It was already looking likely that Kobayashi would be leaving the Swiss team at the end of the year; but now that could happen much sooner; there are suggestions that the Japanese could be replaced by reserve driver Esteban GutiĆ©rrez for the remaining four races with Hulkenberg taking the second Sauber seat in 2013!

Another car issue for Hamilton has fired up the speculation that McLaren are not giving him equal equipment to Button; frankly I call bullshit on this claim. Obviously now that he is leaving the team despite Mclaren building a car around him and Jenson for next season has pissed a lot of people off; so I’d expect him to get somewhat of a cold shoulder; but I simply don’t believe that McLaren would throw away points and a possible constructors championship because of it. That’s a lot of money to throw away as constructors points mean big money for the team come end of season!

Top 10 classified finishers at the Korean Grand Prix:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
8. Jean Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
9. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
10. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

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