Vettel takes an easy win at India
Sebastian Vettel has taken an easy and utterly dominant victory at the Indian GP to extend his lead further in the championship. Fernando Alonso however progressed from 5th on the grid to 2nd at the finish to keep his title hopes alive. Mark Webber finished third, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The shortest run to the first corner of the season here in India worked out well enough and without issues, with nearly everbody going into the corner in their grid positions. However, on the next two straights, action did happen, with Alonso slipstreaming ahead of both McLarens, but passed again before the end of the straight. In the next shorter straight, Alonso managed to get ahead of HAmilton and therefore finished the first lap in 4th place.
Neither of the Red Bulls came under any threat and immediately got away with a little gap thanks to the fight going on behind them.
More in the back, Schumacher suffered an early right rear puncture after contact with Vergne. The latter also returned to the pits at the end of the first lap to get a new front wing.
On lap 4, Alonso made perfect use of the DRS and nearly flew past Button on the long straight, moving up to third place.
By lap 6 it becomes clear that the McLaren have trouble keeping up with the pace early on in this race. Hamilton managed to pass Button, but in 2 laps Alonso pulled a gap of 1.5 seconds on the duo. Massa and Raikkonen could seemingly also go a little faster and are closely following the McLaren cars to put up a challenge.
At the start of lap 12, Schumacher is already busy looking in his mirrors as the leaders have caught up with him. Vettel is now 3.4s ahead of Webber, then 4.4 to Alonso, 4.5 to Hamilton, 2 seconds to Button who is still closely followed by Massa and Raikkonen. Behind them are PER HUL ROS MAL GRO SEN DIR RIC KOB KOV PET PIC GLO DLR KAR VER SCH.
In lap 15, just after getting passed by Hulkenberg, Pérez is the first to make a stop, taking on another set of soft tyres, meaning he's likely on a two stop strategy.
2 laps later Grosjean passes Maldonado on the straight, and Senna who was following just behind made perfect use of the next corner to also pass his teammate, slipping through with Grosjean.
In lap 20 Pérez attempts to pass Ricciardo through the outside of turn 1, but the Toro Rosso narrowly cut into the right rear tyre of the Sauber as Pérez took the apex of the corner. Unfortunately for him, this requires him to go back to the pits with a puncture after only 5 laps on the new soft tyres. Back in the pits, he's switched to the hard tyre. Another lap later, he pulls into the pits to abandon the race.
Meanwhile at the front, Alonso has started to close down the gap to Webber by half a second a lap. On lap 25 the gap has reduced to 1.8 seconds. Webber's disadvantage to Vettel however has increased to 9 full seconds.
On lap 26 Button pits and takes on the harder tyre. He rejoins the track behind Grosjean, in 9th position. 2 laps later Raikkonen is in as well, also making the switch to the hard tyre, followed by Rosberg. The next lap Massa also pits and gets passed by Raikkonen in turn 1, but repasses thanks to DRS on the straight.
Alonso follows suit the next lap, just halfway the race.
Another lap later Maldonado is off the gravel after having passed Kobayashi. It seems the Japanese cut across the circuit when behind Maldonado to attempt a re-pass, but in the event cut into the rear tyre of the Williams. Maldonado managed to return to the pits, but not without considerably hindering several drivers, including Petrov and Vettel.
Meanwhile, after the Red Bulls have stopped as well, Alonso is less than a second behind Webber. Vettel's advantage on the two however has further increased to 11.5 seconds. Hamilton is 7 seconds behind them and has 9 seconds in hand over his teammate. Massa and Raikkonen, still closely behind each other are 6 seconds down on Button.
In lap 45 De La Rosa spins off under braking after throwing up a lot of brake dust. The reason is clear as HRT keep struggling with brake performance and cooling. Narain Karthikeyan was similarly ordered to cool down the brakes as early as lap 6 of the race.
On lap 48 Alonso moves up to second place with DRS and after using the entire charge of KERS on the straight. Webber on the other hand was a sitting duck as the team informed him that they have intermittent KERS issues which sometimes do not enable the Australian to use all harvested energy.
Towards the end of the race, sparks started coming off of the tea tray of Vettel's car, but 2 laps later the issue seemed to be resolved. A small off for Alonso on lap 55 settled the matter, increasing the gap to Vettel to 12s.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||60||Winner||1||25|
|2||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||60||+9.4 secs||5||18|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||60||+13.2 secs||2||15|
|4||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||60||+13.9 secs||3||12|
|5||3||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||60||+26.2 secs||4||10|
|6||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||60||+44.6 secs||6||8|
|7||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||60||+45.2 secs||7||6|
|8||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||60||+54.9 secs||12||4|
|9||10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||60||+56.1 secs||11||2|
|10||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||60||+74.9 secs||13||1|
|11||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||60||+81.6 secs||10|
|12||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||60||+82.8 secs||16|
|13||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||60||+86.0 secs||15|
|14||14||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||60||+86.4 secs||17|
|15||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||59||+1 Lap||18|
|16||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||59||+1 Lap||9|
|17||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||59||+1 Lap||19|
|18||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||59||+1 Lap||20|
|19||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||59||+1 Lap||24|
|20||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||58||+2 Laps||21|
|21||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||58||+2 Laps||23|
|22||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||55||+5 Laps||14|
|Ret||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||42||Brakes||22|
|Ret||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||20||+40 Laps||8|