VETT, SET, GO!
Oct 27 2013
Sealing it in style, Sebastian Vettel is king of the Indian Grand Prix
Coming into the straight, Vettel slowed down and stopped Hungry Heidi, climbed out and stood on her nose for a few seconds, savouring the applause and appreciation of close to 60,000 spectators before joining his celebrating team members on the pit wall.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who is behind the team,” he said later. “It has not been an easy season. From the outside people will think it was easy but it wasn't. It is a pleasure to jump in the car and go out and drive and give it all I have. The car was phenomenal today and has been phenomenal all season to be honest."
The 26-year-old German also ensured a fourth straight constructors' crown for Red Bull and was a full half-minute clear of the second placed Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and the impressive Romain Grosjean of Lotus, third at the flag after starting 17th on the grid.
In a race marked by tyre strategy that saw most teams opt to make a quick change from the softer compound to the medium tyre, pole-sitter Vettel pitted after the first lap itself to make the switch. Once he regained the lead in the 29th lap, he was never challenged, coasting untroubled to the line as battles raged down the order behind him.
Red Bull however, lost their second driver, Mark Webber, who was forced to retire from second place with mechanical problems on the 39th of the 60 laps.
Vettel’s closest title challenger, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, also had a rough race. As the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Webber bumped at the first corner, Alonso ran out of track and nudged Webber’s car, forcing him to pit for new a nose section.
Thereafter, he never came into the picture and it was departing teammate Felipe Massa who instead brought points home for the prancing horse with his fourth place finish.
Force India returned with some success too in what could well be the last Formula One race in the country for some time, seeing Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil finish eighth and ninth with the latter in particular running a strong first stint. “It’s great to score points here in India — the team’s home Grand Prix and a really important race for us,” di Resta said afterwards.
The overall result also gave Red Bull their fourth constructor’s title despite Webber’s demise, with 470 points, while Mercedes now lead Ferrari with 313 points to 309 and Lotus are fourth with 285. McLaren have 93, and Force India may have secured a sixth place finish for the season with 68 points ahead of Sauber’s 45.