Vettel Coasts To Win To Lead Championship

Sebastian Vettel made it three in a row after he took the chequered flag at the Korean Grand Prix. Vettel took the lead from Webber before turn 1 and stayed there when it mattered. The 25 points for the win mean that he now stands on top in the Driver’s Championship standings by 6 points over his main title rival Fernando Alonso who claimed the race’s final podium position in third.

A lock-up to his front right tyre towards the end meant that the team had to warn him to be cautious with his tyres and slow down, but otherwise, it was a straight-forward victory which Vettel was delighted with.

“Fantastic. I am very, very happy. It was a fantastic race,” said Vettel.

“The foundation was to have a good start. I wasn’t sure as I was starting on the dirty side, but I had a reasonable start and a good launch. Mark had a bit of slip so I could get side-by-side and had a good exit after the third corner.

“We had two brilliant pitstops. The only mistake was locking up the front right at Turn 3. It was a bit of a mistake on my side, but luckily I had cushion to the pack. At the end I was quite worried about tyres.”

He led the grid away beginning the race but lost the lead before the first turn and was never to regain it. Mark Webber was pleased to pick up second while having to also manage tyres, but reflected that it was not what he had been hoping for after starting the race from pole position.

“We had to manage the tyres, look after them but go as quick as we could,” he said. “I tried to keep some pressure on him. That is the way it is these days, you have to look after the black things on the corners. It’s still a very solid result.

The initial launch wasn’t good, then the first part kicked to wheelspin, and I knew I could have some issues,” he said.

“It was a very mediocre run to the first corner. All wasn’t lost – I got the slipstream on the back straight and it was still possible to get something there. After that, I hit a brick wall with everyone coming behind.”

“Today was a good result but mixed emotions,” he said. “Second is a big difference to first. I had good points and champagne, but not what I was after.”

Alonso gets the podium champagne

Fernando Alonso has been pulling out all the stops this season in a car which has never been the fastest but was able to finish third to keep himself in with a decent chance of the championship. With Alonso finishing the race in third and Felipe Massa in fourth, it was a strong performance from the Scuderia, moving the team up to second place and ahead of McLaren in the Constructor’s Championship.

“I think we have to be happy with our performance today,” said Alonso.

“We finished third and fourth behind Red Bull, who at the moment are difficult to beat. And we overtook McLaren in the constructors’ championship, which is something we didn’t expect two or three days ago.

“We just need a last little step to be as competitive as Red Bull and it will be a beautiful four races to the end.”

Raikkonen admits the title is a tougher prospect but will keep going for it

Kimi Raikkonen finished in fifth, admitting it was the best possible result as Lotus were unable to challenge the Red Bull or Ferraris. The Finn lies further back in the championship, 48 points behind Vettel at the top but maintains that he and the team will still keep trying to win the title.

“I think this was about where we should have been today,” said Raikkonen. “The yellow flags at the start didn’t help when we were fighting with Felipe [Massa] but even so we didn’t quite have the speed to match the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

“We also lost quite a bit of time behind Lewis [Hamilton] – mainly because the new exhaust system means you lose a little bit of power so it was hard to get past – but with a few more practice sessions I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more to be able to improve it.

“I was pretty much on my own at the end but we had to keep pushing to maintain position and it wasn’t so easy.

“The gap to Sebastian [Vettel] in the championship is quite big now so it will be very difficult to catch him, but we’ll keep pushing all the way.”

Grosjean came through the race unscathed

A man under pressure before the race to keep his nose clean was Romain Grosjean and the Frenchman duly kept out of trouble, finishing he seventh. He admitted that he was nervous but his race had no dramas as he finished in the points.

“For sure I was a bit nervous starting the race today, but we did a lot of work this week trying to understand a few things and it’s certainly helped. It wasn’t the easiest start; there was contact behind me at turn three and I took evasive action but after that it was quite straight forward.”

” I struggled on the last set of tyres as I had graining straight away meaning the performance was not great during the final stint. Maybe we could have achieved one place better – I think I now know every detail of Force India’s car after spending so much time battling with Nico [Hulkenberg] – but I’m happy to make it to the chequered flag after a good, clean race.”

Hulkenberg’s sixth builds on his seventh place in Japan

Nico Hulkenberg kept up his strong recent form with a sixth place and was delighted with the result. The highlight of his race was a bold pass of both Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean at turn four which he was happy with.

“That race was a lot of fun and it’s great to get such a mega result,” said Hulkenberg.

“It wasn’t easy though, and for most of the race I had the Lotus of Romain [Grosjean] pushing me and some great battles.

“Even the first pitstop was very close with Romain, but the team did a great stop because it was important to stay ahead at that stage.

“I think the best moment of the race was the fight with Lewis [Hamilton] and Romain in the final stint when I got ahead of both of them in turn four.

“They both went to the inside so I just saw the opportunity to use the outside line and made the move work. That certainly put a big smile on my face.

“So a very positive day, an amazing job by the whole team and lots of positives to take as we head to India for our home race.”

Korean Grand Prix Result

1. Vettel Red Bull 1h36:28.651
2. Webber Red Bull + 8.200
3. Alonso Ferrari + 13.900
4. Massa Ferrari + 20.100
5. Raikkonen Lotus + 36.700
6. Hulkenberg Force India + 45.300
7. Grosjean Lotus + 54.800
8. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1:09.500
9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:11.700
10. Hamilton McLaren + 1:19.600
11. Perez Sauber + 1:20.000
12. Di Resta Force India + 1:24.400
13. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:29.200
14. Maldonado Williams + 1:34.900
15. Senna Williams + 1:36.900
16. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
19. Pic Marussia + 2 laps
20. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps


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