Korean Grand Prix
Photo. Mark Thompson
Blitzkrieg. Gangnam style… Sebastian Vettel Psyched out the competition with his third successive grand prix victory in Korea on Sunday at Yeongam. The Red Bull racer also takes the lead in the championship with his 25th F1 success, matching the number of wins for the great Jim Clark and moving one ahead of the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio.
Mark Webber, “not bad for a #2 driver,” started the race from pole position, which was 200th pole for Renault, but lost the lead to his German teammate when the lights went out. Webber would stay in second place till the end of the race, giving Red Bull their first one-two of the season.
Fernando Alonso came in third and finally lost his long held world championship lead to Vettel. The Spanish ace is now six points behind the German wunderkind with four races in three different continents remaining.
Felipe Massa saved his bacon and seat at Scuderia Ferrari by another spirited performance and fourth place finish. At one stage he was reminded by his engineer, Rob Smedley, that he was too close to Alonso.
Translated by many as ‘Fernando is slower than you.’
F1 returnee Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Lotus. The Finn has scored points in every round expect the Chinese Grand Prix.
Nico Hulkenberg, headed for Sauber for 2013 according to many reports, put in a great performance while battling Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton, and finished sixth for Force India.
Grosjean, hoping to survive the opening lap, raced with caution but with competitive spirit to finish seventh.
Toro Rosso drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, both finished in the points, eighth and ninth respectively. The final point from tenth position was collected by Lewis Hamilton. The departing McLaren driver suffered from a broken anti-roll bar.
His teammate, Jenson Button, had a miserable weekend. He failed to get into Q3 in qualifying and in the race was taken out on the opening lap by Kamui Kobayashi.
The Japanese driver for Sauber had just celebrated his first podium finish a week earlier in his home grand prix; ironically, after holding off a late charge from Button.
The 2009 World Champion branded Kobayashi an “idiot.” He later apologized to both Button and Nico Rosberg, who was also taken out in the Kamui crash fest.
In two weeks the F1 circus returns to Asia for the Indian Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit in Delhi. An arrest warrant awaits Force India team owner, Dr Vijay Mallya, for unpaid landing fees by his grounded Kingfisher Airlines at the airport in the south Indian city of Hyderabad.
TOP FIVE IN DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
Sebastian Vettel 215 points.
Fernando Alonso 209 points.
Kimi Raikkonen 167 points.
Lewis Hamilton 153 points.
Mark Webber 152 points.
TOP FIVE IN CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
Red Bull 367 points.
Ferrari 290 points.
McLaren 284 points.
Lotus 255 points.
Mercedes 136 points.
Oh, what a feeling on home track! Toyota Hybrid racer, driven by Kazuki Nakajima, Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, took victory in the six-hour race at Mt Fuji circuit, a track owned by Toyota.
Second was the Audi R18 of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler. Followed in third by sister car of Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.
Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost were fourth in their Toyota powered Lola.
¡Viva España! Championship heating up in Moto GP as Dani Pedrosa took victory over championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. There was a good battle for third place between Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow, which was settled when the English rider ran out of petrol, making the podium all Espagnol.
— Nasir Hameed