Motorsports Mondial

Indian Grand Prix

Photo. Sutton Images

Vettel’s Triple Play. “You are the man!” Christian Horner congratulated the young man from Heppenheim on his 11th GP victory of the season, fifth in last six races.

The recently crowned youngest double world champion checked out at the start of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in his Renault-powered Red Bull from his 13th pole of the 2011 season, one short of equaling the record set by Nigel Mansell in his 1992 Championship winning year. The 24-year old German led every lap and also set the fastest lap on the final tour of the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit.

The second Red Bull of Australian Mark Webber inherited front row start thanks to a penalty to Lewis Hamilton for ignoring the yellow flag in qualifying. His teammate Jenson Button passed Webber at the start and kept Vettel in sight, taking second place at the finish.

Fernando Alonso put in his usual ‘solid as a rock’ performance to take the final step of the podium. With Ferrari team already focusing on the 2012 car, chances are Alonso’s win at Silverstone may be his only triumph of the season.

Webber was fourth, followed by the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and his teammate Nico Rosberg.

Till we meet again…..

Photo. Getty Images

As common as Vettel on pole and top step of the podium in 2011, so is the clash between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. The ‘numero dos’ duo continue to play Rock the Kasbah at Greater Noida circuit.

Massa’s version, “My view is that I was in front, I braked later than him and I was in front, I was on the grippy area as well and then I started to turn and I didn’t see him on the left as he was behind. He touched my rear wheel. So, to be honest I don’t understand why I have the penalty. It is not really understandable. Maybe for him. Because all the incidents are that he touched my car. So, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The Brazilian’s view was not shared by the stewards and Massa was judged to be the guilty party. Ex-GP winner Johnny Herbert assisted the stewards.

Hamilton’s rendition, “There’s not really much to say. It’s a disappointing day. My team worked hard all weekend as they always do. I don’t really know what else to say. We had the one minute silence before the start of the race and me and Felipe were standing next to each other. He hasn’t spoken to me in a long, long time so I put my arm around him and just said ‘good luck for the race’.

The McLaren driver went on to finish seventh after a nose change following contact with Massa. The Ferrari driver retired in a repeat of his qualifying incident; the suspension broke after hitting the kerbs.

Mika’s Mantra

“All problems are psychological,” in the few and famous words of two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen. Hamilton was unable to put on a smile even after grabbing the only non-Red Bull pole position of the season in Korea after his split from Nicole Scherzinger, Pussy Cat Doll.

Massa has been suffering from cat scratch fever since the arrival of Alonso in Maranello.

Another Spaniard, Jaime Alguersuari, brought the Toro Rosso team to equal points in the championship with Sauber after his eighth place finish.

Adrian Sutil was ninth and his wish has been granted by Force India’s boss man, Vijay Mallya. The King of Kingfisher has agreed to confirm his driver line-up for next season before December.

There are strong rumors that the Mercedes-powered team will replace one German with another German. Nico Hulkenberg, currently the team test and reserve driver, is set to re-enter F1 after losing his seat at Williams to petro-dollars and Pastor Maldonado.

The final point was taken by Sergio Perez. The Sauber driver is the Mexican Jenson Button, ‘smooth operator.’ After starting from the 10th row on hard tires, he made his one and only tire change for soft rubber at the end of the opening lap. His teammate, Kamui Kobayashi, was taken out at the start. Both drivers will continue next year with the Swiss team.

Photo. Getty Images

 

The checkered flag on the 60-lap race was waved by Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. The race was well attended and the general feeling is that the Indian Grand Prix will become a permanent fixture on the F1 schedule.

 

— Nasir Hameed

 

Greetings and spicy racing regards.

 

P.S. Song without words