Countdown to Buddh- Vettel wins at Korea, extending his massive lead over Alonso
Much like the 2011 season, where Vettel had run away with the Championship with 5 races to go- the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida could very well be the venue he seals his title at. That would be worth the ticket price on its own, considering there’s nothing left to fight for in 2013- with even second place looking like Alonso’s once again, his 4th consecutive time behind Sebastian Vettel.
The 2013 Korean GP was an incident-filled one. Except Vettel at the front- who was once again driving a race of his own- every single car behind him had to push, prod and fight for positions. Eventually, Vettel won his 6th out of the last 8 races, his fourth consecutive race in 2013. Kimi Raikkonen returned to form with a good second position, followed by his teammate Roman Grosjean in 3rd.
The safety car was deployed twice after the 33rd lap for long periods of time, one for Perez’s tyre burst and only a lap later, for Webber’s Red Bull catching fire to the side of the track. The second safety car deployment became a bit of a joke- with a telecaster mini-van first coming out onto track ahead of leader Vettel, and the safety car behind the group. Instructions were lost in translation, as Vettel had to start his race once again, easily pulling away from Raikkonen and the rest. The Australian Webber had yet another wretched race. His last season isn’t turning out to be as memorable as he would like it to.
Alonso, the only title contender, finished in 6th after a memorable battle with Lewis Hamilton. The Brit demonstrated his superior defensive skills, stubbornly blocking the inside line through every corner- not letting the Spaniard get past for more than a second at a time. It was the only battle in the race that mattered, because Alonso needed the points desperately. In the end, he couldn’t get past Hamilton- falling further behind in the standings. A retirement in the next race at Suzuka coupled with a Vettel win could see the German wrap up the Championship with 4 races to go. This is already his most dominant season, in which he has pulled away after the 8th race, never looking back.
In all likelihood, a four-time Champion will be crowned in India, knowing Alonso’s ability to push relentlessly in his lesser Ferrari. Raikkonen is far behind Alonso in the standings, taking over from Hamilton- who seems to be getting a good hang of his Mercedes.
Red Bull is unstoppable.
Their no. 1, at the age of 26, has won his 34th Grand Prix, and is already on his way to breaking Senna’s record of 3 Championships. One hope and prays, for the sake of F1 and the four new races on the calendar (Austria, Mexico, Russia and New Jersey), that the 2014 season will be a scrap to the end.
For now, onto Japan (Suzuka), Vettel’s favorite track, to complete the formalities.