Vettel on verge of fourth title after dominant win

2013 Korean Grand Prix review

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Sebastian Vettel’s fourth consecutive race victory has all but guaranteed his fourth consecutive world championship title.

The Red Bull driver dominated in Korea as he did in Singapore two weeks earlier – leading every lap from pole position and setting fastest lap.

Lotus emerged as Red Bull’s closest rivals but while a mid-race Safety Car period helped Kimi Raikkonen rise from ninth to second it extinguished Romain Grosjean’s hopes of getting on terms with Vettel.

Ferrari’s near-miss

The configuration of the first sector in Korea puts the pole sitter in a uniquely vulnerable position. The long stretch from turn two to the slow turn three gives the chasing field the opportunity to sit in the slipstream and pounce.

Vettel was alert to the threat and got away superbly from pole position. Second-placed Lewis Hamilton moved more sluggishly from the dirty side of the track and was too preoccupied with third-placed Grosjean to make a move on the Red Bull.

While Vettel’s start went according to plan the same could not be said for Ferrari whose drivers came alarmingly close to colliding. Felipe Massa had a run down the inside of Fernando Alonso at turn three but lost control of his car and arrived at the corner sideways. Only Alonso’s rapid reaction avoided a crash – and did so by a few millimetres.

“I decided to go down the inside to try and brake later,” Massa explained. “Unfortunately, some of the cars were slower and in order to avoid driving into one of the Mercedes, I was forced to move over to the right, ending up in a spin.”

Alonso was charitable towards his soon-to-be ex-team mate: “What happened to Felipe at the third corner was not a problem for me,” he said, “there were a lot of us there at that point and someone must have touched him.”

Though no one had hit Massa, Alonso’s evasive action forced a quick-starting Esteban Gutierrez to swerve left, damaging Jenson Button’s front wing. While Massa’s mistake cost those drivers dearly, others capitalised. Kimi Raikkonen hugged the inside of turn three and picked up several places; Pastor Maldonado saw the field open up before him and gained a total of nine.

Button plugged away in spite of his broken front wing but had to pit for a replacement after four laps. “It wasn’t really causing me that much of a problem,” said the McLaren driver, “but it was really hurting the tyre temperatures so I had to come in”. Adrian Sutil had to do the same.

Grosjean gets ahead of Hamilton

By the end of lap one Vettel had opened up a two-second lead over Grosjean, who had successfully passed Hamilton at turn three and resisted the Mercedes driver’s counter-attack. But in short order they and most of their pursuers were in the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo aside, the entire field had started the race on Pirelli’s super-soft compound. The fast left-handers in sector two were dishing out their usual punishment to the front-right tyres.

Massa was in as early as lap six following his first-lap escapade. The next time by Force India spied an opportunity to get Paul di Resta ahead of Sergio Perez and brought him in.

Meanwhile Raikkonen had demoted Ricciardo and on lap eight did the same to Alonso on the run to turn three. The Ferrari driver came in at the end of that lap. The next time by Hamilton pitted, trying to ‘undercut’ Grosjean to get back into second place.

It nearly worked: Grosjean had to defend firmly from Hamilton after his pit stop on lap 10. That forced Vettel to respond with his pit stop but he felt he could have stayed out “another two or three laps”.

The Red Bull had treated its super-soft tyres so well that Mark Webber – who normally doesn’t get the same life from his tyres that his team mate does – was able to stay out until lap 12. Seven laps later Ricciardo was the last driver to make his first pit stop and put on another set of mediums.

Tyre drama for Perez

The more durable tyre compound was better news for some than others. The Force India drivers were having a dreadful time: Di Resta failed in his efforts to get ahead of Perez then complained he couldn’t get his tyres to switch on.

Sutil was far more blunt, punctuating his description of the VJM06’s lack of pace with expletives. Di Resta delivered the final verdict on his car’s vexatious handling when he spun into a barrier on lap 24.

Graining was the chief problem on the low-grip surface. Some, like Button, found their tyres cleaned up, allowing them to press on. When Hamilton’s lap times began to rise on lap 22 Mercedes thought they were looking at the same phenomenon.

But they weren’t. “The right-front was just destroyed all of a sudden at one point,” Hamilton explained afterwards. “There was no graining, it was just dead.”

Vettel said afterwards the characteristics of the graining process could be deceptive. “Once the tyre does come back, inside the cockpit at least you have the feeling that the car is alive again, the car is alive but actually the tyre is dead.”

“There is no more rubber to grain so the tyre is more or less worn. So it’s quite tricky because if you have a big lock-up that could mean that it’s the end of the race. You have to come into the pits because you have a massive flat spot.”

At the start of lap 31 Perez had just such a flat spot at turn one. But he didn’t make it anywhere near reaching the pits before his stressed right-front tyre exploded. With the straight approaching turn three littered with debris the Safety Car was immediately summoned.

Safety Car setback for Grosjean

“I saw the safety car coming out so we pitted immediately,” said Vettel, which was bad news for the pursuing Grosjean. Lotus intended to bring his pit stop forwards by five laps in the hope of putting Red Bull under pressure in the final stint but the Safety Car let their rivals off the hook.

“It seems that every time there will be a battle with Seb, there’s a Safety Car,” rued Grosjean afterwards. “Same as Germany unfortunately.”

Mercedes had suffered a double setback in their efforts to catch Red Bull a few laps earlier. Hamilton’s worsening tyre problems allowed Rosberg to take up to 2.5 seconds per lap out of him. On lap 29 he drew alongside his team mate as they headed to turn three.

But at that very moment an upper right mounting pin in Rosberg’s front nose failed and the wing collapsed onto the floor, producing a spectacular shower of sparks. Rosberg was only partly aware of the extent of the problem and had to ask his engineer how hard to push as he headed for the pits.

Rosberg remained ahead of his struggling team mate, who had been due to come in on that lap. With the team unsure how long Rosberg’s front wing change would take, sending Hamilton around to do another lap was a prudent move, though it infuriated their driver.

More bad luck for Webber

If Hamilton had been unlucky, it was nothing compared to Webber’s misfortune. He was coming out of the pits on lap 31 just as Perez was locking up his front tyre at turn one. While Raikkonen passed the McLaren before its tyre failed, Webber was the first driver on the scene and had to dodge the debris.

That punctured his last race-worthy set of medium tyres, sending him back to the pits for a set of super-softs. He expressed doubts over whether they’d last until the end of the race, but it proved academic. Moments after the restart Sutil lost control of his Force India under braking at turn three and backed into the Red Bull, damaging the rear of the car and setting Webber’s RB9 ablaze for the second race in a row.

“I don’t know what he’s done in a previous life because that was just wretched luck today,” said a disbelieving Christian Horner after the race.

“He would have been on the podium today but unfortunately the puncture he picked up from the debris from Perez, so that gave him an immediate deflation. And then Sutil obviously lost it well before the corner and Mark is a complete innocent victim there.”

Raikkonen pounces on Grosjean

While the marshals were taking their time to extinguish the blazing RB9, Grosjean paid the price for running wide in turn 15. Raikkonen, who’d benefitted from pitting before the Safety Car to take third, dived down the inside of his team mate at turn one.

“I think he moved three times on the left,” said Raikkonen, though he wasn’t to be deterred from taking the position. “I had heard there will be yellow flags at the end of the straight so I knew he’s not going to pass me back with the DRS.”

Grosjean, however, had not got the same message, nor realised that the DRS was still disabled because it was only the second lap after the restart. He was infuriated to find himself immediately locked into third place.

Up ahead, Vettel was amazed to discover a car had appeared ahead of him. But it wasn’t a rival: a fire truck had appeared on the circuit despite no Safety Car being present. “This is quite bizarre,” said Rob Smedley to Massa, “there was a car on the track, no message.”

Race control scrambled to neutralise the race and it was fortunate for all concerned that Vettel and the pack were able to see the vehicle. After a second Safety Car hiatus the race resumed once more, with concern over whose tyres would make it to the end of the race eased considerably by the nine laps spent under caution.

While Raikkonen went after Vettel an unhappy Grosjean was soon remonstrating at length with his team, insisting Raikkonen was holding him up. “I am stuck behind Kimi. I cannot do anything in sector two,” he told race engineer Ayao Komatsu.

After the race Grosjean said “I was quicker today but then we have rules not to fight”. But during the race Komatsu told him plainly “if we want to do anything you need to overtake him”, indicating there was no ‘hold position’-type instruction.

As with Mercedes in Malaysia, Grosjean’s objections were strenuous enough for the team principal to get involved. “Romain, keep racing like it is,” said Eric Boullier firmly, later saying his driver had been “begging” for the team to order Raikkonen to move aside.

Hulkenberg holds on

Behind them Hamilton was just as keen to dispense with Hulkenberg. The Sauber driver had resisted Alonso’s attacks in the first part of the race, then taken Hamilton after the first restart.

Hulkenberg was revelling in the much improved Sauber after the team had reintroduced a new wing which had been discarded earlier in the season, but was working much better thanks to their Hungarian Grand Prix upgrades and the revised tyres, which suit them better.

“We shouldn’t be in front of these cars but we have one or two strong points: great traction, great top speed,” said Hulkenberg afterwards. Hamilton was astonished by how quickly the Sauber got out of turn one: “The traction he had was incredible.”

At one point Hamilton got past into turn one but the Sauber pulled out of the corner so well Hulkenberg was back ahead before the DRS zone. Hamilton then found himself having to fight back Alonso, giving Hulkenberg much-needed respite.

“It looks very good for us”

Last year Vettel had spent the final laps being urgently reminded by his team to look after his wilting right-front tyre. They were concerned about it again this time, Guillaume Rocquelin warning him “the front-right is still opening up – like it was last year”.

“I’m aware of the right-front,” Vettel told him – and reeled off the fastest lap on the 53rd tour. Even so it seemed he hadn’t taxed himself too much – he collected the race win despite his drinks button not working. “I’m surprised you needed it given the way you were managing the pace,” said Horner on he cool-down lap.

The Lotus drivers followed him home ahead of Hulkenberg in a very worthy fourth, who single-handedly moved Sauber ahead of Toro Rosso in the constructors’ championship. Hamilton was fifth ahead of Alonso, who had Rosberg pressuring him at the chequered flag.

The Mercedes driver passed Button with three laps to go as his medium tyres began to fade under the strain of a 33-lap final stint.

Ricciardo had to end the race on super-soft tyres and was doing a fine job keeping the likes of Massa and Perez behind. But three laps from home a brake problem put him out.

Vettel’s fourth win in a row means he could wrap up the title at the next race in Japan with four rounds to spare – just like he did two years ago. But he’s unwilling to let the strong possibility of a fourth world championship itself become a distraction:

“I’m trying not to think about it to be honest,” he said afterwards. “I’m trying to focus more on the present I think we obviously had the incredible chance, I think two years ago, to do so. We did it but I think there are still a lot of points to get, even though it looks very good for us.”

2013 Korean Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    108 comments on “Vettel on verge of fourth title after dominant win”

    1. I’m going to coin a phrase here – The Vettel Paradox: The more dominant the performance, the less likely people are to consider you a brilliant driver.

      1. Vettel in 2011 and 2013 has been praised much more than he was in 2010 or 2012, so obviously, that’s false.

        1. There are plenty who do feel that way though. That starting from the front, leading the whole race, and never really having to fight someone, is a performance by which greatness can’t possibly be measured. It’s something I absolutely disagree with, and like you say I think people are finding it increasingly difficult to deny just how incredible this guy is, and how high he will rise in the pantheon of the all time greats by the time he retires. And yet, the detractors remain.

          1. In some ways it is a bit like the Schumacher Syndrome. The better you are, the more some people dislike you. Granted, Schumacher did some things on track to help feed the syndrome. Vettel has nothing of such ill repute and yet the syndrome persists. I understand rooting for the underdog, but that does not require hating the overdog. Vettel and Red Bull are better than their opponents right now. I admire that. Red Bull has a great car and they build it to suit Vettel. But, without being a great driver Vettel would not be achieving success so consistently.

            I’m not a Vettel fan or hater, merely a long time observer of F1. Someday the pecking order will change, it always does.

        2. The irony is, I feel a driver deserves it more when the fight is that much more contested. Thus I feel Vettel deserved his 2010/2012 titles more so than 2011 and perhaps even 2013.

          1. @nick-uk don’t forget that he didn’t have the quickest car in early 2013, and that didn’t stop him from being championship leader.

      2. Nick Jarvis (@)
        6th October 2013, 21:28

        Great idea, but too narrow
        ‘The more dominant the performance, the less apparent the skills’

      3. He’s certainly not the first multiple world champion to not get the credit he deserves from F1 fans. Nelson Piquet springs to mind as a similar sort of driver who doesn’t get enough credit for his achievements for one reason or another. He certainly won’t be the last either.

    2. It is a farce watching F1 now onwards, knowing who is going to win the WDC, WCC etc…

      Can we give him the title now and start the 2014 season testing etc rightaway… Can’t wait to see what Kimi & Nando will do in that Ferrari

      1. I think you miss the point of F1 completely

        1. His name should have been a good indication of what to expect ;-)

      2. >Can’t wait to see what Kimi & Nando will do in that Ferrari

        Fighting each other the entire year because of Alonso’s terrible persona?

      3. Perhaps next year another driver will be dominant, will that then also bore you? Its about racing all down the field, not just for the lead. We’ve had many dominant drivers over the years and its been exciting nonetheless.

        1. Its about racing all down the field

          Not really. Its about fighting for wins and championships. Great racing all through the field adds value, but the fight for the win is what anyone who watches sports really looks at.

          1. So you must have been bored during the Schumacher, the Prost, the Senna years ? Its about the battles that go on, the risks drivers take, the strategies that unfold, all very exciting stuff. The front is not always that exciting, the middle order often is. If you have been an F1 fan for some time, you would know that.

          2. @todofd
            “…the fight for the win is what anyone who watches sports really looks at.”

            I completely, and vehemently disagree. There is soooo much more to appreciate about sport than just who finishes first. Yesterday’s was a fantastic race.

    3. As a massive kimi fan I was one of those who thought that Vettel was only doing it because of the car, but this year I have to admit its more to do with the fact that he is as good as anyone on the grid if not better than all. He simply does not make mistakes anymore and he always leads after lap 1 when starting on pole. I love kimi but i no longer think kimi is as good as Vettel and i put Alonso and Hamilton in the same bracket. For me Vettel is now number 1.

      1. @trigger
        Vettel is very very very good. But I think when it comes to race-craft Kimi is still better (I have also been a Mika then Kimi fan). That being said, Kimi is now at his peak of maturity (as is Alonso) whereas Seb has still room to improve.

        As for Hamilton, he is very talented, but unfortunately he has this sense of entitlement “I DESERVE TO BE FIGHTING AT THE FRONT WITH ALONSO” that is not only off-putting, but also counter-productive. Vettel might have less pure natural speed, but makes up for it with hard work and keeping his head levelled. After nearly 4 championships he still doesn’t see himself as entitled to success as Hamilton does.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          7th October 2013, 6:59

          @ifelix Are you basing this on Vettel’s cucumber comments towards Karthikeyan or Vettel’s comments that “Mark doesn’t deserve to win!” after Malaysia or on his comments last week that “Red Bull just work harder than anyone else” Vettel’s comments are unfortunately a tad contradictory to your comments.

          1. The comments from Vettel, if they are correct are spot on. I don’t see anything wrong with them. they are clinically correct.

          2. @freelittlebirds

            Are you basing this on Vettel’s cucumber comments towards Karthikeyan

            All that proves was that he feels it was Kathikeyan’s duty to allow him to pass without impedance, which it was. Vettel didn’t move across into Kathikeyan, Karthikeyan needlessly gravitated into Vettel’s rear wheel. That’s why he received a penalty and Vettel didn’t. So how exactly is that Vettel feeling he has a sense of entitlement? I don’t understand your argument.

            Vettel’s comments that “Mark doesn’t deserve to win!” after Malaysia

            Well, he didn’t. He needed team orders to hold that position, which indicates he simply didn’t have the pace to hold off the faster Vettel. Isn’t the whole point of racing that the “fastest man wins”? So therefore, that’s a perfectly fair statement. Webber wouldn’t have earned that victory on merit without the results being artificially tampered with, Vettel did.

            “Red Bull just work harder than anyone else”

            Although I don’t necessarily agree with Sebastian that Red Bull as a team entity are working especially hard (all the teams are), if we substitute “harder” with “better” the statement makes 100% sense. They have more efficient management, sufficient resources and funding, the talent in engineering and the equipment to use it. They also have Vettel, arguably the hardest working driver on the grid (at least one of the most technically astute).

            So I am in near complete agreement with @paulf1 – you’ve chosen quotations that actually almost all make complete sense and are absolutely correct.

            1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              7th October 2013, 16:23


              Those comments are very funny. I love how you choose to “interpret” Vettel’s insults in a positive manner but an innocent comment from Lewis about himself that he deserves to be fighting in front along with another teammate that he respects is completely interpreted in a negative manner.

              He didn’t include Kimi cause he was magically in front…

              Should Lewis have come out and said “I really should be making hot dogs for a living!” Isn’t he considered one of the fastest drivers ever in F1? Where should he fighting? At the end of the grid with the richest and slowest guys in front?

              Is that your take of how F1 should operate? His point is 100% true and valid and it attacked no one unlike Vettel’s comments.

              He’s wiped every competition before he entered F1, had the best and toughest F1 rookie season ever and won the WDC the 2nd year (twice in 1 year) against all odds.

              Just curious, which position do you think Hamilton should be fighting for?

            2. @freelittlebirds I am not even going to begin trying to deny that his comments could be taken offensively by those they are applicable to, but they still have a sensible basis. Hamilton’s don’t: there is no such thing as entitlement in a sporting contest and to think othersiwe is blatantly naive.

              He’s wiped every competition before he entered F1

              Maybe so, but then there’s Di Resta’s persistent argument: “I beat Vettel in junior series”. Yes, and you have been well and truly put in your place in F1. Yes, his junior record is incredible and I have no doubts he’s carried that speed through to F1, but it’s a different racing game entirely – to paraphrase the common phrase.

              Is that your take of how F1 should operate?

              You have 26 drivers (that’s how it should be IMO), all who justify their positions when only talent is considered, in 13 teams – all of whom attempt to build the fastest car possible in a given set of regulations and preferably under budgetary restrictions, so one is not simply outspending the other. The drivers then compete – not bound by team orders and without artificial aids such as DRS – and the winner determined by who crosses the line first.

              That is how F1 should operate, and note how nowhere have I mentioned that certain drivers are entitled to victories.

              had the best and toughest F1 rookie season ever and won the WDC the 2nd year (twice in 1 year) against all odds.</blockquote

              Against all odds? Please, he came into F1 with the best car. Very, very few drivers have had that luxury (I can think of Villeneuve: that's it). It was hardly against all odds – it was a great performance nonetheless, but he was one of the championship favourites in 2008 no question.

              Just curious, which position do you think Hamilton should be fighting for?

              Whatever position he can get out of his car. If that’s 1st, 5th or 15th, that’s what he should be fighting for. What you are meaning to ask is what position I’d like him to be fighting for, which is a different matter entirely. In that case, I absolutely agree P1 but I don’t think he has some sort of god-given right to be in contention for race wins. Nobody does.

            3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
              7th October 2013, 18:25

              You cannot compare DiResta’s pre-F1 career to Hamilton’s. He came into F1 against another monster driver, Alonso and lost the WDC to another insanely talented driver.

              Your interpretation of F1 is a good one and it would suit Hamilton – the closer F1 gets to spec cars it would only serve to highlight his own driving skills.

              If you read the article Hamilton said that he and Alonso doesn’t deserve to be fighting for P5 and P6, they should be fighting in the front with Vettel.

              Obviously Jules Bianchi saying that in a Marussia would reek of entitlement but Lewis is completely entitled to make the statement.

              Look at Lewis’ credentials and find any racer who doesn’t claim that Lewis is the quickest driver in F1. Good luck in your search. Even Vettel would not answer that question:-)

        2. Seb has still room to improve

          He’s done a perfect season this year, I cannot imagine one race this year where he underperformed. It’s 14/0 in qualification and he leads the championship from race 2 while he hasn’t got the best car on every track this year. He’s done teh perfect year so far, I don’t see any room for improvement because he simply made no mistakes.

          1. I still think that Hamilton and Alonso are the 2 top tier drivers. BUT its hard to deny the fact that Vettel has been AMAZING, for me, this has been his best championship. I finally feel that he is the rightful winner and that Red Bull are miles ahead of anyone else, great driver + best team = many championships.

    4. After the race is over, questions…

      Is Paul Di Resta driving himself right out of Formula 1?

      Which team with a seat available for 2014 will show the most intelligence and sign Hulkenberg?
      (For what it’s worth, I will be a fan of that team along with many F1 fans worldwide.)

      Can Sauber continue their improved performance through the rest of the season?

      Will Vettel win the WDC in Suzuka?
      (This could be a rhetorical question.)

      Will Webber have at least one of the remaining races in the rapidly dwindling 2013 season without a ration of bad luck?

      Some answers forthcoming next weekend…

      1. Will Webber pull something out of his sleeve and win his last F1 GP in Interlagos?

        1. That would be a classic way to finish a career!

          1. @breno

            Its impossible. An f1 driver has to end his career (or his year with that team) with a DNF, its how it works ;-D

      2. Is Paul Di Resta driving himself right out of Formula 1?

        Someone pointed out last weeks how Di Resta kind of melt away during the second half of the season, both in 2012 and this year.

        Maybe he is not as strong mentally as Hulk or other drivers…

        1. Well, sounds about right. He has not scored a single point in the last 6 races and has not even finished the last 4 races, last 3 DNFs due to wrecks. Not inspiring for rehiring.

      3. Given that Lotus has said that they do not want to resort to a pay driver, I think they are shaping up to take him.

        1. I hope so. Given current form, Lotus should be a step up for Hulkenberg and he deserves it.

      4. Carlos Furtado das Neves
        7th October 2013, 19:42

        1 – Di Resta IS with a sword in his head. Watch out Paul.
        2 – Lotus.
        3 – Yes, and Nico H with a podium (Brazil…).
        4 – No. He’ll win the race but with FA on podium it’s not enough.
        5 – For that he must have a front row qualifying.

        1. 2 – Lotus.

          Interesting that now Sauber is saying they might try to keep Hulkenberg for 2014.

    5. Vettel said afterwards the characteristics of the graining process could be deceptive. “Once the tyre does come back, inside the cockpit at least you have the feeling that the car is alive again, the car is alive but actually the tyre is dead.”

      “There is no more rubber to grain so the tyre is more or less worn. So it’s quite tricky because if you have a big lock-up that could mean that it’s the end of the race. You have to come into the pits because you have a massive flat spot.”

      And this is why Vettel and Red Bull have been ahead of the pack for years. They understand their car, they understand what’s going on, what few things are out of their control are marginalised internally so they can’t have too much of an effect. While the “First half” tyres didn’t suit Red Bull, they weren’t so bad that the car wasn’t competitive. Now that the tyre problem is “solved” externally, the car has one less obstacle in its way.

      Similarly, while other drivers and engineers are guessing what is happening in and around their car, Vettel knows. He doesn’t guess. If something’s outside his control (like tyres or KERS), he puts himself in a position where he can relax the car and manage the problem, and hopes nothing goes wrong. You saw it in brazil last year, when he reacted to the spin, let the car coast in reverse and then spun back. A phenomenal piece of thinking.

      The only other driver who comes close, if you read the radio transcripts, is Button: he usually knows what’s going on in the race around him, what the lap times are. Occasionally he’ll double check with his engineer, but usually the engineer is just confirming what he’s already worked out himself.

      Compare that with some of the other drivers or teams, who seem rattled and unsure of what they or their car is actually up to. Red Bull are better than the other teams because they work out 90% of that pre-season, or at the end of the previous season. They don’t stuff a brand new car into the first race. They stick a 90% proven car into the first race and improve it all year. Similarly, Vettel doesn’t need, like Webber, to be told how to set up the start every race. He has got it down. It’s disheartening, but it’s what happens when one team just grinds away at all the little details, all the time, all year long, in every area.

      Rosberg may have his back up about Vettel’s comment, but its true. The other teams work hard. But are they working as smart?

      1. Got the same impression – I think HAM is the fastest guy on one lap but if it comes to winning championships my money is on Vettel and Alonso. Both know exactly what their car can/can’t do while you hear Hamilton wondering in interviews why the car doesn’t feel so good – which makes me wonder if he knows what he is doing.
        They all work very hard and they all have the same motivation, but I think it’s no coincidence that RBR managed 3 (maybe 4) in a row and why Alonso is with Ferrari the runner up in 3 out of 4 years.

        1. Yeah, Hamilton relies too much on his team. You saw today that he was losing masses amounts of time. So much so that he was only lapping faster than the Marussia and Caterham cars. But did he pit? I think drivers like Vettel, Alonso and Button would have used their head and pitted anyway.

          I agree with everything here though. Vettel has it all, and Red Bull combined with Vettel is phenomenal.

          1. I don’t think he is wrong to rely on his team, They have more people and a hell of a lot more data to make decisions with than he does. However, Mercedes make the wrong call by a long way.

          2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            7th October 2013, 12:58

            It’s not Hamilton’s fault he stayed out with tyres that were so poor.

            He was questioning his team as to why they hadn’t brought him in. Then Nico’s front wing failed and they were too close together to stack them. Nico’s damage took priority and so Lewis had to wait an additional lap.

            It wasn’t his fault.

      2. An insightful post. It made me sign up just to post a kudos to you, for such a wisdom.

        1. Shhh sockpuppet, don’t lay it on too thick, they’ll get suspicious.

      3. Similarly, Vettel doesn’t need, like Webber, to be told how to set up the start every race

        They are all reminded of that before the start. Also Vettel. It’s normal procedure. Webber just gets it wrong everytime for whatever reason, but that’s another matter. They are all told what to do.

      4. Very well written article, and very well written comment too. The Red Bull guys are surely a team apart, with a great understanding of their car unlike any other. Seb has got a great understanding of the car and contributes to it with a driving style which brings the best out of the machine – an unique man and machine combination. Love it or hate it, he and the team is unique. I think this realization has finally dawned on Alonso and therefore you don’t have too many comments from him nowadays complaining Red Bull has the best car, and trying to show Seb down. Hamilton has got his head in his right foot, and so it is going to take some time for him to accept this.

      5. @hairs

        Rosberg may have his back up about Vettel’s comment, but its true. The other teams work hard. But are they working as smart?

        That rhetoric summarises the situation perfectly.

    6. I was impressed by Grosjean, up until the moment Kimi passed him. He defended too agressively, then complained for team orders rather than try and outrace his team mate even though he had permission to.

      1. @matt90 well, he was asked to move over for Kimi plenty of times already. Specially at Germany. If he was faster, they could’ve done the same and try to get Vettel (even if it was unrealistic).

        I can understand his frustrations…

        1. I suppose that makes sense seeing as Kimi doesn’t have a reason to finish ahead now he isn’t in the championship hunt. I just don’t understand why he makes it sound like he wasn’t allowed to overtake this time.

        2. @fer-no65

          Grojean’s been asked to move over when Kimi was in the Championship hunt. Now both drivers are out of the hunt, so there’s no reason to order one driver to move over for the other. On the other hand, since he’s out of the hunt (not sure mathematically) maybe Kimi should have let Grojean through to have a go at Vettel and to give him a little payback for the times the positions were reversed (like Germany).

          1. Another thing: it’s been reported that Lotus are paying Kimi 50,000 Euros per championship point so you think they’d want Grosjean to finish in front of him.

    7. @KeithCollantine even though I watched every lap of the race and post race session, I have to admit that I love reading the race report. It is well crafted and beautifully written. It is a pleasure reading the report.

      And the best moment in the race was when I saw the Jeep on the track. I always thought FIA had an deal with Mercedes for the Safety cars, So it was kind of little puzzling for me to see a non Mercedes Safety car. Later once i realized it was a fire truck, I fell of the chair Laughing . How on earth could they just let out a truck on an active F1 race track…. I mean come on….

      1. @tmax Thank you very much, it’s always nice to get such a thoughtful piece of praise :-)

      2. Makes you wonder after that debacle if we have seen the last Korean Grand Prix.

      3. Yes, thank you @keithcollantine, I only now know what happened to Dan R, despite watching the race live and enduring the 30 min wrap-up.

      4. David not Coulthard (@)
        7th October 2013, 4:44

        It was a fire SUV (or fire Jeep)!

      5. I thought perhaps SC conditions had already been imposed by the time the fire truck was on track. If so, the cars are told in the cockpit to keep slow, regardless of whether or not the SC is actually there.

        But if SC conditions were only imposed after the fire truck was released then that is clearly dangerous!

        1. @jonathan189 The fire jeep was out at least 10 seconds before safety car conditions were called.

          Watch this video:

          2:06 into the video, the world feed changes to the straight. The fire jeep is already two thirds down the straight so must have been deployed quite a bit before that. Only three seconds later, at 2:09, can you see the track status change to “safety car”. Around 2:18, the marshals get out the safety car boards.

      6. From now on, no non-Mercedes vehicles are allowed anywhere near the track, just in case :)

        1. David not Coulthard (@)
          8th October 2013, 3:03

          Outlawing the RB9s…

    8. As far as I can tell, there are 3 aspects to being a great Formula One driver:
      1. Being able to work with engineering to develop the car/tech; and setting up the car correctly at races
      2. Being fast
      3. Being a good overtaker / ‘racer’

      1) No one in F1 is as good at dev as Vettel. (I think a large reason why Ricciardo was signed is that RBR believes he also has this skill.) Granted, knowledge of this is all second-hand (as we don’t really see this unfold as we do a race), but everything we ever hear from engineers is about how good Seb is at set-up. And judging by how good the RB9 is, it’s hard to believe otherwise. This skill-set seems more important in 2013 than ever before, and I don’t think it’s any less, say, ‘dignified’, than the other qualities in a great F1 driver.

      2) No one is as fast as Vettel over the course of a lap. Hamilton may be close, one could even argue he is better, but either way the two of them are clearly better than the rest of the field by this metric. It’s easier to be fast in a car when you have skill #1, but we can also see drivers show this skill as they age and drive many different cars.

      3) Racemanship is a tougher one to appreciate for Vettel, because #1 and #2 mean he usually starts at the front and doesn’t have anyone to pass. But we’ve seen some amazing movement through the field by him this year when he had to, and several times last year, such as in Brazil. I think everyone believes Alonso is very strong in this category, along with Raikkonen, and perhaps a few others, but no one is going to say Vettel is a poor overtaker or gets into trouble in the average race.

      In summary, the guy is a phenomenal driver.

      1. @chaddy

        excellent points! I want to add another factor and that’s frame of mind. Seb constantly receives the charge that he is winning because of his car, both from arm-chair critiques as well as rivals like Alonso and Hamilton. But instead of acting like them and constantly try to show that “I OUTDRIVE THE CAR”, he always associates the success to car. His reaction to boos is laughing them off, reaction to traction control charge is joking about it (“we will be faster tomorrow once we turn the traction control on”).
        It was also great to see that he doesn’t allow his success to get into his head; he was telling Ted Krawitz that he doesn’t get carried away with the adoration of fans because in the end of the day he doesn’t save lives or anything, he just drives a car. How many championship and wins it will take until he starts to think that he is special and entitled to success, well we’ll see.

        1. Brilliant point. Especially, in interviews, how he just credits the car vs. his skills. The car is good, the car is brilliant, it was pleasure to drive etc. Like he disassociates his win and credits the car. Genius indeed.

        2. Yes, but there are also plenty of occasions when the mask has slipped and we’ve seen Seb’s ruthless, entitled side. Whether it’s his comments after being congratulated for finishing second in the WDC in 2009 (“I don’t care where I finished, it’s not first”) or his attitude to his teammate (“Get him out of the way, he’s too slow”) or his rivals (“Karthikeyan is a cucumber”), the humility you speak of is not always evident. We could go back and forth cherry-picking statements all day, but it’s easy to be humble when you’re winning. Hamilton was always very gracious towards McLaren when he won, too.

          1. @red-andy

            So Seb’s showing his true colors, but not Lewis “Alonso and I deserve to be at the front fighting” Hamilton isn’t, or Mark “first lap nut case” Webber, or Jenson “What an idiot” Button, or Fernando “You are idiots” Alonso? Yes, very easy to be humble when winning, and true colors when you’re not.

            All drivers at that level are incredibly competitive and are also under a great deal of pressure, especially in the car or right out of it – we don’t appreciate how difficult it is from the outside, but they are close to max heart rate, pulling multiple Gs, fiddling with dials etc all lap long and even the slowest cars are a second or so off the pace in Qualifying over 5kms. (And slower cars are as much or more on the limit for the amount of grip/down force they have).

            Pick any driver and we can skewer him with his statements if we want. Very easy to do. I’d cut SV and the other drivers slack for all that.

    9. I have a feeling this may go done as the first time a driver has achieved a grand Chelem and not received driver of the weekend in the site’s history. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – Hülkenberg was spectacular, Vettel just did his usual excellent job.

      1. I have a feeling this may go done as the first time a driver has achieved a grand Chelem and not received driver of the weekend in the site’s history.

        Well, not that there were that many Grand Chelems – only five since 2004.

      2. was it really a grand chelem? I am not sure that Seb led every lap; I think in one of his pitstops he came behind somebody until he pitted (I guess Kimi).

        1. @ifelix He came out behind Webber after his first pit stop. However, Webber pitted at the end of the lap, and before he crossed the finish line in the pit lane, Vettel crossed it on the track. So Vettel was in the lead at the end of every lap, which is what counts.

          1. Thank you for the clarification!

      3. I have a feeling this may go done as the first time a driver has achieved a grand Chelem and not received driver of the weekend in the site’s history.

        Vettel had a grand chelem in last years Japanese GP, and Kobayashi won the DOTW .

      4. Trying to win over some people to vote for @ ‘Vettel’ 1 later? :-D

      5. @vettel1 sometimes you really struggle to give the vote to a single driver.

        From a dominance point of view, Vettel deserves it completely. But it’s hard to overlook what Hulkenberg did.

        If I could vote for both, I would. But we’re used to this kind of race from Vettel.

        1. +1 (same)

      6. I have a feeling this may go done as the first time a driver has achieved a grand Chelem and not received driver of the weekend in the site’s history.

        Already happened when Kobayashi got DOTW for Japan last year, @vettel1

        1. David not Coulthard (@)
          7th October 2013, 4:50

          And Kobayashi & Hulkenberg occupied the exact same position at the exact same team (being the team-mate of a driver with the exact same nationality).

        2. @david-a I was ruing the sleep loss! Thanks for pointing that out, and as @davidnotcoulthard has highlighted an interesting coincidence, also that it was Vettel taking the grand Chelem of course!

    10. Keith this is great, well worth my whole subscription just for one article, the rest of the month is now just a bonus.

      1. @anonymouscoward Thanks very much!

        1. Seconded, together with what @tmax said above. Absolutely love your race review write-ups Keith. It’s plain that you’ve put a lot of thought into writing them. Can’t imagine the hours you’re doing now too, I’m sure the Asian races are doing weird things to your body clock.

    11. For the long term good of the sport someone other than Vettel has to win the WDC next year. Not taking anything away from Vettel, who is clearly one of the most talented F1 drivers of all time, but having each season (or indeed Grand Prix weekend) a foregone conclusion where Vettel dominates is going to see TV audiences abandon the sport and that is in no ones interest.

      1. IF, that is true the problem is with the quality of TV viewers, not with the results.

        1. Regardless of who the problem is with declining TV audiences and the income that will fall due to that will hurt F1 and everyone who follows it.

      2. So you think people stopped watching tennis when Pete Sampras was number one at then end of six consecutive years?

        Or when Roger Federer was number one every single week for almost five years?

        1. Even when those guys were number one, there was always some kind of archrival to give them a hard time. In F1 history too there are many times where one guy or team dominates, but the great races generally have either the teammates or one other quick team there to play the antagonist.

          This year it’s Ferrari and Mercedes but they are simply too far off. And Webber’s season has been pretty disastrous. So we are being cheated of drama to a certain extent. That plus the DRS and tire issues are having a negative effect on racing quality.

    12. sounds like a good race unfortunately i couldn’t find a free live stream :(

    13. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      7th October 2013, 0:47

      Di Resta’s comments after the race were just comical. The guy still tried a thinly veiled attempt at blaming his crash on the car and team. Yes, he admitted responsibility, but he essentially said he only crashed because the car the team had given him was terrible.

      Just man up and take responsibility for ONCE! I’ve really grown to dislike him the more and more he talks.

      1. @tophercheese21 Aleast a little bit better than what he said after singapore . But yeah , he is full of himself when he rants .

      2. I hadn’t seen those, but yeah, I had been expecting as much when I saw it happen @tophercheese2.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          7th October 2013, 11:27

          Yeah, lol, the moment they showed him in the wall. I was like “$20 he blames it on the team”.

          Easiest $20 i’ve ever made.

      3. He’s starting to annoy me too. Not only the fact that he keeps making these errors that look very amateurish indeed, but that he then tries to shift the blame onto the car and the team. Man up and stomach the blame – he’s disgracing my country haha!

    14. Well…a Chrysler led a F1 race for the first ever time…albeit only for a couple corners!!

      Hats off to Seb and Red Bull…its a deadly combo that no one can touch. If the rest dont get up to speed, we are in for a grimm era (we already are!). There was some great racing all around. The scrap between Hulk, Ham and Fred was one of the best..close racing, on the limit, with no incident.

      I will be nice to see Seb actually “Racing” every now and again…because he hasnt done a whole of that in the past couple months. But, as they say, dont blame the “playa”, blame the game.

      “Lots of drivers can drive fast, but very few drivers can race.” – Robert Petty

      So far, Seb hasnt done enough to convince me of the latter…but I sure hope he gets his chance soon.

      1. Don’t worry, in the next 10 years, he will have plenty of times where he has to use his race skills – he’s not going into be in pole every race nor a strong car. Besides the guy got his first win in an ex-Minardi in old pre-2009 regulations. Change is constant in F1.

      2. @jaymenon10

        “So far, Seb hasnt done enough to convince me of the latter…but I sure hope he gets his chance soon.”

        You mean like in Silverstone 2010 when he had a puncture at T2 or T3 and came out the pits a minute or more behind the next to last place car, and he finished 7th? This was without DRS and with the bullet proof Bridgestone tires that didn’t degrade or cause people to go on alternate strategies (basically the tires didn’t help him).

        1. Maybe I should have been a tad clear. What I meant to say was that he hasnt done it on enough occations…which is mainly because he hasnt had to. I would like to see him go wheel to wheel with the others…that would be good to watch.

          Seb needs a few years in a poor car..then we will see what he’s really made off.

          1. How did it feel to being mocked by Brundle saying “and this is the guy some people are saying can’t overtake!”

    15. Well, Massa surely isnt helping Ferrari anymore!

      1. @austus yeah , that was just a bit too aggressive . Massa can be very “significantly” aggressive . If there is no sufficient gap , don’t go for it . There is no point in just sticking up your nosecone up somebody’s wing . I just hope Mercedes finishes ahead of Ferrari .

    16. Vettel wins while webber burns. Nothing new here

      except for the jeep! ;)

    17. F1 for me is a spectacular show with excitement all down the field. Its not just about the leader’s dominance. We’ve had many dominant drivers over the years, but that does not distract from individual races.

    18. So, this all situation at Lotus is this: 1) Grosjean makes a mistake. 2) Raikkonen overtakes him. 3) Grosjean asks the team to give his position back.
      Romain is absolutely preposterous! If there was some other racer, let’s say Hamilton, Grosjean would told “It was not fair. Race-Director, I want my position back”!

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        8th October 2013, 6:19


        Romain is absolutely preposterous!

        Not really. There were races this season in which Romain had to move over for Kimi, so I won’t say it’s wrong for him to ask.

        On the other hand, it’s not really wrong for Toleman not to give him the position, either – since all those times Romain had to move over this season was because Kimi was a championship contender. Romain wasn’t, and still isn’t, so Toleman probably thought “why give a team order in Romain’s favour?”

        1. Thanks for comment.
          I was somewhat shocked by Grosjean demands but I see that there were some reasons for that reaction.
          But, anyway, if you lose your position because of your own mistake – it’s completely your fault.

    19. the analyst gary anderson saying from his own mouth: ” ferrari have been pretty average in the last 3 years, well that settles it when it comes to how dominant RBR have been and won those championships with ease, was it for vettel, any other driver in his seat would have won, because simply there weren’t any worthy rival in the last 3 years.

      1. @ramysennaf1 If you want to selective quote Anderson, you could also quote all the times he’s praised Vettel as an amazing driver, how quickly he adapts, how perfect his drives have been, etc etc etc (quite a couple of etc here).

        Nothing wrong with liking Hamilton more than Vettel, but it’s a bit irrational to only see one side of everything ;-)

    20. In his first 115 Grands prix, Vettel has 34 wins and 3 WDC’s (with a fourth coming at the end of this season).

      Alain Prost had 27 wins and 2 WDC’s at that point in his career.
      Ayrton Senna had 30 wins and 2 WDC’s (and a third at the end of that season) at that point.
      Michael Schumacher had 31 wins and 2 WDC’s.

      Not saying that Vettel’s at the same level with those guys, but it’s unbelievable how many people still think he’s not one of the best drivers right now, and that it’s only the car doing the work.

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