Vettel breaks track record with Indian GP pole

2013 Indian Grand Prix qualifying

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastian Vettel maintained his record of starting every Indian Grand Prix from pole position as he claimed his seventh of the year.

Vettel beat his 2011 track record at the Buddh International Circuit by 59 hundredths of a second as he comfortably saw off his rivals.

The Mercedes pair start behind him on the grid but were over seven tenths of a second slower than Vettel’s flying Red Bull.


The combination of rapidly improving track conditions and a significant gap in performance between the soft and medium tyres presented teams with some difficult decisions in Q1. In the end, only two drivers tried to make it through the first phase of qualifying without using the soft tyres.

Mercedes predicted a cut-off time for Q1 of 1’26.5 and Vettel beat that by six tenths of a second on his medium tyres. But Romain Grosjean, who has used similar tactics to good effect in recent races, was not able to pull it off this time.

The Lotus driver lost time on his final run, blaming traffic, and slipped to 17th place as Felipe Massa posted a late improvement in his Ferrari, leaving him to watch the rest of the session from the pits.

Pastor Maldonado also failed to make the cut for Q2 along with the Marussias and Caterhams as usual.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’26.577
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’26.842
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’26.970
20Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’27.105
21Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’27.487
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’28.138


Vettel switched to the soft tyres for Q2 and improved his time by 1.4 seconds. Fernando Alonso managed to split the Red Bulls with a lap three-tenths of a second slower than Vettel’s.

Mark Webber had a scruffy lap, running well off the track at turn nine. But according to team principal Christian Horner he didn’t gain time by doing so, and race director Charlie Whiting let the time stand.

The Force India drivers were separated by less than three hundredths of a second but failed to make the final ten at their home event. Nico Hulkenberg was the only Sauber driver to reach the final ten as Esteban Gutierrez was almost a full second off his team mate.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’25.519
12Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’25.711
13Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’25.740
14Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’25.798
15Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’26.134
16Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’26.336


The final part of qualifying presented teams with the question of which tyres to start the race with. Red Bull and Ferrari both elected to split the strategies between their drivers.

Vettel’s soft tyre run was his usual tour de force – rapid and accurate, he covered the lap in 1’24.119, beating his previous course record for the Buddh International Circuit.

As in Singapore, it seemed he didn’t need to make a final run, but he did go out again on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton caught the Red Bull driver at the fast turn eight/nine chicane and said on the radio he was held up.

Nonetheless Hamilton took third on the grid behind team mate Nico Rosberg, both using soft tyres. Behind them Webber took ‘medium tyre pole’, half a second slower than his team mate.

Choosing the medium tyres turned out to be a major sacrifice for Alonso. His Q2 time on soft tyres would have been good enough for third in Q3, just 14 thousandths of a second slower than Rosberg. With track evolution, a front row start may have been in the offing.

Instead he took eighth behind Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg, all of which were on soft tyres. The medium-tyred McLarens share row five, Perez ahead of Button.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’24.119
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’24.871
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’24.941
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.047
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.201
6Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’25.248
7Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’25.334
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’25.826
9Sergio PerezMcLaren1’26.153
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’26.487

2013 Indian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Indian Grand Prix articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

112 comments on “Vettel breaks track record with Indian GP pole”

  1. It’s interesting to see so many teams splitting up their strategies: Red Bull, Ferrari etc.

    I’m sure many lower teams will also have one driver starting on prime and the other on softs, for example Lotus or Toro Rosso.

    I’m glad with Pirelli’s choice of compounds, we’ll see one of the most strategical races of the season.

  2. Vettel is the record breaking rocket :)

    1. I’ll correct that for you :-)

      The RB RB9 is the record breaking rocket :)

      1. If it was like that, Webber would also be smashing records.

        1. There is a subtle difference between the rockets..
          one of them has KERS issue,Fires,loose wheels and wierd stratergy changes during the race(Japan’13) while the other rocket is on rails.

          1. Keith has done an article on the subject, and he prooved that reliability issues are balanced between both Webber and Vettel. (Help me out here @keithcollantine!)

          2. Still using that debunked theory?

          3. I believe so. Thanks @svfan!

      2. which record did Webber break ?

        1. 1-14 record?

          1. Nice one :D

          2. @ialtair @malik – He has also equaled the 9-0 record, set by Barrichello in 2001.

      3. @full-throttle-f1 Webber has been made to look very normal in comparison. He’s won no races this season, and since 2010 he’s won 7 races.

        In comparison, Alonso has won 11 and Hamilton 11. Also, Webber has failed to finish second in the WDC in all those years: average finishing position in the WDC for Webber (2010-2012) is 4th; Alonso 2.67 and Hamilton 4.33.

        Pole positions now. Webber is on 11, Alonso 4 and Hamilton 14.

        That doesn’t look that spectacular, does it?

        Now for Vettel:

        30 wins
        36 poles
        average finishing position in WDC: 1

        I don’t think I need to elaborate.

        1. all it means, that Vettel faster than Webber, GJ man, this ONLY thing really worth 4 WDC. some people…

          1. I agree. WHAT?

        2. Good Job Man :)

        3. Webber has achieved all he has with not much more than a race engineer
          Vettel has the support of uncle Marko, Horner and the entire redbull team behind him . vive le difference

          1. @me262 he has had the support of Marko, but he contributes absolutely zero to the building of the car and race strategy.

            Horner and the Red Bull team are behind both their drivers. Thinking otherwise is just silly conspiracies: Red Bull don’t do team orders to favour the number one.

          2. Yes, Horner is behind VET car pushing it during races

          3. @me262 Reportedly, Webber is paid around 10M Eur per year. You’d had to be extremely naive (borderline irrational) to believe any team would spend that much money on a driver for so long just not to give him any support whatsoever.

            Not denying Vettel’s the number 1 on the team, that’s clear, in the same way Alonso is in Ferrari, Hamilton was in McLaren when Kovalainen was there, etc. But to say Webber and his engineer have done everything practically alone is pretty, pretty silly.

          4. @vettel1

            but he contributes absolutely zero to the building of the car and race strategy.

            That’s not true. Newey himself has said that Webber has been a big contribution in the aerodynamics development.

            Besides, all drivers contribute heavily in the development of strategies, all of them want to have the best possible package.

            It’s silly to say that Webber has done everything alone, but let’s not jump to the other side of the fence.

            It’s proven he’s not as good as Vettel, but that doesn’t men he doesn’t do a lot of work.

          5. @silence

            That’s not true. Newey himself has said that Webber has been a big contribution in the aerodynamics development.

            I believe @vettel1 was talking about Marko, not Webber.

          6. @silence you’ve misunderstood: I’m talking about Dr. Marko, not Webber!

          7. @vettel1 @wsrgo Indeed, I totally misunderstood that :-)

        4. @vettel1, this is a stupid argument and I am not getting into it, but surely you can concede that Webbers lap time, useing the harder tyre, of less than a second off the all-time lap record was a decent effort.

          1. it was a decent effort, but don’t take away from Vettels effort. stop looking for reasons to belittle Vettel, when Vettels results belittle your oppinions on him

          2. Yes, Webber’s qualification in P4 today on prime tyres was an excellent effort. It is yet another example of this very talented but inconsistent driver who is essentially a journeyman showing flashes of brilliance. Webber’s career statistics would have looked more impressive had he exorcised the demons in his head and been more committed to the job. For all this good qualification, there is every chance that he will have an off-day tomorrow, especially if he has one of his poor starts and allows Massa, Raikkonen and the Hulk past in the early laps.

      4. @full-throttle-f1

        I’ll correct that for you :-)

        The RB RB9 is the record breaking rocket :)

        Shhhhhh…. they`ll come after you with pitchforks and torches for saying that!!! XD

        1. @karter22

          They are banging on my door :-(

          Max ( @vettel1 ) stop trying to come through my window!

          1. @full-throttle-f1 naa, I’m the Mormon waiting patiently on your porch ;)

          2. @vettel1

            In the words of Jeremy Clarkson “some say i’m the one hiding in the cellar with two full size (i.e. not that big) print out pictures of Alonso and Hamilton”


          3. @full-throttle-f1 Pretty funny! Not as funny as the fact that once the lack of logic in your argument was pointed out you simply ignored it.

            It would be better to avoid posting illogical things in the first place, I think.

        2. @karter22 no, we will just talk sense ;)

          If you really need proof that it cannot just be the car, look at Webber’s average finishing position in the WDC – a whole 3 lower than Vettel.

          1. Yes and again i repeat look at webber through his f1 carear, he as not pulled up many trees as he Max. I find it hilarious today when someone was saying its all Vet not the car Vet is easily the best? Huh excuse me is Vet really 7 tenths faster than Hamilton, i think not. Im only comparing Ham and Vet now so Alonso fans im not saying Ham is better that him. Im just saying that i think Vet is better under pressure compared to Ham, 2010 says alot to me when he kept it under control but its all you guys can say is well Vet is 3x WC soon to be 4 thats all you guys use is numbers when surely you admit that car is unbelievable since Hungary(Vet was leading till then but by no means dominant). He as won everyrace since Hungary. Merc were best in qually all year now they dont get a sniff in qually either yet you lot just think its Vet doing a good job and making everyone look silly. Which clearly is not the case. Show me when the last time ferrari or Mclaren had 7 tenths over the field in qually? It never happens thats why.

          2. @danclapp why can it not be both? I’ve never understood why you need to be in one camp: i.e it’s Vettel or it’s the car. Why not the combination of both?

          3. I find it hilarious today when someone was saying its all Vet not the car

            Who has said that, normally what people respond is to the claim that it is all the car

      5. Michael Brown (@)
        26th October 2013, 19:01

        Vettel set a lap time that was faster than when he had the blown diffuser working for him. Give the guy some credit

  3. Interesting to see if Mercedes/Hamilton are going to proceed with the ‘being held up’ claim.

  4. Perez 3/10th faster than Button

    1. @ean I was genuinely surprised by that after Button’s lap on the used softs. Good job Perez!

      1. @vettel1
        Oh come on Max! You know it was all due to Jenson trying new things on his settup (ends sarcasm)!!

      2. @ean and @vettel1

        Actually it is not surprising. Perez was faster on the mediums all weekend. Buttons main weakspot is heating up the tyres, we’ve seen in Q1 that most of the cars did two slow laps, then one hot lap, but in Q3 I think they only made one. With one more lap, I think Button could have been around Alonso.

  5. Another standard episode of ‘The Vettel Show’.

    1. Mark Webber on the mediums is likely to spoil the Grand Chelem, he will likely be leading by lap 10

    2. Can I see that show? @nick-uk

      It would make a good movie with Bernie and all that as the dark forces.

      A FIA production

      Starring Bernie Ecclestone as ‘Evil Bernie Ecclestone’, Sebastien Vettel as ‘The Golden Boy’ Helmut Marko as ‘Darth Marko’ etc.

      A short time ago on a race track far far away…
      The Emperor (Bernie Ecclestone) was seeking to strike a trade mission in various parts of the world to create more monetary gain for himself and The Red Bull empire. He and Darth Marko (Helmut Marko) destroyed the competition of other teams with their ‘Death RB9’ (codename ‘X1’).

      Even those opposed to parts of the RB Empire had to succumb to what ever Darth Marko had to say, many seeing Marko using The Force to strangle Mark Webber (Eric Bana).

      But there were several Rebels (or ‘teams’) that would put up a fight against the evil Empire. Two jedis called Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso would try to destroy the evil force of Red Bull and their Sith trainee Sebastian Vettel. They failed, “always next they replied”.

      1. You have some talent writing but, honestly, I wouldn´t go to that show since I`m watching it live since 2010.
        But really, great narrative and you hit the nail right on the head!

      2. star wars probably has as many conspiracy theories as f1…bernie has clearly understood the dark side, I doubt he knows his own age..

    3. Another standard episode of ‘The Vettel Show’ – The modern master who will go down as better then even Senna, I am enjoying this, the best man in the best car breaking the records. if he was inferior like some fans think, he would only win 4 races a year like Hamilton does every year in a great car.

      1. @oletros

        No need to be like that my friend, there is nothing wrong with what I write more than anybody else here. I was mostly responding about his comments about Hamilton.

  6. Why am I not surprised. Last race to be held there… He does a grand chelem and gets crowned WDC, record included and nobody ever gets to race and challenge these stats. Honestly I am not surprised!

    1. He’s gonna have to go some to lead every lap on the race. He’ll either have to make his softs last longer than those on hards behind him or he’ll have to pull out a pitstop worth of gap before the softs die. On current form maybe shouldn’t put it past him though.

      1. I think he can do it with ease.

  7. Apologies to Romain Grosjean fans, i had him as second on my race results prediction which is clearly why he failed to make it through Q1. Still, at least my early season bet on Alonso for the championship is looking good ;)

    1. I thought that was my fault… ;)

  8. Hmmm track record?

    Ironic, seeing as Vettel hardly used any of the track in all of qualifying.

    As if F1 wasn’t enough of a joke this season, we’ve thrown the rules out as well. Vettel did not set one lap time in all 3 Q sessions where he didnt cut a corner. His Q2 time was about 5 seconds ahead of P2. It’s disgusting.

    1. @ukphillie No one respected the track limits today. I saw Alonso, Webber, the two Mercedes going very wide in some corners and going with all four wheels off the track.
      The stewards apparently said that it’s okay to do this.

    2. Huh what are you on about, 5 seconds?

      1. Exaggearation, come on man.

    3. the lap time was as fair as all the other drivers who also went of the track limits. it was on equal terms, not cheating. get over it!

  9. Any particular reason why no one decided to use the track? Pretty sure the white lines are there for a reason but if drivers keep ignoring them then what’s the point of having a circuit to begin with, just let them run off the circuit and cut as many corners as they like.

    Then again I guess that’s what happens when 3/4s of the circuit is just car park run off.

    1. I was watching very carefully. Raikonnen was the cleanest, he didn’t cut a corner in any session. Vettel was the worst, Hamilton and Rosberg weren’t too honest either. Webber was good and even Alonso was well behaved.

      Vettel bought so much time off track I can’t believe he hasn’t been penalised.

      1. hahahaha, everyone was either same or worse than vettel. Don’t know which quali were you watching.

      2. Webber good? His fastest lap in Q2 had him going so far off the road in one of the corners that the team told him to repeat it so that they would avoid any troubles which might have come from it, but he couldn’t improve and kept it.

    2. @davef1
      So he did several Germany 2012 (in race) again?? Using the whole run-off areas?? or just blatantly putting the 4 tyres past the white lines? I didn`t bother watching qualifying session since i knew Vettel would be on pole and Fernando would be miles back!
      It`s just so disgusting how “they” do this… They are hell bent on SV getting crowned WDC in this one! What better way to win it? Nobody is ever going to race here ever again, he`ll have track record and I am just putting this out there, $100 says he does a grand chelem!! It couldn`t be better scripted than that!

      1. $100 says he does a grand chelem!

        OK, I’ll take that bet! Hope we are talking US-Dollar as he will certainly not do a grand chelem this weekend.

      2. @karter22 “they” were not the only one to do this. Vettel was actually very tidy, especially in his pole lap.
        In the briefing the stewards said it’s okay to do it, so everyone does it.

        1. @yobo01
          By “they” I meant the dark forces that @full-throttle-f1 mentioned on his post a bit further up in the thread! LOL!

          Yes, talking about US dollars and you´re on! Western union accepted? 100 free of sending fees!!! XD

          1. Vettel will not get a grand chelem because he is on options while webber and co are on primes. Vettel will have to pit very early and it is highly unlikely he will have gained enough time to come back out of the pits without being overtaken by the prime runners.

    3. I think going wide after a corner will not really gain you a lot and might even lose you a bit, but cutting turn 12, which many have been doing, definitely helps a lot – you can have a faster speed through turn 11 and 12, and you make the track shorter by half a metre or so.

      1. @mike-dee

        I think going wide after a corner will not really gain you a lot

        Wrong! If he is carrying enough speed going in, it will give you some advantage especially if by going wide you are setting up the next corner. It was well discussed here some while ago.

    4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      26th October 2013, 12:30


      I feel that in this case, them going over the white lines was okay, because there is curbing on the exit of every corner.
      I feel that the cubs (rumble strips, whatever you wanna call them), should count as part of the ‘race track’.

      Once they exceed those limits, then there should be invalid laps. However, Whiting may not feel the need to invalidate them as they will be losing time should they run out further than the curbs.

      If there are no curbs on the exit, then they should stay within the white line.

      1. @tophercheese21 From the Sporting Regulations (Article 20.2):

        Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.

        A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          26th October 2013, 12:44

          Yeah, I thought the curbs probably wouldn’t count as the ‘race track’, but I wish they did, lol.

    5. No idea.
      If you look at Vettel’s pole lap:
      he clearly leaves the track with all four wheels three times.
      If they are going to penalise Grosjean for a single, much more excusable infraction in Hungary, then ignoring this is inconsistent and unfair.

      1. The thing is that they would literally have to penalise every single driver if this rule is applied strictly. Vettel went of 3 times, but twice it was just a few centimetres; many others were much worse.

      2. @nigel1 you need to listen to the interview with Charlie Whiting. They are specifically allowing drivers to run wide in qualifying (all of them) but in the races to maintain/gain position, they are expressly forbidding it.

  10. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    26th October 2013, 12:24

    8 tenths to P2… smh.

    1. @tophercheese21 What’s worse . Seeing it on a TV or seeing it live ( me :( )…… On the plus side I could hear the marked difference with my own bare ears between RBR and other cars’ exhaust at turn 2 .

  11. @keithcollantine
    Can you tell me how can the record stick when most drivers including Vettel left the track more than once in the process? That is pretty inconsistent.

    1. @zicasso as long as the FIA deem the leaving of the track to be okay, the record stands. And they have: they told the drivers it was okay to run wide, and no penalties have been applied for doing so.

      You may not agree with it, but that’s a different debate entirely (and one I may side with you on). But officially the record is completely valid.

      1. @vettel 1
        Why would the FIA agree to letting drivers run off the track in India, when in other places they are so strict about it? We sometimes criticize the FIA for not being consistent enough in some matters, but with this there doesn’t seem to be any problem. It should be the same for every venue in the calendar I believe.

      2. I meant @vettel1, sorry!

        1. It’s really as Dizzy said @toiago: it is really just track dependant. On some tracks you may gain quite a significant advantage, others not – it’s subject to discussion before the event.

          However, what I think you are confusing this with is the FIA’s clamping down on overtaking off the track or going of the track to defend, which is a different issue entirely and one which the FIA will still be clamping down on in India. So in qualifying it’s fine to run wide, but in a race for position not so!

          1. @toiago I don’t think it’s track dependent, I think it’s during a passing move is when the penalties come for leaving the track. Watch races and decide when people are leaving the track.

        2. I actually wasn’t confusing them! I was just referring to track limits in general. They exist for a reason, so they should have to be respected always. That’s why the stewards won’t allow drivers to step on the pit exit lines, for instance (it isn’t a track limit per se, but is still a limiting line). So I don’t know why they’re lenient on some situations, and much more rigid on anothers, there should be some more concistency regarding it. It’s a rule and should be followed.

    2. The drivers raised the issue of running wide in the drivers briefing on Thursday.

      After some discussion, It was decided that they would be allowed to run off the track as there is no significant advantage in doing so in the places there doing it.

      1. its funny how people are only complaining about Vettel going past the track limits! the other drivers did it too. lets pick on the fastest driver becaue we are jealous and shallow.

    3. Why are so many people getting frustrated about drivers leaving the track, Charlie Whiting has allowed it, so if everyone is allowed to do it then it isn’t an advantage to anyone.

    4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      26th October 2013, 16:55

      @zicasso So DSQ all the drivers in Canada for going off near the wall of Champions? Oh! That would make Vettel champion already!!!!

      1. @omarr-pepper: Sadly not. Actually he would only have a gap of 83 points to Fernando Alonso with four races remaining. :P

  12. I don’t know why Mercedes decided to use options for their Q3 run, they probably would have ended up 3rd and 4th at worst. They haven’t got a cat in hells chance on the equal strategy as Vettel

  13. I’ve read somewhere that Pirelli says the best startegy is to stop at the end of the 2nd lap if you start with the option tyres …

  14. Another cracking qualifying performance by Felipe. 6 tenths on Fernando!

    1. on different tyres don’t forget

    2. Massa did well on the softs, but probably should have been closer to Webber on the Mediums. Alonso was on the hard tyres.

      1. Alonso was on the *harder tyres.

      2. It’s my mistake as I didn’t read the article, @colossal-squid, but only read the finishing order as I was in a hurry. I didn’t even think Alonso could’ve used mediums as I can’t remember the last time this happened, especially at Ferrari who usually fail to react in advance to their weaknesses.

        1. Hulkenberg did outqualify Alonso again in the slower Sauber with its tiny budget and customer Ferrari engine.

    3. Another cracking qualifying performance by Felipe. 6 tenths on Fernando!

      on different tyres don’t forget

      You just got OWNED!! Massa quick? ppffffff rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright!

  15. This qualy session nearly put me to sleep, not because Vettel was fastest (he deserves it) but does anyone else think that the format is so tired now? For me Q1 is almost tedious to the point of being unwatchable. Q2 improves a little but the fast guys still aren’t quite trying, yawn. Q3 only lasts 10 mins and consists of missing a large chunk of the action because the Top 10 are completing their lap at the same time. In the end we see a few complete laps (if we are lucky) and glimpses of others. It’s all very unsatisfying. 1 hour session, 12 laps please or i’ll just be watching the races next year.

    1. @racectrl I agree with this. Most times I don’t even watch Q1 or Q2. Q3 is interesting, but flawed, as you pointed out.

  16. Is it just me or Vettel is only making Q3 exciting by trying to break pole record?

  17. Today’s qualifying session was a joke for me; seeing cars constantly running of the track was so frustrating to watch. I’m glad David Croft and Martin Brundle shared my feelings as I watched the session.

    For Charlie Whiting to say that the drivers are not gaining advantages for going off the circuit is ridiculous. If the drivers had nothing to gain from going off the circuit, then they wouldn’t do it. If a driver has all four wheels of the track, their lap should be deemed invalid, regardless of whether they gained an advantage or not. They can’t have different rules for different circuits.

  18. Can’t wait to see Seb raise four fingers tomorrow!

  19. I am not convinced that the medium tyre starting strategy is going to work, especially if anyone is hoping to catch Vettel. Look at the grid as it is for tomorrow: Vettel on pole with the Mercs behind him on similar tyres. Webber on primes in P4 with the Alonso, the next prime-starter in P8 with Massa, Raikkonen and the Hulk between them.

    Vettel on pole will not only be quicker than the two Mercs, but in all likelihood will make his soft tyres last a lap or even two more than them. By the time he comes in for his first change, he would have pulled out a good gap from Webber, Alonso, Perez and Button. All four of them will probably gain track position over Vettel when he comes out with fresh primes but in order to give credence to their strategy, those 4 will have to plough-on with primes for as long as possible and not be panicked into making an earlier stop as Vettel starts to close-in behind them. If any of then went in earlier than planned, it will defeat the purpose of starting on primes.

    This, when Vettel comes out on fresh primes after his first stop, it should not take him long to catch and pass the McLarens, also on primes by then, especially with that DRS-enabled straight. Alonso might just make it to his first stop while still ahead of Vettel but will get caught behind the likes of Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen and The Hulk when he emerges. If he has opted for softs for the second stint, he runs the risk of wearing them out while trying to pass those drivers and even if he manages P2 (which I seriously doubt) he will have no tyre life left to close-in on Vettel. If he uses another set of primes for his second stint, he will not be able to pass all of them and will not achieve anything worthwhile.

    Webber’s position is more interesting and has possibilities. If he gets a good start and keeps the trio of Massa, Raikkonen and the Hulk behind him for a few laps, it might remain that way till the trio’s first stops as their soft tyres start to wear. Webber will inherit the lead when Vettel goes in for his first stop and if he maintains a good enough distance from Alonso, should remain ahead of him as they both emerge from their own stops. Which tyre they give Webber for his second stint depends on his first; if that was good, he might get the options and try to leapfrog one or both Mercs, or pass them on track. But by then Vettel might be too far ahead for Webber to try and catch him with the softs but he has a much better chance than Alonso. With Webber therefore, a very good start and good first stint as absolutely essential.

    Merc would have considered all that and I am sure that their reason for abandoning the split-strategy in the last moment (recall the very late tyre switch for Hamilton before his final Q3 run) is to try and get one or both of them to remain ahead of Webber after all their first pit-stops. I think they will succeed but neither will be able to catch Vettel.

    Therefore, unless Vettel makes a mistake or has a car problem, this race looks like his for the taking.

  20. So vettel brakes the track record by going ‘off track’ numerous times on that track.

    Plus, is Webber actually that good, just seems to be a brave inconsistent driver IMHO, plus f you look at Williams he was about as good as Heidfeld, for vettel to prove himself as one of the all time greats, he HAS to move from his Red Bull home to be team mates with Hamilton or Alonso to show he is a cut above the rest, which I personally don’t believe he is, and this undeserved success is down to him being booed.

    p.s. don’t get mad at me, its just my opinion

    1. Maybe just your opinion but is laughable. Vettel has more than proved himself since he came into F1 and he does not HAVE to do anything more to confirm his status as the best in order to get approval of bigoted doubting Thomases who will always voice their opinions to the contrary no matter what the evidence is. No one wins 4 WDCs by being undeserving. Vettel has done more justice with the package that he has been given than Hamilton has or ever will. Perhaps the latter should concentrate on racing a bit more and stop making a fool of himself with those silly tweets.

  21. I just don’t get it. This is the only time Ferrari are close to RB and They split strategy to put Alonso on medium and mid of the pack?

    Will not being on the front row help this time? To keep away from the pack and be close to the leader as possible.

    I know the title is all but over, but the decision puzzles me. Massa should have been on this strategy not Alonso.

Comments are closed.