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Vettel takes title lead after Korean GP win

by Ravi Ved Pictures: Dppi Posted on 16 Oct 2012

Sebastian Vettel leads the championship after his third consecutive win of the season at the Korean Grand Prix

 

Sebastian Vettel wins the 2012 Korean GP

 

 

Back with a bang

Sebastian Vettel had a perfect race weekend at the Korean Grand Prix that put him on top of the championship points table. It was a front row lock-out for Red Bull as Mark Webber qualified on pole and Vettel took second place. The German got off to a fabulous start to take the lead from his team-mate in the very first corner, and never looked back. A well planned pit-stop strategy from the energy drink team ensured that the reigning champion remained ahead of the order throughout the 55-lap race. Webber played a good supporting role to the defending champion and secured the second step on the podium. 

 

 

Fernando Alonso at the 2012 Korean GP

 

 

 

Scarlet shine  

Although the race was completely dominated by the Red Bulls, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa weren't too far behind in their Ferraris. That said, Alonso’s third place finish couldn’t stop Vettel from taking the lead in the championship, but he made sure that the 2011 champion didn't end up with a huge lead. Meanwhile, Massa drive a brilliant race to take fourth place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and just like Webber, he too played a supporting role and helped in adding a few points for the scarlet team. With a podium at the Japanese Grand Prix and a fourth place finish in Korea, Massa has started to show good form late in the season. Has the prospect of not having a seat in the team for the next season finally dawned on him? 

 

 

Nico Hulkenberg at the 2012 Korean GP

 

 

 

The Hulk pounds Grosjean 

Nico Hulkenberg, once again put in an outstanding performance to finish in sixth place aboard his VJM05. The German emerged dominant in a three-way battle involving Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and himself. Making most of the dogfight between Grosjean and Hamilton, the Sahara Force India driver pulled off an impressive manoeuvre to pass both rival drivers on the same corner to leave Grosjean in seventh place. 

 

Hard luck Hami

Lady Luck doesn’t seem to favour Lewis Hamilton as a rear roll bar failure forced him out of contention for fourth place and dropped him down to tenth. The Brit barely just managed a single point as he was ran the final few laps of the race with astroturf stuck to the sidepod of his McLaren MP4-27. 

 

 

Kamui Kobayashi crashes at the 2012 Korean
GP

 

 

 

Crashing Kobayashi

After his maiden podium in Japan, Kamui Kobayashi would have hoped for a strong finish in Korea as well but a mishap on turn 3 not only ended his race but also took Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg out of the race. Going down the long straight before c3, the Japanese racing driver braked a bit too late for the turn which led him to brush the McLaren driver’s front right tyre which resulted in a puncture. Although the Sauber driver continued to race after a front wing change he had to retire him after 16 laps. 

 

 

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso on
the podium at the 2012 Korean GP

 

 

 

The struggle within 

The season is approaching its end, but it seems that the fight for the championship has just begun. While the start of the season saw seven drivers win the first seven races, some stand-out performances from Alonso took him to the top of the drivers’ championship table. Hamilton tried hard to catch up to the Ferrari driver on the points table but his McLaren MP4-27 proved to be unreliable on critical occasions not allowing him the opportunity to challenge for the top spot. Raikkonen proved to be consistent but the absence of a win is evident when you look at the points to his name. Though Hamilton, Raikkonen and Webber are no longer in the fight for the title, they are still in the hunt for second and third places in the championship.

 

That brings us to reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, the underdog. Although the German was struggling with his car’s alternator troubles in the early half of the season, he has made a strong comeback post the mid-season break and with three consecutive wins he now leads the championship table ahead of Alonso, albeit by just six points. While Vettel has clawed his way back to the top of the table, Alonso won’t let him walk away with the championship so easily. So will Vettel continue to hold the throne or will the scarlet sovereign rise again, it is difficult to predict. But one does not need to be an astronomer to foretell that the remaining races are going to be extremely entertaining.