Sunday, 6 October 2013

Korean Grand Prix: Sparks flying in Korea...

The Korean Grand Prix started with a bang as cars ran wheel to wheel, four and sometimes five abreast. There was contact in to the second corner, as Filipe Massa locked up on the approach and lost the back end of his Ferrari. He appeared to clip his team mate, Fernando Alonso, but fortunately both drivers were able to continue and the race progressed with a complete field.

The racing was some of the best we've seen all season, with cars sometimes jostling for four or five positions at the same time and on the same piece of track. One of those notable instances came near the end of the Grand Prix, when Maldonado, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg and Guttierez were jostling for the fourth spot. At one point it was extremely difficult to follow who was in what position and you found yourself gasping and yelping at the TV.

It was Sebastien Vettel's weekend once again, as he cruised to yet another victory and made it possible for him to take the World Championship next weekend in Japan. That result requires a couple of technicalities, mainly revolving around Fernando Alonso's performance, however it is appearing more and more likely that he will become World Champion for the fourth time.

Alternately, Vettel's team mate, running in his final season in Formula One, was having a torrid time. Right at the beginning of the race, it looked as though Mark Webber's strategy was going to put him in good stead for the end of the race. It quickly became apparent that this wasn't going to be the case and shortly after the first safety car period, he was T-boned, as Di Resta found himself in a spin in to the second corner. The impact against the side of pod of Webber's car ruptured an oil or fuel line and the car dramatically burst in to flames. He casually abandoned his car and so commenced the second safety car period, ludicrously led by an AWOL Fire Marshall car.

As trackside marshalls tried to extinguish the flaming Red Bull car, the camera cut to the second straight and, notably, the second DRS zone. In the foreground a Fire Marshall jeep was cruising toward Webber's stricken car, whilst in the background the train of race cars was streaming around the first corner and heading on to the same high speed straight. It was a surreal sight and the drivers did well to understand the situation and slow down together.

It was a great race, packed with incident and, although not great for Perez and McLaren fans, who witnessed their man suffer a massive tyre delamination incident, or Nico Rosberg fans who saw their driver lose his nose, spraying sparks everywhere, it was a wonderful spectacle for the neutral viewer. Despite things being a bit of a foregone conclusion, right at the top of the standings, it is important to recognise that the drivers are desperately fighting for every position in the championship, making every race extremely exciting.

The Result:
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault55
27Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault554.2244.224
38Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault554.9270.703
411Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari5524.11419.187
510Lewis HamiltonMercedes5525.2551.141
63Fernando AlonsoFerrari5526.1890.934
79Nico RosbergMercedes5526.6980.509
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren5532.2625.564
94Felipe MassaFerrari5534.3902.128
106Sergio PerezMcLaren5535.1550.765
1112Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari5535.9900.835
1217Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault5547.04911.059
1316Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault5550.0132.964
1420Charles PicCaterham-Renault5563.57813.565
1521Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault5564.5010.923
1622Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth5567.9703.469
1723Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth5572.8984.928
1818Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari532 laps2 laps
1919Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari523 laps1 lap
2015Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes505 laps2 laps
Not classified
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault3619 laps14 lapsAccident
14Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes2431 laps12 lapsAccident