By Pete Vack
Photos courtesy and copyright Ferrari Media
For a season that offered so much hope and competition just a few months ago, 2012 F1 has suddenly degenerated into another Red Bull Route with Vettel in charge. He’s on a roll now, the earlier problems with reliability seem to have faded, the speed has returned, and it is unlikely that even Alonso will catch Vettel for the Championship. After India, Alonso is now thirteen points behind Vettel for the Championship, and that has never been a lucky number in racing.
Alonso did what he absolutely had to do, which was to do nothing wrong and finish a good second. Massa too, having almost out qualified Alonso, sat next to him on the grid, albeit in the third row after the two Red Bulls and the two revitalized McLarens. The first few laps were particularly exciting as Alonso challenged both the McLarens and defeated one. It took him only another four laps to get Button on the other McLaren, but he still had to get by Weber. As Vettel deftly sailed into the smoggy Indian sunset, Alonso was struggling with Hamilton and Weber throughout the race. Massa had dropped to 6th place overall; don’t ask why.
Button came in on lap 26 but Vettel was still out on the softs and turning fastest laps. Now it became a game of who will pit first, or last, for in this game, those who pit last wins. Alonso blinked first and came in on lap 30, Weber waited until lap 31, Hamilton stopped on lap 33 and changed all five wheels in 3.3 seconds, and finally on lap 34, Vettel came in for his silver streaks and did so without losing the lead. The race was as good as over if the car lasted.
Raikonnen sulked back in 6th and 7th spots, waiting for something to happen up front, unable to get up a lot of straight line speed. He waited and waited but no one blew it and he finished about where he had started.
Weber’s car may have been slowing for some reason, as Alonso finally passed the Aussie on lap 48 at the very end of the long straight, snapping the Red Bull up like a frog catching a fly, right before the corner. It was an impressive pass. How we longed to see the fight taken to Vettel. But by lap 55 Vettel had a 10 second lead that would prove insurmountable, despite a sparking chassis.
Schumacher…his run of either bad luck or a bull-in-the-china-shop syndrome continues to cause unpleasant incidents with fellow drivers. We are not sure of the cause, but on the first lap he tangled with several cars, got a puncture for his efforts and finished well down.
Maldonado went off on lap 31, De La Rosa retired on lap 45, Perez kept getting punctures, Kobayashi finished midfield in an unspectacular fashion, and once again Grosjean was a nice guy and finished that way.
Hundreds of thousands of eager enthusiastic Indian F1 fans cheered the cars and Bernie Ecclestone too—India is becoming a major market for exotic cars, and who knows, maybe old Ferraris as well as new ones.
Before the start, SpeedTV gave us a brief view of the new track at Austin Texas, which not unsurprisingly looks, well, just like any of the rest of the new breed of F1 tracks. It will premier in three weeks’ time on November 18th. We hope it succeeds.
Well, Austin anyone? You’ll love it.
Abu Dhabi is next on November 4th.
|8||HULKENBERG||Force India-Mercedes||+ 54.9s|
|12||DI RESTA||Force India-Mercedes||+ 82.8s|
|15||VERGNE||STR-Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|16||MALDONADO||Williams-Renault||+ 1 lap|
|17||PETROV||Caterham-Renault||+ 1 lap|
|18||KOVALAINEN||Caterham-Renault||+ 1 lap|
|19||PIC||Marussia-Cosworth||+ 1 lap|
|20||GLOCK||Marussia-Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|21||KARTHIKEYAN||HRT-Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|22||SCHUMACHER||Mercedes||+ 5 laps, gearbox|
|23||DE LA ROSA||HRT-Cosworth||+ 18 laps, brakes|
|24||PEREZ||Sauber-Ferrari||+ 40 laps, puncture damage|
Driver’s Championship Standings
|12||HULKENBERG||Force India-Mercedes||49 Points|
|13||DI RESTA||Force India-Mercedes||44 Points|
Constructor’s Championship Standings
|7||FORCE INDIA-MERCEDES||93 Points|