Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel took their fourth consecutive drivers and constructors titles in India as the German produced a flawless race. Vettel also remains the only driver to have ever won the Indian Grand Prix. Elsewhere there was disappointment for Webber and Alonso who both had days to forget. There were impressive performances from Grosjean and Perez and Force India secured a double points finish in front of a home crowd.
Sebastian Vettel became a four time world champion as he finished on the top spot of the podium for the tenth time this season. People were expecting the race to be tough for Vettel, who was starting on the soft tyre, as many thought the medium compound tyre was the tyre to start on. The German pitted on lap two to dispose of his soft tyres and then made his way to the field. His teammate Mark Webber had started on the medium tyre and as predicted found himself in the lead once all those who were on soft tyres had pitted despite losing out two places at the start. After both drivers had done their stints on the soft tyres and now with both on the same medium tyre Vettel was ahead and from there on the win and title never looked in doubt. Webber was forced to retire from second with an alternator issue. Vettel’s win ensured his fourth drivers title and Red Bull’s fourth constructors title. The German celebrated his championship with some donuts on the track and was later reprimanded and Red Bull fined €25,000.
It was a good day at the office for Mercedes. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were both overtaken by Felipe Massa at the start and then battled it out between them. Rosberg made his way through the field overtaking a fading Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps to secure second place. Lewis Hamilton lost out behind Valtteri Bottas whilst his teammate got passed after the first round of pitstops. Hamilton couldn’t manage to hold off Sergio Perez in the closing laps he finished sixth behind the Mexican and Massa who had leap-frogged him at the start.
Romain Grosjean continued an impressive turn of form taking another third place finish. The podium finish had looked unlikely after his 17th place qualifying on Saturday but he managed 13 laps on the soft tyres he started on before switching to the medium tyres. He made his way through the field before fading teammate Kimi Raikkonen was told to get out of his way to allow the team to hold onto third place. Grojean demonstrated how to completed a one stop race in India. Raikkonen had also attempted to do a one stop but his medium tyres gave out with just laps left – he was passed by Rosberg and then Grosjean and Massa before pitting on the last lap. He did however set the fastest lap of the race on a new set of tyres.
Felipe Massa was the best of the Ferrari finishers in a day which went terribly wrong for Fernando Alonso. The Brazilian leap-fogged both Mercedes at the start and led them through the first stint. Massa was up to second on the first lap and led the race for a few laps after Vettel pitted. Massa was catching Grosjean and Raikkonen in the closing laps but only made up one more place to finish the day in fourth. Alonso’s day went wrong from the first corner. He was the only man who could stop Vettel from taking the title but after Raikkonen and Webber clashed at the start Alonso had nowhere to go and hit the Red Bull. He had to pit for a new front wing on the second lap. The Spaniard didn’t manage to recover and ended the day in 11th outside the points.
Sergio Perez produced one of the performances of the day. Starting on the medium tyre he kept himself in contention of the top ten and as those on soft tyres around him pitted he made his way up the grid. Perez stayed in third completing a long stint on the medium tyres before pitting for softs. After returning to the medium tyres Perez pushed Hamilton for sixth place and eventually passed him to take fifth for McLaren and ten well deserved points. Things started badly for Jenson Button who missed out at the start and never really managed to recover from there. At one point he was stuck in 17th place over 50 seconds adrift of the lead. He ended the day in 14th.
Force India took a double points finish for the first time since the British Grand Prix. The team were looking for a good result at their home grand prix and will be delighted with eighth and ninth after struggling over the last few races. Paul di Resta was eighth and Adrian Sutil ninth. The German had spent a long time up front in the race after gambling on a one stop strategy. He managed 41 laps on the medium tyre and managed to make the soft tyres last for just under 20 laps at the end. Pirelli has suggested a 35 laps life for the mediums.
Daniel Ricciardo held onto the tenth place and final point after a long first stint on the medium tyres. For a large proportion of the race he had been in third place before pitting on lap 33. He was behind the Sutil train after the final pitstops but held off Fernando Alosno for the final point. The Australian had benefited from Nico Hulkenberg being forced to retire his Sauber which was running in seventh. Jean-Eric Vergne could only manage 13th in the other Toro Rosso but had a few interesting battles with Alonso and Button.
Pastor Maldonado took 12th for Williams on what was a better day for them. The team had been fined after FP2 due to a lose wheel nut but there were no such problems on race day. His teammate Valtteri Bottas had run in the top ten after a long first stint on the medium tyres but after his pitstop he fell back and could only manage 16th.
It was a day to forget for Sauber as a string of point scoring finishes came to an end. A strong running Nico Hulkenberg had looked on course for another points finish in seventh but suffered a brake problem on his C32 which forced him to pit. The team sent him out again but he retired one lap later as the car was not driveable. Esteban Gutierrez had been in 11th but fell to 16th after a late pitstop. He had also been hit with a drive through penalty for a jump start and could have potentially been a points scorer if it hadn’t been for that.
Max Chilton completed a long stint on the medium tyres to finish ahead of his teammate Jules Bianchi in 17th. Chilton had earlier contributed to rival Giedo van der Garde’s retirement after a clash on the first lap. Both Marussias finished on a day where their rivals suffered a double retirement.
There was a double retirement for Caterham making it a disappointing day for them. Giedo van der Garde retired in the pits after a first lap incident with Marussia rival Max Chilton. Charles Pic was forced to retire after a serious technical problem on his car.