Team-by-team look at the 2013 Korean Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel once again took a comfortable victory but all eyes were on the action happening behind him. Kimi Raikkonen battled from his starting position of ninth to finish second whilst teammate Romain Grosjean started and finished third to take the last podium place. The star of the race was Nico Hulkenberg who finished fourth having passed both Ferrari’s on lap one and then kept both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso behind him. Elsewhere there were close battles between Massa, Perez, Gutierrez and Maldonado.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel took another victory as he moves ever closer to his fourth title. His rivals will be happier that the gap between him and the Lotuses was much closer. He was also battling to keep his tyres in top conditions nursing his right front tyre until the end of the race. IMG_2875Mark Webber was out of luck in Korea. A ten-place grid penalty for his taxi ride in Singapore left him 13th on the grid. He made progress through the race but shortly after pitting Perez’s delamination saw him run across the debris and pick up a puncture. With no medium tyres left he had to switch to the supersoft. After the safety car from the Perez incident Adrian Sutil lost control of his Force India at turn three and careered in Webber. The Australian’s car then caught on fire leaving his team with a tough task to get the car ready for next weekend in Japan. The fire brought out the second safety car but not before a fire marshall car took to the track causing confusion. It is mathematically possible for Vettel to take his fourth title next weekend.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen finished a triumphant second having started in ninth. The two safety cars helped the Finn before he overtook his teammate late in the race to steal the spot from the Frenchman. Romain Grosjean had started third and got ahead of Hamilton to pursue Vettel. Whilst the gap was a lot closer than in previous races it was not enough. Grosjean made a small mistake which gifted Raikkonen the place although it was very close between the two teammates.

Sauber
IMG_2809Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber were the stars of the race. Having started seventh the German managed to pass both the Ferrari’s of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso on the opening lap. In the first stint of the race he kept ahead of the double world champion and was still ahead him after the first pit stop. At the restart after the first safety car Hulkenberg passed Hamilton and the pair then battled to the end. There was a close moment where it looked like it was all over and Hamilton had managed to get passed, however the German was quickly back passed and he finished the race in fourth. Esteban Gutierrez started in the top ten and was unlucky to miss out on the last point after a close battle with Massa, Maldonado and Perez.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in a disappointing day for the Briton. He had started second but was passed by Grosjean early on. He held on to third until the first round of pitstops. After his teammate Nico Rosberg suffered a nose/front wing failure the team pitted him before Hamilton who lost out and had to complete another lap. He ended up behind Hulkenberg and despite passing him on one occasion at turn one he couldn’t get passed. Rosberg’s race nearly ended in sparks but he managed to keep the car running back to the pits, he finished the day in eighth after a battle with the McLaren of Jenson Button.

Ferrari
Both the Ferrari’s found they were passed by the Sauber’s on lap one. Felipe Massa caused mass confusion after spinning at the third corner on lap one. A number of drivers had to take avoiding action and it pushed Massa well down the field. After the incident Alonso was behind Hulkenberg who he was unable to pass. After the two safety cars he was behind Hamilton and Hulkenberg. As the two battled the Spaniard closed up and diced with Hamilton but could not find a way passed. He finished the day in sixth. Massa battled with Maldonado, Gutierrez and Perez to finish ninth.

McLaren
Jenson Button was McLaren’s highest finisher with both drivers finishing in the top ten. The Briton finished seventh in the late battle for fourth between Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Alonso and Rosberg. He was passed by Rosberg but got the place back to take home four important points. Sergio Perez brought out the first safety car after his front right tyre threw off its tread throwing its debris across the track. He made it back to the pits and clawed his way back up the standings after a battle with Maldonado, Massa, and Gutierrez to take the last point.

Williams
Williams missed out on the final point after a close battle between the teammates, Maldonado and Bottas, and the McLaren of Perez, Ferrari of Massa and Sauber of Guiterrez. In a few corners Maldonado went from tenth to 14th after being passed by the above and his teammate. Bottas ended the day in 12th while his teammate was behind him in 13th.

Caterham
Charles Pic took 14th ahead of his teammate Giedo van der Garde in 15th as they continue their close battle with Marussia. The Dutchman got a drive through penalty for forcing Jules Bianchi’s Marussia wide on the opening lap and recovered to pass both Marussias.

Marussia
The Marussia pair finished 16th and 17th with Bianchi beating Max Chilton to the finish line. Van der Garde got a drive through penalty for forcing Bianchi’s Marussia wide on the opening lap but recovered to pass both Marussias before the end of the race.

Toro Rosso
Both Toro Rosso’s retired on the last lap with mechanical issues. Daniel Ricciardo had been running in ninth after a long first stint which saw him mix it with the front runners. However his day ended after a mechanical problem which saw him pull up at the side of the track. Jean-Erice Vergne also ended his day with a mechanical problem but was classified finishing 18th ahead of Ricciardo in 19th.

Force India
It was a day to forget for Force India. A less than impressive performance in qualifying in Saturday continued on Sunday. Paul di Resta continues to diminish his chance of a top drive after crashing out of yet another race on lap 25. His teammate Adrian Sutil caused Mark Webber’s retirement from the race after spinning his Force India at turn three on the first safety car restart. The German managed to continue before pulling into the pits with five laps to run.

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Vettel wins in Korea and takes the lead in the Drivers Championship

Sebastian Vettel secured his third successive win of three races in Korea. Vettel overtook pole sitter Mark Webber on the first lap and was then untroubled for victory, despite the team worrying about tyre degradation in the closing laps.

Mark Webber finished second ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in third. Felipe Massa finished fourth behind teammate Alonso after the team ordered him to slow down and not race Alonso.

Behind Massa Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth in an uneventful race for him. Nico Hulkenberg took sixth for Force India after a double overtake on both Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean on lap 41. Grosjean finished behind Hulkenberg in seventh whilst Hamilton was forced to pit again and claimed the final point in tenth place.

Hamilton had looked set to secure more points for McLaren chasing down eighth place finisher Jean-Eric Vergne and ninth place finisher Daniel Ricciardo but he ran over some astro turf and picked up a huge piece that got stuck under his car. This prevented him from racing the two cars ahead of him and Vergne and Ricciardo secured a double points finish for Toro Rosso.

Hamilton also defended Sergio Perez’s late charge with Perez failing to overtake Hamilton on the final lap. Paul di Resta finished 12th ahead of Michael Schumacher in 13th. Pastor Maldonado beat teammate Bruno Senna to 14th after deciding to run a one stop race.

Behind Senna came the Caterhams, Marussias and Narain Karthikeyan for HRT.

Kamui Kobayashi undid all his good work last weekend by taking out both Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg on lap one and ending his own race. This move would prove costly for Sauber, McLaren and Mercedes who only managed to secure one point between them.

Vettel’s third consecutive win for Red Bull in the last three races lifts him ahead of Alonso in the drivers championship and extends Red Bull’s lead in the constructors championship. Ferrari also move ahead of McLaren in the constructors after a difficult race for Button and Hamilton.

If Vettel can continue this winning form in the final races he looks set to secure his third consecutive championship. Taking recent Red Bull form into account a third championship is beginning to look very likely.

Webber beats Vettel to pole in Korea

Mark Webber will start tomorrows Korean Grand Prix from pole position after beating teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying.

Webber’s last run in Q3 was enough to move him ahead of Vettel, giving Red Bull a front row lock out. Behind them Lewis Hamilton qualified third after only narrowly making Q2 having finished Q1 in 17th. Fernando Alonso had similar problems in Q1 finishing only 16th but managed to make it through to Q3 and qualify fourth.

Lotus’ upgrades allowed Kimi Raikkonen to take fifth whilst teammate Romain Grosjean took seventh. The two drivers were split by the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa who qualified sixth.

Behind them Nico Hulkenberg qualified eighth in the Force India and the two Mercedes made up the top ten, with Nico Rosberg qualifying ninth ahead of Michael Schumacher.

One of the surprises of qualifying was Jenson Button failing to make Q3 after a mistake on his first lap in Q2. Yellow flags caused by Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso denied Button the chance to improve and he will start from 11th tomorrow.

Sauber looked to be struggling this weekend and only managed to qualify 12th and 13th ahead of Paul di Resta in 14th. Pastor Maldonado qualified 15th for Williams as teammate Bruno Senna failed to make Q2 only qualifying 18th. Behind Maldonado the Toro Rosso’s qualified 16th and 17th.

At the back of the grid the Caterhams line up ahead of the Marussias and HRTs, with Narain Karthikeyan failing to set a time.

Webber will be hoping that he can convert his pole position into his third win of the season and take the chance of getting his championship back on track. If Webber can replicate the form of Vettel last weekend in Japan then a win in Korea is possible.

Red Bull set the pace in Korea

Red Bull topped free practice two in Korea with Sebastian Vettel finishing first and teammate Mark Webber setting the second quickest time.

Vettel and Webber were closely matched in the second session with both fighting over the top spot. Behind them Fernando Alonso set the third fastest time ahead of Jenson Button in the McLaren. Button’s team mate Lewis Hamilton, who topped the time sheets in FP1, could only manage to set the eighth fastest time, whilst Felipe Massa secured the sixth fastest time of the session in the other Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher set the fifth fastest time with teammate Nico Rosberg finishing the session seventh for Mercedes as they try to make up for their disappointing race in Japan. Nico Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in the top ten, finishing ninth and tenth respectively. Romain Grosjean finished in eleventh behind teammate Raikkonen as the Lotus team begins using its new Coanda exhaust. The Lotus’ aren’t known for showing their pace in practice and they are expected to be closer to the front pack come Sunday.

Bruno Senna set the 12th quickest time in the Williams with Paul di Resta 13th in the second Force India. Kamui Kobayashi finished the session 14th following his podium in Japan. Sauber appear unlikely to replicate the same form as was seen there as Sergio Perez finished 15th after having to retire his car after a mechanical issue.

Next came the two Toro Rosso’s with Jean-Eric Vergne winning the teammate battle against Daniel Ricciardo in FP2. Behind them Pastor Maldonado finished the session 18th in the second Williams. Heikki Kovalinen was the first of the back markers finishing 19th, behind him came Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Vitaly Petrov and the two HRTs.

Red Bull come to Korea following back to back wins in Singapore and Japan with Vettel and they look likely to continue that winning form. A win in Korea could lift Vettel ahead of Alonso in the drivers Championship and help towards securing the constructors championship for the team.