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GP Week : Issue 140
Team-By-Team: Indian Grand Prix, New Delhi Sutil and di Resta’s fortunes from qualifying carried forward to the race, with the former turning his Q3 grid slot into his 7th points finish of the year and the latter failing to get into the top ten from 12th on the grid. Both adopted radically different strategies, with Sutil two-stopping and using the hard tyre for his final stint to claim a respectable 9th place just ahead of Sauber’s Perez. Di Resta meanwhile pitted on the second lap as part of his three- stop strategy, using the slow hard tyre only on the first two laps. The gamble didn’t pay off and he finished 13th. Jaime Alguersuari added another four points to his championship tally after a strong race from 10th on the grid. After overtaking Senna early in the race a strong and long second stint allowed him to pull clear of his nearest rivals to cruise to the flag with a 15-second buffer. Team-mate Buemi would have been his closest rival during the close stages had the Swiss not retired. He was running 10th when an unknown technical failure forced him to stop, costing him a valuable points finish. Like at Force India, it was a bitter sweet Sunday afternoon in India for Sauber, with Segio Perez returning to the points in 10th place but with Kamui Kobayashi failing to make it past the first lap. Perez started 20th after picking up a grid penalty on Friday, but pitted on the first lap to switch to the soft tyre. From there he made steady progress and pitted only once more before taking the flag in 10th place. Kobayashi was a victim of the first-corner incident when he veered into the path of Glock after running wide to avoid contact with Barrichello. Another disappointing race weekend for Virgin, firstly after being outqualified by both HRTs on Saturday and secondly only finishing half a second clear of the inexperienced Karthikeyan on race day. Glock had a truly dismal weekend after a gearbox failure forced him out of qualifying and then completed only one lap of the race after heavy contact with Kamui Kobayashi at turn 1. D’Ambrosio spent most of the race behind both HRTs, but was able to leapfrog both during late-race pitstops, albeit finishing over 100 seconds behind the lead Lotus. All the focus was on home-grown hero Narain Karthikeyan carrying the flag for India in their inaugural Grand Prix, and the 34-year-old acquitted himself well by beating his team- mate and finishing just half a second behind Virgin’s Jerome d’Ambrosio. His front wing was slightly damaged after contact with Jarno Trulli at turn 3 but he was nevertheless able to race competitively, and was pulling clear of d’Ambrosio until having to pit with 10 laps to go. Ricciardo made a good start and was pulling clear of Karthikeyan in the first stint but had to make an early third stop because of misbehaving tyres, putting him behind the Indian. Heikki Kovalainen continued to fly the flag for Team Lotus at the head of the field, after team- mate Jarno Trulli was taken out of contention on the first lap when he was hit by HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan at turn 3. The puncture and damage to the car put him a lap behind at the back of the field from where he was unable to make any progress. Kovalainen meanwhile was busy fighting with the experienced teams further up, running as high as 10th before his first stop. He took the flag in 14th, ahead of Rubens Barrichello’s Williams. F1 INDIA >> 37