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GP Week : Issue 173
F1 >>> INDIA 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: W ith his commanding victory at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday afternoon, Sebastian Vettel extended his lead over Fernando Alonso in the drivers’ championship to 13 points with three races remaining. It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Red Bull driver, who has rediscovered the 2011 winning streak that had eluded him for much of the early part of the season. And Vettel’s performance on Sunday was shades of 2011 all over again, with the German racer making a clean start off the line, powering off to a 1.2s lead by the end of the first lap, and leading the pack for the duration of the sixty laps that make up the Indian Grand Prix. While it was smooth running from lights to flag for the defending world champion, the same cannot be said for his team-mate. Mark Webber made the better start of the Red Bull pair, but the short run down to Turn 1 didn’t afford the Australian with the opportunity to pass his team-mate. Settling down into P2, Webber then found himself plagued by an on-again, off-again KERS issue that started around lap 19 or 20 and continued unabated until the end of the race. “It was due to KERS that I started to lose the rhythm and the tempo,” Webber explained after the race. “Obviously when the KERS is coming on and off, we need to also screw around with the brake balance and lots of other things. The guys have got a huge amount of plate- spinning to try to feed that into the cockpit for me. The last thing you want in a one-stop strategy race is starting to have front locking. Because we need to do long, long stints. So obviously this is a pain in the arse and we had to manage it as best we can. “It’s so demoralising, that [kilometre-long main] straight with no KERS,” Webber continued. “I think I was very lucky that Lewis made a mistake in Turn Three, I think on lap 57. ... And that was important because I think he was starting to get a bit of momentum and I was very keen to keep him off the DRS as long as possible because once he got that I was toast. I think another two laps and he