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GP Week : Issue 173
Red Bull brought subtle evolutions to the RB8 in India and looked the team to beat around the Buddh International Circuit. Vettel dominated the top of the timesheets in practice and nobody could deny him pole or a fourth consecutive race victory. The young German managed to streak clear after a clean start and overcame a loose skid block in the latter stages to take victory and extend his points lead. Webber locked-out the front row for RBR and held second for the most part, but a KERS issue meant the Australian had no answer to Alonso, who used DRS to charge past on lap 48. There were some positive noises coming from the Mercedes camp after practice. However, things didn’t go to plan for the Silver Arrows. Rosberg started tenth having opted not to set a time in Q3, but a general lack of pace meant he finished outside of the points having spent the entire race defending from those behind him. Schumacher sustained a right-rear puncture after running over the front wing of Vergne’s Toro Rosso at Turn 1. The seven-time world champion was one lap down on the leaders by lap nine and eventually retired to cap off a hugely disappointing weekend for Mercedes. McLaren was positive about its pace on heavy fuel after practice, with both its drivers showing particularly encouraging pace in FP3 and then going on to lock-out row two of the grid. From third, Hamilton lost places to Button and Alonso at Turn 3. He jumped back ahead of his team-mate in the stops and finished fourth, unable to catch the ailing Webber. Button ran third before being displaced by Alonso. The Briton’s race was compromised after emerging from his sole stop behind Grosjean – who ran a long opening stint on Primes – but took fifth. Both Raikkonen and Grosjean ran Lotus’s new Coanda- style exhaust system, as well as revised rear bodywork on Friday. Raikkonen, reported a good balance on the soft tyres and went seventh fastest in Q3. However, the Finn was unable to move forwards in the race; he emerged side-by-side with Massa’s Ferrari after the stops, but couldn’t keep the Brazilian at bay. Grosjean struggled to set up his E20 and was disappointed to qualify 11th. The Frenchman started on Primes and ran a long first stint to climb as high as fifth, but took the flag in ninth having been unable to displace Force India’s Hulkenburg. Fans may have been hoping for Ferrari to turn up the wick in India and a new aero package helped Alonso record consistently quick lap times in practice. From fifth, Alonso despatched both McLarens on lap one with a great tow along the back-straight. The Spaniard held third but got the better of Webber on lap 48 to finish second to title rival Vettel. Much like last year, Massa initially struggled to find a rhythm in India – he span twice during FP2 and once in Q1 – but qualified sixth and held position in the race, after a close battle with Raikkonen. Di Resta was unhappy with the balance of his VJM05 throughout the Indian Grand Prix weekend. The Scot was on the ragged edge in qualifying but neither he nor team-mate Hulkenburg could extract enough pace to make it out of Q2. A strong first lap for Hulkenburg featured a couple of bold overtakes and four points for eighth were well-received by the young German who had a hard-charging Grosjean to contend with in the latter stages. Di Resta, on the other hand, never challenged for the top ten in the race and finished in a lowly 12th place. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: INDIAN GRAND PRIX 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> INDIA