In the two Indian Grands Prix so far, Sebastian Vettel has led every one of the 120 racing laps and won both from pole.
This Sunday, barring a major upset, the Red Bull driver should cruise to a well-deserved fourth consecutive World title at the Buddh International circuit located just outside New Delhi. With 297 points compared to his closest challenger Fernando Alonso’s 207, a fifth place would seal the deal for Vettel, no matter where the Ferrari driver finishes. It would leave Vettel on 307 points with Alonso only able to score a maximum of 307 - even if he wins all four remaining races. Vettel would take the championship on race wins.
With the title basically a formality, the rest of the season will effectively focus on the battle for second in the Drivers’ championship with Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber all still in the hunt.
ICEMAN OUT-QUALIFIED AND OUT-RACED
Raikkonen, third in the standings on 177 points, has gone off the boil in qualifying recently but usually manages to deliver the goods come race day, and has finished on the podium in eight of the season’s 15 races. However, a recent upsurge from his Lotus team ate Romain Grosjean is affecting Raikkonen’s chances of overtaking Alonso for second.
The Iceman was out-qualified and out-raced by Grosjean in Suzuka, Japan two weeks ago (Grosjean was third and Raikkonen fifth), and the young Frenchman is clearly keen to stake his claim as the team’s No.1 with Kimi departing to Ferrari in 2014. Behind the laconic Finn is a mercurial Englishman in a Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton standing his ground in fourth on 166 points following his retirement in Suzuka, his second non-finish of the season.
The underperformer in the group is Red Bull’s Webber, fifth with 148 points. Although the Australian has at times been plagued by bad luck, he has failed to win a single race this year in what is regarded as Formula One’s best car, and has scored only five podiums in 15 races. A few more champagne-spraying results could help uplift Webber’s legacy as he heads into F1 retirement.
It was announced this week that Russian teenager Daniil Kvyat will partner Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso in 2014 as the surprise replacement for departing Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to Red Bull to replace Webber. Kvyat, 19, has been competing in the Formula Three and GP3 support series. - Star Motoring
The Indian Grand Prix will be live on DStv at 11am on Sunday.
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