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Indian Grand Prix – Yays and Nays

Sebastian Vettel led from flag to flag around the Buddh International Circuit, slightly extending his lead on Fernando Alonso, whose desperate to claim his third World Championship this year.
Monday, October 29, 2012

Octuber 29th, 2012 (F1plus / Rosie Baillie).- The race certainly wasn’t the most exciting race we’ve seen all year, so let’s take a look at the Yays and Nays of the second Indian Grand Prix.

Yay

Sebastian Vettel continues to dominate: After owning the entire weekend, we’d have been daft to expect anything less than a win from the double World Champion. He led from lights out to take his fourth win in a row, and interestingly, has led every lap of the past three races, equalling Ayrton Senna’s record.

During the last few laps, sparks could be seen coming from the floor of Sebastian Vettel’s RB8. After the race, team principal Christian Horner said he thought was caused by a bolt coming loose and falling off the bottom of the car.

Vettel is now leading second in the title race, Fernando Alonso by 13 points and is looking on track to win his third consecutive title. Vettel of course, maintains that he’s not getting carried away and there’s a long way to go. Where have we heard that before Seb?

McLaren change five wheels: Half way through the race, Lewis Hamilton pulled in for a pit stop and changed five wheels, that’s right, five wheels.

In perhaps the most exciting and impressive pit stop we’ve seen in a while, McLaren changed all four tyres and Hamilton’s steering wheel in a mere 3.3 seconds. What makes it slightly more impressive is that during a post-race interview, Hamilton admitted that he’d never had to practice a steering wheel change before.

It was so slick and flawless, that it was certainly a case of blink and you’ll miss it, I didn’t even notice they’d changed the steering wheel the first time I saw the stop. Wouldn’t it be nice if your average car mechanic could fix your car up that quickly?

Senna’s spectacular overtake: Bruno Senna seems to have been overshadowed by team mate Pastor Maldonado for most of the year, despite only being seven points behind him and having a relatively incident free season.

It’s rumoured that Senna is racing hard for his seat at Williams next year. Senna’s no stranger to pressure though, and has found himself under pressure to live up to his last name and the achievements of his late Uncle, who didn’t do much to help Bruno by once saying that Bruno was even faster than he was.

On Lap 52 Bruno was able to get in the DRS zone of Nico Rosberg and pulled out an impressive and effortless looking overtake in Turn 4, and brought the car home in 10th place, picking up one point for the team.

Fernando Alonso’s damage limitation: When the lights went out in New Delhi, Fernando Alonso had a blinding start and overtook Lewis Hamilton going into the first corner.

The two Ferrari’s didn’t look particularly strong over the weekend, however during the race it was looking a lot like the team had a serious case of sandbagging. Though how you perform in Qualifying and the cars race pace are two entirely different things.

Fernando hasn’t been shy when talking about the cars lack of performance and will be in damage limitation mode for the rest of the season. Fernando finished second today and only lost seven points to winner Sebastian Vettel.

Schumacher going back to pits after his flat tire incident. (Charles Coates / LAT Photo)

Nay

Schumachers ‘unsatisfactory’ race: Michael Schumacher has had a terrible year, most of which has been dogged by the incredibly poor reliability of his W03.

Schumacher’s race was over almost as soon as it started, when he and Jean-Eric Vergne made contact. The clash resulted in a right rear puncture for Schumacher, who slowly and carefully managed to drive his stricken car back to the pit lane to have his tyres changed.

Despite having a lot of making up to do, Schumacher fought on. In the dying laps of the race, Schumacher was forced to retire, due to a technical problem, perhaps caused by the damage caused by the puncture tyre when he was driving back to the pits.

Schumacher also got himself into trouble later on in the race, for ignoring blue flags and impeding Romain Grosjean. Following the race, the stewards investigated the incident and decided that the seven-time World Champion wasn’t guilty after all.

One-stopping = boring: It’s fair to say that the Indian Grand Prix wasn’t the most exciting race we’ve seen all year, I’d even go as far to say it was less interesting than Valencia.

Tyre degredation wasn’t high around the Buddh International Circuit, which meant most drivers could get away with just one tyre change, which really didn’t produce much excitement.

With the dominant Red Bull’s out in front as well, we didn’t see any kind of fight for the lead either. The most exciting action was in the midfield and the Race Director decided not to show us most of that, instead showing us slow motion shots of drivers going around a corner.

Mark Webber’s KERS: Mark Webber certainly isn’t known for his good luck, unlike team mate Sebastian Vettel, and bad luck hit the Australian again today when his KERS failed.

It’s no secret that Adrian Newey isn’t a huge fan of KERS and the team have struggled with KERS over the past couple of years and have quite often found themselves KERS-less.

Before he lost KERS, Webber was running in second place, thankfully he only lost one place to Fernando Alonso and managed to fend off a chasing Hamilton, and stood on the third step of the podium.

Talk about faith in Massa: Just half way through the race, Felipe Massa’s Race Engineer Rob Smedley came on the radio to tell the Brazilian that there were serious fuel problems. Massa was forced to complete the rest of the race in fuel saving mode, which he says cost him finishing above the two McLarens.

What were your YAYs and NAYs of the Indian Grand Prix?

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