October 14, 2012
Vettel grabs F1 points lead with Korean GP win
By Sports Network
YEONGAM, SOUTH KOREA - Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull reclaimed the lead in the Formula One world championship point standings after winning Sunday's Korean Grand Prix.
Vettel, the two-time defending world champion, started second but passed his teammate and pole sitter, Mark Webber, on the opening lap and never looked back from there. The 25-year-old German crossed the finish line 8.2 seconds ahead of Webber for his fourth win of the season and the 25th of his F1 career, which placed him in a tie with Jim Clark and Niki Lauda for seventh on the all-time race winners list.
"I'm very pleased," Vettel said. "It was a fantastic race, and the foundation was to have a good start. I wasn't sure, because I was starting on the dirty side, but I had reasonable grip and a very good launch. I was able to get by Mark."
Vettel did encounter some minor problems late in the 55-lap race at Korean International Circuit. He had a lock up one lap before his second and final pit stop. Vettel also experienced tire-wear issues in the closing laps.
"We had two brilliant pit stops, but the only mistake I really made was when I locked up the front right quite badly in turn three, so it was a bit of a mistake from my side," he said. "Fortunately by then, we had quite a cushion from the cars behind me. Then I was able to control the gaps at the end. We were all a little bit worried about the front tires, because we saw a lot of people locking up wheels and overshooting the apexes."
Vettel has now won three straight grand prix -- Singapore, Japan and Korea. He led from start to finish in last week's Japanese Grand Prix. With four races left, Vettel holds a six-point lead over Fernando Alonso from Ferrari. Alonso finished third.
"I have to thank the (team) on this one, because there was not that much of a break arriving here from Japan," Vettel said. "We have made another step, and that's exactly what we needed. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum through the next races."
It's the first time Vettel has held the points lead since the May 13 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Webber's second-place run gave Red Bull a 1-2 finish for the first time this season.
"The start wasn't sensational, so I'll have to look into it," Webber said. "The initial getaway wasn't too great. I just tried to hang in there as best as I could. It was a good drive for Seb, and a great day for the team. Of course, I'm disappointed, but I'm happy to get a good result."
Red Bull widened its lead in the constructors' championship standings. The team has accumulated 367 points compared to 290 for Ferrari and 284 for McLaren. Alonso's teammate, Felipe Massa, finished fourth, allowing Ferrari to move ahead of McLaren in the constructors' race.
"We have to be happy with our performance today," Alonso said. "It was a good day for the team, for Felipe and me. We are moving in the right direction. We just need an extra step to be as competitive as Red Bull. I think we'll be good in the four races ahead."
Alonso made his ninth podium appearance of the season, which is more than any other driver.
McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both struggled in this race. Hamilton dealt with tire issues throughout the event and ended up finishing 10th.
Button was knocked out of the race on the first lap when Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi made contact with him. While trying to pass him for position, Kobayashi hit the side of Button, causing suspension damage and a punctured tire. Nico Rosberg from Mercedes was also involved in the incident and retired on the opening lap as well.
"It's pretty disappointing," Button said. "It's a long race, and there are so many overtaking opportunities here, so there's no need to do that."
Kobayashi received a drive-through penalty for causing the collision. He retired later in the race.
"I was fighting for position, but someone hit my car, and I couldn't control it," he said.
Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus finished fifth, followed by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen's teammate, Romain Grosjean. Toro Rosso drivers Jean- Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo placed eighth and ninth, respectively.