Formula 1

Korea analysis: Vettel shows controlled side

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Another race, another dominant display by Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver continued his stroll to a fourth world title but it was the way he won in Korea that stood out from his other triumphs, and here's why.

On the face of it the Korean Grand Prix was one of the closest races of the season, at no point throughout the race was Vettel's lead above six seconds, this was a much different drive to those in Belgium, Italy and Singapore as Sebastian controlled his racers instinct in a flawless drive.

The story of the race was the tyres, the long left handers at Yeongam put a particular stress on the front right tyre and that showed as all the drivers struggled to keep their rubber fresh.

This was where Vettel showed why he is one of the best on the grid, he used his speed in the early laps at the start and after the safety car to pull out a small but comfortable advantage and once he reached four-five second gap he eased off ensuring he was quick enough to stay ahead but not ruin his tyres.

This is where once again Mercedes failed and Lotus took advantage, if not for the safety cars around two-thirds in the race Romain Grosjean would have had a good chance of challenging Vettel.

However because of the safety cars it was his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who used his skill and experience to gain the most from the interruptions and move up the order indeed pouncing on Grosjean at just the right time to claim second.

The safety car periods also allowed Vettel to use his controlling tactics and keep the Lotuses at bay, I do feel Vettel would have had quite a bit more pace available if Lotus could have attacked but that would have been to the detriment of his tyres.

As I mentioned once again Mercedes' strong qualifying pace was not converted into an equally strong race performance. Lewis Hamilton was the victim of poor luck and poor timing for his second stop as Rosberg moved ahead but then saw his front wing collapse as he pulled out of Hamilton's slipstream.

That delayed Hamilton both on the track and for his second stop as Mercedes needed to service Rosberg, either way Hamilton was never in the battle for the win and that will continue to frustrate him heading to Japan.

Ferrari's focus has well and truly switched to 2014, neither Fernando Alonso nor Felipe Massa had the raw speed in Korea, Alonso was able to use to his skill to move up to sixth while Massa's first lap spin dropped him down the order, he recovered to ninth.

McLaren's recent improvement continued as both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez scored points, currently I believe the Woking based team find themselves in a battle with Mercedes and Ferrari in the races with Lotus just ahead.

The star of the race was undoubtedly Nico Hulkenberg, the Sauber driver did his 2014 credentials no harm at all with a good qualifying and then a great race pouncing on Lewis Hamilton when he could and using his straight line speed to hold off the Mercedes even when the Briton had DRS available.

If Hulkenberg does not get the Lotus seat for 2014 I will be very surprised as I feel he would be a great asset alongside Romain Grosjean for next season.

His team-mate Esteban Gutierrez may not be so lucky, once again the Mexican showed his improvement in qualifying, making the top 10 for the second straight race, but again could not convert that into his first F1 points. Gutierrez needs to start converting good Saturday's into better Sunday's if he wants to remain in the sport.

Williams found themselves in no-mans land in Korea, 13 seconds behind Gutierrez and 13 seconds ahead of the Caterham's, the Grove based team will he hoping 2014 brings a big improvement.

At the battle at the back Caterham did beat Marussia with Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde ahead of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the four drivers covered by nine seconds.

But Sunday belonged to Vettel and after a perfect drive in Korea he can now wrap up the title in Suzuka, if he wins and Alonso is eighth or worse he is champion. While it would take something unexpected for Alonso to keep his side of that scenario, you would not bet against Vettel making it nine wins in Japan this weekend.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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