Formula 1

F1 heads to India for Vettel's coronation

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Sebastian Vettel is the only man to have won in India (©GettyImages)
Sebastian Vettel is the only man to have won in India (©GettyImages).

From one of F1's Asian gems to one of the continents biggest flops as the teams and drivers descend on New Delhi for the Indian Grand Prix.

When this race was first held in 2011, 95,000 fans crammed into the Buddh International Circuit and it looked as if finally Formula 1 had cracked one of the world's fastest emerging markets.

However two years later and with less than 30,000 tickets sold, F1 is set to visit one of Hermann Tilke's better creations for what could be the last time, at least in the short term.

One defining moment next weekend's race in India will be remembered for however is Sebastian Vettel becoming a four-time world champion.

The German needs just a fifth place to guarantee he retains the number one on his car for another year but in reality he'll be wanting much more than that in Delhi.

Vettel is the only driver to have won the Indian Grand Prix and few would bet against him making it a third straight win in Delhi and an unprecedented sixth consecutive win this season.

The only possible chance of the championship continuing to Abu Dhabi is if Vettel retires but even then his nearest rival Fernando Alonso needs to finish second or better.

With that then something of an afterthought for many F1 fans the attention switches to who realistically could challenge next weekend.

Well Lotus showed in Japan that Red Bull can be challenged, Romain Grosjean is in the form of his life and the Enstone based team are immersed in a big battle for second in the Constructor's Championship with Ferrari and Mercedes.

Currently Ferrari are second but hold a slender ten point gap over Mercedes with Lotus a further 23 points back. However Ferrari are potentially the fourth fastest on the grid at the moment and with Lotus challenging for wins their position looks precarious. Mercedes too are battling for the podium slots though their top driver Lewis Hamilton has ruled out any further wins this season.

McLaren have shown improvement in recent races and are firmly in the battle with Ferrari and Mercedes for the lower half of the top ten, while their fifth place in the teams championship looks safe there is a big battle between the three major midfield teams behind.

The battle for sixth, seventh and eighth promises to be exciting with major prize money up for grabs.

Currently Force India hold that sixth place with Sauber 21 points behind and the local team will be looking for a strong result in front of their home crowd. Whether the keep the sixth place could depend on Nico Hulkenberg, the German has finished fourth and fifth in the last two races while his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez scoring his first points at Suzuka, the Swiss team are putting up quite a fight.

Toro Rosso cannot be completely ruled out, albeit 31 points behind Force India, Daniel Ricciardo may feel he has a point to prove before he moves to Red Bull while Jean-Eric Vergne is also challenging.

Williams are enduring their worst season in F1 history with just a single point to their name. While claiming they are in a battle with Caterham and Marussia may be a little far fetched certainly it takes one crazy race for that to change, that will unlikely be in India however.

Certainly then the Indian Grand Prix will set the tone for the final sprint to Brazil, the race itself promises to be remembered for Vettel becoming champion but it's those battles behind that will be the most enjoyable thing to watch.

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