Formula 1

Imperious Vettel claims win and championship in India

Vettel won by nearly half-a-minute in a flawless drive (©GettyImages)
Vettel won by nearly half-a-minute in a flawless drive (©GettyImages).

Sebastian Vettel claimed his tenth win of 2013 and more importantly a fourth world title in a flawless drive at the Indian Grand Prix.

In a controlled race Vettel had the pace when it mattered as team-mate and nearest rival for the win Mark Webber retired with an alternator failure.

At the start Vettel got away well from pole holding off the two Mercedes into the first corner, further back Mark Webber dropped down as those on the soft compound had better grip off
the line.

The Australian then made slight contact with Alonso as he was squeezed between the Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus on the run through turn two. Felipe Massa made a good start and moved up to second passing both Mercedes into turn four.

Further back, contact between Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde damaged the suspension on the Caterham, forcing him out of the race.

At the front Vettel led pulling out a three second lead but opted to pit on lap two, changing from the fragile softs to the more durable medium tyres.

Alonso's strategy was ruined after he was forced to pit for a new front wing following the contact with Webber - dropping him down the order.

Most who started on the softs waited until around lap eight before their first stop however the speed of Vettel coming back through the field meant he was able to stay ahead of those drivers on a similar strategy.

From then it was a case of waiting for those ahead on the medium compound, Webber led
from Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo as Vettel continued to move through the field and was up to fourth.

The German was looking ominous catching Webber every lap, albeit by a small amount easing past future team-mate Ricciardo in the meantime to take third.

The main battle was for third with Perez in a battle with Massa and the two Mercedes, his good pace up front meant the McLaren driver was maintaining an 18 second advantage.

Vettel completed his return to the front passing Perez for P2 and continually catching Webber.

More good battles for the lower positions of the top ten as Kimi Raikkonen made his way through with Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso continued his drive back through the pack following his early stop.

Romain Grosjean also looked to make up for his disappointing qualifying, where he started 17th, and was in the battle with Alonso and Jenson Button.

Webber finally made his first stop on lap 29 along with Perez in third, both made the switch to soft rubber for their second stints and Vettel took back the lead.

The Australian resumed in second as Perez was unable to stay ahead of Massa and Hamilton in their battle for third, the Mexican quickly took advantage of his fresh tyres however passing the Mercedes into turn four.

Massa and Hamilton pitted for the second time a lap later, remaining on the medium tyres, Vettel also pitted for the harder compound as Alonso switched to soft tyres for his third stint.

Just as his team-mate had, Webber only completed two laps on the soft tyres before making his final stop for the medium tyre giving the lead back to Vettel.

The battle for third picked up as Perez also completed a very short stint on the soft tyres falling back behind Massa and Hamilton with Ricciardo also in the mix.

Adrian Sutil produced a very long first stint going beyond the 35 laps recommended as a maximum stint on the medium tyre by Pirelli, he was running in third, Raikkonen too did a longer stint than most on the medium tyres moving him up to third as Sutil slowed on the old tyres.

Mark Webber was forced to retire with alternator failure on his Red Bull, and as Sutil finally pitted the huge battle began between the three teams battling for second in the Constructor's Championship.

Ferrari, currently in second place only had Massa in the points in fifth, while Mercedes had Rosberg in third and Hamilton in fifth, Lotus were doing the best however with Raikkonen in second and Grosjean in fourth.

Rather than pitting, Raikkonen stayed out, and it was the wrong decision as he slipped from second all the way to seventh.

Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean completing the podium.

Sergio Perez took advantage of the slow Lotus to get ahead of Hamilton for fifth using DRS
to turn four.

The day and indeed the year however belonged to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull who won by nearly half a minute, claiming the win and his fourth world title in imperious fashion.

Red Bull also won the Constructor's Championship for the fourth straight year.

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Formula 1

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