Vettel whets F1 appetite in India | india | Hindustan Times
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Vettel whets F1 appetite in India

Sebastian Vettel pushed his luck with his race engineer for the second Grand Prix in a row as he set the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap of the inaugural Indian GP that he won after a start-to-finish slugfest with 2009 champion Jenson Button. Vinayak Pande writes. Champ watch

india Updated: Oct 31, 2011 14:17 IST
Vinayak Pande
formula one
Red-Bull-Renault-driver-Sebastian-Vettel-of-Germany-drinks-champagne-from-his-trophy-after-winning-the-Formula-One-Indian-Grand-Prix-in-Greater-Noida

Sebastian Vettel pushed his luck with his race engineer for the second Grand Prix in a row as he set the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap of the inaugural Indian GP that he won after a start-to-finish slugfest with 2009 champion Jenson Button.

The German led every single lap but by the gap remained constant at around four seconds over the Briton, until a final burst of speed over the last six laps took him past the chequered flag 8.433 seconds ahead.

"Strangely he (Button) kept closing in around the pit-stops," said Vettel. "I don't know, I was pushing very hard into the box and out of it but we seemed to lose a little bit there so we need to understand." Another 15.868 seconds behind Button was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who recovered from a poor start where he lost places to Felipe Massa and http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/311011/31_10_pg18a.jpgLewis Hamilton after running wide at the first corner while trying to overtake Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"Yeah, we didn't make the perfect start today," said the former double world champion. "To be on a new circuit and starting on the clean side, I think we didn't have the grip that we were expecting. On the other side of the grid they started a little better than us and we lost a couple of positions there."

Alonso third

The Spaniard ultimately recovered to third after going two laps longer than Red Bull's Mark Webber before making his second and final stop. Going into the race, Formula One's tyre supplier Pirelli had expected the soft tyres that most of the grid started on to last 18 to 25 laps. That would have translated to a three-stop strategy given the race distance was 60 laps. However, with the exception of three drivers, the other 19 drivers who went the full distance stopped just twice.

A highlight of the race was the continuation of the Hamilton-Massa battle that has raged throughout the season. The other was, of course, the impressive display by HRT's Narain Karthikeyan who beat his highly touted teammate Daniel Ricciardo to finish 17th in front of a very appreciative home crowd. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/311011/31_10_pg18b.jpg