Vettel wins to secure fourth world title
27 October 2013 – Sebastian Vettel came out on top in a tyre-dominated Indian Grand Prix to secure his 36th Formula 1 victory, and notch up a fourth successive world title. The Red Bull driver, whose team also claimed Constructors' honours, led home Nico Rosberg by almost half a minute, while Romain Grosjean completed the podium.
Vettel made the perfect getaway as the lights went out at the Buddh International Circuit, the German retaining his lead over Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton through the first sequence of corners. Felipe Massa made an even stronger start, though, taking advantage of the long back straight to jump ahead of both Mercedes drivers.
There was drama behind for the second Ferrari, however, with Fernando Alonso clipping the back of Mark Webber's car and picking up significant front wing damage. Further back, Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde was sent into retirement with broken suspension, following heavy contact with the Marussia of Max Chilton.
As had been expected, Vettel quickly ditched his Soft tyres, opting to pit on the second lap. This sent him back to 17th position, but a series of clean overtakes soon brought him back into a comfortable top ten position. At this point, the drivers starting on the Medium tyres were picking off the early stoppers, with Webber emerging in the lead.
But Webber would be caught out later in the race when, following Vettel’s second stop for fresh Medium rubber, he embarked upon his mandatory Soft compound stint. The Australian could not live with the pace of his team-mate and was forced in again after two laps, handing the advantage back to the other side of the Red Bull garage.
The race then took a disastrous turn for Webber, who was informed of a gear sync issue shortly before orders to pull off the circuit. This gave Vettel a massive margin over Kimi Räikkönen, who was at the heart of a huge battle in the closing stages.
Despite his best efforts, Räikkönen fell victim to severe tyre degradation, yielding the runner-up spot to Rosberg before falling into the clutches of Grosjean. Having initially been forced off-track, the Frenchman had enough in hand to move past and complete a brilliant rise of 14 positions, while his team-mate was forced into a late pit-stop.
Behind the top three finishers, Massa took important points for Ferrari, with Alonso ultimately unable to score in 11th position. Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton both benefited from Räikkönen's late drama to beat the Finn to the chequered flag, while Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten finishers. Nico Hülkenberg had been set for points, but retired late on with a technical issue.
With the action over, Vettel embarked upon one of the greatest celebrations in the modern era of Formula 1, completing a series of donuts along the main straight before jumping out and bowing to his car. He then threw his gloves into the crowd, allowing his team members enough time to don celebratory championship t-shirts.
The championship now moves on to Abu Dhabi, with both world titles settled.
The 17th round of the 2013 season takes place in Abu Dhabi from November 1-3, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report