Noida: World Champion Sebastian Vettel won the action-packed inaugural Indian Grand Prix with ease for his 11th triumph this season while home team Sahara Force India earned two points through Adrian Sutil’s ninth-place finish here today.
Red Bull-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (C) is doused with champagne by McLaren-Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain (R) and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain (L) after winning the Formula One Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida on Sunday. AFPThe race began on a thrilling note as cars spun at the first corner itself with Lotus’ Jarno Trulli skidding on to the grass just after Williams Rubens Barrichello and Suaber’s K Kobayashi clashed.
In the first lap itself, Timo Glock and Barrichello were in the pit lane and Kobayashi was out of the race. While Barrichello managed to resume after the pit-stop, Glock’s race ended soon after.
Taking advantage of the initial chaos, Schumacher zoomed to eighth from 11th, joining teammate Nico Rosberg in top-10.
Then Webber and Button were locked in a heart-stopping fight for the second place in lap five but the McLaren driver kept his place.
Sutil was in the ninth position after starting at eighth and Karthikeyan, who had started from the last, had moved to an impressive 16th after 11 laps but soon dropped to 19th.
Di Resta and Sergio Perez battled for the 16th place and the Force India driver showed that the pace of his car has improved by overtaking the Sauber driver.
The race grew in intensity and Sutil found himself in a spot of bother as he slipped from ninth to 13th with Sauber’s Jamie Alguersuari and Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi overtaking him.
Pastor Maldonado then became the third driver to go out when he lost control over his car and ran onto the grass.
But way ahead of the chasing pack, Vettel had no problem at all and he led comfortably, followed by Button, teammate Mark Webber, Alonso and Massa.
Intense drama unfolded in lap 24 when Massa and his old foe Lewis Hamilton collided when the Brazilian moved a bit to his left and the chasing MacLaren driver smashed into his sidepod.
Massa was soon handed a driver-through penalty for causing collision but his misery was far from over as he hit a kerb at turn eight which broke his front left suspension finishing his race.
Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi also pulled out of the race a few moments earlier after smoke started emitting from his engine.
Vettel continued to increase his lead over Button and won quite easily in the end.
Vettel, understandably, was delighted to have won the country’s maiden GP.
“It is great to be winning the first ever Grand Prix of India. To put this arena so well is fantastic. Whole in one it is fantastic. The country is impressive and inspiring if you keep your eyes and your ears open. It looks very different and in the end it is a great country. I want to thank everyone for our win. Thanks a lot India,” Vettel said.
Vettel recalled the recent deaths of IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon and Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli.
“We pray that every time nothing happens as Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon disappeared last weekend.
As far as the car was concerned, the German, as expected, had only good things to say.
“The car is fantastic. The team is enjoying the performance. We enjoy every lap of the race and every race. When I walk in the garage, I see that the guys are working very hard. We are still hungry. We are not losing any motivation. We do not want to end this win.
“We should not forget how quickly this can come to an end. But we are really happy about this day. It is a fantastic achievement.
Button felt the race should be dedicated to Simoncelli and Wheldon.
“I think we should dedicate this race to Marco and Dan. It was a tough weekend last week with two fatalities. I knew Dan very well. It is a very sad race,” Button said.
Button was pleased to have made an impact after a bumpy outing in the qualifiers.
“I am fantastically happy. I got a good start and then I was trying to match Sebastian’s pace. Yesterday I had a disaster in qualifying but it was a good race. I had Mark behind me. I was able to pull away. It was a fun race. We did a good job. The pace is not quite there. But we will make up,” he said.
While conceding that they are not the best starters, Alonso said the second pitstop was a bit complicated.
“As for us at Ferrari, we don’t make the perfect start. We did not start on the clean side. We lost a few positions. The second pitstop was a bit complicated as we did two extra laps. I am so pleased to be on the podium for this first ever race in India.”
“Mixed Feelings after sad days for motorsports with two fatalities and we will remember these two fantastic friends,” Alonso said while recalling the tragic incidents.
Coming back to the race, the Spaniard said: “The start was not perfect. After that I tried to recover. I lost a little bit more. But overall, this did not compromise the race. But I want to thank my mechanics. Thanks to the whole team, we have had fantastic performance today. We have had a great day today.”