Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel wins Indian GP
Greater Noida – Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel emulated Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio on Sunday when he clinched a fourth straight Formula One world title with three races to spare by winning the Indian Grand Prix.
Vettel kept his perfect record at the Buddh International Circuit by making it three wins from as many races there, all from pole, which assured Red Bull of a fourth constructors’ title in a row as well even though Mark Webber had to retire with an alternator problem while racing in second place.
“Yes, yes,” screamed Vettel after being told by team principal Christian Horner via team radio that “you have joined the greats.” Vettel skidded around the track after in-lap and then sunk on his knees in front of the fast car he named “Hungry Heidi” ahead of the season.
The 26-year-old German clinched his sixth victory in a row, 10th of the season and 36th overall, 29.8 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean placed third, while his only remaining title rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari had to settle for 11th after clipping two cars in the first lap.
Vettel has 322 points ahead of the final three races in Abu Dhabi, the US and Brazil. Alonso, who would have required victory, and Vettel to finish no better than sixth to keep the title race alive, remained on 207, with Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus closing in on 183.
The Argentine Fangio won four of his five overall titles in a row between 1954 and 1957, and Germany’s Schumacher even got five straight from his record seven when he ruled the sport from 2000 until 2004. Frenchman Alain Prost also has four titles, but not in a row.
But Vettel is by far the youngest quadruple champion at 26, as Schumacher was 32 when he achieved the milestone, Prost 38 and Fangio 45.
Vettel took the championship lead after the second season race in Malaysia and never looked back, but that race also dented his image because he overtook teammate Mark Webber against team orders for victory.
The championship stayed tight for the first half of the campaign but Vettel eventually steadily pulled away when he started his current win streak in Belgium.
Vettel handily won the start from pole while Massa sensationally passed the Mercedes’s of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on the first long straight for second place. Alonso was not so lucky, clipping Webber’s Red Bull and the McLaren of Jenson Button as he fell from eighth to 10th.
Vettel pitted surprisingly early after the second lap and Alonso followed in the same lap for fresh rubbers and a new front wing, as they dropped to 19th and 20th, respectively.
However, Vettel cruised home to secure the inevitable title, winning in 1 hour 31 minutes 12.187 seconds for the 60 laps after having to be restrained by his team after another fast lap in order to bring the car home.
Rosberg passed Kimi Raikkonen for second with seven laps left, and the Finn dropped further back on fading tyres as Grosjean, who had started from 17th, completed the podium ahead of Massa, Sergio Perez of McLaren, and Hamilton.