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Tuesday, Sep 22nd

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You are here: Motorsport Formula 1 Supreme Vettel triumphs in Korea to lead the Championship; Webber and Alonso complete the podium

Supreme Vettel triumphs in Korea to lead the Championship; Webber and Alonso complete the podium

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delighted_vettelSebastian Vettel and Red Bull barely put a foot wrong all weekend as the reigning double World Champion made it 3 wins in a row to lead the Driver's Championship by 6 points from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber made it a brilliant weekend for the Red Bull team as the "Gritty Aussie" held his own to finish in an excellent 2nd place. Fernando Alonso headed the best of the rest in his Scarlet Ferrari as the Spaniard drove his F2012 to the tilt finishing in 3rd place, though the Spaniard now drops to 2nd place in the Drivers' Championship.

Felipe Massa finished just shy of the podium in 4th place, behind his teammate Alonso, as the Brazilian now seems to have returned to his flamboyant best, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing the race in 5th place as the best of the Lotus'. Nico Hulkenberg brought home well deserved points for the Force India team in 6th place, ahead of Romain Grosjean in the sister Lotus.

Jean-Eric Vergne made it an excellent race for Toro Rosso as he finished in 8th place ahead of his Aussie teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Lewis Hamilton capping a topsy-turvy race in the final points scoring position for 10th place.

Start of the race:

The Korean Grand Prix got off to an exhilarating start as pole-sitter Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rode side-by-side through turns 1 and 2. Vettel got the better of his teammate Webber under braking whilst Fernando Alonso in his Scarlet Ferrari got the jump on McLaren's Hamilton for 3rd place.

Felipe Massa came up trumps in his attack of Finn Kimi Raikkonen for 5th place, while at the back it was all over for Jenson Button who suffered a broken right-front suspension. The British ace was hit by Kamui Kobayashi - who went from hero to zero within the span of a weekend as the Sauber driver drove into Button's McLaren causing his retirement, but to make matters worse, Nico Rosberg was also hit by Kobayashi bringing a premature end to the German's race.

The biggest gainer from the start of the race was Daniel Ricciardo who jumped from 21st to 15th! Vettel with clean air ahead of him pulled away from the chasing pack with a series of swift laps, building a 1.3 s lead over teammate Webber who was in-turn pursued by the red hot Ferrari of Spaniard Alonso. Hamilton losing a position at the start to Alonso was the meat in a Ferrari sandwich as Massa was behind the British ace in 5th place.

Japanese Speedster Kobayashi was handed a drive-through penalty for causing multiple retirements to both Button and Rosberg.

Romain Grosjean branded a "First lap nutcase" by Webber took a better to be safe than sorry approach to proceedings as he lost 2 places at the start of the race, and was seen ferociously attacking the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg for 7th place.

At the head of the field the Red Bull duo pulled away with ease, with Vettel outpacing Webber by the slimmest of margins, with Alonso still behind them in 3rd place. There were battles up and down the field as Schumacher was fighting tooth and nail to protect his 10th place from the charging duo of Paul Di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne with this battle set to resume till chequered flag is waved.

First Round of Pit-Stops:

Hamilton was the first among the front-runners to pit as he swapped to the soft compounds with a run of the mill pit stop from McLaren with the British ace rejoining in 7th place. This triggered a gaggle of cars diving into the pits for their first scheduled stops as Massa, Webber, Raikkonen and Grosjean all followed suit swapping to the soft tyres.

On Lap 16, race-leader Vettel and Alonso shadowed each other's pit strategy with status quo maintained at the head of the order after the pit-stops shaped out. Hamilton sensed a podium finish was within his reach as he was right on the tail of Alonso, whilst an invigorated Massa was back to his very best as he made good use of his fresh set of tyres blasting past Sergio Perez for P5, enroute to setting the fastest lap of the race.

Raikkonen in his black and gold Lotus was the next man to sweep past Sergio Perez who was yet to pit, with the tyres coming off its cliff, forcing the Sauber teams hand to bring the Mexican into the pits.

Grosjean in the other Lotus was driving a mercifully clean race, as he made a text-book DRS move over Maldonado for 8th place.

Hamilton was starting to lose steam mid-way through the race as he was easy pickings for Massa who breezed past the McLaren under a DRS-enabled move into turn 3 for P4.

Mid-Race:

On Lap 27, Hamilton pitted very early for his second stop to swap to another set of the softs which could force the British ace into a three-stopper. Vettel meanwhile was long gone at the front building a huge 8.5 s lead over the chasing pack lead by Webber.

On Lap 30, it was the old order restored as it was Red Bull vs. Ferrari locking out the first 4 positions, with Massa in 4th place closing in on teammate Alonso setting yet another fastest lap.

Webber pitted on lap 33, to swap to the soft tyres, with Schumacher and Senna diving into the pits too. Grosjean finally made a move stick on Hulkenberg taking the inside line into turn 3 after their second pit stops.

On Lap 35, Alonso pitted to swap to another set of the softs emerging out with Webber further up the road at turn 3 having benefited from pitting early. Race-Leader Vettel and Massa pitted the very next lap as did Raikkonen with all of the front runners having completed their scheduled round of pit-stops.

It was clean stops for all the drivers with status quo maintained yet again.

End – Game:

Vettel did not need a second invitation to up the pace with new rubber, as the reigning Double Champion increased his lead to over 8 seconds over his teammate Webber who was running in a very strong 2nd. Hulkenberg showed the predatory instincts of a striker as the German got the run on both Hamilton and Grosjean who were locked horns in a dazzling battle, but the duo were bamboozled by Hulkenberg who took over P6.

With 7 laps to go, Hamilton just as expected was forced into a three-stopper as the McLaren ace swapped to the super-soft tyres and was in hot pursuit for 9th place.

The order upfront remained static as the Red Bull of Vettel took a dazzling victory at Yeongam, ahead of teammate Webber to make it a fantastic weekend for Red Bull with regards to the constructor's championship. It was Ferrari 3-4 as Alonso finished on the last step on the podium to trail Vettel by 6 points in the Driver's standings ahead of Massa who continues his good run of form.

Final Point Scorers: Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, and Lewis Hamilton.

File Photograph Copyright: Red Bull Racing