The reigning world champions on both worlds had arrived at the inaugural race in India with nothing to lose as they were far superior in every respect. Redbull are leading the pack this time around as well but not in their usual gimmick. Despite holding their hands up higher, there is a Horse lurking at the back to pounce at any given time as Vettel has a meager edge of six points over Alonso.
Before Vettel’s hat-trick winning streak, Webber had more wins under his belt but his good run of fortune gave up when he failed to deliver points on consistent basis, for instance, since winning in Britain he managed to accomplish only a solitary top six finish – a second step on podium in Korea.
Webber capitalised on his team-mate’s mistake to notch pole in Korea but Vettel got back strongly to work his magic out in race which suggested that a straight on battle is on the horizon among the Bulls along with Hamilton. Vettel’s focus would mainly revolve on keeping Fernando at bay though.
It’s safe to say Redbull got their mojo back after the lately developed Double DRS system appeared in Singapore and also due to persistent evolution of updates for every race running. The DDRS system has been used to good effect in qualifying with hat-trick of poles for the Milton Keynes based team and aided Vettel to take the fight back to Alonso.
With Ferrari’s windtunnel woes replicating in their results; Mclaren have a good shot at Constructors’ title if their British pair can pull out some decent finish on one of the toughest tracks in the calendar. I reckon the sector 1 at BIC has long straights which never really suit the likes of RB8 but the twisty sections of sector 2 and 3 with plenty of elevation changes could well decide the balance between top speed and good traction out of corners.
Last year’s race was a complete awash with Vettel beating Button narrowly by an eight second margin. It may not be the case this time on the silly season as Redbull haven’t been as quick as they looked in qualy as in Korean race- the track that shares many qualities alike with Buddh circuit. Webber’s title chances are running out of sight but he still clings on to the back of Hamilton who isn’t far away from Raikkonen either.
He might get his orders to hold back if wanted by his team but Vettel is in a league of his own now. Amidst getting excited to drive on the sunny tarmac of BIC, this is all what they have got to say:
Mark Webber: “It’s a challenging venue and I really enjoy the track, it’s a nice circuit to drive. There was a massive crowd there last year and it was a good atmosphere. The track is similar to Korea with mainly long straights in sector one followed by a very busy sector two and three, so we need to get the balance right between downforce and top speed. It should be reasonably straightforward weather-wise and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as eight per cent downhill and up to 10 per cent uphill; it’s like a rollercoaster! It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers.”
Watch this space for more action on Indian grandprix!!