This is one track which hasn’t yet gelled with fans worldwide. Getting to the track is difficult and there hasn’t been huge crowds in but the racing has been good in all 3 races. This year it was a bit down but we did get to see some great wheel to wheel racing. Vettel took the win and the lead with Webber at P2 & Alonso at P3.
Weekend detailed review is down here:
Practice Session, FP1:
It was fairly a smooth start to the weekend with weather remaining dry and teams getting quickly into act to get as many data as they can. Hamilton took the early charge with Alonso & Webber very close behind. Bianchi was back once again in place of Hulkenberg and he looked better than he had been previously. Di Resta ended at P9 while Bianchi at P13. Karthikeyan once again sat out, perhaps he indeed has a obligation in his contract for sitting out.
The normal routine continued for the teams without any interruption. This session they tested the super soft tyres for the first time. RBR took the lead as Vettel ended P1 and Webber P2, Alonso rounded off at P3 chipping in his Ferrari. Hulkenberg was back and back to business as he ended P9 while Di Resta ended at P13. Karthikeyan too found some good pace as he was back and straightaway beat Pedro to end at P23.
Fine day weather wise with no chance of rain and teams looking for final set up changes before the qualifying and race. All went to plan with all the teams as nothing big happened here. Vettel ended P1 with McLaren’s coming to terms as Hamilton ended P2 & Button P3. The SFI struggled a bit as Hulkenberg ended P10 & Di Resta at P14, they lost some pace since Friday. Karthikeyan continued his upward performance as he once again beat Pedro to end P23.
The initial times showed that it was all between RBR, McLaren but Ferrari were hanging around. SFI looked both good and bad but there was pace for them to reach Q3 especially because both Mercedes & Sauber were not looking great pace wise. Karthikeyan having missed FP1 got into terms quickly with the track and pace of the car.
The usual program for everyone, new teams headed out first on track like always. I still wonder why they do a run on softs when they know they will need the super soft to get through to Q2. They should rather save a tyre here. Any ways, without the use of super softs Vettel ended P1, Webber P2 and Button P3. While Schumacher & Hamilton just made it through. Both SFI drivers made it safely but Karthikeyan couldn’t record a time due to brake disc breaking while one timed lap. Senna along with Caterham, Marussia & HRT bowed out.
This session went by smoothly as well with no big dramas. Button the only driver to miss out, similar thing happened with as with Massa in Japan. Vettel at P1 once again with Alonso taking in P2 and Webber P3. Hulkenberg made it through with a brilliant last lap but unfortunately Di Resta once again had traffic which slowed him down, he was in line to go through but he couldn’t in the end. He qualified at P12 for the race.
At the start of the session, there was only one man who had the pole position firm in his hands unless he makes any mistakes. Only one man could have beaten him on pace and that’s what happened. Vettel initially set could enough time for pole but he couldn’t improve on his second run while his teammate did as Webber took pole position pushing Vettel to P2 and Hamilton ended at P3. Hulkenberg rounded off at P8, ahead of both the Mercedes. A good result keeping in mind that their direct competitors namely Sauber, Williams were behind.
One would say it was an anti-climax to the session with Webber on pole but the only man who could beat Vettel was his teammate. On SFI front, Di Resta was unlucky for the second time to not to make it to Q3 even though he had the pace while Hulkenberg had a trouble free afternoon as he comfortably beat Mercedes duo in Q3. Karthikeyan was also unlucky suffering car damage.
It was good to see some crowds in, better than what we saw last year. In the attendance was PSY, the Korean singer with his hit single Gangnam Style (yes my headline is inspired by his style). He was to wave the chequered flag at the end of the race. The weather was fine with no rain clouds to be seen though there was some sort of a mist in the air. At the start, Vettel took the lead from Webber as Kobayashi knocked Button & Rosberg out of the race in the mid pack. Hulkenberg made a steady start gaining a place to P7 while Di Resta went up to P11. Karthikeyan too made a good start as he was running P20 overtaking Pedro & Pic.
Vettel took a considerable lead from his teammate who had a good lead from Alonso. Behind them the fight was on for track positions as Massa, Kimi & Hamilton fought among themselves. Later on Hamilton lost to both the guys as he went behind and behind the field. Schumacher was fighting with likes of SFI, STR out of points while team battle was on between Heikki & Petrov. Marussia were behind fighting with HRT’s but were close to the Caterham battle.
Hulkenberg having made a super start was always fighting with Grosjean for positions. Be it on track or in pit lane, the two were together for most part of the race. In the first part of the race Grosjean lost to Hulkenberg as Hulk had a good pace to stay ahead but in the second part Hulkenberg lost to Grosjean but Hulk held on as they were joined by Hamilton ahead. While Grosjean tried to make a move on Hamilton, Hulkenberg came from behind and overtook both of them, one of the highlight overtaking move of the race. Di Resta meanwhile was having a tough race fighting with Schumacher at start and then with STR duo who went ahead of him in pit stops. Karthikeyan started off well but him doing a one stop strategy made things a little tougher for him as he lost ground to Marussia.
Vettel had such a lead that it was only down to him bringing his car home safely with a win in his hands already. Towards the end, there were some tensed moments but he managed to bring him car home safely with a win. Webber ended P2 while Alonso was given P3 as Massa who was quicker than his teammate was ordered not to attack Alonso due to championship fight. Hulkenberg ended P6, another super performance from his adding 8 points to his & team’s tally. Di Resta ended lowly P12 after been overtaken by Perez in the end, not a great outing for him again. Karthikeyan the only one to do one stop strategy was glad to finish the race at P20, glad because of two DNF’s in previous two races.
The race wasn’t the super one but then very significant in title battle. The fight looks between Vettel & Alonso with maybe Kimi joining them if he can get a win. Ferrari leapfrogged McLaren in the CC with both Massa & Alonso scoring. SFI continued their consistent run as they are only 27 points behind Suaber. SFI is the team after the big runners to score in all 5 races post the summer break. It is more likely looking the way that SFI has very much sealed the P7 in CC but certainly with Sauber being inconsistent, SFI can fancy their chances well here. Also, SFI is closing to 100 points which will be first for them, just 11 points adrift of that. Next up is my home race or our home race, yes it is Indian GP. At first I didn’t plan for going but it seems like I may go. Let see, either way you people will get to read the review here.