Formula 1 News

Indian Grand Prix: Driver By Driver Review

Vettel’s fourth world championship may have overshadowed the Indian Grand Prix, so lets see how the other drivers did.
Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th, 2013 (F1plus/R. Baillie).- The race may have been overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing winning their fourth consecutive world and constructors championships respectively, so let’s take a look at how everyone’s race went.

1. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing - 25 Points

The 26 year old won his fourth consecutive world championship after winning the Indian Grand Prix.

Pitting early to get rid of the soft tyres played out well for Vettel who led the race from lap 33 onwards.

Tensions on the Red Bull Racing pit wall were high towards the end of the race after teammate Mark Webber was forced to retire with an alternator issue.

On the podium Vettel was speechless and was struggling to express how he felt about winning his fourth consecutive world championship.

“I’m speechless. I crossed the line and I was empty. I took ages to think about something to say. It’s one of those moments where you want to say so many things but you can’t.” he explained.

“It’s been such a phenomenal season. I think the team and the spirit inside the team is so strong; I said it on the radio already - it gives me so much power. It’s a pleasure to jump in the car and go out for the guys and girls and try to give it all I have”

The German now joins an exclusive club of only three other drivers who have won four world championships.

2. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 18 Points

The German had a good start off the line and was running in second place behind Felipe Massa during the first few laps.

Following his first pit stop he had to work his way through the pack, before pitting again. On the third stint Rosberg was able to move through traffic and overtook Kimi Raikkonen on the 53rd lap for second place.

The performance of Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton saw the team score 26 points which means they have now reclaimed second in the constructors championship.

“I’m quite confident that we can keep that position until the end of the season as the team is doing a great job and our car looks good but it will be a fight. I had good pace today and we really nailed the set-up here.”

3. Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 15 Points

The Frenchman found himself finishing in third place and on the podium for the third place in just as many races.

Grosjean was delighted to be on the podium again but felt second would have been possible had he not been stuck behind Esteban Gutierrez.

“If you had told me yesterday that I’d be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy!” he said.

“I lost quite a lot of time behind [Esteban] Gutierrez which maybe cost us the fight for second, but we managed to come back from that well.”

4. Felipe Massa - Ferrari - 12 Points

After the announcement that he was leaving the team Massa said he would be driving for himself and that’s exactly what he did in India.

While his teammate struggled towards the back of the grid, the Brazilian spent the majority of the race in the points.

“I managed to always run at a good pace, even with the Soft tyres. Here, I could have fought for the podium, but as the track evolved, some cars, such as Grosjean in the Lotus, managed to make just one stop, which was impossible for us.” Massa said.

Ferrari lost second place in the constructors’ championships as both Mercedes scored well, but Massa says the team will be trying to win it back until the chequered flag falls in Brazil.

“we lost second place in the Constructors’ classification, because Mercedes was very quick and we are well aware, that even if it won’t be easy, there are still three races and we will do our utmost right to the very end.”

5. Sergio Perez - McLaren - 10 Points

India saw the Mexican produce his best performance of the year, finishing in fifth place.

“Fifth place is a great result for me. Without question, I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but it’s always sweeter when you perform well while under pressure. I’m extremely satisfied.” Perez said.

On lap 58 Perez pulled off an impressive move, passing both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in one go.

“In the closing laps, it was a fantastic feeling to get past Kimi [Raikkonen] and Lewis [Hamilton] in a single move. I just braked as late as I could for Turn Four to try and keep Lewis behind – and I managed to do it.”

6. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 8 Points

The Brit had a ‘frustrating’ Indian Grand Prix as he spent most of the race looking at the back of Felipe Massa’s F138.

“The car has been pretty good this weekend but the race was frustrating for me. I tried so hard to get past Felipe but it just wasn’t possible and unfortunately I destroyed my tyres in doing so.” Hamilton said.

7. Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus - 6 Points

Things didn’t run smoothly for the Finn who suffered with cooling issues and struggled with tyre performance towards the end of the race.

At the start of the race Raikkonen was told by his engineer to try and cool the car on the straights where possible as the brakes were suffering.

“We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated massively, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking.” Raikkonen explained.

Towards the end of the race he was fighting against teammate Grosjean, even though there was no way he could hold him off as his tyres were dropping off. After nearly colliding with his teammate a few laps before the end he was ordered to move aside to let Grosjean through.

“At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it’s been a pretty disappointing day. I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but there wasn’t much to lose between trying to get to the end and making an extra pit stop in terms of time lost. In the end it didn’t work.”

8. Paul di Resta - Force India - 4 Points

The Scot pitted on the first lap to get rid of his soft tyres and then worked his way through the pack to finish in the lower end of the points.

“It’s great to score points here in India – the team’s home Grand Prix and a really important race

for us. We took an aggressive strategy by pitting at the end of the first lap to change from softs to medium tyres – which was always the plan.” di Resta said.

He also felt happy with the way the car had improved over the last few racing and was hoping for a similar performance next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

“The other positive is that we’ve steadily improved the car over the last few weeks and I’m feeling more comfortable, so I think we can be optimistic of performing at a similar level in Abu Dhabi next week”

9. Adrian Sutil - Force India - 2 Points

Shortly before the start of the race Pirelli informed the teams that they didn’t recommend using the medium tyres for more than 35 laps and didn’t recommend more than 15 laps on the soft tyres.

Force India driver Sutil ignored both warnings by pulling off a one-stop strategy, doing 41 laps on the mediums, 19 laps on the softs and was still able to finish in the points.

“My one-stop strategy was the riskier approach and it was only during the race that we decided to go ahead with it. The medium tyres, which I started on, were performing really well and I realised that doing a one-stop race was possible. We thought that the soft tyres would only last around five laps, so I made sure I really looked after them, and in the end I managed just under twenty laps.” he explained.

10. Daniel Ricciardo - Toro Rosso - 1 Point

For most of the race the Australian looked like he was on for a high points scoring finish, unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Ricciardo who finished tenth picking up one point for the team.

 “I am pretty pleased with today’s performance, even if during the race I thought we were looking better than a tenth place finish” Ricciardo said.

“It seemed as though we could have matched Sutil and Di Resta, so there’s a little bit of disappointment about the fact I couldn’t get past them and get a couple more points”

11. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari

The Spaniard didn’t have an easy race and finished just outside the points, which makes it the only race this year (bar Malaysia where he retired) where Alonso hasn’t picked up points.

Alonso made contact with Jenson Button on the first lap, which then affected the rest of his race.

“The problem I had on the first lap compromised my entire race, because we had to immediately change the nose and with one extra stop, without any opportunity to overtake, it was all an uphill struggle.’ Alonso said.

‘In front of me, Webber touched someone and then me, then at turn 4 I also touched with Button. The steering felt very heavy in right hand turns and the only thing to do was pit.”

Now the drivers and constructors championship are tied up Alonso is turning his attention to second place in the constructors’ championship.

“if we want to take that second place, we have to do better in the next three races and try to always finish on the podium, at least with one car, if not both”

12. Pastor Maldonado - Williams

After starting in 18th place, the Venezuelan had a fairly good race and finished just outside the points.

“This was a better weekend for us, with the car showing better race pace which is encouraging.” he said.

Maldonado felt the team were getting closer to a points finish and is hoping to improve on their one point total.

“We can take positives from this weekend and I feel we are getting closer to the points so hopefully we can score some more in the final three races.”

13. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso

Like Vettel, Vergne opted to get rid of his soft tyres early on which he hoped would work well for him, unfortunately the car just wasn’t quick enough to capitalize on their tyre strategy.

“I think the strategy we had was a good one, coming in very early to get rid of the Soft tyre. It could have paid off to the extent of getting into the points, but we were just too slow, even though we did everything we could.” Vergne said.

“I just couldn’t do better today, so of course I am disappointed, because making up one place from my grid position is not really enough.”

14. Jenson Button - McLaren

The Brits race got off to a bad start after Alonso made contact with his MP4-28 puncturing his tyre.

“I got hit quite hard on the right-hand-side by Fernando [Alonso]. I don’t quite know why he couldn’t make to the apex, as I’d given him loads of room, but he hit me in the side pretty hard.” Button explained.

“The contact damaged the car and damaged the wheel rim, which also gave me a puncture, although it didn’t cause me an issue until about three laps later.”

Button said that without a puncture he felt he could have had a ‘fun’ race and performed better.

“Without that contact, and the resultant puncture, I think we could have had some fun out there. It’s just a shame, because our car was quick around here - Checo showed just what was possible by driving an extremely good race.”

15. Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber

The Mexican was given a drive through penalty on lap 15 for a jump start. The cars pace meant it didn’t ruin his race and he was able to challenge Alonso and Grosjean.

“Unfortunately, I made a mistake at the start and I paid for that with a drive through. We

had a good pace today and I had good fights with Fernando (Alonso) and Romain

(Grosjean). I enjoyed that.” said Gutierrez.

“The car had a very good balance. At the end I struggled a bit on the options, but still I think if I avoid mistakes and we are able to qualify better we can for sure finish in the top ten again.”

16. Valtteri Bottas - Williams

The Finn didn’t have an easy start to the race as he struggled for grip on the opening lap and radio issues meant his first pit stop was later than planned.

During his second stint he was able to challenge his rivals but felt that traffic cost him, though he echoed Maldonado’s comments about the cars improved race pace.

“in the second stint I was fighting closely with a lot of other cars and that traffic cost us a bit of time” Bottas explained.

“Our race pace was stronger than in the last few races and I felt that I was on the right strategy, but the lack of running in free air meant that I wasn’t able to capitalize on this and challenge for points.”

17. Max Chilton - Marussia

The Brit was happy with his performance at the Indian Grand Prix where he finished ahead of teammate Jules Bianchi and both Caterham drivers.

“I’m so happy with my performance in that race. The start was great and with the help of my engineers we did a good job of driving around a problem that at one stage had looked like it might end in retirement. Thankfully it eased and we could set about recovering our strategy.” said Chilton.

Speaking about the first lap incident which saw Giedo van der Garde retire, he said he felt he was ahead of the Dutchman and wasn’t at fault.

“From the video, the circumstances of the first corner seem pretty clear - I was ahead of van der Garde and he hit both Pic and myself with his front wing.”

18. Jules Bianchi - Marussia

The Frenchman was disappointing with his finishing position and felt that his strategy should have resulted in a better finishing position but was ruined by an issue during his first pit stop.

“I am happy that we finished the race with both cars again but disappointed with my position to be honest.” Bianchi said.

“The car was good and the strategy should have paid off had it not been for a problem at the first pit stop, which cost me a lot of time. At the end of the race that really made the difference.”

19. Nico Hulkenberg - Sauber

The German looked set to pick up points in India but was forced to retire on lap 56 with brake issues.

“Today I would have passed the finish line in eighth place. We don’t know yet what

happened. When I was braking into the last turn something clicked and all of a sudden my

brakes were gone.” Hulkenberg said.

“Something must have been broken on the car. Following that I pitted and went out again, but something wasn’t right. It is very disappointing.”

DNF - Giedo van der Garde - Caterham

For the second race in a row the Dutchman’s race was over before it had really had chance to start.

On the opening lap he was forced to retire with suspension failure, placing the blame on Marussia’s Chilton calling him an “idiot” over the team radio.

“I made a fair start but coming out of turn one Chilton left me no room and we made contact, breaking my front wing and suspension. It’s been made really clear to us that we have to give each other room but today I wasn’t given any at all and that’s what’s finished my race before it really got going.” van der Garde explained.

DNF - Charles Pic - Caterham

The Frenchman’s retirement on lap 38 meant neither Caterham cars finished the Indian Grand Prix.

Pic was also caught up in the incident involving teammate van der Garde and Chilton on the opening lap.

“After the start and coming out of turn one I was ahead of Chilton and my teammate. Giedo didn’t have anywhere to go and made contact with my right rear tyre and it punctured which meant I had to come in immediately for a stop.” Pic said.

He explained that he was forced to retire with a hydraulic issue.

“My engineer explained afterwards that we’d had to stop because of a hydraulics leak which is why we’d had problems with the gearbox and the power steering and we had to retire to stop any more problems with the rest of the car.”

DNF - Mark Webber - Red Bull Racing

The Australian was forced to retire on lap 40 with an alternator issue. Up until then Webber was performing well at the front of the pack and had led part of the race.

“I’m pretty disappointed with today’s race, but there is not much I can do, the alternator went wrong with very short notice so we had to stop straight away.” Webber said.

“It’s tough because we did a lot of things right this weekend, but I’ve got a smile on my face as I could not have done any more.”

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