Vettel cruises to another victory in Korea

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Sunday 16th October, 2011 - 5:33pm

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Sebastian Vettel took his 20th career win

Sebastian Vettel took his 20th career win

Sebastian Vettel has cruised to his 10th win of the season in the Korean Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old German passed pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton halfway through the opening lap, and survived a mid-race Safety Car restart to win by 12s.

Hamilton held off a determined Mark Webber in the final stint to take second, while Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were fourth and fifth respectively.

Felipe Massa, Jaime Alguersuari, Nico Rosberg, Sebasiten Buemi and Paul di Resta rounded out the top 10.

The result seals the Constructors World Championship for Red Bull, just a week after Vettel put the Drivers’ title beyond doubt.

Hamilton had kept Vettel in sight during the opening laps, before excessive front-tyre wear on the McLaren saw the lead extend to over 4s by the time the Briton made his first stop on Lap 16.

Webber struggled to stay in touch during the opening 15 laps, trailing Hamilton by over 10s prior to the stops, while the first lap shuffling had ended with Massa in fourth, from which position he was able to hold up team-mate Alonso, Button and Rosberg.

The Safety Car was required on Lap 17 thanks to a mistake from Vitaly Petrov at Turn 3 that saw the Renault cannon into the back of Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes – putting both cars out of the race.

Button and Rosberg had been the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 14, and used the undercut well to leapfrog the Ferraris, but proved unable to match the leading trio for pace once the Safety Car returned to the pits.

Hamilton again did his best to hang onto the back of Vettel during the second stint, while this time Webber – the only one of the three to opting to switch to the Soft tyre at the first stop – proved increasingly competitive as the stint wore on.

The trio were separated by just 2.5s on Lap 32, before Webber ramped up his attack on the McLaren as the second stops approached.

Hamilton and Webber pitted together on Lap 34, and returned to the track with the order unchanged. Vettel made his stop a lap later, popping back out with a 10s margin over his rivals thanks to their squabbles.

With both Ferraris joining Webber in running the Soft tyre in the second stint, Alonso delayed his second stop – setting the fastest lap of the race to that point in order to ensure that he would rejoin ahead of Massa.

While the battle between Hamilton and Webber was the focal point of the final 20 laps, the Spaniard fought doggedly to claw his way onto the tail of Button, who had in turn moved onto the back of the podium scrap. Alonso would finish just 3.2s adrift of second-placed Hamilton, albeit still in fifth position.

Not even the DRS could help Webber as the Red Bull struggled for traction onto the critical straight connecting Turns 2 and 3. Hamilton had effectively won the war by setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, before Vettel put an exclamation mark on his victory by going even faster on the final tour.

Alguersuari, who had jumped to eighth by pitting under the Safety Car period, passed Rosberg on the final lap for seventh, while team-mate Buemi had also moved forward in the final stint – pulling a similar DRS-assisted move on Di Resta for ninth at Turn 3.

See below for the full race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Laps

Time/Retired

Grid

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 55 Winner 2
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55 +12.0 secs 1
3 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 55 +12.4 secs 4
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 55 +14.6 secs 3
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 55 +15.6 secs 6
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 55 +25.1 secs 5
7 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 55 +49.5 secs 11
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 55 +54.0 secs 7
9 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 55 +62.7 secs 13
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 +68.6 secs 9
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 55 +71.2 secs 10
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 55 +93.0 secs 18
13 Bruno Senna Renault 54 +1 Lap 15
14 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 54 +1 Lap 19
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 54 +1 Lap 14
16 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 54 +1 Lap 17
17 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 54 +1 Lap 20
18 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 54 +1 Lap 21
19 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 54 +1 Lap 24
20 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 54 +1 Lap 22
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 52 +3 Laps 23
Ret Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 30 +25 Laps 16
Ret Vitaly Petrov Renault 16 Accident 8
Ret Michael Schumacher Mercedes 15 Accident 12

See below for the updated championship points

Pos

Driver

Points

1 Sebastian Vettel 349
2 Jenson Button 222
3 Fernando Alonso 212
4 Mark Webber 209
5 Lewis Hamilton 196
6 Felipe Massa 98
7 Nico Rosberg 67
8 Michael Schumacher 60
9 Vitaly Petrov 36
10 Nick Heidfeld 34
11 Adrian Sutil 28
12 Kamui Kobayashi 27
13 Jaime Alguersuari 22
14 Paul di Resta 21
15 Sebastien Buemi 15
16 Sergio Perez 13
17 Rubens Barrichello 4
18 Bruno Senna 2
19 Pastor Maldonado 1
20 Pedro de la Rosa 0
21 Jarno Trulli 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
24 Jerome d’Ambrosio 0
25 Timo Glock 0
26 Narain Karthikeyan 0
27 Daniel Ricciardo 0
28 Karun Chandhok 0

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