By Alex Kapadia
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel took a step closer to another Formula One world title on Pirelli tyres after a lights to flag victory at the Indian Grand Prix today.
He claimed his fourth win in a row and topped off a perfect weekend on the Buddh circuit where he was fastest in every session and delivered a ‘masterclass in tyre management’, according to Pirelli.
It was the first time in the German racers career that he had won four races in a row, giving him a 13-point advantage in the driver’s championship.
Vettel, along with the rest of the top 10 qualifiers, started on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres before switching to the P Zero Silver hard tyre on lap 33 in a one-stop strategy, without losing the lead.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who adopted the same strategy, although he pitted four laps earlier, claimed the runner-up spot, with Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber taking third place.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was the highest-placed driver on the grid to start on the P Zero Silver hard tyres, in 11th place, before moving onto the soft tyre on lap 36.
Both Grosjean and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi completed the longest first stint on the hard tyre, pitting both on lap 36. The Japanese driver eventually finished 14th on the soft tyre, having started from 17th on the grid.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “Both the hard and the soft tyres lasted extremely well in India, with low levels of degradation enabling the drivers to push at their hardest from start to finish on this fantastic circuit.
“Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull gave us a master class in tyre management and strategy, making all the right calls from start to finish.
“Grosjean and Kobayashi tried a different strategy, with a long first stint on the hard tyre, which also paid off, showing how tyre strategy can make a difference even for drivers who start outside the top 10 of the grid.
“Last year, most of the top runners stopped twice: this year only one stop was necessary despite the fact that our compounds have actually become softer across the board.
“Congratulations also to Ferrari and Fernando Alonso, who showed excellent race pace and straight-line speed to go from fifth to second, which promises a thrilling conclusion to the championship.
“Now we head straight to Abu Dhabi, which will constitute a completely different challenge.”