Monday, October 31, 2011

Vettel Wins Indian Grand Prix Crown

German double world champion Sebastian Vettel took the Indian Grand Prix crown at the Buddh International Circuit on 30 October. This was Vettel’s 11th win this season. He also became the youngest driver at 24 years of age to achieve the grand slam by winning the race, achieving the pole position, completing the fastest lap and by leading in every lap. This was only the second grand slam by any driver in the last seven years.
Home team Sahara Force India earned two points through Adrian Sutil’s ninth-place finish. His teammate Paul di Resta finished 13th, with the only Indian driver on the grid Narain Karthikeyan was 17th.
Red Bull’s Indian GP Vettel chalked up his 13th pole position of the year. He is now one short of the record set by Nigel Mansell in 1992. However, Vettel has two more races to go this season. Red Bull's 16 poles put them ahead of McLaren and Williams who have 15 poles each to their credit for a season. There are hushed whispers. Will Vettel take the Indian GP? If so, he will equal Michael Schumacher's record of 13 wins in a year. What are team orders? Will Webber. The other Red Bull driver, be told to stay as number two?
All this amid the euphoria of the Red Bull drivers starting from the first two positions on the grid. As a prelude to the grand finale, the drivers were driven around the track in some of the most delectable vintage and classic cars. For once, the crowds could see what the drivers looked like. It also gave the drivers a chance to go over the track one final time before the race and etch it into the mind’s memory card.
Well-Organized Event
Despite the massive line of cars converging on the Buddh International Circuit, the event went off with clockwork smoothness. Other than the clog-ged Noida-Greater Noida Expressway — caused mostly by lack of lane discipline — it was plain sailing on most fronts. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar made himself part of Indian motorsport history, flagging home the finishers as teammates Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh graced the paddock too. For once the attention was rarely on them and a flock of other celebrities.As 24 V-8, 2.4 litre engines howled into life and went screaming off for the first of 60 laps, covering 300 km, it signalled India’s entry into one of the two most exclusive (and expensive) sporting clubs. Estimates of how much it cost vary between `1,200cr and `1,700cr.
Future Potential
Amid criticism that an expensive motor sport like Formula One (JP group spent Rs 2,000 crore to just develop the 875-acre race course and each car is believed to have burned 15,000 litres of fuel) had no place in India, an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) study claimed that Formula One had the potential of generating Rs 90,000 crore and provide employment for several lakh people in the next 10 years. According to one estimate, several thousand people will be required to maintain the track alone. The ubiquitous ‘dust’ on the North Indian plains did play spoilsport but the drivers magnanimously chose not to mention it. The new track and the dust did tend to slow down the cars but next year it could be very different. The death of two drivers, Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, following crashes on tracks in Las Vegas and Malyasia respectively in the last fortnight, would also have weighed heavily. Jenson Button, who came second, dedicated the Indian Grand Prix to the duo even as other drivers emotionally recalled their association with the deceased.
Driver Standings
Following is the driver standing at the Indian Grand Prix:
1. Sebastian Vettel 374
2. Jenson Button 240
3. Fernando Alonso 227
4. Mark Webber 221
5.Lewis Hamilton 202
6. Felipe Massa 98
7. Nico Rosberg 75
8. Michael Schumacher 70
9. Vitaly Petrov 36
10. Nick Heidfeld 34

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