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Old 10-29-2012, 05:24 AM
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Default Motorsport: Vettel extends lead with win in India


Sebastian Vettel's seemingly unstoppable march to a third straight Formula One title took another stride with victory in the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday, though the Red Bull driver's nearest rival, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, kept up the pressure with a second-place finish.
Vettel won a fourth straight race in a season for the first time in his career - completing a clean sweep of the Asian swing - and now leads the drivers' championship by 13 points with three races to go. He is trying to join Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only men to win a hat trick of drivers' championships.
"It's pretty amazing (to win four straight races)," Vettel said. "It's very hard to target these kinds of things, they either happen or they don't happen."
The one-two finish of the top two drivers in the standings meant the fight for the title had now boiled down to a head-to-head fight in all but the mathematical sense. Asked if he had one hand on the championship trophy, Vettel suggested it was too close to call yet.

"The other one is probably Fernando's," Vettel said. "It's a big step for us but there is a long way to go and we know how quickly things can change."
Alonso acknowledged second was the best he could hope for on Sunday, but with upgrades to his car expected ahead of next week's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he still had faith that he could catch Vettel by the final round.
"It's not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we never give up," Alonso said. "We want the joy in Brazil, not only here, and I am sure we will do it.
"There are still many points on the table, so I am still optimistic."
Red Bull's Mark Webber was running in second place until lap 48 of the 60 when the failure of his KERS power boost system allowed Alonso to sweep past on the main straight. The Australian then had to fight hard to hold off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps, sneaking into the final podium position by just six tenths of a second.
"It's so demoralizing on that straight with no KERS," Webber said. "I was a moving target really."
McLaren's Jenson Button was fifth, while Ferrari's Felipe Massa held off Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus in a race-long dogfight in which the pair was rarely more than a second apart. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Williams' Bruno Senna took the final points positions.
When told that he was the first man since the late Ayrton Senna in 1989 to lead every lap of three straight races, Vettel appeared emotional, saying: "It's really, really special. We all remember Ayrton forever."
Vettel's only moment of concern came at the beginning of the race when Webber got off to a slightly better start, and the German shifted sharply to his right to block his teammate's run, though the Australian said the move was "fair enough."
The main casualty on the first lap was Schumacher, who suffered a right rear puncture when his Mercedes was hit from behind by Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne. Forced to complete most of a lap on a wheel rim before he was able to pit, Schumacher's race was effectively over.
Alonso got a great run out of the third-turn hairpin and was able to move past both McLarens on the main straight even without the benefit of the DRS open wing, and that proved decisive in his second-place finish.
The race quickly settled into a pattern, with all drivers able to go for a single pit-stop strategy on the very smooth Buddh surface.
Sauber's Sergio Perez retired on lap 19 after his right rear clipped the front wing of Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso.
Webber was running in second, within 5.4 seconds of Vettel after lap 21 when his KERS started to malfunction, allowing the German to almost double that advantage over the next four laps, and from there the result was never in doubt.
The wisdom of the ancients has been taught by the philosophers of Greece, but also by people called Jews in Syria, and by Brahmins in India
-Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador to India, 300 BC

Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? - Walid Shoebat, PLO terrorist
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:48 AM
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Default Vettel’s triple crown

Vettel’s triple crown

By Eurosport | Will Gray – Tue, Nov 27, 2012 10:12 GMT


Sebastian Vettel did exactly what he needed to last weekend in Brazil to take title number three — but what other moments helped the German elevate his status from champion to legend this season?
Vettel is now in a rare group of F1 super-champions with three world titles, and is one of only three to have taken three in a row. Each success has demonstrated his development as a driver and a person, but this time the fitting 'baton transfer' between him and his countryman, the retiring seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, seemed to mark a coming of age.
In 2010, Vettel took his first title with a smash-and-grab raid as a late run of form and a few lucky breaks saw him leapfrog his rivals at almost the final turn of the season. Last year, with a dominant car, it was far more controlled with Vettel managing his races perfectly to win from the front. This year was a more balanced mix of luck and talent, dominance and damage-limitation, which ultimately gave him a narrow margin in a hard fight with Fernando Alonso and Ferrari.
The mark of a champion is not to win at all costs, but simply to collect enough points to take the title. Vettel did all that perfectly.
Vettel was not comfortable at the start of the year because of the ban on double diffusers. A new exhaust layout on the Red Bull gave a strong race pace but caused the car to understeer in qualifying, and that did not suit his aggressive turn-in style.
He got lucky with a safety car to come second in the season-opener, but he missed Q3 for the first time in more than two years in China and could only recover to sixth.
He rather foolishly attempted to steer the team away from their development direction by opting to run an old-spec car in China. In Bahrain, he showed sense and maturity by accepting the team's decision and simply working out how to drive to get the best out of the car. And he won.
It wasn't to be an instant turn-around, but it showed that Vettel was ready to listen to others and happy to admit his approach may not always be the right one.
Throughout 2011, Vettel demonstrated that if he could start from the front, he could control the race — and although it was not until much later this season that he had a regular opportunity to do that, once the car was in the sweet spot he did it time after time.
The RB8 was always a reasonable car, but as McLaren began to become stronger, the relentless pace of development made it hard enough to just stay in the frame, let alone jump ahead of their rivals.
That was until they found a step improvement with the combined double DRS and exhaust changes. The improvements gave Vettel the confidence to get the job done in qualifying and, just as in 2011, once pole was his, there was no stopping him.
His victory in Singapore was lucky, with Hamilton's McLaren suffering a gearbox failure, but the subsequent ones in Japan, Korea and India were classic 2011-vintage Vettel — set pole or grab a front row slot, get out of the DRS attack zone in the early laps and manage the tyres and the race to the finish.

Stefano Domenicali claimed that Alonso deserved the title because he lost crucial points when he failed to finish in two of the 20 races — but that conclusion seems to ignore the fact that Vettel failed to score three times.
But it was Vettel's ability to return to the garage, accept the issue, and move on quickly that was another hallmark in this campaign.
An alternator failure stopped him when he was almost certain to win in Valencia, allowing Alonso to win from 11th instead. One race later, though, Vettel came back to claim a podium at Silverstone.
Another alternator failure in Monza, when running sixth, cost him more points but once again a positive approach to the problem allowed him to gee the team up and take victory in the very next race.
The only time he really showed immaturity was when Narain Karthikeyan crashed into him in Malaysia, the second race of the season. It cost him fourth place (he finished out the points in 11th), while Alonso won. Vettel called Karthikeyan an idiot. It was a rare loss of cool in a season that has seen the young German demonstrate that his head is stronger than in the past.
The season was filled with battles for Vettel — indeed in two of the last three races he found himself having to fight through from the back. These were another trademark of his season.
In Canada, Vettel was running behind Alonso in second in the closing stages when Hamilton hunted down and passed both as their tyres went off. Red Bull chose to bring Vettel in while Alonso stayed out — and with seven laps of fresh rubber Vettel chased down and passed Alonso for fourth, netting a crucial four-point benefit over his rival.
In Spa where, he started 10th on the grid and he was far enough back to avoid the incident between Hamilton, Alonso and Romain Grosjean. Having steered around that, he was in 12th by the end of lap one and climbed to second by the end.
In Abu Dhabi, having been dropped to the back of the grid for having insufficient fuel in the car to provide a sample after qualifying, he started from the pits to allow the team to make set-up changes that would improve his chances of overtaking. Despite early contact with Bruno Senna and collision with trackside marker board he took third - just one place behind Alonso.
Even in that final race in Brazil, when he dropped to the back after a mid-grid incident, he was able to fight back into the points and then manage his race to get just enough points he needed — albeit after a bit of calming over the team radio when he was pushing harder than he needed to.
Sometimes, Vettel did push over the edge — but champions are made from those who push beyond the edge to find out exactly where the boundaries are and then drive within them. It's the Schumacher mould, and Vettel began to follow it this year.
In Hockehneim, he overtook Button by running off the track and was penalised 20 seconds post-race for the move. He could have given the place back, but in deciding not to he lost second place and dropped to fifth, losing out to Alonso.
In Monza, Vettel went aggressive and forced Alonso off the track as they raced each other wheel-to-wheel — and once again it earned Vettel a penalty (although this time it had no effect as he retired anyway from alternator failure).
But finally, in Abu Dhabi, when Vettel passed Grosjean by running off track, he took stock of past penalties and relinquished the place. And sure enough, he took it back legally just a short while later.
If there was one defining moment of pushing beyond the edge, however, the subject was not Vettel — it was Alonso. When the Ferrari driver tried to pass Kimi Raikkonen into the first corner in Japan, he ended up out of the race. With victory for Vettel, it was a crucial 25-point sway that took the title gap from 29 to four, with four races remaining.
If there was a defining moment when the title switched in his favour, it was at that race — the second in Vettel's string of four victories in an Asia clean-sweep.
From focusing on damage limitation and making the most of any good opportunities, Vettel and Red Bull were finally back in the groove, dominating qualifying and managing their races.
It's fair to say from this season that Alonso is still the master of getting the most out of an under-performing car having done so for most of the year. Vettel showed that talent too when he had to, but he was also given the opportunity to show what he could do with a strong car and proved again that there are few, perhaps none, better than him at getting the best out of good machinery.
Vettel's was a strong campaign overall, which is why he did deserve his success. But in the end, it was thanks to the timely developments that took the Red Bull car to the next level that Vettel, and not Alonso, is F1's latest triple champion.
The wisdom of the ancients has been taught by the philosophers of Greece, but also by people called Jews in Syria, and by Brahmins in India
-Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador to India, 300 BC

Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? - Walid Shoebat, PLO terrorist
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