Indian GP: Vettel cruises to fourth consecutive victory

Sebastian Vettel stretched his Formula 1 world championship lead to 13 points with a fourth straight dominant victory in the Indian Grand Prix

Indian GP: Vettel cruises to fourth consecutive victory

Fernando Alonso was at least able to minimise the damage to his title bid by battling through to second place.

Red Bull's rivals may have claimed pre-race that they were determined to prevent Vettel making a clean break, but the champion team actually looked more dominant than ever on lap one, as Vettel and Mark Webber cruised away while the McLarens and Ferraris grappled with each other.

Alonso managed to draft past both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button on the long straight, then saw them go back around him - one either side - at Turn 4.

Button came out best and took third, with Alonso managing to get back past Hamilton into fourth.

Alonso then overtook Button for third as soon as DRS was available. Hamilton did likewise soon afterwards.

Third looked like being Alonso's limit until the second half of the race, when Webber began drifting off Vettel's pace and into the Ferrari's sights.

As Webber reported a lack of KERS, Alonso stepped up his chase - despite also having to try to save fuel.

The Ferrari breezed past with 10 laps to go, and - encouraged by some unusual sparks from under Vettel's car - kept pushing to the flag. It was in vain, though, as yet again Vettel was safely heading for victory.

Hamilton, who required a rapidly-fitted new steering wheel at his pitstop, charged onto Webber's tail in the final moments but could not separate the Red Bull from the podium.

Button was a lonely fifth, losing time with a long spell behind a yet-to-stop Romain Grosjean.

Felipe Massa resisted Kimi Raikkonen for sixth. The Lotus jumped the Ferrari by pitting one lap later, only for Massa to use DRS to immediately re-pass.

Grosjean fell into the midfield at the start, then recovered with some successful overtaking and by running until lap 36 before pitting for fresh softs.

The Lotus got back up to ninth, chasing Nico Hulkenberg's Force India.

Hulkenberg had initially sparred with Sergio Perez, but the Sauber made an early pitstop then retired after picking up a puncture while jousting with Daniel Ricciardo's.

Perez was one of three drivers who sustained tyre damage in combat. Jean-Eric Vergne tagged Michael Schumacher at the first corner of the race, breaking the Toro Rosso's wing and slicing the Mercedes' tyre.

Pastor Maldonado also got a puncture in a tussle with Kamui Kobayashi. But Bruno Senna saved Williams's day with an assertive drive to 10th that included a late pass on Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Indian Grand Prix
Buddh International Circuit, India;
60 laps; 307.249km;
Weather: Hazy and dry.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h31:10.744
 2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +     9.437
 3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.217
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    13.909
 5.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    26.266
 6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    44.674
 7.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    45.227
 8.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    54.998
 9.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    56.103
10.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +  1:14.975
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +  1:21.694
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +  1:22.815
13.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:26.064
14.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:26.495
15.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
16.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
19.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
20.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
22.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    5 laps

Fastest lap: Button, 1:28.203

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth                 41
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               21


World Championship standings, round 17:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel       240        1.  Red Bull-Renault          407
 2.  Alonso       227        2.  Ferrari                   316
 3.  Raikkonen    173        3.  McLaren-Mercedes          306
 4.  Webber       167        4.  Lotus-Renault             263
 5.  Hamilton     165        5.  Mercedes                  136
 6.  Button       141        6.  Sauber-Ferrari            116
 7.  Rosberg       93        7.  Force India-Mercedes       93
 8.  Grosjean      90        8.  Williams-Renault           59
 9.  Massa         89        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         21
10.  Perez         66       
11.  Kobayashi     50       
12.  Hulkenberg    49       
13.  Di Resta      44       
14.  Schumacher    43       
15.  Maldonado     33       
16.  Senna         26       
17.  Vergne        12       
18.  Ricciardo      9       
       
All timing unofficial
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