Formula 1’s third visit to India just wrapped up with Sebastian Vettel winning (again!) and also being crowned world champion (again!). The 26 year old German driver lifted the trophy and joined the ranks of a highly exclusive club. Apart from himself, only 3 others have won 4 or more world championships – Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina with 5 titles, Alain Prost from France with 4 titles and the legendary Michael Schumacher from Germany with a record 7 titles.
Vettel needed to finish the race in 5th position to clinch the championship and the duel for the title would have been dragged to the next race in Abu Dhabi only if Fernando Alonso of Ferrari won the Indian GP. But any hope that the Spaniard had pretty much crashed and burned when Kimi Räikkönen and Mark Webber collided at the very beginning of the race. Alonso had no route to escape and ended up ramming Webber’s car, demolishing his own front wing in the process. He managed to get his car to limp into the pits for a replacement wing but he had lost too much ground and time, eventually finishing the race at the 11th position. Sebastian Vettel also pitted during the 2nd lap to trade in his soft compound tyres for medium tyres.
The race order began to settle down around lap 30 after most drivers pitted for their second time. A lot of action around this part of the race came from Kimi Räikkönen who was fending off Nico Rosberg while trying not to shred his tyres and Romain Grosjean fighting to climb up after having started way back on the grid from position 17. Grosjean eventually got a podium finish after finishing 3rd, a very impressive accomplishment indeed.
Sebastian Vettel powered his Red Bull past the waving chequered flag, a staggering half minute ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg who came in 2nd. Vettel, not even trying to hide his elation (and rightly so!) did a series of donuts on the track in front of a roaring crowd. This little stunt resulted in Red Bull getting slapped with a 25,000 Euro fine. But on a spectacular race-day like that, with their driver getting the crown for the 4th consecutive time and the team getting the constructors’ trophy, the reprimand would not have been on the minds of anyone who was part of the Red Bull team.
Alain Prost, former four-time F1 world champion, praised the person who equalled his record by saying, “I’m delighted to see Sebastian win the title today. He is a great driver and he has had some outstanding wins this year, some of the best of his career so far. Singapore was one of those wins, he was fighting all the way but he made it look easy, which is always a mark of a worthy winner. He is a great champion and I don’t think this title will be his last”. Could Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull be one of the greatest in F1 history? All the indicators now seem to point to nothing else.