Korean GP 2012

Super Seven Moments of the Korean GP

1. You have to hand it to him

Mainly because he won the race but also because Vettel again shows that despite 2012 not going his way at the sharp end he has the ability to make things work. Quick off the line Vettel beat a tardy Webber who although had a great reaction to the lights he had too much clutch to make a clean getaway, whereas in Japan he didn’t have enough. The Red Bull duo fought hard, much to Christian Horner’s delight (he reported his heart was beating hard, and the rest Mr Horner…), through the first three corners, but Vettel employed his sizeable first lap arsenal and disappeared into the distance with ease.

Not a scrap of carbon fibre was lost between them, and at his peak Vettel was a little over 10 seconds ahead of the rest and despite being told to be cautious of his tyres in the final laps, the current champion was never under pressure. It was his best impression of 2011 we’ve seen all year. And not being content with that Vettel also managed to put himself in a position to replicate his 2010 season too.

2. You’ve got to be in it to win it

You most certainly do, so crashing out and getting into a fight with a bit of astro turf will definitely do nothing for your title hopes. Around the summer break McLaren looked strong and capable of taking on the mighty Red Bulls, Hamilton also looked likely to be the hunt for his second championship, however a raft of bad luck and mechanical issues has put a definite stop to both chances. Following Button’s race being ended by a careless Kobayashi, and a rear roll bar failure (and a spot of carpet munching) for Hamilton, Ferrari have overtaken them in the constructor standings. Now this is a team that was lauded with a real chance of taking both titles at the beginning of the year being pushed into third by a team routinely ridiculed by almost everyone.

3. Onwards and upwards

Two drivers impressed on race day, Red Bull pace might have been hitting the headlines, but one new and one fairly new faces to the grid got the paddock excited. Hulkenberg and Vergne of Force India and Toro Rosso respectively showed skills and inherent talent that could well see them stick around for another season. Vergne showed similar form to what he exhibited around the windy streets of Monaco, there he was hampered with a poor strategy choice (that could have so easily been inspired), but here he led his team mate around, dicing and threading his way through the midfield. Considering this particular Toro Rosso isn’t garnering the same suprise results as last year, the rookie pairing is showing promise (Ricciardo was the winner off the start going from 21st to 15th).

Hulkenberg is a great candidate for driver of the day for his simply brilliant double overtake on lap 42, unsurprisingly it left a huge smile on his face as he cruised home in 6th. As Grosjean battled with an admittedly out of place Hamilton, a canny Hulkenberg caught up and waited for the opportune moment to pounce, doing so around the outside leaving both in the dust.

4. Off the Christmas list

Metaphorically of course. This is the third Korean GP and again fans were left wanting, those watching FOM images were waiting for the action to begin and those in the grandstands were eager to leave. This highlighted the vast difference to the Japanese race when the grandstands remained filled beyond the end of the action, in Korea the stands were deserted. It speaks volumes about the division between history and the push into the future. That said, the influence of ‘Gangnam Style’ had heartily infiltrated the paddock with teams going out of their way to get involved…drivers firmly filing that under ‘shit F1 drivers have to do’. And the ingenuity and creativity of the posters and banners brought by the select few were almost worth the visit, just a shame it’s in the middle of nowhere.

5. Crash kid no more

But it cost him. Grosjean was visibly cautious throughout the race and his reluctance to push harder lost him two places to Hulkenberg, however making it to the end of the race was a big step in the right direction. Apparently Sir Jackie Stewart has offered his services to help the young Frenchman out, which can only be taken as a compliment as why would you want to invest time in a driver without potential?

6. The Felipe Flyer

So much was Massa ‘on it’ he triggered a radio message the audience was expecting, “A bit too close to Fernando…you need to back off about a second.” You could hear the bitter edge to his engineer’s voice as he transmitted the message to Massa, but the Brazilian (who by all accounts will stay with Ferrari for another year) wasn’t ready to concede straight away. Massa didn’t back off immediately and quickly set a fastest lap, and then told his team he could chase down Webber. Brave words from a driver with so much doubt on his shoulders, but do a couple good races warrant a seat in Ferrari?

7. Formula One: v. 2012

With only four races left on the calendar, it’s been an odd rollercoaster ride of a year for the sport. With fluctuating performances up and down the grid the season hasn’t really found a comfortable rhythm to settle into, until now, possibly. It seems the momentum is firmly in the sweaty little hands of Red Bull, Vettel has taken the last three races and if Ferrari can’t give Alonso the car he’ll make it three in a row.

Race Stats

Qualifying Webber Vettel Hamilton
Pole M Webber  1:37.242 (Red Bull)
Laps 55
Weather Dry
Safety Car None
Results 1. Vettel Red Bull 1:36:28.651
2. Webber Red Bull 1:36:36.882
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:36:42.595
Fastest Lap Webber Red Bull 1:42.037
Retirements Button McLaren [0] Accident
Rosberg Mercedes [1] Accident
Kobayashi Sauber [16] Accident damage
De la Rosa HRT [16] Throttle
Penalties Kobayashi Caused collision with Button Drive through

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