Vettel wins a near perfect race, Sutil finishes ninth (Roundup)

October 30th, 2011 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Greater Noida, Oct 30 (IANS) Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel produced a flawless run from start-to-finish to win the action-packed inaugural Indian Grand Prix here Sunday while Force India’s Adrian Sutil finished ninth and Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan matched his season’s best 17th place.

Vettel, already named world champion, won his 11th race of the season after cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar waved the chequered flag to mark the end of the 60-lap race at the Buddh International Circuit.

McLaren-Mercedes’ Jenson Button finished 8.4 seconds behind the German while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished third.

“Woohooo….Yes boys, yes we did it…What a race. I am so proud to win the first Indian Grand Prix,” said Vettel on team radio. “New track, new challenge.”

Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber pushed Alonso hard but came home fourth, losing the third place after the Spaniard got ahead of him in his second pit stop. Mercedes GP Petronas’ Michael Schumacher drove an inspiring race to finish fifth from 11th on the starting grid, beating team mate Nico Rosberg towards the end.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was lucky to finish seventh after being involved in a freak accident with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who came in the way of the English driver at turn 14 on lap 25.

Massa was given a drive through penalty for obstructing Hamilton’s overtaking before retiring on lap 34 due to a broken suspension after he hit a kerb.

Sahara Force India was against slower than rival Toro Rosso as Sutil completed the race at ninth behind Jaime Alguersuari, who started two places behind the German. Sauber’s Sergio Perez wrapped up the top ten.

Most drivers including Vettel had pointed out that the opening lap would be crucial because of the dusty nature of the track.

Vettel had a smooth start from pole position but the rear pack comprising Rubens Barichello, Timo Glock, Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Koabayashi collided going into turn one, ensuring retirement for the last three.

Button was most impressive amongst the front-runners as he was up two places to second by the end of the opening lap, passing Red Bull’s Mark Webber in the process.

As Vettel had predicted, drivers on hard tyres were forced to pit early for softer ones.

Force India’s Paul Di Resta, who started 12th on the grid, lost positions after pitting on lap six, finishing 13th.

Karthikeyan might have an inferior car at Hispania but he ended up pleasing his home fans by gaining eight places in the initial minutes. Karhtikeyan started the race from the last position but was benefited by the collision of four cars at the rear end going into turn one. Karthikeyan gain another few places momentarily but fell back later to equal his performance at Monaco and Canada. A total of five retirements took place in the race.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at bharat.s@ians.in)

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