F1: Indian Grand Prix to go ahead after Supreme Court delay hearing in alleged tax irregularities
A petition seeking the cancellation of this weekend's race had been lodged earlier this week
Friday 25 October 2013
The legal threat to this weekend's Indian Grand Prix is at an end after a Supreme Court hearing into alleged tax irregularities was delayed until next week.
A petition seeking the cancellation of the race was lodged with India's Supreme Court earlier this week amid allegations that race organisers Jaypee Sports International Limited did not pay entertainment taxes due on last year's event.
However, a spokesman for the race organisers confirmed to Press Association Sport the hearing will now take place following Sunday's race, clearing the way for the 16th round of the season to go ahead as planned.
The news of the failed bid to cancel the race was in truth as unsurprising as the man who topped Friday's first practice session at the Buddh International Circuit - with runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel once again setting the benchmark in his Red Bull.
Vettel, who leads the drivers' standings by 90 points with just 100 left to play for over the final four rounds and is on the brink of becoming a four-time world champion, surged to the top of the timesheets with a best time of one minute 26.683 seconds.
Vettel's place at the top of the order was not unexpected at a track he has made his own since its first appearance on the F1 calendar in 2011.
Vettel has won both races in India so far - leading all 120 laps across the two races. Add in the fact that the German is on a five-race winning streak and gunning for his 10th win overall this season, and it would be a brave punter who bet against anything other than a Vettel win come Sunday.
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber claimed second place, 0.188 seconds further back. The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg was three tenths of a second down on Vettel in third place, with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in fifth.
Romain Grosjean continued his impressive form as he took fourth place for Lotus, almost two second faster than Ferrari-bound team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was down in a subdued 17th place.
The McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez looked a little racier than normal as they finish sixth and seventh respectively, both within seven-tenths of Vettel's benchmark.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was next up, but it was a frustrating session for the Brazilian's team-mate with Fernando Alonso - the only man who can deny Vettel the title - down in 12th after only managing to complete six laps before slowing and peeling into the pits with an apparent gearbox problem.
Williams' Pastor Maldonado enlivened proceedings in a largely pedestrian session with a spin at turn six with 24 minutes remaining. The Venezuelan was able to recover and finished the session in 14th.
Force India's James Calado was another to get out of shape when he overcooked it through the fast sweeps of the middle section of the lap. The Briton, eager to impress after being given the nod for FP1 ahead of Paul Di Resta, also suffered a late spin on his way to finishing the session in 18th place, eight-tenths slower than regular Force India driver Adrian Sutil.
Britain's Max Chilton propped up the pack for Marussia, nearly four seconds off Vettel's pace and almost a second adrift of team-mate Jules Bianchi.
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