New race, same result for Vettel

Champion delighted to win first Indian GP as drivers pay tribute to Wheldon and Simoncelli

New Delhi

They raced, the top three finishers in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix said, as much for their fallen comrades Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli as for their teams and a nation that had so enthusiastically and knowledgeably welcomed them. Unfortunately, Sebastian Vettel succeeded in making it a dull race, just as he did in Korea, sprinting away initially in his trademark style to present his pursuers with an unscaleable mountain to climb and, once again, his triumph was beautifully crafted and richly deserved.

This time, it was Jenson Button who was left to lead the pursuit, and he did so doggedly, cutting into a three-second deficit on his fresh tyres after each pit stop, only to see Vettel calmly open it up again.

On a day when, once again, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton got together with Ferrari rival Felipe Massa, Button admitted it was too difficult to race Vettel, even though at one stage they traded fastest laps.

"In the last race I struggled on the first lap and I wanted to redeem myself here," said Button, who snatched third place after Fernando Alonso ran wide in the first corner after the start and then slipstreamed ahead of Mark Webber's Red Bull down the back straight.

"It was then a matter of trying to hang on to Seb, but his pace was very good and he made no mistakes. Out of the pits my car felt very competitive, but as soon as he got into a rhythm I couldn't do anything about it. But for the team it was a perfect job today; yesterday was a disaster, but we put it right in the race and did the best that we could."

Once again Vettel made it look easy, leading every lap from pole position and reclaiming the fastest lap from team-mate Webber on the final tour. But of course, it wasn't easy at all.

"It was a very good race for us, and I enjoyed my time in the lead very much," Vettel beamed. "I had a bit of a fight with Jenson in the distance, and strangely he closed in during the pit stops, but all in all it was a very smooth race."

In their wake, Webber fell away after his initial fight with Button and was overtaken for third place during the second round of stops by Alonso, who completed the podium despite a last-moment drama with his Ferrari's front wing on the grid.

"We didn't make a perfect start today, as we didn't have the grip we were expecting and lost a couple of positions," Alonso said. "But we raced with Mark until the second stop and were surprised that he stopped early and did two extra laps and were able to overtake. It's always nice to taste the champagne in the first race in a new country."

The race was adjudged a success for the Indians, and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar celebrated the nation's triumph by waving the chequered flag, but all three top finishers said it was a day of mixed emotions. The recent deaths of Wheldon and Simoncelli have rocked Formula One and there was a minute's silence for them on the grid.

"I'm very proud to be the first winner in India," Vettel said, "but the last two weekends we lost two of our mates, and our thoughts are with them and especially their families. We are ready to take certain risks when we jump in the cars but that's the last thing we want to see. We should never forget those two young and very committed race drivers."

Indian Grand Prix results

FIA Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix, New Delhi

60 Laps

1 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1hr 30mins 35.002secs

2 J Button (GB) McLaren 1:30:43.435

3 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 1:30:59.303

4 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:31:00.531

5 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:31:40.423

6 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:31:41.853

7 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:31:59.185

8 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap

9 A Sutil (Ger) Force India at 1 Lap

10 S Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap

11 V Petrov (Rus) Renault at 1 Lap

12 B Senna (Br) Renault at 1 Lap

13 P di Resta (GB) Force India at 1 Lap

14 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 at 2 Laps

15 R Barrichello (Br) Williams at 2 Laps

16 J d'Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing at 3 Laps

17 N Karthikeyan (India) HRT-F1 at 3 Laps

18 D Ricciardo (Aus) HRT-F1 at 3 Laps

19 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 at 5 Laps

Not Classified

20 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 32 Laps completed; 21 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso 24 Laps completed; 22 P Maldonado (Ven) Williams 12 Laps completed; 23 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 2 Laps completed; 24 K Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber-Ferrari 0 Laps completed.

World Championship Standings

1 S Vettel 374pts

2 J Button 240

3 F Alonso 227

4 M Webber 221

5 L Hamilton 202

6 F Massa 98

7 N Rosberg 75

8 M Schumacher 70

9 V Petrov 36

10 N Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 34

11 A Sutil 30; 12 K Kobayashi 27; 13 J Alguersuari 26; 14 P di Resta 21; 15 S Buemi 15; 16 S Perez 14; 17 R Barrichello 4; 18 B Senna 2; 19 P Maldonado 1; 20 P de la Rosa (Sp) Sauber-Ferrari 0; 21 J Trulli 0; 22 H Kovalainen 0; 23 V Liuzzi (It) HRT-F1 0; 24 J d'Ambrosio 0; 25 T Glock 0; 26 D Ricciardo 0; 27 N Karthikeyan 0; 28 K Chandhok (India) Lotus F1 0.

Manufacturers Standings

1 Red Bull 595pts; 2 McLaren 442; 3 Ferrari 325; 4 Mercedes GP 145; 5 Renault 72; 6 Force India 51; 7 Sauber-Ferrari 41; 8 Scuderia Toro Rosso 41; 9 Williams 5; 10 Lotus F1 0; 11 HRT-F1 0; 12 Virgin Racing 0.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor