Pole, win and a fourth championship victory in a row. If not for Raikkonen’s late-race pit-stop Sebastian might have had the very best imaginable weekend. With Webber qualifying on the primes, pole was a formality for the German and early-race scything through the field after his first stop put him in the best position to take yet another victory. If he’d struggled early on the race might’ve gone to Rosberg after Webber’s alternator failure, but Vettel isn’t a four-time World Champion for nothing.
Another disappointing mechanical failure on the #2 Red Bull, Mark’s now lost three podiums in four races from retirements out of his control. While the points he should’ve made from those results would have placed him just behind Fernando Alonso in the race for second place in the championship, he’s now in a lowly fifth. Mark needs to gain 59 points on Alonso in three races to get into the top two, but if the last few races are any indication of the end of his career, I wouldn’t bet too much on it.
Massa was uncharacteristically on-form in India, out-qualifying his team-mate once again and following through in the race with pace good enough for fourth. He needs to show potential teams that he’s still got fight in him for next year and besting Fernando by some margin won’t have done his chances of that Williams drive any harm.
First-corner contact for Fernando put him on the back foot and he struggled to recover all race. Points may have been on offer for the Spaniard had Ricciardo’s defending slipped up late in the race, but the Australian wasn’t about to be pushed out of a valuable points place and Alonso crossed the line out of the points for the first time since the 2010 British Grand Prix.
Sergio was on it in India, out-qualifying Jenson on Saturday and then pushing himself up to levels he’d not previously experienced at McLaren. Fourth place is his highest result to date with the team and the accompanying ten points will save him face come the end of the year. Sergio was the perfect mix of speed and aggression, challenging the likes of Lewis Hamilton while not putting a foot wrong in his run to the flag.
Jenson will be wanting to start afresh in Abu Dhabi.
For the second race running Grosjean was the star at Lotus. A terrible qualifying result saw him take the grid 17th, but a solid strategy and fantastic pace vaulted him from the minnows to the podium. Overtaking Raikkonen in the last few laps must’ve been an enjoyable feeling after having been at the receiving end so many times before. Romain has taken a step up this year – give him a top car and, with performances like these, he’d be putting it at least close to the top step.
Kimi wasn’t on the best of strategies on Sunday and an early race brake issue did nothing to help him on his way. With that Ferrari contract in his back pocket why would he feel the need to get too involved with the Lotus hierarchy at this stage of the season?
Nico was top-dog at Mercedes in India, out-qualifying Lewis and then out-driving his team-mate on Sunday. While Lewis complained of his struggles with the tyres, Nico made no such complaints and took what seemed to be an unnoticed second-place.
Nico is only 25 points behind Hamilton. Three races remain – could we see the upset of the year by the end of the season?
Hulkenberg retired but was well ahead of Esteban when his car gave up. It was another race Hulkenberg was the roadblock in the top-order, but the team were left wanting after the brakes gave up on his car 54 laps in.
Esteban returned to being unimpressive in India.
The Force Indias finally returned to a double-points finish in India with di Resta in eighth and Sutil following just behind in ninth. The pair were inseparable in qualifying and were only two seconds apart after 60 laps. With Sauber looking faster and faster at every event, the five points the pair pulled in in India might be the buffer they need to hold Hulkenberg and Sauber back at the end of the year.
Bottas was top-dog in qualifying but it was Pastor who came through on Sunday and finished but a couple of seconds from the points. Williams’ long season is nearly over and with a point to show for it, management had best hope the boys and girls at Grove have been doing a great job on the 2014 car.
Ricciardo continues to improve as each race goes by. Again out-pacing his team-mate on Saturday, the Australian fended off the much-faster Ferrari of Fernando Alonso for the last ten laps to claim an important point. He did similar with Schumacher at the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix and it bodes well for his ability to perform under pressure in 2014.
Vergne may have a contract for 2014, but he’ll be under pressure to hold that for the entire season. Toro Rosso is known to boot drivers mid-season if they’re not reaching expectation and with da Costa in the waiting room Jean-Eric won’t be able to perform next year like he has this year.
A bad day out for Caterham, with both drivers retiring in the first 35 laps. Van der Garde went out as a result of collision damage and Pic suffered with a hydraulics failure.
Chilton was woeful in qualifying, but managed to pip Jules in the race. A strong start by the Brit put him in the best position to lead his team-mate and did so in strong style. Bianchi was disappointed to have finished behind his team-mate, but must acknowledge that you can’t win them all (unless your name is Sebastian Vettel).