F1 Driver of the Day: Korean GP



As expected, the Korean Grand Prix was the event at which Sebastian Vettel's seemingly relentless march back to the top of the F1 world championship was completed, but was the German's dominant performance the best of the day in Yeongam.

Vettel had been the man to beat for much of free practice, and the early stages of qualifying suggested that he would run and hide on raceday, but that was before Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber capitalised on the German's slightly baulked final lap to take the Saturday honours. Come Sunday, however, and it was all about Vettel once again. Shrugging off the supposed disadvantage of starting on the 'dirty side' of the grid, the German gained when Webber's car hesitated through the gears, and was leading by turn one. Although the Australian made it interesting for a couple of corners, Vettel had seized the initiative and was never headed, even during the pit-stops.

From there, Webber's after noon was relatively quiet and, despite similar warnings to his team-mate over the wear rate on his Pirellis, the Australian came home in second place, strengthening his grip on P5 in the standings after nearest rival Jenson Button was nerfed out of the action at turn three on the opening lap.

Aware from the start of the weekend that he was unlikely to leave Mokpo with his long-held championship lead intact, Fernando Alonso was once again in damage limitation mode. The Ferrari at least looked a little more competitive throughout the weekend than it had in recent races, and Alonso was frustrated to qualify only fourth, but the Spaniard benefited from a nightmare race for Lewis Hamilton, and was already ahead of the Briton when suspension problems slowed the McLaren.

With Button out and Hamilton hobbled, McLaren's return from the weekend amounted to a single point, allowing Ferrari to leap-frog it in the constructors' standings, thanks largely to another spirited drive from Felipe Massa. The Brazilian made it into the top ten shoot-out on Saturday - inadvertently becoming the cause of Vettel missing a likely pole - and was faster than Alonso at times on Sunday, even being given a message to back off to allow the Spaniard to hold on to third place....

Behind a largely anonymous Kimi Raikkonen - a brief spell of tit-for-tat passing with Hamilton notwithstanding - Nico Hulkenberg raised his stock still further with sixth place for Sahara Force India. The German again qualified in the top ten, but was forced to fight for every position - something he did with aplomb as he passed the squabbling Hamilton and Romain Grosjean in one move to secure his final finishing spot.

Grosjean kept his nose clean in his first race since kicking up another storm in Suzuka, and was a mix of feist and caution as he ensured that he steered clear of anything contentious, coming home in the same place as he had started.

With Button unable to make any sort of recovery from eleventh on the grid, and Nico Rosberg eliminated by the same unguided Kamui Kobayashi missile, Scuderia Toro Rosso took full advantage to come through from the lower reaches of the grid and secure a double points finish. This time it was Jean-Eric Vergne's turn to come out on top, passing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the 55-lap race to secure eighth spot, and four precious points, in what he later described as possibly his best race in the top flight.

Ricciardo came home ninth, with Hamilton hanging on to tenth - a strip of stray artificial turf - as Sergio Perez recovered from a first lap incident and subsequent pit-stop problem to miss a point by less than one second.


So, who was the king of Korea?

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F1 Driver of the Day: Korean GP








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