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Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012 Korean Grand Prix, his fourth win in 2012, his third win in a row and his second win in a row while leading every single lap. In doing so, he has taken the lead of the Championship, now 6 points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in 2nd.
At lights out, Mark Webber had a slower start than his team-mate Vettel and he was left open to being overtaken by the German into Turn 1. He did overtake him but Webber hadn’t given up and fought him out of turn 2, turn 3 and turn 4, coming breathtakingly close to replicating their Turkey 2010 collision. Vettel triumphed and stormed away from the crestfallen Aussie. Behind them, all hell was breaking loose. Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in 3rd to 6th respectively were going four abreast down into the tight turn 3.
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Somehow, they all made it through unscathed but Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button was the innocent victim of a ram by Kobayashi. The Jap, who in the last race at Suzuka had scored his first podium, out-braked himself into turn 3 and hit both Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. He broke the Brit’s front right suspension, forcing Button to crawl the circuit for a few corners until he finally had to give up and parked his McLaren in a run-off area. Nico Rosberg nursed his problem but was eventually forced to abandon his Mercedes a lap later on the straight. Kobayashi was given a drive-through for the incident and later retired the car as he was two laps down on the field.
Sebastian Vettel was pulling away from Mark Webber who was pulling away from Fernando Alonso. The DRS zone which is the 600 metres between turn 2 and turn 3 was useless as Charlie Whiting disabled the DRS. The reason was Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes parked in a gap in the wall and a piece of front wing on the dirty side of the track. This disruption proved costly especially for people like Mark Webber who would have been hoping for a DRS boost to try to catch his team-mate. When it was later reactivated on lap 10, Vettel was long gone.
Felipe Massa, returning from his first podium in almost two years, was once again very strong in Korea. He boldly fought Kimi Raikkonen wheel to wheel out of the DRS zone and amazingly triumphed over the Finn. It also didn’t take long for him to start catching his team-mate Fernando Alonso. Romain Grosjean who must feel the world is against him, was notably reserved during the race. First battling Sergio Perez in the opening stages of the race, then Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg in the later stages of the race, he didn’t once make a daring attempt to overtake, essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place; He can’t throw his nose into battles like Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher are known for but he can’t just cruise around the track been extremely careful as he’s trying to keep his seat with the team for 2013.
Hamilton had a miserable afternoon, never quite getting as happy as we would have liked to be, never happy on the tyres and at the end, he ran over a strip of Astroturf after going wide. The Astroturf got stuck onto his right sidepod and cost him anywhere between two or three seconds per lap for the last few laps. He had been battling for eighth but as he crossed the line, he was just milliseconds ahead of Sergio Perez.
Sebastian Vettel now leads the championship, followed by Fernando Alonso and then, amazingly, Kimi Raikkonen! Without winning a race, Raikkonen is third in the championship ahead of Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button who have all won at least two wins this season.