While the second Indian Grand Prix (GP) rally was a nail-biter, victory at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) went to Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel, his second win in India. The German double world champion started the race on pole position and once the five red lights went out, he sped away , never to look back. Vettel led every one of the 60 laps at the BIC and racked 25 points along the way, taking his total tally up to 240, and ensuring he still maintains a lead in the championship.
Finishing second was Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. While Alonso started the race from fifth on the grid, the Spaniard had a good start, slotting into the third place by the end of the first lap. Alonso, who won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, then chased after Red Bull’s Mark Webber of Australia.
Towards the end of the race, Alonso managed to get past the Australian driver, ensuring the second Red Bull driver could only claim third place on the podium. This means that the battle for the driver’s championship now rolls ahead to the next round of the season at Abu Dhabi on the 4th of November.
While a large number of fans at the Indian GP were rooting for either Ferrari or Red Bull Racing, there is always a section of Indian Formula-1 fans who cheer for seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. And, they were out in full force this weekend. However, it wasn’t an easy race for the Mercedes AMG F1 driver.
Contact with the Scuderia Toro Rosso, piloted by Jean Eric Vergne, meant Schumacher had to pit on the first lap of the race. This resulted in him running dead last for a good portion of the event. The German’s race weekend only got worse when he ignored blue flags (waved to slow drivers not moving aside for leaders), something that will be investigated, and could result in a penalty at the coming Abu Dhabi GP.
With two laps left in the race though, Schumacher pulled into the garage — he was classified the 22nd and the last finisher of a grid of 24.
Finishing just ahead of Schumacher, was Indian F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan. The HRT driver, also known as the ‘Fastest Indian In The World’ had a difficult race weekend as well. Karthikeyan experienced some trouble with the front wing on his HRT on the opening lap of the race, that slowed him down a bit. While the problem eventually remedied itself, the Indian driver managed to improve his lap times over the course of the Grand Prix, even running quicker than his team-mate Pedro de la Rosa. When de la Rosa retired with what appeared to be a brake failure, Karthikeyan finished 22nd.
Apart from the racing action on track, there were other things that one could observe at the Indian GP. One of which was that importance given to sports persons at the race. The organisers of the event entrusted the honour of waving the chequered flag at the end of the race to Gagan Narang, Olympic bronze medal winning shooter.
This is despite the fact that initial reports indicated Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan would wave the chequered flag. Although the 2012 edition of the race couldn’t match the number of people that turned up at the event last year, there were still enthusiastic fans who thronged the venue.
The main grandstand that overlooked the start-finish straight was packed, a thorough compliment to Formula 1 as a sport and the Jaypee Group, the organiser.