Ferrari driver keeps his cool in tough conditions in Korea as both Red Bull drivers fail to finish

Fernando Alonso kept his cool in tough conditions to win the inaugural Korean grand prix after both Red Bull drivers spectacularly retired from strong positions. The Ferrari driver moved into the lead of an increasingly tense Formula One world championship drivers' title battle in the process with victory from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and his team mate Felipe Massa.

The start of the race in Korea was delayed by 10 minutes due to persistent rain; when the action finally got underway it was under safety car conditions, with pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel leading the field away from his team mate - and long-time championship leader - Mark Webber. Worsening conditions led to a red flag and a further delay of almost an hour with just three laps completed.

See pics from the Korean GP

The action could finally begin in earnest after another 13 laps behind the safety car. Webber lasted just two and a half, losing control of his car after getting out of line, spinning into a wall, and collecting Mercedes' Nico Rosberg as he spun back across the track.

Vettel looked set for a comfortable victory until lap 46 when he too was forced to retire when his Renault engine spectacularly failed, handing victory on a plate to a measured Alonso who had briefly lost second place to Hamilton in the pit stops earlier in the race during another safety car period. The double world champion then held his nerve to take victory in near-darkness, with the race's two-hour time limit fast approaching.

Michael Schumacher recorded his best finish in his troubled comeback year by bringing his Mercedes home fourth, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica. Jenson Button's torrid second half to the season continued with the world champion finishing a lowly 12th in his McLaren, a result that surely ends his championship hopes.

Alonso now leads the world championship on 231 points with just two races to go. Webber is 11 points back on 220, Hamilton a further 10 behind on 210 and Vettel is on 206. Button remains on 189.

Provisional race result: (all timing unofficial)

1. Alonso Ferrari 2h48:20.8102. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +14.9993. Massa Ferrari +30.8684. Schumacher Mercedes +39.6885. Kubica Renault +47.7346. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes +53.5717. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth +1:09.2578. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +1:17.8899. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari +1:20.10710. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth +1:20.85111. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1:24.14612. Button McLaren-Mercedes +1:29.93913. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth +1 lap14. Senna HRT-Cosworth +2 laps15. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth +2 laps

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:50.257

Not classified/retirements:Sutil Force India-Mercedes 46 lapsVettel Red Bull-Renault 45Petrov Renault 39Glock Virgin-Cosworth 31Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 30Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 25Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 25Webber Red Bull-Renault 18Rosberg Mercedes 18

Join the debate

Comments
5

24 October 2010

what a disaster for red bull renault. i believe webber had fiitted his new engine as well. can't they fit some drains on these circuits ? some how alonso is now leading the championships.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

24 October 2010

The most significant aspect of the current scenario is the fact that the new looming Champion, Alonso, needs to win the Drivers' Championship by at least eight points.

If he takes the title by anything less than that advantage, the unfortunate conclusion will be that it's the hollow and dirty championship win of the greatest driver, as an overall package, in Formula One.

Webber is now the only other contender who doesn't have to rely on others' misfortune if he wins both races, and if this were a parable, the moral pendulum now swings towards him. It is striking that, in the middle of the season, Alonso was allowed an engine upgrade that broke the terms of homologation, and despite covering more engine miles, he is still looking more reliable.

With two races to go, a Ferrari blow-up is pending but unlikely; though it's perhaps the only hope for Hamilton if there is a dry weekend in Sao Paulo in a fortnight. Though he's one of the more honourable men, if Button were to somehow win this year, it would be the epitome of a hollow championship.

The most sublimely gifted driver on the grid, Vettel, looks set to lose again through no fault of his own. In this instance, the only possible responsibility he could take for his engine failure is that he does something unique with the throttle in being the faster driver. That observation may serve those determined to be negative for no logical reason.

This leads naturally to the Silver Baron, who again outclassed most of the field with his racing in a car that is fundamentally different to Rosberg's. The closing stage of this season continues to be a period of experimentation for Schumacher, with his settings giving him more front-end grip partly via a steeper front-wing angle and the commensurate drag, slower top speed and compromise of balance. Rosberg naturally copes better with the tendency of understeer that has been inflicted on all of this year's cars, as does Alonso, and Nico's Mercedes does not display the unstable mid-corner see-sawing nature instilled by Schumacher's settings. Massa enjoys the same pointy set-up that is innately lacking in his Ferrari, and his poor relative form is exacerbated by Alonso imposing additional safe entry-push on the chassis.

Next year, there will not be enough time left for Schumacher, Brawn and Haug to make any excuses, because if they cannot collectively create the stable knife-edge car that suits Michael, so that he can properly compete with Rosberg, the great man could be confirmed as the number-two driver by the mid-season of 2011. There'll be no seat for him in 2012 if he cannot turn things around. Rosberg is too skilful, at least over a single lap, for anyone to do him or Schumacher the disservice of damning either performance this year.

With Petrov's position untenable at Renault without some misguided pandering to Russian oligarchy, I think Massa should seriously consider decamping to the French team and taking Rob Smedley with him. For Renault, as long as Kubica remains, this would be a massive coup no matter how expensive. If Massa stays at Ferrari, he will remain on the wrong side of the Rubicon forever.

24 October 2010

[quote VirginPower]The most sublimely gifted driver on the grid, Vettel, looks set to lose again through no fault of his own. [/quote]

He's gifted, certainly, and will surely be World Champion one day , but hardly "sublimely gifted" and he's made too many mistakes this season.

Today he drove superbly and came away empty-handed , but sh*t happens.

24 October 2010

Another great drive by Alonso. 3 wins in the last 4 races and surely favourite for the title now. Bad mistake by Weber. Feel sorry for Vettel. I think we missed out on a nice battle between him and Alonso at the end. Anything can still happen but Alonso and Ferrari have become a formidable team and even with the inferior car Alonso can make the difference it seems. Massa can't see which way he's gone now most of the time.

24 October 2010

Alonso, please win the world champion so you can put pathetic people who put you down in their place!

As far as i'm concerned fair is fair and Alonso has had his share of DNFs and unrealiabilty. Christian Horner has been so up himself bragging how his team are the quickest and that they're always getting updates blah blah blah. Vettel braggs about always qualifying 1st and Webber about winning and being ahead in the championships. I'm glad that Horner's smirk has been wiped this gran prix.

Anyway, for those who think Vettel is the best driver ever, would he do better if he wasn't in a redbull? Simple answer is we don't know, but i would definetely like to see it. Webber, he hasn't really been considered to be a competitor to the top guys until last year so i think redbull is his best bet and if he was to go to another team than i don't think he would do half as well as he has so far.

Alonso has beaten 7 time world champion Michael Shumacker in two championships in a renault so he's proved himself to all of his critics and i think he makes a good and deserving world champion!

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka