Sebastian Vettel has become the first four-time grand prix winner of the 2012 season, taking the chequered flag in Korea. In a race of numbers, the German Red Bull driver left Korea also having achieved a six-point lead in the championship and his 25th career victory, equal now to Jim Clark and Niki Lauda.
Mark Webber started on pole, but Vettel got a surging start and passed the Australian by the first corner. By the middle of the first lap, Vettel was already opening an undeniable lead that Webber wouldn’t close.
With Alonso finishing third and Massa continuing his late-season good form finishing fourth, Ferrari achieved the best possible result from the Yeongam circuit. Amidst insider claims that Vettel is set to join Ferrari in 2014, Massa was certainly trying hard to impress and was told not to challenge Alonso despite being faster.
Jenson Button qualified 11th and hoped for a long first stint to put him in the points, but was shunted out of the race by Kamui Kobyashi on the opening lap. Lewis Hamilton suffered a rear suspension failure in his first stint, which meant he struggled to manage the car and was left squabbling over the last point. Clearly disappointed Hamilton has since suggested that his hopes of winning the championship this year are over, saying: “in terms of winning, I think that's it for us.”
Toro Rosso team principle Franz Tost summed up his team’s superb form as “their strongest performance of the year”. Jean-Eric Vergne headed Daniel Ricciardo for an 8-9 finish.
Korean GP top ten finishers
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber
3. Fernando Alonso