Sebastian Vettel broke another F1 record as he dominated the inaugural Indian Grand Prix today.
The Red Bull Racing driver qualified on pole position at the newly constructed Buddh International Circuit near Delhi, led all the way and set the fastest lap.
It was the world champion’s 11th victory of the season and he also broke Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record for the number of laps led in one season. This year, Vettel has now been at the front for 711 laps.
Jenson Button was the only driver to offer any challenge to Vettel. The McLaren-Mercedes racer passed Mark Webber’s Red Bull on the opening lap and was rarely more than a handful of seconds behind the leader.
After Vettel and Button had made their final pitstops for fresh rubber, the Briton was able to slash the gap to under three seconds. Once the leader’s tyres had come up to full operating temperature, however, he stroked clear again and set the fastest lap on his last tour.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso rounded out the podium ahead of Webber, who lined up second on the grid behind his team-mate but once again faded in the race.
An inspired Michael Schumacher eclipsed team-mate Nico Rosberg as the Mercedes twins finished fifth and sixth.
Lewis Hamilton had another incident-packed weekend. The 2008 world champion was handed a three-place grid penalty for not obeying yellow flags during free practice on Friday, so lined up fifth on the grid and slipped behind arch-rival Felipe Massa at the start.
After a lacklustre opening stint, the balance of Hamilton’s McLaren was more settled on his second set of Pirellis and he closed in on the Ferrari driver.