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Vettel's Red Bull looks like an indomitable beast

Last updated on: October 30, 2012 11:38 IST

Vettel's Red Bull looks like an indomitable beast

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Raja Sen

The Indian Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso on the top of their respective games. Raja Sen looks back on Sunday's duel.

Watching Sebastian Vettel raise that winning forefinger for yet another successive Sunday brings to mind that phrase so often used by cricket commentators: that of "peaking too soon."

This Formula One season has been more or less a shambles, at least for the first half of the year. It started off exciting with different winners, but soon it became hard to see which team or driver was doing well. It all seemed a bit of a tyre-degradation lottery.

Until Fernando Alonso came along and wowed us all. Staggeringly consistent, the Spaniard took his Ferrari to heights that its 2012 machinery simply did not deserve, and suddenly -- in this season of anything-goes and debut winners and much randomness -- we had a frontrunner.

And he was doing it without the best car on the grid. It's been a superhuman season from Alonso, one of the best campaigns we've had in years. Even haters of the Spaniard have found themselves converted.


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: Buddh International Circuit

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Vettel's Red Bull has been strong and getting stronger

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Meanwhile, young Sebastian Vettel has been waiting for the season to come to him, instead of the other way around.

Even as Fernando's car hasn't been the class of the field, Vettel's Red Bull has been strong and getting stronger, and now looks like an indomitable beast.

Even the toughest warhorses can be whipped, however, and this is where Vettel really shines: as soon as the machinery has allowed him, he's sparked off four back-to-back victories, making it four Sundays in a row where he's stabbed the air with that finger, leaped atop that podium. He's in charge now, and has the lead going into the three final races.

And so it is that these warriors have taken a sloppy season -- a season drivers and teams haven't enjoyed, a topsy-turvy whirl -- and risen above it to give us a gladiatorial climax.

With three races to go and 75 points in the offing, the title can yet go either way, even if Red Bull has the Constructor's Championship all sewn up. One one hand is Alonso, gloriously stamping his supremacy on the sport even with a weak car. On the other is Vettel, who betrays nary a chink once his armour is good enough.


Photographs: Buddh International Circuit

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Alonso gave the audiences someone to root for

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Sunday at the Indian Grand Prix saw both men on the top of their respective games, Vettel leading every lap yet again (for the third race running, a show of dominance matching an old Ayrton Senna record) and Alonso duelling through the field, tossing hapless McLarens aside in his wake as he conquered Mark Webber's Red Bull but had to settle for second to Sebastian. On a track made for overtaking that offered very little of it this weekend, Alonso gave the audiences someone to root for.

The 'problem' with the wonderfully designed Indian track this year was its extraordinary kindness to the tyres. As said, this year has been all about degrading rubber and tyres "falling off a cliff."

Conversely the Indian circuit offered rubber little resistance and allowed drivers to take on a one-stop strategy.

Those anticipating Sunday afternoon surprises were left disappointed; this was a circuit where a sliver of straight-line speed appeared enough to stay ahead: Felipe Massa's seventh gear burst, for example, was enough to keep a rampaging Kimi Raikkonen at bay.

The McLarens had a dreary day in the field, both of them outclassed by Fernando's Ferrari and unable to catch Webber's Red Bull. A bit like those in the half-full seats at the Buddh International Circuit.

The logistics were spot on, the track was perfect but it was admittedly hard not to stifle a yawn. No wonder everyone cheered for Alonso.


Photographs: Buddh International Circuit

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