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PSYcho Vettel takes Korea win in style

NEWS STORY
14/10/2012

Two years down the line, little has really changed at the Koran International Circuit. Yes, certain updates have been carried out but where are the casinos and hotels, where is the infrastructure that was meant to turn this into a playground for the rich and famous of the east?

The empty grandstands are worrying, suggesting that once the current contract comes to an end Yeongam will go the way of Istanbul and Valencia.

While little has changed in terms of the track, Red Bull will be hoping that its luck has changed since that maiden race two years ago when Mark Webber ended his championship hopes when he went slightly offline and dipped a wheel into the dirt, while pole-man Vettel suffered an engine just ten laps from the end whilst leading.

Remembering that miserable day, there is sure to be lots of foot twitching on the prat-perch today, not just at the start as the Milton Keynes duo go head to head into the first corner, but for the remaining 55 laps.

Behind the Red Bull duo, the Austrian team enjoying its second successive front row lock out, the grid is mighty impressive, indeed, one couldn't have arranged it better if one had tried.

First off there's Lewis Hamilton, keen to take up where he left off in Italy, before it all appeared to go slightly wrong, what with the talk of an atmosphere within the team, the twitter nonsense and the whole Mercedes thing. Whatever the mathematics, and despite what he says, Hamilton knows that the title is still up fro grabs, however, like Webber and Raikkonen, he knows that this is the Last Chance Saloon. If he is to get his season back on track, a podium is the very least he needs to walk away with today.

That first corner incident at Suzuka was a major shock to Fernando Alonso's chances, the legendary Japanese track the scene of many broken dreams over the years. However, despite the glitch in Q1, the Maranello outfit's updates are working, witness Felipe Massa's excellent pace also, so, providing he can stay away from trouble, the Spaniard should be able to add a further haul of points to his tally today.

Yet to win a race, Kimi Raikkonen keeps sticking the points away like a saver waiting for that rainy day. The only driver to have completed every racing lap thus far this season, and failing to score points on only one occasion, the Finn must remain a strong outsider, especially if there is any of the usual silliness.

Talking of silliness, once again all eyes will be on Romain Grosjean, the likeable Frenchman well aware that his fellow drivers and his team are getting sick of the incidents. Lotus has punched well above its weight this year and the Enstone outfit, indeed, Romain deserves better.

Another strong performance sees Nico Hulkenberg start from eighth, the German appearing to get the upper hand over his Scottish teammate in recent races. While media attention focuses on the financial affairs of Vijay Mallya, it would be good if the German - and his teammate - can give the Dadford Road boys and girls something to smile about.

Starting from ninth and tenth, one gets the feeling that Mercedes might have a trick up its sleeve. Then again we've been saying that for some time. While Schumacher begins to wind down, one cannot help but feel that Nico Rosberg is in for a rude awakening next season when Lewis arrives at Brackley.

With Pirelli suggesting that some drivers will opt for just one stop this afternoon, one has to cast an eye at Jenson Button, the Englishman keen to make up for the mistake that saw him eliminated in Q2. He's still in with a shot at the title but to be realistic a decent points haul would be sufficient. That said, not having made it into Q3 the canny Englishman has a couple of spare sets of tyres available.

Another driver keen to make up for Suzuka is Sergio Perez, the Mexican's second ambitious move on Hamilton not going quite according to plan. Again, like Button, the youngster's skill with tyres could come into play. As for Kamui Kobayashi, another decent points haul might be enough to secure his seat for 2013 and thereby take some of the pressure off.

Williams looks likely to be spending the afternoon battling the Toro Rosso duo, with Pastor Maldonado likely to come out on top. Then again, Bruno Senna is another driver still secure a seat for next season and therefore needing a good result - and soon.

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