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Vettel's Indian take away

NEWS STORY
28/10/2012

Few, if any, drivers were actually happy with their qualifying laps yesterday, from Sebastian Vettel right the way back to Charles Pic.

The German had to "settle" for his first time after being a "bit too greedy braking into Turn 4" on his next flyer, while Frenchman Pic was at a loss to explain why he was slower on the soft compound than on the hard.

All along the pitlane it was the same story of "disappointment" and "frustration", be it Paul di Resta, who described it as his "worst qualifying ever", Mark Webber who couldn't get his "tyre prep done" or Kimi Raikkonen who admitted to having gone wrong in terms of set-up.

While disappointed with qualifying however, almost everyone is hopeful that they will perform much better today, Fernando Alonso convinced that he will still win the title. Fact is however, unless something totally out of the ordinary happens - and we can discount the weather gods - this race has Vettel's name all over it. Indeed, the juggernaut appears to be racing towards that third title at breakneck speed.

With the RBR8 looking so good here, the only hope for the opposition is that Webber sticks to his word and refuses to roll over for his teammate - assuming he can get ahead of him - that the German suffers another reliability issue or that Romain Grosjean can work his magic.

Assuming Alonso hasn't taken up voodoo, sitting in his cockpit with a toy alternator and a pin, or handed Romain a backhander - an almost impossible concept in contemporary F1 - we can only think that the Spaniard believes the next three circuits will play into his hands.

The only incident of note last year - which, ominously, Vettel won, was a first lap clash that saw Kobayashi and Glock eliminated, with Maldonado, Buemi and Massa all retiring later in the race with technical issues.

However, other than the world championship title which, despite what some of the participants might say, is now clearly a two horse race, there is the Constructors' Championship - the one that brings in the money - and the little matter of those (twelve) drivers yet to secure their seat for next season.

Consequently, while most attention is drawn centre stage, there is a lot going on elsewhere.

Tyre wear isn't an issue here - teams have access to the hards and softs - but this has led to speculation over strategy with Pirelli claiming that some drivers might stop just once. Of course, this opens up the possibility of a repeat of those closing laps in Korea when Vettel received repeated, ever more alarming, warnings about his rubber. Then again, are we clutching at straws?

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