Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has become the youngest-ever four-time world champion at the Indian Grand Prix Sunday race; only the fourth person in history to achieve four titles, with three of them, won on Pirelli tyres. Vettel claimed the race with a two-stop strategy, starting on the P Zero Yellow soft and then completing two stints on the P Zero White medium. His latest victory also means that Vettel has now won all three Indian Grands Prix held so far.
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There were mixed strategies throughout the top 10 on the grid, with six drivers – including pole man Vettel – starting on the soft tyre and four starting on the medium tyre. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was the highest-placed driver to start on the medium tyre in fourth: the best qualifying position seen so far this year for a driver setting his best time on the harder of the two nominated compounds on a Saturday.
The first pit stops came at the end of lap one, with Force India’s Paul di Resta and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne switching from the soft to the medium compound. Vettel made the same move at the end of lap two from the lead, re-joining at the back and handing the advantage to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa – who became the first man other than Vettel ever to lead a lap of the Indian Grand Prix Sunday race.
Massa pitted on lap eight, putting Webber into the lead. Webber pitted on lap 28 for softs, at which point Vettel was back into the lead. Vettel’s final stop was on lap 31 for the medium, followed one lap later by his teammate – who also went on to the medium for his final stint before retiring on lap 39 with mechanical problems.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said:
With a notable lap time difference between the two compounds, the strategy was at the forefront of this action-packed Indian Grand Prix. We saw some very different approaches being taken down the grid, roughly split between drivers starting on the soft and the medium tyre. We also saw many teams split their strategies between both cars to cover every possibility. Sebastian Vettel’s early pit stop meant that he was able to undercut his direct rivals on the same strategy, but Webber was able to gain track position by staying out longer: which basically summed up how the different tactics worked. However, we are disappointed to see that some teams went against our recommendations and used the compounds for longer than we advised them to do. Most of all though, congratulations to Sebastian and Red Bull for their fourth consecutive double championship: a testament to their astounding capabilities in every area all year, including their skills at using the tyres and strategy to gain an advantage.