Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has taken his fourth win in a row to extend his championship lead at the Korean Grand Prix Sunday race. The German stopped twice to become the first driver to win in Korea from the pole and give himself the mathematical possibility of clinching his fourth world title in Japan next weekend. If he wins at Suzuka, and Fernando Alonso fails to finish higher than ninth, Vettel will be the 2013 World Champion.
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All the drivers started on the P Zero Red supersoft tyre, except for Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, who started the race on the P Zero White medium. After some spots of rain during the morning, conditions remained dry in Korea throughout the afternoon, with the race starting in ambient temperatures of 27 degrees centigrade and track temperatures of 29 degrees.
Ricciardo’s strategy boosted him from 12th on the grid to fourth by the time he made his first stop for the medium tyre again on lap 18. He switched onto the supersoft tyre under the first safety car and was set for a top-10 finish before retiring with one lap to go. McLaren’s Jenson Button was one of the few drivers who didn’t use the safety car periods to pit, and the Englishman finished eighth from 11th on the grid, having put on his final set of medium tyres on lap 22 and run to the finish.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said:
With the medium compound proving to be the ideal race tyre, most drivers aimed to get onto it as soon as possible, with teams reacting from the start of the race to the strategies that had been put in place by their immediate rivals. We had a tyre choice that may have been aggressive, with the supersoft being a perfect qualifying tyre and the medium optimal for the race, but this was following the requests of many of the teams. Regarding Sergio Perez’s front-right tyre issue, we have determined very quickly that it was the result of a flat spot caused by a lock-up under heavy braking. We’re obviously on exactly the same construction as we raced here last year, so there’s no underlying problem, while flat spots or punctures have just always been an integral part of racing. The two safety car periods had an important effect on the race strategy, which meant that all the finishers, apart from one, completed the race with just two stops. Without safety cars, we probably would have seen more people stopping three times, but it was always going to be within the two to a three-stop window, which has been our target since we came into Formula One.