Rating the drivers for their performance at the Indian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | 1st | 10/10
To win one world title takes a supreme amount of skill, talent and commitment from several hundred people. To do it twice is even harder. But to win it for a third and fourth successive time, almost from scratch, is unprecedented. Vettel’s Indian summer continues as he romped to a sixth consecutive win; can he win the final three races? You’d be brave to bet against it.
Mark Webber | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | Ret | 7/10
It’s a myth that Webber ends up with all of Red Bull’s problems but he has been desperately unlucky across the last few races. He pushed to the maximum but ultimately he was always going to finish behind Vettel. Alternator failure was a cruel blow but he’s been a key part in Red Bull’s success across the last five seasons.
Fernando Alonso | Scuderia Ferrari | 11th | 5/10
The contrast between Vettel and Alonso could not have been more striking. While Vettel scythed his way to the front following his first stop, Alonso was marooned in the midfield. Initial contact with Webber was not his fault but contact with Button was clumsy and left him with steering issues. The title was always improbable but it was a woeful race. Still, at least he can re-use his ‘points’ helmet in Abu Dhabi.
Felipe Massa | Scuderia Ferrari | 4th | 8/10
It was a good time for Massa to put in an eye-catching drive as he made a superb start to vault from fifth place to fourth, before easing past both Mercedes drivers on the run down to turn four. He was unable to live with Nico Rosberg’s pace and could not catch up with the one-stopping Romain Grosjean. Nonetheless, his best drive for several races.
Jenson Button | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 14th | 4/10
A wretched race for Button began when he was clipped by Alonso at turn four, cracking the rim of his right rear and causing a puncture. This left Button out of position and consigned to a race outside of the top 10. He wasn’t troubling the points when McLaren opted to retire the car as a precaution due to a gearbox issue.
Sergio Perez | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 5th | 9/10
In a race where tyre management was key, it came as little surprise that Pérez was able to excel. He made his medium tyres last for the first 28 laps all while running at a strong pace. He battled with Lewis Hamilton and managed to pull off a superb double move on Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen, equalling McLaren’s best result of 2013.
Kimi Raikkonen | Lotus | 7th | 7/10
Räikkönen tried pulling off a one stop strategy but ultimately the tyres cried enough with a handful of laps remaining and he was forced to pit for a second time. But not before he embarked on a bit of argy-bargy with team-mate Grosjean which led to some colourful exchanges on the radio. Overheating brakes during the first part of the race compounded problems.
Romain Grosjean | Lotus | 3rd | 9/10
When Grosjean stepped out of his Lotus after qualifying, few would have expected the Frenchman to appear on the podium 24 hours later. Time lost early on behind Esteban Gutiérrez perhaps cost him a shot at second place but he eked out the life of the option tyre to ensure that he could stop just once. A very measured drive.
Nico Rosberg | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 2nd | 9/10
Rosberg had endured a trying string of races but he raced with vim to climb onto the podium for the first time since his victory at Silverstone. He lost out to Massa at the start but managed the strategy well and breezed past the Brazilian after the first round of stops. Benefitted from Webber’s retirement on a day where Red Bull was too far in front.
Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 6th| 7/10
Hamilton – who is still the most recent non-Vettel winner of a Grand Prix – spent so much of the race stranded behind Massa that he overused his tyres and left himself vulnerable to Pérez. His replacement at McLaren took full advantage and took fifth place away during the final laps.
Nico Hulkenberg | Sauber | 19th | 8/10
As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. So it proved in India as Hülkenberg’s starring run of form ended with his poorly Sauber parked in the garage. But it was another strong drive from Hülkenberg, who leapt up to fifth at the start and was on course for seventh or eighth until the brakes suffered Delhi belly.
Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber | 15th | 4/10
After a couple of decent races it was a disappointing weekend across the board for Gutiérrez. He couldn’t get near the pace of Hülkenberg and spent the race battling outside of the top 10. He applied himself well during scraps with Alonso and Grosjean but this was a race to forget.
Paul di Resta | Sahara Force India | 8th | 7/10
This was the home race for the team based opposite Silverstone and both drivers managed to score points. For di Resta, he finished in the top 10 for the first time since Force India’s other home race – the real one – as he came in eighth place. The Brit pitted on the opening lap to get the option tyres out of the way and raced with aplomb from thereon.
Adrian Sutil | Sahara Force India | 9th | 7/10
Sutil defied expectations and stayed out on prime tyres for what seemed like an eternity, before finally pitting and dropping back into the battle with his team-mate. It was another quietly assured drive from the Force India racer, who is seeking to remain with the team for another year.
Pastor Maldonado | Williams | 12th | 6/10
The wheels keep coming off of Williams’s season. After Maldonado’s wheel detached during Friday practice in Japan, the wheel nut fell off in India, delaminating the tyre and leaving Maldonado stranded before the pit entry. As in Japan, Williams sustained a fine of 60,000 Euros.
Valtteri Bottas | Williams | 16th | 6/10
Bottas qualified well and ran inside the top 10 but suffered courtesy of a radio problem that compromised his strategy. The communication issue meant he stayed out longer than anticipated, dropping him back into a heap of traffic and condemning him to another point less race.
Jean-Eric Vergne | Scuderia Toro Rosso | 13th | 6/10
Toro Rosso used a similar strategy to Force India by pitting Vergne after just a single lap. The resultant stop left him playing catch-up, but unlike some rivals he was unable to climb through the field and finished outside of the points.
Daniel Ricciardo | Scuderia Toro Rosso | 10th | 8/10
After a couple of difficult races, Ricciardo returned to the points courtesy of a 10th place finish. He managed to hold off the advances of Alonso throughout the final stint but was more disappointed in his failure to be closer to the Force India drivers.
Charles Pic | Caterham | Ret | 6/10
Max Chilton’s aggressive approach to the first corner tipped Giedo van der Garde into Pic, leaving the Frenchman with a puncture. This dropped him out of contention in the battle with the Marussia drivers, although a hydraulic problem eventually caused Pic’s retirement. The gearbox and power steering began to deteriorate, at which point Caterham called him in for good.
Giedo van der Garde | Caterham | Ret | 6/10
Van der Garde’s views on Chilton were aired to the world following their first corner collision. “It’s been made really clear to us that we have to give each other room but today I wasn’t given any at all,” he said, diplomatically, after the race. Broken suspension from the clash left him out of the race on the first lap for the second successive race.
Jules Bianchi | Marussia | 17th | 7/10
Bianchi’s strategy was theoretically faster than Chilton’s, but in the end he finished eight tenths of a second behind his team-mate. The lost seconds came at the first stop, where a delay cost him 11 seconds.
Max Chilton | Marussia | 18th | 6/10
Chilton had a differing view of the first lap contact; “From the video, the circumstances of the first corner seem pretty clear – I was ahead of van der Garde and he hit both Pic and myself with his front wing.” It was a competent race from Chilton, who eclipsed team-mate Bianchi at the back.