Sebastian Vettel wins inaugural Grand Prix of India

At last, the seemingly never-ending wait that quite a few of our countrymen endured for long, came to an exhilarating end. The inaugral Grand Prix of India, that has long been the stuff of dreams for racing aficionados in our country, just became a reality. As the 24 cars lined up on the Buddh International Circuit at Greater Noida near New Delhi and the five illuminated red lights went off signalling the start of the race, history was created as India stamped its authority on the glamorous world of Formula One. Agreed, there were a few niggles here and there but overall, it was a great show by India as a country on a stage that was visible to millions of people across the world. The event itself, having been attended by over 100,000 people, was a grand success and it is all the more commendable given the humiliation inflicted on our country in the recent Commonwealth Games.

With Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa topping the practice sessions on Friday, the gates for qualifying were left wide open on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, it was a Red bull again on pole, just like it was in all but one race this season. And, boy, it was Sebastian Vettel again, putting a blistering lap in the final moments to claim P1. Lewis Hamilton qualified second but was demoted to fifth on the grid for ignoring a double yellow flag during practice. Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa who broke the front suspension during his flying lap and Nico Rosberg came next on the grid. Much to the cheer of thousands of racing fans across India, Adrian Sutil in his Force India qualified eighth ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Jamie Algersuari and Sebastian Buemi. Michael Schumacher could qualify only twelfth fastest. 

Sebastian Vettel, starting from pole, led the race from start to finish and also took the fastest lap, thus capping a perfect weekend for him and Red Bull here in India. Jenson Button took the second place from Mark Webber on the opening lap with a brilliant move and never looked back. Ferrari's perfect timing of the pit stops also saw Alonso leapfrog Webber to the final place on the podium. Mark Webber followed closely in fourth position with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg taking fifth and sixth respectively. Yet again, the seven time world champion drove a solid race for Mercedes starting from twelfth position. Another race, and yet another collision between Massa and Hamilton, the former at fault on this occasion. These two just can't seem to get enough of each other. While Hamilton recovered to finish seventh, Massa hit the kerbs and broke his suspension for the second time in two days, thus ending his race.

Algersuari took some important points for Toro Rosso finishing eighth ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India and Sergio Perez's Sauber. Narain Karthikeyan, the home hero who started the race in 24th position for the Hispania Racing Team, finished an impressive 17th just ahead of his highly-regarded teammate Daniel Ricciardo. It was only fitting that Sachin Tendulkar, by far India's biggest sporting talent and an iconic cricketer considered as the God of Cricket, waved the checkered flag to mark Vettel's victory. And that also marked the end of a hugely successful inaugural Grand Prix of India with a rumored 110,000 fans watching the event live from the stands. In the end, all we can say is that it was a job extremely well done by the organizers and all others associated with it.

Images Source: www.espnf1.com & respective owners

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