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Korea analysis - rivals wilt under Red Bull pressure 16 Oct 2012

(L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing (2nd); Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing (race winner) and Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal, celebrate.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 crosses the line to win the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari in the press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 (L to R): Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 retires from the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31 slides out of the race after colliding with Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 14 October 2012

Just as he did in Suzuka, Sebastian Vettel won as he pleased in Korea, but this time Red Bull team mate Mark Webber followed him home to create the first one-two finish of any team in the 2012 season. Vettel’s success moved him into a six-point lead in the world championship, but third place for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso kept the Spaniard in play on a day when things fell apart for McLaren. We take a team-by-team look at the race form in Yeongam…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P2

Red Bull owned the race from the start, and once he had taken the lead Vettel never needed to look back. His only issues were a lock-up going into Turn Three on the 35th lap prior to his second pit stop, and the need to nurse his front tyres in the closing laps. Webber was unhappy with his car’s launch from pole position, though generally those who started on the inside, so-called ’dirty’ line seemed to get away better. He was also unhappy not to have been told of Vettel’s tyre problems. The success makes Vettel the favourite to repeat his title successes of 2010 and ’11.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P3
Felipe Massa, P4

Ferrari weren’t fast enough to challenge Red Bull, but third and fourth places keeps them in play for the title campaign. Interestingly, Alonso was clearly not as quick as Massa, who could close in at will on his team mate in his most convincing performance of the season but, of course, was not allowed even to think of passing. Their points haul moves the red team ahead of McLaren in the constructors’ stakes.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P5
Romain Grosjean, P7

Lotus lacked sheer pace. Raikkonen, with his new Coanda exhaust robbing his Renault V8 of a little power, gave Hamilton a very hard time in the early stages before levelling off for yet another points-scoring position, while Grosjean kept his nose clean in the opening laps, was circumspect in his overtaking, finally nailed Hulkenberg after showing commendable patience, but lost out again when they both battled with Hamilton.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, P6
Paul di Resta, P12

Hulkenberg was always in the thick of the midfield-points battle after an excellent drive. He fended off Grosjean for the first 32 laps, lost a place to the Lotus, then grabbed it back as they fought with Hamilton. Great stuff. Di Resta never really recovered from his qualifying problems, but got the upper hand eventually in a tough battle with Schumacher.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P8
Daniel Ricciardo, P9

Toro Rosso took away six points after strong race drives from Vergne and Ricciardo. The Australian seemed set for eighth until a front-end problem started to make his STR7 pull violently to the right. He thus had to give best to Vergne, who had held off Hamilton well in the final laps.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P10
Jenson Button, Retired lap 1, collision damage

McLaren’s race was a disaster. Button made a brilliant start before losing ground having to avoid Perez in Turn One, and was then taken out by Kobayashi in Turn Three. Hamilton lost third place to Alonso in the first corner, held off Raikkonen in some feisty side-by-side running, but later lost ground when his rear anti-rollbar broke around lap 18. That upset the handling and increased tyre wear, resulting in a three-stop race. At the end his fight for eighth place was stymied when he picked up some errant Astroturf, which dragged on the right-hand sidepod winglet and ruined the aerodynamics. He was fortunate to fend off Perez on the line. To make things even worse, Ferrari overtook them in the constructors’ points table.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, P11
Kamui Kobayashi, Retired lap 17, accident damage

Sauber came down to earth with a bump – literally – in their first race with Monisha Kaltenborn as team principal. Perez hit Hulkenberg in Turn One, then Kobayashi savaged Button and Rosberg in Turn Three. The latter later got a drive-through penalty for causing a collision, before retiring with accident damage. Perez was delayed, and just missed the final point by 0.3s. Without the incidents he reckoned sixth place would have been possible, which shows what an opportunity both drivers wasted.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, P13
Nico Rosberg, Retired lap 2, accident

Mercedes had another dire race, with Rosberg getting taken out on the opening lap by Kobayashi just when he was battling with Button and Grosjean, and Schumacher struggling unsuccessfully all afternoon to fend off Di Resta and later Perez. Their only good news was that Sauber failed to score too.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, P14
Bruno Senna, P15

Both drivers struggled for pace, Maldonado on a one-stop strategy and Senna on a two. The Brazilian complained early on about debris affecting the performance of his front wing, and later ran wheel-to-wheel with his team mate as they battled over 14th place.

Caterham
Vitaly Petrov, P16
Heikki Kovalainen, P17

The two Caterham drivers fought throughout, with the verdict finally going to Petrov.

Marussia
Timo Glock, P18
Charles Pic, P19

Glock took the fight to the Caterhams early on, and kept them on their toes, but was always hampered by the lack of KERS. Pic had a quiet race, but at least finished.

HRT
Narain Karthikeyan, P20
Pedro de la Rosa, Retired lap 17, throttle

HRT lost De la Rosa early on with a throttle problem which had started to manifest itself on the fifth lap. Karthikeyan soldiered on, however, but lacked the pace to challenge Caterham or Marussia.

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