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Korea analysis - Vettel on the brink, as Hulkenberg stars 07 Oct 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 (L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, Tim Malyon (GBR) Red Bull Racing Performance Engineer, race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 (L to R): Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took his fourth consecutive win on Sunday in Korea. It means victory in Japan next weekend could secure him a fourth consecutive drivers’ title - a feat previously achieved by only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio - should Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finish ninth or lower. And while Vettel won with ease in Yeongam, fellow German Nico Hulkenberg was displaying similar racing prowess for Sauber, as he skilfully deprived former champions Lewis Hamilton and Alonso of fourth place. We take a team-by-team look at the Sunday formbook...

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, retired lap 37, accident damage/fire

Vettel had few problems, apart from the need to conserve his right-front tyre, to maintain his cool during two safety-car restarts, and an unexpected encounter with a fire tender sent out to deal with team mate Webber’s burning RB9. The world champion took his fourth consecutive victory and his eighth of the season, moving ever close to title number four, but Webber’s race was a nightmare that started with his penalised 13th-place start and ended with attack from Sutil in Turn Three on the 37th lap and the resultant fire from a burst oil radiator.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P2
Romain Grosjean, P3

There was controversy at Lotus after Grosjean got pounced on by team mate Raikkonen, who had been very lucky with the first safety-car intervention. That enabled him to take advantage on the restart when Grosjean ran wide in the final corner and was vulnerable going into the first. Asked over the radio to smile on the rostrum, he discussed things on camera afterwards. Despite that, the bottom line was a strong continuation of form for the team, and a decent haul of points. And Raikkonen moves back to third in the drivers’ title chase, ahead of Hamilton.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, P4
Esteban Gutierrez, P11

Once again Hulkenberg was the star. He snatched a place from Alonso at the start and later took Hamilton’s scalp, then calmly used his C32’s superior traction and straight-line speed to keep the Mercedes at bay. On the one occasion that Hamilton squeezed by in Turn One on the 48th lap, he was able to repass immediately, and stayed ahead to the flag. Gutierrez should also have been in contention, but lost out in the Turn Three melee at the start, then fought back up to 11th.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, P5
Nico Rosberg, P7

Mercedes had another bruising race. Hamilton lost second place immediately to Grosjean, ran third, then lost a huge amount of time when his right-front tyre gave up. He had to stay out until the 29th lap to keep on schedule, and by the time he got going again he’d lost places to Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Rosberg, meanwhile, had closed down a 12-second deficit to his team mate during Hamilton’s tricky stage, but just after he’d overtaken him for third place on the 28th lap his W04’s front wing collapsed. He lost time as the old nose was reluctant to come off in the resultant pit stop, and dropped back to an eventual seventh-place finish after winning a tough fight with Button in the closing stages.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P6
Felipe Massa, P9

Ferrari simply lacked pace, and Alonso struggled throughout. On the 41st lap he took advantage of Hamilton’s battle with Hulkenberg to snatch fifth place briefly, but after a spell of passing and repassing he lost out to his old McLaren Nemesis. With a 77-point gap now to Vettel, his title chances are all but over. Massa, meanwhile, got short-braked in the Turn Three mess at the start and had to spin to miss running into Rosberg. That, and a pit stop on the sixth lap, dropped him to the tail of the field but thereafter he battled back into ninth place after a tense duel with Perez.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P8
Sergio Perez, P10

Button’s race was ruined when a Turn Three collision with Sutil damaged a front-wing endplate and necessitated an early stop, and later when he had to delay rejoining after his second pit stop when the pit-release lights suddenly flashed from green to red. On pace he was then able to hound Alonso and to keep Rosberg at bay until the 53rd lap, when the German deprived him of seventh place. Perez, meanwhile, suffered the right-front tyre delamination on the 31st lap which triggered deployment of the first safety car. After getting a new nose and rubber he rejoined and battled his way home to 10th, after fierce scraps with Di Resta and Massa.

Williams
Valtterri Bottas, P12
Pastor Maldonado, P13

Once again Williams lacked pace. At the end Maldonado fought up to 10th, but then lost out big time after a red-mist fight with Gutierrez and dropped to the tail of a battle which included the Mexican, Massa, Perez and team mate Bottas. In the end he finished 13th, one place behind the Finn.

Caterham
Charles Pic, P14
Giedo van der Garde, P15

Pic ran to a steady 14th, while Van der Garde had a more adventurous race which included a drive-through penalty for forcing Bianchi off the track early on.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, P16
Max Chilton, P17

At times the Marussias had the same race pace as the Caterhams, but their chances of beating them were damaged by the early need for tyre management strategies.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P18, retired lap 54, brakes
Daniel Ricciardo, P19, retired lap 53, brakes

Ricciardo was in strong contention for points after a good race, but both he and team mate Vergne retired within a lap of each other with the same problem: shattered brake discs.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P20, retired lap 51, accident damage
Paul di Resta, retired lap 25, accident

Force India had another tough race. Di Resta and Sutil should have been in points contention, but the latter was delayed in the Turn Three melee at the start and tagged Button, and thus required a new nose after three laps. Later, on lap 37, he spun at the same corner and tagged Webber, and eventually retired with rear wing failure as a result. By then Di Resta was long gone after crashing out on the 25th lap.

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