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Race - faultless Vettel wins incident-filled Korean round 07 Oct 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 leads at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 leads at the start of the race as Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F138 spins.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Nico Rosberg sends sparks flying as the nose of his Mercedes drops, dragging his front wing on the track, as he passes team mate Lewis Hamilton There is a dramatic moment for McLaren's Sergio Perez as his right-front tyre unravels on Lap 31 Mark Webber's race is cooked as his Red Bull catches fire after being shunted by Adrian Sutil's Force India There are some thrilling battles as the two safety-car appearances tighten up the pack. Williams' Pastor Maldonado, Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and McLaren's Sergio Perez battle for 10th The frustration continues for Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton as he fails to get past Nico Hulkenberg, who holds on to a brilliant fourth for Sauber Red Bull's triple world champion raises his famous finger of celebration as he takes the plaudits in Korea Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 battle.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Korean Grand Prix, Race Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday, 6 October 2013 Podium and results:
1st Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, second right.
2nd Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, left.
3rd Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1, right.
Tim Malyon (GBR) Red Bull Racing Performance Engineer, second left.
Formula One World Champio

Sebastian Vettel claimed his fourth successive 2013 victory in an action-packed race in Yeongam on Sunday.

As battles raged behind him, the Red Bull driver kept his cool, surviving two safety-car restarts to lead home the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, with Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg a superb fourth.

Vettel was less dominant in Yeongam than he had been in the previous three races, and had to be careful to nurse his right-front tyre in a race in which several rivals ran into graining problems.

Grosjean took the fight to the Red Bull man initially by passing Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes on the opening lap, but the Frenchman was later jumped by team mate Raikkonen. The first safety-car deployment had thrown the Finn a lifeline after he’d run eighth early on as he struggled with understeer.

When Sergio Perez’s McLaren had thrown the tread off its right-front Pirelli tyre on the 31st lap it sent safety-car driver Bernd Maylander into action as the debris was cleared up. After the usual rash of pit stops (which included Red Bull's Mark Webber taking an extra stop because of a puncture from the debris), the racing resumed on the 37th lap, with Vettel and Grosjean pushing ahead again. But some great opportunistic driving by Raikkonen - allied to a mistake from Grosjean who ran wide in the final corner - saw him jump his team mate going into the first corner.

Just as things were settling down, Adrian Sutil spun at Turn 3, the Force India striking Mark Webber’s Red Bull. The latter caught fire and as a merry blaze erupted the safety car was deployed again on the 38th lap. A fire vehicle also took to the track in front of Vettel, adding to the confusion. The RB9 was eventually recovered so that the racing could resume a second time on the 41st lap.

Now Vettel moved clear but Raikkonen was initially able to keep him honest before having to safeguard his position against his team mate as Grosjean got his second wind. As Vettel nursed his right-front tyre after being told off for setting the fastest lap with two to go, he won by 4.2s from Raikkonen who had Grosjean just seven-tenths of a second behind him.

Behind them, fourth place had been the subject of a fabulous dust-up between Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, McLaren’s Jenson Button and the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Hulkenberg’s Sauber at the head of the pack had the edge on traction and straight-line speed over Hamilton’s Mercedes, and though the Briton briefly got ahead with a nice pass going into Turn 1 on the 48th lap, Hulkenberg was able to repass on the main straight. Thereafter he calmly frustrated Hamilton’s every move to take a great fourth place and further boost his value in the driver market.

While Hamilton and the German battled, Alonso did all he could to take advantage, and on the 41st lap he and Hamilton switched places several times before the Mercedes driver reasserted himself. That left Alonso to settle for a sixth place which makes his title hopes ever slimmer.

Further back Rosberg lost touch as he was held up by Button’s slowing McLaren. The German had briefly caught and passed Hamilton on the 28th lap before his Mercedes’ nose broke and started sparking spectacularly after dragging on the track. He fell back behind his team mate when it proved difficult to change the nose during his resultant pit stop, took advantage of the lifelines of the safety cars, and got back into contention for fourth in the closing stages. But as Button lost pace on his ageing tyres, Rosberg lost touch with the Hulkenberg-Hamilton-Alonso scrap, and they were out of reach by the time he had overtaken Button on the 53rd lap.

Felipe Massa battled strongly to recover from a half spin going into the third corner on the opening lap, which caused upsets and wing damage for Button and Sutil, but the intensity of a fight with McLaren’s Sergio Perez on the 43rd lap is to be investigated by the stewards. The Mexican recovered from his tyre failure and finished seven-tenths of a second behind the Ferrari to take the final point.

There was an even more intense, and less disciplined, street fight for 11th and as Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado duffed each other up, Massa and Perez had swept by. Maldonado fell back, leaving Gutierrez to come through ahead of the Venezuelan’s team mate Valtteri Bottas.

Charles Pic took 14th, just ahead of Caterham partner Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman had an adventurous race, getting a drive-through penalty for forcing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi wide on the opening lap. Even so he was able to catch and pass both Bianchi and the other Marussia of Max Chilton, who were the final finishers in 16th and 17th.

Both Toro Rossos retired on the penultimate lap with mechanical issues, losing Daniel Ricciardo the chance of some deserved points after a strong drive. They joined Webber and the Force Indias in retirement after Sutil had stopped in the pits on the 50th lap and Paul di Resta had dropped out after crashing on the 25th lap.

The stewards have four incidents to review following the race, including the Massa-Perez one mentioned above. Perez is also under investigation for forcing Paul di Resta off track, whilst Van der Garde and Chilton are to be looked at for speeding under the safety car. Finally, Pic, Van der Garde and Bianchi are under investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags.

The result brings Red Bull within seven points of their fourth consecutive constructors’ crown, and Mercedes within a point of Ferrari for second in the standings - Red Bull have 402 points, Ferrari 284 and Mercedes 283, while Lotus are on 239, McLaren 81 and Force India 62.

Vettel extended his championship lead over Alonso to 77 points and now sits on a total of 272. As a result the German could clinch the title in Japan next week were he to win with Alonso ninth or lower. The Spaniard has 195, and Raikkonen has displaced Hamilton from third with 168 to his 161. Webber remains fifth on 130 with Rosberg on 122.

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