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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alonso wins in chaotic Korea, leads championship

Prior to Sunday, the inaugural Korean Grand Prix looked likely to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Seventeen laps behind the safety car and a red flag, all due to a saturated race track, were only helping to cement that opinion. A running joke was safety car driver Bernd Maylander was making a move on the championship.

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 24: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme after winning the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 24, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)

But the safety car came in on lap 18, and what ensued was perhaps the most interesting race of the season, a game changer that saw disaster for Red Bull and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso vault to the top of the championship hunt, concluding at dusk just minutes before the time limit.

The safety car drives past the crashed car of Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia during the South Korean F1 Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam October 24, 2010.     REUTERS/Toru Hanai (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)

Sebastian Vettel had sprinted away with Mark Webber and Alonso in pursuit when the safety car came in, but the racing was short lived as Webber put a foot wrong one lap later, hitting the wall, spinning across the track and collecting Nico Rosberg for good measure. It was a huge blow for the then championship leader, who had to watch his nearest rivals speed of into the distance.

While Vettel led, Alonso and Hamilton swapped second place between them. Hamilton got by Alonso during the Ferrari’s pit stop, only to hand the spot back when he locked up under braking on lap 31.

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 24: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing puts out a fire on his car during the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 24, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

By the time the race reached lap 42, the magic lap where full points would be awarded as opposed to half, Alonso was pressuring Vettel for the lead. Just a few short laps later, the other shoe dropped for Red Bull as Vettel’s engine let go and handed Alonso the win.

Hamilton took second for McLaren, and Ferari’s Felipe Massa atoned for recent failures to take third. Defending champion Jenson Button finished 12th.

Red Bull lead the constructors with 426 points to McLaren’s 399 and Ferrari’s 374, while Alonso leads Webber 231 to 220 with just two races to go for the drivers championship. Lewis Hamilton (210) and Sebastian Vettel (206) face longer odds and Jenson Button (189) is all but eliminated.

Notes: Michael Schumacher finished fourth in what may have been his best race of the year. Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi and Force India’s Adrian Sutil have both been handed five-place grid penalties for next month’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Buemi for collecting Virgin’s Timo Glock on lap 30 and Sutil for colliding with BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi on lap 47, one of nearly half a dozen incidents involving the German.

  1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 2:48:20.810
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren +00:14.999
  3. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00:30.868
  4. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 00:39.688
  5. Robert Kubica (Poland) Renault 00:47.734
  6. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Force India - Mercedes 00:53.571
  7. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Williams - Cosworth 01:09.257
  8. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber - Ferrari 01:17.889
  9. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber - Ferrari 01:20.107
  10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Williams - Cosworth 01:20.851
  11. Jaime Alguersuari (Spain) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 01:24.146
  12. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:29.939
  13. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Lotus - Cosworth 1 lap
  14. Bruno Senna (Brazil) HRT - Cosworth 2 laps
  15. Sakon Yamamoto (Japan) HRT - Cosworth 2 laps
  • Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 9 laps
  • Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 10 laps
  • Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Renault 16 laps
  • Timo Glock (Germany) Virgin - Cosworth 24 laps
  • Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 25 laps
  • Jarno Trulli (Italy) Lotus - Cosworth 30 laps
  • Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil) Virgin - Cosworth 30 laps
  • Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 37 laps
  • Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 37 laps

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think SPEED Channel's David Hobbs said that Maylander has led 6% of the race laps this year.
Nice revamp of the web site.

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