A victory here will make Vettel of Red Bull a unique champion
To borrow McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh's words, the gloves are really off now. The stage is set for a spectacular race day at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here on Sunday when the Grand Prix of India is formally welcomed into the Formula One fold.
“We'll get to see some truly incredible racing by the greatest drivers in the world,” Whitmarsh said recently, rebuffing suggestions that the Grand Prix of India — and the last two races in Abu Dhabi and Brazil — is only of academic interest, with Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull having already won the world title.
“Why not fight for victory in one of the remaining races?” Fernando Alonso [Ferrari] asked, while Jenson Button [McLaren] was far more vehement — “The championship's won but the season isn't over.”
The mood in the pits is very clear — nobody wants to leave anything to chance and the top three teams — Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari — and their drivers are very determined to go for victory in the Grand Prix of India.
Vettel said he would be immensely delighted to take the chequered flag at the BIC. “It's the inaugural race, and it would mean a lot to win here. Not only do I want to win here on Sunday; I also want my team to finish 1-2,” he said.
Vettel's objective was apparent during the qualifiers on Saturday afternoon where he outclassed the field in all the three rounds, his best time of 1:24.178s installing him at the top of the grid for the race on Sunday. His 12th pole of the season — and 28th of his career — pushed him a step closer to Nigel Mansell (Great Britain), who holds the world record for most pole positions in a season with 14.
A victory here would make Vettel a unique champion — one who has won all the inaugural Grands Prix in his Formula One career that began in 2007. (He won the opening Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 and the first Korean Grand Prix in 2010.) It would also give the Grand Prix of India (read Buddh International Circuit) a place it deserves: in the record books, alongside the great driver Vettel.