The sight was familiar and the reaction, predictable. Simply to break the monotony, World champion Sebastian Vettel could well find a different way of celebrating his victories rather than standing atop the car and giving it a gentle pat before running off to rejoice with his Red Bulls team and support staff.
By winning his second Indian Grand Prix in two years at the Buddh International Circuit, Vettel achieved more than just his fifth title of the season and fourth in succession. He became the first man since the great Ayrton Senna, in 1989, to win three successive races from pole.
Even as Vettel did the front-running, his nearest challenger for the world title, Fernando Alonso snatched the second place after staring fifth on the grid. After dramatically overtaking the McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button during the second lap, Alonso split the Red Bull pair by zipping past Mark Webber on the 48th lap even as Australian was dealing with the loss of KERS on the 45th lap.
At the press conference, Vettel was prompt to dismiss the suggestion that he was “in great company” having emulated Senna.
“Don’t say things like that. It’s very, very special. I think we all will remember Ayrton (Senna) forever — not just because he was successful and he had this kind of numbers speaking for him; he also was a great person. So (I’m) very, very happy,” he said.
A superb run
Interestingly, Vettel has not found himself trailing anyone since taking the lead from Lewis Hamilton at the Singapore Grand Prix on the 23rd lap when the Briton crashed out following a gearbox failure.
Vettel has now led through 206 successive laps — just 58 short of the Senna’s world record.
In fact, Vettel has collected a massive 118 points from a maximum of 150 points from the last six races. This haul must have surely helped the Red Bull driver erase the horror of suffering an alternator failure when leading the Italian Grand Prix.
In spite of all indictors pointing to Vettel and Red Bull winning the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for the third season in succession, the German chose to play it down.
“This was another good step for us. But we’ve a long way to go, and we’ve seen how quickly things can change. I’m just very proud and very happy. Now we have to focus on Abu Dhabi next week. We just have to take it step by step,” he said.
Alonso described the race as one of his best ever.
“It is not easy at the moment to fight Red Bull but we will never give up,” said the Ferrari driver, and added: “We’re happy today. We lost minimum points, and that was the plan because we were not quick enough, but better races will come. I’m sure we will do it.”
Webber was happy with the podium finish despite all his troubles with KERS.
“I enjoyed the fight. It was difficult for me to get into a rhythm, I had a few issues to manage inside the car, and it was a tough old GP. Lewis and Fernando were very strong on the hard tyres, and without KERS it was difficult, but I was happy with the way I drove,” he said.