Skip navigation
F1 Reports 30

2012 Indian Grand Prix report

On the surface it looked straightforward – and the reality wasn’t greatly different. Sebastian Vettel took the lead at the start of the second Indian Grand Prix and led every millimetre of the way, the German extending his world championship lead in the process.

He is the only driver ever to have led a Formula 1 race at the Buddh International Circuit and, indeed, has not been headed since Lewis Hamilton’s failed gearbox gifted him victory in Singapore.

reports  2012 Indian Grand Prix report

Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber made a slightly better start, but conceded the first corner to optimise his line for a clean run to Turn Three, which precedes the circuit’s longest straight. The outcome was rarely in doubt thereafter, Vettel pulling 1.273s clear during the opening lap’s course and edging away gently. Pirelli’s chosen tyre compounds – hard and soft – proved remarkably durable, sufficiently so to make this a rare, one-stop race. After loping along in the 1m 31s, Vettel increased his pace by about half a second after 20 laps – to see how much performance he had in reserve – and finally came in on lap 33 of 60 before completing his fourth consecutive F1 success, the first time in his career that he’s accomplished such a run. From the pit wall, the only momentary scare came with fewer than 10 laps remaining, when sparks could be seen from beneath the front of the leader’s car. “We think it was just a skid plate bolt that worked loose and fell out,” said team principal Christian Horner, “but it didn’t affect his performance.”

Webber ran a comfortable second until his kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) began to malfunction. “He lost it completely for a couple of laps,” said Horner, “but the guys managed to reset it – although only in reduced power mode. That left him vulnerable to attack from Fernando Alonso, who was absolutely flying on the harder tyre.”

The Spaniard’s race began spectacularly – a longer seventh gear and double slipstream enabling him to overtake the McLarens of Jenson Button and Hamilton as they drafted towards Turn Four on the opening lap. Both McLarens repassed him under braking, but only momentarily in Hamilton’s case. Alonso then used his drag reduction system to overhaul Button on the fourth lap and began catching Webber when the Australian’s KERS woes kicked in. Webber remained second after their tyre stops – on laps 30 and 29 respectively – but on lap 48 he lost time behind lapped local hero Narain Karthikeyan and Alonso was able to get within DRS passing range. Two laps later, he was second.

reports  2012 Indian Grand Prix report

The McLarens swapped places on lap six – Hamilton squeezing ahead of Button into Turn Five – but the 2008 champion was plagued by a notchy transmission, particularly on the downshift. “He wanted to change the steering wheel during his tyre stop,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh, “but at first I was against the idea – I thought it might cost three or four seconds because there are all sorts of electrical connections you have to line up, but in fact the whole stop took only 3.1s. Lewis had the wheel removed almost before the car had come to a stop: he and the team did a brilliant job.”

Like the Ferrari, the McLaren proved devastatingly effective on the harder tyre but Hamilton was unable to shift the resilient Webber before the end, despite applying fierce pressure during the final few laps.

reports  2012 Indian Grand Prix report

Button took fifth and Felipe Massa completed the top six, a fine drive from the Brazilian because he had been battling to stave off the effects of high fuel consumption (the team had been unable to make accurate calibrations on Friday afternoon, because he was unable to complete a long run after spinning and flat-spotting a tyre). It didn’t help that he had to resist Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus for much of the afternoon.

Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna completed the scorers, the Brazilian receiving a helping hand when team-mate Pastor Maldonado ploughed through the Turn Five gravel on lap 31.

Afterwards, Vettel was asked whether he felt as though he had one hand on the world championship trophy. “If I have,” he said, “then Fernando and a few others are holding the other side.”

The German leads the title race by 13 points, but 75 remain unclaimed as teams prepare for Abu Dhabi next Sunday.

By Simon Arron

Add your comments

30 comments on 2012 Indian Grand Prix report

  1. Bill, 28 October 2012 16:27

    *thumb thumb thumb thumb* The noise from Hamiltons head banging against his motorhome’s walls. If only he didnt alienate Dieter Mateschitz by calling the Red Bull Racing team ‘just a drinks company’ in March 2011, he might have been in a Red Bull seat instead of a Mercedes one…

    As Mclaren Media Manipulation continues to make themselves the laughing stock with lines like: “he and the team did a brilliant job” on a day where both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are now officially out of the World Drivers Champions fight – they cannot catch Vettel anymore.

    Meanwhile, Red Bull Racing can win the 3rd consecutive World Constructors Championship next week, if both cars finish on the podium, not entirely unthinkable. Since theyve only been in the sport for 7 years, thats not bad for ‘just’ a drinks company.

    Great drive by Alonso, though. I dont think he has a car to fight Vettel, but itll go down to the wire between them. Whoever wins it, probably the best and sweetest tasting title ever.

    PS: Maybe you oughta post this article with a bigger letter type.

  2. Mikey, 28 October 2012 16:39

    Not a bad race and probably a fair result. Having said that, the speed differential under DRS conditions is incredible and seems more so here. Isn’t it time that something was done to eliminate the need for this gimmick? It just cannot be called racing if one car has to run with a handicap like this. Effectively two spec’s of car on the same bit of track. I don’t think it reflects well on the pinnacle of motorsport. Like watching a video game!

  3. Nadan C. Dervoz, 28 October 2012 19:02

    For sure, we now know that mr. Alonso is _the_ best driver, post-Schumachers first-era. Vettel as usual needs a great car to excel anyway, and my tip is that FA will win the championship – by a few points.

    Sad that the Mclarens were just average fast today, since their driver pairing is the best in F1, Hamilton is as gifted and probably as good as Alonso.

    Do not misunderstand, but it will be sad to see Vettel win a third title, he has had the fastest car over the last three years.

  4. John, 28 October 2012 23:06

    I haven’t watched it and I’m not going to bother either. DRS, KERS, surprisingly durable tyres making this a rare one stop race … zzzzzzzz. F1 is rapidly disappearing up its own arse and I for one am no longer in the slightest bit interested in it. Vettel is welcome to the championship, the whole thing is a laughable farce compared even with the Schumacher years.

  5. Chris Hall, 29 October 2012 00:30

    Welcome Simon,

    Didn’t watch the race, better things to do, but I find it a bit laughable how many people under-rate Vettel. Hamilton and Alonso have only ever won in good cars, Vettel won a GP in a Toro Rosso FFS ….. I also think the fact that he’s prepared to appear at certain award ceremonies and show his knowledge of drivers of a previous era speaks volumes for him. Bandy the names Peterson or Villeneuve in front of Hamilton or Alonso and I’ll bet they wouldn’t have a clue about whom you’re talking ( let’s not forget Schumacher and his faux pas on meeting Nina Peterson a few years ago ( nice to meet you, how’s you dad doing these days ! ) , but I bet Vettel would. Nuff said !

  6. Michael Spitale, 29 October 2012 00:33

    Vettel is simply the best in F1… So so so tired of everyone crying that Alonso is not leading the title. We have no idea what Vettel would/could do. Until a few races back the McLarens were the class of the field and Vettel still kept pushing.

    DRS STINKS!!!!!!! Raikkonen puts a great move on Massa only to be eaten alive by the DRS zone. So tired of this fake passing.

  7. dave cubbedge, 29 October 2012 11:21

    ….and we are reminded every fortnight.

  8. dave cubbedge, 29 October 2012 11:22

    …in reference to ‘Vettel is simply the best.’

  9. Andrew Scoley, 29 October 2012 12:02

    A driver usually becomes the world’s best at about the same time as he is driving the world’s best car. Funny that.You could argue of course that they naturally gravitate to each other.

    As regards entertainment, it’s always best to have the best driver in the second best car, and the second best driver in the best car. (See 1979,1986,1990, 1996). There’s not much to choose between the top dozen drivers, side by side qualifying shows that.

  10. Ivan Carlos Ruchesi, 29 October 2012 12:32

    Faced with the prospect of another F1 race scheduled at 3:30 a.m. here in the South hemisphere, I realized I could have a good sleep either by watching it or with the TV set switched off. I choosed the second alternative to save electric power in the end.
    Better than sheep counting, it still is…

  11. C C, 29 October 2012 12:55

    Good point Andrew. I’d also add ’97 & ’98 to that list.

    We’re back to the bad old days of Vettle clearing off after 2 laps before DRS becomes enabled. Full credit to him though, he’s a class act. Excellent drive by Alonso – this is the first drive in a few races where i really felt he was ringing the cars neck realising that he had to take the fight to Vettle instead of simply racing to aquire more points. Other than that is was a pretty poor race.

    DRS was (as always) a joke here. Why do the commentary Team call it “A Battle” when it is simply a car breezing past another car with the DRS open. No wonder the drivers swerve, they’re complete sitting ducks. Its literally no different than passing a lorry on a motorway. You never say to yourself “Great Pass” or “What a Manouvre!!” when you overtake a slow vehicle – yet thats what we’re fed at the moment as if this is overtaking. Its not. Its no different to a Ferrari lapping a Minardi back in the ’90′s.

    This is also one of Tilke’s better circuits, in a “That car crash is better than that one” sort of way. That said, there is so much Tarmac around and so many circuit configurations, i reckon you need an A to Z to get round it. Not like the old days where you’d follow the grey strip inbetween the grass and gravel. (By old days, i mean literally 15 years ago. Thats how quickly F1 has started to go down hill). Herman – Just design a good circuit and stick with it.

    I still love F1, but its like watching a good friend slowly die and being powerless to intervene.

  12. Steve, 29 October 2012 13:31

    Bizarre that a magazine dedicated to motorsport would provide such a short report on an F1 round.

  13. Richard Craig, 29 October 2012 13:40

    This season has served to increase my respect for Alonso tenfold – not that it was low already. He seems to be the only driver who actually seems to want to fight tooth and nail for the title. Vettel doesn’t have to. Even if he wins the title, I’ll remember that Webber still had the legs on him early in the season. Alonso is the only driver to have performed weekend in, weekend out.

    Through gritted teeth, I will admit that you have got to hand it to Vettel, at least for the way he’s come alive in the second part of the season. But I still won’t consider him a true great until he goes to a lesser team and drags them up, like Schumacher and Alonso did at Ferrari.

    And to people saying he won in a Toro Rosso and that’s an indicator of his class, yes, that is a fair point. But the race was run in unusual conditions, he was still driving an Adrian Newey chassis and his pedestrian team-mate also qualified fourth, so the car was obviously ideally suited to the circuit that weekend.

  14. Pat Kenny, 29 October 2012 14:55

    Short of a DNF in the last three races it looks like Vettel for a three in a row. This would be a phenomenal achievement for him and the Red Bull team. Alonso was brilliant – there is no other way to describe it. He was the only high point in the race, which was not otherwise memorable. Caught a little item later on Sky of Anthony Davidson showing how Raikonnen and Massa fought not to enter turn three first and hence who would get DRS. Massa lost and then won, if you know what I mean. It is absurd to penalise a proper pass with the certainty of a fake one.

    I leave it to my eldest son of 12 who complains that the cars look as slow as Fiestas with the nursing of tyres in the vast expanse of a Tilkedrome. Soon he will say it is the wheeled equivalent of the WWF and I won’t have an answer to that.

  15. Bill, 29 October 2012 15:43

    @ Richard Craig,

    And there was me thinking that in those ‘unusual conditions’ a drivers talent could make the difference. I seriously doubt Vettels Torro Rosso wouldv made a dent in dry conditions. As it was, he dominated the whole weekend and not just on pace, but also knowing when to go out like in qualifying, while the big teams shot themselves in the foot.

    This season has been good for the fans, no doubt about it. Many have warmed to the Ferrari/Alonso combo, with Alonso giving almost a weekly masterclass in getting the most out of an inferior car, and with the RedBullNewey/Vettel combo approaching a 3rd consecutive title (at age 25!!!!!!) we are well treated with watching 2 giants at work.

  16. dave cubbedge, 29 October 2012 16:11

    Well Steve, gone are the days when a Grand Prix race was “Grand”. This Indian GP (the US Speed TV commentator twice called it the Italian GP – Freudian slip probably…) was only slightly less boring than watching grass grow. I remember (through misty eyes) when GP races were much longer – in fact wasn’t there a minimum length rule of at least 300 miles in effect (with Monaco being the exception) up until the late 60s or so? Perhaps they need to make the races longer, which might serve to introduce some un-reliability back into the equation. I know, the TV networks like their little 2-hour package, but can you imagine Vettel and company doing 22 laps of the Nordschliefe these days? Or 100 laps of Monaco? GP racing was once much more grand than what it is now.

  17. Lewis Lane, 29 October 2012 20:58

    Vettel sure seems to know how to win in a good car, and RBR always seem to get it at it’s best when it matters… Never thought i’d feel even remotely sorry for Alonso, but he appears to be spitting in the wind at the moment because of it. Can’t really fault his efforts.
    Now, DRS… wouldn’t it be more workable and interesting if both it and KERS were able to be used anywhere on the circuit (thus removing the hated DRS zone), but were limited to, say 20 uses each per race – and not simultaneously? Hopefully, this would prevent the farcical “racing” to which Pat Kenny referred…
    And perhaps only one in three new venues should be designed by Hermann Tilke while they’re at it.

  18. Carlos Sanchez, 30 October 2012 08:06

    Vettel the best???… Ah come on…, so then Webber is second best?… yeah, sure…
    My list is 1.- Alonso, 2.- Hamilton, Vettel.

    Credit to where credit is due, Adrian Newey, period.

  19. Alwyn Keepence, 30 October 2012 09:00

    Nobody has mentioned “the chop” by Vettel at the start. If pole position is meant to give the driver the best approach into the first corner, why was it necessary for Vettel to cut across to Mark Webber’s side of the track? Webber had to lift to avoid contact. In Korea, Webber had pole but left room for Vettel to pass on the inside. In India, it made no difference to the result as Vettel won easily and seems on his way to a third championship. I like to admire & respect the World Champion but this kind of driving stops me doing that.

  20. Carlos Sanchez, 30 October 2012 10:11

    That’s why I tell you,
    1.- Alonso, 2.- Hamilton and 3.- (distantly) Vettel.

  21. Andrew Scoley, 30 October 2012 12:15

    Reference KERS and DRS.

    Kers does have an application in everyday vehicles and therefore FI is a good place to develop it. The argument against is that it appears to cost a fortune. I’ll swallow that one when the ridiculous amounts spent on other areas of the cars are also cut.
    DRS is there because the aero makes overtaking impossibly difficult; and the aero on these cars has very little application to everyday vehicles. Therefore, get rid of the aero, no need for DRS. Put the emphasis on mechanical grip, slow the corner speeds down, the spectators can see the cars from where they are standing, no need for binoculars.

    Lastly, well done, carbon brakes are fantastic. Again, little application on road vehicles. So ban them, lengthen braking areas, another way of enabling overtaking.

    Apologies to all those I’ve just made redundant.

  22. Bo Fallbrink, 30 October 2012 18:28

    Anyone remember Vettel vinning in the wet at Monza! The best car then?

  23. John Read, 30 October 2012 20:55

    Watching live in Oz one could see Alonso catching Webber. Sadly, it was inevitable that a DRS “pass” was imminent. Thankfully we went to a commercial break, so were saved from actually watching it……………………..

    Don’t you love those commercial breaks !!!

  24. Carlos Sanchez, 31 October 2012 09:11

    Bo, yes I do remember Vettel vinning in the wet at Monza, fine then, but after that he so far hasn’t proved to be no better than Fernando, or Hamilton for sure. My point is, Sebastian Vettel has got to have the best car on the grid, otherwise he even breaks under pressure, mmmh, not so ‘Great’ or ‘Best’ to me, so far, sorry… The so called Greats deliver their best drives even with inferior machinery, of which I just have not seen a single such performance from the young German champion (?).

  25. Dave Willis, 31 October 2012 12:34

    Pat Kenny: WWF? World Wildlife Fund? Yes, I suppose your son is right

  26. Henry Kelsall, 31 October 2012 13:11

    It’s a shame vettel is dominating again. after what has been a great year its now turning back into 2011…

  27. Martin Baldock, 31 October 2012 15:50

    As I have no desire to further line the pockets of the owners of the broadcasters who have a dedicated F1 channel, I have the joy of watching BBC highlights. In the case of this race I don’t believe I missed anything crucial. I enjoyed the race but am becoming increasingly irritated by certain elements of the commentary, to the extent that I don’t bother with the “gridwalk” or the pointless interviews with drivers who drop out mid-race. Ben Edwards is not the problem, he is improving all the time, but DC just seems stuck in what he learned from Martin Brundle. I have nothing against him, he seems a nice enough fellow, but…

  28. dave cubbedge, 31 October 2012 16:00

    WWF = World Wrestling Federation. Fake fighting. Is there anything more ridiculous araprt from ostrich racing?

  29. Ray T, 1 November 2012 21:00

    Ferrari re-signs Massa.

    RBR is taking off again.

    McLaren’s are looking awful.


    I’ve given up on F1.

  30. Padiga, 4 January 2013 21:19

    I’m not sure I would characterize it that way. I think Vettel has done a good job dirnug the races as well but Red Bull have a faster car for quali and for race, tactics come into play and traffic etc. -7Was this answer helpful?

Similar content


Chinese GP report by Mark Hughes


Our Grand Prix editor reports from China where Mercedes triumphed once again


Bahrain GP report by Mark Hughes


Mark Hughes on all the action from the Bahrain night race where the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton triumphed.


Malaysian GP report by Mark Hughes


Mark Hughes on all the action in Malaysia where Mercedes’ advantage was nearly a second a lap.



Simon Arron

Read Simon's profile and more …