Alonso has third title in sight after Korean GP triumph

2010 Korean Grand Prix reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

A masterclass display in treacherous conditions gave Fernando Alonso a vital victory in Korea.

But he was helped by Sebastian Vettel suffering another car failure late in the race.

Lewis Hamilton finished second but let a chance for victory slip through his fingers by going off the track after the third and final restart.

Heavy rain in the lead-up to the race meant the start was delayed by over an hour. This led to a minor war of words conducted over the team radios between drivers urging a start to the race – mainly Hamilton – and those who opposed it – including the Red Bull drivers, Alonso and Robert Kubica.

The safety car finally peeled off after 17 laps, leaving the Red Bulls at the front of the pack, Vettel leading Mark Webber and Alonso.

Having lobbied for an earlier start to the race Hamilton didn’t get away well at the restart and was quickly passed by Nico Rosberg.

That proved to be a blessing in disguise, for after just two laps of green flag running the championship leader Mark Webber astonishingly lost control of his car at turn 14. His RB6 swung back across the track and harpooned Rosberg.

That brought the safety car out once more, with Alonso now up to second behind Vettel, and Hamilton up to third. Their team mates were behind them, Felipe Massa ahead of Jenson Button, but after the next restart Michael Schumacher neatly lined up Button for a pass.

Button never looked happy on his full wet tyres so he made an early switch to intermediates. But just two laps later the safety car was out again, allowing the cars in front of him to switch to intermediates without any risk of falling behind him.

That included team mate Hamilton, who made it into the pits at short notice first while Vettel and Alonso were already heading past the pit lane.

The safety car allowed Vettel and Alonso past quickly – avoiding a repeat of Valencia – but a slow pit stop for Alonso allowed Hamilton into second.

He didn’t hold the place for long. Before the safety car came in he warned him team he was concerned about grip and at the restart he ran wide at the first corner. That allowed Alonso past, leaving Hamilton defending from Massa.

The top three continued in that order, Vettel pulling away to begin with, then Hamilton catching them back up again. A three-way battle was developing for the lead – but suddenly it was extinguished.

Coming past the pits Vettel slowed and Alonso dived past at turn one. The RB6 came to a stop on the approach to turn three and for the second time in 2010 Vettel had been robbed of a likely win by a car failure.

In the closing stages of the race tyre wear came into play. Alonso seemed to have looked after his tyres beautifully and by the end of the race was up to four seconds per laps faster than the cars behind.

He tiptoed around the final lap to win the inaugural Korean Grand Prix and claim a priceless 25 points on a day when both Red Bull drivers failed to score.

Hamilton salvaged second, and perhaps his only consolation for going off after the final safety car period was that Alonso would probably have passed him anyway.

Massa took third after a quiet race, although he came close to spinning off at the same place as Webber. Schumacher matched his best finish of the year with fourth.

Kubica nicked fifth of Rubens Barrichello in the closing stages, and Vitantonio Liuzzi followed him through for an excellent sixth.

Kamui Kobayashi was fortunate to finish eighth after being hit by Adrian Sutil.

The final point went to Nico H???lkenberg despite a late pit stop for more intermediate tyres after going off.

Jaime Alguersuari was 11th ahead of Button, whose championship chances are in tatters are failing to score. He was another victim of Sutil, who bundled him off the track at turn five. The Force India driver later made race-ending contact with Kobayashi. The last runners were Heikki Kovalainen and the two HRTs, Bruno Senna ahead of Sakon Yamamoto.

Vitaly Petrov also crashed out of the race, spinning into the barriers at the final corner. Yellow flags remained at the spot for several laps but race control avoided sending the Safety Car out again.

If they had the race certainly wouldn’t have gone the distance. Darkness had fallen and there were only a few minutes left on the clock when Alonso finished the 55th lap of a race that lasted over two and three-quarter hours.

The Ferrari driver now holds the upper hand, having pulled 11 points clear with just two races remaining in 2010.

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239 comments on “Alonso has third title in sight after Korean GP triumph”

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  1. The luckiest person on track today should be Lewis Hamilton. Not only did he score second after a big mess of 3 DNFs n a gearbox issue, but he also didnt crash, thanks to Nico Rosberg. If Nico hadnt overtaken Lewis when the race started, the other car that would’ve collided with Webber’s would’ve been Lewis’s!

    1. That would have been a fascinating thread of fate, if Webber would have collected Hamilton his mudbath, after the whole Singapore situation. When I saw a flash of silver flying into Webber, that’s what I had assumed happened. The situation the did result, Ron Dennis would have called “rough justice.” I see some more slings and arrows coming at the Senna Esses in a couple weeks. I wish him no ill but Alonso has been neglected by misfortune for a rather extended period now.

  2. I fell sorry for the Red Bull guys, but it is what it is. However to see Alonso climbing towards a possible title is just painful. While the Red Bull guys gave us show, Ferrari subdued the F1 show to shameful team orders. Aren’t we saturated by mediocre characters who won the F1 championship?

  3. Anyone here thinks Alonso would just take the penalty and use a fresh engine in Brazil? I honestly think he would as why risk a DNF and having to incur the penalty at Yas Marina.

    1. A DNF is Brazil doen’t mean a penalty in Abu D, he still got other used engines. I would rather bet he would change engine after Brazil if he gets some decent points.

    2. He now used a engine for 4 races and has is engine nr. 6 or 7 (not sure wich one) for the last 2 races, so that should not really be a problem.

  4. It was a great race. Button really desappointed me, he have to support lewis know. Alonso proves he is a talented driver who never give up and make few mistakes. I am a Lewis’ fan but i think Alonso is stronger under pressure. Lewis often makes silly mistakes like braking tooooo late and getting out of track… I’m sure 2011 he will be more mature.

    1. well all that about Hams maturity was said at the beginning of the season but he proves to be no good under pressure when it comes to the peaks of the season, sprecially if he Alonso is behind. That late brakings, and in Korea that entrance to box in Q3 (very doubt the correct moment to practice entrance to boxes is Q3) and today losing position so easy

  5. Alonso’s comments post qualifying yesterday stand vindicated. He certainly finished the race that too without any hiccups, it was very important to keep the concentration strong and save the tires in case he needed them at the end. Truly masterful as Keith has put it in his comments
    What I loved even more was his calm demeanor in the post race conference when he was asked what this race win meant to his chances and he said it’s still the same, we need to make sure we finish all the remaining races on the podium :)

    1. That’s almost mathematically true.

      With two 3rds Alonso gets 261 points. Even if Hamilton gets both wins he remains a point behind. Webber still could get the WDC, but he would need a win and a 2nd (or of course both wins) for the WDC.

      If Alonso gets a 2nd and a 3rd then Webber needs both wins. With two 2nds still Webber gets the WDC with both wins. With a win and a podium Alonso clinches it for sure.

      So two podiums for Alonso is maybe not enough but only if Webber gets ahead of him in both races AND wins at least one of them.

  6. I think the following statement in the post race conference just sums up the maturity of Alonso as a racing driver. My money is still on Alonso

    Q: Fernando, just two races left in this championship. You are 11 points clear of Mark Webber and 21 clear of Lewis. How are you feeling right now?
    FA: Well, I think nothing changed really. We know that with the new points system anything can happen in one race. If you don’t score, you lose 25 points to one of your main opponents, so nothing has changed. Here it was bad luck for Mark and Sebastian (Vettel) but anything can happen in the next two races. There are still four or five contenders, so as we repeat many times, being on the podium, being consistent maybe is the key to winning the championship. We have been doing well, very concentrated, very focused in the last six or seven races but the last two we cannot forget we need to be on the podium and fighting for victory in the next two races.

  7. I read somewhere that Alonso has to make his engine last to the end of the season whereas Webber had a fresh one put in that only had to do a few slowish laps this time around.

    Will engine wear affect the mindset of the two drivers going forward?

  8. Its certainly playing on both the team and the drivers mind (Ferrari).. both Stefano and Fernando keep mentioning it every now and then and have their fingers crossed for the remaining races
    I think Ferrari engine management should be good and the new fuel that Shell has brought would also aid in keeping the engine wear and tear respectable
    Just my guess though :)

  9. I……..I…………..I, throws bottle up against the wall.

    (When vettel’s engine blew up)

    It pains me to say it but Alonso will win the WDC.

    1.Vettel will not help webber win the world title and will glady take points off him to make sure he is number one in red bull.

    2.Hamilton is too far away on points, maybe not mathmatical but I doubt even hamilton can close a 21 point gap in 2 races.

    And before you start typing up 2007 memories and 17 point gaps, don’t kid yourself this ain’t 2007 and Alonso has Ferrari backing him this time round. Your talking about the best driver on the grid, being in the best of forms all season and having the most experienced team in history on helping 1 driver.

    I would love to see Alonso, Webber DNF in Brazil to make the final race extra close, but I just dont’ see that happening

    Tbh i’m sick of typing in f1 blogs for this season atleast, this f1 season is over and for the first time in 15 years watching f1 I cant stomach to watch the last 2 races. So i’m going to drink myself into a coma, WAKE ME UP FOR 2011!!!!!

    All the best f1 fanatics.

    1. WAKE ME UP FOR 2011!!!!!

      No thanks :P

  10. Now, it’s Fernando pulling away. He’s the strongest driver since Germany, but I’m still hoping that one of the RB6 or a McLaren can catch him!

  11. Using Jamie’s calculator it shows that Fernando just has to finish in the points in the last two races to win.

    1. Absolutely not true. Not even two 2nd positions would be mathematically enough. Mark would take the WDC with two wins.

      That said, two podium positions would make Fernando very hard to beat (Webber would need at least a win and a 2nd, and there’s nothing Seb or Lewis could do). But with two non-podium positions in the points, anything could happen.

    2. yep, Webber and Alonso are the only drivers that depend on their own results. 2 wins for Webber, Alonso loses the tittle by 3 points being 2nd in both GPs… wow, can’t wait! Come on Alonso!

  12. Anyone else think Webber could have done more not to roll back into Rosberg after his crash??

    1. It did look a bit that way – compared to how deftly Button regained control when he spun later on, it seems strange Webber couldn’t have turned the steering wheel the other way and kept out of the firing line of traffic.

      Rosberg was not impressed – here’s what he said on Twitter. I’ve resisted the urge to clean it up:

      Sucks!Don’t understand why webber didn’t hit the brakes.Was crazy(evidently)2 roll back over the track.

      1. wow, has he formaly complained? If this is true, not braking caused a far more dangerous situation than other drivers that got a penalty… Buemi…

        1. I doubt that they would want to give Mark a penalty now, it would be perceived as little less than handing out the WDC to Fernando. The question about if it was deserved or not is a wholly different one.

          1. agree. Giving a penalty to Webber + Hockenheim would be too much and the media roar a tsunami

    2. Yep – and it has cost him in the championship. Rosberg might’ve taken some points off Hamilton or Alonso.

  13. Exciting stuff to watch all weekend.

    My heart sank for both Webber & Vettel. But thats racing and I guess with now having to use used engines perhaps engine failure is something we may see more of in the next two races?

    On the plus side, this season is really going down to the wire. Interlagos can’t come quick enough.

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