Visitors to the first two Indian Grands Prix might be left wondering whether anyone other than Sebastian Vettel is allowed to be at the front of an F1 race.
He repeated his feat from last year of starting from pole position, leading every lap and winning the race.
All that was missing from this crushing display was the fastest lap of the race. He did his best to secure that, setting a new fastest lap on his final tour.
However Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Bruno Senna all beat it with their final laps, leaving Vettel’s the fourth-quickest lap of the race.
Even so, this was another peerless performance from Vettel and Red Bull. It was his fourth consecutive win and the team’s third consecutive front-row lock-out.
Vettel matched his previous feat of winning four races in a row through the last two races of 2010 and the first two of 2011. Only five drivers in F1 history have managed to win five or more races in a row:
|Driver||Wins||First race||Last race|
|Alberto Ascari||9*||1952 Belgian Grand Prix||1953 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Michael Schumacher||7||2004 European Grand Prix||2004 Hungarian Grand Prix|
|Michael Schumacher||6||2000 Italian Grand Prix||2001 Malaysian Grand Prix|
|Jack Brabham||5||1960 Dutch Grand Prix||1960 Portuguese Grand Prix|
|Jim Clark||5||1965 Belgian Grand Prix||1965 German Grand Prix|
|Nigel Mansell||5||1992 South African Grand Prix||1992 San Marino Grand Prix|
For the third race in a row, Vettel led from start to finish. This last happened in 1989, when Ayrton Senna led every lap of the San Marino (pictured), Monaco and Mexican Grands Prix.
Vettel has been in the lead ever since Lewis Hamilton pulled over with gearbox failure on lap 23 of the Singapore Grand Prix: a total of 205 laps.
There are only four longer streaks of consecutive laps led in F1 history. They belong to Ascari (in 1952), Senna (in 1988 and 1989) and Mansell (in 1992). See the last edition of stats and facts for details.
This was the seventh race Vettel has led from start to finish. Only five drivers have managed more than that:
Vettel now has 35 pole positions to his name, but needs another 30 to draw level with the next driver in front of him on the list: Ayrton Senna.
Red Bull scored their third consecutive one-two in qualifying – the first time they have achieved this. The last team to score three consecutive front rows was McLaren in the 2007 Monaco, Canadian and United States Grands Prix.
By scoring his 26th win in his 98th race Vettel could match Jackie Stewart’s career record of 27 wins in 99 races in the next race.
Red Bull can also win the constructors’ championship for the third year in a row in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This will happen unless Ferrari take five points out of their lead or McLaren reduce it by 15.
Lots of landmarks
Vettel’s win was the 150th for a Renault-engined car. Here’s how many of those wins have been scored by different constructors:
McLaren recorded their 150th fastest lap. It was the eighth of Button’s career, putting him level with James Hunt, Gilles Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher.
And it was the 100th fastest lap for a Mercedes-powered car. The vast majority of those were set by McLaren, who’ve racked up 82 since their alliance with Mercedes began in 1995. The rest were set by Mercedes themselves (12), Brawn (4) and Force India (2).
More Indian Grand Prix stats and facts
McLaren scored points for the 55th race in a row, equalling the all-time record held by Ferrari. However, as noted here before, when Ferrari did the same points were only awarded down to sixth place for the majority of races.
Paul di Resta finished in 12th place for the third race in a row – the first time this has ever been done by a driver in F1.
Mercedes have still not scored any points in the three races since Hamilton’s move to the team was announced. Nor has Sergio Perez scored since McLaren signed him for 2013.
Finally, Michael Schumacher set a new record for the most laps completed by a Grand Prix driver. He has now logged 16,644 racing laps, eclipsing Rubens Barrichello’s tally of 16,631. The next-highest driver who is still competing is Button on 11,826.
2012 Indian Grand Prix
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- India joins Korean GP at bottom of 2012 rankings
- DRS “seemed particularly ineffective” in India
- Top ten pictures from the 2012 Indian Grand Prix
Images ?ι?® Red Bull/Getty images, Honda