Renault Sport F1 reports from the Korean GP

Renault Sport F1 reports from the Korean Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship.

  • Sebastian Vettel wins Korean Grand Prix for Infiniti Red Bull Racing-Renault, four seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
  • Lotus F1 Team’s Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finish second and third to make podium 100% Renault powered.
  • This is the third all-Renault powered podium this season.
  • Vettel has led 209 of the past 213 racing laps.
  • Vettel’s win gives him a mathematical chance to seal the championship in Japan.

Renault-powered drivers locked out the podium in today’s Korean Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel (Infiniti Red Bull Racing) winning the chaotic race from Lotus F1 Team’s Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. The perfect podium result is the third time this season that the podium has been 100% Renault-powered.*

Vettel – whose pole position yesterday took Renault’s total of F1 poles to 208, equal with Ferrari’s record – opened up a comfortable lead at the start ahead of Grosjean, who had jumped ahead of Hamilton on the first corner. The pair built up a cushion of several seconds over the battles behind and were able to pit and rejoin in formation. Vettel remained in front despite two seperate Safety Car incidents but Raikkonen got the jump on Grosjean before the second Safety Car period. The Finn had a standout race from P9 on the grid, overtaking Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Hulkenberg and finally his team-mate to score his second consecutive podium.

Mark Webber started from P13 as a result of a grid penalty but quickly found himself in the top ten, racing with Alonso and Raikkonen. The Australian looked set to move into the top five but bad luck struck on lap 31. Running just behind Raikkonen – who had just taken Perez for fourth – Perez’ tyre failed on the straight between turns two and three. The resultant debris gave Webber a puncture, requiring an extra pit stop. When the Safety Car called to clear the tyre shreds was eventually withdrawn, Webber was then hit from behind by Adrian Sutil. It appeared that the oil system ruptured in the impact and caught fire on the exhausts, immediately putting paid to any hopes of progressing further. Webber retired on the spot.

Williams F1 Team had a positive race with Pastor Maldonado taking advantage of a first lap incident to move into the top 10. He remained in the thick of the action for the greater part of the race until a tussle with fellow south American drivers Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez cost him four places. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was also able to get past in the fraught racing action and the duo finally finished P12 and P13, unrepresentative of their ultimate race pace.

Caterham F1 Team again had a double finish ahead of both Marussias, Charles Pic passing the flag in 14th and Giedo van der Garde 15th.

* Bahrain and Germany

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations:

A great result for Renault overall, but individually very important results for our partner teams, Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Lotus F1 Team. We are really pleased and proud to contribute to their results. A triple podium at this stage in the season – and at this stage in the life of the V8 – is a great fillip for the team back at Viry, showing [that] we are still as focused on results as ever. Equally Williams and Caterham both had strong races and hopefully we can work together to end the season just as well.

The only negative note from this race is the bad luck for Mark. On first glance there appears to be a lot of damage from the fire and I’m sure there will be several enquiries as a result. However we have enough flexibility to be able to play around with the engines if we need to. It’s a short gap to Japan now and we’ll look at everything closely and see where we are there.

Subbed by AJN.

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