• NOIDA, INDIA - OCTOBER 30: Sebastian Vettel (R) of Germany and Red Bull Racing leads at the start of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • NOIDA, INDIA - OCTOBER 30: Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany and Red Bull Racing leads at the start of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads the field after the start during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads at the start of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, leads McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain, left, during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
  • Toro Rosso Formula One driver Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, center, emits smoke after the start of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
  • Williams driver Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela steers his car as debris fly after a minor collision in an early lap of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
  • Marshalls pull away the car of Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil after a crash during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
  • Smoke rises from the engine of BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi of Japan after the start of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads as Indian spectators look on during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • NOIDA, INDIA - OCTOBER 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany takes the checker flag as he won the the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany waves during his victory lap after winning the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. In foreground is seen second place McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
  • From left, McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain, second place , Red Bul chief technical officer Adrian Newey , Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, winner , and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, third place, celebrate on the podium after the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany attends the award ceremony of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
  • A grid girl holds the Indian flag during the grid formation of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from New Delhi, India Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
  • NOIDA, INDIA - OCTOBER 30: F1 drivers and team bosses pay their respects with a minutes silence for Indycar driver Dan Wheldon and Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli before the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30, 2011 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
India is rapidly motorizing, and with it is emerging a burgeoning automotive industry. Where there's cars there's bound to be racing, and just as the world's biggest automakers head to India in droves, so has the world's foremost racing series. India has seen two of its top drivers make it into F1, it's given rise to its own F1 team, it's hosted numerous demonstration events, and this weekend, for the first time, it hosted its first grand prix.

The race was held on what has – despite a stray dog wandering onto the track during Friday's practice sessions – been widely rated as a fantastic new circuit on the outskirts of New Delhi. But while the hype is all well and good, the part that really counts is how the race went down. Follow the jump to read on.
2011 Indian Grand Prix

The qualifying sessions on Saturday initially left Lewis Hamilton's McLaren sandwiched between the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, but after Hamilton failed to heed the yellow flags, he was handed a three-place penalty that relegated him to fifth position on the grid. Ahead of him started Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Jenson Button, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa right behind in sixth, Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg seventh, Force India's own Adrian Sutil eighth, and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari ninth and tenth, respectively, as Michael Schumacher was relegated to eleventh on the starting grid.

The start of the race saw Button squeeze around Alonso for third heading into turn one, then move past Webber for second into turn four. Schumacher charged from eleventh up to eighth while his former prodigy Massa moved up a position to fifth. Further adrift in the tightly packed field, Barrichello, Perez, Glock and Kobayashi were all caught up in collisions that race officials investigated but chose not to penalize. By the third lap, Force India's former DTM champ Paul di Resta and Trulli had also scraped. The race that would see five retirements before the finish, as Glock and Kobayashi never made it out of their pit garages, soon to be joined by three more.

2011 Indian Grand Prix2011 Indian Grand Prix
2011 Indian Grand Prix2011 Indian Grand Prix

By the fifth lap, Vettel was building a commanding lead as Button was tried to keep Webber at bay. Bruno Senna, meanwhile, was performing admirably, moving up to tenth place from fourteenth on the starting grid. The young Brazilian's luck wouldn't hold out long, however: Alguersuari made it past on lap 10; it soon emerged that there were problems with the Renault's powertrain.

Lap 14 saw Maldonado join Glock and Kobayashi on the pit wall as the third retirement of the day. Three laps later saw some heated action between Ferrari and their former champion Schumacher when Alonso came out of the pit lane just ahead of his elder rival, only for Schumi (still before his next pit stop) to squeeze past. Massa soon joined the pursuit and Alonso made use of the DRS wing to pass the Mercedes.

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Massa got more action than he bargained for, however, several laps later when dueling with Hamilton. As the McLaren tried to pass up the inside, Massa slammed the door hard in his face and the two collided. Both cars spun, but while Hamilton made it back onto the track first, he was forced to pit for a new front wing. Massa followed in hot pursuit but didn't show any substantial damage, so by the time the marshals assigned fault to the Ferrari driver, he was already back up in fifth place, the McLaren back in ninth after his pit stop. Massa then took his drive-through penalty, but shook the front-left suspension loose where he had struck Hamilton after charging hard over the curbs. Massa was forced to retire trackside, only a few laps after Buemi.

Alonso picked up the flag for Ferrari, emerging ahead of Webber after his final pit to take and hold third place through the end of the race, finishing on the podium behind race-winner Vettel and runner-up Button. Webber settled for fourth, with Schumacher behind him in fifth, having emerged from his last pit stop just ahead of his wingman Rosberg in sixth. Hamilton had to be satisfied with seventh, just ahead of Alguersuari in eighth. Local team Force India's Adrian Sutil took ninth, ahead of Sauber's Sergio Perez, who collected the final point in tenth. As for Narain Karthikeyan, the only Indian driver on the grid (having been awarded a start by HRT) – well, he managed to tick off just about everyone, consistently refusing to give way to frontrunners long after he'd been lapped three times. He ultimately finished seventeenth, three places from last.

2011 Indian Grand Prix

The results, of course, further cement Vettel's and Red Bull's already-clinched championships, but don't help Webber in his pursuit of second place in the standings, as Button and Alonso still stand ahead with two rounds to go. The series rolls back into Abu Dhabi in two weeks before the season finale in Brazil the last weekend in November.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • From Our Partners

    Share This Photo X