The result was perhaps a forgone conclusion.  For some, though, carpets were not an expected obstacle during today’s Korean grand prix…

Photo: Red Bull Racing Media

“I hit everybody” – the opening laps

Vettel jumped Webber almost as soon as the lights had gone out, despite some dicey attempts to retake the lead on lap 1.

Perez came into turn 1 a bit hot, did some minor damage to various members of the field, but amazingly seemed to carry on (almost) unnoticed.

Kobayashi forgot to brake on the first lap, crashing into the middle of not only Nico Rosberg but also Jenson Button.  Quote of the day goes to the McLaren driver: “What an idiot”.  No prizes for guessing who he was referring to.  A drive-through penalty was shortly awarded to Kobayashi, a token punishment for some impressive carnage.  The yellow flags continued to wave for Rosberg’s Mercedes, preventing the DRS zone being enabled until lap 9.  There was some characteristically refreshing honesty from JB in the post-race interview on whether he now has any chance of winning the championship this season: “No… definitely not”.

Having retired around the half way point of the race, and without admitting much liability generally for the opening lap, Kobayashi did mention in passing: “I hit everybody”.  You don’t say.

Hard times

A flurry of pit activity from lap 15 saw the majority of the field switch to the harder tyre.   Perez challenged Alonso as the latter left the pits, with Hamilton following vulture-like behind, Perez gaining position over Alonso, losing it, and then falling behind Hamilton.  Massa and Raikkonen made breezy passes on Perez for 6th soon after.

Go Massa!  The middle phase 

Smedders (Rob Smedley, Massa’s race engineer) was looking chuffed at Massa’s move over Hamilton, continuing his New Improved and Shiny race performance of late.  Hamilton’s problems were blamed on a wonderfully vague “mechanical balance” issue.  The next duel featured Hamilton and Raikkonen, with Hamilton not quite ready to accept the inevitability of being passed.  The ex-McLaren driver Raikkonen and the soon-to-be-ex-McLaren driver Hamilton entertained the (notably sparse) crowds with an exchange of places until Hamilton eventually succumbed to the effects of his “mechanical balance” issue.

Massa was obviously quicker than Alonso, taking 1.5 seconds off the team-hogger in one lap.  It wasn’t long before Alonso’s babysitters the Ferrari bigwigs ordered a friendly message to be relayed to Mega Massa: “back off from Alonso”.  The story of Massa’s career.

The Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Grosjean sandwich was entertaining around lap 42, with the cars weaving all over the place and resulting in an impressive 2 place stormer for Hulkenberg.

Photo: Red Bull Racing Media

Gangnam style – the final 10 laps

The pollution (typical for this part of Asia) combined with a rapid early sunset made for a rather hazy finish.

But the classic moment of the race has to be … the mighty carpet!  Hamilton did not pick up any places in the race, nor podiums, but he did pick up some carpet.  Sadly for Hamilton it was not a magic carpet, but merely some stray astroturf which he dragged flailing off the car until the finish.

The chequered flag was waved, somewhat appropriately, by Korean sensation PSY (aka “Mr Gangnam Style”) as Vettel sailed to yet another dominant win for Red Bull.  Click here if you don’t believe us (you can see Vettel and Webber have a go at Gangnam style with PSY above).  It’s addictive stuff.

Shout out for Badger favourite Johnny Herbert, conducting the post-race interviews covered in champagne!

The results

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Romain Grosjean
  8. Jean-Eric Verne
  9.  Daniel Ricciardo
  10. Lewis Hamilton
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Paul Di Resta
  13. Michael Schumacher
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Bruno Senna
  16. Vitaly Petrov
  17. Heikki Kovalainen
  18. Timo Glock
  19. Charles Pic
  20. Narain Karthikeyan
  21. Pedro de la Rosa (retired)
  22. Kamui Kobayashi (retired)
  23. Nico Rosberg (retired)
  24. Jenson Button (retired)