Red Bull dominates Korean GP
2012 TITLE IN SIGHT: With four races left, Sebastian Vettel moves closer to winning the 2012 F1 title with a fantastic win at the 2012 Korean GP. Image: AFP
YEONGAM, South Korea - World champion Sebastian Vettel won the 2012 Korean F1 Grand Prix in a Red Bull 1-2 finish to take the overall Drivers' championship lead from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with four races remaining.
Vettel's third win in a row, his fourth of the season and 25th of his career, left him on 215 points with third-placed Alonso now on 209.
Mark Webber, who started on pole position but was overtaken by his team mate off the grid into the first corner, was second to anchor the first 1-2 of the season by any team.
South Korea's 'Gangnam Style' rapper Psy waved the chequered flag as Vettel crossed the line and thanked his team for "a great race, great job on the pits wall" before screaming in delight.
Vettel said: "The start was very important. we started from the dirty side. I had a very good launch and could see that Mark was struggling a little bit. I was able to get side-by-side and then had the inside into turn one.
"It was a perfect start for me."
With no need to attack his title-chasing team mate in the closing stages, Webber finished 8.2sec behind Vettel.
Starting fourth, Alonso got ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton at the start but could not close the gap with the Red Bulls on an afternoon where the outcome was effectively decided in the first few seconds. He crossed the line 13.9sec behind Vettel.
Alonso said: "I think we have to be happy with our performance today. We are moving in the right direction. We just need a little last step to be as competitive as Red Bull."
Ferrari (290 points) overtook McLaren (284) for second place in the Constructors' standings behind Red Bull (367).
Felipe Massa continued his late season resurgence with fourth for Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen chalked up his 13th consecutive points finish with fifth in the race for Lotus to consolidate third place overall and stay in the reckoning.
McLaren's Jenson Button was an early casualty, his race ending on the first lap when Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi sideswiped his car and smashed the front right suspension as well as puncturing the tyre. Kobayashi, who also ended the race for Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the same incident, made it back to the pits on three wheels and a rim.
The Japanese, who finished a memorable third at his home race the previous weekend, collected a drive-through penalty for causing the collision and retired in the pits on lap 18.
Button, now 84 points off Vettel, declared his remote title hopes to be defunct: "No, definitely not. I'm going to enjoy myself over the next few races. Points for the team would have been really important, but it's out of our hands."
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Force India with Romain Grosjean, steering well clear of trouble after a spate of first-lap smashes, seventh for Lotus. Jean-Eric Vergne was eighth for Toro Rosso, with team mate Daniel Ricciardo ninth.
Hamilton, who had a ripped-off strip of astroturf trailing from a sidepod in the closing laps, just kept off Sauber's Sergio Perez - the man who will replace him at McLaren in 2013 season - for 10th after starting third.
Results from the 2012 Korean F1 GP
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min36min28.651
2 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +00min08.231
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00min13.944
4 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00min20.168
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 00min36.739
6 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 00min45.301
7 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 00min54.812
8 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 01min09.589
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min11.787
10 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 01min19.692
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 01min20.062
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 01min24.448
13 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 01min29.241
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 01min34.924
15 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 01min36.902
16 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1 lap
17 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1 lap
18 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1 lap
19 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 2 laps
20 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 2 laps
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 39 laps
Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 39 laps
Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 54 laps
Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 55 laps
Fastest lap: Mark Webber, 1min42.037, lap 54.
Qualifying times from the 2012 Korean F1 GP
Third practice times
Second practice session
First free practice session