F1 at Buddh circuit: Sebastian Vettel hits Bull's eye


Live Lap 50: Lewis Hamilton's team informs him that Mark Webber is struggling with his tyres. Sebastian Vettle at no. 1 position followed by Fernado Alonso and Mark Webber occuping the third spot.

There are no points scored on a Saturday, Sebastian Vettel pointed out during the post-qualifying press conference, and yet the gap between the world championship leader and his closest rival Fernando Alonso widened considerably on race eve.

Besides the obvious six points in the standings, between the pole sitting German from Red Bull and Ferrari's Spanish driver now existed, too, an approximate half-a-second per lap (on the basis of practice and qualifying), therefore three cars and perhaps most crucially, extra rubber on Vettel's sparingly used tyres.

In short, Saturday put Vettel not only at the front of the grid for the Sunday's Indian Grand Prix but also in pole position to clinch the world title race — it won't be decided on Sunday, but Vettel might take a huge leap towards it after today's small but significant step. On a clear morning, Vettel picked up from where he left off on a smoggy Friday, comfortably topping the timesheet in the final practice session. McLaren's Jenson Button ran him close, but not quite, finishing .192s behind and just ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Alonso, who finished third in the two practice sessions on Friday, wasn't quick enough and didn't push enough as he took the seventh spot. Practice sessions are no definitive indicators of what lies ahead— Williams' Bruno Senna, for example, was sixth in the morning but ended up 19th in qualifying.

But Vettel being fastest in all three, that too with consummate ease, was proof enough that the 25-year-old reigning double champion was driving a race of his own, where his only competitors were the clock and himself. Not coming out on top in the afternoon's grid classification event would have been against the run of play.

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