The Red Bull driver continued his dominating run from over the last four races, through the practice and qualifying sessions on the Indian circuit, and topped it off with a commanding win at the BIC. But unlike the year before, Vettel did not lead every lap of the race from start to finish. He was the first of the frontrunners to pit and swap his soft compound tyres for a medium set, on the second lap, and drop down to seventeenth place.
Felipe Massa who started from fifth slot on the grid managed to leapfrog both the Mercedes cars in front of him by the first turn and effectively took the lead of the race following Vettels first pit stop.
After Massa, Rosberg and Hamilton made their first pit stops for their sets of soft compounds, it was Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber’s turn to lead the lead. Vettel in the mean time was busy recovering places, battling through the pack. With some of the other racers entering the pits on their respective team strategies, Vettel moved up the order to fifth by lap 10.
By lap 28, Vettel had gone ahead of Romain Grosjean's Lotus, Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez's McLaren, and with Webber pitting that same lap, the then three-time world champion had regained the lead in the race. Sebastian went on to win this year’s driver’s title as well as Red Bull Racing’s fourth consecutive constructors’ title uninterruptedly and in total dominance.
Webber stayed out for just 4 laps on the softer compounds, similar to Vettel’s short stint with the same tyres. The Red Bull drivers made their final stops by lap 33. But disaster struck at lap 40 with the Australian suffering yet another alternator problem and having to pull of the racing circuit at turn two.
This opened the door for Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen who was attempting to make it to the checkered flag on medium Pirellis post his one-stop on lap 7. Force India’s Adrian Sutil was promoted to third temporarily and dropped five positions behind after making his first entry to the pits on lap 41.
Rosberg moved up to third by lap 51, eased his way past the slower lapping Kimi after following the Finn for 11 laps and eventually finished 29.823s behind the newly crowned World Champion.
Raikkonen's pace was over a second quicker than the two cars behind him – his teammate Romain Grosjean (whose medium rubber was 46 laps old by the finish) and Filippe Massa. Grosjean and Kimi engaged in a fierce battle, with the Finn eventually overtaken by both – the other Lotus car and Massa’s Ferrari on lap 51.
Grosjean, who started 17th, had a remarkable drive by conserving his tyres, and finished on the podium for a third race in a row.
Hamilton and Perez, who were battling since lap 34, were able to get the better of the slower Lotus car with three laps to the finish. Checo was even able to overtake Lewis in the same lap; resulting in the Mexicans best result since joining McLaren this year.
Raikkonen, then made his second pitstop of the race with just two laps to go, and stayed in front of the two Force India cars of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil. Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10 in his Scuderia Torro Rosso.
Fernando Alonso, had a miserable race right from the beginning, after having to make an early visit to the pits for tyres and a new front wing post making contact with Webber's rear wing and damaging the nose of his Ferrari in the very first corner of the race. He even had banged wheels with Jenson Button a few corners later. He seemed to be struggling with his damaged car and managed to come 11th after three pit stops.
Nico Hulkenberg who drove strongly all weekend to begin the race from seventh on the grid, encountered a problem with the floor of his Sauber and had to let go of a valuable 4 points (8th place finish) to retire to the pits with three laps from the finish.
2013Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix Results:
1.S. Vettel, Red Bull, 1h31:12.187
2.N. Rosberg, Mercedes, +29.823
3.R. Grosjean, Lotus, +39.892
4.F. Massa, Ferrari, +41.692
5.S. Perez, McLaren, +43.829
6.L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +52.400
7.K. Raikkonen, Lotus, + 1:07.900
8.P. Di Resta , Force India, + 1:12.800
9.A. Sutil, Force India, + 1:14.700
10.D. Ricciardo, Toro Rosso , + 1:16.200
11.F. Alonso, Ferrari, + 1:18.200
12.P. Maldonado, Williams, + 1:18.900
13.J. Vergne , Toro Rosso, + 1 lap
14.J. Button, McLaren, +1 lap
15.S. Gutierrez, Sauber, +1 lap
16.V. Bottas, Williams, +1 lap
17.M. Chilton, Marussia, +2 laps
18.J. Bianchi, Marussia ,+2 laps
19.N. Hulkenberg, Sauber, +6 laps
DNF.M. Webber, Red Bull, 39
DNF.C. Pic, Caterham, 35
DNF.G. Van Der Garde, Caterham, 1