Sebastian Vettel raced away with his fourth consecutive Formula One victory in an action and incident packed Korean GP. The Red Bull driver was joined on the podium by Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen – who stormed onto second place from ninth in the starting line up - and Romain Grosjean.
Much to the delight of his supporters, Vettel got off to his customary lead right in the beginning of the race while Grosjean did well to put his Lotus ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes – their Lotus and the Mercedes cars looking very evenly poised in the beginning. Felipe Massa attempted a late braking manoeuver, which resulted in his Ferrari spinning across the track forcing all cars behind him into evasive action. All drivers drove away from the incident just fine, however Jenson Button and Adrian Sutil sustained some front wing damage in the jam up.
Nico Hulkenberg drove brilliantly to come home fourth after starting seventh on the grid. The German did well to keep Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari at bay in the first half of the race. Kimi Raikkonen managed to gain a number of positions after making for his second pitstop earlier than the battling rest and getting out in a clear stretch.
Later on in the race, Hamilton began to suffer extreme tyre wear in his second stint. and began to drop away from the battle with Grosjean. Rosberg looked set to get ahead of his struggling teammate only for his own Mercedes to suffer a dramatic partial front wing failure. As the Mercedes team cursed their luck, Raikkonen took advantage of the situation and gained a further two more places, just before the first safety car outing when Sergio Perez's right front shredding its tread on the straight before Turn 3 on lap 31. Mark Webber, who was recovering well from his grid penalty and right behind the Mclaren, got a puncture from the resulting debris and had to limp back to the pits.
Restarting the race on lap 37, Vettel managed to stay clear of the Lotus cars behind him, while Raikkonen did exceptionally well to get ahead of his teammate in spectacular fashion at Turn 1 the following lap. Sadly, the safety car was called into action again almost instantly, with Sutil colliding with Webber at Turn 3, causing the Red Bull to catch fire.
A fire vehicle was called in to handle the matter, but creating quite a confusion after coming out on track ahead of Vettel. The blazing RB9 was eventually taken care of with the race resuming on lap 49. was Yet again, Vettel stayed ahead of the cars behind on the restart to cross the finish line first, bagging his fourth consecutive win of the 2013 season and extending his lead in the driver’s championship to 77 points, ahead of second placed Alonso.
Hulkenberg put his Sauber ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes at a restart to take fourth position, and then clung on under huge pressure from the Briton and Alonso, who were having a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle of their own.
Another epic battle for 11th emerged between Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado fell back, leaving Gutierrez to come through ahead of the Venezuelan’s team mate Valtteri Bottas.
Charles Pic took 14th, just ahead of Caterham partner Giedo van der Garde. The Dutchman had an adventurous race, getting a drive-through penalty for forcing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi wide on the opening lap. Even so he was able to catch and pass both Bianchi and Max Chilton (Marussia again), who were the final finishers in 16th and 17th.
Disaster struck for the Toro Rosso team with both cars retiring on the penultimate lap with mechanical issues. They joined Webber and the Force Indias in retirement after Sutil had stopped in the pits on the 50th lap and Paul di Resta had dropped out after crashing on the 25th lap.
In the constructors standings - Red Bull have 402 points, Ferrari 284 and Mercedes 283, while Lotus are on 239, McLaren 81 and Force India 62.
2013 Formuila 1 Korean GP Provisional Results
1 - Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing-Renault
2 - Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus-Renault
3 - Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault
4 - Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber-Ferrari
5 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6 - Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
7 - Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
8 - Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes
9 - Felipe Massa, Ferrari
10 - Sergio Perez, McLaren-Mercedes
11 - Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber-Ferrari
12 - Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Renault
13 - Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault
14 - Charles Pic, Caterham-Renault
15 - Giedo van der Garde, Caterham-Renault
16 - Jules Bianchi, Marussia-Cosworth
17 - Max Chilton, Marussia-Cosworth
18 - Jean-Eric Vergne, STR-Ferrari
19 - Daniel Ricciardo, STR-Ferrari
20 - Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
Ret - Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing-Renault
Ret - Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes