F1 2013 Korean Grand Prix result: Hamilton fifth as Vettel wins

PUBLISHED: 09:54 06 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:49 06 October 2013

Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

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FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as world champion Sebastian Vettel cruised to victory in the 2013 Korean Grand Prix

2013 Korean Grand Prix result

Provisional Korean result:

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

3 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)

4 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)

5 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

6 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

7 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

8 Jenson Button (McLaren)

9 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

10 Sergio Perez (McLaren)

The 28-year-old Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire failed to finish on the podium after starting second on the grid in Korea.

Red Bull’s Vettel took the chequered flag after starting from pole position in a race that saw two safety car periods. The German dominated once again from the front to claim yet another win, his third in Korea.

Kimi Raikkonen, who is off to Ferrari next season, climbed from ninth on the grid to finish second ahead of current Lotus colleague Romain Grosjean, who took the third and final place on the podium.

Nico Hulkenberg held off Hamilton in the closing laps following the second safety car period to take fourth place for Sauber.

Lewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

The Sauber was incredibly strong on traction out of the corners, as well as fast on the straights, and Hulkenberg was just able to defend Hamilton’s repeated attempts to take him and make the move stick.

The Silver Arrows star eventually finished fifth in the provisional results, with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari just behind Hamilton in sixth place.

The top 10 was completed by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in seventh, followed by Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez, who suffered a tyre failure earlier in the race which prompted one of the safety car periods.

The safety car was later deployed again when Mark Webber’s Red Bull caught fire.

Lewis Hamilton in Korea [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton in Korea [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

One major talking point afterwards was Mercedes’ decision to keep Hamilton out on old tyres, resulting in his lap times slowing dramatically mid race, and then pitting Rosberg ahead of him. Rosberg had just overtaken his teammate when his front wing failed.

A frustrated Hamilton spent seven laps on tyres past their best, much to his annoyance, with his times dropping from lap 23 before finally pitting on lap 29, a lap later than the team’s planned stop on lap 28.

The Mercedes AMG F1 team explained the team’s strategy via its official Twitter handle @MercedesAMGF1.

Mercedes tweeted: “We couldn’t box HAM on same lap as ROS as the latter’s car was unsafe and wing needed replacing. And queuing would have cost an extra 20s”

Nico Rosberg in practice ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Nico Rosberg in practice ahead of the 2013 Korean Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

In a series of tweets after the race, the team further explained: “To all asking about the strategy decisions with @LewisHamilton, pitting early would have committed us to a much slower 3 stop strategy which would have left Lewis down the field and having to make up more than an extra stop’s worth of time coming through the midfield.

“The second set of prime tyres held up much better but we didn’t have the Sector 1 pace of the Sauber today just like ALO in the first part

“Races like this are tough to take but as we know, what doesn’t break us makes us stronger. We will bounce back in one week in Suzuka.”

Hamilton ran a two-stop strategy using option/prime/prime with stops on laps nine and 29. His race was defined by a second stint where he struggled with high wear on the right-front tyre.

F1 2013 World Drivers’ Championship

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 272 points

2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 195

3 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 167

4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 161

5 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 130

6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 122

Afterwards Hamilton said: “That was not a great day for us and it feels like we deserved more as a team. After Grosjean got ahead of me at the start, there was no way past and it seemed that we were losing out to other on traction cars all day.

“In my second stint, running the prime tyre, my right front was just destroyed all of a sudden. When that happens, you start losing temperature, understeering and locking up under braking, so it was really hard to maintain the pace in those laps.

“It was a really difficult part of the race but I had to get to a certain target lap before I made the final stop.”

Hamilton added: “After the Safety Car, we were just losing out in traction to the Sauber. Our car was really strong through the middle sector but not quick enough on the straights to stay ahead.

“It was a nice battle with Fernando but it’s hard to take when it’s only for P5 or P6. It was just not a good race for us today but we have the chance to bounce back in Suzuka.”

Rosberg also felt it was a hard day behind the wheel. He said: “That was another very tough race for me. I couldn’t believe what happened with the wing: I was on course for a podium finish after overtaking Lewis and two seconds later, the front wing just broke.

“It was pretty scary because that could have been a dangerous situation but the engineers told me over the radio that it was under control and I could carry some speed back to the pits.

“It’s a shame because the car felt great today and I found a good balance and how to get the most out of the car, which I hadn’t managed until this point of the weekend.”

Rosberg added: “It’s been a real up and down season so far for me but it’s good that we have another race in a week’s time.

“Our car is very competitive and I had good pace compared to the cars on the podium. So I’m looking forward to the next races.”

Despite failing to secure a podium in Korea, the team remains third in the constructors’ championship on 283 points, gaining six points on Ferrari this afternoon.

Mercedes F1 team principal Ross Brawn admitted: “It proved a very challenging race for the team and one which leaves us with the rather bitter taste of ‘what might have been’ after finishing fifth with Lewis and seventh with Nico.

“The cars settled in third and fourth positions during the first stint and both looked very competitive compared to those around them.

“However, Lewis began to struggle around 13 laps into his second stint when he reported that his right-front tyre was no longer performing properly.

“At that point, we had a difficult decision to make: an extra stop at lap 22 would have committed us to a much slower three-stop strategy, or we could leave Lewis in clean air to tough it out and try and reach the target lap to make our two-stop strategy work.

“We chose the latter option but it was a pretty painful few laps as Lewis battled to minimise the time loss.

“On the other car, Nico’s tyres were in much better shape and he was running at the same pace as the leaders and well on course for a podium finish when he suffered a structural failure on the front wing assembly which forced him to make an immediate pit stop.”

Brawn added: “The Safety Car phases ultimately made the final part of the race more comfortable in terms of tyre life but neither driver was able to make up much ground against the cars around them which had a traction advantage.

“It’s been a tough day and we will aim to deliver a stronger performance in Japan.”


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