Late on Saturday, 22 Formula 1 cars would have taken to the Buddh International Circuit in an hour-long battle of putting down the fastest lap times they can manage to determine the starting grid for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix. This year’s race at the Greater Noida track could also turn out to be one of the most important races for the season – not only could Sebastian Vettel walk away with his fourth consecutive Drivers’ Title, but Infiniti Red Bull Racing could be crowned Constructors’ Champions too, cementing the team’s domination of the sport in the last four years.
Sebastian Vettel has led the charts in the first two practice sessions already and it would be foolish to bet against him all weekend – especially considering that he’s totally demolished the competition when it comes to racing in India.
No other driver has taken Pole Position in India, no other driver has won here and in fact, no other driver has even led a single lap of the race since the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011. The odds are definitely in Vettel’s favour once again as he was the only driver in Friday practice to dip below the 1min 26sec lap time as the entire grid struggled with grip from the front tyres.
With Pirelli’s white medium compound and yellow soft compound tyres forming a slightly more aggressive tyre choice for the teams this weekend compared to the last two Indian GPs, it will take the drivers more effort to get the heat in and extract the best possible grip – making for an interesting qualifying session. So, expect some surprising eliminations in Q1 and Q2.
The Buddh International Circuit is a challenging one with an eclectic mix of the kind of straights and corners that really tests driver skill as well as their engineer’s prowess in setting up the cars.
The massive back straight requires the cars to go full throttle for almost 14 seconds, the track rises a whopping 14 metres between Turns 1 and 3, there are four second-gear corners that require stupendous amounts of traction to get away from cleanly for a good lap time and then there’s that extremely precise 250km/h double-apex Turn 10 as well.
Traditionally, the Red Bulls have outclassed every other team at the Indian GP and considering their new-found blistering-quick exits out of corners first seen at this year’s Korean GP.
Mark Webber has consistently been on Vettel’s heels too, but behind the Red Bulls we could be in for quite the battle between Lotus, Mercedes and McLaren. Fernando Alonso will be looking to delay Vettel’s crowning as long as he can, but has never turned out great qualifying performance this year. Rest assured, it’s going to be a cracking session when the track goes green for qualifying at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix this weekend.