Mercedes AMG at the 2013 Formula One Indian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Already during practice on Friday, teams were faced with a dusty track surface, which adversely affected grip. Car setup here is a delicate balance between straight-line speed and cornering grip. Tire supplier Pirelli has brought its P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires.
This may end up being the last Indian GP, if the rumors in the paddock are to be believed. Next year’s race, the fourth in a five-year contract, is absent from the 2014 F1 calendar and 2015’s race is yet to be confirmed. The good news is that this year’s race will go on as scheduled, despite a petition being filed with India’s Supreme Court that allegedly attempted to cancel the race due to unpaid taxes.
At the end of Friday’s practice sessions, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel was the quickest, having topped the timesheets with 1:25.722 after 35 laps. His teammate Mark Webber was right behind him, posting a fastest lap time of 1:26.011 after 38 laps. Then it was Lotus’ Romain Grosjean followed by Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five.
Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race, Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship with 297 points. In second is Fernando Alonso with 207 points followed by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen in third with 177 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing sits on 445 points versus the 297 points of Ferrari and 287 points of Mercedes AMG.
Note, Vettel needs to finish just fifth or higher to win the championship, regardless of where runner-up Alonso ends up. Given his past performance at the Indian GP, it’s likely Vettel will score his fourth consecutive world championship this weekend.