x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Vettel leads from pole to take inaugural Indian Grand Prix

Double world champion brings up his 11th victory of the season for Red Bull Racing as Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa collide again.

Sebastian Vettel lead the field from start to finish at the Indian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel lead the field from start to finish at the Indian Grand Prix.

GREATER NOIDA, INDIA // Sebastian Vettel, the double world champion, ran away with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix today, bringing up his 11th victory in 17 races this season.

The 24-year-old German, who led every lap of the race after starting from pole position, set the fastest lap as well to continue Red Bull Racing's dominance this season.

Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, consolidated his grip on second place overall by finishing 8.4 seconds behind Vettel in his McLaren-Mercedes, while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took third place a further 15.8 seconds adrift.

Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa once again collided, their sixth on-track clash of the season. The Brazilian was handed a drive through penalty for causing the collision and later retired with a broken front suspension. Hamilton, who suffered a broken front wing in the incident salvaged seventh place.

Mark Webber took fourth place in the second Red Bull, with Nico Rosberg leading Michael Schumacher to fifth and sixth for Mercedes GP.

Jaime Alguersuari finished eighth for Toro Rosso. Adrian Sutil finished ninth for Force India to give home fans some cheer on their debut race.

Sergio Perez rounded out to the points places for Sauber.

Stewards ruled that the Ferrari driver Massa was in the wrong this time, imposing a drive-through penalty for causing their collision, but the Brazilian rejected that and his team produced pictures to support his argument.

"I braked later than him, I was in front ... to be honest I don't understand why I have the penalty. It is really not understandable," he told reporters.

Hamilton, who is having a nightmare Formula One season and had to pit for a new front wing after the incident, told another set of reporters that Massa "just turned in on me, he didn't give me any space".

Asked whether there was now a full feud between them, Massa replied: "Maybe for him. He touched my car. So I didn't do anything wrong."

The pair, who have clashed six times on the racetrack in 17 grands prix this season, could not even agree on whether they had attempted to mend fences before the race after weeks of simmering silence.

With their cars lined up together on the third row of the grid, they had stood together during a minute's silence for double Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon and MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, both killed in crashes in the last two weeks.

"He (Massa) hasn't spoken to me since a long, long time, so I made an effort and put my arm round him and said good luck for the race," Briton Hamilton told the BBC.

Massa, beaten by Hamilton to the 2008 championship by a single point, denied that version.

"He was on my side. And then he just said have a good race. This is trying to do what? 'Have a good race' is not part of talking or whatever," he said dismissively.