India set to witness Vettel coronation

Last Updated 26 October 2013, 20:48 IST

The Formula One paddock is a place that plays host to some of the biggest names in motorsport history—from former greats like Nikki Lauda and Eddie Jordan to the current crop of champion drivers.

None of them, however, are received quite like Sebastian Vettel. The 26-year-old is a giant among mere men, who not too long ago would have played down the chances of a young German coming and ruling the roost. Vettel has done just that, taking over the top spot from the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton with the kind of authority that no one anticipated.

The three-time world champion arrived at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC)for the Indian Grand Prix requiring a fifth place finish in the race on Sunday (starting at 3 pm) to win his fourth successive drivers’ championship title, matching the record set by Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari’s Alonso and the rest of the gang hoped to upstage him during the qualifying round on Saturday but the Red Bull driver blew them away with the fastest-ever lap recorded at the BIC to bag the best seat in the house for the race.

Vettel will start from pole followed by Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who finished second and third in qualifying.

His winning streak, which would extend to six in a row should he win on Sunday, was “booed” by crowds all over in three prior Asian venues—Singapore, Korea and Japan—but the crowd at the BIC seem more than welcome to witness the coronation of a world champion for the first time.

The meagre crowd that packed the venue on Saturday cheered and celebrated Vettel’s fine qualifying session. And from the sound of it, more will drive in.

Some sections of the crowd would probably dislike the fact that Vettel had made the show one-sided. But there is no denying that he is a worthy champion.

Perhaps that small section of the crowd will understand this and join in the celebrations when the time comes for Vettel to raise his index finger once again, on Sunday.

(Published 26 October 2013, 20:48 IST)

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