In the final seconds of qualifying of the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, Sebastian Vettel of Infiniti Red Bull Racing beats his team mate Mark Webber by .003 seconds to claim his second consecutive pole position in Austin, Texas. (Image credit: by courtesy of Pirelli)
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For some reason the idea of supporting an underdog in any sport has come to include disparaging the strongest opponents as well. Red Bull’s Formula One team and Sebastian Vettel have come under much criticism over the past three years for a myriad of untrue, unsupported and unfair claims by fans, other teams and even some media outlets.
// Qualifying Concludes at Circuit of The Americas
A great qualifying session today at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. Hamilton and Vettel fought to the end as the Red Bull car edged out the McLaren with just over one tenth of a second between the two.
A strong penultimate qualifying lap from Vettel appeared to be enough to secure him the position. Shortly after Vettel’s fast lap, Hamilton completed his with just seconds to go in the final session. Managing only P3, Hamilton stayed out for another attempt to take pole position.
Incredible. Against all odds. Non-stop action. These words sum up the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
First, there was the massive upset at qualifying when Vettel's fuel issue forced him to start from the pit lane. As one of the final two drivers battling it out in the remaining races, starting from essentially P24 is soul-crushing. With Vettel now starting from the pit lane, Hamilton's superb qualifying session put him at the front, not unusual for the former champion, but after a solid first stint he would be forced to retire on Lap 20, an unexpected twist in the weekend's race.
Indian Grand Prix 2012 will go down in the records as "the race in which Vettel continues his path of complete domination in the closing races of the season." Coming off of a fantastic qualifying, Vettel lead from lights to flag, replicating his win in 2011. It's a tell-tale sign on where the teams are at when we look at the grid positions at the start of the race where Red Bull had front row locked, then McLaren, then Ferrari. Clearly Red Bull has continued to fine tune their race cars, also called the "Adrian Newey car" while other teams are merely catching up. It's hard to comprehend why McLaren and Ferrari with hefty financial backing have not been able to make their race cars more competitive. Who are the weakest links in these teams that's ruining the chances for the drivers and for the teams? Is it strategy (both in qualifying and in pit stop calls) or is it the technical challenges on the car itself?
Fast developing countries need exciting and motivational events to raise their profiles and change outside perceptions. By tradition, India has always been a nation of tremendous contrast. Extreme wealth, once the preserve of the Maharajahs but now belonging to both commercial and industrial barons, stands starkly against a backdrop of abysmal poverty and it is this inherent imbalance that has created something of a moral dilemma. Yet, F1 is in India and it is heralded as a vital element of its modern infrastructure.