Vettel is just four points behind Alonso in the champion going into this race, so we may see a change of leader by the end!
Further back, there are a few penalties that don't make too much difference. Pic has a ten place drop for using his ninth engine, Ricciardo drops five because of a gearbox change.
Interview with Mark Webber: "Should be pretty straightforward in turn one, the run to turn three is more interesting with huge slipstream. We'll go from there, it's going to be an interesting GP. We're not sure strategy-wise.
"It should be reasonably close, it depends how you get the balance in the first couple of laps. Seb's pretty strong on those first couple of laps - keeping him at bay and Fernando as well. For the first couple of laps until DRS opens."
|Korean International Circuit|
|Local timezone||+09:00 GMT|
|Number of laps||55|
Interview with Sebastian Vettel: "We try to do the best we can. It's not too far to turn one but then we have two long straights. It depends where you are on the first corner, initially want to have a good start, the rest is too far away.
There is probably a little bit of a disadvantage this side, but equally on the right there is not massive rubber down either. I think it should be fine, not too bad."
Apparently, Lotus didn't have enough time to make all the new upgrade parts for both cars, so Kimi is running a new rear end, and Romain is not.
Interview with Jenson Button: "I've tried really hard to qualify 11th and we just got there in the end. It's a perfect position with new tyres. On a serious note, it is good with new tyres, it's a long way back but we can race well from here."
The grid starts to get busy, via @WilliamsF1Team.
Interview with Felipe Massa: "Motivation is high, we had good pace on Friday, hopefully we can have the same today and fight at the front."
|(data from Williams F1)|
|Fuel lap time penalty||0.4s/10kg|
|Pit lane loss||24s|
|Pit lane length||387m|
On the grid, Charlie Whiting is having a good old chat with Sam Michael, the McLaren shirted Sam looking quite animated.
There's also some images of Vettel's mechanics hurrying around the rear of the car, possibly working on a brake issue.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: Preparation went according to plan. We are ready on the grid - #Checo starts from 12th, #Kamui from 13th. Will 13 be a lucky number???
Pirelli have brought the soft and supersoft tyres, yellow and red sidewalls respectively.
Felipe Massa sits in the car and takes a sip of his drink as the drivers make their final preparations. Kimi Räikkönen has his visor down, whilst Vettel and Alonso both have their eyes closed in concentration.
All eyes are on Grosjean at the start. He lines up seventh, and needs to get through a first lap without trouble. Pic via @roxonaf1.
The top ten are all on the supersoft tyres, with Button the first man on softs in 11th. Both Saubers, Di Resta, Vergne and De la Rosa also starting on the yellows.
The formation lap begins with both Red Bulls leading the pack away. Behind them, the mechanics bundle across the track to get back to the pitlane.
Webber weaves his way down the home straight and pulls to a stop on the first grid slot. The pack slowly file in behind.
Webber was bogged down at the start, Vettel easily got past him and he held up plenty of drivers behind him.
The two Red Bulls are side by side down the next straight. A Lotus went really wide at that corner. There's plenty of scrapping down the straights.
Button has front right damage, he reports he's been hit by Kobayashi.
Replays show the Sauber came flying down the right hand side, puncture for the Sauber, front suspension damage for Button.
Nico Rosberg has also pulled to a halt on track, he's climbing out of the Mercedes.
Kamui Kobayashi pits for a new set of tyres. He's now last.
Button can only watch as the field passes by for their second lap.
It's plus one, minus one all the way down that field. Was one side of the grid really much better than the other, or is it just that Webber held everyone up?
All the replays show that Kobayashi bashed into the back of Rosberg before bouncing off Button, which is why the Mercedes is off as well. Two cars in one corner!
Paul di Resta easily passes Bruno Senna, whilst Jean-Éric Vergne attempts a move on Maldonado but runs wide to allow the Williams back in.
Vergne runs wide again, kicking up some dust. Behind him, teammate Ricciardo is waiting for mistakes just like that.
Team radio from Ricciardo: "Losing time with JEV."
Button and Rosberg walk back to the pits together, having a good chat about their short race!
Still yellow flags in the Rosberg area, and yet no one is attempting to move the car. Are we going to run under yellow flags forever?
Race Control: DRS disabled.
Race Control: Drive through penalty for Kobayashi - causing a collision.
The waved yellow flags are in the DRS zone, so there can be no overtaking there. Still no one is even looking at the Mercedes. This is silly.
Comment from David in NZ: Aren't the marshalls' arms going to fall off if they have to wave yellows for the entire race?
Kobayashi comes through the pit lane for his drive through penalty, losing over 20 seconds for his trouble. He was running near the back anyway after an early pit stop.
There is movement on the Mercedes. I don't think I've ever been so excited to see a car lifted in the air.
Track is clear.
Race Control: DRS enabled.
Daniel Ricciardo is on a charge, he just caught and drove round Senna in the Williams. He's up to 14th now.
Tweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Charles takes P20 and is attacking DLR now. Despite our disadvantage in S1, Charles was in touch with the cars ahead there on that last lap
Senna complains on the radio about some debris in the front wing, he's advised to keep cool, he's almost at the pit window and they'll sort it then.
Interview with Button: "I got a really good start, I was able to get past both Mercedes. I was on the inside of Rosberg, anyway. We were braking for the corner. Sergio braked really late and went up the inside. He didn't hit me. I had to run wide and push Nico off the circuit, we were having a drag race. It was quite fun.
"I don't know what happened then, I braked really late. I saw a car climbing over me on the right hand side, it was a Sauber again. It's disappointing, it's a long race and there's so much opportunity here. It's a great race circuit for overtaking. It's surprising that people are driving like that."
Paul di Resta and Michael Schumacher are battling for position, side by side through the corner with a hungry looking Toro Rosso behind them as well.
Schumacher retains his position, after Di Resta got the pass in the DRS and then went wide into the next corner. Vergne pushes towards Di Resta in the following fast corner but doesn't make it stick.
The other Force India is also in a battle, heading up Grosjean and Pérez - all three split by just half a second.
Hey, here's something new. Mid-race ratings, how do you think the stewarding decisions are going so far: https://sidepodcast.com/playground/rate-the-race.php
Lewis Hamilton has dived into the pit lane, a super quick stop from McLaren again.
Hamilton sets a trend, as Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Schumacher and Vergne all bundle into the pits as well.
Massa, Räikkönen and Webber all pit as well. Further back Petrov and Glock come in for their stops too.
A busy few minutes in the pitlane, I also missed Ricciardo and Senna coming in.
Importantly, Vettel is still leading, with Alonso behind and they have not yet stopped. Vettel gets the call to come in.
There was potentially an unsafe release situation as Grosjean got held up behind the Force India.
Coming out of the pits, Alonso found himself in a battle with Pérez who has yet to stop. They raced around the first corner, then the Sauber came back at him down the main straight.
He couldn't make the place though, allowing Hamilton behind him to close up as well. Eventually, both Alonso and Hamilton pass Pérez, leaving him for dust.
Kobayashi practically pulls to a stop as blue flags are waved for him, and the leaders make their way through.
Felipe Massa now makes a move on Pérez, the Sauber driver quickly dropping back.
Kimi Räikkönen is now closing up behind Pérez as well - when will they bring Segio in for a stop?
Pérez, currently sixth and Maldonado, eighth, have not yet stopped. Pic and Karthikeyan also haven't made their first pit lane visit yet.
Kobayashi has pit for the third time, but the car is being pushed into the garage. De la Rosa has also pitted and is out of the car.
There's no rest for the Sauber crew, as Pérez finally comes in for his stop. New tyres on and he's off again.
Team radio from Hamilton: "Tyres are not going to last."
Grosjean has closed up behing Maldonado, the only car not to have stopped yet. This is a worrying pair to be fighting for position!
Maldonado doesn't pit this time round, and Grosjean finally makes the move - cleanly and safely!
Hamilton is complaining about his car on the radio, and now Massa has closed up behind him, the Ferrari is sure to get past soon.
Easy pickings, the Ferrari gets in front of the sole remaining McLaren in the race. Fourth for Massa now.
Massa's radio commends him for the pass but urges him to pull a gap, as the McLaren may just be struggling with graining. Lewis's complaints would suggest otherwise.
Pastor Maldonado pitted, the last to do so, and he drops out of the top ten.
Räikkönen is hustling Hamilton for position, but we have a battle on our hands. Kimi takes the place, then down the next straight Lewis takes it straight back.
There's still less than a second between the pair, so each lap the battle begins again. Hamilton locks up slightly, and Kimi wasn't close enough to make a move.
|P Di Resta||12th|
Jean-Éric Vergne is showing how feisty this Toro Rosso is, passing Michael Schumacher for tenth place - up into the points!
Interview with Kamui Kobayashi: "We are fighting for position and that was really difficult not to hit the brake. I was waiting for someone brakes, someone braked really hard. My car, I think someone touched, and then I hit everyone. There were four cars on the straight, it was too tight. For me, it was very difficult to avoid. I don't want to crash, of course."
Lewis Hamilton ruins the battle by coming into the pitlane, it's not as quick a stop as the previous one but still good work by McLaren.
Vettel set the fastest lap of the race so far, a 1:43.948, but is still warned over the radio to look after his tyres.
Paul di Resta pits from 14th place.
Felipe Massa pops in the fastest lap of the race. Meanwhile, Grosjean is chasing Hülkenberg hard for position, for sixth place.
Grosjean pulls alongside in the DRS zone, but can't make the position stick as Hulk goes defensive and keeps ahead.
It looks as though Sergio Pérez is the only driver out on track currently using the supersoft tyres, all others are on the soft compound.
Tweet from @MercedesAMGF1: New personal best for Michael. Tyres are coming back to him it seems at the moment #F1 #Korea
Webber pits from fourth place. The mechanics move swiftly and he's off again.
Hülkenberg follows into the pitlane, and Schumacher and Senna both come in for their second stops as well.
Grosjean makes a pushy move past Hülkenberg, with Jean-Éric Vergne next in his sights.
Pérez has pitted earlier this time round, coming in for his second stop on lap 34.
The BBC commentators are looking out their window, suggesting a Caterham has gone flying off when trying to get into the pits.
If it was Heikki, who has just stopped, then it wasn't too bad because he's back out on track again, two stops under his belt.
Replays show a massive lock up for Vettel on the front right, luckily just in time for his pit stop, otherwise that is not taking care of his tyres!
Grosjean also cut across the corner approaching the home straight, dust and grass everywhere, tyres dirty now.
The race leaders pit, as Webber sets the fastest lap of the race so far. We're down to 1:43.457.
Now Pérez has set the fastest lap. New tyres are clearly helping the pace considerably out there.
Paul di Resta is up behind Michael Schumacher, the pair hustling for 11th position. Di Resta locks up, allowing Schumi a small breather.
Massa is gradually closing up towards his teammate, Alonso sits third and 1.4 seconds back is Felipe.
|S Vettel||Red Bull||2.8|
|M Webber||Red Bull||2.8|
|P Di Resta||Force India||3.0|
Di Resta made it past Schumacher, with Pérez close behind the Mercedes hoping to make a move next.
Rob Smedley instructs Massa not to get too close to Alonso. "Hold the gap," essentially.
Lewis Hamilton is heading up a small train of cars, with Grosjean closing up to make a move, and Hülkenberg also.
Grosjean pulls alongside, but can't make the move around the tight corner, he runs off wide to avoid an accident. Pulling back on track, he slips in behind the McLaren but loses time to the Force India.
Hülkenberg tried to go round the outside, just hung it out until the track turned back his way. He got ahead of both cars, up to sixth place!
Hülk hasn't zipped off into the distance though, Hamilton remains close up to the Force India. Grosjean is being left behind a little.
Sorry for the crush, but the top four are getting away!
Hamilton comes in for another stop, third one of the day. He comes out in tenth place, behind Vergne, ahead of Di Resta.
Hamilton's been instructed he can push on this set of tyres. With just eleven laps remaining, he should be able to put the hammer down.
Tweet from @TheFifthDriver: A weird kind of mist is starting to descend over the KIC. Don't be misled by the TV pics; the visibility's fine and no rain.
Both Red Bull drivers have been warned about their front right tyres wearing too much.
Fernando Alonso has a four second gap between him and Mark Webber, a battle for second place could be on over the next few laps.
Lewis Hamilton is currently sitting in tenth place, he's got Vergne in his sights, less than a second between them.
He's too far back to make the move down the straight, and the pair get worryingly close braking into the corner.
Daniel Ricciardo has a big off, travelling way off track and going for a bit of a Sunday drive. I think he found the right piece of tarmac in the end though.
Pastor Maldonado is the only driver to have one stopped, assuming he's not going to come in over the next few laps.
|J Button||Accident damage||1|
|N Rosberg||Accident damage||1|
|P de la Rosa||Throttle issue||17|
|K Kobayashi||Crashed into everyone||17|
The astroturf at the side of the track has gradually been coming away lap after lap. Replays show Senna barrelling over the kerbs and green stuff flying up into the air. It's sitting on track now, could there be a safety car?
Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to begin another lap, there are just five remaining. He's got a 10 second gap to second place Webber now.
Lewis Hamilton locks up massively on that last lap, desperately trying to chase down the Toro Rossos in front of him.
Team radio from Schumacher: "There's a problem with the gearbox."
"Yea, we see there's a small problem but nothing to worry about at the moment."
Vettel's radio is still very worried, saying he's down to the core on his front tyres and warning him to be super careful under braking.
The two Toro Rosso drivers are now far too close for comfort, and Hamilton is waiting behind to capitalise on any situation.
On board, the tyre looks fine, but the radio comes on again to say the right front is as bad as when he pitted.
Lewis Hamilton has picked up a big chunk of that astroturf carpet. He's dragging it with him alongside and under the car.
You can instantly see on those lap times where the astroturf is having an effect. The car looks tough to handle now.
Vettel moves past some backmarkers to lead the final lap. His tyres look fine, but the pit wall crew look worried.
Sebastian Vettel wins the Korean Grand Prix!
Webber crosses the line second, with Alonso and Massa not far behind.
Vettel looks very happy with this race win, cheers, hugs, fist pumping and even stroking the car a little bit.
Now you've seen the whole race, why not rate it? https://sidepodcast.com/playground/rate-the-race.php
Vettel instigates a discussion about pit strategy as the guys wait to go on the podium. Webber and Vettel also talk about the tyre problems.
Tweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Long radio chat to garage on Timo's in-lap. Great pitstops boys & you can hear the energy in his voice. Think he really enjoyed that 'race'
Tweet from @InsideFerrari: Four races remaining: still very open in the Championship. We will never give up!
The anthems ring out as the drivers soak up the atmosphere. They all look quite serious, but Vettel beams as he raises the trophy over his head.
The boys on the podium.
Adrian Newey is on the podium as Red Bull's representative, and the wise old man brought goggles with him. We have previously seen him get quite red eyes after being sprayed directly in the face with champagne. He learnt his lesson!
Your final gap analysis.
So, another race over. It wasn't another classic, but there were a few good battles for position, and some bizarre incidents to boot.
Vettel now leads the championship, but Alonso's podium position continues his good finishes. We are starting to see team orders come into play during the racing, too.
Great result for the Toro Rosso team, to be ahead of Lewis and get a double points finish. Meanwhile, Sauber made no headway on their battle with Mercedes, as all four drivers finished out of the points.
We've got two weeks now before F1 heads to India - another race that is likely not to be a classic. Oh well, the championship should keep things interesting.
Stay tuned to http://f1minute.com and https://sidepodcast.com for all the news and reviews, fun and games you could possibly need between now and then.
Have fun and be cool, fact fans.
All content in the series South Korea 2012
Filed under F1 live sessions
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14 October 2012
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