Fernando Alonso, in his red Ferrari, has become the championship leader after winning a rain-soaked inaugural Korean Grand Prix.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second and Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa came third. While those two managed points, Jenson Button came twelfth to all but end his hopes of defending the title.
The Spaniard is now leading Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who crashed early on, by 11 points and Hamilton by 21 points.
While the rain proved to be a serious issue for many of the drivers, it was an engine failure that knocked out Sebastian Vettel while he was leading the race. After failing to finish, the German is now 25 points behind Alonso.
"We know with the new points system everything can change in one race - if you don’t score, you lose 25 points to your opponents," said Alonso to the BBC after the race.
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While Hamilton had a decent day, Button had one of the worst he’s had in some time.
"I just didn’t have any grip, and at times I was the slowest person on the circuit. Also I was just destroying tyres. It’s been a sad Grand Prix,” Button said to the BBC.
Before things got going, the race was delayed by ten minutes, before starting under the safety car. During those first few safety car laps, Alonso described the conditions as the worst he has ever driven in. Needless to say, the cars returned for a 45-minute delay.
After what seemed like forever, the safety car came back out for another 13 frustrating laps, before the car started at the end of lap 17.
The drama began immediately, as the championship leader, Mark Webber, was unable to save his car before spinning across the track, hitting the wall, and then taking out Nico Rosberg.
"Totally my fault, I got on the kerb," said the Australian. "It’s frustrating, because I thought I could catch it. Conditions were fine,” said Webber to the BBC.
After that wreck, the safety car returned for another few laps with Vettel in front, followed by Alonso, Hamilton, Massa and Button.
With the track drying up, Button was the first to take on intermediate tires, but that proved to be the wrong move later on, as he came out behind five midfield runners. That would have been fine if the race would have continued normally, but Sebastian Buemi’s Toro Rosso collided with the Virgin of Timo Glock, bringing out the safety car and ending Button’s race.
During the safety car period Vettle and Alonso pitted for intermediates, but Ferrari had some trouble with a wheel nut on the front right tire, allowing Hamilton to overtake him.
Not for long, as Hamilton went wide on the first corner, allowing Alonso to get retake that position. Hamilton’s teammate Button was forced wide by Force India’s Adrian Sutil, causing him to lose more positions.
With 20 minutes left in the race, the sun was setting and the track was getting dark. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov crashed out at Turn 18, but this time the safety car was not brought out.
Around lap 46, Vettel started complaining about the light, but that was the least of his worries, as his engine blew up in a cloud of smoke and oil. His race was over.
Alonso took the lead, with Hamilton in second and Massa in the third. That’s the way it would stay and Hamilton was no longer able to keep pace with Alonso due to substantial tire wear.