Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vettel in front start-to-finish

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NEW DELHI -- World champion Sebastian Vettel on Sunday kept that winning feeling with a victory in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

The German, who two races ago secured back-to-back titles, led from start to finish, beating McLaren's Jenson Button into second place.

Fernando Alonso finished the 17th of 19 season races third in his Ferrari, ahead of Mark Webber.

On lap 44, Vettel broke Nigel Mansell's record from 1992 of most laps led during a season, when Vettel finished his 693rd lap in front.

"It was a very good race for us," he said.

"Button surprisingly closed in during the pit stops, we seemed to lose a bit there. However, all in all it was a very smooth race. The car was very well balanced and I felt confident on hard tires at the end."

He said that he did not want the season to end. "It is really enjoyable to see that the team is still hungry for success and that we love what we all do."

Vettel had no problems in winning the start and staying in front of his teammate Webber, who was soon overtaken by Button.

The Briton said he had a fantastic start. "After the disappointment of qualifying, I wanted to redeem myself.

"The start off the line didn't feel that good but I was able to get Fernando into turn one. I think he went a bit deep and I was in Mark's tow.

"He covered the inside but I had enough room to go around the outside by the fourth turn. I had Mark behind me for eight laps pushing me really, really hard -- but I was able to pull away as I think he had damaged his tires a little bit."

He said that he then just tried to hang onto Vettel, but did not have the pace to challenge him. "But hopefully in the last races we can take that little step."

By the end of the opening laps, the 24-year-old German managed to put some distance between himself and the chasing pack, but there was some action behind him as Webber tried -- unsuccessfully -- to move back into second place.

The Australian later also had to let Alonso past, while the Spaniard's teammate Felipe Massa was involved in a battle with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who had been given a three-place grid penalty for ignoring a yellow flag warning during practice.

The Brazilian was given a drive-through penalty midway through the race after crashing into Hamilton, which forced the Briton into the pits for a new front wing.

Massa had to retire shortly afterwards as he broke his suspension after driving over a raised curb -- just as he had done during qualifying on Saturday.

The two Mercedes' of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg finished fifth and sixth respectively.

-- Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2011 C8

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