Sebastian Vettel wins Korean Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport in Yeongam
Highlights - Korean Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel won the Korean Grand Prix from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to help Red Bull wrap up a second consecutive constructors' championship.

Vettel jumped Hamilton on the first lap to take the lead and was unchallenged on his way to a 10th win of the season.

Hamilton defiantly fended off Mark Webber's Red Bull to hold on to second.

McLaren's Jenson Button saw off Fernando Alonso's fast-finishing Ferrari for fourth with Scot Paul di Resta 10th in his Force India.

Hamilton had delivered a brilliant lap on Saturday to knock Red Bull off pole position for the first time this season but then lost his advantage on the first lap of the race.

Vettel nosed his way into the McLaren's slipstream and used the tow to pass Hamilton into Turn Four and take the lead.

Korean Grand Prix - top three drivers

With one Red Bull ahead of him, Hamilton then found himself under pressure from Webber, who was on an opposite strategy to his Red Bull team-mate by choosing the harder 'prime' tyres at the first pit stop.

Hamilton and Webber made their second stop at the same time and when they emerged from the pits they swapped position several times in a thrilling duel through the high-speed middle section of the Yeongam circuit.

"Super-clean, super-aggressive, super-respectful race driving from both of them," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard.

Hamilton hung on to take his first podium since winning the German Grand Prix in July but Webber never fell more than a second behind over the final 22 laps.

The field had been slowed by the safety car, which emerged after Vitaly Petrov crashed into the back of Michael Schumacher's Mercedes on lap 17.

But Vettel pressed on when the race re-started and the double world champion sailed clear to finish the race 12 seconds clear of his rivals.

"Vettel will have thoroughly enjoyed that," said BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. "He may have won the world title last week but that will mean a great deal to him."

The 24-year-old showed just what it meant to him on the pit-to-car radio, shouting: "Yes, yes, yes and yes again -10 wins."

Vettel can still match Schumacher's record 13 wins in a single season if he wins the remaining races in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

"It's good to see that the whole team keeps on pushing," said Vettel. "To come here and after a tough Friday and Saturday to come back in the race was fantastic.

"I was getting quicker and quicker and I didn't need the safety car. Lewis came closer again but the car seemed to stabilise and I was able to maintain the gap.

"At the end it was fantastic I was able to push when I wanted to. It's fantastic [to win] last week the drivers' championship and this week the constructors' championship."

Hamilton, who scored his fifth podium of the season, said: "It was OK, not too bad. Mark drove really well through the race.

Red Bulls too quick in Korea - Hamilton

"It was impossible to catch Sebastian and overtake him and then I struggled with understeer but it's a good weekend for me compared to what I had in the past so I'm happy.

"I never questioned my belief in myself so that's not something that needs doing.

"I have the trust and confidence from the team so I just need to keep my head down and hope for better results."

Webber added: "It was the team's day today. It's been a phenomenal year but I'm disappointed not to get second today.

"I think at the second stop we did the worst thing, we stopped on the same lap and that was disappointing as we had some good pace to pull away from Lewis. I look forward to the next one."

Button finished fourth after he found himself jostling for position on the opening lap, dropping from third to sixth as both Ferraris and Webber's Red Bull squeezed past him.

The 2009 champion got the jump on the Ferraris at his first pit stop but had to fend off Nico Rosberg's Mercedes in the pit lane and then on track.

Alonso closed quickly in on Button over the final stint but a near-miss with a wall with two laps to go made him realise that the chase would be in vain.

"I give up, I give up," Alonso told his team on the penultimate lap.

The Spaniard had spent half of the race behind his team-mate Felipe Massa, who had out-qualified him and then defended his position when Alonso tried to pass him on lap 13.

Brundle commented: "I think that (radio) message means 'if you ever leave me behind Massa again this is the price you pay.'"

As it was, Massa finished behind Alonso in sixth ahead of Jaime Alguersuari, who equalled his best performance of the season with seventh for Toro Rosso.

Rosberg finished eight for Mercedes with Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi and Di Resta's Force India completing the top 10.

Schumacher retired after just 17 laps when Vitaly Petrov crunched his Renault into the back of his Mercedes, crumpling the rear wing.

Petrov had been under pressure from Alonso, who narrowly escaped being caught up in the incident, and the Russian apologised to Schumacher for causing the crash.

"I was suddenly 180 degrees in the wrong direction and saw my wing hanging down and a Renault wing pass by," said Schumacher.

"We have had some great racing together this year, the first two were on my cap and the third on his cap."

The Russian took responsibility and after the race the stewards handed him a five-place grid penalty, which he will serve at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

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