Formula 1

F1 2013: Indian Grand Prix – Driver Of The Day

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Writing this week’s driver of the day piece is particularly challenging, because, in my view, there are three deserving candidates following the Indian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, obviously, is one of those. Like the Japanese Grand Prix, this wasn’t a straight forward race for the now four times champion. An early switch to the harder prime tyre meant he had to race back through the pack before eventually retaking the lead.

It was a perfect display in why he is once again a worthy champion, and will silence those who still believe that Vettel isn’t good at racing when he’s not out in front. While rivals who also made early stops struggled to make progress, Vettel’s rise back up the order was mighty.

Also making moves was Romain Grosjean. I mentioned in yesterday’s preview that he would be a man to watch after qualifying a disappointing seventeenth. The Lotus driver certainly didn’t disappoint today, and took third place from his team mate Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages of the race. It was his third visit to the podium in as many races, after strong performances in both Korea and Japan.

Perhaps last year, or even earlier this season, Grosjean would have made mistakes in battle. But in another example of how he has improved recently, his performance was cool and unflustered today. While the relationship between Lotus and Raikkonen has perhaps soured, the team can look forward to Grosjean leading the way in 2014.

The last driver who deserves a mention is McLaren’s Sergio Perez. Perez, who started on the prime tyre like Mark Webber, made the strategy work brilliantly. He ran as high as second early on, before eventually coming home in fifth after a brilliant double pass on Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton late on.

In a season that has been incredibly difficult for the British team, the result equals their best result of the year. Jenson Button finished in fifth in Malaysia, but his younger team mate outclassed him today. Perez’s future at McLaren has been discussed a lot recently, especially with the new Formula Renault 3.5 champion and McLaren protégé Kevin Magnussen knocking on the door. But today’s result may just have saved Perez’s drive for next season, and was a timely reminder of some of his impressive performances for Sauber last year.

Those are my selections, but who caught your eye today? As ever, feel free to leave a comment below.

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F1 correspondent for The Checkered Flag. Follow him on Twitter @JHSingo
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