Just as last time out at the Japanese Grand Prix, tomorrow’s race looks likely to be contested between the two Red Bulls. But unlike Suzuka, they don’t share the front row.
Such is the difference in tyre compounds Pirelli has brought to the Indian Grand Prix, tomorrow’s race will see numerous differing strategies throughout the race. Sebastian Vettel may have taken pole position quite comfortably today, but things might not be so straight forward for him tomorrow.
Mark Webber was pleased with his day’s work after qualifying in fourth place. Unlike Vettel, and the two Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton ahead of him, the Australian starts on the more durable prime tyre. It is likely then, that if the top three start to struggle for pace early on, Webber will be able to capitalise and be in the hunt for a potential race victory.
He was left unhappy with Red Bull’s decision to put him on a three stop strategy in Japan, but all indications suggest he may well be on the better race strategy for tomorrow.
The Japanese Grand Prix was also enlivened by an interloper in the form of Romain Grosjean taking the fight to Webber and Vettel .The Lotus driver is unlikely to be repeating that performance, due to a strategic error by the team that saw him fail to progress beyond Q1 in qualifying. But who could be the one challenging the Red Bulls this time?
Fernando Alonso will certainly be hoping to be. The Spaniard needs a meteoric race tomorrow, if he is still to be in title contention by the end of the day. But, like his good friend Mark Webber, he too starts on the harder tyre, and that could play into his hands. He’ll still need to win and hope that Vettel finishes outside the top five to put the German’s title celebrations on hold, however.
Grosjean, incidentally, should still be one to watch. Despite only qualifying seventeenth, he’ll be making progress right from the start in a car that is kinder than most on its tyres. Some still doubt Grosjean’s talents – but if he can negotiate tomorrow’s race safely and even score points, there will be no doubt that he has moved on from his erratic form that we witnessed previously.
In its short history, the Indian Grand Prix hasn’t been a popular race with the fans. Sebastian Vettel is the only driver to have led at the circuit. But, in what will potentially be Formula One’s final visit to the Buddh International Circuit, the suggestions are that will have all changed by the chequered flag.
It would certainly be a great way to sign off.