2010 Korean Grand Prix
|Race 17 of 19 in the 2010 Formula One season|
|Date||October 24, 2010|
|Official name||2010 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix|
|Location||Yeongam, South Jeolla, South Korea|
|Course||Korea International Circuit
5.615 km (3.489 mi)
|Distance||55 laps, 308.630 km (191.774 mi)|
|Driver||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault|
|Time||1:50.257 on lap 42|
The 2010 Korean Grand Prix was the seventeenth round of the 2010 Formula One season. It took place at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, South Jeolla, South Korea on 24 October 2010. This was the first Formula One race to be held in South Korea.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won the race to retake the drivers' championship lead after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel retired on lap 46 from a race-leading position, due to engine failure. Alonso claimed the championship lead from Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, as Webber spun out of the race on lap 19 and collected Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in a resultant collision. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa completed the podium in a race that was delayed – and eventually suspended for 45 minutes – due to persistent rain at the circuit. It was also the last race until the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix that two Ferrari drivers stood on the podium.
Following increased hostilities between North Korea and South Korea in the wake of the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March 2010, Bernie Ecclestone had declared that the race would be in jeopardy if political tensions continued to escalate, and would be abandoned in the event that the army crossed the border. Although hostilities between the two nations eventually relaxed, the race was further threatened by delayed construction. On 27 September 2010, Ecclestone expressed doubts that the circuit would be ready despite the tarmac having been laid. A final inspection of the circuit took place on 11 October, with the FIA's Charlie Whiting certifying the circuit was ready on 12 October. As the topmost layer of the surface was only completed ten days before the race, the oils and bitumen chemicals in the tarmac did not have time to be scoured away by the elements, leading circuit designer Hermann Tilke to predict the surface would be slippery, making the race challenging for drivers and exciting for fans. The slippery surface was evident when safety car driver Bernd Mayländer slid off the circuit while driving installation laps.
Following the Japanese Grand Prix, five drivers remained in contention for the title. However, as they finished behind rivals Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton remained more than 25 points behind championship leader Webber, meaning they were slowly falling behind in the title race.
The layout of the Korea International Circuit received generally positive reviews with many drivers enjoying lapping the circuit. Renault's Robert Kubica commented that while the first sector is "boring", the track layout as a whole is "10 times better than Abu Dhabi". Michael Schumacher praised the demanding nature of the track and admitted to being "pleasantly surprised". While the last corner of the track was liked by many drivers, they were also quick to criticise the dangerous pit lane entry that the last corner leads to. After discussions with FIA race director Charlie Whiting, it was confirmed that a few areas of the track will undergo some tweaks to address the concerns of the drivers, including the final corner and turn 16.
The race was started under safety car conditions, though many drivers were complaining about the heavy spray, lack of visibility and low grip. Senna pitted for new tyres from last position, as one of his front tyres had not been fitted correctly. On lap 3, the race was stopped, and did not then restart until over forty minutes later. The race restarted still under safety car conditions, which lasted until the end of lap 17. Vettel, Webber and Button were among the drivers who reported that the conditions were as bad as they had been during the first three laps, while Hamilton claimed that the track was almost dry enough for intermediate tyres. During the safety car period, Schumacher, Liuzzi and Yamamoto all ran wide at corners but were able to regain their positions. Di Grassi pitted for a new set of wet tyres, and soon afterwards pitted again for intermediate tyres.
When the safety car pulled in, Hamilton was overtaken by Rosberg for fourth position at turn 1, while Sutil lost two places to Barrichello and Hülkenberg. Michael Schumacher also gained places in the opening laps. At the back, Trulli was struggling with a power steering problem which caused him to spin. The race was then relatively incident-free until Webber (running second) went wide at turn 12, veered back across the track and hit the opposite barrier. His car then spun back across the racing line, and while Fernando Alonso (third) managed to avoid a collision, Nico Rosberg (fourth) was unable to, calling the safety car out again. Several drivers took the opportunity to pit for intermediate tyres, including both Saubers, Buemi, Senna, and Petrov. When racing resumed, Trulli lost the nose of his Lotus trying to pass Senna for 21st place, and had to pit for a replacement. He soon retired when his hydraulic problem became too serious to continue. Kobayashi went wide while passing Yamamoto and lost several places. On lap 26, di Grassi spun into the wall and retired. Having been passed by Schumacher on lap 27, Button decided to switch to the intermediates, along with Sutil, only to emerge behind a pack in the midfield. In this pack, Buemi collided with Kovalainen, sending the Lotus into a spin, while Sutil spun on his new tyres. On lap 31, Buemi tried to pass Glock, but instead collided heavily with the Virgin Racing car, breaking the front suspension on his Toro Rosso. Glock returned to the pits but repairs were not possible.
The safety car was again deployed to clear Buemi's car, and it was at this point the front runners decided to pit for intermediates, with Alonso losing second place to Hamilton after a slow stop, due to a mechanic fumbling the wheel nut on the Ferrari's front right wheel. Alonso retook second as soon as the safety car pulled in again, when Hamilton ran wide at turn 1. Further down the field, Button was forced wide by Adrian Sutil, losing more places. Sutil then left the track himself, losing places while battling with Kobayashi. Alguersuari then passed the German for 13th place, while Vettel continued to hold the lead from Alonso, Hamilton, Massa and Schumacher.
On lap 40, Petrov crashed heavily at turn 18, though the safety car was not required on this occasion. With darkness approaching, and some drivers starting to complain about the visibility, the lead changed hands. On lap 46, Sebastian Vettel's engine blew up, promoting Alonso into the lead, and Hamilton into second. On the following lap, Sutil collided with Kobayashi as he tried to pass the Japanese driver, sending the German into retirement with broken front suspension. Kobayashi's Sauber was relatively unaffected, and he continued in ninth place, just ahead of his team-mate Heidfeld.
On laps 51 and 52, the Williams drivers lost places after suffering heavy wear on their tyres. Hülkenberg developed a slow puncture and lost his sixth place to Kubica, and seventh to Liuzzi. The German pitted for new tyres, emerging 11th. Barrichello was also passed by Kubica and Liuzzi, but was able to hold on to seventh position. Alguersuari, who had been challenging Heidfeld for ninth place, ran wide and was caught by Hülkenberg. On the last lap, the German passed the Spaniard for 10th place and the final World Championship point. Alonso held the lead in the growing darkness, taking the victory from Hamilton and Massa, with Schumacher fourth and Kubica fifth. Liuzzi achieved his season's best result in sixth, followed by Barrichello, the two Saubers, Hülkenberg and Alguersuari. Button finished 12th, having struggled for grip throughout the race, ahead of Kovalainen in 13th. The HRT drivers achieved their season's best finishes of 14th for Senna, and 15th for Yamamoto.
Both Sébastien Buemi and Adrian Sutil were handed 5 place grid penalties for Brazil due to their roles in their separate accidents. Furthermore, Sutil was handed a $10,000 (£6,400) fine for driving in a dangerous manner, as he had continued racing knowing that he had a brake problem.
In 2011, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko stated that he had considered retirement from the sport after Vettel and Webber failed to finish the race, because he believed that Red Bull lost the possibility to win the title in 2010.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:37.123||1:36.074||1:35.585||1|
|2||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:37.373||1:36.039||1:35.659||2|
|12||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:38.429||1:37.643||12|
|13||22||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:38.171||1:37.715||13|
|14||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.572||1:37.783||14|
|16||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:38.583||1:37.853||15|
|17||16||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:38.621||1:38.594||16|
|18||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.955||17|
|22||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1:42.325||22|
- ^ – Renault's Vitaly Petrov was given a retroactive five-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable accident with Williams's Nico Hülkenberg at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "Circuit Map" (PDF). fia.com. Yeongam: Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- TheNational by Gary Meenagham, October 15, 2011
- Noble, Jonathan (2010-10-12). "Korean Grand Prix gets FIA go-ahead". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Archived from the original on 15 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Rae, Richard (2010-10-24). "Fernando Alonso wins Korean Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton". BBC Sport (BBC). Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-24.
- Noble, Jonathan (2010-05-28). "Ecclestone hopes Austin is here to stay". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-29.
- "F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone worries for Korean Grand Prix". BBC Sport (BBC). 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- Noble, Jonathan (2010-10-20). "Q & A: Hermann Tilke on Korean GP". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Holt, Sarah (2010-10-22). "F1 drivers criticise 'dangerous' new Korea track". BBC Sport (Korea International Circuit, Yeongam: BBC). Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
- Collantine, Keith (2010-10-22). "Drivers give thumbs-up to Korean F1 track – apart from the pit lane entrance". F1 Fanatic (Keith Collantine). Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- Noble, Jonathan (2010-10-22). "Tweaks to be made to Korean track". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
- Kuntschik, Gerhard (15 November 2011). "Q & A with Red Bull's Helmut Marko". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- Rae, Richard (2010-10-10). "Vettel leads Red Bull one-two in Japan Grand Prix". BBC Sport (BBC). Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-23. "Afterwards, race stewards handed Petrov a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Korea after ruling that he had caused the collision."
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2010 Japanese Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2010 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Korean Grand Prix||Next race:
2011 Korean Grand Prix
2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
|Formula One Promotional Trophy
for Race Promoter
2011 Indian Grand Prix