F1 Power Rankings: Indian Grand Prix

Well, are we all still pretending that Fernando Alonso still has a prayer to win the World Drivers’ Championship or have we just given up on that? It’s a 90-point gap with four races to go. All Vettel has to do is come out of this race with a 75-point lead and he wins his fourth-straight title. If he finishes in the top five, he wins the title. If Alonso misses the podium, Vettel wins the title. Yeah, it’s basically done.

So, yeah… Get excited for the Power Rankings…?

#1 Sebastian Vettel (Last Race #1)
Not only does Vettel need to only finish in the top five but he has the option of scoring just ten points over the final four races to win the title. I don’t think there’s much that he has to worry about. It may have been interesting at the start but this post-summer break rout has made the stretch run rather boring.

#2 Fernando Alonso (LR #2)
As for Alonso, he’s got a much tougher go of it. If Vettel scores no points, Alonso has to win at least three races and finish no worse than second in the fourth. If he finishes 3rd or worse at any point, Vettel wins the title. If Vettel three points or more, Alonso needs to sweep all four races. So, basically, he doesn’t have a prayer.

f1-kimi-raikkonen-helmet-2013#3 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #3)
The Iceman loves Indian food but what does he think of the local beverages of the alcoholic variety? I understand he’s a bit of an expert: “No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.”

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2013#4 Romain Grosjean (LR #8)
Guess what? Romain loves Indian food too: “It’s certainly a different experience from a lot of the places we visit and it’s great to see a different culture… I have a great love for cuisine so I’m always interested in local food, and there are so many interesting dishes, spices and ingredients in India.”

#5 Mark Webber (LR #5)
Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery says that this year’s tyre selection will jazz up the racing: “We’ve decided to go for the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres in India this year, which we think will be the best combination for the Buddh circuit and lead to closer racing. For the last two years running we’ve actually gone for the hard and soft compounds, which might have been slightly on the conservative side, so this year we’ve gone for a softer and slightly more aggressive choice.”

#6 Lewis Hamilton (LR #4)
Hey Lewis! What’s with you and Nicole? Are you guys a couple again? ” I also really like the Buddh International Circuit. The layout has a great rhythm and I love the fast turns and high speeds. We’re hoping for a strong weekend after a couple of difficult races and I know that everyone has been working really hard to make sure that we can get all of the performance possible from the car over the last four races.”

f1-nico-hulkenberg-helmet-2013#7 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #10)
My favourite PR quote of the year. It’s The Hulk on Indian food: ” India is a very exotic country. As regards the food, I am not that used to it and certainly don’t like spicy food, so that makes it quite tricky, and I always have to ask for a very, very mild dish. Paneer tikka is actually my favourite local dish there which is delicious.”

#8 Nico Rosberg (LR #6)
Hey Nico! What do you think about F1 leaving India: “I’m looking forward to our trip to India. It really is a fascinating country and there is always something new to see or experience when you are there for the race weekend… The Indian fans are very passionate and increasingly knowledgeable about our sport and I hope they will enjoy the experience and provide some good support for our team.”

#9 Felipe Massa (LR #7)

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2013#10 Jenson Button (LR #9)
It’s nice that Hermann Tilke designs tracks around just one corner: “The long back straight will once again make it important to balance the car’s gearing and downforce for maximum speed with DRS. That straight, and the braking zone into Turn Four, are probably the most straightforward places on the circuit upon which to overtake. In fact, the rest of the circuit is quite fast, with only a single racing line, so trying to get past during the rest of the lap is pretty tricky.”

f1-sergio-perez-helmet-2013#11 Sergio Perez (LR #11)
But Checo, how does proper Indian food compare to proper Mexican food? As a big fan of both, I must have this question answered: “I love travelling to India – it’s such a rich and vibrant country, and always an eye-opening place for any visitor. The Indian Grand Prix has been an interesting and exciting event for the past two years – I really think it’s starting to make its mark on the country.”

#12 Adrian Sutil (LR #12)
Hey Adrian! How’s the nightlife in India? “It is special – it’s our home Grand Prix and to have the colours of the Indian flag on the side of the car makes it even more memorable. I remember the first race there two years ago – so many people came to the race, showing such strong support for our team. We were in the spotlight for the whole weekend and scoring points in the first Indian Grand Prix was very important for us.”

f1-esteban-gutierrez-helmet-2013#13 Esteban Gutierrez (LR #17)
Steve doesn’t add the same fun insight his teammate does: “There is quite a lot of margin for error with the run-off areas, but in order to put a good lap in you need to be precise. You have slow and medium speed corners that are quite technical, like turns five, six and seven. This is quite challenging for the tyres.”

#14 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #13)

#15 Paul di Resta (LR #15)
And Dario’s cousin also talks about his team’s home race: “This is always a massive event for us and comes at the end of a very busy week because we will be spending a few days in Delhi ahead of the race to meet the local media and fans. We come to India several times during the year and you can see the growing enthusiasm of the fans. It’s great that we get to spend time with them and show them the thrill of Formula One up close.”

#16 Jean-Eric Vergne (LR #14)

#17 Valtteri Bottas (LR #18)
I moved Val up in the rankings because Maldonado is on the way out of Williams. I wouldn’t favour him if he was leaving my team: “India is always a unique place to visit and I enjoy the contrasts with other races on the calendar so I’m looking forward to returning again this year… The weather can also be warm and humid which can be challenging physically.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado (LR #16)
And we’ll miss Pastor next year when his sponsorship dries up. Assuming he’ll be there because IndyCar’s EJ Viso went AWOL after his sponsorship deal was one of the many motorsport sponsorships put under investigation in Venezuela: “All the drivers seem to enjoy the Indian circuit due to its fantastic design and high speeds and I will miss it not being on the calendar next year.”

#19 Charles Pic (LR #20)
Chuckie talks about his future vacation plans: “With such a short amount of time in India I won’t have a chance to explore but that’s something I’d like to do one day. We go to so many cool places but the race weekends are always busy and there’s no time to properly look around, but from what I saw last year, India’s an amazing place and one I’d like to come back to one day to really find out what it’s all about.”

#20 Geido van der Garde (LR #19)
Gary van der Garde stars in Some Like It Hot: ” It’s going to be hot and hotter track conditions have suited us all year so the aim is to maintain the gap to our nearest competitors throughout the weekend and get back to fighting cars ahead on Sunday afternoon, putting ourselves in a position to take advantage of anything that happens up ahead.”

#21 Jules Bianchi (LR #21)
Jules surprised me this week. Marussia is still bringing developments this season. I thought that they had been focused solely on 2014 for months now: “I’m working on the basis that Japan was my ‘jinx race’ and with that behind me I am very optimistic about the step we have taken with the car performance and the developments we have yet to bring.”

f1-max-chilton-helmet-2013#22 Max Chilton (LR #22)
And Max caught me off-guard too. I forgot that both Marussia drivers are rookies: “The Indian Grand Prix represents another new race for me and my team-mate, so once again it will be an exciting and challenging weekend in equal measure. The Team have good experience of the track, having raced there on two occasions previously and, as always, the work we have done in the sim will be a huge benefit, so we have a good foundation on which to start the weekend”

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