F1 Preview: Korean GP

Formula One stops off for stage two of the Asian stint at the medium to high speed circuit in Yeongam. Despite being set in rural Korea, attention turns to the track which has seen six safety cars, two winners and no victors from pole.

The rumours of a typhoon hitting Korea on Sunday and the six safety cars in three races may provide the opportunity for Caterham and Marussia to score their first points. The unpredictable nature will greatly reward the right call and may give the teams the hope needed to reach the top ten.

Williams are another team looking for a good haul of points and the updated sidepods, exhaust, floor and front wing may be enough to keep the other drivers behind them. Pastor Maldonado hasn’t claimed a point since Hungary while team mate Valtteri Bottas is yet to score.

One of the past winners at the Korea International Circuit is Sebastian Vettel. The German has stretched out a commanding lead atop the table and with races running out, he will want to ensure the Championship is claimed as early as possible. Red Bull have dominated here since the inaugural race, leading every lap save twelve, and there is little to think a repeat result won’t happen given the RB9’s form.

The other winner in Korea is Vettel’s main title rival Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard has finished in the points in the last eleven races but hasn’t beaten Vettel since Britain and must do so to keep championship hopes alive. Massa is still searching for a race seat next season and more points are needed to secure a deal.

Lewis Hamilton is the only non-Red Bull driver to take pole position in Korea. Mercedes are once again struggling to find the race pace to match the qualifying performance shown by Rosberg in Singapore and need to do so if they are to catch Ferrari in the Constructors’.

A combination of long straights and hairpins provide ample opportunities for overtaking, something Lotus drivers must do to finish strongly. Qualifying speed is still letting the team down meaning moving through the pack has become a habit for Raikkonen and Grosjean. The Finn gained ten places in Singapore to find the podium and may have to do so again to score decent points.

Getting both drivers in the top ten is the aim for McLaren and Force India in order to keep any rivals behind them in the title hunt. None of the four drivers finished in the points in this race last season and both teams must learn from past mistakes in the race and qualifying to achieve their target.

Toro Rosso and Sauber are two teams scrapping over the remaining points paying positions and may benefit from the weather and safety car history. While moving up the table is nearing impossible, both must keep their rivals behind them.

Best of luck for all your SuperBru picks!

By Declan Shepherd

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