Korean GP preview – Yeongam

By Pat Espresso

THE INAUGURAL Korean Grand Prix couldn’t have have timed its debut on to the world motor racing stage better, with the most exciting F1 season in decades still finely poised as the championship draws to a breathtaking close.

After Red Bull’s dominance in Suzuka, Fernando Alonso will be feeling even more confident of imposing his iron will in Korea, aiming for a victory that will increase pressure on his rivals and drive a deeper wedge between Vettel and Webber.

The Australian leader of the championship was quietly pleased at banking a healthy points score at Suzuka despite an unspectacular performance while Vettel will want to keep winning to help him come from behind to take the title.

For McLaren, Japan was a disaster – the latest in a string of poor results – and the Woking team will be desperate to put in a strong showing to prove that they can properly use their mighty resources to come from behind.

Jenson Button needs to lose his timidity and start attacking while Lewis Hamilton needs to find some luck from somewhere. Fortunately for spectators, he now has nothing to lose and can go for a banzai drive at Korea that better suits his personality.

Until his disastrous exit from Japan, Robert Kubica looked super-quick in the much improved Renault and he is aiming to show the world that his talents are far in excess of the machinery he has so far been able to drive in F1. His teammate Petrov is unlikely to shine after picking up a five-place grid penalty for his startline antics at Japan.

Sauber’s Kabui Kobayashi, performer of the day in Japan, will want to seal his growing reputation at Korea while teammate Heidfeld is looking for a job and needs a decent performance to bolster his CV while team managers are watching.

Mercedes, Force India, Williams and Toro Ross will be looking to pick up points and collect some much needed cash from their standings in the constructors’ championship, although their focus will very much be on next year’s campaign.

For the new teams, Lotus scored a best ever result at Japan with Heikki Kovalainen’s 12th and will be hoping to improve in Korea. Surely a points score by Jarno Trulli is not out of reach?

Virgin, however, will be hoping that both cars manage to make the start in Korea – something Lucas di Grassi failed to do in Japan, after crashing out before he could line up on the grid. Hispania’s baffling driver merry-go-round suggests that they don’t expect to do anything but finish last at any race this season. Very puzzling.

What is certain is that after Sunday, the drivers’ championship will become a much tighter fight for the top trio. Alonso will know that he has a good chance, suspecting that both Vettel and Webber could easily crack under the pressure of his challenge. A mouthwatering prospect for us fans.

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