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OCTOBER 17, 2010

Chandhok tips Red Bull for Korea

Karun Chandhok, who has driven display laps of the Korean International Circuit in a Red Bull, thinks that the championship-leading team will have the edge in next Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix.

Chandhok drove last year's Red Bull at Yeongman and told Telegraph Sport: "It will be closer than Suzuka as it's not quite so aero-dependent, but I still fancy Red Bull to win."

Chandhok's feeling is that over the Korean lap as a whole, the Red Bulls will be quickest but that does not mean that there won't be a few potential banana skins for the team to avoid.

The three long straights, Chandhok thinks, could play to McLaren strengths with its optimised F-duct, as Monza did in Jenson Button's case. And, a straight section in the first sector of the lap means that even if Red Bull takes the front row of the grid in Korea, as it did in Japan, Vettel and Webber could be passed before Turn 4. It's apparently a concern that has already occurred to Webber while discussing the new track's layout.

Chandhok thinks that Ferrari's recent form points to the fact that Alonso will be close to the pace in Korea but while the Spaniard has vowed to attack, some think that Alonso may go into damage limitation mode in Korea and hope to make stronger inroads in Brazil.

Ferrari has been strong at Interlagos in recent years with Felipe Massa always going well in his own back yard. Massa won the race in 2006 and 2008 and would also have done so in 2007 had he not had to hand victory to Kimi Raikkonen to allow the Finn to take the championship.

It would not be a surprise to see Massa start near the front in Brazil and have the pace to ride shotgun behind Alonso and take points from the Spaniard's rivals. Things are so finely balanced that Alonso could wipe out Webber's current 14 point advantage at a stroke if he won a race in which the Australian could do no better than fifth. If he could win Interlagos with Massa, Vettel and a McLaren between them, that would suffice.

Against that, however, Webber won in Brazil last year and there is always the risk of the elements playing a part at Interlagos. It all adds up to Ferrari and McLaren fervently hoping that Chandhok's assessment of Korea proves inaccurate!