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Vettel takes ninth straight win to finish 2013 in style

Nov 24, 2013, 12:38 PM EDT

Vettel 24-11 AP

Sebastian Vettel has finished the 2013 Formula One season in style by clinching his ninth consecutive win at the Brazilian Grand Prix as the forecast rain failed to intervene during the final race of the season, equalling Alberto Ascari’s long-standing record in the process.

The German driver bounced back from losing the lead at the start and a mistake in the pits by Red Bull to finish ahead of teammate Mark Webber, with the Australian driver finishing his F1 career in fine style by producing a solid drive to secure one final podium finish. Fernando Alonso, who had looked quick at the beginning of the race, could not capitalize on the damp conditions and was forced to settle for third place.

The start saw Nico Rosberg attempt to damage Sebastian Vettel’s hopes of clinching a ninth straight victory by making a good start to move down the inside of the Red Bull driver and take the lead of the race. Teammate Lewis Hamilton also made a very good start to jump up to third place from fifth on the grid ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber, but both drivers managed to find a way back past the Briton just one lap later. Rosberg’s time at the head of the field lasted just one lap as Vettel swept past him heading along the main straight, and he was soon picked off by Alonso and Webber, with the Ferrari driver quickly setting his sights on the world champion at the front. Felipe Massa also made a good start to jump up to sixth place, whilst Romain Grosjean’s season ended in disappointing fashion as he retired on lap three with an engine failure.

As Vettel began to create a sizeable lead at the front, Alonso soon fell into Webber’s clutches and the Australian driver – racing for the final time in Formula One – quickly found a way past to set up a Red Bull one-two. Rosberg’s poor race continued as both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa overtook the German driver to leave him down in sixth place ahead of Jenson Button. Alongside McLaren teammate Sergio Perez in seventh, Button was running well and had battled to get back up into the points despite a poor performance in qualifying as the McLaren excelled in the cold conditions. Further back, Jean-Eric Vergne and Heikki Kovalainen fought over seventeenth place after early pit stops.

When the front-runners began to pit, Red Bull struggled to turn Webber around quickly due to a mistake in the pits. With Alonso setting the fastest lap of the race at the same time, he managed to get back ahead of the Australian driver whilst Felipe Massa found a way past Hamilton in the stops for fourth place. Alonso was unable to hang on to second place though, falling behind Webber once again when the Red Bull driver had the advantage of DRS, whilst Hamilton kept on Massa’s tail for fourth place. However, Massa was soon handed a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line on pit entry, falling down to eighth place after coming in despite his protests.

McLaren’s impressive race continued as Button moved up to fifth place following Massa’s penalty, whilst Sergio Perez tagged onto the back of Rosberg’s Mercedes as a few spots of rain began to fall at Interlagos. However, Rosberg managed to stay ahead when they pitted on the same lap to emerge between Button and Massa, both of whom pitted one lap earlier. Valtteri Bottas’ race came to an end at turn four when he made contact with Lewis Hamilton, giving the Mercedes a puncture. Red Bull looked to pit their cars, but a slow stop for Vettel due to the tires not being brought out meant that his lead over Webber was halved, whilst Alonso found himself back on the Australian driver’s tail for second place. Vettel quickly set about re-establishing his lead though, but with spots of rain falling, he had to keep one eye on the sky. Amid the drama, Button managed to move up into fourth place for McLaren as Alonso stayed with Webber, whilst Hamilton was handed a drive-through penalty for causing the collision with Bottas.

With spots of rain continuing to fall, Rosberg found himself struggling to hold Perez back in the battle for fifth place, but it took on extra importance as Mercedes looked to stay ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. Hamilton looked to bounce back from his penalty by working his way back up into the points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, whilst Rosberg found his feet and pulled away from Perez. Charles Pic’s race came to an early end due to a front suspension failure, meaning that Jules Bianchi became the lead car in the battle for tenth place in the constructors’ championship.

At the front though, Vettel maintained a steady gap to Webber behind him, controlling the race in the damp conditions and keeping his car on track. His engineer ‘Rocky’ warned him that the rain could intensify before the end of the race, leaving him with a few nervy laps in the final stages. However, he managed to keep his car on the track to secure his ninth consecutive win and end the V8 era in emphatic style.

Webber’s second place finish was a fine result as he fought back from a good start and he also set the fastest lap of the race, whilst Ferrari lost out to Mercedes in the race for P2 in the constructors’ championship despite Alonso’s third place finish. In fourth place, Jenson Button recorded McLaren’s best result of the season whilst Rosberg managed to fend off Perez to finish in P5. Felipe Massa’s Ferrari career came to a close in seventh place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Lewis Hamilton, with Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the points in tenth place.

  1. Jeff - Nov 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Way to go Sebastian Vettel.
    He made a lot of history this year.
    Looking forward to next season already.

    • worknman24hours - Nov 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Very True, congratulations to Mark Webber on a great race and career and to the Red Bull team for not letting go an inch all year long.

      If you are the best, you owe no one any apologies for it.

  2. jimimonet - Nov 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Look at the tape on the last lap Vettle crossed the pit in white line and should have been given a penatly

  3. testover6370 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    First lap was one of the best moments in F1 this year. Two good drivers in two of the best cars battling wheel to wheel for the lead. Too bad it only lasted a lap, but it was beautiful.

  4. mward5508 - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    I never thought I’d say it, but I’ve lost my interest in F1. The product just isn’t up to par. The organization can no longer claim it has the best drivers in the world because its drivers no longer race (and they haven’t for at least two years). What they do is babysit. After the first two or three laps, all of the drivers, with the exception of the front runner, go into preservation mode, babysitting their tires instead of driving the wheels off the vehicle, tires be damn. I’m all for safety, and F1 does a great job at it, but the tire issue, boring new race circuits that lack any personality (and are way too similar to each other), and runoff areas that are so forgiving drivers no longer worry about the consequences of making a mistake, have made races dull and predictable.

    • worknman24hours - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      The rules that penalize the teams for parts breakage have to go.

      That set of rules is destroying the racing pure and simple.

      I want to see gearboxes and engines blowing up and no penalty other then the loss of position on track happening.

      Let the drivers run the crap out of the cars again the entire race.

  5. Jeff - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    I thought the same jimimonet.
    It looked to me like many drivers could have received a penalty.

  6. Jeff - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    I agree with you too testover6370.

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