Vettel ties two GP win records with Brazilian victory

Vettel ties two GP win records with Brazilian victory

Formula 1

Vettel ties two GP win records with Brazilian victory

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After a poor start, Vettel soon restored order. (LAT photo)

Sebastian Vettel ended the 2013 Formula 1 season with a ninth consecutive race win, as his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber said goodbye to the championship with second place.

Fernando Alonso gave gallant chase to the Red Bulls and got Ferrari back on the podium, in a race in which rain regularly threatened, but never materialized in sufficient doses to cause a problem.

It was not a totally straightforward win for Vettel, who had to do some overtaking and overcome a pit stop drama. He lost the lead at the start as both Nico Rosberg and Alonso got away better.

Rosberg led out of the Senna S, but Alonso ran out of space and lost third to the German’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Both Mercedes were overtaken at the end of lap one, though, with Vettel easily reclaiming the lead from Rosberg as Alonso passed Hamilton in their wake.

Webber, who had won a first-lap battle with Felipe Massa, quickly followed Alonso past Hamilton, with both soon overtaking Rosberg as well. Alonso put up a fight against Webber and did not lose second place until lap 13. He then regained it when the Red Bull had an issue on its right rear wheel at the first pit stops, but Webber only needed two laps to catch and re-pass the Ferrari.

Although Webber was able to chip away at Vettel’s lead, the champion was always able to respond.

Vettel’s big lead turned out to be crucial as both Red Bulls made simultaneous final pit stops ” to the apparent surprise of a crew prepared for Webber, not Vettel. That halved Vettel’s advantage to six seconds, and the lead battle then threatened to come truly alive as rain appeared to loom and both Webber and Alonso started closing in.

As it turned out, the thick clouds refrained from opening over the final laps, and the top three spread out again, allowing Vettel to take a record-equaling 13th win of the year, tying Michael Schumacher’s record set with Ferrari in 2004..

With Rosberg steadily dropping back through the field, Hamilton and Massa began battling for fourth until both hit trouble. Massa was left furious by a drive-through penalty for crossing the pit entry line on flying laps, while Hamilton tangled with Valtteri Bottas as the Williams driver moved to unlap himself into the Descida do Lago.

While Bottas was sent crashing into retirement, Hamilton picked up a puncture and was given a penalty for causing the collision.

Those dramas played a part in McLaren’s best result of its painful 2013 season, though Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’s progress from 14th and 19th on the grid to fourth and sixth was mainly down to excellent race pace from their unloved car. The duo sandwiched Rosberg at the flag.

Massa and Hamilton recovered to seventh and ninth, split by Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.

Daniel Ricciardo gave Toro Rosso the final point in his last appearance before leaving for Red Bull, holding Paul di Resta, Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil at bay.

Lotus’s promising season came to a miserable end. Romain Grosjean lasted just two laps before a massive engine failure while running eighth, while Heikki Kovalainen was outside the points again in 14th having fallen to 18th on the opening lap.

Marussia beat Caterham in the constructors’ championship’s tail-end battle for the first time. Caterham had been the quicker of the pair at Interlagos, but Giedo van der Garde was penalised for ignoring blue flags and Charles Pic had a late suspension failure, meaning Jules Bianchi gave Marussia the “win” in the race day battle too.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTSBrazilian Grand PrixInterlagos, Brazil;71 laps; 305.909km;Weather: Cloudy.Classified:Pos  Driver        Team                       Time 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault           1h32:36.300 2.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault           +    10.452 3.  Alonso         Ferrari                    +      18.9 4.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes           +      37.3 5.  Rosberg        Mercedes                   +      39.0 6.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes           +      44.0 7.  Massa          Ferrari                    +      49.1 8.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari             +    1:04.2 9.  Hamilton       Mercedes                   +    1:12.910.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap11.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes       +     1 lap12.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari             +     1 lap13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes       +     1 lap14.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault              +     1 lap15.  Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap16.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault           +     1 lap17.  Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps18.  van der Garde  Caterham-Renault           +    2 laps19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 lapsFastest lap: Webber, 1:15.436Not classified/retirements:Driver        Team                         On lapPic            Caterham-Renault             59Bottas         Williams-Renault             46Grosjean       Lotus-Renault                3World Championship standings, round 19:                Drivers:                    Constructors:              1.  Vettel        397        1.  Red Bull-Renault          596 2.  Alonso        242        2.  Mercedes                  360 3.  Webber        199        3.  Ferrari                   354 4.  Hamilton      189        4.  Lotus-Renault             315 5.  Raikkonen     183        5.  McLaren-Mercedes          122 6.  Rosberg       171        6.  Force India-Mercedes       77 7.  Grosjean      132        7.  Sauber-Ferrari             57 8.  Massa         112        8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         33 9.  Button         73        9.  Williams-Renault            510.  Hulkenberg     51       11.  Perez          49       12.  Di Resta       48       13.  Sutil          29       14.  Ricciardo      20       15.  Vergne         13       16.  Gutierrez       6       17.  Bottas          4       18.  Maldonado       1              All timing unofficial

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