Sebastian Vettel took his ninth consecutive win of the Formula One season last weekend at the 2013 Brazilian GP, equalling the late, great Alberto Ascari’s record of nine wins in a row.
Despite the Red Bull driver’s record feat, it was all about his teammate, Mark Webber, this year in Brazil. It was the Australian driver’s last race in F1 before departing to race for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship next season – and things went down well for him, too.
Rather ominously Vettel qualified on pole – also his seventh of the season – while Webber qualified back in fourth. After strong performances in free practice, Mercedes man Nico Rosberg took second spot, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top three in qualifying in his Ferrari.
With a new chassis Lewis Hamilton’s performance improved, slotting his Mercedes into fifth spot on the grid, while Lotus driver Romain Grosjean coming home in sixth.
With Webber vacating his seat at Red Bull and Torro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo replacing him next year, F1’s second Australian put in a good performance to finish Saturday in seventh.
His teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, the second Ferrari man Felipe Massa and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.
Come the race, Vettel made an uncharacteristic sluggish start, allowing Rosberg to take the lead.
It was only a matter of time before the Red Bull overhauled the Mercedes, with Vettel driving by his fellow countryman on the main straight. A few corners later, Webber managed to do exactly the same on Hamilton.
Webber then caught Alonso and passed him for second. The two Red Bull cars then held station until the end, despite a slight scare with a late pit stop.
The team brought Vettel in with a late call on lap 47 after thoughts the safety car might be scrambled following a collision between Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.
However, the race wasn’t neutralised and the late call meant Vettel’s team weren’t ready for him in the pits. He sat stationary for a few seconds while his replacement Pirelli tyres were brought from the garage, which meant that by the time he’d changed rubber and was on his way, Webber was queued up behind him.
Webber still managed to sneak out just in front of Alonso in the Ferrari, while Vettel once again opened up his lead on his teammate. The race finishing with Vettel in first, Webber in second and Alonso in third despite a late rain shower, which wasn’t strong enough to force the drivers to pit again for wet weather tyres.
After controversy about his celebratory ‘donuts’ earlier in the year, Vettel finished once again with some smoky circles on the start-finish straight to mark his record-equalling achievement.
Jenson Button scored his best finish of the season, coming home fourth and scoring some valuable points for our local Woking-based outfit – the signs bode well for next year, so let’s hope McLaren can hold onto this momentum.
After showing strong pace on Friday, Rosberg slowly slipped away finishing in fifth, while it was another good result for McLaren, with Sergio Perez taking sixth spot.
In his last race for Ferrari, Felipe Massa took a slightly disappointing seventh place at his home Grand Prix following a drive-through penalty for cutting the pit-entry white line. He moves to Williams next year as the elder statesman.
After some impressive performances in the second half of the season, Nico Hulkenberg once again secured a solid top 10 finish in his Sauber, coming home in eighth, while Lewis Hamilton recovered from his incident with Bottas to take ninth place.
Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10 before he moves to Red Bull’s Milton Keynes base next year.
The 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix rounded off a season of records – most of them set by Sebastian Vettel. The German is the youngest ever four-time world champion and has equalled Ascari’s record of nine consecutive Grand Prix wins.
With engine regulation changes coming into force for 2014, the new rules could level the playing field and see some new stars rise to the top. We can’t wait for next year already.
Now the season has come to a close, we want to hear your thoughts on F1 2013. Would you like to see a bit more variation in the winners next year? Are you looking forward to the new turbocharged V6 engines? Why not let us know on Twitter @twwhiteandsons or get in touch on our Facebook page.