Vettel Unbeatable In Brazilian Finale
SAO PAULO, Brazil – Sebastian Vettel took his ninth consecutive win – and 13th overall in 2013 – during the final race of the Formula One season on Sunday at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, as Red Bull teammate Mark Webber ended his F-1 career by finishing second.
Vettel had built a 13.1 second lead over the outgoing Webber when he made his second pit stop on the 47th lap amid confusion caused by a collision between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. For once the Red Bull team wasn’t ready for their man and he lost half his advantage waiting for his crew to rush the new rubber from the garage. But Webber was stacked behind him and didn’t benefit as much as he might have.
The Australian had been only fifth at the end of the opening lap as Nico Rosberg briefly sprinted his Mercedes into the lead before being overtaken by Vettel, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton also went by. Neither Mercedes had the legs to stay in front and Alonso succumbed to Webber on the 13th lap.
In the confusion of that second stop – caused by Red Bull wanting to preempt the potential arrival of a safety car – Webber’s delay allowed the Ferrari back into second place again. Webber dealt with that on the 48th lap and then kept Vettel honest for a long time.
As gentle rain began to fall intermittently in the closing stages everyone was on their mettle, but Vettel gradually began to edge away again and was 10.4 seconds ahead of Webber at the flag with Alonso a further 8.4 seconds down the road after another forceful run. Webber toured back to the pits for the last time without his helmet on, whilst Vettel performed celebratory donuts in front of the main grandstand.
Jenson Button’s McLaren stormed through the field to finish fourth after starting 14th. He was followed by Rosberg, Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.