• Brazilian Grand Prix

Vettel equals record with ninth consecutive win

ESPN Staff
November 24, 2013
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Sebastian Vettel equalled Alberto Ascari's record of nine consecutive victories by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix from team-mate Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

A stunning run of form at the end of the season has seen Vettel win every race since the summer break and the victory at Interlagos was also his 13th of the season, equalling another record held by Michael Schumacher.

The weather was the only real threat to his lead but the rain held off despite low cloud swamping the circuit in the final 20 laps. Webber, competing in his last F1 race, finished 10.4s off his team-mate after the closest he got to him all afternoon was during a botched second stop for Vettel that forced Webber to queue behind. Alonso battled with Webber throughout, but his Ferrari was no match for the speed of the Red Bull and he had to settle for the bottom step of the podium.

A manic race ensued outside the top three, with Jenson Button scoring McLaren's best result of the season in fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg, who led into Turn 1 but dropped down the order in the first stint with tyre degradation. Sergio Perez battled from 19th to sixth in his final race for McLaren, while Felipe Massa rounded his career off with a seventh place finish following a drive-through penalty.

Massa's penalty - for crossing the white line at the pit lane entry - ultimately cost Ferrari second place in the constructors' championship as Mercedes held on by just six points. Massa had been running fourth behind Alonso prior to the penalty, a result which would have seen Ferrari leapfrog Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton was caught in a collision with Valtteri Bottas.

On lap 47 Bottas was trying to unlap himself but on the Mercedes and pulled alongside on the outside of Turn 4. but Hamilton didn't appear to see the Williams and the two touched wheels, giving Hamilton a right rear puncture and sending Bottas spinning off as his left rear detached. Hamilton was handed a drive-through penalty for causing the collision, which dropped him down to ninth at the flag.

Nico Hulkenberg took eighth for Sauber ahead of Hamilton, while Daniel Ricciardo rounded off his Toro Rosso career with a point in tenth.

Although Rosberg led in to Turn 1, Vettel never looked in trouble as he was able to comfortably pass at the start of lap 2. Any hopes Lotus had of pipping Ferrari in the constructors' championship literally went up in smoke after just three laps as Romain Grosjean retired with an engine failure as he accelerated out of the final corner.

Intermittent light drizzle threatened throughout but never delivered anywhere near enough rain to worry the drivers, and Vettel was able to extend a comfortable lead while Webber had to pick his way through the field having dropped to fifth at the start. First Hamilton was brilliantly passed around the outside of Turn 6, then Rosberg around the outside of Turn 1 at the start of lap 7.

The Mercedes was slow in a straight line and dropping backwards, with Alonso having passed easily. Webber soon caught the back of the Ferrari and was able to use DRS to pass but a slow pit stop dropped him behind once again. Once Webber repeated his move up the inside of Turn 1 he kept Alonso at bay to the line despite a strange second pit stop sequence.

After a few slow laps from Vettel the gap at the front had come down when Hamilton and Bottas collided. Fearing a safety car, Red Bull pit both cars at the same time having only been preparing for Webber. Vettel had a slow stop as his tyres weren't ready and Webber was forced to stack behind his team-mate but ultimately both maintained position at the front.

Behind the front three there remained plenty of close racing as Button rose up to fourth having started on the hard tyre. The McLaren had strong pace and Perez hustled Rosberg in the closing stages with Massa unable to catch the pair ahead after his drive-through, which he described as "unacceptable" over team radio.

In the battle for 10th in the constructors' championship, Marussia was pleased with the lack of rain as it was able to hold on ahead of Caterham. Jules Bianchi's 13th place in Malaysia remained the difference as Bianchi ensured he finished ahead of Giedo van der Garde, with Charles Pic retiring with a right rear suspension failure. Max Chilton also saw the chequered flag to record 19 out of 19 finishes in his rookie season.

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