Vettel achieves ninth straight win Brazil Grand Prix
German equals Schumacher and Ascari records
Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing performs donuts in his car after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Red Bull survived a very rare piece of pitstop panic at Interlagos yesterday to deliver their fourth one-two result of the year in the final race of the season.
Sebastian Vettel won his 13th race of the season to equal Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record with Ferrari, and also equal Alberto Ascari’s record of nine consecutive wins, though that was set over two seasons.
The 26-year-old has now been unbeaten for four months, since the race in Hungary at the end of July. There was also a happy ending for his team-mate, Mark Webber, who was second in his final F1 race, but it almost went horribly wrong at the end of the 47th lap when Red Bull called in both drivers for a final pitstop. There was rain in the air and the team also thought a safety car might be deployed after a clash between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel’s stop was a messy one and it halved his lead to about six seconds while Webber waited for him to clear the box and follow him in.
“I saw on the TV screen that Seb was in the box and I hoped that it was a replay but when I got there he was there in front of me,” said Webber.
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, said: “We didn’t have enough space for the mechanics and the tyres, so it all looked a bit chaotic. We also had Mark coming in, too, but we recovered well and got through it.”
Webber’s second place allowed him to pip Hamilton for third place in the drivers’ championship.
The Australian, who also drove the fastest lap, took off his helmet as he drove the warm-down lap and in the post-race press conference the F1 chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, brought a Brazilian flag, which Vettel and Fernando Alonso signed before presenting it to Webber.
“Seb and I have not always had the best relationship,” an emotional Webber said, “but to finish on the podium with him and Fernando Alonso was great. They are the best of the generation so it was nice for me because it means I can still compete with these guys but I also know the time is right to finish.” But the year belonged to Vettel.
“It’s just a number,” he said. “But when I’m older, with less hair and chubby, this will be something to look back on.”