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2013 US F1 GP: Vettel Cruises To Victory In Texas Photo:
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Peter Anderson | Nov, 18 2013 | 1 Comment

Sebastian Vettel broke yet another record with his US Grand Prix victory at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas this weekend.

Vettel was never under threat after a routine fast start from pole, teammate Webber falling back and having to fight his way to third behind the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Australian and future Vettel teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished eleventh after a last gasp effort by Button netted him tenth.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

The Texas sunshine was hidden by fog, delaying the commencement of FP1. The medical helicopter then developed problems, meaning the session was further delayed. Ferrari's Alonso went quickest, with Button second and Williams' Bottas a sensational third.

The Red Bulls were well back, but in FP2 the returned with a bang, as did the sunshine. Bottas fell away to his more usual mid-pack position, the Ferrari and McLarens also dropping back.

FP3 was more of the same before the battle of the Bulls in qualifying.

Vettel just edged out Webber, who was frustrated with himself for not nailing his final lap. Ricciardo just missed out on Q3 but would start tenth after penalties were applied.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas leapt into Q3, far and away ahead of departing teammate Pastor Maldonado. The Finn's speed prompted dark mutterings from the humbled Venezuelan, suggesting sabotage.

Button copped a three-place grid drop for passing under red flag conditions in FP1, while Gutierrez got ten places for impeding Maldonado in Q1.

Maldonado was also impeded by Chilton, who had to serve a drive-through penalty in the first five laps, as starting last rendered a grid penalty meaningless.

 

RACE

After a blustery Saturday, race day was bright and clear.

Mark Webber got a terrible start, falling back behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, with Vettel maintaining his lead and Grosjean taking second, coming close to grabbing first from Vettel.

Racing lasted half a lap before Adrian Sutil chucked his car into the barriers at turn 12 after contact with Maldonado's Williams.

Perez got a great start, leaping ahead of the Ferrari of Alonso. Daniel Ricciardo held station in tenth.

Another loser off the start was Heikki Kovalainen, who fell to twelfth from eighth on the grid. Racing resumed on lap four and settled into a rhythm.

Maldonado's wing appeared to be dragging on the ground on lap eight, perhaps caused by his lap one clash with Sutil. He was shown the mechanical black flag and he pitted on lap nine for a new wing and hard tyres.

On lap 13, after a series of laps taking chunks from Hamilton, Webber passed the Briton around the outside at turn one.

Kovalainen pitted on lap 18 to get out from behind a struggling Rosberg, dropping to sixteenth.

Both Hamilton and Vettel received a message from their teams to stretch their tyres. Rosberg mugged Ricciardo for tenth, having had enough of being bottled up behind the Toro Rosso. The Australian fought back, but Rosberg had the edge and pulled away.

Button pitted on lap 21 and Massa pitted a lap later. Massa popped out of pitlane ahead of the McLaren, which was unable to pass. Further up the road, Alonso battled hard with the other McLaren of Perez, which pitted on lap 23, releasing the Spaniard.

Lotus' strategy for Kovalainen appeared to work promoting him to eleventh by lap 24.

Hamilton pitted on lap 26, the same lap Mark Webber set a fastest lap.

Alonso pitted on lap 27 to try and jump Perez. He got ahead by the tiniest margin, courtesy of Perez being held up by Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

Vettel pitted at the end of lap 27, along with the last-placed Chilton. Hulkenberg also pitted from fourth, allowing Hamilton through. Gutierrez's stop under the safety car brought him through to sixth.

Webber pitted the following lap, as did Vergne, leaving Romain Grosjean in the lead. Webber's stop was super-fast, taking just 2.3 seconds. Grosean pitted on lap 29, returning the order to Vettel, Grosjean, Webber.

Kovalainen lost his place to di Resta as his tyres aged from the early stop. He pitted on lap 32 but his stop was lengthened by fitting a new nose, an explanation for his poor pace.

Webber reeled off a series of fast laps to draw up behind Romain Grosjean, cutting the gap from five seconds before the pit stop to just 1.1 on lap 33.

Rosberg pulled off an excellent pass for tenth, taking di Resta with a huge move at turn 12. di Resta stayed with him for a few corners, but the German began to pull away.

Esteban Gutierrez had a battle on his hands with Valtteri Bottas. The Mexican's tyres had been on since lap two and were well past their prime. The Williams driver pushed hard into turn one on lap 35, the two cars going wheel-to-wheel with the Sauber, eventually passing around the outside.

Gutierrez pitted for medium tyres two laps later.

Webber fell back from Grosjean on lap 36, but there was no apparent problem. He came back on lap 38 with a fastest lap.

Massa pitted again on lap 39, fitting medium tyres after a failed attempt to go for a one stopper.

Daniel Ricciardo nearly grabbed tenth from di Resta at the beginning of lap 42 with a big passing attempt at turn one.

Alonso picked up his pace, too after running a conservative post-stop pace. He had Hulkenberg and Hamilton in his sights, closing the gap to the Sauber driver to 1.3 seconds. A lap later he was in DRS range.

Alonso took fifth in style at the beginning of lap 36, forcing his way by Hulkenberg at turn one, rebuffing Hulkenberg's blocking.

Webber again attacked, drawing up behind Grosjean's Lotus. DRS afforded him a huge advantage on the main straight, cutting the gap to tenths. He was trying everything, with advice from the pitwall on when and how to use KERS.

di Resta pitted on lap 50, moving Button to eleventh, behind Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian's teammate, Vergne, was having to deal with a resurgent Gutierrez.

Button took a crack at Ricciardo on lap 55, the McLaren driver hungry for some points. Hulkenberg too was keen on Alonso's fifth place, the Ferrari driver struggling with trashed tyres. Hulkenberg made the pass at turn one but Alonso grabbed it back at the next corner.

Webber gave up the fight, bringing his car home third behind the faultless Romain Grosjean.

Vettel crossed the line for his eighth consecutive, record-breaking victory. Guttierrez and Vergne clashed on the final lap, the Sauber driver taking to the air after banging wheels with the Toro Rosso.

Hamilton finsihed fourth with Alonso holding fifth and Hulkenberg sixth. Valtteri Bottas took a well-deserved eighth place for Williams, with Rosberg and Button following, the McLaren prevailing over Ricciardo's Toro Rosso.

 

RESULTS

  1. Vettel - Red Bull-Renault - 1h39;17.148
  2. Grosjean - Lotus-Renault + 6.2
  3. Webber - Red Bull-Renault + 8.3
  4. Hamilton - Mercedes + 27.3
  5. Alonso - Ferrari + 29.5
  6. Hulkenberg - Sauber-Ferrari + 30.4
  7. Perez - McLaren-Mercedes + 46.6
  8. Bottas - Williams-Renault + 54.5
  9. Rosberg - Mercedes + 59.1
  10. Button - McLaren-Mercedes + 1:17.2
  11. Ricciardo - Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:21.0
  12. Vergne - Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:24.5
  13. Massa - Ferrari + 1:26.9
  14. Gutierrez - Sauber-Ferrari + 1:31.7
  15. Kovalainen - Lotus-Renault + 1:35.0
  16. Di Resta - Force India-Mercedes + 1:36.8
  17. Maldonado - Williams-Renault + 1 lap
  18. Bianchi - Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
  19. van der Garde - Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
  20. Pic - Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
  21. Chilton - Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap

DNF

  • Sutil - Force India-Mercedes

 
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