Vettel wins eighth straight F1 grand prix
Austin, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull set a Formula One record for most consecutive victories in a single season with eight by taking Sunday's United States Grand Prix in dominating fashion.
Vettel, who clinched his fourth successive F1 world championship last month in India, started on the pole and only relinquished the lead when he pitted once on lap 28. Romain Grosjean from Lotus ran in front for two laps before he made his stop, allowing Vettel to take the lead for good in this 56-lap race at Circuit of the Americas.
"The car was fantastic," Vettel said. "It was a bit tight at the start. Romain had a good start. Initially, I didn't know if it would be enough. Then I just tried to focus on myself. We had incredible pace in the car again. I could control the gaps."
It was Vettel's 12th win of the season and the 38th of his career. It was also his first USGP victory in three attempts. He finished second to Lewis Hamilton in the first race at COTA one year ago. His made his debut F1 debut in the 2007 USGP, which was held on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course, driving for BMW Sauber at the time.
"I made my first start in 2007 in Indianapolis, and to come back last year, I finished on the podium, but to win the race today is incredible," Vettel said.
The 2013 F1 season concludes with the Nov. 24 Brazilian Grand Prix. If Vettel wins in Brazil, he would tie Alberto Ascari's record for most consecutive victories with nine. Ascari did it from the tail end of the 1952 season through the early part of the 1953 season. Vettel would also tie Michael Schumacher's record for most wins in a season with 13. Schumacher set the mark in 2004.
Grosjean finished 6.2 seconds behind Vettel for his sixth podium appearance this year. He started third but overtook Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, on the first lap to move into second.
"It was a good race," Grosjean said. "I had a good start when I got past Mark and then almost caught Sebastian. The car worked well today. I'm glad to be on the podium here in the United States."
Webber took the third spot in what is his final F1 grand prix in the U.S. He will join Porsche's new sports car program in the Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championship in 2014.
"It was a good job for the team, and I'm happy to be on the podium in front of the American fans," Webber said. "It's my last time here in Formula One. I'll see you here next year with Porsche."
Hamilton from Mercedes finished fourth, and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fifth.
Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg took the sixth spot, followed by Sergio Perez from McLaren and Valtteri Bottas from Williams. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, also from McLaren, completed the top-10.
There were two incidents that occurred during the race -- one on the opening lap and the other on the final lap. Adrian Sutil from Force India crashed in turn 5 when he made contact with Williams' Pastor Maldonado. It forced the deployment of the safety car for two laps. Sutil was the only driver who retired in the event.
Just before they reached the finish line, Jean-Eric Vergne from Toro Rosso collided with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, who then spun around. Vergne crossed the line in 12th, but race stewards investigated the incident afterwards and handed Vergne a 20-second penalty, which dropped him to 16th.
11/17 18:18:20 ET