Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor John Myburgh
Sebastian Vettel took his 13th win of the 2013 season and his 9th consecutive win and in doing so became the first person to win 9 consecutive races in one season, another record. Webber followed him home in a strong second, having withstood serious pressure from Alonso who brought his Ferrari home in 3rd.
The race started in dry conditions, the first dry running of the whole weekend! Some teams gambled and had already set their cars up for dry running, even in qualifying and as there was no rain forecasted for race day. Red Bull took advantage sending each of their drivers out on different compounds to test the track and see which one they want to start the race on, both opting for the medium compound.
As the lights went out Rosberg made a great start taking the lead and Hamilton forced himself past Alonso. Another winner from the start was Massa who came from 9th up to 5th and slotted in behind Webber.
Vettel took Rosberg as they went through the first lap and Alonso passed Hamilton as well. Not to be left out Webber took Hamilton on the inside of turn 4, great overtaking without any DRS!
As the cars came past to complete lap 4 Grosjean’s Lotus’s engine cried enough and gave in in a puff of blue oil smoke. Alonso also managed to pass Rosberg into 2nd, the Spaniard looking very racy in his Ferrari.
On lap 7 Webber took Rosberg on the outside of Turn 1, with the latter coming under pressure from his teammate Hamilton as well. Sadly for both drivers it seemed like they were fighting for best of the rest but the Mercedes cars were steadily dropping back from the trio up ahead.
Perez made a daring pass on Di Resta, touching wheels as he did so and earning the attention of the stewards. Whie aiting for the steward’s decision though, Perez was flying and took Gutierrez to slot into 11th. Taking into account he started 19th he was doing a great job in his last race for McLaren. Stewards saw not fault with his actions on track and no further action taken.
Up front Webber was still trying to get past Alonso for second but Hamilton had no problems passing Rosberg for fourth as they started lap 12. One lap later though Webber made no mistake and deployed DRS to take Alonso going into lap 13.
Perez, having been saved from stewards’ attention passed Bottas for 10th moving himself into the points while Button passed Hulkenberg for 7th. Perez inherited 9th as Ricciardo dived into the pits on lap 15. Massa was flying though. And after setting Rosberg up going into turn 4 he moved himself up to 5th place.
By lap 17 Vettel had an advantage of 10s on Webber with Alonso a further 2.5 seconds back. The Red Bulls, in the dry, appeared to have a pace advantage of almost 1s per lap.
Lap 18 saw Bottas lose out to Sutil in the pits and then Vergne as he rejoined the track. Not a good afternoon for the young fin, or Williams. He briefly passed Vergne going into turn 4 but Vergne came back at him and then Kovalainen also passed Bottas.
Kovalainen took advantage of the scarping and stuck firmly to Vergne’s rear wing and managed to pass him going into lap 21.
Button who had pitted were flying through the field. Utilising his extra grip he made easy work of Gutierrez to slot back into 7th. For all McLaren’s woes this season they seemed to be going really well.
On lap 24 Webber stopped for new tres, going onto another set of mediums however the stop was not as slick as the one they had last week and the 5.1s Webber was stationary played to the advantage of Alonso who passed him for 2nd as Webber emerged from the pits.
Vettel stopped on lap 25 to bolt a fresh set of mediums on. The team made no mistake with the stop, sending Vettel out in the lead again.
In the mean time Webber did not take long to pass Alonso again into turn 1 on lap 26. Alonso did not give up though and was all over the back of Webber while Massa was enjoying the attention of Hamilton back in 4th. Hamilton was clearly faster than Massa however the latter seemed to be able to get just enough distance between himself and Hamilton to not give Hamilton the full benefit of DRS.
During the middle part of the race the Hard compound seem to be the tyre of choice with both Alonso and and Hamilton both charging hard on them but just not enough to get them past Webber and Massa who were both on Medium compound tyres.
On lap 32 both Hamilton and Massa locked up going into turn 1, Hamilton pushing the Brazilian really hard. Massa then got the news that he received a drive-through penalty for cutting the line at the pit entry. Hamilton was told by his team to stop pushing Massa because he had a drive-through. Smedly informed Massa to stop on the next lap however the Brazilian decided not to head the advice of Smeldy and continued for another lap.
Massa came in on lap 35 to serve his drive-through and emerged just behind Perez in 7th. At this stage there were several spots of rain on the cameras however none of the drivers were radioing in to say they have traction problems.
By lap 37 the outright pace of the Red Bulls allowed Webber to pull a 5s gap on Alonso while Vettel were leading Webber by 11s. A record nine consecutive wins looking more likely for the German.
By lap 40 Perez was closing in Rosberg in front of him in 6th and both closing in on Button in 5th. Four laps later and Perez was still trying to get close enough to find a way through. Button however decided it was time to get new tyres on and pitted for a set of Mediums. Massa also made his third visit to the pits for a new set of Hards and rejoined in 10th.
Lap 45 and Vettel was struggling for grip. A few drops of rain have started to fall on the track and having slightly warn tyres were becoming a disadvantage. Both Rosberg and Perez stopped for new tyres as well and rejoined behind Button. No advantage gained there then.
Vettel was really struggling for grip and pitted but some problems for the German saw Webber stacking up behind him with Alonso also pitting. They emerged onto the track as they came in.
Meanwhile Bottas made an attempt to pass Hamilton who appeared to turn into the Fin. Bottas struck Hamilton’s right rear which destroyed the Fin’s wheel and gave Hamilton a flat.
Mark though was coming under pressure from Alonso. The Ferrari driver taking full advantage of the blotched Red Bull pit stop of Vettel which had cost Webber his advantage over Alonso. The pressure on Webber though had him pushing hard and taking time out of Vettel in front.
Hamilton got news that the earlier incident with Bottas earned him a drive-through penalty and he rejoined in 10th, just in front of Kovalainen.
On lap 56 Perez attempted to overtake Rosberg but was unable to do so with Rosberg fighting hard to keep position and the team’s 2nd position in the constructors championship. More rain drops started to appear on the circuit with radar suggesting it could rain at any moment.
With 11 laps to go, no rain yet and Vettel was leading Webber from Alonso. In 4th Button, having inherited the position when Hamilton served his drive-through penalty. Rosberg was holding on to 5th with Perez chasing hard to pass him.
Lap 66 saw Maldonado under attach form Vergne and showed us once again why he is such an expensive prospect for any future team. With Vergne almost fully beside him going into turn 1 he turned in on the Frenchman and made contact with his right front wheel. It only cost Maldonado a spin and an investigation that would be carried out after the race.
With the promised rain not arriving the end of the race was very much a procession with Red Bull taking their 5th 1-2 finish of the season and Vettel taking a record 9th consecutive win of the season. Webber drew the curtain on his Formula 1 career with a great drive to finish 2nd and Alonso finishing in third.
Webber may not have won but he managed to snuck the fastest race lap of the race.
In 4th was Button, driving brilliantly to take his McLaren to it’s highest points finish of the season. Rosberg followed him over in 5th with Perez in 6th. Massa finished his last race for Ferrari in 7th with Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Ricciardo making up the top ten.
Max Chilton brought up the rear and in doing so became the first rookie to finish each race of their rookie season.
Final Race Classification
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||01:32:36|
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||10.4|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||+1 LAP|
|11||Paul di Resta||Force India||+1 LAP|
|12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||+1 LAP|
|13||Adrian Sutil||Force India||+1 LAP|
|14||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus||+1 LAP|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||+1 LAP|
|16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams||+1 LAP|
|17||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||+2 LAPS|
|18||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham||+2 LAPS|
|19||Max Chilton||Marussia||+2 LAPS|
World Drivers Championship
World Constructors Championship