Sebastian Vettel took care of some unfinished business in Austin today as he claimed a straightforward victory in the American Grand Prix, ahead of Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber.
It is the 38th win of his career, taking him to twelve in 2013 and adding another record to his ever-growing CV. He is the first man to win eight consecutive Formula One races in a single season.
For Grosjean this was the sixth podium of the season and a hard fought one, built on a strong start and then soaking up the pressure from Mark Webber in the final stages. He held on to claim a season’s best second place.
Vettel’s consistency and speed has offered a fresh challenge to the media, scratching around for superlatives to describe his consistently high level performances. And once again today he was unchallenged on his way to victory, defending his lead in to turn one on the opening lap, and from there rushing to make Hungary the sole track on which he is yet to win a Grand Prix.
It was a one-stop race for much of the field, with the only pit-stops taking place between lap twenty-two and twenty-nine, which made for plenty of action on the track.
Webber lost out to Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton at the first corner, but an excellent move around the outside of Hamilton allowed the Australian to reign in the Lotus and make for an exciting climax to the race.
Webber consistently found himself in the DRS-zone of Grosjean only to run out of straight road and maintain his position. The result gives Grosjean his fourth podium in five races, establishing himself as a top driver in current F1.
The second place for the Frenchman also keeps Lotus in the hunt for third in the Constructors’ Championship. They remain in fourth place on 315 points, eighteen behind Ferrari with Mercedes a further fifteen points up the road.
Mercedes had a positive day in light of their unsatisfactory qualifying. Hamilton had a quiet race in fourth place, offering some entertainment in his radio conversations with his engineer.
After telling his engineer to ‘let him drive’, he subsequently demanded some information on lap times and tyre temperatures just a few laps later. Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn told Sky Sports, “Yes that’s Lewis, we’re getting used to how to deal with him.”
In the closing laps, Hamilton came under pressure from a closing Alonso, but was able to stabilise the advantage and put his team in the hot-seat for runners-up in the Constructors’ Championship.
Alonso had a strong drive at the Circuit of Americas after dropping places on the first lap for only the third time in 2013. He passed Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who both delivered impressive performances, on his way to fifth place.
From fourth on the grid, Hulkenberg lost out to only Hamilton and Alonso in another eye-catching performance for the German. He is deserving of a top drive in 2014, but looks likely to find himself at Force India once again next year, possibly partnered by seventh placed Perez.
Valtteri Bottas will remember the 2013 US GP as his first ever points in Formula One with a great performance to take eighth.
The top ten was completed by Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button. Rosberg often finds himself in a defensive mood in his Mercedes, but today he was able to attack from his 12th place start and put some good moves on the cars ahead.
AMERICAN GRAND PRIX, Austin, Race, 56 Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1h39;17.148
2. Romain Grosjean Lotus + 6.2
3. Mark Webber Red Bull + 8.3
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 27.3
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari + 29.5
6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber + 30.4
7. Sergio Perez McLaren + 46.6
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams + 54.5
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes + 59.1
10. Jenson Button McLaren + 1:17.2
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:21.0
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso + 1:24.5
13. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 1:26.9
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber + 1:31.7
15. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus + 1:35.0
16. Paul Di Resta Force India + 1:36.8
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia + 1 lap
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham + 1 lap
20. Charles Pic Caterham + 1 lap
21. Max Chilton Marussia + 1 lap