The 2013 Formula 1 season came to a close in Brazil last weekend. Sebastian Vettel won yet another race, making him the only driver to have ever won nine consecutive races in one season.
The German began on pole for Red Bull with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso following behind, fighting for second place in the constructors’ championship.
Wet qualifying hampered the drivers. McLaren’s Sergio Perez had a huge crash in Q2 but he still managed to outqualify teammate Jenson Button.
Vettel had a poor start and Rosberg was able to take the lead. But during the first lap the four time world champion came back and led the rest of the race with little to worry him. An appalling pit stop from the team left Vettel with a smaller lead than he should have deserved.
Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber did a sterling job in his final Formula 1 race. The Australian began 4th and was soon overtaken. Working hard to overtake he made it back up the grid and finished second, the 42nd podium finish of his career.
Ferrari had a decent weekend as Alonso stormed through to round off the podium. The Spaniard has struggled of late with the performance of the Ferrari and proved his ability as a driver. Off-track he has been discussing his concerns that Red Bull will continue to dominate into 2014. Ferrari narrowly missed out on second in the constructors’ championship as 6 points separated them from Mercedes.
McLaren progressed well in Brazil after what can only be described as a nightmare season for the team. Button drove superbly to finish 4th, the McLaren’s highest placing in 2013. It has been 33 years since McLaren have finished a season with no podium placing.
Lotus’ season ended on a low as Romain Grosjean retired on lap 4 after engine failure. It was great to see a sensible and mature drive from the Frenchman as he parked his car near to the stewards. After his poor 2012 it looks like Grosjean has set himself up for a fantastic 2014.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished the race in 9th, following a lot of controversy. Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa were embroiled in an on-track fight that lead to a drive through penalty for Massa as he crossed the white line on pit entry. Later Hamilton took on Valterri Bottas’ Williams and was punished with a drive through. Bottas’ rear left tyre fell off, forcing him to retire. The Brit was lucky to gain any points as he struggled to get back into the top ten.
The race ended with Vettel securing the win and making sporting history. Congratulations went to Webber for his success in Formula 1; a moment on team radio depicted Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reminding Webber of how ‘proud’ the team are of his achievements.
For most of the drivers 2014 is uncertain. Many are still left without a drive and for Perez and Paul di Resta their futures hang in the balance. Massa raced in Brazil for the last time in a Ferrari but next season he will move to Williams. 2013 has provided many ups and downs and, despite the furore surrounding Vettel, a notable mention here to rookie Max Chilton of Marussia who was the only driver to finish every 2013 Formula 1 race.