Vettel wins US Grand Prix for record 8th successive victory

17 Nov 2013 21:31

World champion Sebastian Vettel won a record eighth successive race when he triumphed in Sunday's United States Grand Prix.

The German Red Bull driver beat Michael Schumacher's previous record of seven wins in a row in the same season set in 2004.

France's Romain Grosjean, in a Lotus, was second with Red Bull's Mark Webber taking third.

Vettel's win was not only his eighth in a row, but also his 12th of the season and the 38th in his short, but brilliant career of just 119 races.

It was also his first in America leaving only the Hungarian Grand Prix as a venue where he has yet to triumph.

"I am speechless, speechless," said an emotional Vettel on the Red Bull team radio, as he celebrated with a series of car-spinning 'doughnuts' on his slowing down lap.

"We have to remember these days boys, there is no guarantee they will last. We must enjoy it. I love this team. I love you. I am so proud of you all."

Starting from pole, the 26-year-old German controlled the race from lights to flag with a consummate demonstration of skill and speed at the wheel of his equally dominant Red Bull.

If he wins the year-ender in Brazil next Sunday, he will equal Schumacher's 2004 record of 13 in a season with Ferrari.

It was in that series that Schumacher reeled off his now-beaten record of seven straight wins as he delivered his seventh and final drivers' title success.

That remains another statistical landmark for Vettel to pass.

Grosjean followed him home, 6.284 seconds adrift, for Lotus, equalling his best result, with Vettel's team-mate, retirement-bound Australian Mark Webber, third, claiming his 40th career podium.

Briton Lewis Hamilton finished fourth for Mercedes ahead of Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, German Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber and Mexican Sergio Perez of McLaren.

Finn Valtteri Bottas delivered a superb eighth for the Williams team, his first points-scoring finish which tripled their season total, ahead of German Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and 10th placed Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren.

Button, in his 246th race, equalled the British record for Grand Prix starts held by David Coulthard, a former Red Bull team-mate of Webber's.

On a hot afternoon, with the air temperature touching 30 degrees Celsius and the track around 40, Vettel made a text-book start from his 44th pole position while Webber struggled to keep pace.

The Australian slipped back to fourth as Grosjean and Hamilton passed him for second and third respectively before he mounted his fightback.

A collision involving the unhappy Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, in a Williams, and luckless German Adrian Sutil of Force India on lap one brought out the Safety Car. Both were unhurt but Sutil's car was wrecked after hitting the barriers.

The race resumed on lap five and on lap 13 Webber, with superior pace and grip, cruised past Hamilton for third as Vettel opened up a six seconds lead at the front.

Once the race began to stretch the field, it was clear that tyre-wear was likely to be decisive with Hamilton dropping to sixth when he pitted after 26 laps and Grosjean leading for two laps when Vettel did the same after 28.

In between all this, Webber's pit stop after 29 laps was timed at a startling 2.3 seconds.

Hamilton regained fourth when Hulkenberg pitted and, perhaps more importantly, for the Mercedes team, ensured he and Rosberg remained respectively ahead of the Ferrari pair.

By lap 35, Vettel led by more than 10 seconds and Webber was closing in on Grosjean in a bid to regain his starting position of second, ensuring a tense final 20 laps.

Concerns over his tyre wear were the German's only issue as he led the rush to the chequered flag while drivers in the pack behind him were scrapping for positions.