Sebastian Vettel made Formula One history by chalking up an eighth successive victory in a single season after taking the chequered flag at the United States Grand Prix last night.
After equalling Michael Schumacher’s 2004 feat a fortnight ago in Abu Dhabi, Vettel made the record his own with another comfortable run at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.
Another triumph in Brazil next Sunday will see Vettel equal Alberto Ascari’s all-time record of nine straight wins set in 1952/53, and Schumacher’s victory haul for one season of 13.
Behind Vettel, Romain Grosjean equalled the best result of his F1 career in claiming the runner-up spot, coming under attack from Red Bull’s Mark Webber late on, but with his tyres giving way the Australian had to settle for third.
Vettel ultimately cruised to his record win, delighting the fans by performing doughnuts at the top of the back straight, and after delivering an emotional message over the radio. Told he was a record-breaker again, Vettel said: “I’m speechless!”
Only to then add: “We have to remember these days. There’s no guarantee they will be forever. We have incredible team spirit. I’m so proud of you guys. I love you.”
Going into the summer break there was the threat of an intriguing fight to the finish between four, potentially five drivers. But following the three-week August holiday Vettel and Red Bull have been in a class of their own, aided in part by the change in rules due to come into force for 2014.
With significant resources required for the 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6 engines that replace the current 2.4-litre V8s, teams made a call to focus their money and ideas on next year’s cars.
Red Bull, by their own admission, continued to develop this year’s RB9 to the detriment of the RB10 as they were expecting far more of a challenge that simply has not materialised.
That has, in turn, led to no-one holding a candle to Vettel and the sizzling run of success that has resulted in the 26-year-old German claiming another record.
With US legend Mario Andretti conducting the podium interviews, for once Vettel didn’t know what to say. His words were simple as he said: “To win this race is incredible. Thanks to the crowd, this is one of the best races we have all year.”
Asked about nine in a row, Vettel said: “I’m going to try.”
Grosjean was happy with his second place as he said: “It was a good race, I made a good start getting past Mark and I almost got past Seb.
“I’m very proud to represent Lotus, they’re a great team, and I’m glad to get a podium here in the US.”
Webber knew his chance was blown by failing to land pole position: “That cost me a much better result.”
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