Vettel Cruises To Unchallenged Victory In Austin

There were no surprises in Texas as pole-man Sebastian Vettel cruised unchallenged to his eighth consecutive victory of the season. Defying fears that Red Bull held over the state of Vettel’s gearbox pre-race, Vettel crossed the line after fifty-six laps with a twelve second lead in his pocket. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean crossed the line in second place while Webber finished third in his penultimate Grand Prix.

Vettel and Webber had their usual slow starts off the line but while Webber lost second to a faster-starting Grosjean, Vettel was able to defend from the Frenchman into turn 1 before beginning his predictable drive into the distance. The usual knocks and bumps occurred through the first sector as the grid formed into a single file line, but Adrian Sutil’s contact with Pastor Maldonado was more than just a tap. The German was racing the Venezuelan on the long back-straight and moved left across the Williams inexplicably. His Force India spun right and then left before hitting the barriers with quite a thump and completely shattering Sutil’s front suspension. Sutil was out, as was the Safety Car.

Bernd Maylander came into the pits after four laps in the Safety Car leaving Vettel bunching up the grid. By the time he rocketed away in the distance, the cars behind him were too busy falling over themselves to notice that he’d gone. Webber used DRS to pull a stunning overtake on Lewis Hamilton who was evidently uncomfortable in his Mercedes. Chilton, on the other side of the grid, pitted to take his drive-through penalty which was handed down to him for impeding during Qualifying. Lotus stand-in Heikki Kovalainen was also in the pits, recovering from a bad start and changing his front wing. The Finn would later lose his KERS and be restricted to the lower positions through no fault of his own.

The RS zone certainly provided plenty of action with the likes of Alonso and Hulkenberg batting tooth-and-nail through there on several occasions. Gutierrez and Vergne, Perez and Gutierrez, Kovalainen and Rosberg also fought for positions at the end of the kilometre long straight. Webber was driving a great race and traded fastest laps with Sebastian Vettel for the majority of the race, but when push-came-to-shove and Webber caught Grosjean, he soon fell behind the Frenchman and couldn’t close the gap.

Kovalainen went off track and re-joined, as did Paul di Resta when he tried to battle Jean-Eric Vergne around the outside of corner three – and failed. Valtteri Bottas made a breath-taking overtake on Vergne a few laps later at the same spot, leaving mere millimetres between the two cars as the Finn moved up the order. The other Finn on the grid, Kovalainen, was trying to recover his race and came close to the pitlane while passing Maldonado for 15th.

Hamilton held fourth from Hulkenberg and Alonso with ten laps remaining and a fantastic battle ensued. Setting purple lap times in the laps before, Alonso pulled a dummy on Hulkenberg and moved up to fifth in turn 1. Massa in the other Ferrari swept past Maldonado at the same point as Alonso set off to hunt down Hamilton’s Mercedes. Pic was handed a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, to add to his five-place penalty for changing gearbox.

Back up front, however, Vettel was in a world of his own as he crossed the line to take his twelfth win of the season – his eighth consecutive victory. Grosjean crossed the line second, marginally clear of Webber whose badly grained tyres gave up on him in the closing laps. Hamilton managed to hold Alonso off while Bottas took eighth, and his first points finish, for Williams. While the checkered flag flew, Vergne and Gutirrez were still battling for position, resulting in the Mexican getting slightly airborne and spinning off track. He rejoined, but firmly out of the points. Vettel performed the now traditional post-race doughnuts en route to his podium finish leaving only one question – can Vettel equal Schumacher’s record of 13 wins per season?

Final Standings:

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Romain Grosjean
  3. Mark Webber
  4. Lewis Hamilton
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Sergio Perez
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Nico Rosberg
  10. Jenson Button
  11. Daniel Ricciardo
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Heikki Kovalainen
  16. Paul di Resta
  17. Pastor Maldonado
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Giedo van der Garde
  20. Charles Pic
  21. Max Chilton
  • Adrian Sutil – collision

Image courtesy Circuit of the Americas


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One response to “Vettel Cruises To Unchallenged Victory In Austin

  1. Pingback: Vergne Handed Post-Race Penalty For Gutierrez Clash | Ben Sweeney's F1 Blog

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