November 17th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel won the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas from pole position, beating Romain Grosjean of Lotus and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull, who completed the podium. Vettel has now won eight races in a row, which is a new record for consecutive race victories inside a season.
Vettel made a decent start from pole position and held the lead into the first corner. Behind him, Mark Webber lost position off the start to Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton, both of whom made strong starts.
Mid-way through the first lap, the action was brought to a halt as Adrian Sutil touched wheels with Pastor Maldonado down the back straight and crashed heavily, bringing out the safety car. When racing resumed a few laps later, Vettel made a solid re-start and held the lead. From that point on, all Vettel had to do was manage his tyres and keep his Red Bull on the track to secure victory.
Grosjean made a very strong start and almost had a run on Vettel into the first corner. But Vettel managed to stay ahead and Grosjean did not realistically have the pace to challenge for victory. In the closing stages of the race, Webber, who had passed Lewis Hamilton on the track, chased down Grosjean and pressured him heavily for second place.
Despite the pressure from Webber and the obviously superior pace of the Red Bull, Grosjean kept his cool and defended well, holding on to second place to take a well deserved podium.
Lewis Hamilton had a bit of a lonely race to fourth place. He did not have the pace in his Mercedes to challenge for the podium, but was generally a bit quicker than the cars behind him. His fifth place finish moves him into third place in the Drivers' Championship, ahead of the absent Kimi Raikkonen.
Fernando Alonso finished fifth after a typical fighting drive. He made a poor start, losing a place on the opening lap to Sergio Perez, but was able to pass Perez in the pits and then managed to get past Nico Hulkenberg on the track in the final stint of the race. On the final lap, Hulkenberg passed Alonso into turn 1, buty Alonso managed to get back past on the exit of the corner. Their positions stayed the same til the end of the lap and the race.
Seventh place went to Sergio Perez. It was a strong drive from the Mexican in what is effectively his home race. He spent a good deal of the race fighting with Alonso and Hulkenberg. Ultimately the Ferrari and Sauber were quicker that the McLaren and Perez had to settle for seventh place.
Valtteri Bottas finished eighth for Williams, scoring his first points in Formula One after having a very competitive weekend. It is a mark of the strength of Bottas's performance that he finished ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg finished ninth from 12th on the grid, struggling to progress through the field through the race. His two points have helped Mercedes to pull further clear of Ferrari in second place in the Constructors' Championship, but he will not be pleased to finish so far down the field, especially considering that Hamilton was able to finish fourth in the other Mercedes.
Jenson Button completed the points after taking tenth place from Daniel Ricciardo on the penultimate lap. Button made a very brave move, passing Ricciardo on the exit of turn 1 by going through the smallest of gaps and taking the inside line for turn 2.
In his first race filling in for Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, Heikki Kovalainen had a disappointing afternoon. He made a poor start, falling to 12th from 8th on the grid on the opening lap. After making his first pit stop, Kovalainen felt a lack of front grip on his Lotus and requested a front wing change. The extra pit stop he made as a result put him well down the field and, although he showed good speed for the rest of the race, the time lost in the pits meant he finished well down the field in 15th place.
Vettel may have broken the record for most consecitive race wins inside a season, but is now looking towards the overall record for consecutive victories, which currently stands at 9. Alberto Ascari won nine races in a row across the 1952-53 seasons and has held that particular record ever since. If Vettel wins next week in Brazil, he will equal Ascari's record. To beat the record, Vettel will then have to win the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
Full results from the United States Grand Prix:
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||Winner||1||25|
|2||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||56||+6.2 secs||3||18|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+8.3 secs||2||15|
|4||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||56||+27.3 secs||5||12|
|5||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||56||+29.5 secs||6||10|
|6||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+30.4 secs||4||8|
|7||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+46.6 secs||7||6|
|8||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||56||+54.5 secs||9||4|
|9||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||56||+59.1 secs||12||2|
|10||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+77.2 secs||15||1|
|11||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||56||+81.0 secs||10|
|12||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||56||+84.5 secs||14|
|13||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+86.9 secs||13|
|14||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+91.7 secs||20|
|15||7||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||56||+95.0 secs||8|
|16||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||56||+96.8 secs||11|
|17||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||55||+1 Lap||17|
|18||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||19|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||18|
|20||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||22|
|21||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||54||+2 Lap||21|
|Ret||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||0||Accident||16|