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United States analysis - Vettel's eighth wonder 18 Nov 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal, Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant and the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 crosses the line.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Second placed Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 and Matt LeBlanc (USA) ACtor.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari signs autographs.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren with his trainer Antti Vierula (FIN) and race engineer Mark Temple (GBR) on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06 crashes out on lap one.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013

Before Sunday, no man had ever won eight consecutive FIA Formula One World Championship rounds (Alberto Ascari’s 1952-53 nine-race winning streak was actually broken by the Indy 500, then part of the F1 calendar). Sebastian Vettel changed all that in Austin with another imperious drive, though Red Bull didn’t have things all their own way thanks to Romain Grosjean and Lotus. Further down the order, Sergio Perez showed McLaren what they’ll be missing next year, and Valtteri Bottas single-handedly raised Williams’ 2013 points tally five-fold. We take a team-by-team look at the formbook in Texas…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P3

Vettel jumped into the lead at the start and was never headed en route to his eighth consecutive victory. But this time he was obliged by his team to take it easy on the harder Pirellis towards the end. That enabled Grosjean to close to within 6.2s before Vettel banged in the fastest lap with two laps to go. In other words, he’d just been playing it safe. Webber made a decent start from the dirty side of the grid but still got swamped by Grosjean and Hamilton, and thus had to wait 13 laps before he could pick off the Mercedes. He then closed in on the Lotus, but was never able to a find a way by.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, P2
Heikki Kovalainen, P14

Grosjean made a great start to jump to second, and never relinquished the position despite intense pressure on several occasions from Webber who threw everything he had at him. He kept his head and his line, did everything fairly, and never put a wheel wrong en route to his equalling his previous best F1 result. His 18-point haul also keeps Lotus in mathematical contention for second place in the constructors’ championship. Kovalainen’s race was less impressive than his performance on Friday and Saturday. He made a poor start and was mired in the midfield dice, but gradually his car lost pace; a change of front wing didn’t help much, and some sort of KERS problem was suspected.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, P4
Nico Rosberg, P9

Hamilton was very happy with his Mercedes’ new chassis and jumped up to third at the start. But as his tyres began to degrade early he had to ease the pace and let a challenging Webber go. For a while he came under threat from Hulkenberg, but was able to pull away and keep the gap to Alonso stable once the Spaniard had overtaken the German. Rosberg suffered from his lowly start, and never rose above the midfield despite some good passing moves on his way to ninth place.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P5
Felipe Massa, P12

Alonso unusually lost a place at the start and then got held up behind Perez, but was able to overtake the McLaren after running four laps longer before his pit stop. He then caught and passed Hulkenberg, but was unable to challenge Hamilton and had to settle for fifth. Massa’s race was compromised when he had to make two pits stops.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, P6
Esteban Gutierrez, P13

Hulkenberg drove his usual hard race and was initially able to challenge Hamilton for fourth before and after the first pit stops, until the Mercedes driver pulled away. Later he was caught and passed by Alonso, but counter-attacked the Spaniard in the closing stages and finished less than a second behind the Ferrari. Gutierrez changed from mediums to the hard Pirellis after a lap and climbed into points contention at one stage before dropping back with a second stop on the 36th lap. He was fighting the Toro Rossos in the final laps and had overtaken Vergne when the Frenchman tapped him into a spin. He initially thus finished 14th, but moved up a place when Vergne was subsequently penalised.

Williams
Valtterri Bottas, P8
Pastor Maldonado, P17

Bottas drove a terrific race for Williams and was always in the hunt for his first world championship points. A great eighth-place finish quintupled Williams’ points score. Maldonado’s unhappy weekend got no better after he damaged his front wing colliding with Sutil on the opening lap, which ultimately necessitated a stop for a new nose and screwed his strategy.

McLaren
Sergio Perez, P7
Jenson Button, P10

Perez drove very strongly to hold off Alonso until their pit stops, and then to keep ahead of the Bottas/Rosberg fight. He probably deserved better than seventh after a solid performance on the most difficult weekend of his F1 career. Button tagged Massa on the opening lap and damaged his front wing again, and that compromised his race. But he also admitted that he needed to put things together better to get the most out of his weekend.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, P11
Jean-Eric Vergne, P16

Both drivers ended disappointed. Ricciardo felt he was going to hang on to 10th place, but didn’t have enough tyre left to fend off Button’s late attentions. Vergne planned a one-stopper but ended up doing two and felt he’d driven a better race than the result reflected. He finished 12th on the road but dropped to 16th when the stewards gave him a post-race 20s penalty for a last-lap collision with Gutierrez which dropped the Mexican from 12th to an initial 14th.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P15
Adrian Sutil, retired lap 1, contact with Maldonado

Di Resta thought his first stint was pretty good, but came to realise that his Force India just didn’t have the pace to make a single stop strategy work. His pursuers were all over him, and several overtook, before he was forced to make a second stop. Sutil’s race ended early, after contact with Maldonado on the opening lap.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, P18
Max Chilton, P21

Bianchi got much of the job done at the start when he jumped ahead of the Caterhams, and a fine drive saw him stay there without too much trouble as he controlled their pace. Chilton’s race was compromised by the need to serve a drive-through penalty within the first five laps after he had impeded Maldonado and Sutil in Q1. That put him early into the blue flag situation, and he lost out further as he observed them.

Caterham
Giedo van der Garde, P19
Charles Pic, P20

Van der Garde lost out to Bianchi at the start and then spent the entire race keeping the Marussia driver honest while chasing him from little more than a couple of seconds’ distance. Pic was involved for a while, too, before dropping back with understeer and then having to serve a drive-through penalty after blocking Hamilton while being shown the blue flag.

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