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Race - Vettel dominates in Austin for record win 17 Nov 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunday, 17 November 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 leads at the start of the race.
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 Williams' Pastor Maldonado complains of vibrations over Team Radio as his front wing scrapes along the track Red Bull's Mark Webber overtakes Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to take third place Ferrari's Fernando Alonso loses and retakes fifth place in the space of one corner from Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg on the last lap Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is warned about tyre wear over team radio but the world champion puts in another fastest lap of the race on Lap 55 Podium and results:
1st Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, centre.
2nd Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1, left.
3rd Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, right.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, USA, Sunda

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was in commanding form in the United States on Sunday, racing to a record-breaking eighth consecutive victory.

The German started from pole, led into the first corner, and only briefly relinquished the lead when he made his sole pit stop. Towards the end he was advised that his hard-compound Pirelli tyres were not bulletproof and that he needed to look after them, but after a charge from Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, himself under tremendous pressure from the other Red Bull of Mark Webber, Vettel produced his trademark late fastest lap to show who was really in control.

At the end the Lotus driver was 6.2s adrift as he added a sixth podium finish to his collection this season. Close behind him, Webber had lost out not only to Grosjean but also to Lewis Hamilton at the start, thanks to the problem of getting away on the dirty side of the grid, and he could not begin his challenge for second until he’d disposed of the Mercedes. That happened on the 13th lap, as Hamilton was forced to go into degradation limitation mode as his tyres began to go away from him. The Englishman stayed out until the 25th lap, but by then Webber was long gone and so was all chance of a podium finish.

Try as he might Webber couldn’t muster the momentum to displace Grosjean, who upheld Lotus honour perfectly in Kimi Raikkonen’s absence.

Hamilton held on to take fourth, having this time been able to neutralise Fernando Alonso’s late-race challenge thanks to some careful tyre preservation. The Spaniard had battled up past Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber and at one stage seemed set to pounce on Hamilton as he had done in Abu Dhabi, but the Mercedes driver maintained a 1.3s gap initially and then pulled away as the Ferrari’s tyres lost their edge. Indeed, it seemed for a moment as if Hulkenberg might be able to launch a counter-attack on Alonso, but he had to be content with a solid sixth place finish.

Behind them, Sergio Perez drove a strong race to seventh for McLaren, as Valtteri Bottas delighted Williams with a competitive run to score his first world championship points with eighth, containing a challenge from Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who had to fight his way up from his lowly 14th place on the grid. The final point fell to McLaren’s Jenson Button, who recovered from a clash with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on the opening lap and spent much of his race mired in the midfield fighting the Brazilian, Force India’s Paul di Resta and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo. Massa and Di Resta, like Lotus stand-in Heikki Kovalainen who also initially ran in the group, all fell back after making two pits stops to the leading runners’ one, and Button was eventually able to battle past Ricciardo just before the end.

The Australian finished just ahead of his Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne, who was the only driver who opted to start on the harder tyre. The Frenchman was involved in a last-lap clash with Esteban Gutierrez, with whom he had spent much of the race dicing; as the Mexican dived past him for 12th Vergne inadvertently launched the Sauber driver into a spin. The stewards announced immediately that they would look at the matter and they subsequently added 20 seconds to Vergne's race time, dropping him to 16th place.

Massa thus took 12th with Gutierrez recovering for 13th ahead of Kovalainen and Di Resta, and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado who had been involved in a first-lap collision with Adrian Sutil which had pitched the Force India driver into a barrier and brought out the safety car until the fifth lap. Later Maldonado lost further ground when his front wing needed replacing.

Jules Bianchi finished 18th for Marussia after a superb race-long battle with Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham which ended with the green and yellow car less than two seconds behind its red and black rival. Charles Pic in the second Caterham was with them for a while before dropping back, as Marussia’s Max Chilton brought up the rear.

The victory puts Vettel on course to match Alberto Ascari’s record of nine straight wins, over the 1952 and ’53 seasons (discounting the Indy 500), and leaves him with 372 points to Alonso’s 227. Hamilton moves back ahead of Raikkonen for third with 187 to 183, with Webber closing in on 181. In the constructors’ stakes Red Bull have 553, while Mercedes retained their second place with 348 to Ferrari’s 333 and Lotus’s 315.

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