Vettel wins, wraps up 4th straight F1 title in India
Sebastian Vettel has done it again. He wrapped up his 4th straight F1 world title in India on Sunday the way he did the previous three - in dominating style with his sixth straight race win and 10th of the season.
Vettel started on Pirelli's soft tires and was the first man into the pits for medium rubber at the end of the second lap handing the race lead to Felipe Massa's Ferrari and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton (all of whom had get off their softs soon).
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was left in front while the German battled through the pack. It was just a matter of time that Vettel was back in front.
At the end Webber fell out with gearbox problems and Vettel won by 30 seconds over Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean and with his 4th straight title came the 4th straight constructors title for Red Bull.
An ecstatic Vettel did donuts in front of the main grandstands after the race, something you never see in F1 because the car and driver are supposed to go straight to parc ferme. However, the crowd went wild and we doubt he will get more than a slap on the wrist. It was great showmanship and the sport was better for it.
Vettel joins elite F1 company in one of only four men to have won at least four world titles - Schumacher, Fangio and Prost. However, Vettel is so young he has wrapped up his 4th title at a younger age than when Prost won his first F1 race, yes race, let alone title.
As AR1.com said in a recent article - the racing world has never seen anyone like Sebastian Vettel.
He is a rare talent, who has achieved great things in a fantastic car for the last five years. He usually dominates practice, qualifying, controls the race from the front, makes few mistakes, and can demoralize the opposition by driving away in the opening laps out of the DRS activation zone. Without the artificial DRS band-aid the lesser drivers have no chance to catch Vettel.
Mark Webber (DNF, Alternator): "Obviously I'm pretty disappointed with today's race, but there is not much I can do, the alternator went wrong with very short notice so we had to stop straight away. It's tough because we did a lot of things right this weekend, but I've got a smile on my face as I could not have done any more. Well done to Seb on his Championship and also to all the Team; to get a fourth title is amazing. It's been a great job by the whole team to achieve the title four years on the trot and it has once again set itself as the benchmark for the others."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "To achieve four double World Championships is the culmination of an enormous amount of dedication and commitment from the whole team. For Sebastian to have joined the illustrious names of Fangio, Prost and Schumacher is an incredible achievement, especially at such a young age and it's a privilege to work with him. It's an enormous day for the Team to have won its fourth consecutive Constructors' World Championship. Without the dedication and determination of all the staff from all of the departments throughout the company and from all of our Partners and the backing of Dietrich Mateschitz and support of Red Bull, none of this would be possible. There's going to be an awfully lot of happy people in Milton Keynes and Salzburg this evening. We've got three races to go and we're just going to go for it. The most disappointing thing today was obviously the failure on Mark's car when we were set for a 1-2 finish; we had a sudden alternator failure, but sometimes that's racing. It was just desperately disappointing to happen while we were on course to achieve a 1-2 finish. I think it's going to take quite a few days for this success to sink in and it's important for the Team to enjoy the moment - we will be pushing all the way to the checkered flag in Brazil."
Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer: "It's difficult to verbalize what these Championships mean to be honest. Coming into the weekend we knew we had a good chance for both titles, but it's one thing thinking you have a good chance and quite another to achieve it. It's almost a relief that we've done it, it's going to take a while to sink in. It's a tribute to all the hard work, talent and focus of the guys and girls back in Milton Keynes. We started off with a very good season in 2009, against all expectations, and to have built on that with four consecutive doubles is absolutely stunning. More than anything I'd like to thank every single member of the team for that. Sebastian must now be considered one of the all-time greats. He makes mistakes sometimes, but he always learns from them; he's very humble and the success and fame he has achieved over the last few years has never gone to his head; he remains with both feet firmly on the ground. The atmosphere we have in the team is very good; we're just a straight forward team and we don't pretend to be anything we're not. These four Championships are a result of all the hard work, creativity and enthusiasm of everyone in Milton Keynes."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Seb showed his capacity to be very, very quick yet again and to come back to the front despite a very early pitstop. That was a demonstration. Mark pushed very hard from the beginning and was a serious rival to Seb until his failure. A huge result for the team today, with the quadruple double finally done and dusted! It's a very proud moment for us to have contributed to these titles and to see the partnership go from strength to strength. It was not a perfect day with the alternator issue for Mark, but it doesn't have to sour the celebrations for too long."
Fernando Alonso (11th): "Today, the problem I had on the first lap compromised my entire race, because we had to immediately change the nose and with one extra stop, without any opportunity to overtake, it was all an uphill struggle. In front of me, Webber touched someone and then me, then at turn 4 I also touched with Button. The steering felt very heavy in right hand turns and the only thing to do was pit. If you look at Webber's race or Perez's then I'd say our strategy was good, because when the others began to pit, those two were leading, but it's also true that it went well for those who started on the Softs. I must congratulate Vettel, because in this, as in other sports, it's the best that win. I'm a bit sad at not having scored points for the Constructors' title, but now, if we want to take that second place, we have to do better in the next three races and try to always finish on the podium, at least with one car, if not both."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "First and foremost, it's right and proper to congratulate Sebastian and Red Bull for their fourth consecutive world title. These are moments that we are well aware are extraordinary, but obviously, we hope that all the hard work we are doing aimed at the future, will be able to interrupt this run of success. Our race today was one of two sides: a positive one for Felipe, who drove a truly amazing opening lap and then Fernando's, unfortunately ruined by a contact with Webber at the first corner. Without that, we would have brought home more points, which are vital if we want to finish second in the Constructors' Championship. There are three races to go, everything is absolutely still possible and we have an obligation to push right to the end in a very close fight, for the runner-up position."
Pat Fry: "Congratulations to Red Bull, who took the title thanks to a better technical package and to Vettel, who managed to always drive with great consistency: they both deserve this success. As for today's race, the result of this Grand Prix leaves a bitter sweet taste in the mouth. We can be pleased with the outcome of Felipe's race, as his finishing place was better than we had predicted. He got a great start and managed the tires well, especially the Softs, which he ran up until lap 8. He maintained a good pace, keeping Hamilton behind him. It's just a shame he couldn't do the same with Rosberg, even if we must admit that his Mercedes had that little bit more than us. I am very disappointed for Fernando, who could have got a great result today as both strategies proved to be worthwhile. Breaking the front wing after the contact with Webber left him with serious understeer and, at that moment, bringing him in earlier than planned, which was the only thing we could do, naturally compromised his race. Despite this handicap, Fernando tried all he knew to make up as many places as possible and he deserved to have finished in the points. Now we are immediately looking ahead to Abu Dhabi: there we will try and turn around the situation in the Constructors' Championship, because second place is absolutely within our grasp."
Jenson Button (14th): "Today was just one of those days... Exiting Turn Four on the first lap, I got hit quite hard on the right-hand-side by Fernando [Alonso]. I don't quite know why he couldn't make to the apex, as I'd given him loads of room, but he hit me in the side pretty hard. The contact damaged the car and damaged the wheel rim, which also gave me a puncture, although it didn't cause me an issue until about three laps later. It was an extra shame that I was running on the Medium tire when I had the puncture, as that was the one you wanted to run long around here! So that incident destroyed my strategy for the rest of the afternoon. Without that contact, and the resultant puncture, I think we could have had some fun out there. It's just a shame, because our car was quick around here - Checo showed just what was possible by driving an extremely good race. Congratulations to Seb for winning his fourth world championship. That's very impressive - especially to win four in a row. His team did a great job, Adrian Newey demonstrated how good he is, and Seb finished it off nicely with a win."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal:
Kimi Raikkonen (7th): "We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated massively, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tire performance too so it's been a pretty disappointing day. I knew the tires would drop off quite quickly, but there wasn't much to lose between trying to get to the end and making an extra pit stop in terms of time lost. In the end it didn't work."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It's been an eventful weekend. In the end it was a brilliant job from the team and a great performance from Romain, who had a very strong drive and managed to conserve his tire performance right to the end. He was fast today despite having to nurse his engine, and being on the podium is a good reward for the whole team. Obviously it's disappointing that the tires couldn't last long enough for Kimi as being third and fourth would have been an amazing result for the team and very useful in the Constructors' Championship, but we'll keep fighting hard until the end of the season and we'll give some headaches to the other teams. We give our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for their Championship victory today, and also our promise that we're working hard to give them a tougher battle in 2014."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a fantastic race from both drivers, even though the strategy didn't quite work out for Kimi. We started with a plan of two stops for him but made the call to go for one after losing time stuck behind Nico [Hulkenberg]. Unfortunately the tires didn't quite last as long as he needed and he was forced into making a late stop for fresh rubber. It was a fantastic drive from Romain again and a great call from our strategy team to move him from seventeenth to third; that was just brilliant. Romain's engine pneumatic system's air consumption was a big worry and we had to use every trick in the book to avoid him retiring as per Singapore. Overall, a great team performance today."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "A hard race today right until the end, and a relief to get the eventual result! Romain did a fantastic job to finish on the podium; especially with having to manage a problem with the pneumatic system. Unfortunately we had an occurrence similar to the issue from Singapore - despite having put a solution in place - so we'll look at this before Abu Dhabi. Also a big congratulations to all at Red Bull; it's great to see another Renault powered title!"
Lewis Hamilton (6th): "Massive congratulations to Seb on becoming four-time World Champion today. That's an awesome achievement and he's put in some incredible performances this season. I really hope we get to take the fight to him next year! Looking at my race today, it's great that we got some good points, particularly with Nico's podium, and that the team are back to second place. The car has been pretty good this weekend but the race was frustrating for me. I tried so hard to get past Felipe but it just wasn't possible and unfortunately I destroyed my tires in doing so. Finishing in sixth place is never satisfying but we've got three more races and we'll keep pushing. I'm confident that we can get some more good results to keep the team in second place and we'll keep fighting to achieve just that."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "First of all, congratulations to Sebastian Vettel on winning his fourth World Championship. To win multiple championships as he has done, you must be not just a driver but also a fantastic team member, and he clearly has all the attributes that requires. It's now up to us to stop him. From the team's perspective, we scored a very solid team result this afternoon. Nico enjoyed a very, very good afternoon: the strategy worked out perfectly for him and he got all the right breaks, which allowed him to show what the car was capable of delivering. For Lewis, losing position to Massa early in the race proved critical. That meant we were unable to build a gap in the opening stint because we couldn't run at our natural pace, so as others behind us pitted, we had to anticipate our first stop in spite of having plenty of life left in the tires. After that point, Lewis didn't have the straight-line speed to pass Felipe and make the most of the core performance of the car. That naturally left him frustrated but shouldn't overshadow the good work both drivers and engineering teams did this weekend. We gathered a good haul of points today and need to continue to do so in the remaining races."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel on his fourth consecutive World Championship. He has done a perfect job since the summer break and this is a richly deserved title. For our Mercedes team, Nico delivered a really good drive today. He showed pace when it mattered and managed the race when it counted. It was great to see him back on the podium. Lewis was compromised on the first lap and we didn't have the top speed to pass Massa on track today. Clearly, when you are following a car so closely for so many laps, that doesn't help tire degradation and that was why he ran out of tires in the final laps. Taking all of that into account, P6 is still a solid result and contributed more valuable points. We have had a good afternoon compared to our direct rivals today but there is still a long way to go until we can say mission accomplished. There is no complacency and our target will be to deliver another three strong weekends this season."
Nico Hulkenberg (19th, Brakes): "Today I would have passed the finish line in eighth place. We don't know yet what happened. When I was braking into the last turn something clicked and all of a sudden my brakes were gone. Something must have been broken on the car. Following that I pitted and went out again, but something wasn't right. It is very disappointing."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We are very disappointed, because Nico was clearly in the points before a technical problem forced him to retire. Even if this was a set back today, it is important for us to know that our competitiveness is still there. We are able to score points and still have a chance to improve. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for winning the World Championships."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "Overall it is disappointing to end our points scoring run, when we had the pace with both cars. Unfortunately, there was a problem with Nico's car, which we still don't know what it is. We sent Nico out with a fresh set of tires, but the car was not drivable and it was not possible to continue. We have to wait until we get the car back from parc ferme to determine the cause of the problem. With Esteban, the jump-start resulted in a drive through penalty, and, as a result, it was not possible to score points. On a positive note, the performance of the car gives us every confidence for the remaining races."
Adrian Sutil (9th): "The target was to score points so eighth and ninth places are a great result for us today. My one-stop strategy was the riskier approach and it was only during the race that we decided to go ahead with it. The medium tires, which I started on, were performing really well and I realized that doing a one-stop race was possible. We thought that the soft tires would only last around five laps, so I made sure I really looked after them, and in the end I managed just under twenty laps. After some difficult races recently, we showed everybody what we can achieve with some great teamwork today."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Like everybody in the team I am delighted to see both Sahara Force Indias score points in our home race. That's the goal we set ourselves ahead of the weekend and the six points scored are very important for strengthening our position in the Constructors' Championship. The second half of the season has been challenging for us, but we showed today that we never give up and that all the recent hard work has paid off. I want to congratulate the engineers for making the right calls with the strategy, the drivers for their strong performances, and the mechanics for consistently quick pit stops. With just three races remaining this season, there is plenty to play for and we will go to Abu Dhabi determined to keep up this momentum."
Valtteri Bottas (16th): "The first lap was very slippery for me and I was sliding a lot more than other cars and lost some positions, but my pace in the first stint was getting better and I was getting more and more grip from the tires. However I had a radio failure which meant my first pitstop was later than planned and I lost track position, and in the second stint I was fighting closely with a lot of other cars and that traffic cost us a bit of time. Our race pace was stronger than in the last few races and I felt that I was on the right strategy, but the lack of running in free air meant that I wasn't able to capitalize on this and challenge for points."
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: "We decided to split our strategies running the tires in a different order across the cars due to the big difference in tire life and performance between the compounds. We planned a two-stop race for both drivers with Valtteri starting on medium tires and Pastor on softs. Pastor had a great start, gaining positions and had good pace during his first stint. The option tires were degrading quickly so we needed to pit him quite early in the race. He then maintained good pace on the medium tires, coming on strong towards the end as the cars ahead began to struggle and he was fighting in the group of cars chasing the final point. Valtteri was looking after his medium tires in the opening stint, but shortly before his first pitstop we lost radio communication to his car, which resulted in him pitting later than we had wanted and this lost him time and track position. All-in-all our pace and consistency has improved since Japan. Considering the radio problem we had and that our pitstop times were compromised to ensure safety, the end result was the best we could have hoped for today."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "The strategy seemed to work in the first part of the race and Valtteri was in a very strong position for a lot of the GP but unfortunately we fell back in the second part. We can look forward to Abu Dhabi that should suit the strengths of the engine a lot more. Congratulations to Red Bull and to Sebastian, who were crowned worthy champions today."
Jean-Eric Vergne (13th): "I think the strategy we had was a good one, coming in very early to get rid of the Soft tire. It could have paid off to the extent of getting into the points, but we were just too slow, even though we did everything we could. I just couldn't do better today, so of course I am disappointed, because making up one place from my grid position is not really enough. At least we only have a few days to wait before trying again in Abu Dhabi. Vettel? What he's done is something truly special, so congratulations."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Firstly, our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Infiniti Red Bull Racing for their wonderful achievement today, with Seb taking a truly remarkable fourth consecutive Drivers' title and the team doing the same in the Constructors'. As for ourselves, we knew it would be a very close fight in the mid-field, with so many cars having similar pace and that's what we got. In Daniel's case, we started him on the Medium tire and he was able to run a long first stint, running as high as P3 for much of that time at a good pace. We knew it would be more difficult after that and he had a good fight with the guys around him. Towards the end, he found himself in a slow train and could not pass Sutil. With Jev, we tried the more extreme strategy of starting him on the Soft. In itself that was fine, because Di Resta was able to get a good result having made the same choice. But we lacked pace with Jev during the race and we struggled to move up the order, so he finished one place higher than he started, just as Daniel did."
Giedo van der Garde (DNF, Suspension): "I'm really disappointed my race ended so early. I made a fair start but coming out of turn one Chilton left me no room and we made contact, breaking my front wing and suspension. It's been made really clear to us that we have to give each other room but today I wasn't given any at all and that's what's finished my race before it really got going. It's such a shame as this weekend the car's felt really good, the balance has been there right from the first practice session and we know we have the pace on Sundays to pull away from the cars we're fighting with. Having it all end so quickly is obviously bad, for me and everyone in the team who keep working so hard, but we can come back from this straight away next weekend in Abu Dhabi and that's exactly what I aim to do."
Jules Bianchi (18th): "I am happy that we finished the race with both cars again but disappointed with my position to be honest. Our two strategies were very close, although the theory was that mine would be just a little quicker. The car was good and the strategy should have paid off had it not been for a problem at the first pit stop, which cost me a lot of time. At the end of the race that really made the difference. Overall we have to be pleased with the car performance and think positively about every opportunity for the Team to hold position in the Championship. My best wishes to Sebastian - a great achievement for him."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Once again we enjoyed two impressive starts here in India today. Max's start in particular catapulted him past both Caterhams and, save for a small incident in Turn 1, it was clear that we were going to emerge out of that corner with both of ours cars ahead of the two Caterhams. From this point on it was a fascinating race between our two drivers, who were well clear of Pic. We had started with two very different strategies to address Jules and Max's relative positions on the grid and we knew that we would see the net result of that only at the point at which they were both running in their final stint - when Max would be switching to the Soft tire for his final six-lap stint. On paper, Jules' strategy should have put him ahead but a loss of time in the pits meant that ultimately Max came home in front, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Overall I commend both drivers on two excellent race performances and once again Max maintains his record of 100% reliability. It is also rewarding to see continued steps forward with our race pace. Finally, many congratulations to Sebastian Vettel on his fourth Drivers' Championship victory."
Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:27.679
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