Sebastian Vettel extended his Formula 1 winning streak to eight consecutive races with another easy victory in the United States Grand Prix, his 38th career win.
It was remarkable just how unremarkable the United States Grand Prix was for the four-time world champion. He took the lead at the start, aced the restart, and promptly disappeared into the distance never to be troubled again, seemingly in a world and certainly in a class of his own all afternoon long.
And when his team told him to slow down and save the car in the closing laps he promptly set fastest race lap just to prove he could.
Vettel is now the only driver to win eight consecutive races in a season. He now has 12 wins in 2013, one short of tying Michael Schumacher's record of 13.
"It’s the day after, normally on the Monday, when you feel what you have achieved. It’s a great feeling, you have a grin on your face and it’s nice," said Vettel.
"On Sunday things happen fast and you don’t always realize what has been achieved until later. It’s down to team effort today. Everyone is willing to push; this morning the guys were working hard as we had some concerns about reliability on the car, so they were flat out trying to fix the problem and the car ran okay all race, so a big thanks to them. I’m not sure what we have done since the summer break in order that we have been winning races, but whatever it was it has worked.
"When you are a sports man, not every day is supposed to be a good day and you have ups and downs. Certainly you feel the points when you are low, they hurt more than when you are on a high, of course you enjoy those times, but I kept saying that there’s no guarantee for the next race or the one after that or after that! You never know what is coming next, so you have to enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean in the Lotus Renault finished in second place 6.2 seconds behind. Mark Webber in the second Red Bull was third, 8.3 seconds behind Vettel.
Webber had a race-long battle with Grosjean.
A change of position close as Webber rapidly caught the Lotus, but the Australian's tires faded in the final laps and he had to settle for third.
Hamilton retained fourth place despite a challenge from Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
Alonso had jumped Sergio Perez's McLaren at their sole pitstops, then hunted down and passed Nico Hulkenberg.
The Ferrari and Sauber both gained on Hamilton in the final laps before Alonso began to run out of tire grip. Hulkenberg dived back ahead of him into Turn 1 starting the final lap, but Alonso cut back inside and reclaimed the spot.
It is the fifth time this season that Renault engines have had a clean sweep of the podium following success in Bahrain, Germany, Korea and Japan.
Williams F1 Team returned to points-winning form and secured 8th with Valtteri Bottas – the first F1 career points for the Finn. Pastor Maldonado, who had started from 18th, had a tougher race and passed the flag in 17th.
Lotus F1 Team’s new recruit Heikki Kovalainen, replacing Kimi Raikkonen for the final two races as he undergoes back surgery, had a stellar return to the cockpit, qualifying in P8 for his first Grand Prix in a year. The Finn raced in the top ten until a pit stop to change a broken front wing dropped him to 17th. Unfortunately, with his KERS not functioning, he could make no progress through the field and finished in 15th.
Caterham F1 Team finished with Giedo van der Garde 19th and Charles Pic 20th.
With one race remaining, Infiniti Red Bull Racing now has 553 points, Mercedes 348, Ferrari 333 and Lotus 315. The next race in Brazil comes in just one week and will be the swansong for the Renault RS27 V8 engine.
Ecclestone said of today's U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, "Everyone is happy. I’m looking for something to complain about"
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It's the day after, normally on the Monday, when you feel what you have achieved. It's a great feeling, you have a grin on your face and it's nice. On Sunday things happen fast and you don't always realize what has been achieved until later. It's down to team effort today. Everyone is willing to push; this morning the guys were working hard as we had some concerns about reliability on the car, so they were flat out trying to fix the problem and the car ran okay all race, so a big thanks to them. I'm not sure what we have done since the summer break in order that we have been winning races, but whatever it was it has worked. When you are a sports man, not every day is supposed to be a good day and you have ups and downs. Certainly you feel the points when you are low, they hurt more than when you are on a high, of course you enjoy those times, but I kept saying that there's no guarantee for the next race or the one after that or after that! You never know what is coming next, so you have to enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow."
Mark Webber (3rd): "The initial launch and my getaway was pretty good. Romain had a good start too, I wanted to get on the right for the breaking point at the first corner, but that's what everyone did too. I got boxed in and didn't get a good exit off the corner, but after that it was a strong race. Our pace was good, but you have to manage the tires well here. Qualifying was where a lot of the race was decided. In the end I did what we could, but I think we left some on the table yesterday. I have some family and friends here this weekend, so it's good to get a strong result. It would have been better to have had a win, but Seb did a good job here this weekend."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: *Our car data showed Mark's car was stationary for 1.923 seconds during his pit stop – breaking our previous record of 2.05 seconds (set at the 2013 Malaysia GP).
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "A great result again today with Seb winning and Mark on the third step of the podium. Seb was never bothered by anyone, demonstrating his supremacy again. Mark had a difficult Turn 1, but was able to come back to the podium after a fantastic overtaking move on Hamilton. The car was awesome this weekend and everyone was able to bring out all the little things that make the package very, very quick. We'll have to remember such an amazing end to the 2013 season."
Fernando Alonso (5th): "Finishing in the top five today is a very positive result when you consider how difficult this weekend has been and the fact I had to start from the dirty side of the track. We were well aware it would be very difficult to maintain position and in fact I lost it to Perez. In the first part of the race, we weren't quick and we decided to save the tires and then attack round the pit stop. We were more competitive on the Hards, we passed Perez and set off to get Hulkenberg, but even if our situation compared to Mercedes has improved, we were unable to beat them. I am very proud of this second place in the Drivers' Championship, it's a small reward for me, the same as being first of the "mortals" behind Red Bull. My back is okay, as I did a good warm-up before the race and it didn't bother me. I feel more tired from all the tension of the race, but now I have three days to rest and arrive in Brazil feeling a hundred percent. We really must improve there, because our goal is still to finish second in the Constructor's Championship."
Felipe Massa (13th): "It's been a really difficult weekend and I was struggling right from Friday, unable to get the tires up to temperature or to run at a good pace. At the start, I didn't make up any places and then for all the race I was stuck in traffic, on a track where overtaking is not that easy. We knew that making a second stop was not the best choice, but I already found myself in a difficult situation and so we decided to risk stopping for a set of Medium tires: if anything had happened ahead of us, maybe a Safety Car, we might have profited from the situation. Unfortunately, nothing happened and the tire wear of those ahead of me was very low, so I was behind them ending up in the same position from which I started. It's a real shame because we could have done better. Now we must keep concentrated for the final round of the season in Brazil, my final race with Ferrari on my home track: it's bound to be a very emotional weekend because of that. I hope I can be more competitive there and even if our rivals are very quick, we will do our best right to the very end."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "This weekend ended with a result that can't be seen as satisfactory. The race lacked any major dramatic moments and the outcome was decided on the first lap. Once again, the qualifying result conditioned our performance and on this occasion, the regret is even stronger. The gap to fifth place yesterday was minimal and if we'd started from the clean side of the track, maybe we would have witnessed a different race. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out like that and now we must grit our teeth all the way to the end in Brazil, trying our best to maximize the car's potential, because I expect the team to react in Interlagos. Today's result rewards Fernando's extraordinary consistency, second on three occasions in the last four years, a small reward up against the Red Bull steamroller. Thanks to his fifth place, the battle for second in the Constructors' Championship is still open, even if we will have to keep an eye on Lotus, which although fourth, seems to be, to all intents and purposes, the second force in the Championship. Felipe couldn't do any more today but I am sure that in Brazil he will be competitive again for what will be his last race in red and a very emotional weekend for the whole team."
Pat Fry: "Once again we proved to be more competitive in the race, even if today's result is not the best testimony to that. Those who started from the clean side of the track, like Hamilton, Perez and Bottas, managed to make up a few places. We on the other hand, aware of the difficulties of starting on the dirty side, opted in Fernando's case on a strategy of staying out for a few extra laps: thanks to his talent, Fernando made up the place lost to the McLaren at the start and then took fifth place. With the hard tire, he had a good pace and was able to attack Hulkenberg at the right moment and stay ahead, controlling the tire wear. From thirteenth on the grid, Felipe managed to get away well, but he was then immediately stuck behind a Force India. From then on, his race was an uphill struggle and while trying a different strategy, in the hope that something might happen to those ahead of him, we didn't manage to get him in the points. It's a real shame having lost to Mercedes again, because today we could have been in the fight. We will definitely try again in Brazil."
Sergio Perez (7th): "To be honest, I was expecting to achieve a little bit more than seventh today. On the opening lap, I managed to push past Fernando [Alonso], and the car initially felt pretty strong. After that, however, between about lap 10 and lap 15, the tire degradation started to kick in, and we struggled relative to the others around us. They seemed to be coping with the [tire] deg[radation] a little bit better than we were. But, more importantly, I want to say a big 'thank you' to all my Mexican and American fans for the support they've shown me all weekend. They came here to watch me perform, and, while I would love with all my heart to have given them a better result than seventh, it was still amazing to have their support throughout what has been a difficult but very special weekend."
Jenson Button (10th): "Even though I was only battling for a single world championship point, I still wanted to do the best job I could this afternoon. As in all the past few races, I made contact with another car on the first lap – and that contact broke my left-hand front-wing endplate. It wasn't quite as bad as in Abu Dhabi, but it still left me with quite a lot of understeer. We considered changing the nose-box at the pit-stop, but, instead, the mechanics added some extra front wing, and that helped to re-balance the car. It still wasn't ideal, because losing downforce at the front doesn't affect only the front-end, it affects air-flow across the whole car as well. Still, I enjoyed the race. The first 30 laps, during which I was stuck behind Felipe [Massa], were particularly tough, but I was able to make some good moves at the end, and that made our day a bit more interesting. Now, I'm hoping for a trouble-free, exciting and prosperous final grand prix of the season in Brazil next weekend."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Both Checo and Jenson drove very well in trying circumstances here this afternoon, hampered in their efforts to make significant forward progress by a pit-stop strategy that didn't quite work out for either of them and a circuit whose layout always makes overtaking extremely difficult. We opted to put both our drivers on early one-stop strategies, in an attempt to allow them to 'under-cut' their nearest rivals, but, as I say, as things turned out we failed to gain any advantage by doing that. That being the case, Checo drove a solid and controlled race to come home seventh, which was in fact the position from which he'd started the race, further underlining how difficult it was to overtake here today. Jenson started from P15, owing to a troubled qualifying yesterday, but thereafter drove an excellent race, skillfully nursing a car whose left-hand front-wing endplate had been significantly damaged in a lap-one contact with another car. Despite the understeer handicap that that damage had caused, however, Jenson was able to record some impressive lap-times – and, driving with measured aggression all the while, climbed the leader-board to 10th place at the finish, expertly controlling his tire wear, and taking a very hard-earned world championship point by pulling off a slick yet spectacular passing maneuver on Daniel [Ricciardo] on the race's penultimate lap. That move marked a fitting end to a frustrating weekend for Jenson, but I hope he'll take some comfort from the knowledge that today he equaled our old friend David's [Coulthard] all-time record of 246 grand prix starts by a British driver. He'll establish a new benchmark of 247 grand prix starts by a British driver next weekend in Brazil. Talking of Brazil, which will be the final grand prix of a grueling 19-race schedule, we'll now make our way to Sao Paulo as determined as ever to do our utmost to score as many world championship points as we possibly can and thereby consolidate our fifth-place position in the constructors' world championship. No, finishing fifth isn't what McLaren is all about, but I want to say a big 'thank you' to our mechanics in particular, who have worked very hard and extremely diligently to ensure that our reliability has been first-rate this season even though our relative competitiveness hasn't. Last but not least, once again I want to pay tribute to the Circuit of the Americas, and all who sail in her. Undoubtedly, Formula 1 has now found its spiritual home in the United States, and I think I speak for all at McLaren when I say that we love visiting Austin Texas and are already looking forward to coming back again next year, where we'll be aiming to compete closer to the front of the field than we did here today."
Romain Grosjean (2nd): "That was a really tough race. I had to have probably one of my best ever drives to keep Mark [Webber] behind and it's a great feeling to have tamed at least one of the Bulls in Texas as they clearly had the fastest package today. We knew a good start would be the key, so making up one place in the first corner was really important and the car was just fantastic from there onwards. The whole team here and back at Enstone are doing an amazing job. Every day I see them working hard together to keep us at the front and when you look at the gap to the next nearest challenger, it's clear that we're the second best team after Red Bull right now. I think this place must bring me luck; this time last year I found out my wife was pregnant and now I've equaled my best finish in Formula 1, so I can't wait to come back again and see what happens next year!"
Heikki Kovalainen (15th): "My start wasn't great but then it was going okay until the first pit stop as I was racing with the pack with the car feeling quite good. After the pit stop I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on. We had issues with downforce so we changed the front wing and after that it was much better, although still not as good as it's felt previously this weekend. There was a KERS issue too, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We'll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It's been another positive weekend for the team. We scored more points than our championship rivals through a perfect drive from Romain. It really was his best Grand Prix ever and another excellent performance to add to his recent run of great form. The only way we could fight the Red Bulls was if Romain made a great start and that's exactly what he delivered. It's disappointing that Heikki couldn't convert his eighth place on the grid to a points finish, but we had issues with his front wing and KERS which we will investigate before Brazil."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We congratulate Romain on an absolutely faultless race of 100% perfection lap after lap. He was under enormous pressure from Mark Webber in what was clearly a faster car and he did exactly what was asked of him at every turn of the race. It was a shame for Heikki as he didn't have a great start, then he had an issue with front wing and then KERS. On the plus side, he ran to the end of the race so has gained valuable experience in the E21 ahead of Brazil."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "A great result for Romain and awesome to see our package beating one of the Red Bulls on sheer pace. At this stage in the season – and in the fight for the Constructors' Championship – these points will be very important. Heikki did a good job all weekend but unfortunately could not challenge for the points after a change for a new front wing and then a KERS issue when he rejoined. It seems to be a mechanical issue and we'll check after tonight to see how to prevent a reoccurrence in Brazil."
Lewis Hamilton (4th): "That felt good out there this afternoon and I'm really happy with fourth place. It was so nice to have a race where I could fight for position and make progress. The car felt much better today than recently so the change in chassis has definitely made a difference and a big thanks to my guys in the garage for their efforts there. I had a great start today and that was crucial to my race. We had to give up third place to Mark fairly easily to make sure our tire management and strategy worked as it was more important for the team to finish ahead of Ferrari. There was no way I was letting Fernando past at the end; I was ready for him to make his move and had a couple of tenths ready to pull out if he did! We've had a few difficult races on my side of the garage and I'm so proud of the team for all the hard work they have put in. We're all determined to maintain our second place at the final race in Brazil next weekend."
Nico Rosberg (9th): "I didn't have a great weekend here in Austin unfortunately. It really started yesterday in Qualifying where I struggled with getting temperature into the tires and starting from 12th place makes your race really difficult, especially in a one-stop race. I made some nice overtaking moves but we weren't able to do much with the strategy today because of the single stop so it's disappointing to only have finished ninth as our car was quicker than that today. Overall though, as a team we managed to increase the gap to Ferrari and that's a good result. After such a tough weekend, I'd love to be back in the car in Brazil tomorrow and not wait another seven days! We'll be pushing really hard there to end the season on a high."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "That was a pretty good race this afternoon with the car we had today. It was very definitely a managed race rather than one where the drivers could push flat out. Lewis made a fantastic start but it then became clear that trying to hold Webber behind would not help us in our quest to run a one-stop strategy, which was essential. The car was not bad and both drivers had a pretty good balance, given the extreme difference in conditions to yesterday. Both Lewis and Nico did a perfect job managing the tires in the race and their sets of primes were close to the end of their life when they crossed the line, which is exactly as it should be. They put in very, very controlled drives today which allowed us to consolidate our second position in the Constructors' Championship. Now it's time to head for Sao Paulo to finish the job."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "As a single race result, fourth and ninth positions are not what we aim for as a team but in the context of yesterday's qualifying result and of the battle for second place in the Constructors' Championship, we did a solid job. It was a race that needed management and both drivers and the pit wall managed it well today. Lewis opened up his race with a fantastic start and first corner, then drove in a very precise and controlled way, managing the gap to cars behind without abusing his tires. Nico didn't have many opportunities to move forward given the optimum strategy was a one-stopper and there were no retirements ahead of him. But he took every opportunity that came his way and gained three places. We scored an important 14 points for the Constructors' battle and will now focus on cementing that position in Brazil."
Nico Hulkenberg (6th): "A very solid result yet again. If I'm not mistaken, since Monza that would have been the eighth points finish in a row if it wasn't for the brake disc failure in India and the drive through in Abu Dhabi. That's a pretty impressive statistic. It was an interesting race. I didn't have to fight that much, only at the end with Fernando (Alonso), which was good fun. Unfortunately in the crucial part of the race, about ten to 15 laps before the end, we didn't quite have the pace of Fernando, so he was able to overtake me. During the last lap going into turn one I passed him, but then I just missed the apex and he was able to get me back at the exit. But we finished just a couple of seconds behind our competitors. I think it's been a good weekend with a gain of a good eight points."
Esteban Gutierrez (14th): "It was a very tough race starting from P20. We had to make up a lot of positions on track. I managed a good first lap. I made up a couple of positions and then, once the safety car was deployed, we decided to pit in order to put me on a different strategy to the other cars. We need to analyze the situation now and see how much we gained from that. I think all in all the problem came from the ten place grid penalty, which made it complicated at the end."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We are very happy with this solid result for the team. We didn't have any problems with the cars throughout the race and the team put in a good performance. Again, Nico drove a good race and we will look to see if we could have done anything different, so we might have been able to improve and gain one more position. With Esteban we opted for an unusual strategy, because of the difficulty due to his starting position, hoping he would be able to overtake a couple of cars at the end of the race. Unfortunately, this didn't work out. Nevertheless, we can be happy with his performance."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "Scoring points was our aim today after qualifying well. Nico had a strong pace throughout the race and was fighting right until the last lap with Fernando Alonso. Sixth is a very good result for us. Due to Esteban's grid position, we opted for a different strategy to allow him to attack at the end of the race. He did some good overtaking maneuvers and drove well today, but it was always going to be difficult to fight for points starting from 20th. To be so close to fourth at the end of the race gives us more confidence that Brazil should be another good weekend for our team."
Paul di Resta (16th): "I made a good start and was in reasonable shape for the first stint. But it soon became clear that we were struggling for pace and not really in the zone with the tires. We were pushing to do a one-stop race, but the tire wear was a bit higher than expected and I ran out of tire performance with nine laps to go. It was hard to defend my position so I had to make a second pit stop. It's a shame because we were quite optimistic before the race and we thought the warmer weather might play into our hands. So it's a bit disappointing, but we will pick ourselves up and look to end the season with a better result in Brazil next weekend."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Accident): "It feels like I ran out of luck this weekend. Up until Saturday morning I was looking competitive and was happy with the car, but all of that promise disappeared with the problems we had in qualifying. In the race I made a good start, gained a few positions and was racing ahead of Maldonado on the back straight. For some reason he hit my left rear wheel and I immediately lost control of the car and crashed into the barriers. I don't really understand why he was so close to me because the track is so wide there. I stayed on my line and there was a lot of space to the right and the left. So it was an early finish and a very disappointing day."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Despite the promise we have shown at various points during the weekend, we leave the United States without the results we thought were possible. Our chances took a big hit on lap one with the accident for Adrian, which was a result of the contact with Maldonado. That put all our hopes onto Paul and we were looking to repeat the strategy we pulled off in Abu Dhabi by stopping only once. For a while we thought it was possible, but we couldn't achieve the tire management we needed and had to pull him in for a late second stop. It was always going to be tough to score points today, but I'm optimistic that Interlagos next week will work more in our favor."
Valtteri Bottas (8th): "I'm very happy to get my first points in Formula One today. The whole weekend has been good from setting up the car in practice through to the strategy and pitstops in the race. We managed the tires well today and I had good feedback from my engineers on them throughout. We did have a bit of pressure from Rosberg at the end but I was able to keep pushing and hold the position. I want to say a big thanks to everyone in the team and at the factory as they have all been working so hard and really deserve this result."
Pastor Maldonado (17th): "It was a difficult race for me as the incident with Sutil compromised the strategy. We did manage to get 40 laps out of the prime tires which was pleasing on a track like this. Overall, we had a difficult weekend and I'm looking forward to a better race in Brazil."
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a good start by both cars but we quickly saw that Pastor had picked up some front wing damage following contact with Sutil on the opening lap. We had planned one-stop races for both drivers, but due to the damage we brought Pastor in much earlier for his switch to the prime tires. With the higher track temperatures today we were being cautious in the early stages to manage the tires, but the early data gathered from Pastor showed that our pace and consistency was good. After a good start Valtteri had a strong race, fighting hard when needed and making a great move to overtake Gutiérrez for eighth. We managed the gap to Rosberg behind us and Valtteri was able to push in the final laps to make sure he held the position. It was a great result for him to secure his first Formula One points and a well deserved end to the weekend for all the team. Despite finishing P17, Pastor also had a strong drive and had we not needed to make the early stop, there was potential for both cars to be up in the points today. It was a great improvement for us here in Austin and now we aim to continue the momentum to end the season on a high in Brazil."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "Finally, a great race for the team with a perfect strategy, tire management and pit stop that allowed us to deliver on the promise shown in the last two events. Valtteri did an amazing job to deservedly score his first points here, finishing in front of Rosberg and fighting with Alonso, and on pace alone. It would be mega to replicate this finish in the last race of the season next weekend, which will be the curtain call for the Renault V8 engine and unfortunately for the Williams-Renault partnership this time round. Ending both on a high is definitely the goal."
Daniel Ricciardo (11th): "It was a tough end to the day, really tough. It looked as though we were going to hang on to the flag to get the point for tenth place, but then in the last five laps, I lost pretty much all the grip I had and I saw the guys closing in on me. I tried to hold them off but I didn't have enough left in the tires to do it. It's frustrating to get that close but I put up the best fight I could and there was nothing more I could have done today. It was very difficult to overtake in the early stages when the cars were full of fuel and it wasn't easy to stay with the car in front through the fast corners, so we had to be patient."
Jean-Eric Vergne (12th): "The final result was nothing special, but I feel I had a good race. We had planned a two stop, but switched to a single tire change and for the second part of the race, I was told I had to manage my Options carefully, but I was given the go ahead to push again with 15 laps to go and at that point my race pace was quite good. So I feel we did a good job with the car we had. On the last lap, I tried to pass my team-mate at Turn 1, and it didn't work and we ran wide, but I think he had used a bit of Kers on the straight so I couldn't pass him. I used all my KERS on the next straight to try and outbrake him but then Gutierrez clipped my rear wheel at Turn 12 and he tried to pass me and we touched."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "We approached this race with an open mind regarding strategy and our original plan was to run Daniel on one stop and Jev on two. However, it soon became clear that a one-stop would work for both and we moved Jev to that, after he had been the only driver starting on the Prime. He did a good job dealing with the others around him on the Option and then fought his way back up the field to P12, two places higher than he started. Overall, it was a good performance in terms of his pace and Jev drove a very strong and aggressive race. As for Daniel, he got stuck behind Di Resta for a while, but passed him in the second part of the race and built up a nice gap. Unfortunately, in the very last few laps, his tires were giving up and he could not fend off Button. It's never a pleasant feeling to lose a point in the final lap but it was a solid performance, which would have looked much better if we had qualified further up the grid on Saturday."
Giedo van der Garde (19th): "I didn't have a good start and was behind Bianchi at the end of the first lap. From there it wasn't possible to pass him as, even though I had a quicker car round the whole lap, his straight-line speed was better than mine and every time I got close my front tires started graining because the car was understeering a lot so I couldn't make a move past him stick. Sometimes it's like this, there's not much you can do when you're so evenly matched. Despite how today went, overall it's been a good week in Austin. The track is good and the atmosphere in Austin and at the circuit is amazing, but obviously for us we need a bit of a crazy race to be in with a chance of reclaiming tenth in the Championship, so now it goes down to the wire in Brazil. We're ready, we just need to see what happens."
Charles Pic (20th): "Off the line I passed Chilton and was right behind Giedo and Bianchi at the end of the first lap. However, the car balance today was the same as it's been all weekend, just not quite there, which meant I couldn't push at all. I was keeping up with my teammate for the whole race, up to the drive-through in the last couple of laps, but we just didn't have the pace today to put in the normal sort of race performance we've seen for most of the season. We have the chance to bounce straight back in Brazil, and we'll work hard over the next few days to understand what we need to do to find a setup that allows us to get the most out of the package. I had my highest finish of the season in Brazil last year so we'll aim to sort out the setup issue and be there to take advantage of anything that comes our way."
Jules Bianchi (18th): "It's fair to say that today was the toughest race of the season for me. With just the one pitstop, switching from the Medium to the Hard tire, it was a really long race with so much of my focus being given to looking after the tires. Anyway, the start was good – enough to put me ahead of van der Garde – and then I'm really happy with the race I drove as we were easily able to keep both Caterhams behind. I have to say a big thanks to the whole Team as there has been a great deal of work not only to help us resolve the problems of the weekend, but also to bring new parts to the car and make them work to good effect at this late stage of the season. A really good race for us today and we go into the final race in Brazil next week able to feel more confident."
Max Chilton (21st): "Heading into this race with the drive-through penalty to serve, I was always aware that this would be a tough and lonely race for me. I lost 15 seconds in the pitlane and the reality is that you are simply going to hit the blue flag phase much earlier and pay a hefty price for that in the second half of the race. I'm pleased with the job I did to try to play catch-up and I think my fastest lap reflects that. Unfortunately the other factors defined my race. On the bright side, I've finished yet another race – my 18th out of 18 – and the car is performing well versus the Caterhams, so we'll throw everything we have at the final race next weekend."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A fantastic result for both the Team and Jules today and one which is directly attributable to a lot of hard work both at the factory and at the track over the past few weeks. Up until yesterday's qualifying it is fair to say that we had experienced a very difficult weekend and the guys in the garage and the engineers have really put in a lot of effort to try and turn this weekend around. We saw the result of this teamwork paying off in the race for Jules and he made the most of this by driving an incredibly mature race. Max's race was clearly affected by the penalty he had to serve early on. His pace was very good and he recorded a faster lap than either of the Caterhams, which goes to show that that the gap at the end of the race is unrealistic and purely down to the increased amount of blue flags he saw. Both cars were aided by fantastic starts and the run into Turn 1 and for Jules this meant that he was able to stay ahead of van der Garde from start to finish. We had a good strategy on the pitwall and the pit stops worked well. Moreover, today's result is the fruition of some late developments that we have brought to the car thanks to the considerable efforts of the factory, who have achieved this performance increment whilst also trying to juggle the preparation of the 2014 car. This underlines just how much we are pushing for 2013, and for next season."
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||+0.000s|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+8.3|
|16.||Di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+1:36.8|
|19.||van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||+1 lap|
|DNF||Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||On Lap 1|
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:39.856