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The 2013 Petrobras Brazilian Grand Prix
Round 19 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 22 to 24 November 2013
Image Courtesy Of Pirelli
The circuit is dry, the weather is grey and overcast, will it rain? It is impossible to tell, perhaps at some point in the race. Air temperature 19 degrees C.
Perez takes a gearbox penalty.
This is a 71 lap race.
Five lights come on, a pause, they go out…… go!
Rosberg takes the lead.
Vettel is second, Hamilton third, Alonso fourth.
Image courtesy of Pirelli
Alonso tries to take Hamilton, but cannot pass there.
Into the first corner Vettel takes the lead and Alonso takes Hamilton.
Webber takes Hamilton.
Vettel, Rosberg, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton.
Vettel leads by 1.4 seconds.
Alonso has a look at Rosberg.
Grosjean retires, the engine has white smoke pouring out of the back.
Alonso takes Rosberg and moves up to second.
Webber looks to pass Rosberg the gap is 0.4 second.
Webber takes Rosberg and moves up to third.
Hulkenberg complains of graining on his front left tyre.
Perez appears to have nudged Di Resta, far too aggressive.
Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Mamma, Hulkenberg.
Rosberg says he is struggling with the rear.
Ricciardo in ninth and Bottas is tenth.
Webber has caught Alonso the two old friends will enjoy a last opportunity to have a dice in F1.
Hamilton passes Rosberg.
Webber us right with Alonso, but follows him through turn 1
Webber takes Alonso and moves up to second, now can he do something about Vettel?
Perez takes Bottas for tenth.
Button takes Hulkenberg for seventh.
Massa takes Rosberg for fifth.
Vettel leads Webber by 10.4 seconds.
Bottas and Sutil pit, with Bottas ahead.
Bottas lost out there.
Vergne cuts across as they exit the pits and Bottas loses out again for the second time in thirty seconds.
Bottas tries to take Vergne but fails to take the place and in fact loses a further position to Kovalainen, that was probably his worst lap in F1 this year for Bottas.
Di Resta Pits
Button pits and rejoins tenth.
Button takes Ricciardo and moves up to eighth.
Button takes Gutierrez to move up to seventh.
Webber pits, it is a slow stop.
Vettel is told to box (pit)
Vettel pits and has a good stop.
Vettel leads, from Alonso and Webber then Massa and Hamilton.
Webber takes Alonso
Webber sets fastest lap of the race with 1:16.957
Webber sets fastest lap of the race so far with a 1:16.927
Bottas and Gutierrez band wheels into turn 1
Massa is told not to cut the pit lane entry white line.
Hamilton tries to go through Massa into turn one but cannot make it stick.
Almost immediately Massa gets a drive through for cutting the white line at pit entry a few laps ago.
Massa serves his penalty.
Is that rain?
Vettel leads from Webber by 11.9 seconds.
Maldonado takes Bottas
Perez is catching Rosberg in the battle for sixth.
Vettel, Webber, Alonso , Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg, Di Resta
Image courtesy of Pirelli
Sutil passes Vettel, well he unlaps himself. Very odd.
Rosberg and Perez pits
Massa takes Di Resta and recovers to ninth after his pit stop.
Vettel is passed again, this time Ricciardo.
Bottas loses a tyre and crashes out of the race,
Hamilton also has a tyre failure the two must be linked, yes Bottas hit the rear of Hamilton. Whose fault? They both seemed to move over in the braking zone.
Vettel pits but it is a slow stop
Webber pits and has to wait.
Vettel leads by a reduced amount of 6.1 seconds
Alonso sets fastest lap with a 1:15.810
Alonso is close to the back of Webber.
Hamilton gets a drive through penalty for the Bottas collision.
The gap between Vettel and Webber is down to 5.5 seconds.
Hamilton rejoins in front of Kovalainen in eleventh.
Van der Garde also gets a drive through for ignoring blue flags.
Button is in fourth place this is a fine effort for McLaren.
Hamilton takes Ricciardo for ninth place.
Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo.
Maldonado and Vergne collide.
Image courtesy of Pirelli
5 laps to go,
Rain is expected to pick up but Vettel is advised not enough to change tyres.
3 laps to go.
Vettel leads by 8.2 seconds, any room for a gesture from Red Bull?
Sutil has caught Gutierrez.
Vettel wins and that is a new record nine in a row and thirteen in a season.
Webber finished second and ends his F12 career with a podium.
Alonso is third.
Button fourth and McLaren end the season without a single podium.
Image courtesy of Pirelli
Here is the top ten:
Image courtesy of Pirelli
Lights to Flag Summary
We wondered if the rain would intervene and stop Vettel, it didn’t.
Vettel wins his ninth straight race and thirteenth in a season, this has never been done before, we should as Vettel suggest remember these days and acknowledge a team and driver at the top of their game.
The rest ,this season were really nowhere.
Vettel got a good reception on the podium which was nice to see, the boos should now be consigned to history as they have no place in our sport.
There is no a great deal to say about the race, there were a few drive through penalties and the collision between Bottas and Hamilton will be a talking point.
Button had a good race.
There were a couple of sad moments for F1. Mark Webber drove into the pits without his helmet, and that really signalled the end of his F1 career.
A tough but fair competitor Webber helped to build the Red Bull team and has been a cornerstone of their success. A solid and at times superb driver he waited his whole career for the right car and when he found was unfortunate to have had the wrong team mate.
Massa also has his last race for Ferrari, it was touching to see the mechanics applaud him out of the garage and he will surely be missed b y them The truth is however that since his accident he has been far too inconsistent to mount a title challenge or remain with Ferrari.
The Williams drive should be perfect for him however as they mutually need each other and this may be a driver and team pairing which brings each what they are looking for.
Hulkenberg finished eighth, he should find himself in a top line car next year, if he loses out to Maldonado for the Lotus drive then F1 simply makes a fool of itself.
The final word must be congratulation to Red Bull and all its employees, this has been a simply first class example of utter dominance. Not only that they kept the motivation to the last corner of the last lap, a 1-2 finish is the perfect way to crown a most remarkable achievement.
We hope you enjoyed the coverage this year, please join us again in 2014 at www.lightstoflag.com
Image courtesy of Pirelli
Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Car 1 SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
Finish Position: WINNER, Start Position: 1st
“I don’t want to compare the record what we have got today; it’s not fair as it was a different time when Ascari was driving. Cars broke down more often then and teams were less consistent, so therefore it’s a different type of record that we have got today. For all of us in the whole team we love coming to work and giving it all we have. There’s a great spirit and it’s sad in a way that the year comes to an end, but that’s how it is. I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to a break to get the batteries charged and to look forward to next year. My start wasn’t so good today, but I was able to get past Rosberg. It was hard to know what was going to happen in today’s race. When we came for the second pit stop, it was a late call and then we had to wait for the tyres. We managed to recover with some laps to go. Today was of course Mark’s last race. We didn’t have the best relationship, but nevertheless we always had respect for each other on a professional level and whatever was going on off-track, didn’t make a difference to us on track and we both pushed each other very hard. I certainly learned a lot from Mark. I learned to become a better driver, due to his impressive skills; that’s why I consider him one of the best drivers on the grid.”
Car 2 MARK WEBBER,
Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position: 4th
“It was nice to take the helmet off for the final lap. In this sport it’s not always possible to give things a personal touch. We have the helmets on all the time, so they fans don’t always see a Formula One driver in a car without a helmet. It was nice to get it off and see the marshals and the fans; it was just a really nice thing to experience. I heard a lot of noises that I don’t normally hear. The difficult part for me today was actually getting in to the car for the final time. I was overcome with some emotion then to be honest. That moment of the helmet going on and stepping into the car was actually the strongest emotion I’ve had all day. Then crossing the line and seeing all the guys was great. Christian radioed me and said enjoy the last lap, which I did. I did it as slow as I could; it was a very special day. Seb and I have had our challenges over time and it’s easier to have a relationship with Fernando, as he’s in another team, but to finish on the podium with those two guys – well, they have been the best of this generation.
I have raced them a lot and to finish with those guys was nice for me because it meant a lot, showing that I can drive well at the end of my career and that I got the timing right. Formula One is a sport which I’ve loved. I could never have dreamt of the career that I’ve had, the tremendous highs, the tough lows – you know they have to happen and you learn from adversity. The biggest and strongest memories you have are from when you are in the car; it’s what we were tuned and trained to do. Driving on the limit is what I was paid to do and what I enjoyed doing. They are the strongest memories you have as an individual at this level.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “What an incredible way to sign off not only a remarkable season, but also Mark’s career in Formula One. It was a fitting way to finish with a one-two finish. Sebastian claims yet another record and has driven like a true champion this year to have won 13 grand prix in one season; it’s a remarkable achievement and will be very difficult to surpass.
For Mark, it was fantastic that he finished his Formula One career on the podium with a really gutsy drive. His moves on Rosberg, Hamilton and twice on Alonso showed what a real racer he is and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for the invaluable contribution that he’s made to the team, to the four Constructors’ Championships that we have won together and for all his hard work and efforts throughout the last seven years. As he moves on to a new challenge we wish him the very, very best to him and his family for the future.”
Mercedes AMG Petronas
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS secured second place in the Constructors' Championship today after a thrilling final race of the season.
The team finished the 2013 season with a total of 360 points - 218 more than in 2012
The season saw a total of three wins, six further podiums and eight pole positions
Nico finished P5 this afternoon on a two-stop strategy, running option/prime/prime with stops on laps 22 and 44
Lewis finished P9 after making two pit stops (laps 21, 47) and serving a drive-through penalty on lap 52
Lewis also ran a tyre strategy of option/prime/prime and completed his 18th finish in 19 races in the 2013 season
Today is a great day for the team and to finish in second place in the Constructors' Championship is a huge step forward for us. My thanks to everyone who made our success possible and congratulations to the team here at the track and back at our factories. It was certainly an interesting race today; I had a perfect start but then I struggled a lot with my rear tyres in the opening stint and lost a few positions. We could have cleared Jenson in the pits but it was better for us to be conservative and focus on our battle with Ferrari. I'm so happy that we have achieved our aim and now everyone can look forward to a break and the new challenge of 2014. It's a huge project and there's a lot of work ahead over the winter. I'm very much looking forward to working with the team to put us in the best possible position for next season.
Firstly, congratulations to the team today for achieving second place in the Constructors' Championship. That result means so much to everyone and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it this year. From my side, it was a tough race today. I don't know what happened exactly with Valtteri and will have to have a look at the replay. I thought that I had moved to the left, he outbraked me and then we touched but it happened so quickly and it was obviously judged that I did something wrong. I was having a good race until that point in fourth place and a podium might have been possible as I was closing on Fernando.
That's why I'm so disappointed with my own race but of course I'm delighted for the team. They have done an incredible job this year and really deserve this result. It's the reward for what I know has been many years of hard work and my thoughts are with everyone here at the track and back at our factories at Brackley and Brixworth. We've got so much to look forward to next season so I'll put today behind me quickly and focus on what should be a great year in 2014.
Well, I've certainly got a few more grey hairs after that race! Both cars made fantastic starts but it was soon clear that we hadn't found the sweet spot with the car balance for Nico and he was struggling for rear-end grip. Lewis was stronger in the opening stint and showed good pace before and after his first stop. Our race obviously turned on the two drive-through penalties for Felipe and Lewis. Our drivers had been reporting that Felipe was consistently crossing the white line at pit entry with all four wheels and when the FIA eventually took action, that obviously helped us.
Then we had Lewis' unfortunate incident with Bottas and we have to take that one on the chin as we should have kept Lewis better informed of just how quickly the Williams was closing, even though he was a lap down. He then drove strongly after the penalty, especially considering his floor was damaged by the flailing tyre. But the key thing today is that the team secured second position in the Constructors' Championship, even though we made rather hard work of it. That was done on the basis of a very good step forwards and one we made for good reasons.
My thanks and congratulations to everyone at our team for all of their hard work, dedication and commitment. Red Bull have been extremely dominant in 2013, and congratulations to them. But our progress is the first fruits of the technical team we began building two years ago and I am optimistic that the trend of progress will continue in 2014.
Our target today was to secure second position in the Constructors' Championship; we achieved that target and that's what counts. Ferrari, and Fernando in particular, made life extremely hard for us in the first half of the race and that kept us on our toes and gave us some nervous moments. Lewis' incident with Valtteri was unfortunate; we must be glad that it did not ultimately cost us any positions in the standings and learn our lessons from it. Thank you to everyone at the team, both at the track and at our factories, for their efforts and please keep up the hard work!
Congratulations also to Red Bull, who once again showed incredible pace and have set the standard this season. From tomorrow, our attention will be fully focused on 2014 and taking another significant step forward in performance.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Fastest lap 1m16.450s (+1.014s, 7th)
Pitstops Two: laps 20 (2.95s) and 43 (3.94s) [Pri-Opt-Opt]
Points 73 (9th)
“For Checo, myself and the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, today was an incredible day.
“I’m pleased to have finished fourth: it’s almost the podium position that I came here aiming for. We really needed today’s result.
“The 2013 season hasn’t been an easy one – it’s been tough for all of us at the circuits, but it’s probably been even tougher for the guys back at the factory, working flat-out to make parts. They’re a really amazing bunch of totally passionate and utterly dedicated people, and they richly deserve the ‘lift’ that today’s result will have given them.
“I’m also pleased for Checo. He won’t be with us next year, but he drove a great race today. Well done, mate.
“I also want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Vodafone. Vodafone has been an absolutely incredible title partner, and we’ve also had a lot of fun together – both on and off the track. Some of the videos they made with us have been truly brilliant. I’m sad to see them leave, but I guess nothing ;lasts for ever.
“This is a great way to end the year, and now our focus turns squarely to 2014. McLaren is an incredibly strong and powerful organisation – and, believe me, we will fight back.”
Started 19th (following yesterday’s five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change)
Fastest lap 1m16.246s (+0.810s, 5th)
Pitstops Two: laps 19 (2.58s) and 44 (2.65s) [Opt-Opt-Pri]
Points 49 (11th)
“What a contrast today was to yesterday, when we were unlucky to lose five grid positions owing to a gearbox-change penalty, but I think we made a very strong recovery this afternoon.
“I was praying for heavier rain at the end of the race, so that I could have a go at making up some more positions. But unfortunately I had to save fuel in the final laps, which meant I couldn’t really attack Nico [Rosberg] as hard as I’d otherwise have been able to.
“I’ve learnt so much from everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, the best team I’ve ever raced with, and I wish every single one of them all the best for the future. I wish Jenson and Kevin all the best for the future, too.
“I think I’ve grown up a lot this year – both as a racing driver and as a man – and I think I’ll be an even stronger competitor in future as a result.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Undoubtedly, that was our best grand prix of the year.
“It’s frustrating to have to say that after a race in which our drivers finished only fourth and sixth, but it’s also true.
“Moreover, the manner in which those results were achieved was heartening indeed: both Jenson and Checo had difficulties in qualifying, through no fault of their own, but the way they charged through the field from their lowly grid slots this afternoon was seriously impressive.
“It also illustrated very creditable race pace, which was good to see.
“Having said all that, 2013 been a long, hard and disappointing year. Nonetheless, I want to take this opportunity to pay particular tribute to our trackside mechanics and engineers, who are without doubt the best in the pit-lane. That’s not only my opinion, by the way; the stats bear it out, too.
“As of today, McLaren became the first team in Formula 1 history to have both its cars classified in every grand prix during the season.
“And, also as of today, McLaren completed 99.17% of the season’s total possible race distance – 7139 miles [11,488km] out of a possible 7198 miles [11,584km] – which is not only better than every other team managed this season but is also a new world record, beating the previous record of 98.30% set by BMW-Sauber in 2008.
“Those two stats constitute compelling proof of the fact that our trackside mechanics and engineers possess the three D’s in impressive abundance: dedication, determination and discipline. Well done, boys, I’m proud of you.
“Today, Jenson broke a record, too, becoming the first British F1 driver to start 247 grands prix, eclipsing the previous British milestone of 246 set by our old friend David [Coulthard]. And the way Jenson drove today proves that he’s as hungry and as competitive as ever he was.
“Checo also drove a superb race today, surging from 19th on the grid to sixth at the flag, and I’m personally delighted that he was able to end his year at McLaren with such a fantastic performance. As I’ve said many times, he’s a fine driver. He’s also a lovely guy, and the way he’s conducted himself over the past 10 days, in particular, in extremely challenging circumstances, has been hugely impressive. He’s a class act.
“Today we also have to bid farewell to our title and total communications partner Vodafone, after seven seasons in which together we won one world championship, here at Interlagos, in 2008, perhaps the most dramatic denouement in Formula 1 history, and also scored 34 grand prix wins. Vodafone has been a fabulous partner for McLaren, and has contributed not only funding but also technology. Moreover, our partnership delivered all the marketing objectives that Vodafone had set for it, and gave its clients and customers a lot of fun, too.
“Finally, I want to say something about the future. Formula 1 is a relentlessly demanding sport, and next season’s new regulations are already presenting all the teams with a daunting array of technical challenges – not only powertrains but aerodynamics, too. For quite some time we’ve been working extremely hard on those technical challenges, and our focus will be unstinting and unwavering from now onwards, throughout the winter.
“In other words, the 2014 season starts this evening.”
Weather: dry, then light drizzle, 18-20°C air, 22-26°C track The Brazilian Grand Prix in Interlagos saw just a few rain drops, but in general the track stayed dry, unlike in qualifying yesterday. Nico Hülkenberg starting tenth, while Esteban Gutiérrez starting 17th wasn’t ideal for the Sauber F1 Team. However, both drivers were able to make up positions.
Hülkenberg finished eighth and claimed four championship points, putting him tenth in the drivers’ championship, which is his best result in his Formula One Career to date. Gutiérrez finished 12th in the Grand Prix and, with a tally of six points, has finished the season in 16th and as the best rookie.
The Brazilian Grand Prix marks the end of a season that had a difficult start for the Sauber F1 Team. However, the whole team kept up its morale and was able to make a big step forward in the second half of the season.
Nico Hülkenberg: 8th
Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056) Start on medium tyres, after 20 laps change to
medium tyres and after 46 laps change to hard tyres
“It was a good race. I had a good start and nice battles in the first few laps. Then I was by myself for most of the race. The problem today was too much understeer. Because of that the front tyres were ruined pretty quickly, which cost us time. But finishing eighth is a solid result and it puts me in tenth place in the drivers’ championschip, which I have never achieved before. That is a good feeling.”
Esteban Gutiérrez: 12th
Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 01/Ferrari 056) Start on hard tyres, after 22 laps and 47 change to
“Overall I feel positive. It’s been a great race and I enjoyed all the fights on track today. I had a good fist lap overtaking quite a few cars. We were struggeling a bit with the hard tyres in the first stint, but then managed to recover some time with the medium tyres during the second and third stints. So the way we approached everything today was good.
It was still quite a challenge to manage the front graining we had and I was doing everything I could to try and compensate for that. All in all I have finished the season with a positive race. It was a season where learning and gaining experience have been the main topics for me, and I feel I did a solid job as a driver to take the next step forward for my performance.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:
“A consolidating end to the season, which has been very difficult for the team. However the team has shown its morale in this difficult situation and together we will come back stronger. The foundation for a successful second half of the season was a strong performance from everyone in Hinwil and the race team, which translated into success at the track. The race today was typical of the season: despite a difficult starting point we were able to score four points and, therefore, have a satisfying end to the season.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“The rain just held off and, as planned, we had a two stop strategy with both cars. With a lot of information that needed to be processed today, our strategy engineer did an excellent job. Finishing P8 and P12 is good, considering where we started from. After a difficult start to the season, we have improved our results in the second half. This was a team effort from everyone at the track as well as everyone back at the factory in Hinwil. They have all been working very hard to improve our competitiveness. A big thank you to everyone involved in that. We start a new era in Formula One, and that is now our immediate focus.”
2013 BRAZIL GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY 24/11/2013
Daniel Ricciardo (STR8-01)
Race Position: 10th
“The conditions were very difficult with the occasional drop of rain. From the cockpit, it’s actually quite difficult to judge how much rain there is. You see a few drops on your visor, look at the guy in front of you and if he doesn’t go off, you assume it’s dry.
We were not very quick from the start and I was struggling with cold graining on the front right. We did try and rebalance it during the race, but we struggled in terms of pure pace, so I was quite happy to come away with a point. At midnight tonight I become an Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver, but for now I just want to say thank you to everyone at Scuderia Toro Rosso, here at the track, back in Faenza and at our wind tunnel for two fantastic years. Thanks guys!”
Jean-Eric Vergne (STR8-04)
Race Position: 15th
“Catastrophic starts for both Toro Rossos today and after that, I had a car that was very difficult to drive. I know it’s the same for everyone as it was the first time we ran here in the dry, but the balance of my car just wouldn’t allow me to push. It improved in the final two stints but it was a real struggle.
As for the incident with Maldonado, I came up the inside of him at Turn 1 and he didn’t leave me any room, so we touched and he spun. This season has had more bad times than good ones for me, but we are all determined to work very hard over the winter to start next season with a better car.”
Franz Tost: “Our race was compromised immediately off the grid as both cars got poor starts. This cost us most of the benefit of yesterday’s very good qualifying result. We therefore had poor initial pace, dropping down the order and it was worse for Jev than for Daniel. We decided to take Daniel out of traffic quite early, ignoring the risk of rain and he then made up some ground. In the middle of the race, everyone was holding off making the final stop because of the threat of a wet track, at which point Daniel’s tyres had done a lot of laps.
He managed this situation very well and we made an early stop which got him ahead of a couple more cars, after which he looked after his tyres well enough to take the point for tenth, with both Force Indias and a Sauber behind us. After Jev got stuck in traffic following the start, he also complained about car balance and we only got him out of traffic for the final two stints, when his times improved to a similar level to his team-mate’s.
It’s nice to end the year with a point, even if we had been aiming for rather more than one at the start of the day.”
Charles Pic, car 20, chassis CT03-#6:
"My start wasn't great but by the end of lap five I was past Bianchi and closing the gap to my teammate. We put in a long first stint on the mediums with one eye on the rain that could have come, and boxed on lap 25 for another set of options, coming out clear of Bianchi which was obviously the first target.
My pace in the second stint was good - the car felt great and Giedo and I switched positions just after the halfway mark as I was on a different strategy and pace to him at that point.
"My laptimes on that second set were good - running in the 1.18s which was close most of the midfield, but at that point it was all about hanging on to see if the rain would come.
The tyres held up really well and I was in 17th when the rain was just starting to fall a little more heavily, but then, on lap 58, there was a suspension problem on the car and that was the end of the race for me. It's obviously a real shame that my race ended like that as the plan was working well and if the rain had fallen harder we'd have been in a really strong position, but sometimes it's like that."
Giedo van der Garde, car 21, chassis CT03-#5:
"My start was really good, I passed my teammate and was fighting with Bianchi through turn one, but had to lift slightly to avoid one of the Force Indias which let Jules through. The car felt good at that point so only a couple of laps later I was past him and immediately put clear air between me and him, pushing on to Kovalainen ahead in the Lotus. We went until lap 24 on the first set, at one point running as high as 14th, but the main aim was to put a gap between us and the Marussias, and when I rejoined on another set of mediums we had the gap up to about seven seconds.
"My second set of tyres weren't performing as well as the first and about halfway through the planned second stint I was given the command to change positions with my teammate. That set of mediums had started to go off but with the possibility of more rain coming we had to stay out. We were still pulling away from Bianchi which meant we were covering his plan, but it was a struggle to keep up the pace we needed on those tyres as they were pretty much gone by lap 42.
"The second stop was on lap 47 when we went onto the primes. I came out ahead of Bianchi again but had to serve a drive through a few laps later which put me about 15 seconds behind him. I was pushing really hard and closed the gap a lot, down to seven seconds by lap 65 but that was as close as I could get.
"It's obviously not how I wanted the season to end, but I think, overall, I've learnt a lot. There have been quite a few highs and a few lows but this is a great team, a good group of people who work so hard and are determined to succeed, just like me."
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team:
"It's obviously disappointing to finish the season like this and to end in 11th place in the championship. We started with last year's car which was slower than our rivals for the first three races and it was in the second race in Malaysia that we lost the tenth place that we then ended up chasing all year. It's particularly frustrating because our development strategy paid dividends in terms of outright pace from Bahrain onwards, but we had to balance our 2013 campaign against the need to focus on 2014 and that was always going to be a challenge.
"Despite the position we ended up in I want to thank the drivers and the whole team for the work they put in this year. We have experienced people in every department and a lot of young talent throughout the team, on track and at Leafield, and everyone in the team needs to be thanked for their hard work throughout 2013.
"Our shareholders and our partners have continued to support us unequivocally and the investments they continue to make, in infrastructure, resources and, most importantly, people, put us in a good position for the future. Now we'll regroup, recharge and come back fighting in 2014 in an all new Formula 1."
BIANCHI MR02-02 P17 1:17.717 CHILTON MR02-03 P19 1:17.281
At the season finale in Sao Paulo today, we finally triumphed over the Caterham team, clinching the hard-fought and well-deserved 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship that we have held since the opening round in Australia.
There were emotional scenes in the Marussia garage as our drivers delivered the right result, Jules finishing ahead of the last remaining Caterham of Van Der Garde and Max maintaining his record of 19 finishes out of 19 races – the best finishing record for a driver in his rookie year.
Jules Bianchi #22
“Well done to everyone in the Team on a fantastic season and the well-deserved 10th place in the Championship. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication to providing us with the best car possible right until the end. Today, I got a fantastic start once again and the opening lap was strong, but a few laps in I struggled with some graining on the Medium tyre and it was really tough to drive round this, which caused me to have to yield the place. I knew it was all about the long game and just sticking with it, knowing that the balance would be much better on the prime Hard tyre. I dug in and drove as fast as I could on the next two stints to make as much progress as possible and it is nice that not only have we got 10th today but we finished ahead of Caterham again. This has been a very important and rewarding year for me personally and I can’t wait for us to take that to the next level together in 2014.”
Max Chilton #23
“It was hard finding our way today having only driven in the wet all weekend. We had just the sighting laps to the grid to make a few changes in order to try to optimise the dry balance as best we could. The middle part of the race was quite nail-biting with the constant threat of rain, but I knew that all I had to do was keep going and be ready for any scenario, especially with the weather. In the last stint I struggled with a vibration on front left tyre, which was really costing me time and that is why we pitted for an unscheduled third stop. I would like to thank the whole Team for a brilliant season, with particular credit to my car crew. I am really proud of my record-breaking 19 finishes in 19 races and this is the result of a fantastic Team effort.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“Although we have held on to 10th place in the Championship all season, we still had to cross the line at the season finale in order to get the job done. The Brazilian Grand Prix is renowned for being one of the most chaotic races on the calendar and so we needed to have our wits about us throughout the full 71 lap race, especially as there was the constant threat of rain. Although we encountered a few light showers, the way the race eventually panned out meant that no one was going to challenge our position today.
This has certainly been a character-building season. At the beginning we had a clear advantage over Caterham, then we lost some ground during the middle part of the year. Over the final long-haul phase we have pushed extremely hard, caught up and enjoyed some proper racing with them, with our performance in Austin last weekend underlining our continued progress and providing the perfect prelude to the finale here.
With zero dry running before going to the grid, today was a tough ask of our two young drivers, who have never driven at this circuit before and had to go out there and be on it from lap 1. They were improving at every stage of the race and towards the end, in very damp conditions, Jules was running exceptionally well on the prime tyre and pulling away from Van der Garde.
Credit to the whole Team – both trackside and back at base in Banbury – for an incredibly hard-fought 2013 campaign. Well done to both Jules and Max, who have performed admirably in a tough rookie season, having more than risen to the challenge. Congratulations also to Max for his fantastic record of 19 finishes in 19 races, which is a testament to his skill and the Team’s fantastic reliability record.
Finally, today’s result is about the whole package, and so credit to our powertrain partners, Cosworth and Xtrac, with whom we have worked for four rewarding seasons, as well as our Team Partners and Suppliers who have shared the journey with us.”
VETTEL WINS FINAL RACE OF THE YEAR WITH TWO PIT STOPS
Sao Paulo, November 24, 2013 – This year’s world champion, Sebastian Vettel, has taken his 13th win of the season – and his ninth in a row – at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The German started from pole and took the lead on lap two, using a two-stop strategy to win: a couple of stints on the P Zero White medium tyre followed by a final stint on the P Zero Orange hard.
His Red Bull team mate Mark Webber finished second on an identical strategy, on his final grand prix before moving to endurance racing. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was third after choosing a different two-stop strategy, using the hard tyre for his middle stint.
The only other driver to have won nine races in a row before was Alberto Ascari in the 1950s – but this was across two seasons, also using Pirelli tyres.
The biggest challenge all the teams and drivers faced was having no dry running on the hard and medium tyres prior to the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix, due to consistent rain on Friday and Saturday. The race started in dry conditions with ambient temperatures of 20 degrees and track temperatures of 26 degrees, with a 50 per cent chance of rain.
All the drivers got underway on the medium compound tyre apart from McLaren’s Jenson Button, who started 14th on the grid, and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, who started from 17th. The first driver to switch from the medium to the hard compound was Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who came in on lap 10. Button took his first set of mediums on lap 20, the first of the hard tyre starters to stop – and was then back on the medium on lap 43. The strategy helped him to a fourth place finish by the end: his best of the year.
Vettel pitted from the lead on lap 24 for more mediums and re-emerged in front, stopping again for the hard tyre on lap 47: the same lap as his team mate, as Red Bull feared a safety car. Although there was no heavy rain, some drops then started to fall – adding an extra element of uncertainty. The rain became slightly heavier in the closing laps, but not enough for any of the competitors to use the Cinturato Green intermediates.
The tyres performed perfectly in line with expectations despite the varying conditions. There were punctures seen on the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, but this was as the result of contact between the two.
The final record of this season – the last of the V8 engine era – was set by Marussia’s Max Chilton, who became the first rookie to finish every race of his debut year.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said:
“The fact that there was no dry running prior to the start of the grand prix meant that formulating the right tyre strategy was a matter of educated guesswork for all the teams. And with no rubber having been laid down on the track previously, it was extremely hard to calculate the wear and degradation levels.
The weather forecast remained uncertain throughout the race to complicate matters even further, with different teams interpreting the information in various ways. However, they had to bear in mind their obligation to run both compounds if conditions stayed dry – which turned out to be the case.
This race has marked the end of an era and now the cars, along with the tyres, change completely for next year. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for a record-breaking season, and best of luck for the future to Mark Webber, who ends his distinguished Formula One career here in Brazil.”
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