Sebastian Vettel claimed a historic win at the Brazilian Grand Prix as Mark Webber ended his F1 career on the podium.
The German initially lost the lead but quickly got back ahead and never looked back in an entertaining race at Interlagos.
Dry conditions greeted the teams for the first time this weekend but with rain forecast during the race quite literally anything was possible during the 71 laps in Sao Paulo.
At the start Sebastian Vettel led from pole but a poor getaway allowed Nico Rosberg into the lead at the first corner, Mark Webber also made a poor start in the second Red Bull and dropped behind Lewis Hamilton who moved upto third.
Rosberg’s lead only lasted one lap however as Vettel recovered and breezed past the Mercedes into turn one on the following lap, as Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber both passed Hamilton on the opening lap.
From there Vettel began to pull out a lead as Alonso made a move on Rosberg into turn four moving up to second in his Ferrari, Romain Grosjean’s season ended early with a spectacular engine failure on the end of lap two.
Down the field Felipe Massa made a great start moving up to sixth from ninth, while Jean-Eric Vergne dropped down after starting eighth he dropped all the way down to 14th for Toro Rosso, his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo held ninth.
The biggest gainer in the first ten laps was Sergio Perez who made up seven places up to 12th after starting 19th.
With no dry running all weekend it was unknown how long the dry tyres would last and on a very ‘green’ track graining was an issue with the medium tyres starting to fade after around 12 laps.
Mark Webber continued his move up the field into P2 passing Alonso into turn one with DRS however after only 13 laps, Vettel’s led was already ten seconds at the front.
Sergio Perez’s climb through the field continued as the Mexican moved up into the points and team-mate Jenson Button was also much happier in the dry conditions moving up to seventh after starting 14th in the second McLaren.
The first pit-stops began around lap 22 for the front runners with the two Ferrari’s pitting first, Mark Webber pitted a couple of laps later and a poor stop saw him drop back behind Alonso in the battle for second, Vettel pitted on lap 25 resuming in front.
After dropping behind Alonso, the Australian was keen to get back past and in an action replay of his earlier move on the Spaniard, used DRS into turn one before holding off the Ferrari into turn four.
As the first stops were completed McLaren remained the biggest gainers with Button in sixth and Perez eighth, Rosberg was the loser over the first stint dropping from the lead on lap one – to seventh.
After a strong first stint Massa’s race was compromised with a drive through penalty for crossing the white entry line to the pits with all four wheels, that dropped the Brazilian down to eighth.
The middle stint was calm with few changes in position however all eyes were moving to the sky as the weather began to play it’s party tricks, several drivers including Massa, Rosberg and the two McLaren’s pitted for new rubber as the rain increased.
Drama at the front as Lewis Hamilton looked to lap Valtteri Bottas, the Briton turned into the Williams causing the Finn to crash out and the 2008 champion suffered a puncture and also received a drive through penalty for the collision, dropping him to tenth.
At the same time Sebastian Vettel pitted from the lead in a surprise stop however there was no front tyre waiting when the German arrived and he lost some time but retained the lead.
With the rain not proving hard enough to affect the racing Vettel continued to lead with Webber around eight seconds, Fernando Alonso held third though there was further incidents behind as Charles Pic was forced out with a broken rear suspension for Caterham.
With Hamilton’s demise Jenson Button was on for his and McLaren’s best result of the year in fourth with team-mate Perez hounding Nico Rosberg for fifth, following his drive-through Massa had a quiet race in seventh, Nico Hulkenberg had a very quiet afternoon in eighth, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.
At the front however all was calm as the weather held and Sebastian Vettel eased to his record equalling thirteenth win of the 2013 season and ninth in a row, Mark Webber ended his F1 career with second as Alonso held on to third for Ferrari.
That brought to an end a dominant season for Vettel and the V8 era, with all the changes for 2014 it promises to be a busy and exciting winter, see you in Australia!
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