Vettel wins, while Red Bull seal constructors title in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel took the win in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, heading team-mate Mark Webber. Their 1-2 finish ensured that Red Bull now take the constructor’s championship with one race to go. Fernando Alonso was 3rd for Ferrari, and retains his lead of the driver’s championship.

At the start, pole sitter Nico Hulkenberg was swamped by the Red Bulls, Vettel out-braking him into Turn 1, and Webber catching him out at Turn 3. On the second lap, Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at Decida de Lago, allowing Fernando Alonso into 4th.

For the next few laps, the Red Bulls shot away, while Hulkenberg held up Alonso for the moment, the young German holding off the double world champion’s attacks. By Lap 7, a switchback at Decida de Lago ensured Alonso was up to 3rd.

However, Lewis Hamilton was unable to make the same move quickly enough, getting held up behind the Williams for far too long. He then began to complain of low grip on his car. His team-mate Button, up to 9th, was the first to make the call to change to the hard tyres on Lap 11, and instantly set the fastest middle sector on the next lap.

This prompted a charge for the pits, and on Lap 14, Hulkenberg, Massa and Kubica made the change, which released Hamilton. Felipe Massa suffered a disaster in the pits, with a wheel nut problem forcing him to pit again one lap later.

Lewis finally pitted on Lap 20, and emerged just ahead of Button, who had made good progress having stopped 9 laps earlier. Meanwhile, Rosberg and Kobayashi were 4th and 5th, but yet to stop. Nico Hulkenberg lost out badly through the stops, falling down to 10th.

The top 3 were still yet to pit, and Alonso, being 10 seconds behind the duo of Vettel and Webber, was the first to stop. Vettel, and then Webber, stopped one lap after each other, and retained their positions. Further back, Jenson Button made a dive down the inside of Kamui Kobayashi at Turn 1.

On Lap 36, the Brazilian jinx returned for Rubens Barrichello, suffering a puncture while battling for position with Jaime Alguersuari. A few laps later, Nico Rosberg was the next to make a move on Kobayashi, as the Sauber seemed to be struggling badly for pace.

There was a huge train of cars battling for points, which would soon come into play for the frontrunners. Mark Webber began to close on Sebastian Vettel, but was swiftly frustrated by being held up by several backmarkers, like Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi. After losing several seconds, and then regaining them, over the next few laps, the battle at the top was altered again on Lap 52, when the safety car was deployed.

Vitantonio Liuzzi made a mistake at Turn 2 and hit the barriers. This meant that the field was now bunched up, but there were two backmarkers between Vettel and Webber, keeping Sebastian safe at the restart. Both McLarens pitted at the safety car period, as both cars were struggling with the hard tyres.

The safety car pitted on Lap 55, and Kobayashi and Buemi got stuck into the battle for 11th, with Kamui coming off better. Felipe Massa tried to pass Buemi a few laps later, but they make contact, and Massa ran wide, losing several positions in the process.

Apart from Nick Heidfeld suffering a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, not much happened in the final few laps, so Sebastian Vettel took a well-deserved win at Interlagos, leading Webber by 4 seconds. This ensured that Red Bull now have an unbeatable 48-point lead in the constructors’ championship.

While there were rumours during the race of Vettel handing the lead to Webber, this was swiftly ignored as Sebastian drove fantastically well today, and is still in contention for the title next weekend at Abu Dhabi. Alonso is 8 points ahead of Webber, who is 7 ahead of Vettel. Hamilton is 24 points behind Alonso, just within contention, while Jenson Button is now out. The full standings are available here.

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