In his latest exclusive feature on, David Tremayne - three time Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award winner and multi-award winning F1 author - takes a look back over the final race of the 2013 F1 season at Interlagos...

Sebastian Vettel duly achieved his record-breaking 13th grand prix in a season in Brazil, and along the way equalled Alberto Ascari's feat of nine wins in a row that dated back almost to the beginning of the official World Championship.

But where the great Italian double champion had taken the 1952 and '53 seasons, Vettel did it in a single year. And, it goes without saying, he did it in style.

He took pole position, of course, by a margin, which was pretty impressive since Nico Rosberg had been fastest in both of Friday's rain-spoiled practice sessions, and team-mate Mark Webber in the third, and because he did it from Rosberg by a whopping half second.

The Mercedes driver had high hopes if the race was wet, but at the start it wasn't. He got a better getaway and as team-mate Lewis Hamilton boiled up from fifth on the grid Vettel nearly found himself third; but by the end of the opening lap he used KERS to outdrag Rosberg over the finish line, and that was all she wrote. Off he went, and nobody saw which way even when it drizzled for much of the second half.

Webber, meanwhile, in his final race, dropped to fifth, headed by Vettel, Rosberg, third fastest qualifier Fernando Alonso and Hamilton. Rosberg soon faded, his Mercedes eating its rear tyres early, and as Hamilton conserved his in fourth place, Alonso in third was clearly no match for the Red Bulls. But as usual the early delays had left Webber on his back foot and by the time the second pits stops were due he was 13s behind Vettel and never likely to make that up.

He got a lifeline on the 47th lap, however, when Vettel pitted during a melee involving Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas the lap before and, amazingly, Red Bull's superfast crew weren't ready for him, but Webber was also momentarily stacked and only halved the gap after Vettel's hiatus.

For a while he kept his team-mate honest with a strong charge, but by the flag his 215th and final race ended with him 10.4s adrift and, for the first season since 2009, not a grand prix winner.

Alonso had snuck back into second during that disastrous Red Bull stop, but Webber repassed him with ease on lap 48. But third was a fillip for Ferrari even if it wasn't sufficient, with Felipe Massa only able to muster seventh on his final outing for Ferrari, to challenge Mercedes' second place overall. Massa was a feisty fourth ahead of Hamilton after the first stops, but was later given a drive-through for crossing the white line before the pit entry.

Drivers had been told they could cross it where it followed the line of that long, long left-hander, but been warned about crossing it where it separated just before that pit wall, and that was where the incensed Brazilian had sinned.

Between the two Ferrari team-mates, McLaren had their best race of the season. As Vettel had pointed out when nobody had been able to get in any dry-road running before the start of the race, there isn't really such a thing as a 'wet set-up' these days, but McLaren had gambled in qualifying on a low downforce configuration and that worked out really well for Jenson Button as he charged up from 14th on the grid. That should have been 15th, except for team-mate Sergio Perez getting a five grid place drop from 14th after a shunt in FP3 which damaged the gearbox.

Button's was one of his smooth and unobtrusive performances and fourth place was won the hard way. For McLaren it was almost as good as a podium, though that of course was something that the MP4-28 failed to provide all year. Perez ran hard all through his final race for the team, pushing Rosberg hard to take sixth.

With eighth place for Nico Hulkenberg Sauber also signed off well, though the German was largely unhappy with his C32's balance all weekend and struggled with understeer throughout the race. He was, however, quick enough to resist Hamilton's late challenge.

The Briton's fourth place disappeared in that controversial brush with Bottas, who didn't give him quite as much room as he might have when being lapped. The Finn was taken out with a smashed left rear wheel after they collided, and after crawling pitward with a punctured right rear Hamilton was subsequently obliged to stop a third time to serve a drive-through. That dropped him to ninth as Daniel Ricciardo concluded his Toro Rosso career by claiming the final point ahead of the duelling Force Indias of two-stopping Paul di Resta and three-stopping team-mate Adrian Sutil, who sandwiched Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber.

It's worth noting that it was a disastrous race for Lotus, with Romain Grosjean qualifying poorly in sixth and then falling victim early on to a highly unusual Renault engine failure, and Heikki Kovalainen driving an extremely undistinguished race in Kimi Raikkonen's car in the lower midfield.

And so ended the 2.4-litre V8 formula which, like all of its predecessors, had proved unpopular at first before becoming well accepted. Given their pace since 2009 it was fitting that it was dominated by Red Bull and Vettel, but those who think the change of formula for 2014 might alter all that as everything goes back into the melting pot might just be deluding themselves...


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