- Brazilian Grand Prix - The Final Stint
13 wins in '13
A round-up of the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
- Brazilian Grand Prix
The man himself might not have wanted too much fuss over his final grand prix, but there was always going to be a lot of attention on Mark Webber as he bows out of Formula One after 215 races. It was a fitting end to his career as he was able to fight - and ultimately beat - the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton but still saw his team-mate disappear up the road. Webber is unfortunate that he ended up at Red Bull alongside "the best of this generation" (in his own words, along with Alonso) and as a result doesn't leave the sport with more victories and perhaps even a title to his name. He showed that he is leaving Formula One at the top with his moves on Hamilton and Nico Rosberg early in the race, and the paddock will be a poorer place for the loss of Webber next year. Here's hoping he doesn't see Formula One as a loss, though, as he embarks on his new career with Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.
The Story of the Weekend
- Shock: Sergio Perez - Starting 19th, Perez was very quickly fighting in the points
- Shocker: Jean-Eric Vergne - After such an encouraging qualifying it was a really disappointing race as he tumbled through the field
- Best overtake: Mark Webber - Around the outside of Lewis Hamilton at Turn 6 was a classy move and crucial earl on
- Best lap: Mark Webber - The lap after the race saw Webber take off his helmet and wave to the crowd while showing true emotions, a sight rarely seen
- Worst lap: Lewis Hamilton - Moved over on Valtteri Bottas on lap 47 and the contact took Bottas out and gave Hamilton a puncture and drive-through penalty
- Drive of the day: Jenson Button - Fourth was McLaren's best result of the season and he drove a faultless race to pick his way past cars and then display the pace to keep Rosberg at bay
Vettel's march in to the record books
Sebastian Vettel's end to the season has been extraordinary. Nine consecutive wins since the summer break has brought his victory count up to 13 for 2013, matching records held by Alberto Ascari (consecutive wins) and Michael Schumacher (most wins in a season) in the process. It is a fitting way to end not just a year that Red Bull has dominated, but an era of the regulations it has dominated. Since 2009, Adrian Newey has built, fundamentally, the best cars and Vettel has consistently got the most from them. Part of the recent dominance can be attributed to the looming 2014 technical changes and Red Bull's rivals pulling the plug early on 2013, but that should not detract from their achievements. Vettel is right to point out that Ascari's record is not really comparable as it was set in a different era, but in this era he has been at the top of his game and that will go down in history.
Goodbye to the V8s
Possibly for the last time on Sunday, a Formula One circuit hummed to the sound of 22 eight cylinder engines at 18,000rpm. There are few better places to experience these engines than Interlagos, with the sonorous exhaust note reverberating between the concrete structures of the Autodromo Carlos Pace's pit straight. There are many fans that are sad to see the naturally aspirated V8s replaced by two fewer cylinders and a lower rev limit. But compared to the Ferrari V12s of the early 1990s or the decade of mandatory 3.0 litre V10s between 1995 and 2005, the 2013 engines have always sounded clinical and one dimensional. More than anything, though, the technology has hit its development ceiling. Next year's V6s may not be as spine-tingling (although they will still be loud), but they do represent the first period of genuine innovation in engine technology for some time. The bigger concern with the new engines is cost and what that will mean for the teams further down the grid in the coming years.
Massa harshly treated?
It's tough to fully defend Felipe Massa in the argument over whether he deserved a drive-through penalty or not. Massa was penalised for crossing in to the hatched area at the pit lane entry when not entering the pits, and on the face of it the penalty seems harsh. The nature of the pit entry means the racing line always causes drivers to cut across the white line on the inside of the track, but the hatched area extends out from pit wall and is a clear marker where drivers should not go. If Massa wasn't given much warning then you'd say it was a harsh drive-through, but if the stewards warn you once not to do something and you continue to then you've got to expect a punishment. It's a shame it came during his last race for Ferrari in front of his home fans, but rules are rules and red-tinted spectacles shouldn't detract from an indiscretion.
Developments at Interlagos
Despite its long-standing position on the calendar, Interlagos feels unlike any other track F1 visits. The paddock is a narrow alley of garage entrances and team huts, while some parts of the circuit seem to be held together by nothing more than hope and goodwill. Yet for atmosphere, there are few races that come close and it would be sorely missed should it ever drop off the calendar. The extension of its contract until 2020 is dependent on a new paddock complex being built between Turns 3 and 4 before 2015. That could completely alter the atmosphere of the place and it would remove the drivers' challenge of negotiating their cars along with 21 others through the Senna S at the start of a race. But if it's between a new paddock and the race disappearing completely, there is one clear winner.