Sebastian Vettel clinches fourth successes F1 world title
26-year-old German wins Indian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg finishes second for Mercedes
Red Bull seal constructors' title despite Mark Webber's retirement
Sebastian Vettel clinched a record equaling fourth successive world title Sunday with another superbly judged drive to win the Indian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old German has joined compatriot Michael Schumacher and Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio as the only men to achieve that feat by wrapping up the 2013 championship with three rounds still remaining.
Only two-time champion Fernando Alonso could have denied him the title, but the Spaniard finished back in 11th in his Ferrari.
Nico Rosberg finished a distant second for Mercedes with Romain Grosjean completing the podium places in third after Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber saw his race ended on lap 40 of 60 by an alternator problem.
This did not prevent Red Bull from clinching their fourth straight constructors’ title on a day of double triumph for the UK-based team.
Vettel was winning his sixth straight Grand Prix, his seventh in eighth races in a run which has seen him pull clear of his fellow title contenders.
“To be able to join people such as Michael (Schumacher) and Fangio is unbelievable,” said Vettel as he celebrated his victory.
“I’m overwhelmed, one of the best days of my life,” he added.
Vettel, who started from pole, pitted on the second lap to change to the longer lasting medium tire, leaving Webber to lead the way in his quest to mark his final year in F1 with a victory.
But after the final round of tire changes, Vettel was well set to complete his hat-trick of victories at the Buddh International Circuit even before Webber’s race came to a premature end.
Vettel avoided a similar fate and took the checkered flag in splendid isolation for his 10th victory in 16 races and 36th of his remarkable career.
He can match Schumacher’s 2004 record of 13 victories if he can continue his incredible run of success in Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil.
The dogged Alonso, who was runner-up to Vettel last season, was handicapped by an early collision with Webber, leaving his teammate Felipe Massa to take fourth place with Sergio Perez an excellent fifth for McLaren.
Lewis Hamilton took sixth in the second Mercedes, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, who denied Vettel the fastest lap after a late change on to the faster, but quickly deteriorating softer tire.
Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil occupied the next two spots for Force India in their home grand prix with Daniel Ricciardo claiming the final point for Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.