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RED BULL became Formula 1 Constructors’ World Champions with their 1-2 finish in last Sunday’s (7 November) Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. It was Sebastian Vettel who won the 71 lap race ahead of his team-mate Mark Webber in a time of 1:33:11.803 (122.365 mph), with Drivers’ Championship leader Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) coming home in third place. The Fastest Lap of the race was set by fourth place finisher Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) who produced a lap of 1:13.851 (130.495 mph).

Sebastian Vettel (L) celebrates his victory and Red Bull’s first Constructors’ Championship with team Principal Christian Horner (R).

All four of the above drivers can still win the title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (14 November). This is the first time ever that four drivers will be in with a chance of the title at the last race of the season. Reigning World Champion Jenson Button (McLaren) saw his hopes of becoming the first British driver to defend the title have now gone with his fifth place in Brazil.

The race itself started with Williams’ rookie driver Nico Hülkenberg on pole. He got away from the line well, but was no match for Vettel who led going into the Senna ‘S’ for the first time. Hamilton managed to get his nose ahead of Webber but had to back out of the move. This left Webber able to have a clear run at Hülkenberg down the Reta Oposta straight. The Australian dummied the reigning GP2 Champion and passed him up the inside at the Descida do Lago double left-hander.

Vettel (Far Right) takes the lead away from Nico Hülkenberg (Middle) at the start.

Alonso tried his luck at passing Hamilton on the start/finish straight at the beginning of the second lap but just didn’t have that little bit extra speed in his Ferrari to get around the McLaren. But the Spaniard’s luck was back in again when Hamilton went wide at the Descida do Lago and just as in South Korea, Alonso effortlessly passed him.

The 2005 and 2006 World Champion now had Hülkenberg in his sights. However, the pole sitter was not making life easy for Alonso who also had to be aware of Hamilton behind him; and it wasn’t until lap seven when he took advantage of Hülkenberg’s inexperience and passed him, also at the Descida do Lago. Now it was Hamilton’s turn to swarm all over the back of the Williams, yet he couldn’t do what Alonso had done and needed to wait until Hülkenberg pitted at the end of lap 14 in order to get by. This was also the lap in which Felipe Massa’s (Ferrari) home race was ruined by a problem with his right-front wheel nut. He had to come in again on the next lap so his mechanics could tighten it. Speaking of Brazilian’s having bad luck at Interlagos; Rubens Barrichello (Williams) suffered a puncture after hitting Jamie Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso, Lucas di Grassi (Virgin) finished nine laps down after experiencing car troubles and was not classified; Bruno Senna (HRT) finished in 21st place.

Vettel lost the lead when he made is pit-stop at the end of lap 25 to Webber. Webber then handed first place back to his team-mate one lap later when it was his turn to come in for new tyres. Meanwhile Jenson Button was making his way up through the field after starting 11th, just as he did last year (but from 14th) in order to take the Championship. By lap 31 (roughly half distance) Vettel was leading from: Webber, Alonso, Hamilton and Button. In other words all five title contenders were in the top five.

With only 20 laps to go both the Red Bulls were in the midst of lapping around eight other cars that were all racing each other. But the team’s problems were made easier when Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi crashed at the lower half of the Senna ‘S’. The car couldn’t be moved safely while the others were at racing speeds, so out came the Safety Car.

The racing was underway again at the end of lap 55. Vettel charged away from Webber who still had a couple of cars to lap. Alonso and Hamilton were further back in the pack of lapped cars, and by the time they were clear the Red Bulls were gone and on their way to their Championship clinching first and second places.

Well done Red Bull (he writes with gritted teeth). They have had the best car all season, but really should have won the title races ago.

As with regards to the drivers’ title, I’ll have all the ins and outs for you on Friday (12 November) evening.

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS (18/19 GPs)

Pos

Driver

Constructor(s)

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

246

2

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

238

8

3

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

231

15

4

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

222

24

5

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

199

47*

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

143

103*

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

130

116*

8

Robert KUBICA (POL)

Renault

126

120*

9

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

72

174*

10

Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)

Williams

47

199*

*Can’t win title.

There are just 25 points available

 

CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS (18/19 GPs)

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

World Champions

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

469

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

421

48

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

389

80

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

202

267

5

RENAULT (FRA)

Renault

145

324

6

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

69

400

7

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

68

401

8

SAUBER (SUI)

Ferrari

44

425

9

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

11

458

Yet to Score

LOTUS (MAL), HRT (ESP), VIRGIN (ENG)

Cosworth (All)

0

469

 

There are 43 points available

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