Vettel ends F1 season with historic win in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil ( - Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull tied Michael Schumacher's season record of 13 wins and matched Alberto Ascari's feat of nine consecutive victories by taking Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix -- the final race of the 2013 Formula One season.

Vettel, the pole sitter, held off a challenge from Mercedes' Nico Rosberg for the lead on the opening lap. He then recovered from a pit-road mishap midway through the race. Vettel crossed the finish line 10.4 seconds ahead of his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, who competed in his 215th and final F1 grand prix.

Schumacher won 13 races during the 2004 season, while Ascari's record nine victories in a row occurred from the tail end of the 1952 season through the early part of 1953.

Vettel and Red Bull clinched their fourth successive drivers' and constructors' championships four weeks ago in India. Last weekend in Austin, Texas, Vettel set a record for most consecutive wins in a single season with eight. His streak began with the Aug. 25 Belgian Grand Prix, which was the first race after F1's four-week long summer break.

"I'm actually quite sad this season has come to an end," Vettel said. "To win every race since the summer break is unbelievable. The car has been phenomenal. It just kept getting better."

Vettel scored his 39th career win. The 26-year-old German is now two victories away from tying Ayrton Senna for third on the all-time F1 grand prix winners list. Schumacher holds the record with 91 wins, and Alain Prost is second with 51.

When Vettel pitted for the second and final time, he held a 13-second lead over Webber, but Vettel was held up in his stall when his crew was not ready in time for the tire change. Webber pitted at the same time but was delayed getting into stall due to Vettel's hold up. The gap was just six seconds when they both returned to the track.

"It was very interesting race today," Vettel said. "I had to push hard, but I was able to come back at the end of the first lap and then build a gap, which was nice to control from there. But that last pit stop, I was waiting for my tires. There was a bit of confusion that was going on because we had both cars coming in at the same time."

It was the fourth time this season Red Bull has finished 1-2 in a grand prix. Webber's second-place finish marked his 42nd career podium appearance. The 37- year-old Australian completed his 12th year of F1 competition, winning nine races.

"It was very good finish to my career," Webber said. "It's been a good fight with all the guys that I enjoyed fighting with for most of my career - Seb, Fernando (Alonso), Lewis (Hamilton), Nico (Rosberg) and all the guys who have been in the window for the last five or six years. I want to thank the team (Red Bull). I enjoyed the last few laps."

After the race concluded, an emotional Webber took his helmet off and waved to the Brazilian crowd who applauded him for his last F1 grand prix. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner handed Webber the Australian flag for him to display to the crowd during post-race ceremonies. Vettel and third-place finisher Alonso then showered him with champagne.

"It was a very nice way for me to finish," Webber said. "I want to thank everyone in Australia. I wouldn't be here where I am without the support I had in the early days. It's been a really enjoyable career."

Alonso from Ferrari finished his season second in the championship standings, a distant 155 points behind Vettel.

"We finished on the podium, so we finished the season on a high," Alonso said. "Hopefully for next year, we start with a completely new direction and a positive trend. I'm looking forward to it."

Webber moved up to third in points (-198), while Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes dropped to fourth (-208). Hamilton and Williams' Valtteri Bottas made contact on lap 47. Both drivers experienced a tire puncture. Bottas spun off course, bringing his race to an end. Hamilton, who had to serve a drive-through penalty for causing the collision, finished ninth.

"I don't know what happened exactly with Valtteri and will have to look at the replay," Hamilton said. "I thought that I had moved to the left. He outbraked me and then we touched, but it happened so quickly. It was judged that I did something wrong."

Bottas was one of three drivers who retired in this event. Caterham's Charles Pic and Romain Grosjean from Lotus were the others. Grosjean suffered engine failure, as heavy smoke plumed from the back of his car, on the third lap.

McLaren's Jenson Button, who won last year's Brazilian GP, finished fourth, while Rosberg took the fifth spot. Button's teammate, Sergio Perez, was sixth.

Brazilian Felipe Massa placed seventh in front of his home crowd. Massa, who made his last start with Ferrari, received a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line at the pit entry during his first stop.

"I was doing well and overtaking cars, and then I got a drive through, but I didn't do anything wrong, and it was a shame," Massa said.

Massa spent eight years with Ferrari. He is moving over to Williams for the 2014 season.