Vettel champion as Button wins wet Brazilian GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Jenson Button has won the Brazilian GP at Sao Paolo in changing weather conditions. As the cars ahead eliminated themselves, Button kept his cool and won the race. Fernando Alonso is second but with Vettel finishing in 6th place, the German is the youngest thrice F1 champion in history.

Rain fell early in the day at Sao Paolo, but then the sun appeared until an hour before the race. Clouds came up over the circuit and slight drops fall during short intervals. That is exactly the situation at the start of the Brazilian GP, and it is expected that no big showers are going to happen anytime during the race.

Everybody however starts on the dry tyres, as the track is not even visibly wet.

Ahead of the start, Michael Schumacher completed his installation lap with a big "Thank you" flag sticking out of his cockpit. This is the German's last F1 race and effectively his second goodbye from Formula One.

As the lights went out, Felipe Massa made an impressive start and moved up to second place, just behind Hamilton who maintained the lead from pole. Sebastian Vettel had a lousy start and was on the very inside into turn 1, dropping several places to 7th. 4 turns later Vettel is pointing in the wrong direction as he was bumped into by Senna. The Red Bull had no damage and could continue without trouble, however from last place.

At the end of lap 1, Alonso passed both Massa and Webber, moving up to third place and provisionally the championship winner.

The next few laps a pack forms behind a struggling Alonso, and on lap 4 the spaniard goes wide into turn 1. This allowed Hulkenberg to get past and move up into 3rd place. Alonso rejoined just ahead of Webber and was able to defend his position. This however allowed Massa to pass Webber again and defend Alonso a little big.

One lap later Webber is taken into a spin by Kobayashi. He's able to rejoin without damage, and two laps later pits for intermediates, just like everybody else as of lap 10.

By that time, Button has taken the lead from Hamilton.

On lap 12, Button is still going on on the medium tyre and notes to his engineer that it has stopped raining. Alonso and the Red Bulls now face a serious move up through the field as all new team cars keep on with the dry tyres.

In lap 13, it is clear the intermediates are getting up to speed, with Hamilton lapping one lap faster than Button. Hulkenberg is currently second on the dry tyres while Massa also still has the mediums and is passed by Alonso in lap 15.

By now, the people that switched to the intermediates have gained back the time loss of the pitstop. While Button goes on, Massa finally opts to change to intermediates.

By lap 17, Button and Hulkenberg are the only men on slicks and are fighting each other fiercely. A dry line is starting to show up as well and Button is starting to go faster than his teammate yet again. Two laps later Hulkenberg manages to get past the race leader and takes the lead himself, 2 years after taking pole position at this track for Williams, which was also in rainy conditions.

In lap 19 Alonso changes back to medium tyres, while Hamilton takes on the hards. One lap later Vettel is also in and rejoins the track 4 seconds behind Alonso.

On lap 22 Rosberg suffers are right rear puncture. This triggered an alert message at race control as the puncture was more than likely caused by the impressive amount of debris that is on the track at various different corners along the track, including turn 2, turn 4, parts of the Williams of Senna, the Red Bull of Vettel and the Sauber of Perez between turn 4 and 5. The situation brings a safety car on track to clear up the debris.

Behind it, positions are HUL BUT HAM ALO VET KOB WEB DIR RIC RAI MAS VER GLO PET SCH KOV PIC DLR KAR ROS. Out of the race are Grosjean who overcooked turn 12 in the wettest moments of the race so far, Maldonado who completed 4 laps, and then Perez and Senna of course as they had their accident involving Sebastian Vettel.

On lap 30, the racing is on again. Everybody in the top 9 in on the harder tyre, only Alonso is on the mediums.

At the front, there are no position changes, but Kobayashi manages to get past Vettel. Webber also tried to take Vettel but overshot the entry into turn 1 and went off track, rejoining down in 14th.

One lap later, Hulkenberg has already pulled a little gap of 2 seconds and Button got passed by his teammate in turn 4. Alonso is closely following the McLarens. One lap later Kobayashi moves up another spot as he dives to the inside of Alonso.

Alonso took back 4th one lap later while Massa has moved up through the field to end up just behind Vettel. One lap later Massa passes Vettel on the back straight, with Vettel seemingly letting Massa past easily. It looks more and more likely that Vettel is suffering a bit on top end power, having a little dent in the exhaust since the incident in lap 1.

Massa than bangs on and passes Kobayashi in lap 37, quickly breaking away from the Sauber driver and leaving Kobayashi vulnerable for a passing attempt by Vettel. Half a lap later though Massa made a slight mistake and lost his advantage on Kobayashi, reducing it to about a second.

In lap 44 Webber attempts to brake with the right rear wheel on the white line and fins himself spun a second later. This dropped him back of course, but given his advantage to Ricciardo he did not lose any positions.

In lap 46, Hulkenberg is still keeping McLaren at bay, maintaining his 1.5 second advantage to Hamilton. Button follows 2.5 seconds down, and Alonso keeps 4th, albeit several tenths a lap slower than the leaders. Massa is a solid 5th with an advantage of about 4 seconds to Kobayashi and Vettel. Webber is following 6 seconds behind his teammate.

In lap 48 Hulkenberg finally makes a mistake and also brakes on the white line, losing a single place to Lewis Hamilton. Vitaly Petrov did the same 2 laps earlier as rain increased a bit, especially at turn 9.

In lap 52, De La Rosa and Rosberg are the first men to pits and change to intermediates. Ricciardo on the other hand pits and is fitted with hard dry tyres. Vettel pits one lap later and gets a scrubbed set of option tyres.

As rain futher intensifies, Raikkonen goes wide on turn 11 and ends up on the old track and loses a heap of time before being able to get back on the usual track.

In lap 54 Hulkenberg tries to overtake Hamilton but loses his car and takes Hamilton out, breaking off his front wheel and eliminating Hamilton. Hulkenberg managed to rejoin the track without apparent damage.

2 laps later Vettel pits again for intermediates and rejoins the track in 10th place, only to pass Kobayashi half a lap later. Alonso meanwhile made the mistake to go on and changed to intermediates only one lap later, losing approximately 10 seconds on his last lap.

Button pitted even another lap later but kept his lead.

Hulkenberg is then handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.

As the track is getting more and more wet, spray is starting to come off of the cars and full wet tyres are becoming a reasonable option if rain continues to fall as it does.

Button is still leading in lap 61, 16 seconds ahead of Massa and 3 more to Alonso. Webber is 8 seconds behind Alonso, but he's got Hulkenberg right on his tail. Schumacher is 6th more than 10 seconds further down and Vettel is 4 seconds behind Schumacher.

On lap 65, Vettel gets up behind Schumacher and the 7-time world champions moves over to the other side of the track to let his fellow German pass by and take 6th place.

5 laps from the end, Petrov takes Pic's 12th place and potentially moves Caterham back up into 10th place in the constructors' championship. Interestingly, Pic, who himself will drive for Caterham next year did put up very little resistance.

Kobayashi spun on lap 69 without harm, but then Di Resta hit the barrier in turn 15, triggering a safety car that takes the cars to the finish. This means Button wins this race while Sebastian Vettel is the youngest thrice F1 world champion at 25 years and 145 days of age.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes71Winner225
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari71+2.7 secs718
36Felipe MassaFerrari71+3.6 secs515
42Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault71+4.9 secs312
512Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes71+5.7 secs610
61Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault71+9.4 secs48
77Michael SchumacherMercedes AMG71+11.9 secs136
817Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari71+28.6 secs174
914Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari71+31.2 secs142
109Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault70+1 Lap81
1121Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault70+1 Lap19
1225Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth70+1 Lap22
1316Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari70+1 Lap15
1420Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault70+1 Lap20
158Nico RosbergMercedes AMG70+1 Lap9
1624Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth70+1 Lap21
1722Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth69+2 Laps24
1823Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth69+2 Laps23
1911Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes68+3 Laps10
Ret4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes54+17 Laps1
Ret10Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault5+66 Laps18
Ret18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1+70 Laps16
Ret19Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault0+71 Laps11
Ret15Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari0+71 Laps12


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