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Vettel, Webber set for last battle

2013-11-22 04:54

HOPING FOR A GLORIOUS FINISH: Red Bull's Mark Webber would love to close his 12-year GP career by winning the 2013 Brazilian F1 GP. Image: AFP


SAO PAULO, Brazil – Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel wants to end the 2013 Formula 1 season with a record win in Brazil; team mate Mark Webber would love to close his 12-year GP career with a victory here.

There can be only one winner of Sunday's season-ending race at the ramshackle amphitheatre that is Sao Paulo's Interlagos circuit but the outcome may not be quite as predictable as recent form would suggest.

No favours will be offered - or accepted – between the two fiercely competitive men whose relationship as they reach the end of their long road together as team mates is cold but professional.


"Mark would not want to be given a win," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters after Vettel became the first driver to win eight races in a row in on season. "It would be great to see him win his final race... what a way to sign out! But Sebastian is going to be going for that record as well and as usual it will be a fight between the two of them."

Vettel has won 12 races so far in 2013, one short of Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of 13, so can also equal the 60-year-old record of nine consecutive wins chalked up by Italian Alberto Ascari in 1952-53.

Webber has not won anything in 2013, denied victory in Malaysia after Vettel ignored team orders to hold station and overtook the Australian. If there was ever a time for payback, this would be it.

Webber is the oldest driver on the grid at 37 and made it abundantly clear in Austin that he was ready to move on for a fresh start racing Le Mans sports cars for Porsche - but also showed that he is still very fast.

With individual and team championships won weeks earlier and Webber having nothing to lose, team orders become meaningless - unlikely to be heard or acted on.

Vettel will be the favourite, as ever, and won at Interlagos in 2010 with Webber second and the latter’s track record is not to be dismissed: he won here in 2009 and 2011.

If the straight-talking Australian doesn’t win or finish on the podium then the disappointment will be short-lived and easily outweighed by the positives.


He said after finishing third in the US GP in Austin, Texas, with his parents watching: "I've one week to go. I will leave the paddock very satisfied. I've been dealt a very good hand, very proud of what I've achieved.

"I never thought when I left Queanbeyan in Australia that I’d have the results I've had, work with the amazing people I've worked with, race against amazing drivers on the best tracks in the world.

"I've learned a huge amount about myself, about everything ... it's the next chapter. When I step out of the car for the last time I will be fine with it. Back to the UK Sunday night, walk the dogs on Tuesday morning."

Sunday will also be a day of other farewells.


Williams-bound Brazilian Felipe Massa will race for the last time for Ferrari after being with the team since 2006; V8 engines will scream one last time before the new era of turbocharged V6’s is ushered in.

Whether it will also be the end of Ross Brawn's time as Mercedes team principal or a farewell for various drivers currently unsure about their futures will be decided further down the road.

Mexico's Sergio Perez will be in the cockpit of a McLaren for the final time in a race that will also mark the end of the team's partnership with mobile phone operator Vodafone.

Read more on:    red bull  |  formula 1  |  vettel  |  webber  |  brazil  |  interlagos

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