9 in a Row: Sebastian Vettel

Feature image: formula1.com

Heading into the summer break for the 2013 season, Sebastian Vettel was well on his way to winning his fourth consecutive championship with Red Bull Renault in a period of total domination for the Austrian team. For the remaining nine races, the German would achieve a feat that no one else has achieved in a single season of Formula One: winning nine Grand Prix in a row.

1. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – Belgian Grand Prix

Vettel qualified in P2, handing Lewis Hamilton his fourth pole position in a row on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Spa. With dry conditions on Sunday, Vettel quickly found himself in P1 after getting a lot of momentum up Eau Rouge and Raidillon before overtaking Hamilton down the long Kemmel Straight. From here Vettel led all 44 laps and took the chequered flag ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in P2 and P3 respectively.


2. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza – Italian Grand Prix

At the 83rd instalment of the Italian Grand Prix, Vettel dashed any hopes of a home win for Ferrari by taking pole position and beating Alonso to the chequered flag by five seconds. Before the race weekend, Vettel also found out Daniel Ricciardo would be his team-mate for the following campaign after his promotion to the senior Red Bull Racing from Toro Rosso. His current team-mate Mark Webber would leave the sport to join Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.

3. Marina Bay Street Circuit – Singapore Grand Prix

Under the lights at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the German took the third grand slam of his career after by clinching pole-position, leading every lap whilst taking the race victory and also taking the fastest lap of the Grand Prix. He dominated the weekend, finishing 32 seconds ahead of his closest championship rival, Fernando Alonso. I say ‘closest rival’ very loosely as after this victory, Sebastian gave himself a 60-point lead to the Spaniard and the championship was in his hands. Unfortunately, not every one enjoyed Sebastian’s dominance…

4. Korea International Circuit – Korean Grand Prix

At the fourth and final running of the Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam, Vettel secured a consecutive Grand Slam in another dominant weekend. He became the first driver to take consecutive Grand Slams since Jim Clark dominated the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort and the French Grand Prix in Reims in the 1963 season. With the two Lotus’ filling the other spots on the podium, it meant Vettel could clinch the championship at the next round in Japan.


5. Suzuka Circuit – Japanese Grand Prix

The Japanese Grand Prix saw Red Bull take their second 1-2 finish of the season (the first being at the Malaysian Grand Prix which was the stage of the infamous ‘Multi-21’ incident) and their fourteenth overall as a constructor in Formula One. Vettel finished 7 seconds in front of his team-mate and missed out on the championship this week after Alonso finished in P4, meaning Vettel would need only P5 to be crowned in India.

6. Buddh International Circuit – Indian Grand Prix

For the seventh time of the season, the #1 RB9 started on pole position but lost the lead after a very early pit stop at the end of lap 2. He re-took the lead 27 laps later and he was finally crowned the 2013 World Champion, becoming the youngest quadruple world champion of the sport. This result also handed Red Bull their fourth constructors’ championship in a row, cementing their legacy as a dominant force throughout the V8 era.

7. Yas Marina Circuit – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Starting behind his team-mate who was in pole-position, Vettel overtook Webber at turn one of the first lap and stayed there until the chequered flag as the sun set during a solar eclipse on Yas Island. His seventh consecutive win meant that he had equalled the current record at the time, putting himself in the same category as Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari who both achieved the feat in Ferrari’s.

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8. Circuit of the Americas – United States Grand Prix

At the second United States Grand Prix in Austin, Vettel broke this record by pipping Romain Grosjean to the chequered flag and Mark Webber rounding up the podium places. This race also marked the last time that Ferrari or Mercedes didn’t make the podium, up until the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2019 which saw Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jr. taking the honours.

9. Interlagos – Brazilian Grand Prix

The final race of the season saw Vettel put himself in the history books under quite a few headings. Clinching his ninth consecutive win meant that his tally for the season moved up to 13, equalling Schumacher’s 2004 record in one of Vettel’s all-time favourite chassis’, the legendary F2004. He also set the record for the number of points he accrued throughout the season, collecting 397 points across the 19 round championship which stood up until 2018 when Lewis Hamilton took 408.

In Sebastian Vettel’s finest run of form of his career the German was absolutely unstoppable, albeit with a little bit of help from his Renault-powered RB9. After a torrid final season with the Scuderia, I’m sure we will see him back on top and challenging for the crown once again with Aston Martin.

[This was originally posted in January 2021 to DriveTribe.com]

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