By Tales Azzoni ,AP
SAO PAULO — Sebastian Vettel won Formula One’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, matching Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 victories in a year and equaling the nine consecutive wins of Alberto Ascari.
Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was second in his final F1 race and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third.
The win capped an impressive year by Vettel, who had already broken Schumacher’s 2004 mark of seven straight wins in a year at the United States GP last week. Schumacher’s 13 wins also came in 2004. Ascari’s mark of nine straight victories was achieved in the 1952 and ’53 seasons.
“I think it is very difficult for me to realize, probably now and in the next couple of weeks, what we have achieved again, and in particular this year at the end of the season,” Vettel said. “At the end of the day, as I see it now, it’s just a number. But hopefully one day, when I’ve got less hair and (I’m) chubby, then it’s probably something nice to look back.”
The 26-year-old Vettel clinched the title at the Indian GP, becoming the youngest driver to win four world championships.
“I’m actually quite sad that this season comes to an end,” Vettel said. “The car has been phenomenal. It just kept getting better. I’m extremely proud.”
Vettel, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, was overtaken by Nico Rosberg of Mercedes at the start but regained the lead on the second lap and cruised to his second victory in Brazil, and 39th of his career. He crossed the line 10.4 seconds in front of Webber.
“Yes, we did it,” Vettel said on his radio before his now-traditional donut celebration of spinning the car.
Vettel had to overcome a slow pit stop near the end of the race but remained in front thanks to a big lead over Webber. The team changed strategy at the last minute and only had three tires ready when Vettel came in. Webber was right behind and had to wait until the crew finished the work on Vettel’s car.
Webber, who had won two of the last four races in Brazil, took his helmet off as he returned to the pits and waved to the crowd. The team wrote “Awesome. Thank you Mark,” on the pit sign as the Australian crossed the finish line.
“It was a very good finish to my career,” Webber said. “It was a great journey, one of which I’m proud of.”