Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday to chalk up a record ninth victory in a row, and 13th of the Formula One season.
Australian team mate Mark Webber bowed out of the sport with second place, anchoring a Red Bull one-two in his 215th and final race for the champions, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third.
Vettel is the first driver to win nine successive races in a single season although Italian Alberto Ascari strung together nine in a row over two campaigns in 1952-53.
The 26-year-old German’s victory equalled compatriot Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record with Ferrari of 13 wins in a season.
Vettel and Red Bull had secured their fourth successive drivers’ and constructors’ titles last month.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, Vettel was fastest on a wet Interlagos track to take pole position. The Red Bull driver, who wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title long ago, was more than half a second ahead of Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in treacherous conditions in a rain-delayed qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished third. Vettel’s Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber, who is leaving F1 after Sunday’s race, will start fourth, and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes fifth.
It was Vettel’s ninth pole of the year and 45th all-time. The impressive margin over the rest of the field was telling of his dominance this season.
Lotus officials say they expect a deal with investor group Quantum Motorsports to be finalized in the coming days, giving the Formula One team the financial help it needs for next season.
“There is still some discussion ongoing, especially now between bankers,” said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. “The process is not fully completed but I think part of it has been done, which is obviously a good sign for the weekend and we hope that everything is closed by early next week.”