Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, right, leads the field ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, right, leads the field ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel of Germany at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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  • General view of the start of the Brazilian Formula one Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO/NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • AUTO-F1-PRIX-BRAZIL-START
  • General view of start of the Brazilian Formula one Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP takes the lead from Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing on lap one of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads the field ahead fo Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany at the he Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing leads during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • German F1 drivers Nico Rosberg (C) of Mercedes-Petronas and Sebastian Vettel (R) of Red Bull seen during of start of the Brazilian Formula one Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO/NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia steers his car ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis�Hamilton of Britain and Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil at the he Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. The 37-year-old Australian spent 12 seasons in F1, winning nine times and reaching the podium 33 times in 216 races.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Mark Webber (R) of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (L) of Spain and Ferrari drive side by side during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • Australian driver Mark Webber of Red Bull and Spanish Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in action during the Brazilian Formula one Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis�Hamilton of Britain steers his car in front of Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Germany's Sebastian Vettel with the Red Bull team, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, won Formula One's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday,(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Paul di Resta of Great Britain and Force India drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives on his way to winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives on his way to winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Ferrari driver Fernando�Alonso of Spain steers his car in front of Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Germany's Sebastian Vettel with the Red Bull team, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, won Formula One's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday,(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain steers his car in front of Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico, center, and Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mechanics change the tires on the Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel's car, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Vettel, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, won Formula One's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.(AP Photo/Nelson Almeida-POOL)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico, left, overtakes Force India driver Adrian Sutil of Germany, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Mark Webber of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives in his final race before joining Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany steers his car in front of teammate Lewis�Hamilton of Britain during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Germany's Sebastian Vettel with the Red Bull team, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, won Formula One's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday,(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari drives on his way to finishing third during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis�Hamilton of Britain steers his car into pit lane with a shredded tire during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Sauber driver Nico�Hulkenberg of Germany steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, steer their car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday Nov. 24, 2013. Vettel, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, 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. (AP Photo/Nelson Almeida-POOL)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari drives during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Vettel, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, 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. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third.(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 23: Ferrari tifosi are seen in the grandstand during qualifying for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 23, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari performs donuts as he finishes his last race for Ferrari following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing performs donuts in his car after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Mark Webber of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on his way to parc ferme after finishing second in his final F1 race following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Mark Webber of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on his way to parc ferme after finishing second in his final F1 race following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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  • German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates his victory in the Brazil F-1 GP on November 24, 2013 at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Mark Webber of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium after finishing second in his final F1 race following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Race winner Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium with second placed Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing and third placed Fernando Alonso (R) of Spain and Ferrari following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, center, Red Bull driver Mark Webber of Australia, left, and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, right, during the podium ceremony of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Vettel, who had already wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title, won Formula One's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Race winner Sebastian Vettel (L) of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, second placed team mate Mark Webber (R) of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner (C) celebrate on the podium following the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: The Formula One drivers of the 2013 season line up for a group photograph before the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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When the grid lined up at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Brazil there were just 71 laps, almost 306 kilometers, until the end of the 2013 season. Sometimes the circuit in Interlagos is deciding a Championship winner or showcasing new talent, and sometimes it's merely deciding a winner. This year was the latter.

2013 World Champion Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing lined up in front of Nico Rosberg in the first Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Fernando Alonso in the first Ferrari, Mark Webber in the second Red Bull and his final Formula One race, Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes, Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, Daniel Ricciardo in the first Toro Rosso and his final race for the team before moving to Red Bull, his teammate Jean-Éric Vergne, Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and Nico Hülkenberg in the Sauber.

There were numerous theories about what surprises might occur, with race day being the first dry running of the weekend and rain predicted to fall at some point during the running. The first surprise came when the lights went out and Vettel, the consummate starter, got beat to the first corner.
AP Photo/Felipe Dana

And that was almost it for surprises. Vettel suffered wheelspin just after his launch and Rosberg got by him into the first corner. Vettel retook the lead after the pair crossed the line at the end of the first lap, and that was the race. Vettel's only incidents came in a couple of lockups during the race, and when he came into the pits before the team was ready for him and he endured a lengthy stop. Otherwise he maintained his lead and finished an easy 11 seconds ahead of second place.

That went to Webber, who got off to his final poor start in F1, falling behind Lewis Hamilton and into fifth. He passed Hamilton, Alonso and Rosberg by lap 14 and wasn't troubled for second place until his pit stop on Lap 24, when a slow stop saw Alonso get past. Webber would repass him on Lap 26 and hold onto the position until the end.

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The only other exciting drives came from the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, the Mexican on his last go-round as a McLaren driver. Button started 15th, Perez qualified 14th but a gearbox change after a crash in qualifying dropped him down to 19th. Through a combination of passing and strategy, they would cut through the field, Button finishing fourth and Perez finishing sixth. Button's final position was the best McLaren has done all year.

Beyond that, the action was as dry as the sky. The rain never came, and by Lap 27 the race was almost chiseled in granite. The order on that lap was Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Perez, Hulkenberg and Ricciardo. That was just over one-third of the way into the race.

AP Photo/Andre Penner

The order at the finish was Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Ricciardo. The two drivers who swapped positions, Massa and Hamilton, did so because of drive-through penalties. An irate Massa was called in for crossing the hatched white lines at the pit entry with all four wheels after being warned about it. Hamilton was called in for causing an accident with Valtteri Bottas, when the Mercedes man didn't notice the Williams had pulled alongside to pass and he drifted to the right and into the Williams. Bottas, for his part, didn't realize he wasn't racing Hamilton since he was a lap down, and he was spun out of the race with a destroyed left rear wheel. Hamilton popped his right rear tire and damaged his floor but made it back to the pits for a new set of wheels.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Vettel's win gives him 13 for the season, matching the record set by Michael Schumacher, and nine in a row, matching the record set by Alberto Ascari – although Ascari's came over two, much shorter seasons. Vettel was in the lead for more than 90 percent of the laps raced during the latter half of the season. For all that, it's incredible that Vettel gets nothing like the respect he deserves (from this writer included) – he's like the Nissan GT-R of drivers: awesome performance and a core group of fans, but the at-large response is mostly shrugs, apathy and suspicion.

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

When Schumacher won his 13 races during the 2004 season, he was going up against teams at their nadirs and a bunch of dogs masquerading as F1 cars: BMW Williams, West McLaren Mercedes, Mild Seven Renault, Lucky Strike BAR Honda, Sauber Petronas, Jaguar Racing, Panasonic Toyota, Jordan Ford, Mindardi Cosworth. Schumacher finished 34 points ahead of his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button finished in third, 63 points behind – and this was back when there were only ten points given for first place and eight for second. That's no knock on Schumacher, but one could argue that Vettel and Red Bull have had tougher competition.

People can say it's the Red Bull that's made Vettel what he is, but no one said the Ferrari made Schumacher. On top of that, if it's the car that's the star, then that must mean Mark Webber is a far worse driver than anyone would want to admit.

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

And that's how the V8 era came to an end. Next year there will be turbocharged V6s with larger KERS. There'll be no more Mark Webber. Rookie Kevin Magnussen (son of Corvette driver Jan Magnussen) will be at McLaren, while Sergio Perez is rumored to be headed to Force India. Paul di Resta is said to be leaving F1 for IndyCar, while Hülkenberg is either staying with Sauber or going to Lotus or Force India. Pastor Maldonado will be taking his sponsorship money somewhere, but we don't know where yet, and his Williams seat will get filled by Felipe Massa. Two Russians will join the field in Daniil Kyvat at Toro Rosso and Sergey Sirtokin at Sauber. Williams gets Mercedes engines, Marussia gets Ferrari. Oh, and Marussia beat Caterham for tenth place in the Constructor's Championship.

Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The whole caboodle gets turned over for next year. We'll see you then.


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