Will Vettel take a record eighth win in a row?

2013 United States Grand Prix preview

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Start, Circuit of the Americas, 2012The antiseptic Yas Marina Circuit served up another forgettable Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but fans can look forward to two of the most interesting venues on the calendar to round out the season.

After dominating every race since the summer break in August, the seemingly unstoppable force of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel is now on the verge of achieving an unprecedented eighth successive grand prix victory.

But while the four-time world champion has his eye on making history, many of his rivals are still locked in close battles to determine the final standings in the constructors’ championship, with Mercedes and Ferrari separated by just 11 points with up to 86 available in the final two rounds.

This weekend also marks F1?s return to the impressive Circuit of the Americas ?ǣ perhaps the most important addition to the calendar in recent seasons. After last year?s inaugural race proved a great success, this weekend will prove to be a major test as to whether Formula One really has finally found a permanent home in the United States.

Featuring a mix of high-speed sweepers, long straights, short, sharp turns and plenty of overtaking opportunities, Austin?s purpose-built F1 facility is a hit with drivers, teams and, most importantly fans. Last year?s event was one of the most popular races of the season.

Circuit of the Americas circuit information

Lap length5.516km (3.427 miles)
Distance56 laps (308.9km/191.9 miles)
Lap record*1’39.347 (Sebastian Vettel, 2012)
Fastest lap1’35.657 (Sebastian Vettel, 2012)
TyresHard and Medium

*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix

Circuit of the Americas track data in full

Inspired by sections of some of F1?s classic circuits, the first sector of the circuit in particular ?ǣ an homage to Silverstone?s Maggots-Becketts-Chapel sequence ?ǣ is unquestionably the most challenging for drivers, machinery and tyres.

“The first sector of this circuit ranks as one of the best parts of a racetrack anywhere in the world,” says McLaren?s Jenson Button. “The first corner is really tricky, because it’s steep and blind, after that, the circuit just winds through an incredibly fast switchback until the heavy braking for the back straight.”

As in 2012, Pirelli have nominated the medium and the hard compounds for the sport?s return to the States, which will hopefully allow drivers to push throughout the race and emulate the level of overtaking and action we saw here last year. One-stop strategies were the order of the day last year but Pirelli suspect the softer compounds this year will lead most drivers to make two stops.

United States Grand Prix team-by-team preview

Red Bull

Yet again, Sebastian Vettel is the man to beat heading to one of only two venues remaining on the current calendar where he hasn’t yet claimed victory (the other is Hungary). Last year he was quickest in all the practice sessions and throughout qualifying – but a moment’s delay behind Narain Karthikeyan in the race cost him victory.

With just two races of his 12-season Formula One career remaining, Mark Webber will be looking to bow out of the sport with another win or two. Webber would not desire a gift win from his team mate, nor is he likely to get one, so it’s going to take a monumental effort for him to put a stop to Vettel’s incredible run of success.


Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2013With Mercedes currently holding second in the constructors’ championship by just 11 points, Ferrari will be looking to maximise their position this weekend to try and take the fight to the silver team into Interlagos.

That will be a tall order for the Scuderia, given that Fernando Alonso failed to make it through to Q3 last time out in Abu Dhabi. But with overtaking around Austin certainly possible, another poor Saturday showing would not necessarily spell disaster for them.

Team mate Felipe Massa can enjoy his final two races for the Prancing Horse in the knowledge that he will be returning to the F1 grid in 2014 with Williams. Having out-qualified Alonso around Circuit of the Americas last season before the team infamously chose to deliberately incur a grid penalty on his car, Massa will be looking to replicate the form he showed here a year ago this weekend.


For an event that Sergio Perez describes as his “home race”, this should have been a weekend to look forward to for the Mexican. Instead, Perez heads to Austin with all signs pointing to his time with McLaren coming to an end ?ǣ although neither the team, nor the man himself seem willing to formally confirm this as the case just yet.

“For me, this will be the most important weekend of my year, and I’ll be especially keen for a strong result to send my fans back home with a smile on their faces,” said Perez.


Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2013Lotus’s hopes of challenging Ferrari for third place in the constructors? championship appeared to have been snuffed out completely with the news that Kimi Raikkonen will not race the two remaining races of the season.

With no replacement having yet been announced, it seems likely their third driver and 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi will be called up to make his grand prix debut in the United States.

He’s had relatively little track time in the E21 besides the Silverstone Young Drivers? Test in July and a brief testing appearance in March. Limited testing makes life very difficult for substitute drivers, as was clear when Jerome D’Ambrosio made a one-off appearance for the same team in Italy last year.

Raikkonen?s loss is by no means a total disaster for Lotus as Romain Grosjean has shown impressive form during this final flyaway leg of the season. Having just missed out on a fourth successive podium in Abu Dhabi, Grosjean will have his sights trained on the podium again in Austin.


The Circuit of the Americas holds happy memories for Lewis Hamilton, who took his final victory for McLaren here last year in satisfying style, snatching it from Vettel’s clutches wirth an opportunistic pass.

While it may be difficult for Hamilton to replicate that feat this weekend, Nico Rosberg’s strong Abu Dhabi run should give Mercedes hope that they may be able to put some pressure on the Red Bulls, or at least finish as best of the rest.


Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Buddh International Circuit, 2013Having gained on Force India over the start of the flyaway rounds of the season, Sauber?s challenge for sixth place was hampered in Abu Dhabi when Nico Hulkenberg received a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit release.

Hulkenberg needs to bounce back from that disappointment and take points once again at a circuit he enjoys, while Esteban Gutierrez will be hoping that the home support from visiting Mexican fans will be enough to spur him onto his second points finish of the season.

“I’m from Monterrey, which is quite close to Austin, being about one and a half to two hours away, so my family and also a lot of my friends will come to the event,” said Gutierrez. “This will give me additional motivation for the weekend and makes the atmosphere special.”

Force India

Following a disappointing period of races, Force India consolidated their improved home form in India with a strong points finish for Paul di Resta at Yas Marina after another aggressive one-stop strategy. But with the two hardest compounds in use for Austin, it?s unlikely that the team will be able to go so far against the grain once again this weekend.

The Circuit of the Americas will also post a brand new challenge for Adrian Sutil, who has never driven a lap around the 5.5km circuit. “From what I’ve seen it appears to be one of the better new generation tracks so I’m looking forward to getting there and trying it for myself,” he said.


Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Yas Marina, 2013Despite impressing enough to earn himself a contract extension for 2014, Valtteri Bottas only has two opportunities remaining to avoid becoming the first Williams driver ever to go an entire season without recording a top ten finish.

Pastor Maldonado’s run to 11th in Abu Dhabi, less than three seconds away from the top ten, will have given the team encouragement that a few more points could yet be salvaged from this desperate season.

Toro Rosso

After being announced as a race driver for the team next season, Daniil Kvyat will get his first run at a grand prix event for Toro Rosso this weekend in the first free practice session.

But with just one point to show from the last five races Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne will have to wring every last drop of performance from the STR8 to score this weekend. They struggled to a lowly 16th and 17th in Abu Dhabi.


Caterham can expect to be a focus for local interest on Friday as reserve driver Alexander Rossi will have another practice outing, becoming the first American to drive at a US Grand Prix since Scott Speed for Toro Rosso six years ago.

“This is an important time in my career and the sport for America and another major step forward for me, to drive FP1 in my home country, in front of my own friends, family, supporters and fans,” said Rossi. “It means a lot to me that the team is giving me this opportunity, while trusting me with the responsibility and I want thank everyone who’s helped make this possible.”


With only two races remaining, it seems it will take a very bizarre set of circumstances to see Marussia drop tenth place in the constructor?s championship to rivals Caterham. But with the team having lost out to their pit lane neighbours in the closing stages of the final race in 2012, Marussia will not be taking anything for granted in Austin.

“We’ve had a few days since Abu Dhabi to take a proper in-depth look at some of the issues we experienced there last weekend and we have some solutions in place to ensure we can attack the final two races with rather more confidence,” said team principal John Booth.

2013 driver form

DriverG avgR avgR bestR worstClassifiedForm guide
Sebastian Vettel2.181.691416/17Form guide
Mark Webber5.714.7921514/17Form guide
Fernando Alonso6.184.0611116/17Form guide
Felipe Massa7.596.8731515/17Form guide
Jenson Button10.009.3551717/17Form guide
Sergio Perez10.7610.5952017/17Form guide
Kimi Raikkonen8.354.6711115/17Form guide
Romain Grosjean8.537.0031914/17Form guide
Nico Rosberg3.945.8711915/17Form guide
Lewis Hamilton3.295.0011216/17Form guide
Nico Hulkenberg9.9410.4741915/16Form guide
Esteban Gutierrez16.0613.3372015/17Form guide
Paul di Resta13.129.6942013/17Form guide
Adrian Sutil12.3511.1452014/17Form guide
Pastor Maldonado16.0013.21101714/17Form guide
Valtteri Bottas15.3514.06111716/17Form guide
Jean-Eric Vergne13.6512.1761812/17Form guide
Daniel Ricciardo10.7612.4371914/17Form guide
Charles Pic19.8216.57141914/17Form guide
Giedo van der Garde19.3516.92142113/17Form guide
Jules Bianchi19.5917.00132014/17Form guide
Max Chilton20.4717.94142117/17Form guide

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Who do you think will be the team to beat in the United States Grand Prix? And will Vettel take an eighth consecutive win? Have your say below.

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2013 United States Grand Prix

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    Images ?? COTA/LAT, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Sauber, Williams/LAT

    Author information

    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    75 comments on “Will Vettel take a record eighth win in a row?”

    1. I dont see any reason why he wouldn’t win. Fastest car by a mile with a driver who can match all the other top drivers.

      1. Alternator is one reason!

        I hope (for his sake) that he gets the record, but hope he has to fight for it against other drivers. I thoroughly enjoy observing his race-craft – I think it’s very underrated.

      2. Whoever wins this particular Grand Prix has to be exciting for fans around the world and for Formula 1 itself.

        It’s broadcasted live at prime time here in Central Europe and noon time in America. Loads of people will watch the start, so it has to be thrilling from Lap 1.

        1. Midnight in Singapore, 0300-0500 :(

          1. Well, I’m Singaporean and I’m watching it anyway. No races aren’t worth watching!

          2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            13th November 2013, 13:13

            @ialtair now you’ll know what it feels like to live in Latin America and watch China, Malaysia, Barhein, Korea, India and Japan.
            Don’t suffer so much for one early race :P
            PS: I haven’t missed any race for years.

            1. Don’t worry. Leave taken on consecutive Mondays for these last 2 races of the season. :D

            2. @omarr-pepper Seconded… except I’m in the US. I’ve only missed one this season due to travelling: the British GP. So I found a download to watch it as I had to see the drama unfold despite being aware of it.

          3. @ialtair @omarr-pepper The COTA is probably the only race for which I have to sacrifice sleep. I’ll have to think about it. Maybe I’ll watch the start and doze off if Vettel takes the first corner. Last year , I kept watching and got a treat ;-).

          4. Hey don´t complain´t all of the Asian races are at 0:00 am or 1:00am in my country, and the European races are at 6:00am or 7:00am…

            1. @omarr-pepper @celeste True, most of the races broadcast in this side of the pond are around 1-6 AM but on a Sunday, if you live in Asia/Australia then it is 1-6 AM on Monday so it’s even worse!
              Having said that I don’t feel too sorry for them because it’s only 3 races in the season :)

            2. @mantresx @omarr-pepper Yes, is a happy day when F1 is at a decent hour. The only thing keeping me from turning on the volumen to the max is the comments form Chacho, Adrian y Tornello :P

            3. @celeste You’re right! and in my case even happier because I’m going to Austin tomorrow!!!
              However I’m driving and since I’m not from Monterrey it’s not going to be two hours like Esteban says hehe.

            4. @mantresx LUCKY!!!! Have fun. How many hours there are between Monterrey and Austin?

            5. @celeste Well Esteban says 2 hours but I live further east, so it’s 6-8 hours for me but I’m sure it’s worth it!

        2. Quali=5am Sunday
          Race=6am Monday
          in Australia….
          = day off Monday :)

          1. you can watch before going to work!

      3. by a mile? really?

        1. Well if he wins by an approx 30 second margin, he will literally win by a mile!

    2. @keithcollantine

      small typo, with not wirth :-)

    3. In a weird way, I hope he does win the last 2 races. 13 in a season and 9 in a row would be a ridiculous achievement in such a strong field.

      1. Yes absolutely it is, but remember that RB09 is the dominant car of the 2nd half of 2013.

        1. But only when Vettel is at the wheel..

          1. @mazdachris

            Lets remember Webber is a very average driver.

            1. Indeed. Though a truly dominant car would be dominant in anyone’s hands, even those of an average driver.

            2. petebaldwin (@)
              13th November 2013, 14:44

              @full-throttle-f1 – I’m sure it’s down partly to the blown diffuser. Vettel has absolutely mastered getting the revs just in the sweet-spot to be feed the diffuser in a way Webber hasn’t.

              When the regs changed and Red Bull hadn’t got their blown diffuser working again, Webber was on a par with Vettel. Once they got the blown diffuser working efficiently, Vettel disappeared into the distance.

              IMO if you drive the Red Bull right, it is that dominant.

              I honestly don’t expect Vettel to be anywhere near as dominant next year when the new regs remove the oppertunity to do this.

            3. I do not like Webber but he is definitely NOT an ‘average’ driver. I rate Webber at the same level as Button or Rosberg. He shows-up as mediocre because he is up against Vettel. People will realise just how good a driver Webber really was when Vettel moves to another team.

          2. Very much true dat, but remember success breed success, – Web hasn’t had the motivation to follow Vettel all in, in these five years as teammates. I’ll totally agree that Vet was WC-material already from early 09, and Webber’s never ever been anything like that.

            Still, RB09 is an almighty car. And I don’t want to start *another* long discussion about this.

            1. @mazdachris

              Not true. I think he is very average on Pirelli tyres, if it was Bridgestones he’d be quicker. I don’t think he has the motivation to win anymore. Also Mazda Chris, if you or I were to drive the Red Bull, I don’t think we would won, so your idea that a dominant car can be driven by anyone is a bit silly ;-)

            2. Hey speak for yourself, I’m an excellent driver ;-)

              I think the subject of Webber has been covered in a lot of depth before so there’s not really much point going over it all again here. I was just pointing out that the only other benchmark we have for how good the RB9 is, makes it look like a fairly decent but certainly not exceptional race car. We’ll see how Ricciardo does next year I guess.

              As I say below, I feel like the combination of Vettel, the great car, and fantastic teamwork from RBR is a combination wiht virtually no weaknesses. It’s almost inevitable they will win the next two races.

            3. @mazdachris to be more accurate and raise less polemic, we should say the car is tuned to Vettel’s feelings. He knows what he wants and when he gets it, the others just have to look at his rear. I think that this is his main strength.
              And we have seen with Grosjean/Raikonen how a setup can influence inter team battle …

            4. @jeanrien ; good post, +10. That’s the main issue, is that the car is more tuned for Seb than vice versa (more doesn’t mean completely!, but still.. ). And also, Seb utilizes rb09’s capabilities in a much greater degree than Webber – and that’s a typical WC-trait.

        2. Get real, every RBR 1-2 would be a Webber victory if not for Vettel, car or driver is debateable till the cows come home but in those RBR lockouts give Webber the credit he deserves, he has beaten every other driver out there except Vettel, and sometimes he has even beaten Vettel.

    4. Will Vettel take a record eighth win in a row?

      I say, yes. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    5. Webber has a chance as the hard and medium tyres are used.

    6. At least they’re using proper tyres, and not bringing unsuitable soft ones that last 3 laps because, shock horror, someone did one stop last year.

      But this year there’s nobody capable of taking the fight to Vettel, like Hamilton in his McLaren.
      So I predict Seb will disappear off as usual. Webber or Grosjean will lead the peloton…

      1. Do you meant Hamilton in his Mercedes? :P

        1. I meant last year – the Mercs don’t look fast enough throughout the race to me. They might be in contention for 2nd & 3rd though.

    7. Don’t think that “antiseptic” is a bad charcteristics for racetrack.

    8. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      13th November 2013, 11:44

      I love COTA. I think it’s the best Tilke designed circuit, with Istanbul a close second.

      Can’t wait!

      1. ” Pedant Alert “, Tilke didn’t design the track, he just, as the French say, realised the design he was given.

        1. Which is probably the reason why the track is actually good.

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          14th November 2013, 10:19

          Oh, I thought he designed it… :/ whoops

    9. I think the only thing that’ll stop Vettel winning the two remaining races will be reliability or accidents. In a normal race, I don’t see that anyone will beat him on pace. He’s in a great car, and he’s driving as well as he ever has done. He’s virtually unbeatable.

      On a side note – I wonder if they’ll paint over the stars on the runoff area again? They painted over them last year so there were only stripes, but they were back again for the WEC round earlier this year. Hope they keep them as it’s a really cool looking design.

    10. That picture disturbs me, why is there a McLaren on the front row?! Everyone knows that’s not possible!!!!

    11. I’m curious whether or not Vettel will be taking a very wide line into turn 6 again. He was loosing 0.4s there the whole race last year to Hamilton who was taking a very tight line to carry a lot of speed. This is why Vettel lost the race, not because of “cucumber”.

      1. You just made that up, didn’t you? I clearly remember Vettel always pulling away slightly in turns 3 to 9, with Hamilton being able to get closer again on the start/finish straight. He was always just outside 1 second at the DRS detection until the time Vettel had to lap Karthikeyan. In that lap, he couldn’t pull away from Hamilton between turns 3 and 9, as he had to follow Karthikeyan through those turns. This was enough for Hamilton to get into DRS range and complete the overtake using DRS. @vjm

        1. @mike-dee Not precisely. I just watched last’s year onboard mix and mclaren was clearly the superior car trough high speed sector 1. Only hamilton and button were able to hug that inside line and no one else. They did not sacrifice any entry speed to be able to do that and they were gaining massively on the cars in front trough that section, even on the lotuses who were just as quick trough there in quali as the RB. Hamilton regularly pulled 0,2-0,3s on vettel in that section. Hamilton was in DRS range for the majority of the race, but was making zero impression on vettel who just kept focusing on getting a good exit onto the long straight, until he got stuck behind a moving chicane aka hrt. Hamilton was also making mistakes left, right and center. Mclaren was without a shadow of doubt the faster car that weekend.

          1. Ham was better on the brakes, I’ll give him that one.

          2. Thanks for that – clearly my memory was cheating me!


    12. The Circuit of The Americas is a wonderful layout originally designed by Tavo Hellmund and of course built by Tilke. If you’ve never been – you need to come see for yourself. Austin is a fantastic place (I’ve been here since 1968) with lots of stuff to do in and around the central Texas area.

      If the fans aren’t here this year it’s because of two reseasons: 1. CoTA management has made some questionable decisions over the past year and that has left a bad taste in a few mouths. 2. The Obama economy still hasn’t come around (hasn’t surfaced at all IMHO) and many places outside of Texas are still hurting for jobs.

      Y’all come on down…

    13. I tweeted @pontifex’s hat supplier and his response was “Well, Duh”.

    14. I am not sure if Hamilton or anyone can defeat Vettel this weekend, except Webber. Hamilton won last year because the McLaren car was almost equal as that of Red Bull’s. And don’t forget that Narain held Vettel up in the Silverstone section allowing Hamilton to close the gap and overtake.

      Basically, I don’t see anyone else except Vettel winning unless Mark can do an amazing performance like Abu Dhabi last race.

      1. no Krichelle, Hamilton won last year because the McLaren WAS the equal of Redbull, infact probably better.

      2. McLaren was faster than Red Bull last year, especially in US.

    15. I hope he will win again. Ascari’s record is too old, it’s time to make some history here, it’s pretty exciting for me that i can witness such a great achievement and not read about it in the history books. But as closer we are getting to it, the harder it will be. Far more superior cars failed to achieve such incredible winning streak, which must remind us that luck is aways involved in motor racing.

      Also if i am not wrong, COTA is the only circuit in the calendar where Vettel never won, although he did pretty solid race last year. He had to push like hell to escape HAM’s DRS, but once he was into traffic there was little he could do. So the Fates may decide to leave at least one unconquered peak for Seb. We’ll see.

      1. Yet again, Sebastian Vettel is the man to beat heading to one of only two venues remaining on the current calendar where he hasn’t yet claimed victory (the other is Hungary).

        so i am wrong, it was in the text :) so only 2 venues to conquer.

      2. Ascari’s record is too old

        (Surely most people here at F1F are aware of this but anyway…)
        Seven in a row is the official record, but lotsa people consider Ascari’s nine in a row (Spa 52 to Spa 53) the moral record. As it goes with so many records from the fifties, it is screwed up by the absurd inclusion of Indy 500 in the official F1 calendar, when almost no F1 pilots raced at Indy and vice versa (oddly enough Ascari did enter Indy 1952, but DNFed). Ascari did not enter Indy 53 which is the gap in his record.
        But we do not need to go back to the fifties for a 7 in a row record. Schuey got it twice, Japan 2001 to Austria 2002 and Nurburgring 2004 to Spa 2004. Only DNFing at Monaco kept him from an astonishing 13 in a row victories in 2004 (Melbourne to Spa), but then Monaco was never Schuey’s strongest.
        Alternators allowing, Seb will surely win at Austin and Interlagos and equal Ascari’s moral record with an official record. With another victory in Melbourne 2014 he would get an unheard of ten in a row. But that’s quite a different story (and a possible disaster for future F1 audiences).

        1. I am counting 9 in a row for the record, not 7. If Seb wins he will be the first man in 60 years with chance to equal the record the final race and if this doesn’t happen i might not be alive the next time someone gets so close.

        2. Schuey got it twice, Japan 2001 to Austria 2002

          Schumacher didn’t win Malaysia 2002, which meant he didn’t get 7 in a row between 2001-02.

    16. I’m a little confused, I don’t live in the States… but the other US GP which would be in the New Jersey track is brand new, right? For next year? Anybody know what’s the layout like?

      1. Layout of New Jersey track is a big fat zero. @aish

        Or was that the chance of it happening next year.

      2. @aish, there are quite a lot of F1f articles on NJ in the archives, I’m sure you will be able to find them somehow.

    17. If Vettel wins in US GP, we all will be witnessing a history making 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.

    18. “Will Vettel take a record eighth win in a row?”
      Oh, I hope not. But not because I dislike Vettel or Red Bull, or because I’m a passionate supporter of any other team or driver. It’s just that it *is* boring now. And it gives all the non-believers the ability to say “Look, I told you car racing was boring. The same bloody bloke wins all the time. Let’s watch the football!”

      1. The same bloody bloke wins all the time. Let’s watch the football!

        where Messi always wins best player of the year, and Bayern Munich never lose… @timothykatz

        1. You may well be right. I generally place my head in a bucket of sand whenever football comes on the telly.

          1. Worse, in football, very often nobody wins, but maybe they have fixed that now.

    19. Looking forward to the race at one of my favorite newer tracks. The race for WCC positions still makes for exciting competition throughout the field. Lotus is reported to be bringing in Kovalainen for the final two races of the season as they desperately fight for points. Guess they are going for experience over Valsecchi who has at least driven the Lotus car. That has to be disappointing for Valsecchi.

      Rain in the forecast? Right now the forecast is looking like clouds on Friday and Sunday with rain possible for Saturday. Any hopes for a wet race in 2013 seem to be fading fast.

      Vettel could be on his way to setting more records if form prevails. I wouldn’t mind seeing Webber, a Mercedes, a Ferrari or even Grosjean winning a race for a change. As long as the racing is good, I’ll be happy.

    20. I know Vettel is favorite for the win . I am more bothered about the other battles that are mouth watering . Lotus-Ferrari-Mercedes , Force India-Mclaren-Sauber battle and of course something that people would have forgotten Who is going to take 3rd place from kimi . Can lewis get the deficit ? will Webber be able to catch up and beat him ? Sounds like an exciting race after all . But yes 99 % probable that Vettel will win .

    21. Yeah it’s just because Vettel is better than Webber at on throttle cornering.


    22. Why wouldn´t he?? This season has been so predictable after Silverstone, why stop now?

    Comments are closed.