Mark Webber claimed his first F1 victory since August 2010 when he won the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos today.
The Red Bull Racing driver, who has been overshadowed by world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel this season, took advantage after the German’s gearbox began to play up.
Vettel had started the race from pole position – his 15th of the season, a new F1 record – and led the early laps until his engineer reported a problem with second and third gears and asked him to short shift to ease the pressure on the transmission.
That allowed Webber to close in, and Vettel didn’t put up a fight when the Aussie swept past into first place. Webber controlled the race from that point on, and Vettel’s problem didn’t get any worse so he was able to cruise around in second place, comfortably clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Fast-starting Alonso had overhauled the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap and then swept ahead of Jenson Button on lap 11 with an audacious move around the outside of the Briton at the fast Ferradura corner.
Button fought back towards the end of the race because his McLaren proved more effective on the hard tyre compound than Alonso’s Ferrari, and he regained third place on lap 62. The two Red Bulls, however, were too far ahead for the flying Button to close in.
Alonso held on to fourth ahead of team-mate Massa, who gambled by stopping twice rather than three times like most of the leaders. The Brazilian spent most of the race in a scrap with his nemesis Hamilton until the Brit’s gearbox failed on lap 37.
Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta raced strongly to sixth and eighth places for Force India, sandwiching Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. Kamui Kobayashi took two vital points for Sauber with ninth, to ensure the Swiss squad finished seventh in the constructors championship ahead of Toro Rosso. Vitaly Petrov rounded out the scorers with tenth place for Renault.
The result means Webber pipped Alonso for third in the end-of-year standings by just one point, behind Button and dominant champion Vettel.
Provisional race results
1 Mark Webber (Red Bull)2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)3 Jenson Button (McLaren)4 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)5 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)6 Adrian Sutil (Force India)7 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)8 Paul di Resta (Force India)9 Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)10 Vitaly Petrov (Renault)