Vettel leads Webber home for one-two

Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has kept his Formula One championship hopes alive with victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The German led from start to finish, outpacing surprise pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) to the first corner and holding the lead for the every lap. It is Vettel’s fourth win of the season.

It took team-mate Mark Webber a few more corners to get past Hulkenberg, but when he did get through, he ran almost untroubled to take second and narrow the gap to Ferrari’s title leader Fernando Alonso to eight points.

Webber’s only drama during the race was a slight engine overheating problem, which meant he had to turn it down to preserve it.

The result has secured the Red Bull Racing the 2010 Constructor’s Championship.

With just one round to go this weekend in Abu Dhabi, the championship points situation is now a tricky deal for Red Bull.

Vettel’s deserved win keeps both of its drivers in with a chance of winning the championship, even though Alonso still has a eight point lead. If Red Bull had ordered Vettel to allow Webber through for the win, the Australian would be just one point behind Alonso …

“That’s the way it is,” Webber said after the race.

“P1 would have been nice but it was not possible. But I’m still in the hunt and it’s nice for me to come back after a poor race in Korea.”

In Abu Dhabi, Webber needs to win the race and Alonso has to finish third or worse for the Australian to win.

If the finishing order in Abu Dhabi is the same as Brazil, the Red Bull drivers will have 256 points each, and Alonso will have 261 and be the world champ.

Fourth and fifth places spelled the effective end of the McLaren drivers’ challenges. After an early error that let Alonso by, Lewis Hamilton drove a fighting race in a car that was only a match for the Red Bulls and Ferraris on the harder Bridgestone tyres and not in the crucial early stages on the super-soft rubber.

Hamilton set the fastest lap on the 66th of the 71 laps, but the presence of lapped traffic between his McLaren and Alonso’s Ferrari ruined his chances of moving up a place in the closing stages. Germany’s Nick Heidfeld was later given a drive-through penalty in his BMW Sauber for ignoring the McLarens in his mirrors.

Team-mate Jenson Button, still the reigning world champion for another week, is now out of the fight after finishing fifth.

Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg held onto sixth place despite wheel problems during two stops under the Safety Car, having snatched back a place from team mate Michael Schumacher when the racing recommenced.

Pole-sitter Hulkenberg did the best he could and drove smart under pressure from Robert Kubica (Renualt) to bring his Williams home an honourable eighth ahead of Kubica.

BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi took the final point after one of his typical races where he stopped late for fresh tyres and stormed back through rivals who had less grip.

The championship will be decided this weekend in Abu Dhabi, where the first time in F1 history, four drivers go to the final event with a chance of winning the crown.

Result; Brazilian Grand Prix

Pos Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 71 1:33:11.803 2
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 71 +4.2 secs 3
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 71 +6.8 secs 5
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 71 +14.6 secs 4
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 71 +15.5 secs 11
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 71 +35.3 secs 13
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 71 +43.4 secs 8
8 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 70 +1 Lap 1
9 Robert Kubica Renault 70 +1 Lap 7
10 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 12
11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 14
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 70 +1 Lap 22
13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 19
14 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 70 +1 Lap 6
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 9
16 Vitaly Petrov Renault 70 +1 Lap 10
17 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 15
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 69 +2 Lap 20
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 18
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 17
21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 24
22 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 65 +6 Laps 23
NC Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 62 +9 Laps 21
Ret Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 49 Accident 16

Drivers Championship

Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 246
2 Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault 238
3 Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault 231
4 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 222
5 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 199
6 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 143
7 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes GP 130
8 Robert Kubica Polish Renault 126
9 Michael Schumacher German Mercedes GP 72
10 Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Williams-Cosworth 47
11 Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes 47
12 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese BMW Sauber-Ferrari 32
13 Nico Hulkenberg German Williams-Cosworth 22
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian Force India-Mercedes 21
15 Vitaly Petrov Russian Renault 19
16 Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari 8
17 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish BMW Sauber-Ferrari 6
18 Nick Heidfeld German BMW Sauber-Ferrari 6
19 Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari 3
20 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Lotus-Cosworth 0
21 Jarno Trulli Italian Lotus-Cosworth 0
22 Karun Chandhok Indian HRT-Cosworth 0
23 Bruno Senna Brazilian HRT-Cosworth 0
24 Lucas di Grassi Brazilian Virgin-Cosworth 0
25 Timo Glock German Virgin-Cosworth 0
26 Sakon Yamamoto Japanese HRT-Cosworth 0
27 Christian Klien Austrian HRT-Cosworth 0

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