Sebastian Vettel takes record eighth win in row at the US GP

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Austin, Texas
Vettel dominates US Grand Prix

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel set a new record for consecutive wins in a single season with victory in the United States Grand Prix.

Vettel has won eight races in a row, breaking the mark held by Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean held off Red Bull's Mark Webber for second.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was fourth, fending off Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg.

Hamilton's USA radio frustration

The Spaniard's fifth place secured him second place in the World Championship behind Vettel, who tied up the title in India three races ago.

Vettel has been unbeatable since Formula 1 returned from its mid-summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix, winning all the races, and taking five pole positions and three second places on the grid.

His win in Texas, the 38th of his career, followed the manner of so many others.

From pole position, Vettel consolidated his lead at the start before the race was quickly neutralised by a safety-car period triggered by a crash by Force India's Adrian Sutil, who lost control on the back straight after colliding with Williams's Pastor Maldonado.

At the restart on lap five, Vettel built up a 1.9-second lead on the first racing lap and continued to edge away from there, leading from start to finish.

The degree to which Vettel was controlling his pace, measuring out tyre life, was demonstrated when he took the fastest lap by a considerable margin with two laps to go.

"I don't know how I do it if I'm honest," said Vettel. "It's impossible to know what to say. The car was fantastic.

"We had good pace and could control the gaps for eight wins in a row."

If Vettel wins the final race in Brazil next weekend, the 26-year-old will equal Ascari's record for consecutive F1 world championship victories, set over the 1952 and '53 seasons.

"It's an amazing record," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard. "Man and machine in perfect harmony."

Best action from Vettel's amazing year

"We have to enjoy these days - there is no guarantee they will last," Vettel told his team over the radio on his slowing-down lap, on which he celebrated with doughnut spins for the third race in a row.

"We must enjoy them while they last. We have an incredible team spirit. I love you guys."

The battles were all behind him. Webber dropped back from second to fourth at the start, behind Grosjean and Hamilton.

The Australian pressured Hamilton until lap 13, when he passed him around the outside of Turn 12.

Webber was unable to get closer than five seconds to Grosjean before their only pit stops, which the Red Bull made on lap 28, one before the Frenchman.

That closed the gap to 2.2 seconds, which Webber had down to a second by lap 32. Unable to pass, Webber dropped back to save his tyres for a late assault, but despite the Red Bull closing to within a second, Grosjean held on to the end of the race.

"It was a good race," said Grosjean. "I got a good start, got past Mark and almost caught Seb. The car worked well today. Maybe next year I will go one better."

Webber added: "I think pole was very important yesterday and it probably cost me a better result."

Behind them, Hamilton held fourth place through the pit stops, from which he emerged a second and a half clear of Hulkenberg.

The Englishman held the Sauber at that margin for the next period of the race as Alonso closed a four-second deficit to nothing by the end of lap 42.

The double world champion immediately passed Hulkenberg at the start of the next lap, going wide into Turn One and cutting back to pass him on the inside on the exit as they headed into Turn Two.

Alonso had earlier pulled a carbon copy of the move on Hulkenberg's team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.

The Spaniard then set about closing the two-second gap on Hamilton. The Ferrari driver closed to a second but could not get any closer.

Alonso began to run out of grip in the closing laps and was attacked by Hulkenberg.

The German briefly passed the Ferrari into Turn One on the final lap, but was immediately re-passed on the exit and Alonso held on for the rest of the final lap.

McLaren's Sergio Perez, who led Alonso in sixth place in the early laps, finished seventh, with Valtteri Bottas scoring some much-needed points for Williams in eighth, the first of the Finn's F1 career at the end of an impressive weekend.

The final two points-scoring positions were taken by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, unable to make up much ground from his 12th place on the grid, and McLaren's Jenson Button, who passed Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo at the start of the penultimate lap.

See full race results.

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