Seventh heaven for Vettel in Abu Dhabi

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Updated: November 3, 2013

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) – Newly-crowned four-time
Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed his seventh consecutive
victory with a superb performance in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel overtook his Red Bull teammate and pole sitter Mark Webber in the first
turn of the opening lap and then was unstoppable from there. The 26-year-old
German led all 55 laps at Yas Marina Circuit. He crossed the finish line 30.8
seconds ahead of Webber for his third win in the first five Abu Dhabi GPs. His
previous victories here came in 2009 and ’10.

“It’s incredible,” Vettel said. “The car was absolutely brilliant. I was
flying at some stages, at least it felt like it. I had massive gaps. It was a
big surprise. Big thanks to the team.”

Vettel became the fourth driver in F1 history to win seven or more grand prix
in a row. His fellow German compatriot, Michael Schumacher, most recently won
seven straight races in 2004. Jim Clark accomplished the feat in 1965. Alberto
Ascari holds the record for most consecutive victories with nine, doing so
from the tail end of the 1952 season through the early part of the 1953
season.

Last weekend, Vettel clinched his fourth successive F1 championship with the
win in the Indian Grand Prix. Red Bull also captured its quadruple
constructors’ title.

The Nov. 17 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas and the Nov. 24
Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo are the remaining races on this year’s
schedule. If Vettel wins both of those events, he would not only tie Ascari’s
record of consecutive wins but also match Schumacher’s record of 13 victories
in a season, set in ’04.

Red Bull has now finished 1-2 in an F1 grand prix 15 times.

“The start wasn’t great,” Webber said. “After that, the race went pretty well
for me, but Seb was gone. He was in another category out in front.”

Nico Rosberg from Mercedes finished third, while Lotus’ Romain Grosjean took
the fourth spot. Grosjean’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, who won the Abu Dhabi GP
one year ago, had his race end on the first lap when he sustained damage to
his front suspension after hitting the rear of Charles Pic’s Caterham.
Raikkonen had to start from the back of the grid since he was excluded from
Saturday’s qualifying. His car failed a post-qualifying floor deflection test.