Sebastian Vettel climbed out of his Red Bull car, pumped his right fist then held up eight fingers, one for each of his consecutive victories.
Formula One’s German dominator just keeps on winning.
The four-time world champion won the US Grand Prix in easy fashion on Sunday, setting a Formula One season record with his eighth straight victory behind another blistering drive that gave the field no chance to catch him.
“Incredible. It’s one of those [records] you never expect to be beaten,” Vettel said.
Vettel started from the pole position he snagged from teammate Mark Webber of Australia in the finals seconds of Saturday’s qualifying.
The No. 1 spot proved important. Vettel’s trademark quick start got him through the critical first turn ahead of the traffic and his lead was never threatened.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean of France was second, his best finish of the year. Webber was third.
Vettel charges into the weekend’s season finale in Brazil with a chance to tie Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record of 13 victories in a single season. Schumacher set the mark in 2004 and also won seven straight races that year.
Vettel is also closing on the overall Formula One record for consecutive victories of nine, set by Alberto Ascari over parts of the 1952 and 1953 seasons.
“At the end of the day, what makes me jump into the car is not a certain number, but certainly today, when you realize you’ve done it, it makes you very proud in that moment,” Vettel said.
After the victory, Vettel spun his car through several doughnuts, a move that has drawn fines from the sport’s governing body earlier this season.
Vettel later appeared to wipe away tears as he stood on the winner’s podium while listening to the German national anthem. He has been so dominant this season and in recent years that he has been greeted with boos after several victories. Vettel has dismissed the jeers as frustration from fans of teams who cannot beat him.
“We have to remember these days,” Vettel told his crew over the car radio after the victory. “I love you guys. We have an incredible team spirit. I’m so proud of you. I love you.”
The 26-year-old made his Formula One debut at 19 in the 2007 US Grand Prix in Indianapolis and now has a title that escaped him last year. Vettel led most of that race in Austin until Lewis Hamilton passed him late to get the win.
Vettel had called that a frustrating loss and ruthlessly dominated the field this time.
He avoided the danger of the treacherous first corner that pushes the drivers up and into a blind left turn back down the hill. Once through that and still in the lead, Vettel immediately began pulling away.
Webber, frustrated at losing pole position on Saturday, had a terrible start from second spot. Grosjean and Mercedes’ Hamilton both nosed ahead and pushed him into fourth barely seconds into the race.
“[Saturday] is when the victory was made easy for Seb,” Webber said.
Webber fought back to overtake Hamilton, who finished fourth. He pushed Grosjean through several tense laps late on, but could not slip into second as Grosjean held him off.
“You want to be on the outside of turn one, but Romain was already there,” Webber said. “Romain drove a very good race.”
For Grosjean, it was another impressive result in the second half of the season as he earned his fourth podium finish of the year and the third in six races.
“The strategy was pretty clear: If we were with Mark, we copied what he was doing. If he was pitting for hard tires, we would pit for hard tires,” Grosjean said.
The only dangerous incident came on the first lap. Sahara Force India’s Adrian Sutil was knocked out of the race when he bumped tires with Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez. The bump sent Sutil nose first into the wall and put the race almost immediately under a yellow flag. Sutil was able to climb out of the car unhurt.
For the 37-year-old Webber, Brazil will be his last race in Formula One. He is leaving after 12 years, seven of them with Red Bull, a span that has featured some tense moments with Vettel.
Webber has nine career Formula One victories, but none this year despite two starts from pole position and three more from second place. He will race for Porsche in the world endurance championships next year.
“It’s time,” Webber said. “Driving around in the middle of the race I was thinking: ‘Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.’”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in