Sebastian Vettel took his fourth victory of the season at Interlagos leading home team-mate Mark Webber to earn Red Bull Racing their first-ever constructors’ title.
By winning in Brazil, Vettel ensured that a three-way title fight will go to Abu Dhabi next Sunday after beating his Red Bull team-mate and Ferrari rival to race victory.
The German took the lead into the Senna S on the opening lap, easily passing the Williams of Nico Hülkenberg who started in pole position.
From that point onwards, Vettel drove a perfect race to take the chequered flag in style. The focus will now shift to the drivers’ championship as the Milton Keynes-based team celebrated their first constructors’ title thanks to a one-two finish.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in third and he still leads the drivers’ championship with an eight-point advantage with one race remaining.
As for Lewis Hamilton, he is still within the title battle with a fourth place finish and yet the McLaren driver complained all race about a lack of grip which made it difficult for him to challenge.
Team-mate Jenson Button finished in fifth position but is now out of the running in this season’s championship battle.
The Silver Arrows came home in sixth and seventh with Nico Rosberg ahead of Michael Schumacher. The latter was the last driver to finish on the lead lap.
Qualifying hero Nico Hülkenberg took eighth for Williams after starting the Brazilian Grand Prix in pole position. The young German drove a solid race resisting heavy pressure from Lewis Hamilton and by scoring four points, The Hulk is helping out his Williams team in the constructors’ standings. Hopefully his performance in Brazil will earn the Formula One rookie a seat on the grid next season.
Renault’s Robert Kubica took ninth while Kamui Kobayashi claimed the final point for Sauber after a fraught race-long scrap for the position that involved Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Rubens Barrichello at various stages of the race.
Felipe Massa ended up P14, his already poor race ruined early on when he had to stop twice due a problem with a wheel-nut on the right front. As for Rubens Barrichello, his bad luck at Interlagos continued as he suffered a puncture while battling with Alguersuari. The Brazilian finished in P16.
In the battle of the new teams, Heikki Kovalainen claimed the honours for Lotus, leading team-mate Trulli to the flag well clear of Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock and HRT’s Bruno Senna.
So the drivers’ championship now goes down to the wire in Abu Dhabi, with Fernando Alonso leading the standings with eight points over Mark Webber and 15 points compared to race winner Sebastian Vettel. For Lewis Hamilton, he is 24 points behind and has admitted he needs a miracle to claim the title.
Race results from Interlagos, 71 laps:
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h33:11.803
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault +4.243
3. Alonso Ferrari +6.807
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +14.634
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes +15.593
6. Rosberg Mercedes +35.300
7. Schumacher Mercedes +43.400
8. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
9. Kubica Renault +1 lap
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Massa Ferrari +1 lap
15. Petrov Renault +1 lap
16. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
17. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth +2 laps
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth +2 laps
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth +2 laps
21. Senna HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
22. Klien HRT-Cosworth +6 laps
Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:13.851
Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 63 laps
Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 50 laps
World Championship standings, round 18:
1. Alonso 246
2. Webber 238
3. Vettel 231
4. Hamilton 222
5. Button 199
6. Massa 143
7. Rosberg 130
8. Kubica 126
9. Schumacher 72
10. Barrichello 47
11. Sutil 47
12. Kobayashi 32
13. Hulkenberg 22
14. Liuzzi 21
15. Petrov 19
16. Buemi 8
17. De la Rosa 6
18. Heidfeld 6
19. Alguersuari 3
1. Red Bull-Renault 469
2. McLaren-Mercedes 421
3. Ferrari 389
4. Mercedes 202
5. Renault 145
6. Williams-Cosworth 69
7. Force India-Mercedes 68
8. Sauber-Ferrari 44
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11
Next race: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina. November 12-14.