NOVEMBER 18, 2013
Only Vettel not bored as 2013 nears end
Even Sebastian Vettel's post-race 'donuts' are becoming predictable, after the quadruple world champion on Sunday smashed an old Michael Schumacher record in Texas.
Not even in Schumacher's ultra-dominant Ferrari era last decade did the great German win eight races on the trot in a single season, but Red Bull's Vettel put the lid on that achievement at the chequered flag of the US grand prix.
"I'm not getting bored!" he grinned afterwards.
However - with the possible exception of those who wear dark blue uniforms in the paddock - Vettel may not find many who agree with him, one week ahead of Brazil's season finale.
"Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes badly need to raise their game," said Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary, "because there are no prizes for guessing who is going to win in Brazil."
Even Bernie Ecclestone apparently got bored in Austin, as he left the Circuit of the Americas with his police escort on lap 43, according to Bild newspaper.
Perhaps that was because even the battles behind Vettel on Sunday were few and far between.
Pirelli took an ultra-conservative approach with hard compounds for the US grand prix weekend, raising concerns that one-stop strategies remove too much excitement from the races.
Speed Week reports that at the next meeting of F1's new strategy group, a proposal from Pirelli to mandate two-stop strategies in 2014 will be considered.
A minor point of note from Sunday's race was that it guaranteed Fernando Alonso will keep second place in the drivers' championship, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and the now-absent Kimi Raikkonen.
"It's a small reward for me," the Spaniard said, "the same as being first of the 'mortals' behind Red Bull."
But F1 legend Mario Andretti said in Austin that Alonso can still be proud, even though Vettel's dominance at present is absolute.
"It's hard to say which one of them is better," he told the Spanish sports daily AS.
"But the fact that after four consecutive titles for Vettel we are still discussing it, shows that Alonso is still an amazing driver, and that both of them are probably among the best ever," Andretti added.