Sebastian Vettel finished second at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Sunday, giving Red Bull Racing the points it needed to lock up its third constructor's championships in a row -- and join elite company.
Only three other teams have won three straight titles: Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.
"It's fantastic. It's all down to the team. We've joined a list of illustrious teams," said Red Bull Racing Team Boss Christian Horner after the race.
Vettel, in finishing ahead of Ferrari's Fernano Alonso, also padded his slim lead in the drivers' championship -- 273 to 260 -- going into the season's final race next week in Brazil.
The points gap might have been more had it not been for a shrewd and controversial decision by Ferrari moments before the race.
With Alonso qualifying down in eighth position and his teammate Felipe Massa, who was already eliminated from the championship, in sixth, the team elected to open a seal on Massa's gearbox.
The move meant that Massa had to incur a five-spot grid penalty, effectively bumping Alonso up to seventh and setting both cars on the cleaner side of the track.
"It's fantastic. It's all down to the team. We've joined a list of illustrious teams" -- Christian Horner
Ferrari's move seemed to pay off immediately at the start, as Alonso moved up to fourth at the very first corner -- the minimal position he needed to ensure the title hunt would continue in Brazil.
Vettel, meanwhile, had the advantage early. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton showed surprising speed, however, and remained close throughout the 56 lap race. By the middle laps, the McLaren driver had closed the gap to around a second or less.
Then on lap 42, Vettel ran up against HRT's Narain Karthikeyan, who was down a lap. Karthikeyan was slow in allowing Vettel through and within three corners, Hamilton was close enough to set up a pass down the long back straight between turns 11 and 12.
Hamilton would make it stick for his third win of the season.
Vettel, who had the fastest lap of the race on the final lap with 1m 39.347s, said on the podium after the race, "He had one chance and he took it." He added, "I'm very happy to the team in particular, we won the constructors' championship."
Alonso finished third, adding a strange bit of trivia to the day: it was the first time that Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso -- with seven titles between them -- have been on the podium at the same time
"The circuit was fantastic, and the fans have been fantastic all weekend," said a smiling Alonso, no doubt happy that he still had a mathematical shot at his third world title.
However, there was nothing stopping Red Bull Racing from celebrating a constructors' championship in Austin on Sunday -- even with Mark Webber's car dropping out early due to engine failure.
Horner said that the team now has their head down and focused on the drivers' championship for Vettel. "It's going to be a busy week ahead of us," he said.
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||0.6|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||73.7|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||84.8|
|Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber||1 Lap|
|Paul di Resta||Force India||1 Lap|
|Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||1 Lap|
|Vitaly Petrov||Caterham||1 Lap|
|Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham||1 Lap|
|Timo GLock||Marussia||1 Lap|
|Charles Pic||Marussia||2 Lap|
|Pedro de la Rosa||HRT||2 Lap|
|Narain Karthikeyan||HRT||2 Lap|
|Mark Webber||Red Bull||40 Lap|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||42 Lap|
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