F1 will have its championship finale in Brazil next Sunday, after Sebastian Vettel failed to win the US grand prix. But Red Bull's German further expanded his points lead over his never-say-die titl...

F1 will have its championship finale in Brazil next Sunday, after Sebastian Vettel failed to win the US grand prix.

But Red Bull's German further expanded his points lead over his never-say-die title rival Fernando Alonso in Austin, with the gap now 13 points with just the twentieth race of the season in Sao Paulo still lying ahead.

"It's looking a bit better after today," said Vettel. "Now we have another step to make in Brazil."

Red Bull secured its third consecutive constructors' championship on Sunday, but the team was not really celebrating after Vettel was beaten to the flag by race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel was frustrated to have been passed by McLaren's Hamilton in the DRS zone, after the German was held up in the preceding corners by backmarker Narain Karthikeyan.

"That wasn't your fault," team boss Christian Horner told Vettel - who had sounded furious on the radio - afterwards.

"It's going to be a busy week ahead of us," Horner said on British television Sky.

But the mathematics are very much in Red Bull's favour, because even if Ferrari's Alonso wins at Interlagos next week, Vettel would only have to finish fourth to be champion.

With a looming forecast of rain for Brazil, however, Alonso - who climbed from seventh on the grid to third at the chequered flag on Sunday - is not giving up.

"You've been brilliant all season," F1 legend Mario Andretti told Alonso on the podium, "and obviously you're fighting to the end."

Reliability could also be a factor, as Vettel's teammate Mark Webber retired on Sunday with yet another failed alternator, even though supplier Renault had debuted a new specification this weekend.

"Very much so, it (reliability) is so fragile," Red Bull's Adrian Newey admitted on Sunday. "Renault haven't managed to find a proper solution to that one."

Pos

No

Driver

Team

Laps

Time/Retired

Grid

Pts

1

4

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren-Mercedes

56

1:35:55.269

2

25

2

1

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing-Renault

56

+0.6 secs

1

18

3

5

Fernando Alonso

Ferrari

56

+39.2 secs

7

15

4

6

Felipe Massa

Ferrari

56

+46.0 secs

11

12

5

3

Jenson Button

McLaren-Mercedes

56

+56.4 secs

12

10

6

9

Kimi Räikkönen

Lotus-Renault

56

+64.4 secs

4

8

7

10

Romain Grosjean

Lotus-Renault

56

+70.3 secs

8

6

8

12

Nico Hulkenberg

Force India-Mercedes

56

+73.7 secs

6

4

9

18

Pastor Maldonado

Williams-Renault

56

+74.5 secs

9

2

10

19

Bruno Senna

Williams-Renault

56

+75.1 secs

10

1

11

15

Sergio Perez

Sauber-Ferrari

56

+84.3 secs

15

 

12

16

Daniel Ricciardo

STR-Ferrari

56

+84.8 secs

18

 

13

8

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes

56

+85.5 secs

17

 

14

14

Kamui Kobayashi

Sauber-Ferrari

55

+1 Lap

16

 

15

11

Paul di Resta

Force India-Mercedes

55

+1 Lap

13

 

16

7

Michael Schumacher

Mercedes

55

+1 Lap

5

 

17

21

Vitaly Petrov

Caterham-Renault

55

+1 Lap

21

 

18

20

Heikki Kovalainen

Caterham-Renault

55

+1 Lap

22

 

19

24

Timo Glock

Marussia-Cosworth

55

+1 Lap

19

 

20

25

Charles Pic

Marussia-Cosworth

54

+2 Laps

20

 

21

22

Pedro de la Rosa

HRT-Cosworth

54

+2 Laps

23

 

22

23

Narain Karthikeyan

HRT-Cosworth

54

+2 Laps

24

 

Ret

2

Mark Webber

Red Bull Racing-Renault

16

Alternator

3

 

Ret

17

Jean-Eric Vergne

STR-Ferrari

14

Suspension

14

 

Note - Grosjean dropped five grid places for unscheduled gearbox change. Massa dropped five after Ferrari broke FIA gearbox seal.

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