Vettel basks in Brazil

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SAO PAULO, November 7- German Sebastian Vettel kept alive his challenge for the Formula One drivers' world championship on Sunday when he led his Red Bull team-mate and title rival Australian Mark Webber home in the Brazilian Grand Prix.Their one-two triumph confirmed the Red Bull team as the 2010 constructors’ champions, but left the drivers’ title race wide open with both drivers still fighting to take the crown from leading Ferrari driver two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Alonso finished a steady third for Ferrari ahead of the 2008 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton, who was fourth ahead of last year’s champion and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.

"An incredible day and I am feeling very proud now for the team," said Vettel afterwards.

"It was not easy, but once I took the lead I could control the race and look after my tyres for those final laps after the Safety Car.

"It is fantastic to get a one-two and now I have to shake off these other guys in the other championship!"

Webber was realistic about his own place, but happy for the team.

"Most of these races are decided on Saturday or on the opening lap and that’s the way it is.. Seb drove a good race and won it and fair play to him. But I am really stoked for the guys back in Milton Keynes."

Alonso said: "I lost my chance to challenge these guys at the start when it took me some time to catch them and I lost 12 seconds.

"But overall we did what we wanted to do and now we go to Abu Dhabi and see who wins the title. Congratulations, of course, to Red Bull."

Hamilton was downcast. Although he has a mathematical chance to take the title, he said: "I was nowhere. We had nothing. You can’t win if your car isn’t fast enough."

Button, who lost his hopes of retaining his title, said: "It was fun and I guess it was a good way to lose a title to come home like that."

German Nico Rosberg came home sixth for Mercedes ahead of his team-mate seven-times champion Michael Schumacher and another German Nico Hulkenberg, who had started from his maiden pole position for the Williams team.

Pole Robert Kubica was ninth for Renault and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi 10th for Sauber on a rare racing day in Brazil when the drivers title was not resolved. It will now be decided in the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi next Sunday.

Alonso will fly in for that event with 246 points, a lead of eight points at the head of the championship ahead of Webber on 238 and the rapid Vettel on 231.

Hamilton has just 222 points in fourth and needs a near-miraculous set of results in the final race to grab the title while Button, on 199, has now had to concede he cannot keep his crown.

In the constructors’ title race, Red Bull have 469 point and second placed McLaren have 421, a position that delighted the Milton Keynes based team and their paddock supporters.

Earlier, on a warm and dry morning at Interlagos, the paddock was buzzing with the news of Button’s escape from an armed gang on Saturday evening as the sun rose ahead of the 71-laps race.

When the lights went out, 23-year-old German rookie Nico Hulkenberg in his Williams made a decent getaway from his surprising maiden pole position, but could not resist the surge inside him of compatriot Vettel, also 23, in his Red Bull.

Vettel swept through at the Senna ‘S’ and was soon followed by his Red Bull team-mate and rival Webber who dummied ‘the Hulk’ sweetly to gain second place at the Curva do Sol.

This put the warring Red Bull men, reminded by team chief Christian Horner to "behave" before the start, in a one-two formation at the top.

Behind them, Alonso attacked Hamilton for fourth and after a few bids to pass found his way through on lap two when the 2008 champion made an unforced error.

Hulkenberg, having been passed so easily by the Red Bulls, put up stiffer resistance to Alonso and the Spaniard did not find a way past him for third place until laps seven.

By lap 41, Webber was within 2.4 seconds of Vettel – the youngster he believed had been receiving the emotional support of the team at his expense this season – and clearly ready for a scrap.

All three of the leading drivers knew that the running order favoured Alonso if it remained unchanged, but that a Webber win would swing the prospects towards the Australian for the final race of the season.

Red Bull though had declared ahead of the race that there were no team orders and that their drivers were free to compete sensibly.

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