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GP Week : Issue 196
F1 >>> FEATUrE Driver of the year It would be all too easy to nominate record-breaking wunderkind Sebastian Vettel in this category, but SebVet has been the class of the field for the past four years. Instead, GPWEEK has chosen to celebrate Romain Grosjean (right), whose personal development over the past 12 months has known no bounds. The former ‘first lap nutcase’ has proved to be one of the most impressive drivers of the season, collecting podium finishes in one-third of the races this year, and challenging for the win on more than one occasion. Perhaps most remarkably, Grosjean is probably the first driver in F1 history to have found a few tenths following the birth of his first child, becoming one of the fastest men on the grid in the back half of the season. Car of the year Without a doubt, the best F1-inspired car of the 2013 season was the Renault Twizy F1 (far right), a piece of marketing genius that was no match whatsoever for the FIA-homologated beasts that inspired its creation. Designed to show off how clever the Renault engineering department is, the Twizy F1 is a silly piece of kit that’s guaranteed to raise a smile. Renault-powered drivers Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean, and Charles Pic have all had a go in the souped-up golf cart, giving slightly more credibility to the F1 part of the remodelled Twizy’s name. That’s if the tech itself doesn’t convince you – KERS, a front wing, rear diffuser, and sidepods, although the aerodynamic gains made from the last three items on that list are hardly on a par with the RB9. They do, however, make it look as much like a Formula One car as is possible for a Twizy, and that’s no mean feat. Circuit of the year Interlagos (bottom right) is a marmite circuit, loved and loathed in equal measure by those who work there. Journalists wax nostalgic about the proper racers’ paddock, with its mountain of stairs, total lack of space, and miniature garages. Photographers and team members complain about their inability to work properly in Portakabins. But everyone loves the track, the only circuit on the calendar that can be seen in its entirety from the press room. Interlagos’ sweeping undulations and tight corners make the anti-clockwise track a challenge for the drivers, while the circuit’s altitude makes it tough on engines. Given that the circuit will soon be revamped, it’s time to celebrate the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace’s ramshackle charm before it disappears for good. Best race of the year Not only was the Hungaroring home to the last grand prix before Sebastian Vettel’s record-breaking streak of post-summer break wins, but it was the last point at which it looked as though the 2013 season might see a title fight. After securing endless poles but no wins in the early part of the year, Lewis Hamilton broke his duck for Mercedes, winning from pole in scorching conditions that should have seen the Briton’s tyres destroyed in the first few laps. Behind Hamilton, Jenson Button delivered his best drive of the season, while tussles between Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel kept the drama going in the closing stages. 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: