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The F1 2013 season in pictures

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    The
    Autocourse annual - the stocking filler of choice for the discerning
    Formula One fan - is now in its 62nd year.  And while the 2013 Formula 1 season may
    not live long in the memory, once it’s been filtered down to 360 very glossy
    pages we reckon it’s still a decent way to while away those long days of Crimbo
     limbo.

    To give
    you a flavour, here’s our seasonal pick of our Autocourse’s F1 images of 2013,
    accompanied by our memories of a season utterly dominated by the man above. Which is
    your favourite?

    (To
    order a copy, head to Autocourse.com (and remember, back copies from the 70s
    regularly trade hands on eBay for £250 and more. So if not for yourself, just
    think of the grandchildren.))

  2. If there
    was a tear in Mark Webber’s eye as he completed his last lap in an F1 car, it
    was only the wind in his face. As if blowing his teammate away wasn’t enough,
    Sebastian Vettel reneged on a deal to hold position in Malaysia. After that,
    Webber never really looked like he wanted to be behind the wheel of his RB9,
    which responded by breaking down as often as it could.

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    Felipe
    Massa started his 2013 season well, out-qualifying Fernando Alonso. He finished
    it well, too, heading for a podium at home until the stewards got involved. In
    between…? Not so great. Certainly not what Ferrari needed, when you consider
    the Scuderia has gone out of its way to suggest that even Alonso might not be
    good enough to drive one of its cars. Massa made way for Räikkonen, but not before
    some donuts.

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    Paul di
    Resta won’t be driving an F1 car in 2014, his seat at Force India taken by
    Sergio Perez. Di Resta needed the best of seasons to keep the drive, and
    he was patchy. It wasn’t always his fault and maybe, in retrospect, letting the
    world know that via the radio wasn’t the best of ideas. Just three Brits in F1
    in 2014, then.

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    Even the
    broad shoulders of Jenson Button - a driver who has enjoyed more than his
    personal share of mixed fortunes - struggled to carry McLaren’s worst season in
    three decades. He looked beaten, confused and exhausted, constantly trying to
    keep the MP-28 in touch and Sergio Perez behind. Which he did, mostly, although
    enough to justify McLaren firing Perez after just one season?

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    This time
    last year Mercedes was talking down its chances. 2013 would be another interim
    year, it said, while the team got used to its new star driver, Lewis Hamilton.
    Now, after a year that saw LH take five pole positions, one win and fourth place in the
    driver’s championship, the team is still talking up its chances for 2014. We
    shall see…

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    A year ago,
    you would not have got long odds on Romain Grosjean seeing out the season, let
    alone heading in to 2014 as Lotus’ de facto team-leader (alongside
    Maldonado, who brings cash where Räikkonen once brought talent). Once Kimi made
    it clear he’d had enough, RoGros stepped up to the plate, the man you expected to be on the podium next to Vettel and Webber by the end of the season.

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    Singapore,
    no matter how dull the racing, no matter how oppressive the environment,
    continues to grow in stature among the flagship races on the F1 calendar. With
    The Killers and Rihanna playing on the back lawn this year it was down to a
    sporting super-celebrity to up the ante in the paddock. David Beckham duly
    obliged, hanging with Lewis Hamilton until the early hours. How the other half
     live…

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    Quite why
    Fernando Alonso was obliged to explain himself to the world’s media over and
    over again in 2013 remains a mystery. He gave his all (again) to finish second
    to Sebatian Vettel (again) in a car that was simply not good enough (again).
    Yet some at Ferrari chose to single out Alonso for criticism, while overlooking
    the deficiencies in the Scuderia’s engineering and aerodynamic teams. Slightly
    unfair, we feel.  

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    Did McLaren
    fire the right man? You’d assume so, but with McLaren’s current ability to make
    the wrong call on, well, pretty much everything, it’s hard to be certain. Checo
    Perez certainly ruffled some feathers, but wasn’t that exactly what he was
    asked to do? And once he’d accepted his fate with appropriate public
    graciousness, he did what any slighted driver would do; went out there and beat
    his team mate.

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    We know how the man above feels. 2013 was, especially after the summer break, a pretty
    terrible season. And frankly it wasn’t great before: drivers seeing not how
    fast they could go, but how far they could on a set of tyres. It wasn’t to
    everyone’s taste. It possibly wasn’t to anyone’s. Will it be sorted for 2014?
    Hopefully, although that meagre fuel allowance is looking interesting…  

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