Sebastian Vettel, John Surtees, Niki Lauda and Matt Parry were amongst the big winners during the 2013 Autosport Awards last night (1 December).
The annual awards evening at London’s Grovesnor House Hotel brought over 1,000 faces from motorsport together to celebrate a superb 2013 season.
Amongst those in attendance were now four-time F1 champion Vettel, WRC champion Sebastian Ogier, World Endurance champion Allan McNish and F1 legends Surtees, Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and Sir Stirling Moss.
Vettel arrived into the main room to a standing ovation and the crowd were soon back on their feet in his honour as he received his now obligatory International Racing Driver of the Year award.
“It is still very special for me walking down those steps; it is absolutely humbling,” said Vettel. “It has been four years coming here to a room full of motorsport people, I wouldn’t mind another four. I know how much work goes into achieving that, and I get to pick this nice trophy up at the end every time.”
To mark his fourth consecutive success in the category, the German produced a hilarious speech to rapturous applause from the crowd, including an imitation of FIA President Jean Todt about the recent fines for donuts.
Almost as predictable as Vettel’s win was the victor of the Racing Car of the Year award, with Red Bull collecting the award once again, this time for their all-conquering RB9 model.
In the rally equivalents, Ogier secured an expected International Rally Driver of the Year triumph, though there was a surprise in the Rally Car of the Year award, Sebastien Loeb’s Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak beating the Volkswagen Polo WRC to the honours.
“I had to work to achieve my goal and my dream and it happened this year. I’m very proud to be world champion and have joined the list,” said Ogier. “I think it’s very impressive to have reached this level of competition with the first car and I must congratulate the team for that.”
Two of the most popular wins of the night were the overdue Gregor Grant awards for lifetime achievement to former F1 champions Lauda and Surtees.
The awards were handed to them by John Watson and Dario Franchitti respectively, the latter being another to receive a rousing reception from the crowd after his recent retirement from the sport.
Franchitti’s cousin Paul Di Resta also graced the stage, handing out the Pioneering and Innovation award to the team behind the Nissan GT Academy.
The John Bolster award meanwhile was given to McLaren, honouring the British marque’s fifty years of continued technical excellence in motorsport.
Jules Bianchi beat Marussia F1 team-mate Max Chilton to win the Rookie of the Year award, while Lewis Hamiton picked up the British Competition Driver of the Year.
“I apologise I can’t be there but I’m very proud and honoured to have been voted by the public. It’s been a while and I’m very grateful to have another one, it’s always a special award to have,” Hamilton commented in a video message.
On the national theme, Formula Ford GB champion Dan Cammish secured the British Club Driver of the Year award, with BTCC victor Andrew Jordan taking home the National Driver of the Year trophy.
The final prize of the night was the 25th running of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, with Formula Renault NEC champion Parry emerging victorious from a close-fought battle to win a prize fund including £100,000 and a McLaren Mercedes F1 test.
“It’s fantastic. Absolutely amazing – I don’t know what to say,” enthused Parry. “I feel I did the best I could [in the shootout] and obviously the last couple of months I’ve been thinking about what I can do better, and I just thought I couldn’t have.”