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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  25 Nov 2012   |  8:19 pm GMT  |  525 comments

Sebastian Vettel has become only the third man in history – and the youngest – to claim three consecutive Formula One World Championship titles after an exhilarating season finale in Brazil, which saw Jenson Button claim victory.

Vettel overcame a first lap collision which dropped him to 17th, three pit-stops and a broken radio which meant the team wasn’t expecting him for one of his stops, to take sixth place and join Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as triple-consecutive World Champions, as his fellow contender, Fernando Alonso, finished second in the race and three points behind Vettel at the climax.

In a three year spell of dominance, Vettel also becomes only the ninth three times world champion, along with Schumacher, Fangio, Senna, Prost, Piquet, Lauda, Brabham and Stewart.

“Only two guys have done that (three consecutive titles) before, you need to be in the right place at the right time, but I also believe that you make your own luck,” said an exhausted Vettel after the race.

“One of the great things about F1 is you can compare your era to the past. We are in Sao Paulo where Ayrton Senna came from and where he was buried and to come here and win the third time, what we achieved today is what we’ve been working for since I arrived (at Red Bull). You do this job because you love the sport and the excitement. The hardest thing is winning after winning. “

Schumacher, in his final race, took seventh place and the first points scoring finish for Mercedes in six races.

The title looked like it could have been settled on the very first lap, as a slow starting Vettel was squeezed by team mate Webber, then tapped in to a spin by Bruno Senna at Turn Four, who damaged bodywork on the left side of Vettel’s car, then hit the rear-right of the Red Bull quite heavily. At this stage Alonso was already in fourth place, which soon became third and for a short time it seemed that he could turn the pre-race near impossible around.

It looked inconceivable that Vettel would not sustain any serious damage but, like in Abu Dhabi, he was able to keep his cool and make his way from last place and in to the points. For Alonso, all he could do was keep it on the black stuff on his way to second, but it was not enough to stop the charging World Champion from gaining the necessary points.

The race lead changed hands throughout as the McLaren duo of Button and Lewis Hamilton both took turns, but could not keep a hard charging Nico Hulkenberg behind. As others were forced in to a change for intermediate tyres Button and Hulkenberg were the only drivers to stay out and hope for a break in the conditions. This turned out to be the case and they found themselves with a forty-five second lead as those behind had to switch back to dry tyres. However, this lead was to be undone by a Safety Car for debris on the circuit, which bunched the pack up and reopened the possibilities for the World Title.


At this point Hulkenberg lead the race, after taking first place from Button around the outside of Turn one, and began to pull away from the McLaren pairing. The Force India driver excelled in the wet conditions on slick tyres, but after a half-spin he lost the lead to Hamilton and had to hunt him down as the rain once again hardened.

On Lap 52, as Hamilton was caught in traffic behind Heikki Kovalainen, Hulkenberg seized the opportunity and tried to out-brake the race leader, braking late and off the racing line he slid in to Hamilton and forced the Briton out of his final race for McLaren.

Hulkenberg subsequently received a drive-through penalty, dropping him to fifth position and dreams of what could have been in his final race for Force India.

Button was the man to gain from the collision in front and he was able to control the race from then on, taking his third victory of the season and 15th of his career.

Completing the podium was Felipe Massa, in the process helping his team secure second in the Constructors’ Championship, worth an estimated $10 million in extra prize money compared to third. He has had a fine finish to the season and his change in form has been very much key to Ferrari retaining that spot ahead of McLaren. Massa sat comfortably in second as the race neared the end but as expected he let Alonso through to take the maximum points available.

Behind the top three Mark Webber also had an eventful race in a Red Bull car as he ran wide trying to overtake Vettel following the Safety Car and then spun at Juncao. He was able to recover to his most common position, taking his sixth 4th position of the year.

Completing the top ten was Jean-Eric Vergne, Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen. Vergne, in particular, produced a very strong drive from a seventeenth place start to take his fourth points scoring position in his debut year. Kobayashi had battled with Vettel and Massa during the middle phase of the race, but spun after a brush with Schumacher and dropped to ninth. Raikkonen, meanwhile, seemed to get lost after running off the track at Juncao and tried to rejoin through an escape road, which turned out to be a dead-end.

In a crucial race for the three tail-end teams, Caterham were able to clinch tenth position as Vitaly Petrov finished eleventh ahead of Marussia’s Charles Pic. With Pic moving to Caterham in 2013 and a substantial amount of money gained by finishing tenth, today’s result could have been due to savvy gamesmanship by the young Frenchman.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]

* Be sure to order your copy of the new book JA on F1 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously, with all the race reports from 2012, plus insights, behind the scenes stories and lots of new material.

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX, Interlagos, 71 Laps

1. Button McLaren 1h45:22.656
2. Alonso Ferrari + 2.754
3. Massa Ferrari + 3.615
4. Webber Red Bull + 4.936
5. Hulkenberg Force India + 5.708
6. Vettel Red Bull + 9.453
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 11.900
8. Vergne Toro Rosso + 28.600
9. Kobayashi Sauber + 31.200
10. Raikkonen Lotus + 1 lap
11. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
12. Pic Marussia + 1 lap
13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1 lap
14. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
15. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Glock Marussia + 2 laps
17. De la Rosa HRT + 2 laps
18. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps
19. Di Resta Force India + 3 laps

Final Driver Standings
1. Vettel 281
2. Alonso 278
3. Raikkonen 207
4. Hamilton 190
5. Button 188
6. Webber 179
7. Massa 122
8. Grosjean 96
9. Rosberg 93
10. Perez 66

Constructors’ Standings

1. Red Bull-Renault 460
2. Ferrari 400
3. McLaren-Mercedes 378
4. Lotus-Renault 303
5. Mercedes 142
6. Sauber-Ferrari 126
7. Force India-Mercedes 109
8. Williams-Renault 76
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 26
10. Caterham 0 (11th place best finish)

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  1. Remco says:

    Hats off for Vettel for winning his 3rd. Very lucky in the first lap though, everybody else would have retired when hit so hard by another car.

    Hamilton very unlucky as always this season.

    1. Joe B says:

      Lucky must be Vettel’s middle name. It was Abu Dabhi and that amazing slice of jamminess that turned this title despite the best attempts of Ferarri to capitalise on the early season.

      I only hope the rabbit’s foot doesn’t last forever – James, you said that if he won this title he would be an indisputable great – that’s probably true, but just a shame that these results will outlive the average (by F1 standards) driver that achieved them.

      1. brny666 says:

        Lucky must be Alonso’s middle name for having the top dogs around him fail for the first half of the season. Also for having tarmac where should be gravel. If they didn’t decide to resurface the run off at turn one the WDC would have been decided by lap 20 as Alonso went off there not once but twice.
        Now you see luck goes both ways in this case and average out overall in the season.

      2. Andrew M says:

        If there was still gravel there then drivers wouldn’t push as hard into these corners.

    2. Gate 21 says:

      <>

      If that is a direct quote from Vettel then I’d like him to explain how he made Senna not rip a wheel of his car at Turn 4 in the secondary impact.

      Maybe Adrian Newey has a secret luck generator packed into the car next to the alternator?

    3. KRB says:

      Hamilton very unlucky that Hulk’s spin put him out, while Hulk was able to keep going. Unbelievably bad luck, but it keeps up the pattern of Hamilton always retiring out of the next race following a victory.

      Congrats to Vettel, but yes, crazy that he survived that crash w/o race-ending damage, while two others did. It was almost as though Perez tried hard to avoid Vettel that he caused himself to get the worst of it.

      Exhibit A of how stats can lie: Button only 2 pts behind Hamilton in the standings!! Simply unbelievable.

      This was the first race where Kimi hasn’t completed every race lap (finished 1 lap down in Brazil)!

      Surprised also that Hamilton’s fast lap when the track was drying held up as the fastest lap of the race (a low 1:18 I think). That’s his only one this year, which is surprising (though of course FL can be heavily influenced by late tire changes, etc.).

      Overall, in 2012, I think from each team, these were the drivers who padded their CV: VET, ALO, HAM, RAI, ROS, PER, HUL, MAL, RIC, KOV, GLO, DLR.

      What I get out of the final stats:

      - by Bernie’s gold medal system, the right driver won the DWC
      - 13/20 podiums is a great stat by Alonso
      - Kimi kept his points-streak going, even after driving down an escape road, then back again!
      - 14 race finishes by Lewis: with no points in 30% of the races, you better be winning a lot of the ones you finish in

      Final stats
      =============

      Wins: SV5,LH4,FA3,JB3,MW2,KR1,NR1,PM1

      Podiums:
      FA13,SV10,KR7,LH7,JB6,MW4,
      RG3,SP3,FM2,NR2,KK1,MS1,PM1

      T5 Finishes (3+):
      FA16,SV15,KR11,LH10,JB10,
      MW10,FM7,NR4,RG4,SP3,NH3,KK3

      Pts Finishes (10+):
      KR19,FA18,SV17,MW15,LH14,JB14,
      FM14,NH11,RG10,NR10,BS10

      Longest podium streaks (2+):
      SV6,FA5,FA3,KR3,LH3,FA2(2x),KR2,MW2

      Current podium streak: FA5,JB1,FM1

      Longest T5 streaks (2+):
      FA7,SV6,KR6,FA5,SV4,JB4,MW4,
      LH3,FM2(3x),SV2(2x),FA2(2x),
      MW2(2x),JB2,KR2,LH2,RG2,NR2

      Current T5 streak:
      FA5,JB4,FM2,MW1,NH1

      Longest pts finish streaks (3+):
      KR17,FA11,FM10,SV7,LH7,MW7,NR6,
      SV5,FA5,JB5,SV4,JB4,MW4,LH3,MW3,
      RG3,NH3,PdR3,MS3,BS3,DR3

      Current pts finish streak:
      KR17,FM10,SV7,FA5,JB4,
      NH2,MW1,KK1,MS1,JV1

      Retirements (not classified)(3+):
      RG7,NK7,MS7,SP6,LH5,PM5,CP5,JV4,PdlR4,KK4,NR3

      T8-DWC Race Finishes (after Rd 20):
      KR20,FM19,SV18,FA18,MW17,JB16,LH14,RG11

      1. KRB says:

        Just saw this hilarious quote from Kimi:

        “I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again.”

        Hilarious! :-D

      2. azlie says:

        that was pretty much the moment of the season for me, it was like driving in a video game haha

      3. Mart says:

        So both Alonso and vettel had 2 retirements. All fair and square there then. I don’t get why also keeps on reiterating that he missed two races pretty much and there was the disadvantage. One can say that Vettel had pretty much the same disadvantage in Valencia & Monza right?

    4. JimmiC says:

      Surely Vettel was unlucky to be tipped into the spin by Senna and then whacked very hard in the first place? The fact that the car held together (albeit compromised) was fortunate so the two events balanced themselves out.

      It’s all karma…

      1. Remco de Waal says:

        It’s not karma. Senna didn’t tip Vettel into a spin, Vettel cut too deep into the corner and Senna had nowhere to go.

      2. Fellowes says:

        He was not unlucky to get the spin, as he was the one that caused it!

      3. KRB says:

        Yeah, I think he was opening himself up to too much risk by taking the corner as he did, with all the chaos there is on lap 1, and especially into that corner on lap 1.

        It is simply unbelievable that Vettel got tagged 3x in that incident, by two different cars, yet could carry on … meanwhile Hamilton gets what comparitively looked like a love tap from Hulkenberg’s tire, and it wrecks his suspension. Cruel fate.

  2. r0ssj says:

    Great race but really disappointing to see Vettel win this season. Even when things go wrong for Vettel he seems to get away with it. Don’t know how the Red Bull survived that crash on the first lap. I suppose it was inevitable really, once he didn’t retire Vettel was always going to get back into the points, especially with the 2 Torro Rosso’s, Webber and Schumacher all willing to get out of his way.

    Not that Alonso didn’t have any help. Massa was especially impressive, holding of the pack and allowing Alonso to get away in the early stages today.

    Alonso has been fantastic all season and deserved the title more in my opinion. Vettel has had the better car, some luck along the way and he got the job done, just. Here’s hoping Newey has an off season next year.

    1. Goober says:

      Well, Alonso got a safety car. That helped him.

      1. CJD says:

        and a drivethrough for hulk ..
        i think they could spared that one, man it was wet an kov also was around

        greetings

      2. KRB says:

        That’s like saying Schumi shouldn’t have received a penalty in Singapore b/c his brakes were too cold. It’s the driver’s job to assess the conditions, both in the car and on the track, to know what is or isn’t possible.

    2. Ghayth says:

      Vettel is the better driver just like that like or hate it

      1. fendermeister says:

        I doubt Vettel would have done what Alonso did in that Ferrari, Vettel started winning once he had the fastest car, Alonso was winning when he didn’t. This why a lot of people feel Alonso is the better driver. Vettel is fast on his day, but for me he is no Alonso. I say all this as a Hamilton fan.

      2. Aaron Noronha says:

        Buddy Vettel won his first race in a Torro Rosso which was definitely not the fastest car. And for your information all drivers need a fast car to win where was alonso in 2008 and 2009. This year the ferrari was slow in qualification but had the best race pace after mclaren over most of the season. The fastest car over the entire year was mclaren. Things just dint work out for them or Hamilton would have been in contention or would have already won the championship way before brazil

      3. Andre says:

        Ok, Torro Rosso had the fastest car in 08?

      4. BW says:

        Just check how fast was Vettel’s teammate in qualifying and you’ll know if Toro Rosso was fast in Italy in 2008.

      5. Nick says:

        Alonso won races not just with a slow car – he had a good and reliable car.

        He was lucky to do that just taken benefits when others leaders had problems like for this race (Lewis was taken out, otherwise he would never be on a podium )…

        I would say like this “he wins races on a slow car” when all top drivers (Lewis, Button, Webber, Seb) come home that races but that always wasn’t the case, something always happened with leaders.

        And the statement “winning when have the fastest car” is applicable to the most of the drivers, even to Alonso. Actually, you need to extract the speed from a car. Just take a look at Webber why he didn’t extract it having the same car??? If you treat Webber as a top driver then why you treat Vettel as not ?

      6. Dave C says:

        Yes look at Vettel’s team mate at Monza 2008 who was 4th whilst Seb was on pole so wheres your argument there?? and also Webber cant beat Vettel for the past 4 seasons I take it thats all luck I suppose?? Yet Button has beaten Hamilton on aggregate over the 3 seasons theyve been together at Mclaren and Alonso lost to the very same rookie Hamilton in 2007 so against team mates I think you’ll find Seb shines brighter than anyone including Senna.

      7. fendermeister says:

        I agree Vettel is fast but for this season 2012 (which is what I was talking about), I simply feel Alonso was better and di more with what he had. Vettel is a sound racing driver, no questions there, but Alonso in comparison just wowed me more and this year I think he did more with his car than Vettel, relatively speaking. I have little bias here as I support neither of these drivers. Just my observations.

      8. lecho says:

        It’s funny to see how Alonso fans tend to forget that he won his first WDC with a car far more superior than this year’s Red Bull due to tyre advantage, and the second one because of his opponent’s engine blow.

      9. fendermeister says:

        I’m not an Alonso fan! As fan of neither Alonso or Vettel I simply contend that Alonso did a better job overall than Vettel this year (forget previous years!!! I’m talking about THIS YEAR 2012!) Vettel was great, fast and clever, but Alonso for me was better in inferior equipment THIS YEAR! Don’t go quoting previous years people, I’m talking about 2012.

      10. hero_was_senna says:

        OMG, its taken 20 minutes to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes.
        Alonso finished 3 points behind Vettel driving what is generally accepted as the 4th best car of the season.
        If it hadn’t been for contact with 2 Lotus at the start of races, he would be champion.
        Before anyone speaks of the unreliability of the RBR this season, please bear in mind, that F1 is the whole package.
        Speed, reliability and consistency.

      11. Gate 21 says:

        +1

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      12. jumbo says:

        Yeh its pretty funny how an incompetent Fernando and Ferrari came so close to the WDC. I’m only glad that one of the two best teams at least managed to get ahead and restore the natural order to F1. I find the incompetence of the JB Hamilton Macca trio especially exhilarating getting beaten by Ferrari so soundly, especially since there only seemed to be 2 Red cars on track for the second part of the season.

      13. Sebee says:

        Why don’t you go back a few days and read that James piece about hiw many points Lewis lost and consider that without doubt Alonso probably benefited from many of those points. Now that we have 111 days of no F1 maybe someone could eval who gained what each time Lewis hit a snag?

      14. Dave C says:

        The funny thing is Mclaren had the fastest car over the whole season and yet Hamilton can do nothing, we’ll see next year if Alonso’s that great because Vettel will beat him at Ferrari in 2014 just wait for it.

      15. Antti says:

        Yes, speed, reliability and consistency. Red Bull had more speed but less reliability. Same thing can be said of McLaren. Ferrari a bit less speed but more reliability. Which of those cars was the best? Lotus may have been a bit better than Ferrari earlier in the season, but later on Ferrari was clearly faster, so I wouldn’t say Ferrari was only 4th best by any stretch of imagination. Especially this season, when track conditions made a huge impact on how the cars performed.

        Same as in 2005, when Alonso managed to win the title. Kimi’s McLaren was fast but its engines broke constantly. Alonso’s Renault was a bit slower, but rock solid. Which car was better? I’d say the Renault.

      16. Dipz says:

        Your wrong F1 is about the driver, the car and the team, ferrari and alonso only have one of these whereas vettel had all three and hence why they won

      17. **Paul** says:

        You’re correct the package should be considered so:

        Red Bull Pros:
        - Excellent DRS system (in the last 6 races).
        - The Fastest car in slow speed corners (mechanical grip king?)

        Red Bull Cons:
        - Alternator issues
        - Weaker KERS than rivals (IIRC Red Bull comprimise on this)
        - Less powerful engine than Merc or Ferrari options.
        - Slow in a straight line.

        Ferrari Pros:
        - Ultra reliable
        - Good at power circuits (Monza, Spa, Canada etc)
        - Good top speed
        - Best standing start car in F1
        - Possibly the best wet weather car in the field.

        Ferrari Cons:
        - Poor aerodynamically
        - Poor DRS system costing them places in qualifying
        - Difficulty heating up tyres at certain events.

        That’s just the car though. You also need to factor in team assistance:

        Red Bull:
        No Team orders; driver decision by Webber to let Seb past yesterday; after trying to defend from him off the start line.

        Ferrari:
        Massa acting as perminent #2 to Alonso since the opening race of the season.

        So much as Alonso may be pretty incredulous and suggest he could win in a slower car etc my view is that the Ferrari package was truly a match for the Red Bull package when everything is considered. It reminds me a little of Mika Hakkinen vs Michael Schumacher, MSC with a team and team mate focused only on him, and Mika with a car that was slightly quicker; but also a team mate who was quite happy to take wins at the expense of his team mate.

      18. KRB says:

        Generally accepted as the 4th best car??? By whom?!? You don’t get to 2nd in the WCC having the 4th best car, sorry.

        If you had said 4th best car in quali trim for the last six races, then perhaps I would agree.

        The Ferrari had decent race pace in most races this year. It was the best of the rest (after RBR) in Japan. And its reliability was impeccable.

        Alonso can rightly point to being taken out at Spa thru no fault of his own. But it also took out Hamilton and Kobayashi. Japan was more Alonso’s fault, he didn’t have to squeeze Kimi to the extent he did. Much like how Vettel didn’t have to chop Karthikeyan in Malaysia (but did, and paid the price with a no-score finish), Alonso didn’t have to risk that at the start in Japan (but he did, took that chance, and paid a hefty price).

        Sorry, but as a Hamilton fan, and having watched the hard-luck rain down on him by the bucketful this year, I have near zero sympathy for Alonso’s (or Vettel’s for that matter) hard-luck episodes this year.

      19. Raymond Yu says:

        Before anyone speaks of the speed of the Ferrari this season, please bear in mind, that F1 is the whole package.
        Speed, reliability and consistency.

    3. Bring Back Murray says:

      Vettel’s had some bad luck too this season hasn’t he? Come on, 3WDCs in a row, absolustely stormed the last few races. Shame you think such an achievement is dissapointing! (And I wouldn’t actually rate Vettel as my favourite driver either)

      1. AlexD says:

        Nobody took him out this year. What bad luck?

      2. jumpstart says:

        Karthikeyan when being lapped, Malaysia.

      3. KRB says:

        Vettel-Karthikeyan was Vettel’s fault, nevermind that the steward’s gave a penalty to Narain. Vettel chopped over far too rapidly after passing Narain. He left himself open to getting front wing/rear tire contact, and a likely puncture. Needless contact.

        Plus Vettel finished the race, so can’t count as a takeout. Lewis was taken out of races more than any other leading driver this year: Maldonado in Valencia (speared him), Grosjean in Belgium (squeezed him), and Hulkenberg in Brazil (tagged him). Of the top 5 in the DWC, only Alonso and Button have also been taken out of races, Grosjean (over) Alonso at Spa, and Kobayashi taking out Button in Korea.

      4. Bart says:

        @KRB – Karthikeyan even admitted he got wheelspin that caused his car to go across the track and hit Vettel’s tyre. It is rather funny how people still try to twist it around and claim Vettel was to blame.

    4. Rirory says:

      webber did not let him thru, not like massa did.

      1. Wayne says:

        Webber let him through once and went off the track the second time to avoid an incident. What race were you watching? He was even thanked by his team.

      2. AlexD says:

        exactly, also Schumaher let him through…

      3. KRB says:

        Yes, he did let him thru one time. But he also went three abreast with him towards Turn 1, which was a little bizarre.

        He definitely didn’t help Vettel like Massa helped Alonso. That move holding Webber in the outside lane while Alonso dived down the inside going into Turn 1 was great, great teamwork.

      4. Chris says:

        How it must sting the boys in red to see their greatest ever, MSC, helping their arch rival to withhold the title from them.

      5. JR says:

        Yes, he did in the first part of the race, please check your facts.

      6. F1fan4life says:

        Of course he let him through lol he was even thanked by the team. Try watching the rAce next time..

      7. AlexD says:

        He did and was thanked for this.

      8. LL says:

        Well. Massa took a grid penalty for Alonso.

    5. Niner says:

      While I understand your point of view, I have to disagree with the sentiment.

      This is racing. It requires far more than just a driven personality to win – you need a team. Hamilton is a fantastic driver undone by a team dynamic of fecklessness and ideological impotence. Alonso is an incredible driver undone by a team focussed on off- and on-track political maneuvering rather than technological development.

      Newey doesn’t need an off season – Ferrari and McLaren have to step up their game. Personally, I think it’s churlish to deride Vettel for consistency and determination, and Newey for focus and innovation when McLaren and Ferrari continue to trade on redundant programs of “driver parity” (McLaren) and mechanical tampering of gearboxes (Ferrari) in the hope it’ll win them championships.

      Championships don’t come in “turns”. They come because of consistency, innovation, and yes – luck. Red Bull and Vettel have been exemplary in this regard. Well done to them! But as Vettel said himself, and this certainly applies to McLaren and Ferrari, you have to make your own luck.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        I couldn’t say it better myself.

      2. JF says:

        Great post,. Agree entirely.

      3. Alberto Dietz says:

        + 10,000

      4. RipThisJoint says:

        In these fora, all I seem to see is people pontificating about Alonso’s epicness this year in a dog of a car. But people seem to forget that Kimi Raikkonen finished 3rd in the WDC, ahead of 2 McLarens, a Ferrari and a Red Bull, who are all above Lotus in the 2012 standings. Extending the useless ‘X or Y deserved to win argument’ further, probably Kimi and Lewis would be equally deserving champions, as would be Vettel and Alonso.

        So just chill, stop with these inconsequential debates, and celebrate what has been a fantastic season.

        @Niner and thank you, for being one of the rare voices of sanity on the interweb!

      5. unF1nnished business says:

        Definitely agreed!

      6. John says:

        Yep, Iceman :) Even found his way back from the runoff track :)

      7. JC says:

        Kimi and Lewis both did great. I don’t particularly like Lewis, but he was right up there with Alonso as the most deserving driver out there. An Alonso Hamilton 1 – 2 in the standings (in any order) would be a much better measurement of the driver’s skill.

      8. I will says:

        I don’t like the deserving, not deserving argument.
        Before the game start, everyone knows and commit to the rule. Who ever got the max point will walk away with the championship. Period.
        CONGRA to Mr. Vettel.
        Coming to this race, the Brazil grad prix simply summarize the whole season I reckon:
        Alonso keeps on poping out on the podium despit starting further back
        Vettel crumble if he is not on the front row
        Hamilton flawless but unlucky
        The less experienced drivers crashing on to the leaders
        Button taking advantage of someone’s fault
        Unpredictable from start to finish
        And so on.

      9. Dipz says:

        It was interesting in this races qualifying alonso didnt talk about the usual 7/8th was the maximum possible result when massa beat him

      10. Bart says:

        @RipThatJoint and @Niner Absolute kudos for those posts. Spot on.

      11. Nil says:

        That’s summed up all three teams’ season very eloquently indeed. +1

      12. Magos says:

        Flawless!

      13. Wayne says:

        Here Bloody here!

      14. JR says:

        And despite all that… Alonso almost steals the Championship.

      15. gudien says:

        For me Formula One has always been the greatest of sports. I look forward each year to the start of a new season with all the drivers, and their teams working to do their best.

        Credit to Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel, and Adrian Newey on a great year!

      16. hero_was_senna says:

        “Newey doesn’t need an off season – Ferrari and McLaren have to step up their game.”

        Completely agree, look at 1994 and 1995 or the period of 2000 to 2009, during these years, Newey designs won no Championships at all.

      17. Miha Bevc says:

        Why can’t I (re)tweet this post? I mean, really …

      18. Mike from Colombia says:

        “undone by a team dynamic of fecklessness and ideological impotence”…..absolutely superbly put.

      19. Rob Newman says:

        What has Alonso’s great talent done to the team in the past three years? In my opinion, the car has gone back word and Ferrari has lost credibility. A championship winning team has become a losing team.

      20. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Because well know 2009 was such a fantastic season for Ferrari without Alonso around to mess everything up.

      21. unF1nnished business says:

        Great comment! And what a great year this has been with top drives from all the champions that will surely leave 2012 as a classic year.

    6. PDiddly says:

      No, alonso was just lucky, [mod] Hamilton unlucky and Vettel finally proved it is not just the car.

      Great driving by most this year, Maldonado was equally brilliant and psycopathic, Grossjean usually cretinous, but also, intriguingly, at times fast.

      Well done Seb, this one you really earned, classic race.

      1. Joe B says:

        PDiddly – I guess perception is everything – to me this year proved undoubtedly Seb’s results are just down to the car. He was third best driver (at best) this season; it was only when RBR, the best team by a mile, got the hang of the tyres and their rear downforce that Seb got ‘good’. And overtaking under yellows was one of many errors by him this season.

      2. James Allen says:

        I don’t know what he has to do to get people like you to give him any credit at all.

        Today he came back from 17th to finish in the top 6 and win a third world title. His 2010 and 2012 titles were hard fought.

      3. Joe B says:

        Respectfully, I credit him as a quick driver – in a quick car he has proven he can win races; others on the grid have proven they can win in cars that aren’t the fastest. He has driven good races through the field, certainly proving he can overtake (although it’s not his strongest point), and I thought he was DOTD at Spa, for example, this season. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this season we’ve seen his speed, his ability to win from the front, but we’ve also seen his fragility under pressure and the kind of mistakes that in my view seperate him from Alonso, Raikkonen, and Hamilton (when at his best). Yes I slate him, and feel free to moderate or delete my comments if I go too far; but you have to admit that was one of the less flawless Championship winning seasons we’ve seen, surely?

      4. Phil Too says:

        Amen James Allen!

      5. Aaron Noronha says:

        I agree with James. I think it was a brilliant race from Vettel. All the drivers need a car to win the championship. Where was Alonso in 2008 and 2009??? Without a fast under him he couldnt achieve much. Too much has been said about Ferrari being a slow car. They suffered in qualification but they had the best race pace compared to their qualification in most of the races and they had the best reliability too. That is not to take anything away from Alonso who drove superbly. The Driver who extracted the best out of his machine in 2012 was Kimi by finishing ahead of both Lewis and Button with a car that was clearly slower than Mclaren, Redbull and Ferrari. What was remarkable about Vettels race yesterday was that due to the damaged body work and running lower rpms to prevent overheating. So technically he was lacking both speed and lack of downforce both of which held him back when the track was drying and the drivers where on slicks, but when it started drizzling and the track very slippery he was the fastest driver on the track with the intermediate tyres. To me to extract that much performance out of a damaged car on a damp track proves without a doubt that he belongs in the same league as Hamilton and Alonso(although now statistically he stand higher)Besides he still has another 10 to 15 years of racing left to stamp his Authority on the sport and break all f1 records even if you like it or not.

      6. quest says:

        Also amazing was how fast he came back through the field. Red Bull even made a wrong call and he had to make an extra stop compared to the rest. He overcame all that and did what had to do.

        Alonso was really good this year, but so was Vettel. Why do people talk like the two are mutually exclusive.

      7. Chapor says:

        James, have him do what Alonso achieved in an inferior car… Respect will be earned then.

      8. Dave C says:

        Fastest car? Remind me which car locked out the front row of the grid at the first and last race amonst other poles?? Overall Mclaren had the quickest car and their drivers fell well short. Vettel would have won the title easier this year if he was driving that Mclaren and he will prove all you doubters wrong when he brings the title to Ferrari in 2014 and after that year its not hard to believe it’ll be his 5th title, hope you enjoy that, all of a sudden its making Hamilton’s achievements look very ordinary, roll on winter testing.

      9. Craig D says:

        Well clearly your perception is off too then. At the end of the day you don’t tend to win without having the best car, a fact which signifies just how amazing Alonso has done with his Ferrari to be the only one to have challenged Vettel for the title. And so what? Button won in Brazil in probably the best car on race day. Hamilton won in USA in probably the best car that day (or at least equal with Vettel’s Red Bull). Kimi’s win in Abu Dhabi and Maldonado’s in Spain were with a very car at that event.

        But if Vettel wins with a strong car people like you go ‘oh it’s simply the car’. It’s pathetic. Did the Red Bull coming on strong over those latter races allowing him to string 4 wins on the trot help him win the Championship? Of course. But he’s also pulled strong race results across the season when he Red Bull wasn’t the best car. He’s also come back through the field to score strong results like in Brazil in Abu Dhabi, so he’s had to fight and overtake. He’s also had his share of bad look when lost victory in Valencia (which was a big points swing as Alonso inherited the win).

        You’re just seeing things how you want to see them.

        As I’ve said before, I’m not a Vettel fan and Alonso has been the best driver this year, but Vettel deserves credit.

      10. LL says:

        Hear hear Mr Allen.

      11. Bart says:

        [mod]
        “Fragility under pressure”? On Sunday he did what was required to win the championship, with a storming drive from the back of the field in treacherous conditions, with a broken floor and radio. Where and how was he fragile under pressure?

        How was he so much worse under pressure than Alonso, who for all of his great driving this year, has been unable to significantly outpace Massa in the last half a dozen races? Wasn’t it Alonso who chucked it off the road twice at the first turn? Oh, but of course, let’s stick to the nonsense cliches you’ve memorised about Vettel not being as good as the people he keeps beating.

    7. gweilo8888 says:

      Alonso didn’t have any help from Massa? I’m sorry, but no. If Felipe had slowed any more to let him catch up and take second place, he’d have had to park up by the side of the track.

      Fernando — a couple of incidents aside — was by and large extremely lucky this year. For every scrap of bad luck Hamilton got, Fernando seemed to receive a bit of the opposite at some point, or be given it by his teammate.

      It didn’t hurt that he was essentially driving for a one-driver “team”, And not just in the race, but in practice as well, with Massa regularly sent out to do the donkey work while Fernando saved mileage on his car and went out when the track was ready for him. The way Ferrari treats their second car already is the strongest possible argument against them being allowed to field three cars; they’d use the extra car as another testing mule, buffer protecting Alonso, and rolling roadblock to help him form a gap, just as they do with Felipe.

      Truth be told, Fernando never would’ve been in contention without that luck and teammate assistance, at least not anywhere near the dying stages of the season. The car was comparitively speaking a dog compared to its nearest rivals.

      None of which takes anything away from Fernando’s driving; yes, he was mostly putting in solid drives as well, and occasionally pretty special ones.

      It’s surprising though that when in the end the championship most needed him to step up his game, Fernando did the opposite and was outperformed by his much-maligned teammate, both in qualifying and (if team orders hadn’t been coming into play) in the race.

      Fernando and Sebastian both said before this race that whomever won, it would be the better man. It is so; Sebastian won and he was the better man this year, aided by the better car. It is a team sport after all, and the woulda-coulda-shouldas don’t come into it. Fernando’s car sucked, and that was part of his team effort. The two cannot fairly be considered separately.

      I have a feeling with stability in the rules, Hamilton at Mercedes, McLaren struggling with a newbie, and Lotus never really showing any consistency, the championship is going to be fought largely between Red Bull and Ferrari next year. The question is, will Ferrari fix their fundamental car problems, or will Red Bull have a chance to return to dominance again?

      1. I agree with you about most but you forget Kimi in Lotus for next year championship.

      2. gweilo8888 says:

        I didn’t forget him. I discounted him. As I said, I don’t think Lotus have shown the consistency required to win a championship; they’ve simply been too erratic this year, and I don’t see them turning it around overnight.

    8. Phill says:

      I think the key thing here is this:
      Twice Fernando was taken off the circuit by another team’s car, and forced to retire of the result. Not once had Alonso had to retire due to a problem caused by himself or the team.
      Wheras Vettel has had to retire, 3 times I believe, maybe twice, all down to the fault of himself, or the car (specifically Renault engine).
      Fernando lost by a mere 3 points, points I would put my life on he would have made in those two races that he was knocked off.

      I don’t mean to take anything away from Newey, I mean Vettel, he raced perfectly some weekends, and very well the rest of the time. The main thing, is that Fernando raced more than perfect, on nearly all occasions.

      Last words though. WHAT A RACE, WOW!

      1. Andre says:

        Sorry but repeating many times that Alonso was taken out twice does not make it more right. He was taken out once and made a mistake misjudging the length of his car and the position of Raikkonen the second time. That is a fact.

      2. Phill says:

        Ok then, let us go with once. In that one race I would still put my life on the fact he would gain more than 3 points. Vettel was still never crashed once during the season that resulted in a retirement. FACT!
        Enough said, clearly you are someone who like to support a driver who wins a championship under strange conditions from the FIA, then steps up and attacks other teams for doing nothing. Does not surprise me at all!

    9. JC says:

      +1 Alonso deserved it. But Vettel had Lady Luck on his side….how often do we see a guy clipped like that and survive practically unscathed. Still he won and Congrats to him !

    10. DrPaul says:

      Today demonstrated why a person or company should not be able to own more than one f1 team. If you know that cars from your second team will just melt out of your way when you need to pass them for position, you are gaining an unfair advantage. In the interests of fair sport Red bull must sell their second team.

      1. snailtrail says:

        Agree!
        Also what about MS getting out of the way of SV – made it very easy I say….from one German to another.

  3. Mitchel says:

    Was it only Sky who noticed Vettel pass Kobayashi under flashing yellows…?

    That could’ve been another insane twist…

    1. James Allen says:

      No, but we were told that it wasn’t yellow flags, it was part of a yellow advertising hoarding. Sounds like there is something there to be looked at.

      1. Stephen says:

        I’d just like to say that the hello flags are a welcome addition ;-)

      2. Stephen says:

        hmmm, now you’ve edited your comment mine has lost it’s killer wit which it probably never had anyway.

      3. LG says:

        Any clarity on this yellow flag controversy James?

      4. d.h. says:

        It certainly looked like the flashing light system to me. It was flashing yellow as he passed two of these lights.

      5. SimonB says:

        Def yellow flags, surprised Ferrari didn’t protest?

      6. BW says:

        Reportedly Fry claimed that was yellow-red slippery warning.

      7. Red and yellow for slippery tracks, according to Martin Brundle (via twitter), so overtake was not in breach of rules

      8. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        James, Sky has analysed the footage and, in my opinion, it is really clear that the overtake was completed during a yellow flag.

        What I’d like to ask you is what is your opinion about what might happen if the stewards accept that the overtake was done in a yellow flag section? One of Sky’s commentators said that it would be a difficult call because Vettel couldn’t give the place straight back to Kobayashi, since he pitted immediately, but I do not think that the matter of overtaking during a yellow flag is about position, but rather safety. To me, it seems irrelevant that he couldn’t give the place back, for two reasons: the regulation says he shouldn’t have done it in the first place, and the reason for that is safety, not fair fight for position (as it would be the case when cutting a corner, for instance).

        What are your views?

      9. Antti says:

        FIA have confirmed that the lights there meant warning of slippery surface (red-yellow striped flag) and passing was allowed. Everyone bar -some- journalists and -some- fans seem to understand this to be the case, even Ferrari. I don’t think there is anything of substance in this “controversy”.

      10. Chris says:

        My view is your a Ferrari fan. He quite clearly passed a green light, and after he’d started his move, suddenly there was yellow again. Why were the yellow lights on????

      11. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        I am actually a McLaren fan, and most of the time I am very critical of Ferrari’s tactics. to Chris: But which team I support is actually irrelevant when talking about an incident that happened to a driver, isn’t it? I agree with you that he started the move during a green light, but nevertheless it was completed during a yellow light section. On top of that, the reason for the yellow lights to be on is also irrelevant. Even if it is a mistake, the driver should have backed up. Or do you think Vettel know that there was a faulty light there beforehand?

      12. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        to Antti: I am not trying to pass any conspiracy theories, Antti. There were a lot of spectators and journalists who believed that the light was indeed yellow. FIA made an statement about the situation up, and even tough I do not understand how can an yellow light represent something different than an yellow flag (because according to the rules by FIA, any yellow flag, waving or not, prohibits overtaking), I still accept it. I just would like to hear something clear about it, as “yellow lights differ from yellow flags in some situations”, or “the lights were indeed red and yellow but appeared differently on the TV”. Also, consider that my comment was written immediately after the race, before any statement by FIA.

      13. ccweblog says:

        The fact that Ferrari didn’t protest this ‘incident’ says it all for me. Not a chance they would miss an opportunity like this if it was indeed a violation of yellow flag procedure.

      14. Antti says:

        To Gilberto: As far as I know, and do not take my word as gospel, the meaning of yellow lights depends on whether the light is flashing or not. However, this is just based on comments I’ve read relating to this particular incident, and do not know if this really is valid. In any case, since even Ferrari acknowledges that there was no breaking of the rules here, I am tempted to believe that really is the case.

      15. Jordan says:

        I am a Ferrari fan but would not want a WDC to be determined by a small technicality. Seb was going to pass Kob anyway because the Saunber was scheduled to pit. So it would have made zero difference anyway.

      16. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        To Antti and ccweblog: I totally agree with both of you. I am just not sure yet about the regulation of the lights, I indeed found several comments talking about the solid yellow light, but I didn’t find anything on the official FIA rules. Anyway, the subject about Vettel is more than settled.

      17. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        Problem solved. Quoting iceman: “The regulations are in Appendix H of the FIA sporting code:
        http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/1653003624__Appendix_H_a.pdf
        4.2 covers the lights.

        The lights can replicate red, yellow, blue, green and white flags, and should flash at 3-4 Hz.

        The light panels can also be used to form a visual representation of the red/yellow flag (4.2.4), which must be stipulated in the Supplementary Regulations of the event.

        I wasn’t able to find the supplementary regulations for the Brazilian Grand Prix. But it seems clear that if the light wasn’t flashing (which it wasn’t), it wasn’t a yellow flag.

        It is also certain that the marshal on the left of the track at that point was holding out the red/yellow flag.”

      18. OscarF1 says:

        Sky has analysed Vettel’s overtake on Kobayashi under “alleged” yellow lights:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZcaFPv5arQ

        But he also overtook Vergne:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeNvmPcNlwI

        This time, there are yellow flashing lights.

        As rule 4.1.2 b) in the Appendix H specifies:

        “Overtaking is not permitted between the first yellow flag and the green flag displayed after the incident.”

        In this case… it seems Vettel is likely to be stripped of the title.

      19. Ross says:

        Ye-yellow slippery surface flag

      20. Ross says:

        Meant to say red-yellow

      21. Rossopervincere says:

        It was a clear pass under yellow,obviously the FIA have chosen to look the other way……

      22. Ashley Scott says:

        doesn’t look like anything to do with advertising hoardings to me James…

        http://www1.skysports.com/formula1/video/12870/8282348

      23. Ashley Scott says:

        a solid yellow light is equal to a red and yellow flag. The light is not flashing, which means it is a slippery surface warning.

        So I guess either way it’s a moot point :) I guess Seb passed him fair and square in the end :)

      24. CJD says:

        i just watched my own record of the race

        no flashing just solid yellow, and also race stewards at the side look quite relaxed around these corners (orf live record)
        also no green flags anywhere to give free track again

        greetings

      25. Gilberto Agostinho says:

        What is your source for a solid yellow light being equal to a red and yellow flag? I can’t find this information anywhere.

      26. danny says:

        from the $ky coverage it would appear that there was a set of flashing yellow lights followed by a green, and in the sector where the overtake happened all the yellow lights were on solidly.

        Couldn’t find any description on formula1.com or elsewhere about the difference between flashing yellow lights and/or solid yellows. Can anyone clarify?

      27. Ross says:

        It’s advisory. Take care.

      28. Formula Zero says:

        Thank you for the explanation. I ended up asking the same question on my post. Sometimes it takes very long time before I can see any posts or mine James. Any upgrades coming soon on that?

      29. Ross Dixon says:

        James it’s a stone wall penalty. Watch the clip on te sky website. Green light then a yellow then a yellow. Move happened between those.

      30. Ross says:

        Solid yellow = red-yellow

      31. gweilo8888 says:

        According to a statement from the Speed Channel in the US about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the race, it was checked by the stewards and cleared as being not a yellow, but a yellow-and-red-stripe that’s not captured properly by the TV cameras.

        In other words, it was a slippery track warning, and passing was legal.

      32. Wade Parmino says:

        Even if this is the case (and obviously none of us make the rules), does it sound particularly safe to pass if the track is so slippery that a flag/light is needed to indicate this?

        The drivers would have been aware of the overall slipperiness and lack of grip on the whole track. Why then, would this flag/light be on at one individual section of the circuit? It seems redundant and confusing. Either red/yellow the whole track or have no flags at all. The way I see it, if there is any yellow at all, caution must be excersised and therefore no passing allowed.

        Oh well, if the rules permit it.

      33. KRB says:

        It wasn’t flashing yellow light, which is caution. It was solid yellow, which indicates slippery track. That’s what the Speed commentators said Race Control explained it as.

      34. 123a says:

        Am I the only one who saw Vettel pass a HRT under yellow flags?
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vki0bEql6As

    2. Andrew M says:

      Sky said after the race that they had it confirmed by the stewards that they were red and yellow oil/slippery surface “flags”, they just don’t show up very well on camera apparently.

    3. Rishi says:

      Under what conditions – Safety Car aside – would there be yellow flags all round the circuit though? Surely if there’s an accident the yellow flag is only in that designated position? That would imply the signal was for a yellow-and-red slippery surface. Or have I got it wrong?

    4. iceman says:

      The regulations are in Appendix H of the FIA sporting code:
      http://www.fia.com/resources/documents/1653003624__Appendix_H_a.pdf
      4.2 covers the lights.

      The lights can replicate red, yellow, blue, green and white flags, and should flash at 3-4 Hz.

      The light panels can also be used to form a visual representation of the red/yellow flag (4.2.4), which must be stipulated in the Supplementary Regulations of the event.

      I wasn’t able to find the supplementary regulations for the Brazilian Grand Prix. But it seems clear that if the light wasn’t flashing (which it wasn’t), it wasn’t a yellow flag.

      It is also certain that the marshal on the left of the track at that point was holding out the red/yellow flag.

    5. Boozie says:

      And for those who still have doubts take a look at Appendix H to the FIA Sporting code available on the FIA website:
      http://www.fia.com/sport/Regulations/f1regs.html

      The lights are dealt with in section 2.4 “Signalling” where it states clearly under
      Subsection 2.4.3.3 “lights operation” that any of the standard flags (red/yellow/green) have to be represented by a “…FLASHING light panel…”

      Subsection 2.4.3.4 allows the lights to be used to form visual representations of the yellow flag with red stripes as well which must be stipulated in the Supplementary Regulations of the event. (I didn’t find those)

  4. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

    I don’t understand why Redbull did second pitstop before Alonso? They only needed to wait for Ferrari to do first move, and do the same choice a lap later, even if Ferrari did wrong choice they would be behind Alonso. Making stop before Alonso gave Ferrari chance to make another choice, which they did and Vettel almost lost the title because of it. Amazing!

    Or was it Vettel’s call due radio problems?

    1. Andrew M says:

      I guess they were worried about Vettel spinning off in the wet. I don’t think Alonso was in the top 3 at the time, so they only needed to finish 9th for the title, and Vettel would have had a much faster car than those who were at the tail end of the top 10.

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      This decision drove me mad during the race!

    3. Dipz says:

      Vettel came in the pit himself and the pit crew had to figure out what he wanted i.e new tyres

      1. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

        That was on his third stop.

      2. Afonso Ronda says:

        That’s why that stop took longer than usual.

    4. Afonso Ronda says:

      I was checking the sector times, and Vettel’s were at minimum poor at that stage. Later, I heard Newey saying that the car was hard on tires, during the dry spell of the race (damage to rear bodywork).

      1. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

        Ah, thank you for explanation, that makes sense.

  5. Sammy says:

    Congrats to Vettel but his overtaking manouvre on Koba was definitely under yellow. The rules do not allow overtaking under yellow – he should have to be penalised for that.
    Alonso world class driver.

    1. AlexD says:

      is it true? Ferrari would protest for sure.

    2. Goober says:

      Solid yellows, not flashing yellows. Slippery surface warning. Let us nip that one in the bud right away.

    3. Gordon Q says:

      It was the slippery conditions warning flag, not the yellow flag.

    4. Benalf says:

      according to bill buxton, the FIA officials reviewed the footage several times and concluded that the lights weren’t yellow signs(?). I saw the replay and I saw two light squares flashing intermintently. I don’t know the official track light so I can not judge the decision. In any case complicated race, obviously RBR has a very good car-driver package. A mid-pack car couldn’l have regained all those positions more than once during a race. Tremendous race by Ferrari, especially Massa. They did everything except from gambling like Jense and Hunkelberg did. Maybe that was the difference between winning the DWC and waiting for Vettel to falter. Terrific season

    5. Ross says:

      Under red-yellow flag.

      1. Sammy says:

        Clearly yellow. No doubt about it. The yellow was not flickering.

      2. Ross says:

        Solid yellow light is used to indicate red-yellow, this is what has been reported…

      3. mark says:

        nope was under yellow and he caused senna crash and got away without a penalty

      4. Ross says:

        Solid yellow light = red-yellow

      5. leeschumi says:

        Alonso got SCREWED!!!
        Clearly a Yellow flag/light situation, it seems to me Race Control messed up. Vettels 3rd championship win will be tarnished by this. How convenient Vettels radio stopped working immediately after this incident. Fernando Alonso should be World Champion Im no Alonso Fan or Vettel hater I just believe in fair game and that is not what happened today. Shame on Race Control and FIA!! they should of reacted quicker and not tried to fool us with a oil/slippery track line. A disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant season!

      6. Ross Dixon says:

        If you watch the whole clip it was red yellow but then a green flag is shown then they go into yellow again and e overtakes. Not in red yellow.

      7. Ross says:

        Also, solid yellow = red-yellow

  6. Wayne says:

    As a massive Hamilton fan, I’ve given Massa Zero respect this year but just let anyone try and tell me he was not the star of this race!
    It is beautfil to watch the Ferrari drivers race as a team for the team (and there is NOTHING wrong with that at all) rather than all the self
    intertested, spolit ‘mine’ ‘mine’ ‘mine’ or the preachy ‘we are hollier than thou’ stuff that goes on in other teams. Felipe’s choreographed move
    pushing Webber wide and allowing Alonso past was magical. Seeing Felipe back the pack up with consumate skill was brilliant. He was both fair and firm –
    it must have taken a lot of skill. Felipe said’ he wanted to be honest to everyone’ and he was and he was great to watch!

    Alonso did everything he could yet again – the title was just never his – how the hell did Vettel survive that first lap incident with
    almost no significant damage at all? Mystifying.

    Hulkenberg? What can you say? Every single time these midfield drivers get anywhere near the front there is bloody chaos. He’ll blame
    it on the conditions but that is just tripe. Hamilton and Button managed just fine as did many others.

    Hamilton’s god awful luck continues while Vettel manages to come out in the sunshine every time, as a Hamilton fan (a driver at his evry best)
    it’s unbearably depressing

    Alonso was the driver of the year, but that does not mean that Vettel was underserving (which of course he was).

    Congratulations Seb on your tipple, Cherio Schumi, Be very proud Alonso, Good to see Felipe back in the game, Good luck for next year to ‘my’ boy Hamilton!

    Cheers to JA for another year of simply the best F1 website on the planet – now you have to keep us entertained during the ‘down-time’ James!

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t worry – I have plenty of cool stuff planned

    2. [MISTER] says:

      Really surprised when Lewis told BBC that Nico didn’t even come to say sorry. This was so unprofessional for Hulk. He took out the leader and didn’t even go to say sorry. He seems to have told BBC that he didn’t know why he got the drive-tru.

      What are these midfield drivers thinking?

      DOTD has to be between Vettel and Massa. No fan of Vettel as some of you might have noticed, but he kept his calm and brought the car home. Well done to him.

      1. a user says:

        Hulks Penalty was wrong anyway. He just lost the car on the damp surface, while more or less ahead of Hamilton. I wonder if the Stewards have penalized Hulk to make the championship race more thrilling, or if they were in favor of Ferrari, the penalty was a joke.

      2. jumbo says:

        +infinity, that decision made me mad

      3. {MISTER] says:

        Well, he did caused a collision.
        You cannot just dive on the inside and hope your car is not going to slide around, especially on a damp surface.

        Lets be serious, Hulk took out the leader. Penalty deserved.

      4. JimmiC says:

        I’ve seen an interview with Hamilton where he says Hulk DID speak to him afterwards.

      5. Aaron says:

        McLaren tweeted a photo of Hulkenberg in their garage apologising to Hamilton. It was an hour or so after the race, so probably after Hamilton gave his interviews in the pen.

      6. James Allen says:

        I was in McLaren around 6pm local and he’d already been in by then, as that’s when they told me about it

      7. KRB says:

        Hulkenberg did come to see him. To others above, I think it had to be a penalty. Drivers need to judge the conditions, and Hulk definitely threw it down the damp side going into Turn 1. What did he think would happen?!?

        It shows me that some of the younger midfield drivers simply can’t do close wheel-to-wheel racing. Lewis and Schumacher were very tight to each other at sections, as were Webber and Schumi (or was it Schumi and Kimi). Those guys know how to dice in close combat w/o being stupid.

        So while Lewis ceded the corner to him, and went fairly wide for him into that corner, it still wasn’t enough. Hopefully Hulkenberg sees how he blew what could’ve been a great podium position, and even potentially a win, b/c of a rash move.

        And people, if anyone should be complaining about being compromised by traffic, it would be Hamilton on that lap. But I didn’t hear a word about it from him, did you? Would you really expect the same if it happened to Vettel while leading? I would expect an explosion of vegetable-themed pejoratives.

    3. Andrew M says:

      Felipe was probably my driver of the day today, drove the team game from the start, acted as the tyre barometer for Alonso and still finished one place behind him on the track after letting Fernando through.

    4. mel_drew says:

      I’m in total agreement with you about Massa. I’m not a fan, but his driving in this race was magnificent. There were times when he seemed to be driving Alonso’s race as well as his own, and although he was being guided from the pit wall he just seemed to know exactly what was required and carried it out with a precision that was a joy to watch. It would have been nice to see some acknowledgement from Alonso, although, at the time, maybe he didn’t realise just how much Massa had contributed.

    5. Sebee says:

      I really felt thay Hamilton’s experience and maturity should have shown there. He had a faster car and knew constructors was at stake for many millions of Euros. Lewis had tons of room on the right and as a fan you could see thay collision coming. He should have given extra room to this guy because he was loose and wild. He should have let him have P1 for a few laps. It just really a shame for McLaren. To be clear, I am not blaming him. But he could have made a hugely mature move there by keeping P2.

      1. Colombia Concalvez says:

        What’s up with the ”mature” comment ?, stop this whole nonsense!, there was no room for Lewis to go because there where to cars in front so whar are you talking about ?

      2. Sebee says:

        Wasn’t he the one to say it will be a lottery? There was time.

      3. Andrew M says:

        He left Hulk plenty of room and was boxed in behind the Caterham, only way he could have avoided the crash is if he just kept his foot in and ploughed into the run-off area. Maturity has nothing to do with it.

      4. Sebee says:

        Watch it again. Tons of room on the right. This is not about enough. It is about losing that one fight against Hulk who is punching above his weight, to win the war.

        I have no doubt Lewis woukd have gotten him back.

      5. Antti says:

        You mean a bit like Kimi did on the first lap? Of course, the Lewis/Nico incident was totally different, but you have to appreciate Kimi for rather driving out the circuit than crashing and ending the race for both.

        Just brought it up since you mentioned driving into the run-off area. It just reminded that maybe there is a reason why Kimi is the only one who finished all the races: battle with the ones you can trust not to make stupid moves (Schumacher here, Button at Austin…), take it easier with those you can’t trust as much (Maldonado, Grosjean, maybe Nico here due to his inexperience, though in general I think he’s been driving very well and with respect).

      6. nusratholla says:

        Kimi did pull off a lovely move Nico Hulkenberg in Austin.

      7. Alex says:

        Could see the collision coming? I know Lewis is a good driver, but didnt know he was clairvoyant too.

        HAM had hulk on the inside and a caterham on the outside. What, should he have become a magician and make his car disappear?

      8. Sebee says:

        Keep right and go wide on the right.

        Slow Caterham, wild Nico – I am sure Lewis would admit to you that he felt it was wring. He knows these things better than we do.

      9. Andrew M says:

        Clearly every time someone spins and t-bones into the side of your car it’s your fault. Lewis should have done what every mature driver would have done in that situation; the second it looks like anyone has even a 1% chance of overtaking you, jump off the racetrack like a scared rabbit, leaving them not only the mandatory car width but also enough room so that the person overtaking has enough room to do a complete 180 degree spin if the mood takes them.

      10. Jake says:

        Extra room would have made no difference. Hulk had lost the car completely. There was nowhere for Hamilton to go to avoid that.

      11. Sebee says:

        I would have had no issues with him completely giving that up before even turning left. He was boxed in. And Hulk was being a bit wild. As we saw there was plenty of race left.

      12. Ant says:

        Dont think Hulk was being wild. As the commentators said he was having downchange problems. You can see in the Force India the rear breaks traction very early in the corner under downchange from 3rd to 2nd gear..
        Hamilton was innocent pretty much..

      13. Paul says:

        So Sebee, your suggesting that Hamilton should of just gave Hulkenberg the lead as soon as he saw him close in his mirrors?? what rubbish!

      14. Sebee says:

        Paul,

        Lewis came in hot and heavy too. He was on outside top side and locking up hard. I stay by my call that he should have backed out of it and kept at least a podium and I believe he would have come back at Hulk.

    6. Benalf says:

      As I said before on this website, the best that has happened to Ferrari this season is the return of Felipe to race form. I am looking forward to 2013 and see if the geniuses of Tombazis and Fry are able to rediscover how to build a top car -I mean, including qualy- and see if Fred and Massa are able to take the Bulls out of the top spot.

      1. Gate 21 says:

        They won’t need to concentrate on a car that has a qualifying focus. Next year DRS will only available over the entire race weekend in the designated race overtaking zones.

    7. Finch says:

      Hamilton has caused chaos more than a few times and even Alonso had trouble at the first turn a couple of times during the race. I would say Hulkenberg is in very good company.

    8. JF says:

      Massa was awesome. Alonso and Vettel did what they had to, Massa was a step above.

    9. Yak says:

      “Hulkenberg? What can you say? Every single time these midfield drivers get anywhere near the front there is bloody chaos. He’ll blame
      it on the conditions but that is just tripe. Hamilton and Button managed just fine as did many others.”

      Really? Because I recall seeing Webber only just managing to save a big slide. I recall seeing Raikkonen run off the track a couple of times. I recall seeing Alonso applying full opposite lock trying to catch the rear end in a traction zone. Vettel nearly lost it in a braking zone at one point too. And there were plenty more examples throughout the field. Hulkenberg’s rear end slid out a little, and unfortunately Hamilton was there. Look at Paul di Resta’s crash at the end. Just plodding along through the easy curves leading down to the front straight and then out of nowhere, the car flicks out. The conditions were difficult, full-stop. Hulkenberg was racing for his first win, the first win for the FI team, and there was a big opportunity down the inside.

    10. zombie says:

      Kudos to Seb on his 3rd title. To be named in the same sentence as Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher when you are just 25 is a stellar achievement in itself. I shudder to think the records this man will set by the time he retires.

      Adrian Newey is on a song, and Vettel is in his peak form. Unless a meteor strikes the RBR factory while Newey is in there, i doubt if any other team will even get closer. It goes to show what Ferrari were up against in the 90s and 2000s when they were racing against Newey Williams and Mclarens.

      My driver of the year has to be Fernando Alonso. The man had a Manhattan skyscraper tall odds stacked against him and yet took the title fight to the last race. The tears we saw today shows why the sport still needs Ferrari. RBR is all about clinical perfection of a marketing company, Ferrari is pure passion.

      1. nusratholla says:

        Ask yourself…. Which has the largest F1 Budget?

        Ask yourself again…. Where were Adrian Cars in the Schumacher Domination era?

        Ask yourself once again…. Where were Adrian Cars in 2007 when Jean Todt’s Champion – Kimi Raikkonen won WDC ?

        Point to Ponder: Luca is overgrown his shoes courtesy Schumacher and Jean Todt.

        Stefano is no Jean Todt… a protege can never be the master.

        Nick Fry is no Rory Byrne.

        Alonso is no Schumacher… he is not even half as good as Kimi.

    11. Truth or Lies says:

      For sure Massa was brilliant today and despite Vettels great recovery from that spin, Felipe is driver of the day for me too.

      His performance over the past several races has been really strong, almost or completely error free and getting faster all of the time. This against the backdrop of not having a contract for next year, until after Japan. As recently as September, the F1 media were putting Hulkenburg in the second Ferrari for next year and Massa in Brazilian stock cars !!

      Furthermore he’s had to rediscover his form in side “Fernando’s team”, play second fiddle with compromised strategies (less in recent times to be fair) and swallow publicaly very hard decisions like the gearbox penalty in Austin.

      Yet he managed to out drive his teammate, while giving 100% support and conceding race positions. His race craft and car control today was awesome, his start excellent and his overtaking inspired. Then at the end he hugs Fernando in defeat!

      Felipe is a very fast driver, the only current or recent driver to almost die in a contemporary F1 car, but above all his class, style and humanity mark him out as a true sporting hero and an inspirational human being.

      1. TitanRacer says:

        an awesome tribute following what are arguably the two finest races of his career.
        what are Ferrari going to next year if Massa keeps his current form of humiliating Fernando?? :)

      2. Tim says:

        You said it all! It’s so heartwarming to know that there are people like yourself who appreciate great human beings as well as great talent. There’s a difference between winning and being a WINNER. A difference between a championship and a CHAMPION. Felipe Massa is both a WINNER and a CHAMPION.

        Tim

      3. Benalf says:

        +1. It’s quite impressive that a team like Ferrari has screwed up its drivers some many times in such a short amount of time (2008, 2010 and qualy form in 2012…)

    12. Craig D says:

      Too critical on Hulkenberg there. It was more unfortunate than anything else. I don’t view it as a Grosjean style, what was he thinking, incident. Conditions were bad and he probably should have been more cautious but it was for the lead for his first win. I also think on reflection he was taking action to avoid the Caterham ahead and that may have played a part in causing him to brake heavily and lose the car.

      Hulkenberg was to blame, for sure, but it was more an unfortunate racing incident I feel.

  7. Sebee says:

    Interlagos needs to be declared a heritage race now, and never be removed from the calendar!  

    Well done everyone.  No DNFs.  No controversey.

    Hey, was Seb riding a Red Bull or taming the Metador?
    :-)

    1. Wayne says:

      +1 on this great circuit.

    2. Azza says:

      Completely agree, the race was so reminiscent of 08 and remember 03!!
      Congrats Vettle but Alonso deserved it more…

    3. Lucas says:

      Metador? MAtador you mean? Congrats to Vettel for a superb recovery after that first lap incident. Driver of the year award still for Alonso.

      1. Sebee says:

        I turned off autocorrect, so it slipped by. :-)

        You think Spanish press will have that photo along with caption “New Matador in town!”

        Not sure it is so clear cut for driver of the year. I feel like the champion is proper. Not sure I remember how many points Alonso lucked into thanks to things like we saw today with Lewis – probably the 100 or so James calculated Lewis lost. Both Seb and Frenando have two DNFs each. To me Vettel RBR was just a much better package.

    4. Rob Newman says:

      I haven’t forgotten the song you mentioned after the India race. Cry me a river …

      I wonder if Alonso brought the same t-shrits which he brought to Abu Dhabi in 2010 which said ‘Alonso – Triple World Champion’ … :)

      1. Sebee says:

        Just saw some pictures of RBR in V3ttel shirts. They came pretty darn close to using those to clean the garage floor.

    5. Gate 21 says:

      I remember driving Interlagos on Geoff Crammond’s GP sim in the early 90′s. The best thing about the track is it HAS NOT CHANGED in 20 years.

    6. TitanRacer says:

      good one!!

  8. F1fan4life says:

    Sad to see Schumacher pull aside to give position to a German driver and then go back to defending properly against the Japanese driver behind him. James you feel the senna Vettel collision was Senna fault? I felt Vettel closed the door on him and there was nowhere he could go.

    1. Sebee says:

      Other option was for everyone to move aside and let Schumi win this thing. Would have changed nothing. :-)

  9. AlexD says:

    I feel relief, this season is finally over for Ferrari.

    Unfortunately Alonso did not win. You can’t rely on bad luck of Vettel, you have to have the best car, which Ferrari did not have this year.

    Sadly, it doesn’t look like next year is going to be any different.

    1. trullifan says:

      Keep your faith in Ferrari, nobody can know at this stage what is going to happen next year. And always remember it took the most successfull 5 years to win for Ferrari. Alonso still has time. He’s only 31, the saame age the Greatest won his first title for Ferrari. And as we know only too well, there were 4 more to follow.

      1. Schimi says:

        But the greatest also never whined about his team and at his peak during ferrari era would rarely ever get out qualified by his teammates and was probably the fastest driver in f1 at that time as well…which telfonso isn’t!!! Vettel to ferrari as 4x wdc and no. 1 driver!

      2. trullifan says:

        A lot will depend on the decision of Santander, whether they will keep faith in Alonso or think it is better to bring in someone new to secure the first title since the Kimi era.

  10. AlexD says:

    I can now take the break till March and recover mentally. In March we shall see whether the next season is worth watching…one more Red Bull domination I will not survive.

    1. Fardeen Sau says:

      This year was no Red Bull domination. They did the best job overall.

      8 Different Drivers
      6 Different Constructors

      ^ won races this year. I would hardly call that a red bull domination. Besides Red Bull and Mclaren BOTH HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF WINS.

      Care to explain where’s the Red Bull domination?

      1. AlexD says:

        Yes, I am talking last 3 years, not this year.

      2. Fardeen Sau says:

        Last 3 years? Red Bull did the BEST JOB over the last 3 years, Yes. But looking at the bigger picture – Red Bull really were dominant only in 2011 and some stages of 2010.

        Reliability woes held their dominance back in 2010, but its hardly dominating if u cant keep your car alive through out the race.

        Red Bull won going into the last race in 2010, Red Bull DOMINATED in 2011, and Red Bull won during the last race in 2012. I wouldn’t call that dominance over 3 years. They got the most out of the complete package. The car, The DRIVERS, and the team.

      3. AlexD says:

        FArdeen, you are picking on words. Why?
        Please read this article and go destroy the author for picking thge wrong word (second paragraph):
        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/104613

      4. Fardeen Sau says:

        lol…. good point on tht one. journalists =P’

    2. Ross says:

      3 points = domination?

      1. jumbo says:

        Yepp. The same way Hamilton dominated Alonso in 2007. You know, equal on points and winning on countback, completely destroyed Alonso there.

      2. AlexD says:

        Try to see a bigger picture. 3 years, not 3 points. Aero is making the biggest difference. Red Bull winning is not good for F1. They will not be here 10 years from now, but I honestly hope that McLaren and Ferrari will get their act together rather sooner than later.

      3. Mart says:

        How on earth was red bull dominant in 2010???

      4. Fardeen Sau says:

        James Allen will have to confirm this for me – I do believe though that the new Concorde Agreement runs from 2013 through till 2020 and Red Bull have signed it.

        Thats already 7 years in the sport, and I believe as long as they are competing at the front, they will stay. I believe they will be there after 10 years as well. Time will tell

      5. James Allen says:

        It goes, but no-one’s signed it yet

        FIA hope it will be signed soon but there are still things to be sorted

  11. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

    Congratulations Button!

    1. Joe B says:

      Well said!

  12. Tomby says:

    So Vettel pass Koba under yellow or ‘oil flag’??
    Nobody really asked stewards after the race?

  13. Andrew M says:

    Brilliant race, loads of action throughout the field. Alonso was clearly on the limit as he has been all year, Vettel rode his luck but fought back to do what he needed to do, Hamilton was unlucky in his last race, the Hulk showed he has pace in a good car and Jenson excelled in tricky conditions as usual.

    All in all a great race to finish the season on, some of the wheel to wheel racing was breathtaking (especially Schumacher and Raikkonen) and the championship was on a knife edge at some points.

    Now the withdrawal symptoms until Melbourne 2013…

  14. AlexD says:

    By the way, I am glad that Schumacher is out for good. I was once his fan, but seeing how he let Vettel go today showed to me that he should go home, finally, and do something else. Sometimes he is ready to kill other people on the track and sometimes he behaves like a backmarker. Shame on you, Schumi – happy retirement.

    1. MikeyB says:

      On the contrary, Schumacher’s move was that of a true sportsman and a gentleman. He certainly knows how hard it is to fight for a championship and as he wasn’t a contender himself, he stayed out of the way to let Vettel get on with it. Bravo, Schumi!

      1. AlexD says:

        Would he do it for Alonso too?

      2. nusratholla says:

        Alonso had Massa track cleaning for him… so Scumacher was not needed :)

    2. Chris says:

      Wrong, Vettel was 2 seconds a lap quicker than him (on a short circuit to)

  15. AlexD says:

    Does anybody remember what LDM said before the season started? He said he was 100% sure that Ferrari will take the title and that it will be a read year.

    1. Rob Newman says:

      Yeah exactly … and he said they will dominate this year … he is in fact correct. There were lot of red faces!

  16. Ghayth says:

    Congrats seb on 3rd WDC you are the best

    1. Oly says:

      Congrats seb on 3rd WDC you are not the best.

      1. Tom says:

        Congrats seb on 3rd WDC you are one of the best

  17. Ez Pez says:

    Great race, and congrats to Vettel! he drove very hard to come back from the incident at turn 4.
    Although i was surprised that he wasn’t at least investigated for the first lap incident, or for the overtake on Kamui, which where both questionable. And i hate to say it, but if it where a driver of lesser stature who drove into Senna, their head would haven been on the chopping block! Causing a incident which removed two drivers from the race, is easy worth a drive through.

    Looking forward to Alonso’s third next year ;)

    Ez Pez.

  18. Vinola says:

    Wonderful finish to an amazing season. Congrats to Vettel, well deserved, especially fighting back from the last position on a greasy track. Alonso was awesome. Massa was superb. Hulk drove a good race only to be undone by “rookie” impetuousness. JB drove a great race, but yet again benefited from LH’s run of bad luck.
    Thanks JA for a great website. I have been critical of you in the past, but you fill a uniquely important position in f1 blogosphere.
    Lastly, I never thought I’d correct your fantastic writing, but I think you meant “siezed” rather than “ceased” above.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Considering the wa

  19. xyler says:

    A little bit of Fuji 1976!
    The 2nd pitstop of Vettel – only a questionmark!
    What and why this?

  20. Stephen says:

    I know he cocked up when he crashed into Lewis but I cannot believe Mclaren opted for Perez instead of Nico Hulkenberg!
    Nico’s the real deal IMO whereas Perez is an average driver with a lot of financial backing.

    1. trullifan says:

      The financial backing is important, though, considering the McLaren have to pay for their engines. They simply cannot afford Hamilton or Hülkenberg. what’s more, they lost 10m today to Ferrari by finishing behind them.

    2. Ross says:

      So glad to hear someone else with the same opinion. Hulk is the business. How can Perez be going to McLaren and Kobayashi hasn’t got a drive when they have been near identical in their performances for Sauber?!

    3. Timmay says:

      Answered your own question there.

  21. Rodger says:

    Yes, yes, YES!!!
    What a genius Vettel is!
    Taken out by Senna, drove a severely damaged car for the whole race, teammate almost took him out twice, extra pitstop because of wrong tyre choice, no tyres ready for him at 2nd pitstop, no radio for half the race…phew…and the boy still did it!!
    From last to 6th in 7 laps – there’s no one else on the grid who could have done that. And that’s why he’ll be the most winningest driver on the grid from next year.
    Youngest triple champion too-at just 25.
    Welcome to the exclusive 3-or-more club: Schumacher, Fangio, Prost, Brabham, Stewart, Lauda, Piquet, Senna…and now Vettel.
    One finger to rule them all-get in there my son!

    1. Andrew says:

      There is no such word as winningest!

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I have only one thing to say, look at the Mclaren MP4/4, or the Williams FW14B, FW15, FW18 and FW19, the Mclaren MP4/13 or any Ferrari from 2000 to 2004… I could go on but it would be pointless.
      The point I’m trying to make, when you have a massive car advantage, being last and over taking cars is not that difficult a proposition.

      Schumacher in 2006 went from last with a puncture ( more serious than what Vettel suffered ) and raced his way to 4th by the end. In dry conditions and no safety car involved.

      Congrats to Seb, but all Abu Dhabi and Brazil has proven is that the car is significantly quicker than anyone else.
      Pity’s sake, how many times have we seen Webber start from a poor grid position and finish on the podium?

      1. Aaron Noronha says:

        Hmm somehow you fail to notice
        1) As he damaged his exhaust he was asked to turn down his engine to prevent overheating.
        2) Some of the downforce was lost due to damaged exhaust(coanda effect)
        3) Both of which went against him on the dry track because he was lacking both outright speed and downforce at the same time making it easy for Kamui to catch and over take him as the track was drying and than maintain that gap over the next few laps(thus proving he dint have the fastest car because of the damage)
        3) The real thing that sets him apart was his drive on inters when he was lap after lap the fastest driver on the tract, that my friend was not due to having the fastest car but down to his driving skill, the same he showed when he won his first GP in Monza 2008, which should silence all critic once and for all. But there will always be idiots who will still say its the car and not the driver. All Drivers need a fast car under them to perform. Where was alonso in 2008 and 2009??? Secondly the Ferrari was only bad in qualification it had very good race pace on long runs. For me the driver of the year or people driver award(if one exist) should go instead to Kimi he had the slowest car compared to Mclaren, Redbull and Ferrari yet he finished 3rd in the championship. Alonzo was made to look good because of an under achieving team mate. Its only in the last 3 or 4 races that massa was consistantly faster then him in the race but was held back by team orders.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Alonso did win 2 dry races in 2008, although the first one at Singapore was partly down to the Piquet fiasco.

    3. Joe B says:

      …And what I said about perceptions upthread is pretty much confirmed with Rdoger’s post from mirror-world.

    4. Sebee says:

      RBR really shoud sell the one finger t-shirt.

    5. yugin says:

      “Teammate almost took him out twice”?? Webber moved right out of the way for Vettel, and the team even said “Thank you, Mark” after that.

      Sixth place for Vettel wasn’t a very good result for this race alone; you say that he ‘did it’ only because he won the championship and that was because he had a 13 point lead over Alonso.

      If the two of them had come into this race level on points, the same result (6th) from Vettel would bring a very different reaction.

  22. Andy says:

    It was Vettel’s championship to lose, and he didn’t. Alonso couldn’t win it by his own performance alone, therefore over the season Vettel was the worthy winner.
    Button showed what a good race driver he is, with Hulkenberg they were in a class of their own. If it wasn’t for Alonso whinging about the debris (a safety car was his only chance), they would have finished by a country mile. Hamilton was some 40+ seconds behind in third when the safety car was deployed.
    I’m not a Vettel or Alonso fan, but if it comes down to the final race and your only chance of becoming champion is if you have to finish in x,y and z and the championship leader has to finish in x, y and z, then the worthy winner has to be the championship leader. The runner up has had plenty of chances through the season to take the lead to the final race.

    1. Oly says:

      “I’m not a Vettel or Alonso fan, but if it comes down to the final race and your only chance of becoming champion is if you have to finish in x,y and z and the championship leader has to finish in x, y and z, then the worthy winner has to be the championship leader. The runner up has had plenty of chances through the season to take the lead to the final race.”

      obviously you missed a lot of races this season.

      1. Andy says:

        No I watched them all. It came to the final race and it was Vettel’s championship to lose. Alonso couldn’t win the championship in Brazil on his own, he needed Vettel’s result to go massively in his favour.
        Over the season the best driver won.

    2. F1fan4life says:

      Guess you are oblivious to Rosberg’s damaged tyre from debris as a sign before the safety car came out? Maybe you should whinge less.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Yes but Grosjean turned the tables around at Spa..

  23. Sean Hardman says:

    Great end to a great season. Vettel was incredibly lucky after a tentative start. Alonso is an incredible driver and deserves a better car. So sad the season is over. Well done James for your wonderful insight throughout the season.

  24. Horse Whisperer says:

    Congratz to Seb, 3rd in a row impressive… Statisticly he is an all time great, but I still rate Hamilton, Alonso higher…

    Today he was once again lucky, my opinion drive right into bruno, and was very lucky to even carry on…

    Some 2008 memories and feelings coming back…
    Alonso gets the job done, although you saw very well he was uncomfortable out there…

    Massa wow, I mean the move with webber, when he let Alonso through on the inside, gotta be top5 moments this year, and the way he was “protecting” alonso from the hungry lions behind, is simply impressive driving! Well earned home city podium!

    Should’ve been Vettel – 1 Title – Alonso 4!

    We’ll be back next year!

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      The way you think it should be -2 for Alonso, 2005 and 2008.

      1. JR says:

        Are you sure? Please check Hungary and Monza 06 again.

  25. Bring Back Murray says:

    Congrats to Vettel. Well deserved 3rd WDC.

    What a race to end an excellent year on. Had everything you could wish for and more some!

    And how did Vettel manage to pass about 15 cars in 2/3 laps at the start?

    Alonso only 3 points off in the end. If only they could give two WDCs away!

    Also to James. How come the BBC are showing all the races live then? Did someone take note of all the negative feedback? When was this decesion made? (I’ve understood that correctly, haven’t I?)

    Bring on 2013!

  26. JimmiC says:

    Congrats to Seb, a great drive today in difficult circumstances. I actually think this eclipses his last to third drive in Abu Dhabi. There is no prize for coming second, but Fernando has been mighty this season, and honourable mention to Felipe who has finally found his mojo in recent races. Also Lewis – what can you say? I think he must’ve ran over a black cat whilst smashing through several mirrors.

    All in all a brilliantly chaotic end to a brilliantly chaotic championship.

  27. Craig D says:

    What a finale! What looked like was going to be a formality for Vettel turned into a nailbiter!

    Alonso has done so well given his equipment to finish just 3 points off the champion. He clearly has driven one of the best years of anyone.

    But hats off to Vettel. No one can say he doesn’t deserve it. Triple consecutive champion is pretty amazing. 2011, yes he had a clear car advantage (but so did Schuey, in 2002 and 2004 especially), but 2010 and 2012 he’s had to fight for it with the rest of them. Best car in some races but not over a whole season. And importantly, Vettel has got the job done when he’s had the car to win.

    Hamilton: the incident sums up his season; great driver performance let down by outside influences. I’m not going to be critical to Hulkenberg though. He was looking to be driver of the race. He made a mistake but those were tough conditions and it’s so easy to snatch the back-end downshifting in the damp.

    Also Hamilton finished the season just 2 points ahead of Button. That’s not to criticise Button for his points and wins but it shows how unlucky Lewis has been and how many points the team has cost him. It’s a shame it wasn’t a 3 way Championship fight in this race.

    Button along with Hulkenberg showed his wise head again in these conditions. If it was once or twice you could say it’s a lucky gamble, but to make the right call as often as he has shows good judgement. Many drivers would have blindly followed their team’s call into the pits for inters but he surveyed the situation and went his own way and stayed out on his dries. Without the safety car, him and Nico would have finished half a minute ahead at least. So a good win for him to finish as he started. A shame much of the mid season was so mediocre.

    But finally congratulations to Vettel. Unbelievably lucky to have survived that collision. But he came back strongly (including a pitstop fiasco).

    Oh and Kimi’s detour – haha!!!

    And thanks to James for his site. Adds to this sport immeasurably.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Kimi’s detour, Vettel should be thanking his lucky stars that it wasn’t the other Lotus, he’d have been rear ended!

      1. yugin says:

        He means the incident where Kimi went off and tried to take what he thought was a slip road back onto the track, but ended up on the old circuit instead and had to spin the car around, driver back the way he came, and go across the grass to get back to the main circuit.

      2. Antti says:

        You have to admire Kimi for that, rather take the car off-road than crash into someone. More drivers should have respect like that for their fellow competitors.

      3. manu says:

        kimi has the best reflex among other drivers. It helps him avoid collision and finish every race in this season.

        Hope he can recover more on qualifying performance in 2013, and lotus be more competitive than just hot weather – performing E20.

      4. Craig D says:

        I was referring to when Kimi went down the dead-end escape road!

    2. All revved-up says:

      Great post. Very interesting observation about Button. I think you may be right. Button seems to have the ability to drive with one eye on the track and the other looking for rain clouds in the sky. Is this because he grew up racing where the weather is bad? Ha ha.

  28. Garriel says:

    Congrats to Seb.
    Most of Spanish people reckon Vettel is a great driver, but we’re very dissapointed with 2010 & 2012 ending.
    We never had a driver like Fernando and I think Ferrari is not going to be the team we expected to be in this aerodynamics era, so his last years could be very frustating, assuming he’ll not be able to do better than he’s done.
    It’s a shame for such a fantastic driver

  29. Nick Hipkin says:

    Wow, just wow! That was like wacky races, all credit to Vettel for keeping his head after that first lap. Feel for Alonso as he has been faultless this year but F1 is about the whole package and Ferrari just havent been as good as Red Bull this year. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Amazing to think Seb is now a triple champion but is still regarded by some, maybe even many as not being the best driver in F1. Will this lead to him leaving Red Bull for a new challenge, possibly at Ferrari?

    2. Interesting that Mclaren won as many races as Red Bull and more than twice as many as Ferrari but still could only manage 4th in the WDC and 3rd in the WCC. They really wasted a good car this year regardless of what they say about only racing for wins and not championships.

    1. a user says:

      Seb ist being constantly underrated. Remember when he was even the underdog agains Webber what a finale that was! And this season he has had a few very good races, two of them where he had to cut through nearly the whole field, with the weight of a championship on his shoulders. You don’t do that if you’re just a guy who can do ‘pole to flag’ races, leading nearly every lap of the race. You certainly have to know how to overtake and you need to keep your calm (which Senna, Grosjean and Maldonado seem to struglle with, and even Hamilton had his fair share of stupid maneuvers last year) and you need to keep the car on the road under difficult conditions. Who ever says that Seb is a mediocre driver and that he can’t pass, must be pretty ignorant.

  30. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

    It would be interesting to hear what Dietrich Mateschitz has to say to Webber after this race. Massa had a “little” different approach to his teammate then Webber.

    1. Antti says:

      I noticed the same thing. I don’t know if that reflects the difference between Webber and Massa, or between Red Bull and Ferrari.

    2. trullifan says:

      But this race tells you that Webber is a real racer and not a moveover like Massa.

    3. Truth or Lies says:

      Yea, I was a bit surprised with Webber at the start as well.

      I only saw one replay, but I thought initially at least that Mark was quiet harsh with Sebastian in turn 1 and he didn’t really make it easy for him.

    4. Joe B says:

      Probably ‘thank you’ for driving off the circuit when Vettel was in a sandwich!

      1. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

        Why was he “attacking” anyway?

    5. vettelfan says:

      he should tell him the famous Donald Trump phrase YOY ARE FIRED

  31. Val from montreal says:

    Thank you Vettel , today you ended the ” who’s the best driver in F1 ? ” debate that has been unanswered since 2007 … Your the new heir to Schumacher , fully deserved 3rd world championship , in as many years ! Next step for your carreer is to head out to Italy in the future , and begin where Michael Schumacher left off , bring Ferrari back to the top ! Go Michael ! Go Vettel !

    1. F1fan4life says:

      Haha yea right. The commentators contour feed all mentioned who they thought was the best driver in F1. Guess what, it wasn’t Sebastian. I’ve read your posts though Val and you definitely are the winner for the debate on who the biggest cucumber is…

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I have missed you x

      What you said a few weeks back, that once MSC retired you would be gone, does that still hold?

    3. Alberto Dietz says:

      Game, set, match (Ladies) Val from Montreal.

    4. Andrew M says:

      I think it’s fair to say this doesn’t end the debate. Let’s see who James gives his driver of the year award to :)

    5. trullifan says:

      I reckon LDM will sign vettel if Alonso doesn’t bring the titel hometon Maranello in the near future.

  32. Dave Aston says:

    I reckon the best man won; to come from 40 points down early in the season reminded me of 2010 when he didn’t lead the points until the last race. He’s definitely an immortal now. Also, although Schumacher and Fangio both took three in a row, how long will it be until someone else wins their first three in a row?

    1. Alberto Dietz says:

      Game, set, match (Men’s) Dave Aston.

  33. Tim says:

    Congrats to Vettel. Was amazed at how hard Webber fought his teammate. Webber & Alonso do share the same manager. Nah, but it is because of the “history” of some people that even entertaining the thought is not outlandish.

    Great drive by Hulkenberg, ’til takeing out Hamilton, who had the “W” snatched from his grasp again. And Felipe Massa has earned a FAIR shot next year with Ferrari. Superb drive.

    Tim

  34. Steve JR says:

    Well done to to Redbull and to Seb for holding his nerve. Commiserations to Lewis – has he really swapped a race winning car for a midfielder next season? – I hope Brawn can give him something useful to play with next season…

    1. trullifan says:

      Next season Hamilton might be in the doldrums but come 2014 he may seal the title considering the new engine regs will favour works teams like Ferrari and Mercedes.

  35. paddy says:

    For me the most flawless, hardworked, talented and utterly stunning DRIVERs champion without a shadow of a doubt is Alonso. Simply incredible what he has done. I remember being in my office having a fly skive keeping up with the updates of the initial testing and thinking “no way, Ferrari cannot be that slow, theres surely something up the sleeve..” then having it confirmed the first time i seen the onboard of Alonsos car during practice back in Melborne followed by the spin in qualy.. I could never have dreampt we would have conceded today by 3 points back then. You can look back at the whole season and say, well only this and only that but regardless.. What the man has done has got to be one of the most extreme shows of talent to anyone who understands the sport has almost ever done in the history of the sport. The only frustration thing of the whole year was the idiocy of grosjean in Spa, yesterday trying to pass in a spot where a car will always cut was nothing short of stupid. Granted, hes in the car, im not, but looking at it its such a bloody stupid silly mistake, again, he has raw speed, great, but as weve seen with the Ferrari this year, you need consistency, sensibility and patience to be or come close to victory. Grosjean has ruined races, made mistakes that a driver at the peak of motorsport shouldnt do and has probably cost one of the biggest injustices in the history of sport. Regardless, fantastic season, well done to Adrian Newey and Vettel for a third title, very well done. -Paddy, very bitter Ferrari “ultra”, next year ;)

  36. Sarvar says:

    What a thriller!!!!
    Even Newey was 100% sure Vettel would end by DNF, what a magic material is made of this stuff on the car:-)

    James, can’t wait your book to read this thriller again.

  37. Don says:

    Vettel is like Schumacher back in his glory years… has had more good luck than Alonso during year…. fair play to Alonso… one hell of a season in a crap car!

  38. Sebee says:

    And that whole Pic move was probably the most expensive move of the day. I think this story may get burried, but it is by far in top 3 story lines of the day I think.

    Of course he will say it wasn’t on purpose. But clearly this one does not need a conspiracy theorist to see through.

    1. colin grayson says:

      yes , it’s obvious that the cosworth engined . no kers car of pic should have been able to hold off the renault engined/ kers equipped car of petrov

      get real , petrov was catching up having been off the track

    2. Jenks says:

      Well he certainly made sure that they’ll have enough money to pay his wages next year.

      1. Sebee says:

        Honestly, it’s a HUGE story. In my view the top 3 story lines out of the GP are:

        1. Vettel does what’s needed for WDC.

        2. Lewis crash from lead/McLaren not getting 2nd in WCC.

        3. Caterham squeezes by to get 10th in WCC and a huge bag of cash.

    3. Gate 21 says:

      I wonder if Petrov had a discussion about next year’s Caterham seat before passing Pic?

      “Renew my drive or I won’t pass him!”

      Could you imagine?

  39. Better4worse says:

    Phewww ! What a race…

    Fitting finale to a mindblowing season of wheel 2 wheel F1 racing ! It just couldn’t have been better. Loved every minute of it, in the end it was relief for Vettel, sadness for Alonso, exasperation for Hamilton, nostalgia for Massa…total chaos and nail biting madness for us viewers, just too much emotion out there in one single race. What a brilliant F1 2012 season !

  40. Søren Kühle says:

    What a race.. The perfect ending to a thrilling season. Congratulation to Vettel for the WDC. He drove a race today, worthy of a champion as he fought to hold on to his point advantage with a damaged car and ever changing conditions. Alonso’s drive was also spectacular. From 7. to 2. Greatly helped by Massa who in my opinion drove a perfect race for the team. Alonso could’nt ask for a better wingman.
    So both Vet and Alo where worthy champions, and the best car won. that’s F1. Can’t wait for 2013..

  41. Harvey Bushell says:

    THAT was a terrific race! What a great way to end one of the most entertaining seasons in years. Too bad about the safety car finish but fortunately it was only for a lap or so.

    Can’t wait for next year. Hamilton’s move to Mercedes will certainly be good for some unpredictability and hopefully more excitement.

  42. Antti says:

    I think this race showed that Vettel truly deserved the WDC. Almost everything was going against him, yet he produced the result he needed to. I do not understand how people here still say things like “Vettel was lucky yet again” and that “he is undeserving”.

    I have to say I’m a bit surprised how openly Red Bull let Mark race against Sebastian. At Ferrari, that would never had happened.

    1. Andrew M says:

      People say he was lucky because:

      *he caused a collision that took two drivers out of the race and didn’t even get investigated (Perez had an almost identical incident in Abu Dhabi and got a penalty).

      *in the same incident his car took two massive contacts, either of which could have ended his race but he was able to continue.

    2. Chromatic says:

      I can’t believe seeing Webber block Seb at the start. Instead of blocking Massa….
      nothing commendable about that, just totally second rate. He had his chance at the title and made a complete hash, as usual.
      Beats me why he has a drive with RB. Kovaleinen could do as well as Mark, and probably cheaper.

      1. Lynn says:

        +1.
        Hopefully 2013 will be his final year at RBR.

    3. trullifan says:

      ‘I have to say I’m a bit surprised how openly Red Bull let Mark race against Sebastian. At Ferrari, that would never had happened.’

      Yes, RB are real racers, Ferrari have a #1 policy. It didn’t help them to win this year, though. Even demoting Massa on the grid wasn’t enough, which is good in the end, though.

  43. richardc says:

    I echo the views of Wayne. Hulkenberg ruined what would have been a great finish to LH,s career with MCL. To not even be gracefull enough to apologise is a poor reflection on him as a person. You have to say LH has been ridiculously unlucky this season and really think that Mercedes are in with a shout next season. Well done to Vettel he has done it where it matters and put Webber well and trully in the shade. Bring on 2013!!!!!

    1. tim clarke says:

      Lewis has already stated that Hulk came to see him!

  44. Robert Gunning says:

    Congratulations to Sebatian, but I just cannot believe his luck. To be spun round and hit in an area which caused hardly any significant damage to the car and then to pit for intermediates when the pit crew were not ready. The look on Alonso’s face during parc ferme said it all! However, Alonso cannot be too disappointed, as he has driven exceptionally well all season, and won a lot of respect from both the fans and media. Lets hope he can win at least another couple of titles before he retires.

  45. Thomas Shelley says:

    What an unbelievable race! Dreadful luck for Hamilton though and I cannot believe that Hulkenberg seemed to think he was innocent. I am sure he didn’t mean to crash, but that is not the point.

    I have been one of the first to doubt Vettel despite his success, but he is such a great competitor. That doesn’t mean to say that Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen couldn’t do the same or better, but ultimately what Alonso proved today is that no matter how perfect your season may be, you still need the car and we shouldn’t disregard Vettel because he has just that.

    Without sounding too much like a Hamilton groupie, I hope we can look back in 10 years and see that this year’s dreadful luck was balanced with some good fortune in the coming years.

    Finally, James, thank you. This website is just brilliant. BBC and Sky have some nice features but I treasure your insight and analysis….How will we survive until next year?

  46. Eric says:

    Without the safety car Button would have won by ~60s!

      1. Vinola says:

        Without the safety car, Button may have picked up a puncture and not finish the race!

        Without the safety car…..

      2. MiG2009 says:

        Speaking of Button. I’m looking at the figures and am a bit bewildered as a staunch Hamilton fan, it looks like over the 3 years that Ham and Button were partnered Button outscored Hamilton. What does that mean? Can anyone give me an objective assessment?

      3. Vinola says:

        Nothing in my view. The points are structured to pick a championship winner, no more no less. Extrapolating its use to discriminate qualitatively between drivers is silly, as this season shows. We know who the top tier drivers are by the dollars they command in a tightly competitive market.

      4. Aaron Noronha says:

        It means nothing. Hamilton is more aggressive as he is younger. He always aims to win and so takes more risk thus having more accidents. Hamilton and Vettel are great racer. They are very quick but still have a lot to learn about being calm and composed like Alonso and Button. They will reach that level as both have at least another 10 to 15 years of racing left in them. I wish Mercedes gives Hamilton a car capable of wining in 2014 if not as early as 2013 or he will be demotivated and might leave the sport. It is very unlikely that Ferrari will sign him as long as Alonzo is around, although Vettel might be more inviting than Alonso I dont see him driving for Redbull even if Redbull allow its drivers to race each other, going back to Mclaren would be a possibility but would just prove humiliating after all the tall clams he has been making about wanting a new challenge and he want to emulate what Micheal did with Ferrai.

      5. Remco de Waal says:

        It doesn’t mean anything. If you look at the difference in performance this year, Hamilton should have ended this season at least 100 points ahead of Button.

      6. Chapor says:

        Without the safety car in Abu Dhabi Alonso would be world champion.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Well without the safety car Hulk would have been miles ahead of Lewis, and he looked to have the measure of Jenson, so who knows what might have been.

    2. Andras F. says:

      Without SC Hulk could be on the top spot too…

    3. rats says:

      Wouldn’t he have just!! Great all round bloke keeps his nose clean doesn’t crash, puts the work in, he will be a great credit to McLaren. I shall not be surprised with the car built to ‘his’ liking he will be right up there next year too.
      Great Aussie scribe I was talking to this year nick named him ”the grafter ”. The harder you work seems the luckier you get …………

      1. Timmay says:

        Yes if there are 20 wet races in 2013 Jenson may have a shot at a title, maybe.

    4. HansB says:

      That is why he should be driver of the day !

  47. Nige says:

    No investigation for hitting Senna and taking him out of the race and then the yellow flag incident. Yet Hulkenburg gets one of the fastest investigation then penalty I have ever seen!! Very strange! Despite this congrats Vettel now come on Ferrari build a better car.

    1. zoomsthru says:

      That was quite clearly a racing incident. There were three abreast at that corner – Senna, Di Resta and Vettel. As Vettel cut across Di Resta, he assumed the apex was his, but didn’t anticipate that Senna would be there. Vettel could not have seen Senna.

      One could argue that Vettel should have expected a third car in that corner, but that is perhaps asking too much.

      1. Nige says:

        Agree but every incident in a race is a racing incident but was it avoidable? And the only way to find out would be to investigate it. I find it strange there was no investigation.

    2. PK says:

      No question – if Michael gets a post race drive through in Monaco in 2010 for passing when the lights were green then Vettel should be penalised for passing under yellows.

      With the accident with Senna – I’m of the opinion that these days penalties are too vastly applied for racing incidents. But to be consistent with this years application of the rules, Vettel was deserving of a penalty.

      I guess you can rephrase it another way – would the stewards have penalised Senna if he had taken Vettel out in the same fashion?

    3. zoomsthru says:

      And it has been confirmed by the Stewards as well as Pat Fry of Ferrari that the Kobayashi overtake was under red and yellow oil flags.

    4. David Ryan says:

      Judging from the onboard camera footage, it was more a case of Senna hitting Vettel than Vettel hitting Senna. Senna was 3 places behind Vettel going into the braking zone at turn 4, and while the pass on the Force India was fair enough and Raikkonen took himself out of the way even attempting a pass on Vettel from that far back was foolhardy. Senna simply misjudged his entry speed and torpedoed Vettel – and this is from a Williams fan, by the way. Also, the “yellow flag incident” was in fact a yellow-red slippery surface flag according to Ferrari technical director Pat Fry, so that accounts for that one too.

      1. Rohan says:

        Really suggest you watch the Vettel-Senna incident again. Vettel clearly turned in on Bruno – Bruno’s front wheel was beyond Vettel’s rear wheels, and therefore Bruno was blameless in the collision.

      2. Aaron Noronha says:

        . We have the liberty and the convenience of overhead cameras the drivers have their small rattling mirrors, Vettel had Di Resta in his mirrors so no way of knowing senna’s exact position and Senna came from way back by braking way late which is visible from the replay senna braked very late and made a legit and a very good move but Vettel couldnt see him so he got away with it.

        Hulkenburg lost control of his car going on the slippery side of the track i.e off the race line. If he had instead run into Hamilton or banged wheels to wheels without losing control of the car he would have not received the penalty instead Hamilton would have been penalized because Hulkenburg was in front and had the racing line.

      3. David Ryan says:

        I have watched the incident again, thank you – my conclusion still stands. As David Coulthard put it on the BBC commentary, Senna was in effect hoping for a “disappearing Red Bull” trick by braking that late in damp conditions and aiming for the apex – Vettel had very little, if any, chance of seeing him before contact was made because he had di Resta in his mirrors and was on the wider (wet) line. Also, I’m not sure where your logic is in claiming Vettel turned in on a car he couldn’t actually see – most people would describe that as taking the corner, which he had to do at some point, and given Senna had the advantage of seeing where Vettel actually was he should have exercised better judgement in going for the move. He didn’t, and predictably a collision followed. Senna may have been unlucky in the circumstances, but blameless he certainly was not.

    5. danny says:

      And didn’t the Hulk’s penalty gift Vettel the place he needed? Hmm

      1. danny says:

        of course it didn’t. Hulk was 5th. Must have been Webber I saw getting past during his drive-through. oops

      2. Rodger says:

        Don’t worry, just a Murray Walker moment lad: Unless I am very much mistaken…and I AM very much mistaken! ;)

    6. Nige says:

      Re investigation if Vettel had taken Alonso with the same move then what? My view is there should have been at least an investigation no matter the outcome. Consistency is key. The rules state you have to leave a cars width gap if a car is along side.

      1. Brad says:

        Bru, just what rules are u reading?

      2. Nige says:

        Well it’s the rule that’s been applied all season when handing out penalties.

  48. Panagiotis says:

    Alonso reminds me Shumi’s years at scuderia. Ok next year, farewell drinks!

    1. Schimi says:

      Hi. Schumacher never ever whigned or trashed his team the way alonso does it. Today, has ma kdd the beginning of a new era.of domination in f1 and the king of which Sebastian Vettel! History always remebers winners and forget losers I mean first runner ups…!!!!!

      1. JR says:

        Alonso today: “And it was a miracle until the final lap, because thanks to the team’s perfect work we have found ourselves in this position. And even though we lost the championship today, we have to be proud to have finished second.

        “We are Formula 1 championship runners-up and not everybody can say that. And when you fight with all your heart and all your strength for so many months, without making a single mistake, neither the team or me, we have to be very proud.”

        Still some people only see what they want to see..

      2. Panagiotis says:

        “Trashing” is a subjective or an objective way of been or not been biased by what media cover. At the end of the day been honest like everyone in Ferrari have been all year round about their problems doesn’t make Alo a bad figure. Pat’s way of speech and wording irritates me more than anyone else, but what can you say to him when he is honest, at the end of the day Ferrari is not fast on a single lap 4 years now, hasn’t sort out its wind tunnel issues and still fights to last race for the championship having started the year with a dog car. Shumi’s never drove under those circumstances.

        Yeah history remembers winners but fans remember legends, say Gilles Villeneuve never won a championship yet his son Jacques won one. Jacques will never been a legend yet his father is because he drove on the edge. James Hunt took one, same like Damon Hill and Kimi Raikonen. Hunt is a legend, Damon is not while Kimi would be one. I don’t know if Seb would be a legend but damn right history will remember him. Kimi once said one championship its ok.

      3. Alberto Dietz says:

        +10bn.

    2. adam says:

      except schuey was good enough to win it and didnt benefit from countless penalties and crashes from others! FACT!

  49. MiG2009 says:

    I’m gutted! Oh Hamilton! Maybe leaving will change all the bad Juju. Of all his brilliance he’s only 2 points ahead of N.G. Jenson, depressing. It appears talent alone is not enough. I RELUCTANTLY give props to Vettel he has shown he has an abundance of both talent and incredible luck, my goodness. Now comes the anticlimax, no more F1 for a while.

  50. PK says:

    Michael – thank you

    1. JR says:

      Sincerely, Sebastian Vettel ;)

    2. Val from montreal says:

      Thank you Michael – your the best forever

  51. Surya says:

    The season finale couldn’t have been better and was the highlight of this season. In your driver of the day I would really give all the credit to Nico who once again outshone everybody and lead a chunk of he race. A big loss to force India, and a quick gain to Sauber. Would have been much better if Nico, Hamilton, button took the top honors with vettel crashing 3 laps from the end and Alonso getting his deserved championship. The drive through was completely unnecessary though.

  52. Nigel says:

    Not wanting to sound anti Vettel, but what happened to the investigation for an avoidable incident between Vettel and Senna on lap1? Interesting that Horner called it Senna turning Vettel around….when Vettel clearly turned in on Bruno, the game never ends does it?

  53. Jenks says:

    Great last race. I was glued to it.

    Well done everyone. Great show.

  54. Jenks says:

    Impressed with Kimi to finish in the points. I thought he was parking it at one point.

  55. Andy James says:

    A great race. Wanted alonso to win it over vettle purely as alonso has showed way more skill and provided more entertainment for me.
    When button provides excitement in overtaking moves and Raciness I will respect him more, he’s quite boring to watch, and this is why so many people have preference for other drivers. Did good to stay out on slicks, but let his teammate overtake way to easy after safety car.
    Was sad to see Lewis taken out, the win was in the bag.. He has a habit of creating drama in brazil!
    Driver of the season in my eyes, and this clearly the f1 website of the season.
    Great job james, just brillant hope you get the world website championship award.

    1. carl craven says:

      You obviously did not watch the USA gp then, because he pulled out awesome moves on several great drivers including tough opponents of Kimi and MS.

      Button is well known for his ability to make clean and decisive overtaking moves.

  56. F1 Bobby says:

    Alonso was more deserving this year.

    The gods smile on Vettel, it must be great to be a Vettel fan.

    Gutted for Hamilton. He drives a perfect season and ends up 4th thanks to awful reliability, others’ accidents and shoddy pitstops at the start of the year.

  57. JB says:

    OMG! what a tense race! The title was swinging back and forth time after time. For every driver that finished, it was a hard earned achievement no matter which place they end up.

    Now to Vettel. Twice this year, he came from the back to be in the points. Despite the poor start, damage car, no radio, He made the difference.

    The points were definitely not gifted to Vettel. In fact, Alonso had an easier race with less overtakings (thus less risk) needed. Vettel has again showed that he is a truly deserving champ and one of the greats if not the greatest (to be).

    Alonso, what can I say about him? Had Massa help him all way in many occasions. The team never led him down in terms of pitstop, reliability and consistency. I know the car is weak in Quali trim but they are good enough in the race. He is not that far off as the way he like to tell the media.
    Another familiar gloomy face, reminded me of 2010.. LOL!

  58. Miha Bevc says:

    Wow, this was probably the most thrilling final race after 2008. With 6 champions on the grid, this surely is one of the classic seasons. And Vettel won it in a car I still believe was not the fastest over the season – McLaren was.

    As a Vettel fan I’m glad season finished the way it did, but HUGE respect for Fernando. He drove near perfect season in that Ferrari and he will be rightly voted the driver of the year. I think both drivers are already one of the greats.

    I really feel sorry for Hamilton, he should be fighting for this classic title, as he probably drove his best ever season, just like Alonso. Lewis, we hope to see you soon fighting for wins with Seb and Fernando.

    When I heard Kimi was coming back nearly a year ago, I was afraid he will only ruin his reputation, like Schumacher. But boy, he proved me wrong! He finished 3rd! I would love to see him in a McLaren next year…

    And now I’m waiting to add Abbey to this little collection of mine: http://f1minichampions.wordpress.com

  59. Miha Bevc says:

    Guys, did you know that Button scored more points than Hamilton during their 3 McLaren years? But I guess Hamilton was REALLY unlucky this year…

    1. Thomas Shelley says:

      It is sad isn’t it? Even in his terrible 2011 campaign, he was usually ahead of JB. I know the numbers don’t lie, but it seems in this case, they don’t even begin to reflect reality…..

    2. SimonB says:

      What are you saying? if you were a team boss looking for a driver for next year which would you pick I don’t wish to disrispect Button as he is a very good driver but Hamilton has that little extra

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        Of course I would pick Hamilton. It’s just an interesting fact.

    3. JB says:

      With the exception of 2011, Lewis has always out scored Button.
      Lewis’ 2012 campaign is filled with bad luck. Similar to Schumacher’s 2012 actually.

    4. trullifan says:

      I think this is because he is involved in less incidents. He might be missing a tenth or two in outright speed, but he also drives with his head and without emotions, which is the way to score safe points. Button is the last man that beat Vettel in a straight fight fair and square (in 2009). You cannot say the same about Schumi, Alonso, Hamilton or Räikkönen.

    5. Craig in Singapore says:

      Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

      Let’s look at it another way. If you only count the races where both finished the complete race then Lewis out-scored Jenson by 80 points over the 3 years.

      You, too, can make it look any way you want to.

  60. Bellof says:

    As a Ferrari fan i say : hail to Vettel who drove astonishing today. Brazil 2012 will be the brightest jewel of his 3rd crown, which he deserves more than ever! BUT I couldn’t believe my eyes when Ferrari did not respond immediately to RB’s huge mistake when they brought in Vettel for his last stop and put him on slicks again..Why didn’t they bring in Alonso immediately to put him on intermediates? Why did it take so many laps to take this obvious decision? Ferrari got it on a silver plate today. But they threw it out of the window, just like 2 years ago. I have been a huge Ferrari fan for more than 30 years now, but I can’t take this team serious anymore. And with Luca di M and his puppets in charge it doesn’t look like things will change soon. Sayonara Prancing Horse.

    1. zoomsthru says:

      I think that’s unfair on Ferrari. Given Button’s huge lead, it would not have made any difference to the outcome. Also, given the changing conditions changing tyres was always a bit of a gamble – as Vettel and Red Bull’s switch to slicks on the third pitstop showed.

  61. Frank says:

    The stewards looked into it and took no action. Apparently it was not a flag, but some sort of advertising. Ferrari (looking for whatever advantage that they could) brought it to the stewards attention.

    1. trullifan says:

      That is what I dislike about Ferrari. They are so desperate they play every trick. Even unfair ones.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      What, you think Red Bull would not have done exactly the same under such circumstances?

  62. Formula Zero says:

    Thank you for a great Article on the last race of the season as always James. “What an incredible season!” As an F1 fan I feel honoured to have witnessed such a great ending to this great season.

    I became Alonso fan since he moved to Ferrari. I got to see Fernando from a completely different point of view since then. He is buy far the best driver on the current grid & one of the greatest that ever drove in F1. It is unfortunate that he is not getting a good enough car for him to win more than 2 WDC. He certainly deserves 4/5 at least by now. 2 out of last 3 seasons he has been very unlucky. Firstly, on 2010 When Vettel won his first championship, Fernando lost the WDC due to Ferrari’s Strategy Blunder. And this year, he managed to drive an unworthy car above and an beyond its potential. The amazing consistency that he showed through out the season deserves championship. I personally blame Roman Grosjean for Fernando’s championship loss. Having said that, Ferrari did not deserve the WDC because of the lack of speed in this year’s car. So, take a bow Fernando.

    Congratulations to Vettel. He is definitely a worthy champion. Yes you need a good car to win championships, but you need a better driver to get the best out of a great car. Vettel has done just that in last three seasons. Classic example is Webber’s failure to capitalise on the great chassis. So, Sebastian you deserve it.

    Great job by Massa & Schumi too. Of course rain plays a big part on races like this. However, Massa has improved incredibly over the past few races. I am looking forward to him winning races next season if Ferrari can produce a fast enough car. And Schumi, what can I say! He truly is one of the greatest that ever lived in any form of sport. It is unfortunate that he did not get to win any races since his comeback. I really thought 3 years ago that he was going to become the first driver to win 100 grand prix. Well, it was not meant to be & mainly because of the car underneath him. Lewis will find out when he get there next year. At least he got finish on pretty high this year. So, take a bow Schumi, win or no win you are my champion as always.

    James, I have not been able to post a lot of comments over here due to being really busy throughout the season. But I definitely have read every single article you posted & enjoyed reading all the readers’ comments. Thank you again. Just one question I have about the race, how come Vettel did not get any penalty for passing under the yellow flag? Has FIA given any explanation? I saw Vettel passing under the yellow flag clearly & the Sky TV commentators (Martin & David) said the same thing.

    1. Yak says:

      “I personally blame Roman Grosjean for Fernando’s championship loss.”

      Because he took him out of one race? What about the incident with Kimi? What about the win handed to Alonso at Valencia when Vettel and Grosjean both retired? What about the points lost when Vettel retired again at Monza? Webber at Austin would have provided competition for the points. And that’s just a few of the things that went on during the year.

      You can’t just single out one thing that didn’t go Alonso’s way as the deciding factor when there were so many factors throughout the season.

      Hamilton would likely have done a lot better in the championship if it weren’t for McLaren’s many screw ups and giving him a car seemingly held together with saliva. If he’d been scoring the points he should have been able to, it likely would have been a different conclusion to the title decider. While Alonso had his moments of bad luck, he certainly had plenty going his way too.

  63. Rohan says:

    Alonso cheated out of the title by shoddy stewarding decisions throughout the season. Maldonado similarly cheated by similarly egregious stewards throughout the year.

    So much for driver stewards improving decision-making.

    1. Dave Aston says:

      Wow.

  64. TheDrivingG says:

    What a fantastic race and what a great way to finish the season! Congratulations to Vettel. One can argue all day long who is more deserving but the points table at the end of the season says it all.

    As a fan of Massa, I am glad he is back. The He has outdriven Alonso in the last 2 races, he just had to be a team player. I am guessing he is going to be a candidate for DOTD. Even I wouldn’t have thought that he would be in contention for a DOTD 4 times this season!! I’m happy that he has found his form.

    James, I had asked this question several months ago and you said that you would look in to it: How do they ensure the minimum weight of a car if it gets damaged in the race? We see drivers picking up rubber to make sure that they are not underweight. With such fine margins, an endplate,floor board e.t.c would make a difference. Or do they accept that a missing piece hampers performance more than any weight advantage?

    Thanks.

    1. iceman says:

      Being underweight due to accidental damage is permitted, but as you imply, in these cases it wouldn’t be possible to accurately determine the weight of the car before the damage. I assume the stewards rely on the previous weighings and the fact that if someone is running underweight, sooner or later they will avoid crashing into anyone and be discovered.

  65. Eduan says:

    Farewell Herr Schumacher!! Wow could not ask for a more dramtic finish than that!

    Heard a interesting rumor that Barrichello could be joining Caterham?

  66. JR says:

    What a great race, with lot of things to comment.

    Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and his fans, a well deserved WC, although for me Alonso deserved it much more, given the machinery they had. He was extremely lucky to survive that early clash with Senna.

    Fernando Alonso: what can I say, what a fabulous racing driver!, I’ve been watching formula 1 from 1984 and his season has been one of the best, if not THE BEST, I have ever seen from any driver. Without a doubt, 3rd WC or not, he’s among the all time greats now.

    Felipe Massa: his two final races had been excellent but sadly this came far too late, the championship could have looked a lot different for Alonso if he had showed this from the start.

    Schumacher: finishing his fabulous career letting pass Vettel so blatantly was definitely a low, I would not have expected that from him, but what can you do?

    Hulkenberg: what a fabulous race from him, a pity that collision with Lewis at a time when conditions on the track were very difficult, well done anyway!, I think we have a good driver for the next few years here.

    1. JB says:

      I won’t consider Schumacher letting Vettel pass a low. Kimi did the same thing for Schumacher in his last race back in 2006.
      So was Kimi ‘low’?

      1. trullifan says:

        Of course Kimi was not low. Neither was Michael. Remember the uproar had Kimi or Schumi crashed into a Championship contender the way Senna did.

  67. Matt W says:

    I don’t like the constant suggestions that Seb is lucky. Winning a third title means you are anything but lucky in my opinion.

    You have to remember that he is up against the might of Mclaren and Ferrari, two of e biggest and most established teams, yet for the third year in a row he has shown them the way along with his superb crew.

    I think its crunch time for Ferrari. Their eggs in the one basket tactic seems to continually let them down these days and perhaps it is high time they took a more modern approach to racing.

    1. JR says:

      A similar approach to McLaren maybe? ;)

    2. andrewBarratt says:

      Have to agree with you. I’m no fan of Seb and hated his cruise to victory last year but this year he’s proved himself as a great racer. Next year will be fascinating at Ferrari because when the season kicks off Massa will be able to race for himself and could embarrass Alonso

      1. trullifan says:

        Massa already showed his stake this year. In the closing races of the season he was clearly better than Alonso. Although I’m not sure whether this is because Massa improved or because Alonso choked (too much pressure?).

    3. Mike from Colombia says:

      The Alonso basket is the best basket Ferrari could put their eggs in and will win them WDC championships.

      McLaren’s soppy thinking on equal treatment and compromise is akin to those of loony left local councils in the 1980s.

      Only one WDC in 13 years for a team that has had the best drivers and Adrian Newey on board is not good enough.

      If you set up a new team tomorrow and said to them…over the next few years we will give you vast financial resources, Mercedes engines, Adrian Newey, Kimi Raikkonen, JP Montoya, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton….anything other than multiple WDCs would be considered a complete failure.

      Yes, they have a unique philosophy on neatness, order, process….but they lack that edge. I have a feeling that Perez is going to get psychologically run down next year in the straight jacket environment of McLaren. McLaren cannot handle a driver that is quirky or different…only perfect corporate citizens a la Coulthard.

      Ferrari will ultimately win with Alonso by throwing all of their resources behind a WDC campaign. Who really cares about the WCC? Fans do not get excited by the WCC, and I would also bet that a WDC team is more attractive for sponsors than a WCC team whose drivers finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

      1. Matt W says:

        Mclaren seem to operate the same team orders system as Red Bull so I don’t think it is their refusal to nominate a number one driver that is there undoing. Mclaren have for a long time had major problems strategically and mechanically when it comes to the race weekend. Their 80s philosophy of designing a car that falls apart just after crossing the line is their major weakness.

        Ferrari need to stop trying to build a car around Alonso but to build a quick car full stop that the drivers can adapt to.

      2. trullifan says:

        Be fair to McLaren! At least in 2007 it were the drivers who squandered the title due to their silly mistakes, not the team. Same in 2010. In 2000 McLaren were very strong, but no man could beat an on-form Schumi that year, that’s for sure. In 2003 they were very strong, but again Schumacher made the difference. In 2001 Häkkinen was not focused, thinking too much about his retirement, not McLaren’s fault either. 2002/2004/2006/2009 and 2011 the car was too slow, and 2005 they were superfast but not reliable, which was not Kimi’s fault, who was driving brilliantly that year.

      3. Peter C says:

        I seem to remember Ayrton Senna driving for Mclaren for a while. Did he get any results?

        James Hunt? Alain Prost? Mika Hakkinen?

        I know these are all a few years ago, but you say ‘McL cannot handle a driver who is quirky or different’, I don’t agree.

        Ron Dennis took over McL in 1981, so his slightly OCD style of management has been there for a long time. He employed ‘quirky & different’drivers from time to time, just as any other team with a long history has.

        McL’s problem with WDCs is, according to most people, the lack of team orders so that points are split between drivers, making it difficult for one to achieve a championship-winning points total.

        It’s a question of how you want to play it, the Ferrari way or the McL way.

  68. Rachel says:

    That was an extremely stressful race to watch!! Loved the action and the changing potential results during the race. Such a shame for Hamilton. A silly mistake by Vettel (cutting Senna up) which got turned around by some great driving. Fernando driving a race that was just not enough at the end of it, Massa coming back to form. Loved it. :-)

    Counting down. 111 days til next race!

  69. jujemocla says:

    Vettel overtakes Kobayashi on yellow flag. It’s clear. He’s so lucky. ALO has been the best driver so far. In 2013 will see, I hope Ferrari will be stronger.

    1. Mike says:

      Get over it already, Ferrari protested that incident during the race and the stewards said it wasn’t a yellow flag.

      Congrats to Vettel, truly deserve 3rd WDC, you’re in good company.

      now, bring it on next season.

    2. Rob Newman says:

      You need to watch the race again. Probably all the races this year to understand who did the best job.

      1. JUJEMOCLA says:

        MAY BE YOU NEED TO WATCH THE BIG AMOUNT OF VIDEOS ON THE NET ABOUT VETTEL’S OVERTAKE ON YELLOW FLAG AN THE YELLOW LED ON HIS WHEEL. (OVERTAKE ON WEGNE’S TORO(BULL) ROSSO (RED).

    3. JB says:

      Ted Kravitz brought up this topic when he was talking to Martin Brundle. However, it was not shown on TV (at least not on the Australian Free-TV). I had the whole thing recorded and replayed it a few times.

      Anyway, Ferrari did their protest and it is clear that the yellow thing is not a yellow flag. Normally, Yellow flag would show up on the lap info float at the top. But it was all black.

  70. adam says:

    Ive been watching F1 for a long time and I can honestly say, no driver has been as fortunate as the one that has benefitted from so many drivers getting penalties ahead and so many drivers crashing ahead, so many FIA decisions in his favour and to see vettel still beat him feels sweet! more sour grapes ey tifosi?! lol

  71. Two races in a row that Vettel has been very lucky.

    But what amazes me is how quickly he recovers from his mistakes.

    Alonso like Massa in 2008 really did all he could at the last race. The championship, as he said, was really lost at other races.

    We know McLaren and Red Bull will be strong next year, we also know Ferrari will be there. My big hope is that Lotus produce another step up for Kimi.

    Mercedes are the big unknown… Hamilton will drag the life out of the car, but it needs to be so much more competitive than this year.

    1. trullifan says:

      ‘Alonso like Massa in 2008 really did all he could at the last race.’

      If Alonso had won, he’d be the new Champ. Now compare this to Massa, who really won that race in 2008.

      Btw Ferrai lost the title in the last race in the even years since 2006 (06/08/10/12), three times in Brasil, once in Abu Dhabi. Only in one year the driver won the last race (2008). Two times it was the same driver who lost the title (2010/2012)

    2. nusratholla says:

      If Lotus can give even the second fastest car to Kimi will be enough for him to fight it through…. I think the Silver Side walled tires where Lotus’ Nemesis.

  72. Seán Craddock says:

    Vettel had 4 pit stops no?

  73. AlexD says:

    I think there is something very special and valuable that Alonso achieved this year – he got enormous respect from fans, team principles and fellow drivers.

    He can still win more titles…

  74. adam says:

    Rob Smedley said on the BBC Massa outscored Alonso in the second half of the season, if you add back the points he gave up for the team and deduct those gifted to Alonso.
    Add in the excellent Reliability of Alonso’s car and it’s clear many are overrating Alonso’s driving this season.

    1. adam says:

      Sorry, I meant to say scored more potential points than any other teams driver in the second half of the season.

    2. quest says:

      I was one of those who felt Massa didn’t deserve his seat earlier in the year, but what a revival it has been. Hope he has put his issues behind him and can challenge Alonso and rest next year.

      1. TitanRacer says:

        I was with you and called for Massa’s head and seat after the 3′rd race this year. I am so happy at being so dead wrong!!!
        worthy of a block buster movie script…

  75. nusratholla says:

    Kimi in Abu Dhabi: Leave me Alone… I know what I’m doing.

    Kimi in Brazil: Leave me Alone… I know where I’m going. :D

    Vettel’s race was wonderful… the poor kid had everything going wrong for him and Alonso had everything going right for him… Vettel drove a beautiful race to drive up through the field from dead last… he drove with his head…. when Massa closed in he let him past with a litte lift… he knew Massa wasn’t his target… The driver in Vettel has been revelation since Abu Dhabi this year… car or not… his driving has been peerless.

    Alonso is nothing then Whiner and Vettel is nothing but a Winner…. this kid came out from no where this season with slowest engine (Renault) on the grid.

    Am Glad Kimi still remains the Last Ferrari World Champion.

    Enough said.

    1. All revved-up says:

      Your comments on Kimi made me laugh. +1

      Did you read Kimi’s explanation? Apparently he did the same move 10 years ago. But someone shut the gate since.

      Kimi – your fans will stand by the Interlagos gate in all future races, ready to open the gate just for you!!!!

      1. nusratholla says:

        YES KIMI WE WILL :D

  76. Oly says:

    How many F1 drivers could outdrive a Ferrari Formula 1 (car) ? Not many I think, jet Fernando did it very obviously.
    Stats are stats, they are not showing the whole picture. For me who was here in almost every single F1 race from early 90s FERNANDO YOU ARE THE GREATEST.

    Congratz to Seb and Jenson.
    Congratz to Kimi on 3rd.
    Wish more luck to Lewis, he certainly deserve it.

  77. zx6dude says:

    Congratulations to Vettel.

    What a lucky guy. First he gets away with crashing into Senna (Hulk gets a drive through Vettel gets? Nothing!). Then he gets away with not damaging his car so badly that it can’t go on. Also very lucky that nobody crashed into him during his spin and he also gets away with overtaking with yellow flags. I think Vettel proved that he is a very fast driver and that without a doubt he can overtake, however I also believe he needs to mature more.
    An amazing grand prix, well worth watching.
    Worthy champion? Red Bull and Vettel did turn the season around and in the end deserved it. I still wish Ferrari and Alonso could have done it, they just didn’t have the car for it.

  78. Richard says:

    That was one hell of a race, but what Vettel has had over the last three years must rank as the easiest route to a third consecutive title in the history of the sport. That’s not to say that Vettel is not as good as other top drivers far from it. Personally I think it emphasizes just how much this is a team sport, and Red Bull have done it all so well. Designers, engineers, mechanics, pit crew, “the car” and last but certainly not least the driver. All must be at the top of their game and Red Bull certainly are. It’s not that Vettel has driven any better than Alonso or Hamilton, just that the other teams in one area or another were weaker. With Ferrari it was the design of the car that was not good enough, with McLaren reliability and operational errors weakened their challenge.

  79. Sam says:

    Thanks for a great 2012. Fantastic site. See you in pre-season testing.

  80. erik says:

    Very happy for Seb. He knows that over the season FIA tried to help Alonso to became a champion. For me the proof was the race, where Grojean took out Alonso and Hamilton. The reasoning behind the penalty was : because he took out the championship contenders. But at that time everybody, including Grojean, were contenders. This was just a nasty accident. There are a lot of examples to that, a lot of radiomessages from Alonso moaning over something and he gets positive decitions.
    It was for me very frustating to watch and knowing that i can just hope that finally all this B….S…. will not matter. Seb is a 3 time champion!!!!!!!!!!
    You can call this luck, i`ll call it FORCE MAJORE.

  81. Jenks says:

    I also liked the part where Hamilton said that McLaren were the best team.

  82. Rob Newman says:

    The cream will rise to the top they said; the better driver will win, whoever wins deserve the championship they said. In the end Vettel silenced all his critiques. Congratulations to Seb and Red Bull!

    I never doubted that Seb will lose it. The best thing is he has won three championships without his teammate’s help. That makes him special and a great driver compared to Alonso who always, even in this last race wanted his team mate’s help.

    Personally for me, this is like an early Christmas present. I am so happy for Seb and Red Bull. I couldn’t take the tension so I watched the race only after checking the results at the end. One of the best days of my life.

    People might think Ferrari is up there in second position all because of Alonso. Wrong, they are up because they had a very strong, fast and reliable car, top people, and they picked up when cars in front tripped over or when they had mechanical failures. The drivers, Alonso in particular didn’t do his work on Saturdays. That is what exactly cost them the championship.

    1. JB says:

      I can’t really say how fast Ferrari is. But I believe it has great race pace as shown by the resurgent Massa. I think the most outstanding part of Ferrari is their reliability – the car never broke; the fantastic pitstops; AND no mistakes.

  83. Chris says:

    Vettel certainly has a fantastic team supporting him and in the cases of Hamilton and (at times) Alonso their respective teams have let them down. It’s a shame that Hamilton wasn’t able to secure a win on his final GP with McLaren.

    However, I’ve become bored of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. This is 3 years in a row now. It’s time for some of the other teams to step it up!

    1. Monza01 says:

      Does Adrian Newey have a twin brother ? That’s what McLaren or Ferrari really need !

      Without Hamilton Mclaren are likely to find next year more difficult but with Massa performing better, Ferrari should be able to take the fight to Red Bull – as long as they can produce a quicker car.

      If Williams can sort their driver issues out it’s possible that both they and the Enstone team could be right up there as well.

      Surely the arrival of Hamilton will have encourages everyone at Brackley to lift their game ?

      2013 could be even better than 2012.

      I can hardly wait !

  84. Rafael says:

    Congrats to Vettel for winning his 3rd straight title! Although, I am still of the opinion that he owes a large part of his success to Adrian Newey for building him the fastest cars, fact is, you make the most of what is given to you – and clearly Sebastian used his car advantage judiciously. There’s no denying that he is a 3 times world champion.

    On the other hand, I feel incredibly bad for Alonso: he has been superb all year long and should have really won this one, but was let down (again) by a sub-par car and a “sub-par” team. Ferrari can look back to their history and figure out that bending the rules and team orders can only get you so far. That those are only supplementary tactics to what has always been the best strategy: having a fast(est) car.

  85. Rich C says:

    Anyone still think Vettel can’t pass ppl?

    1. Timmay says:

      I admire his moves today on Webber, Schumacher, Ricciardo, and Vergne. He drove past them like they moved out of the way or something he was so fast.

    2. AlexD says:

      Yes he can when he has a car with 1 sec advantage

      1. Peter C says:

        Which was fourth on the grid?

      2. AlexD says:

        No. What I am saying overtaking first 10 people from the back is not the same as overtaking the first 5. So there is nothing special in charging to P6 when you have people crashing, 2 Torro Rossos, Schumacher show is moving away. Let’s be honest……….who did he fight to overtake yesterday?

      3. Peter C says:

        OK, I understand you.

        But why do you continue to put him down? He just won the WDC for the third time.

        I realise that you are an Alonso/Ferrari fan, but you will have to accept at some time that Fernando did not wear the crown this year.

        It’s a real shame IMO that a majority of posts on this thread support one driver only, will not stand any adverse comments on that driver, but set about criticising other drivers to prove their allegiance to ‘their’ man.

        To my mind, that is not about motor racing but rather a pesonality culture which doesn’t get us further forward.

      4. James Allen says:

        I agree 100% and we will now be much more selective of what posts get cleared.

        There’s an undertone here which I don’t like and it has to end. Constructive criticism – OK. Blind negativity – No.

      5. F430-Fox says:

        Thank you James. I have noticed that the comments really dropped in quality recently. I firmly support your stance of being more selective.

        Those who don’t like it can post on the many other boards available where fans rule and put down anyone not supporting their driver.

    3. jp says:

      yes, bruno senna may disagree

  86. Gord says:

    Alonso fought hard, but I think what really lowered his chances was Vettel’s impressive performance in Abu Dhabi, and Alonso’s crash with Kimi in Suzuka (which IMO was very a very unAlonso moment).

    1. JR says:

      Sure, the problem for Alonso is that with that car he could not afford any mistake/racing incident to continue in the fight, while Vettel, with many mistakes along the year, still gets away with the WC.

  87. Nuno says:

    Bravo Alonso, you are the champiom in our hearts, as you said your fight was not with VET, but rather with a car that is fast , and by the looks of it Industructible!!!

  88. Jamie Ramsamy says:

    I could care less about who won the title. The shining performance this year was Kimi! yet another points finish and 3rd in the championship. Mind you he had to resort to some rally skills that he’d acquired pre-2012.

    Disappointed over Hamilton’s misfortune this race and throughout the year actually. He certainly drove his best this season and has garnered respect even among the most hardy nay-sayers.

    Oh well, let the 4 month withdrawal begin…

  89. andrewBarratt says:

    Next year will be interesting at Ferrari as Massa has out performed Alonso heavilly in the last part of this season. Not u=sure whether it was the pressure but if he performs like that next year and Massa starts bringing home the points….. there’ll be sparks flying

  90. Chromatic says:

    Grosjean. Perez. Senna. Maldonado.
    The sight of them walking back together to the pits after blitzing their cars yet again! And Whitmarsh shaking his head! “One of these is mine”, he must have thought to himself.

    I once championed Gros way back, but out of this group, IMO, only Maldonado has any hope of finding his feet in F1

    1. Dave Aston says:

      McLaren took the wrong Sauber driver…

  91. Darren says:

    What a fantastic finish to a brilliant season, one of the best races I have watched for a while, action all up and down the field!

    Despite not being a fan I have to say that Vettel deserves his title, anyone who staged the kind of comeback he did in the latter half of the season deserves to be in the running. Ferrari just weren’t quite good enough in the end despite Alonso’s heroic efforts. It has to be said though that that is 2 races in a row where Massa has out qualified and (if he was allowed to) finished in front of Alonso, I think and hope that this reflects more on Massa than it does on Alonso and that Massa retains his good form into next season, would be nice to see him back to his best again.

    Disappointed for Hamilton, it would have been good for him to win his last with McLaren. Somehow I don’t think we have seen the last of Lewis in a McLaren though. It has to be said though that had there not been that safety car Button and Hulkenberg would have been nearly a minute in front. I also think that Hulkenbergs penalty was a bit harsh, classic racing incident if there ever was one, certainly no worse than Vettel turning in on Senna on lap 1. However much like his incident with Maldonado in Valencia I think Lewis should have been streetwise enough to give him a wide berth when it was clear he would have got past him later on. Either way I don’t really care, I have never liked Hulkenberg anyway always strikes me as very cocky and arrogant, and to not even apologise to Lewis is very childish.

    Suprised how little has been made of Pic “falling behind” Petrov. I would be absolutely raging if I was Marrussia. I feel sorry for them actually. Lotus/Caterham whatever seemed like the real deal when they joined in 2010 but whats his face seems to have done a runner when his plan for Team Lotus and dominance didn’t work out, wouldnt be surprised if he pulls the plug shortly.

    Lol of the day goes to Kimi Raikkonen for getting lost in the escape road, I thought he was going to have to try and find reverse for a minute!

  92. Irish con says:

    I have to say considering how little contact kimi and Fernando made at susuka for him to be took clean out of the race and for the almighty slap that sebs car got today on the 4th corner of the race seb was very very lucky. But he is a fantastic driver and anyone who says otherwise is deluded. I still think Fernando drove the best season tho. Not much to choose between Lewis, Fernando, Sebastian and Kimi when all are at there best. Roll on Australia 2013.

  93. Ahmed says:

    Well done Seb!
    Sick of the arrogant attitude by Webber with the “I won’t help Vettel” constant talk. It is clear he is envious as he cannot produce results in a championship winning car.
    He moved to the left to cover Vettel at the start, and gave Massa and Alonso a free run down the right hand side into turn 1.
    It is clear that he only helps when ordered by the team not by his own free will.

    Massa on the other hand, that is the best example of teamwork at play. Forces Webber wide and intentionally gives Alonso the inside line to pass both cars. Then acts as a rear gunner for te remainder of the race. Pure class!
    Hope Massa is “allowed” to fight for WDC in 2013…

    1. JR says:

      You can keep repeating that mantra over and over but the fact still is Massa has been allowed to fight for the WC from 2010 on, I’m sure Ferrari would have been happy having his two drivers on the fight like in 2007 & 2008. The problem is that Massa has not been capable of being on the fight, unlike Alonso.

  94. absolude says:

    As a Kimi fan I have to congratulate Vettel with all my heart. A most worthy and deserving champion.
    Cudos to Red Bull for not engaging in questionable tactics like the “gear box maneuver”, or bringing Webber for a late pit stop towards the end.
    Really dissapointed in Webber whose squeezing at the start led to Vettel’s trouble. He was clearly part of team Alonso on that one.
    Alonso drove decent over the year, always recovering after poor qualifying performances, most of the times because others’ retirements. His trash talking of late removed him for good from my list of favorite drivers.
    But he lucked out once again, as Hamilton was a more deserving second place this year.
    All in all a good year, dumbed down a little by the DRS.
    And for the next year, GO KIMI!

    1. JR says:

      While the Toro Rossos (as usual) plus Scumacher were part of team Vettel.

    2. quest says:

      Yeah. Kimi drove right off the track to avoid running to back of Vettel. More than any other driver he embodies what racing is meant to be.

      And his trying to go though the old part of the circuit only to see there is no way through was priceless. Didnt we see him there just yesterday relaxing in a chair.

      He could have been right in the mix if the car had not let hime down a bit form Monza to Korea, but for the first year back, couldn’t have asked for more.

    3. Jane Kay says:

      well said. And I agree 100% with the first sentence.
      Great race, great drive by Seb! Well deserved 3WDC!

  95. Mike from Colombia says:

    Massa has got his mojo back and has driven superbly in the last few races.

    He has also shown himself to be a gentleman when many others may have lashed out and become brow beaten.

    Let’s hope that over the next couple of years we can see the fight that everyone wants to see…Alonso-Hamilton.

    I really hope that Pirelli has not decided that its tyres are now too predictable and set up back to the stone ages with Flintstone tyres for next year.

    DRS has got to be banned if we ever want to see any proper overtaking moves. All you have to do now is get in the zone and work out when to use your KERS allocation. Gladiatorial championship battles will never happen under DRS.

  96. Westy says:

    The coverage I was watching, everyone agreed Vettel was to blame for turning in on Senna and causing the accident on lap 1, which put Senna out of the race. James, why do you think it was this incident wasn’t investigated by the stewards? It certainly looked like Vettel caused an avoidable accident by not giving Senna space, and yet this seemed to be ignored completely. Just because a driver is racing for the championship, does that mean he’s exempt from the usual driving codes of conduct?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well it was the start of the race, always a chaotic time. I don’t know who “everyone” is because that wasn’t the feeling in the F1 Paddock, as far as I could see

      1. Nige says:

        Remember spa, chaotic start and grojean moved to the right and got a ban. Vettel and senna could have caused similar accident and they were very lucky.

      2. Westy says:

        Thanks James, unfortunately I didn’t have access to your commentary and was watching the race on Sky, and Martin Brundle and David Croft both felt Senna was the innocent party in the accident, with Vettel turning in and not leaving the space required.

        I can understand accidents in the first corner are often just down to bad luck, but this was Turn 4 and Vettel was responsible for two cars being taken out. Surely this was something that should at least have been looked at by the stewards, even if they then declared it a racing incident? If the situation was reversed and Senna had turned in on Vettel, I don’t think the stewards would have ignored this.

      3. Nige says:

        Agree there should have been an investigation.

      4. David Ryan says:

        Ben Edwards and David Coulthard were both pretty quick to say the opposite – DC in particular felt Senna was waiting for a “disappearing Red Bull” trick. Judging from their claims about Vettel passing under yellow flags (which weren’t yellow flags, as the regs make quite clear) I think Sky’s team may have been having an off day so I wouldn’t take what they said as gospel…

        In terms of why an investigation wasn’t requested, it’s usually down to the race director (Charlie Whiting) to refer incidents to the stewards. On past form, he’s only referred incidents if he feels (a) it’s a borderline racing incident and he wants to be sure or (b) he thinks it’s gone beyond a racing incident, particularly if someone’s gained by it (hence why Hulkenburg’s one was referred, I suspect). The fact that he didn’t refer it suggests he came to a similar conclusion to DC, Ben and James – and let’s face it, if he did you can’t exactly give a penalty to a retired car at the last race. It does rather defeat the point.

      5. Westy says:

        David, I’m still not sure I agree. Senna had half his car alongside Vettel and it wasn’t that he braked too late to make the corner and drifted into the Red Bull, Vettel simply turned in on the Williams, not allowing it the space the regulations specify. I’ve looked at replays and it still looks like Vettel’s mistake.

        I don’t think it’s Charlie’s responsibility to judge who was at fault in an incident, he refers it to stewards who make that decision. Virtually every accident seems to go to the stewards, no matter how clear-cut the case, so for this one not to is surprising.

        Teams can protest when they have an issue, and maybe if Vettel had collided with a Ferrari-engined team, I’m sure a protest would have been raised, but a Renault-powered team might be more reluctant to do so, and in any case, Frank Williams isn’t the sort of man to interfere in a World Championship showdown.

      6. zx6dude says:

        Maybe not everyone, but the Sky team seemed to be pretty sure that Vettel turned from quite wide in the track to the apex of the corner and collected Senna in the process. What happened to giving someone that has a significant part of the car along side you enough room? All I would like to see is consistency in the stewards decisions. It is chaotic at the start but surely it is expected that at this level drivers are aware of what is going on around them. It was certainly expected of Grosjean and Maldonado earlier in the season. I would say a world champion – a triple world champion – should be more aware.

        I’m not a Vettel fan, but I think that, under very difficult circumstances, he managed to rise above the accident and have a great race with a damaged car. It was the drive of a champion.

        It was a fantastic race and I am glad that the title was not decided due to a penalty.

        Red Bull as a team managed to do what other teams have not and I believe they deserve both titles.

      7. zx6dude says:

        If you see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk62AOPXWU8&feature=related at 4:46 Vettel and Senna are side by side. I can’t really see how this is Senna’s fault.

        Like I said before, I’m glad that the title was not decided off the track, but I think this raises questions about stewarding consistency again.

        What a race. What a season.

  97. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Hulk was awesome, charging for the victory, and this time finishing 5th, maybe he is just the next champion of the future, he’s really overshadowed Di Resta and other midfielders this year.

    This Race explain the whole 2012: Pole and leadership from Lewis for not finishing, Consistency from Alonso for not being enough, and Hard job and luck from Vettel… the later the best Formula!

    1. jp says:

      you forgot and… adrian newey for the latter!

  98. zombie says:

    James, just the way US Presidential elections have “popularity vote”, i hope FIA starts conducting “the peoples champion” event every year which would allow fans to vote whom they think was the best driver of the season.

    Btw, i do hope you’ll be doing a piece on unsung heroes from the bottom 3 teams. Karthikeyan, Petrov and Pic all seem to have had a measure of their teammates this season.

    1. Davexxx says:

      hmm, bit of a can of worms…
      I’ve noticed too many fans (eg on this site) being so passionate about their fave driver that their judgement might be biased. Also the nationality thing too, most on this site are British and hence support the Brit drivers (eg Lewis) over foreigners (eg Vettel) so you’d get a disproportionate result. I think the current points system is fairly adequate – Best driver rises to the top and all that (regardless of lack of charisma and so forth)

      1. Peter C says:

        James said that less than half are British.

  99. FforFerrari says:

    I am a Ferrari and Fernando fan. The race was 3am my local time and being unable to sleep, I stayed up all night/morning to watch the race. I’ve since had a few hours sleep.

    My feelings can be summed up by how Lewis is feeling. That is: numb, disappointed, exhausted, frustrated, dejected and groggy (due to the lack of sleep). Having urged Alonso (with all my will), to win the WDC, and having seen him come within a whisker of winning (twice!), I now feel exhausted as a Ferrari fan.

    Such a cruel finish. Lady luck seemed to give FA some luck, only to give Seb even more. With the fuel penalty in Abu Dhabi and the turn 4 incident in Brazil, the title was looking good for Fernando. But luck gave Vettel two safety cars in Abu Dhabi and how he managed to continue to drive the RB8 after turn 4 (lap 1) in last night’s race is beyond me. In fact, just before Seb got turned around, Kimi was just about to plough into the back of Seb’s RB8. Kimi’s reflexes are still honed.

    Could this have been Fernando’s only real chance at a triple WDC for a while? Given the static rules, the resurgence of McLaren, the unbeatable Newey/Vettel paring, and most of all, Ferrari’s pathetic development track record – 2013 may very well be a fight between the McLarens and RBR. Button must be now licking his lips.

    The 2012 season was unique in that there was no dominant team in the first 7 races (in terms of pace and reliability). This meant, 7 different race winners, all drivers taking points off each other. This allowed Ferrari to gain a few tenths in development.

    In 2013, if Ferrari start with a car that is one second off the leaders, then there will be no respite. Pat Fry can harp on about learning from mistakes, but the Ferrari wind-tunnel debacle has dragged on for too long and it is starting to cost them Championships.

    Congratulations to Sebastian. He has proven he can overtake and has demonstrated this several times over the last couple of races. How it must be so satisfying to be a Sebastian fan (or Ferrari/Fernando hater) right now. As a long time Ferrari fan, my patience is being tested and I am starting to glance over at the RBR garage in search for some return on investment as a fan.

  100. Mikeboy says:

    What in a heck was Webber doing when he tried to push and pass Vettel? He almost crashed into him
    Also, Red Bull’s call to put soft tyres when the rain was falling harder, was one of the dumbest ever in F1. Ferrari’s call in 2010 had a motive, this had none
    Both him and Alonso deserved the WC, but I feel sorry for Hamilton’s bad luck
    Now let’s wait for 2013

    1. Dougie says:

      Congrats to Vettel for the WDC and to Red Bull for the Constructors Championship.

      And the “Team Order” Championship, by a huge margin goes to……..Ferrari. Congrats.

    2. JB says:

      IMO, this shows that RedBull is fair to both drivers like McLaren is. I have been really annoyed that Massa’s gearbox had to be broken and he has to loose his second place for the sack of ‘the great Alonso’.

      1. Mikeboy says:

        Sorry, but at this point it had nothing to do with being fair, as Webber had nothing to gain and both Vettel and Red Bull (the team for wich Webber works) had everything to lose. Massa did his job by helping Alonso, Webber almost took out his team mate at the first corner, after his regular poor start
        I’m not either a Fernando or Ferrari fan, but I think the broken seal was the right move, and an OK one taking in account the all picture.
        In football when a player stops a counter attack by making a foul, everyone thinks it’s OK, and even if he gets a yellow card, that’s still a smart thinking foul. I see the same thing here. Let’s not forget Alonso almost won the championship yesterday
        On another subject, I think Hulkenberg’s drive through was very unfair. Even if I was very upset at him for taking out Hamilton, that was entirely a racing incident
        Sorry to say, this penalty seemed to be given to help Alonso, as it did Maldonado’s penalty on the starting grid, wich moved Alonso ahead one place, and more crucial, to the right gripier side of the grid

      2. JB says:

        The difference between RBR, Mclaren to Ferrari is that Ferrari has a clear #2 driver. Where as RBR, Mclaren treat both drivers same level.

        Whether Massa agrees to the gearbox cut and giveaway 2nd place is never his choice. Webber always had a choice and he chose not to get in the way in Brazil.

        Alonso won his 2 world title without aid from his teammate. I don’t understand why he desperately need so much help these days.

  101. JohnBt says:

    BEST RACE of the year, what a thrilling end to this season. Give a 10 for the race.

    Vettel – Deserving youngest 3 times WDC, also lucky in many ways. Seb took back many places from a bad start and the turn 4 incident. It was amazing the car survived the shunt with Senna. He has silenced the critics.

    Alonso – Will be even more deserving WDC for 2012, a raging bull who never says never. Many will be disappointed he did not clinch the title. Well, he missed 3 championships…2007, 2010 and 2012. There’s next year Nando.

    Hamilton – The most unlucky year in McLaren this year, he deserved much more. Sad day for his last race. Will be a very interesting 2013 for Hamilton.

    Whao, Nelson post race was a bit weird when he came to Alonso. Wondered what was his facial expression to Nando.

    Thank you James for your wonderful articles throughout 2012. You’re a champion in your own way. Will be placing an order for your book on Hamilton for sure.

  102. Simon Donald says:

    Excellent race by Vettel, Button, Alonso, Massa and up until the point they got all crossed up Hamilton and Hulkenberg. Racing incident in my opinion, maybe a little risky by the Hulk, but I don’t think he needed a penalty. Hammy was at no fault at all and I feel majorly for both him and McLaren because the win for him and second in the constructors was there for the taking. To be fair though with 7 wins to Ferrari’s 3 wins, second should have sewn up long ago and that’s as a McLaren fan. You couldnt have asked for a better race to finish the championship. Not quite sure where Kimi thought he was going though – maybe getting memories of wearing James Hunt’s helmet from Monaco and thought he would try out the old circuit from the 60′s and 70′s!! Great result for Caterham, lots of cash heading their way. Hopefully it means that they can keep Heikki there now, which would be kind of ironic seeing as it was Petrov who got the result!

  103. Brian says:

    Where is the love for Petrov? He may not have been as masterful as Massa this race, but I’d think a “clutch” drive like that would deserve a mention.

  104. Simon Lord says:

    Watching in NZ, few of the races are at ‘convenient’ times but at least on this occasion getting up to watch the race at 5am was well worthwhile. Now it’s James’s turn for late nights and early starts as he tries to fit all that excitement into the few blank pages at the end of the book and still meet his deadlines. Good luck, James, I’ve ordered my copy.

  105. Anton says:

    What’s with all the talk of overtaking under the yellow flags? Even if they added a post race penalty i don’t think it would it change anything? I could be wrong…

    (From a Ferrari fan)

  106. The_hulk says:

    Hi James
    Did Vettel overtake Kobayashi without leaving a car width? This was when kobayashi fell off the car at turn 5/6.
    Amazing drive by vettel. I have new-found respect for him. Him and HAM are supremely fast. Alonso is fast, but seems more witty, calm and experienced.

  107. McHarg123 says:

    An epic season deserved an epic finale and boy it delivered. I Was watching it at 3.00 this morning (Australian Time) and I was on the edge of my seat for every lap. Almost woke up the whole house with excitement!
    Thank you James for your insight this year, truly brilliant!
    Already counting down to 2013

  108. quest says:

    The penalty to Hulkenberg was ridicluous. There is no doubt he made a mistake and Hamilton was very unlucky to get caught in it. The backmarker in the way probably contributed.
    But we not seen these kinds of incidents penalized. Here a penalty had imposed so quickly and we weren’t even told it was under investigation. Seemed suspiciously like it was done keeping the WDC fight in mind. Don’t care how it impacted Alonso and Vettel, but was really harsh on Hulk.

    Mistake notwithstanding, Hulk was awesome today as he has been for the whole of the second half. Best of the new generation by a mile and should be the next “new” WDC if things go his way.

  109. Sammy says:

    James,

    Vettel clearly overtook a HRT under yellow after he spon and another time during lap 57 while ovtaking koba again. There was no investigation whatsoever and I feel this is not right and fair.
    Driving into Senna can happen but all in all he deserved at least one penalty.
    I never want to hear again that the FIA is pro Ferrari – definitely not true after yesterday’s race.

    1. David Ryan says:

      Unless it was a flashing yellow board, that was the slippery surface flag warning and you are permitted to overtake unless there is also a yellow flag on display. The regulations are quite clear on this, and you can be sure Ferrari would have lodged a complaint immediately were it any different to how I’ve described it.

      1. Sammy says:

        It was not flashing.

      2. David Ryan says:

        Which, in light of what I said above, means it wasn’t a yellow flag. It was the slippery surface flag warning. Go figure.

      3. Sammy says:

        Look at this video.
        The FIA are so keen to give penalties but no, not in this case.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFER0esusF0&feature=youtu.be

  110. Robert N says:

    James,

    do you think his record of being the youngest ever triple world champion (never mind youngest to score three in a row) will ever be beaten?

    He is six years younger than Alonso, and yet Alonso would almost have been the new record holder …

    And if you think that he is 18 years younger than Schumacher, he may well become (statistically) the most successful driver ever.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t know. They just keep getting younger if you chart Alonso, Hamilton and now Vettel

      I don’t see another like that coming through for a while, although I’m told we should look out for Nick de Vries, McLaren’s new youngster..

  111. F1 dingo says:

    Congratulations to Vettel on his 3rd WDC. Fully deserved and I find it quite astonishing that people continue to question his ability. I have no particular preference between Alonso and Vettel, I’m a Kimi fan, but a few things have struck me during the year.

    ‘Alonso deserves the title more as he has been more consistent’ – I don’t really see how you can win the title with 281 points and not have been consistent.

    ‘Red Bull has the best car’ – ah no, in the early season the Red Bull struggled and there were a number of fine drives from Vettel, when he qualified down the grid but came through to score important points. Furthermore, if the Red Bull did have a clear advantage why hasn’t Webber finished 2nd in the standings (pretty sure Vettel & Webber have had the same amount of retirements this year?). Vettel has made the most of his car as has Alonso. As a matter of fact the Mclaren has been the car of the field this year, they’ve just been very inconsistent. Really it was their season to lose which they did, some through bad luck and some through bad judgement.
    ‘Alonso has driven the Ferrari beyond its limits’ – interesting one this. Really has he? He has driven superbly this year, he really has, especially at the start of the season, but the Ferrari’s problem has been its qualifying form. It has always, bar maybe the first few races been quick in ‘race trim’. In fact the Ferrai had some ‘luck’ in the first few races to the extent that Alsono led the standings after the first handful of races, when the car wasn’t quick. Since then the Ferrari has been a very quick race car, but not a quick quali car. In the last few races Massa has actually outperformed Alonso also.

    Now I’m not trying to sit here and dismiss Alonso’s achievements this year, but I think the constant questioning of Vettel’s ability is unfair. Nobody wins 3 titles in a row by being average. The best car argument is nonsense, if that’s the case then Button and Hamilton didn’t deserve their World titles and that’s simply not true.
    Well done to both Alonso and Vettel for a tremedous year, and for getting everything out of their cars.
    Finally, congratulations to Kimi on a great return to F1. 3rd place in the drivers standings, a win and points scored in all races bar one is a fantastic return.

    Don’t get all wound up if you don’t agree guys, it’s only my opinion.

    1. 69bhp says:

      Excellent post.

    2. corvette says:

      +++ perfect post

  112. Bluefroggle says:

    One finger now becomes 3 fingers

  113. Kedar says:

    James,
    Looking forward to next year, do you think anyone can beat Vettel and redbull?
    Ferrari has lost 3 titles in the last race in the last 5 years, thats gotta hurt and Fernando must be gutted for losing to Vettel twice in 3 years in the last race once leading and the other time chasing. Do you think its gonna be another Schumacher’esque 7 titles?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think the McLaren will be very quick, if the drivers can make the most of it

      I’d see Vettel having the edge with Alonso and McLarens chasing

      No major rule changes so it will be about exhaust blowing and aero tweaks

  114. Trent says:

    Vettel a worthy champion, Alonso the driver of the year.
    - Just my take on the year, by the way!

  115. Lynn says:

    Congrats to Vettel!

    The battle between Kimi & Schumy was EPIC!
    Some drivers could learn from this battle between the two masters.

  116. F12012 says:

    What a comeback by vettel, didn’t get stressed that he was at the back with a damaged car, just drove as hard as he could to get his third championship, well done

    Can’t believe the amount of races Lewis has lost this year, he drove brilliantly, hopefully he gets a tiny bit of luck he was talking about in the mercedes

  117. McLaren78 says:

    Well done on Seb and RBR. They showed that they are the best team of the past 4 years by far. BUT…in terms of drivers themselves, how they’ve driven this year, mistakes they made, etc, then I’m afraid to say that Vettel was only 4th, after Hamilton, Alonso and Kimi. And I know I’ll get slated for this comment, but I’m not the only one saying this. There are many, many F1 fans out there, who feel that not the best driver won. The best driver/team combo, yes, but not driver. Piquet won 3 WDCs but he’s not regarded higher than Mansell for example. Only time will tell what history will write at the end of all 4′s careers.

  118. Fellowes says:

    James, why is there no explanation of why Vettel did not get penalised for passing Kamui under yellow flags. The TV replay clearly shows yellows as he passed, so surely the stewards investigated this?

    1. Mikeboy says:

      Those where solid yellows, not flashing yellows
      Solid yello means slippery surface, overtaking is legal, not only for Vettel but for everyone else
      Please don’t cast doubt over a Champions win before having all the answers

    2. Peter C says:

      Start @ post3

  119. FL says:

    Congrats to Vettel. Was surprised to see he didn’t get a drive thru for cutting back onto the apex into Senna – similar to Hulkenberg in terms of causing avoidable accident.

    Vettel is a great driver but I wanted Alonso to take it. The yellow flag overtake on Kamui may or may not have been worthy of a drive-through. There was so much going on there. But I feel that everyone seems to be blaming Senna for the incident at turn 4 – I just don’t buy that.

  120. Astroboy says:

    An insight into Lotus’ radio transmissions throughout the race:

    - Opening lap -
    Phil Mitchell (Kimi’s race engineer): “Kimi, PLEASE keep it on the black stuff!”

    Kimi Raikkonen (runs wide onto grass to preventing from shunting Vettel, thereby avoiding his accident, picks up a few places while he’s at it): “Shut up, I know what I’m doing.”

    - Later in the race -
    Phil: “Er, um, Mr. Raikkonen sir, you know that road’s a dead end, right?”

    Kimi: “Shut up Phil, I just want to take in the sights – I know what I’m doing.”

    (Lewis Hamilton tangles with Nico Hulkenberg, gifting Kimi third place in the WDC)

  121. Thebe says:

    So amazing how people attribute Vettel’s success to the car , luck etc. Blah … Blah Blah. The best driver won the championship , Alonso and his team threw everything at him , he soaked up all that pressure and came out victorious.

    He has proved all his critics wrong on so many levels , first everybody doubted whether he was a racer like Alonso or Hamilton , everybody said he can only win from pole . I think he has proved to everybody he do all these thing,rise to any challenge, it takes a certain kind of will power to remain as calm as he did on Sunday and win against a driver of Alonso’s calibre.

    People have to face reality , this kid is the real deal!!

    1. ch says:

      Ditto. Check out Gary Anderson’s write-up on BBC site. Most balanced I’ve read so far.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20501817

  122. F1racer says:

    Farewell to Maestro and legend Michael Schumacher. Thanks for giving us some spectacular races to watch (canada, valancia,monza, monaco pole).

    Even if mercedes failed him utterly, he didn’t moan about it at all but drove like a champion (in his 40′s).

    Seeing him race wheel to wheel with kimi just gave me goosebumps of old times. Good luck with your post F1 life with your family.

    We the F1 fans shall miss you Schumi!!!!

    1. Miguel says:

      Totally agree.

      I remember that I hated Schumacher in the nineties, but with time I learned to appreciate his skills and now I really admire the man.

      Farewell Michael, thanks for being around until now!

  123. CarlH says:

    “With Pic moving to Caterham in 2013 and a substantial amount of money gained by finishing tenth, today’s result could have been due to savvy gamesmanship by the young Frenchman.”

    Is there anything whatsoever to substantiate that or is it just conjecture?

    1. James Allen says:

      It was Marussia’s nightmare scenario

  124. Daniel MA says:

    “One of the great things about F1 is you can compare your era to the past.” Ehmm, no Vettel, you can’t, that’s why almost no one considers Schumacher the best driver ever. Let’s hope Sebastian keeps his feet on the ground because he’s got a long career ahead of him and will not be winning all the time.

    1. zombie says:

      Speak for yourself, Sir, there are plenty who consider Schumacher the greatest ever.

      1. trullifan says:

        Indeed, you don’t win seven titles by chance. How many has Sir Stirling Moss won? Or David Coulthard?

  125. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    IMO

    Vettel : Champion, but boring
    Alonso : Driver of the Year
    Hamilton: Best driver, but for half of the race
    Hulk : Best young driver

    Red Bull : Best Team
    McLaren : Worst Team
    Ferrari : Best than McLaren

    1. Benalf says:

      I agree with you on the driver’s list. However I would put Macca above Ferrari on the team list. I would say that Macca along with RBR had shown excellent skills for developing the car over the season. Reliability is a different factor that ruined several races for them both. The only positive thing I should say about Ferrari is reliability (100%)!

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Macca losing Hamilton and hiring Perez now… very silly.

  126. Graham Passmore says:

    Let me first say that I am a Sebastian Vettel fan and I am overjoyed at the result of yesterday’s race.
    I do have to commiserate a little though for Fernando; twice now pipped by Vettel in the last race. In keeping with that, let me close with this little ditty.

    With hearfelt hope, I set my course
    With what I thought a prancing horse.
    But now I feel I’ve been a fool.
    I’ve saddled up a plodding mule.

    I’m getting a nagging suspicion that Fernando is never going to see championship #3. Ever the bridesmaid but never the bride. I hope not for I really like him, but I fear the horse will always let him down in the end.

    1. trullifan says:

      ‘I fear the horse will always let him down in the end.’

      Don’t be so negative, because a brilliant driver can tame the horse and turn it into a serious title winning machine. I happened before.

  127. KonPatTsh says:

    Great Season! Great battle! Great End! No one as planned a season like this one!!!

    How many of us were crying, standing, jumping… even them selves, during the race? Almost heartattack for others? and all this just watching on tv!!! can’t imagine the excitement of the F1 teams members and even more how drivers are feeling all this moments with pressure… very exciting and that’s why we LOVE f1!

    In life people have preference on AUDI or MERCEDES or TOYOTA, LEXUS, CHEVROLET, HUMMER, ROLLS ROYCE, FORD, etc…

    In formula 1,there must be a WDC and at the end there is a driver Champion! There must be a WCC there is a team-car Champion! It’s racing sport, there must be winner and looser! that’s the Sport! it’s not about our feeling on this one or that one but we’ve got point table so every driver/team knows which place he has to be to get champion! the driver knows which car is driving and the teams knows whcih driver they’ve got!

    It’s amazing!!! Look at the big pictures. Differenet teams Director, engineers, pit crew mechanics, HR, aerodynamist, … Different cars and chassis Lotus, Maclaren, ferrari, RBR, Force india, Sauber,… Different engines Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari, Costworth,… but all that we’ve got different drivers dealing with .1 sec or less! it’s less then the time you’ve got to say “Hi”. They’re driving at some point at more then 300km/h and when at 100-130km/h it’s too slow (which is high for the common of us).

    (Just think how many times we’re crying, shouting, horning on the road when driving every day… lol)

    Did we enjoy it? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    Thanks to all F1 Teams members!

    Congratulations Sebastian Vettel (3 WDC)
    Congratulations Red Bull Racing (3 WDC)

    Can’t wait. Bring in next season 2013 and more excitements!!!

    Greatest f1 report site!!!

    Thanks James for all your reports, race strategy calculator, innovation reports,… we’re enjoying it more then expected!

    We’ve to give you also the trophy for F1 World Champion Report Site

  128. JL says:

    just for information, Vettel would have won it 91 points to 86 under the previous scoring system (10-6-4 etc) (he would have won it at the US race), and would also have won it under the 10-8-6 etc point system, but that would have been by 1 point only ! 115-114

  129. JL says:

    also, people are arguing a lot about luck, reliability etc etc, I think this is useless, as it is entirely part of the sport – previous winners also faced the same

    Many championships have been won and lost on reliability, accidents, good luck, bad luck – Schumacher engine failure at Suzuka in 2006 (he may have won the title without that), his broken legs in 1999, without that he would probably have won it (just giving him what Eddie Irvine scored the rest of the season)

    You can’t rewrite the championships history in my opinion, just need to accept results as they are at the end of a season

  130. Jason says:

    I agree with a previous comment, imo vettel is not a real driver, only wins because of the car he has. Whereas we all know the Ferrari really sucked this year, but yet alonso was so close to the championship.

  131. Jason says:

    Furthermore, he overtook on a yellow flag, he should have gotten a drivethrough or stop/go.

  132. erik says:

    Hello. Well, here`s a thing with the idea of starting to select comments. First of all, there are a lot of sites to post a comment, but people chooses this one. I`m sure that someone can`t say what the other needs to say. All the posters here don`t know, including me, what they say anyway. We take this little information that comes to us and convert it into an opinion. All we can see, are the persons, who constantly figures in media. One we like, the other not so much. Same goes to their actions.
    I recommend you, James, give us a selection of answers, and we just can pic among them. You are happy, and we are happy.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, that’s not the point at all

  133. erik says:

    My point is: If there were people at present, when the BIG BANG occure, they would never thought that something that beautiful can come out of it, like oure world and we all in it.
    Something that looks bad, can be the best thing, that can happen to you, and all you have to do, is to be openminded.

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