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Vettel Becomes Triple World Champion As Button Takes Brazilian Victory
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Posted By:   |  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

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.

2

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...

3

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.

4

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

5

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.

6

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

7

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?

8

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! 😀

9

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

10

<>

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?

11

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.

12

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.

13

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

14

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.

15

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.

16

Agree!

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

17

+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 !

18

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!

19

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.

20

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!

21

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?

22

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

23

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.

24

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.

25

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.

26

[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.

27

Hear hear Mr Allen.

28

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.

29

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.

30

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

31

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.

32

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.

33

Amen James Allen!

34

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?

35

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.

36

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.

37
unF1nnished business

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.

38

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.

39

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

40
Mike from Colombia

"undone by a team dynamic of fecklessness and ideological impotence".....absolutely superbly put.

41

Why can't I (re)tweet this post? I mean, really ...

42

"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.

43

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!

44

And despite all that... Alonso almost steals the Championship.

45

Here Bloody here!

46

Flawless!

47

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

48

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!

49

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

50

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

51

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.

52

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.

53

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

54
unF1nnished business

Definitely agreed!

57

+ 10,000

58

Great post,. Agree entirely.

59

I couldn't say it better myself.

60

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

61

Well. Massa took a grid penalty for Alonso.

62

He did and was thanked for this.

63

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

64

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

65

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.

66

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

67

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.

68

exactly, also Schumaher let him through...

69
Bring Back Murray

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)

70

Nobody took him out this year. What bad luck?

71

@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.

72

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.

73

Karthikeyan when being lapped, Malaysia.

74

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

75

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.

76

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.

77

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.

78

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.

79

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

80

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.

81

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.

82

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?

83

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.

84

+1

Couldn't have said it better myself.

85

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.

86

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.

87

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.

88

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.

89

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.

90

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 ?

91

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

92

Ok, Torro Rosso had the fastest car in 08?

93

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

94

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

95

and a drivethrough for hulk ..

i think they could spared that one, man it was wet an kov also was around

greetings

96

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.

97

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

That could've been another insane twist...

98

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)

99

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.

100

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?

101

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.

102

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.

103

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.

104

Am I the only one who saw Vettel pass a HRT under yellow flags?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vki0bEql6As

105

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.

106

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.

107

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.

108

Solid yellow = red-yellow

109

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?

110

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?

111

It's advisory. Take care.

112

doesn't look like anything to do with advertising hoardings to me James...

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

113
Gilberto Agostinho

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

114

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

115

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 🙂

116

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

117

Meant to say red-yellow

118

Ye-yellow slippery surface flag

119
Gilberto Agostinho

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?

120

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.

121
Gilberto Agostinho

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."

122
Gilberto Agostinho

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.

123

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.

124

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.

125

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.

126
Gilberto Agostinho

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.

127
Gilberto Agostinho

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?

128

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????

129

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".

130

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

131

Reportedly Fry claimed that was yellow-red slippery warning.

132

Def yellow flags, surprised Ferrari didn't protest?

133

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

134

Any clarity on this yellow flag controversy James?

135

I'd just like to say that the hello flags are a welcome addition 😉

136

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

137
Harrison Vrbanjac

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?

138

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).

139
Harrison Vrbanjac

Ah, thank you for explanation, that makes sense.

140

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

141

That's why that stop took longer than usual.

142
Harrison Vrbanjac

That was on his third stop.

143

This decision drove me mad during the race!

144

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.

145

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.

146

Under red-yellow flag.

147

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.

148

Also, solid yellow = red-yellow

150

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

151

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!

152

Solid yellow light = red-yellow

153

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

154

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

155

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

156

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

158

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

160

is it true? Ferrari would protest for sure.

161

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!

162

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.

163

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.

164

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

165

+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...)

166

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?? 🙂

167

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.

168

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.

169

"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.

170

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

171

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.

172

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.

173

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.

174

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.

175

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

176

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.

177

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!

178

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..

179

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.

180

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?

181

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.

182

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.

183

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.

184

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

185

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).

186

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.

187
Colombia Concalvez

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 ?

188

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

189

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.

190

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.

191

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.

192

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.

193

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.

194

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

195

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

196

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.

197

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.

198

+infinity, that decision made me mad

199

Don't worry - I have plenty of cool stuff planned

200

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?

🙂

201

good one!!

202

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.

203

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' ... 🙂

204

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

205

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

206

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.

207

Completely agree, the race was so reminiscent of 08 and remember 03!!

Congrats Vettle but Alonso deserved it more...

208

+1 on this great circuit.

209

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.

210

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

211

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.

212

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.

213

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!

214

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.

215

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.

216

3 points = domination?

217

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.

218

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

219

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

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

220

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

221

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

222

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?

223

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

224

lol.... good point on tht one. journalists =P'

225

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

226

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.

227
Tom Haythornthwaite

Congratulations Button!

228

Well said!

229

So Vettel pass Koba under yellow or 'oil flag'??

Nobody really asked stewards after the race?

230

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...

231

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.

232

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

233

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!

234

Would he do it for Alonso too?

235

Alonso had Massa track cleaning for him... so Scumacher was not needed 🙂

236

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.

237

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

238

Congrats seb on 3rd WDC you are the best

239

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

240

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

241

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.

242

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.

243

Considering the wa

244

A little bit of Fuji 1976!

The 2nd pitstop of Vettel - only a questionmark!

What and why this?

245

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.

246

Answered your own question there.

247

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?!

248

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.

249

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!

250

"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.

251

RBR really shoud sell the one finger t-shirt.

252

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

254

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?

255

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.

256

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

257

There is no such word as winningest!

258

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.

259

Yes but Grosjean turned the tables around at Spa..

260

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.

261

"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.

262

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.

263

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.

264

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!

265

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

266

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

267
Bring Back Murray

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!

268

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.

269

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.

270

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.

271

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

272

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

273

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.

274

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.

275

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.

276

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

277

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.

278

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.

279
Harrison Vrbanjac

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.

280

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

281

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

282
Harrison Vrbanjac

Why was he "attacking" anyway?

283

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.

284

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

285

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

286
Val from montreal

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 !

287

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

288

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 🙂

289

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

290

I have missed you x

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

291

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...

292

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?

293

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

294

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

295

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...

296

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.

297

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 😉

298

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.

299

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!

300

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.

301

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?

302

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

303

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.

304

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

305

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 !

306

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..

307

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.

308

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.

309

'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.

310

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.

311

+1.

Hopefully 2013 will be his final year at RBR.

312

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.

313

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!!!!!

314

Lewis has already stated that Hulk came to see him!

315

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.

316

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.