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Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Dec 2012   |  1:09 pm GMT  |  115 comments

On the last day of 2012 it seems an appropriate time to look back on the events of the year and pick out some highlights for discussion.

It was a very good year of racing with some fantastic on-track moments and some significant ones off track too.

Here are some of my personal favourites; let us know in the comments section below what you found the best moments of 2012.


Hamilton wins the duel in Austin
A great race in a great season and one that reminded everyone that Lewis Hamilton should have been fighting for the world title, but for reliability and operational issues at McLaren. In Austin he hunted down pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, taking his one and only opportunity to overtake when Vettel lost some ground behind a back marker in the high speed curves leading to the back straight. It was a great battle for the lead and reminiscent of Nigel Mansell’s classic opportunist pass on Ayrton Senna in Hungary in 1989.

Fernando Alonso – The start in Valencia
Alonso’s best race in a stunning season. Although the Ferrari was a poor qualifying car it raced pretty well, so Alonso and Massa had a lot of work to do at the starts. Alonso made up places at 14 of the 20 races. In Valencia he started 11th on the grid, but with the advantage of new tyres saved from missing Q3, he gained three places off the start line, fought his way through the field in the opening stint, took the opportunity offered to him by another pit stop problem for McLaren to pass Hamilton. He passed Grosjean for second place around the outside of Turn 1 after a safety car restart then took the lead just after half way through the race.


Kimi Raikkonen – “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing”.
The classic line from the Lotus F1 star as he steered the team to its first win under the Lotus name and Genii ownership in Abu Dhabi. Raikkonen had developed a reputation for being short with his engineer, who he considered to be telling his granny how to suck eggs, but this was the funniest line of the year over the radio. To prove his style, he made some T shirts with the message on it for the team.

Vettel’s car survives a hit from Senna’s Williams at the start in Brazil
When you are leading the world championship on the final day and you find yourself facing the wrong way on lap 1 having sustained a heavy hit to the left side of the car and then another smash into your left rear suspension, it’s reasonable to think that it’s all over. But Sebastian Vettel survived that and a series of hair-raising moments to collect the points he needed to clinch his third world title. For people who criticised him for having things too easy, 2012 was the counter-argument and nowhere more clearly expressed than in that moment.


Massa’s comeback from forced gearbox penalty in Austin
Felipe Massa has under performed badly for almost three years, but in the second half of the 2012 season, with his career hanging by a thread, he rediscovered form and in Austin he also showed the character we saw at times during his 2008 campaign. He out qualified Alonso in Austin and was then forced by his team into taking a gearbox penalty to allow the Spaniard to start on the clean side of the track. It worked, as Alonso got onto the podium, but Massa’s strong drive to fourth, from 12th on the grid, showed his spirit.


Sergio Perez takes second in Monza
Sergio Perez won the lottery in 2012; he went from Sauber to a McLaren drive and a chance at the big time. He did it thanks to three stunning podiums, but the Monza result was the standout because of the pressure he was under that weekend. It was already clear that Lewis Hamilton was serious about leaving McLaren, Perez was well down the road in discussions with the team about replacing him, while Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had said that Perez (a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy) wasn’t ready for the big time. He charged through the field on a reverse strategy after another poor qualifying (he failed to make Q3 in 13 out of 20 attempts this year), passed both Ferraris and finished second. Within a few weeks he had a McLaren contract.

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115 Comments
  1. Richardd says:

    My best race was the US GP in Austin, the track was beautiful and the race itself was superb and fantastic.

    1. Richardd says:

      To add, the memorable picture of the three best F1 drivers currently, standing on the podium for the first time together at the US GP

  2. gordon_g says:

    Think the best bit was Vettel winning his third championship in a row.

    Love or loathe, you’ve got to admire him, his car and his team.

    1. AndyFov says:

      Abu Dhabi, where he made it through the pack – admittedly with the help of the safety car – to end up second after starting last.

      That race had me gripped like no other.

    2. Craig Baker says:

      Love or Loathe you have to admire Vettel
      - him- Neweys car – Horners team
      - NO – Yes and – Yes

      1. Sebee says:

        Why the bitterness? That car has not driven itself to three championships – two of which were darn close.

      2. Craig Baker says:

        Sebee, I don’t have to admire a driver who goes off circuit and takes out a roadside sign during a safety car. I do not have to admire a driver who fails to give other drivers racing room as in Brazil when he caused a coming together with Senna. I certainly do not have to admire a driver who throws his toys out of the playpen when he has a loss.
        I understand you must be a supporter of Vettel (you may even be Vettel) and I to have marvelled at his skills also but for me there is a difference between admiration and respecting his ability to win races and championships.
        This is not bitterness but rather a personal opinion. Thank you also for the heads up, letting me know that cars don’t drive themselves I did not know that (sarcasm).

      3. Aaron Noronha says:

        Craig in his defense Senna came from way behind by late braking Vettel had no way of seeing him as there was a car on his left side and traveling at that speed with those mirrors i would say senna was more to blame. . While Vettel with a broken car on a damp circuit was the fastest man on the tract faster than this team mate by a mile. The only time he lost out in brazil was when the circuit was drying circuit because his team had asked him to turn down his engine revs to prevent his exhaust from over heating and catching fire. Alonzo when off tract twice in brazil and was lucky witht the run off areas. Alonso went off tract in India too and spun out in qualifying in the British Gp. Every driver makes mistakes. Its the best that always stand up. No matter how much you respect him or not, remember in 10 years he would have broken each and every record ever written in formula 1.

      4. JB says:

        For a 25 year old and achieved so much, this itself it admirable beyond words.
        I believe it is normal for 25 years old to make a few mistakes. Pay enough attention and I think every champion had made plenty of mistakes at that age.

        In the end, I suppose one can always find reasons to [mod] and [mod].

      5. Sebee says:

        JB, it’s like we were on the same frequency at nearly the same time!

        Any team boss in the pitlane would easily let Vettel make more mistakes and get away with more things if it meant 3 WDCs in a row.

        Time will put Vettel into perspective for us. Sometimes we need a few years and then we will start bragging to new F1 fans about how we were there to watch the youngest ever 3 time champion supply some drama. Already everyone who has seen Schumi race brags to others about it. Which reminds me..

        Did I ever tell you about the time I went to see Schumi win the WDC at Hungaroring in 2001? It was the eariest in the season I think that a WDC and WCC was wrapped up at same place with the 1-2 Ferrari finish. I had to walk barefoot to the race track 5km each way, uphill both ways because of the track’s natural bowl layout. Lap 1 went like this…

        :-)

      6. JB says:

        That is incredibly memorable!

      7. Sebee says:

        Funny thing Craig is that there is this chap who had plenty of coming togethers. Plenty of stupid moments on track, including my personal favorite beaching his car in a pitlane entrance gravel trap while driving for the championship. Throwing his toys out of the playpen – this guy defines that term. Getting in trouble with the law for silly off track driving. And of course let us not forget thay it could well be said won his WDC due to a slow Toyota while his challanger won that GP convincingly Of course you know who I am talking about – LH himself. Yet everyone chooses to look past the thick book of silliness and embarassment to declare him one of the greatest. I am not his fan, and I admit he has done some very special things on track.

        Yet the most sucessful driver on the grid has his indiscretions listed against him as if he hasn’t spent December 18th looking for the right spot in the house for the third piece of big hardware. I am not saying we all have to love the guy. But as true F1 fans perhaps at least recognize what Vettel has done is special. And considering he is the yougest 3 time champion – it may even be fair to say he deserves some slack.

      8. Scuderia McLaren says:

        +1

        They have all had idiotic moments and this idiocy will increase as driver average age plummets.

        But I have certainly observed that Hamilton seems to have a bigger ratio of silly moments compared to others, but suffers fewer reprisals compared to Vettel, Alonso, Grosjean etc.

        IMHO Hamilton should have had a 1 race ban in 2011 if Grosjean received one this year.

      9. Craig Baker says:

        I, like you, was not a particular fan of Lewis in his earlier career but this year I have found myself warming to him. His wins were dominant and confident and I look forward to how he and Rosberg perform in the same team.
        For Rosberg having Micheal alongside him was a blessing and a curse in terms of Rosbergs development direction. I really hope the new pairing aids both drivers balance.
        Thank you Sebee for your detailed and sensible reply. I shall try and find some admiration for our latest WDC. Maybe Vettel can assist me by not swearing in any language whilst on a podium in 2013.

      10. David says:

        You may not have to admire or like Vettel, but you have to respect his talent. Ok, he’s in the best car, but what has Weber done with the same equipment?

      11. Craig Baker says:

        Well fairly you ask the question, what has Webber done.
        Webber has had 9 Grand Prix wins and 22 podiums in the same equipment and he has lead the WDC mid season more than once. Vettel himself has admitted that Mark was faster earlier in the 2012 season.

      12. David says:

        I wasn’t dissing Webber. He’s one of my favs. But his numbers, impressive as they are, are nowhere near that of his teammate.If I was a team owner or manager he would be in the mix of driverrs I would want. Just saing, in the same car Vettel out performed him.

  3. Zac says:

    being schumacher fan, schumacher’s pole in monaco was the magic moment for me, one which i will remember for a very long time. Also the Brazilian gp as a whole was epic.

    1. Sebee says:

      Zac tells it like it was.

      However, I was so focused on the championship battle I actually had to think 10s right now to recall who won Brazil.

    2. Jez K says:

      Totally agree. Monaco has always separated the men from the boys because it matters less about tyres and subtle aero differences and more about raw ability. Schumi still had bucket loads but not the car or tyre characteristics to do the job elsewhere. If he had been in a top three car he would have been right up there. After all, for a driver with his achievements, what’s the point of pushing right to the limit when it only makes the difference between 10th and 8th?

      1. Zac says:

        Very true, I think Michael had a very very strong year in terms of qualifying pace, as well as the pole in Monaco, his superb performances in Britain, Italy, Germany and USA particularly stand out for me where he comprehensively beat Rosberg. Strangely these moments tasted so much sweeter than even some of his easier wins in his first career.

    3. tank says:

      +1

      James, as a fan of his, you definitely seemed to turn your back on Schumacher during his ill-fated comeback. That pole lap deserves mention.

    4. NJ says:

      That pole lap from M Schumacher represents the first time in long time I stared wide eyed at the TV during an F1 telecast and muttered out loud: “How did he do that?”

      The last time it happened to me was the three-way pass involving backmarker Ricardo Zonta, Mika Hakkinen, and the very same M Schumacher.

      The man is magic. An outright shame that moment isn’t listed here.

      ;)

  4. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Fav On Track Highlight:
    Kimi Raikkonen winning Abu Dhabi and all the pit to car commentary that went with it. Marvelled at the supreme pole lap from Hamilton, enjoyed the race, sat amazed at Kimi’s first lap post safety car, laughed at the radio messages, clapped at Vettels overtake on Button and cringed (and giggled) at the podium ceremony. Doesn’t get much better for me.

    Fav Off Track Highlight:
    Maldonado winning Spanish GP for Williams and the fire breaks out in the garage. Liked that moment due to the (rare) camaraderie that showed in the paddock. From a horrible moment came some nice moments. Yes, at heart I’m a big softie. ;)

    1. **Paul** says:

      Really good post that, it’s nice to see people who can appreciate skills of drivers who they may not be a fan of. There is too much ‘Vettel only wins because of the car’ and ‘Hamilton isn’t as fast as Button in races’ stuff floating round here.

      I’d add something about Buttons win in Spa to this list, he absolutely monstered everyone that weekend, and I’ve a feeling he would have done so even had Romain and Lewis not hit each other on lap 1 !

      1. Serrated_Edge says:

        Good shout re Buttons win at Spa Paul.

  5. KRB says:

    2012 had a few flashpoints thru the year, (beyond those mentioned by JA) many that had a bearing on the DWC. I’m thinking of Hamilton being DQ’d from qualifying in Spain b/c of fuel, the same with Vettel in Abu Dhabi. Also, the Vettel-Alonso duel in Curva Grande that saw Fernando go two wheels off track.

    Canada was a great GP this year. If I think about qualifying at Canada, all I can think of is Maldonado spinning towards the line at the end of Q2! Lol!

  6. Pad-Rock says:

    Surely Kobayashi’s podium in Japan deserves a mention on this list?

    1. Neil says:

      Absolutely, the tension of the last few laps as Button closed the gap on the hometown underdog was amazing theatre.

      1. Tm says:

        Massive +1. My favourite moment of the season.

      2. Chris Chong says:

        Not to mention the reception from the home crowd.

  7. Tim says:

    Five Stars ***** for Felipe Massa! How one treats other people is the measure of a man/woman. Massa has had to battle for respect from the powers that be at Ferrari, unjustifiably so, since at least the Hockenheim fiasco.

    I hope his “spirit” puts the red car within the first two rows at Albert Park, in qually, and he charges to the lead with one of his patented starts. A podium finish in the first race could carry him a long way in ’13.

    Tim

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      That fiasco was 3 seasons ago fgs!!!
      Whether you’re a Ferrari fan, so you believe it a justified call because Alonso could still win the WDC, whether you’re an unbiased fan, and admired Ferrari’s honesty by calling it, unlike all the other teams underhand methods regarding team-orders, or whether you’re a Ferrari hater, it’s been done to death.

      Jesus, let it go.

      1. Tim says:

        Who are you, the self-appointed arbiter of what people can comment on? Flash, news bulletin! That job is taken. As I said, SINCE that moment, it has not been established that an even hand has been dealt. Hopefully, 2013 will be different.

        I’m a F1 fan. Not a “hater” (a term James has made clear is unacceptable, though I’ve noticed some posters childishly slipping it in through the side door), of any body nor any team. It’s a cheap shot and it’s intent very transparent, oft’ times revealing the user as one who harbors such thoughts.

        This is just a polite request, not a demand: mightn’t you refrain from using the name of a prophet, revered by countless people, as an interjection? It’s gauche.

        Happy New Year

        Tim

      2. F1fan4life says:

        An even hand?? He needs to earn an even hand. He hasn’t in recent years. You can cry out about it but others have moved on. Reality check… there are people all over the world with salaries lower than massa’s wristwatch who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, let alone poor performance. The fact that people still bleat on about some presumed injustice for a multi millionaire driver is ridiculous. He’s a free man with the ability to do what he wants and getting paid millions to do so.

      3. Doobs says:

        Massa has been more than looked after by Ferrari since 2009 and more than his fair share of very mediocre performances.

        Sure there is a pay-off occasionally and that is very well understood.

      4. Tim says:

        F1fan4life – They dealt from the bottom of the deck. ‘Til proven otherwise, they’re suspect. No one is crying nor bleating, except perhaps yourself. It’s interesting how people of your ilk mischaracterise & use hyperbole to describe others you disagree with. Unlike yourself, let me be laser-like & bulls-eye direct: your remaining points are fatuous, ergo, not worth addressing.

        Tim

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Tim, I did not once refer to you as a “hater” I was merely listing 3 potential observations. There are doubtless many more.
        As to ” user who harbors such thoughts” I do not use projection to categorise others

      6. Val from montreal says:

        Happy new year Hero was Senna !! Its a shame that Schumacher retired because it gave both of us a reason to communicate … Ah well , I hope You will still continue enjoying F1 eventhough Alonso and Ferrari dont have any wdc’s abd wcc’s left in them …. Remember me next year when Vettel wins his 4th WDC … Peace

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        Lol, Buon Anno Nuovo to you. It’s been a pleasure

    2. Simmo says:

      I think Massa’s Brazil race should be on here. His last two races were both stunning drives, but in that last one in Brazil, he was effectively driving both his and Alonso’s car at the same time, and did such a team job :)

      1. Truth or Lies says:

        For sure Massa did a great job during the second half of the year and at times towards the summer break too. Fastest in Q2 at Monaco and 4th in Silverstone, but for sure his US and Brazilian GP performances were pretty stand out and at last he seems to be getting on terms with Alonso’s talent and speed.

        Another highlight was Schumachers Monaco pole, penalty apart it was a great lap and very much Michael of old. I think when the dust settles the F1 pundits of the future will judge his second coming more favourably than what’s being written at present. His spirit throughout was amazing and his motivation and commitment second to none, the Mercedes was an awful dog of a car and I am sure he missed the chance to test in season. I personally think he was more on it than he’s being credited with and I wonder how the past three seasons would have turned out had he been in a Ferrari, McLaren or Red Bull.

        Alonso’s win in Maylasia is another highlight especially considering how poor the car was in qualifying and though now more a journey man, than out and out competitor,, Webbers hunting down and passing of Alonso in Silverstone was pretty cool as well.

        But in the end its hard to top Vettels, going down the hill backwards in Brazil on lap 1, somehow avoiding and being avoided by half the field and then soaking up the pressure to drive back into the required position to claim his third drivers title. Alonso die hard fans and promoters of the ‘Adrian Newey Factor’ can say what they like, but that boys’ got talent !!

        Thanks James for a great season of intelligent comment and unique insight.

        Happy New Year to all and here’s to a great new F1 season.

      2. Simmo says:

        I agree with everything there, and I think that Schumacher was the better driver at Mercedes in 2012. Yes, he made a few ‘rookie’ errors (crashing into Senna and Vergne), but everyone seems to have forgotten his rotten luck, dreadful reliability (like 3 wheels in 2nd place in China).

        His Valencia race was amazing, but I can’t help but think he did have 4 cars retire ahead of him, so it could have been 7th. Even so, it made up for China.

  8. Sam White says:

    Schumacher’s pole in Monaco was pretty brilliant. It came from absolutely nowhere. It has hardly received any praise – as he didn’t actually start on pole – but it was fantastic. The maestro showed that he still had it.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      I TOTALLY agree with you, Sam.
      PK.

    2. Mitchel says:

      If Schumi had a performance like Nico’s in China at any point in his comeback, we wouldn’t hear the end of it….

      Instead we get, ‘Nico who? Oh you mean Hulkenberg! Great driver!’

  9. Rach says:

    Valencia for me. Incredible race that resulted in a podium of Alonso Kimi and Schumi.

    Schumi getting the podium just added a bit of gloss to his comeback that had been so frustrating. Obviously, Alonso’s drive in his home country and the scenes at the end in front of the grandstand that he broke down in front of were also special.

  10. RR says:

    Agree with most of these. Would also add:

    Fernando Alonso winning in the rain in Malaysia, and Sergio Perez almost doing so.

    Michael Schumacher racing through to the podium in Valencia. And his pole at Monaco.

    Mark Webber’s win at Monaco proving the first one was no fluke.

    Nico Rosberg giving Mercedes their first win in China.

    Nico Hulkenberg leading in Brazil.

    1. RR says:

      Forgot Kobayashi’s podium in Japan! The crowd chanting his name made me proud to be a F1 fan.

  11. David says:

    On that last “moment” involving Perez, JA wrote: “Luca di Montezemolo had said that Perez … wasn’t ready for the big time”.

    It just goes to show you how much the F1 circus can be a rather isolated microcosm. One might have thought that getting any drive in F1 was making it the “big time”!

    Wheels within wheels….

  12. Nick says:

    Pastor Maldonado winning in Spain under real pressure from Alonso was the real highlight for me.
    Happy new year!!

  13. Erick Benarroch says:

    What about the first place of Pasto Maldonado in the Spanish Gran Prix. Wining the blattle to the sophisticated and hometwon boy Fernando Alonso. With a regular performance car and with 7 world title champions on the track. Wining that race is something to remember at the en of this year and should no be pass under the table.

  14. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I totally agree with your best moments, and I would also add:

    - Maldonado stunning win
    - Mercedes back on a win in China
    - Kobayashi podium in Japan
    - Hulk lead in Brazil with a Force India

    And your WORST moments?

    1. Simmo says:

      Maldonado’s driving. He crashed twice in Australia, three times in Monaco (1 on purpose), once in Europe (taking Hamilton out of the podium), Once in Britain, and I can’t be bothered to say the rest…

      Also, so many gearbox/alternator failures this year, including Vettel and Grosjean in Europe, twice costing Hamilton the win, and Button in Italy.

    2. Simmo says:

      And Button trailing round at the back since Spain, but his China podium was amazing!!

  15. Sahir Siddiqui says:

    And with this writeup, I must nominate you – JA – as the #1 writer in F1 2012. congratulations and looking forward to your great writing in 2013!

  16. Toni says:

    This year I have been very curious to learn about race strategies, thanks in no small part to the curiosity created by JAonF1 and the information in the race strategy report.

    Therefor, my moment of the year was Raikkonen’s tyre-nursing strategy during his middle stint in the Hungarian GP. I distinctly recall seeing the live timing go berserk during those laps and watched the last few laps nervously as I am a Hamilton fan.

    Brilliant thinking and therefore my moment of the year

    1. Vinod says:

      If I remember correctly, Kimi raced the entire weekend on used tyres and didnt have a single set of new tyres, hard or soft. Hamilton used 2 sets of new tyres during the race and that may have been the difference

  17. Anish says:

    Apart from those, mine were Schumis podium and his pole lap in Monaco.

  18. Seán Craddock says:

    I think the Silverstone race has to be up there. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the race develop after the last stops when Webber was catching Alonso and the eventual pass he made on the championship leader was top class. Two drivers with massive respect for each other racing fairly. Round the outside at Brooklands leaving lots of space, beautiful

  19. Will Wu says:

    Valencia GP.

    We have 2 ex-, Schumi and Kimi, and 1 current-, Alonso, Ferrari drivers on the podium.

  20. hero_was_senna says:

    “It was a great battle for the lead and reminiscent of Nigel Mansell’s classic opportunist pass on Ayrton Senna in Hungary in 1989.”

    Wow, thats some comment James.

    Two of the hardest racers in history coming up behind a back marker in a tight right hander, Senna lifts momentarily due to the exit of Johansson in the Onyx and Mansell, who had been visibly quicker through that corner all race, lunges right, across the track and carries the momentum to overtake.
    A legendary move and sealed victory after starting from 12th on the grid.

    Vettel delayed by a back marker some corners earlier, Hamilton a bit closer this time because of it has DRS available to make the pass.

    I somehow doubt that in 23 years time, we’ll even list it amongst Hamilton’s best over-takes.

    1. Wend Linger says:

      To be honest, it is a widespread disease these days(not only on this board), pretending that we have something very special, magical, wonderful, classic, exquisite(sausage with real meat in it, mmm…1989) in our hands, “just like the old days”.

      What happened in Austin?
      1)You can judge, where to overtake a backmarker, indeed. Even the whole team can monitor the process. But you don’t drive a backmarker’s car, so he might still make a mistake and block you in the worst possible way.
      This applies to Hungary, 1989 too.

      2)DRS-for everyone except the leader. Says it all. (Reminiscent of Nigel Mansell’s pass?).

      Everyone can have their opinion of course and freedom to choose, what to remember and what to credit. For instance, I appreciate work and sweat the highest(the level of performing), not the result.

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Hero Was Senna, it occurs to me almost all your comments on various threads are based on attacking or dismissing other posters comments. This is childish. I have also noticed that on this particular thread that you have not posted your actual opinion. So lets have it, what was your highlight. Please tell us all so that we may pick it apart and ridicule it for the poor opinion that it is.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Thank you for your gracious comment..
        I don’t particularly like Raikkonen but I thought his pass of Schumacher at Spa was exquisite.

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        That was a good moment. I agree. Exquisite is the right word I think.

        See, isn’t it better contributing constructively to a thread as opposed to nitpicking and dismissing other posts. I know the latter is more fun initially, bringing others down, but long term you will be more satisfied being constructive with your knowledge.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Thanks for the patronising comments once again

  21. Simmo says:

    We forgot Hamilton’s win in Canada! A stunning drive!! Beautiful win.

  22. Rohan says:

    All wrong. For a start, it was Vettel that drove into Senna, not the other way around.

  23. Sarvar says:

    Yes, Vettel’s car survival and everyone’s emotion during the momentum were epic.

    Happy New Year, James!

    Keep on perfecting the blog in 2013.

  24. Richard says:

    I think Vettel’s run of championship wins must be about the easiest on record. That’s not to say Vettel is no good quite the contrary he is amongst the best on the grid, but I feel that the drivers championship these days is hardly that when so much is dependant on other factors. I think Hamilton should have won this year and had he the support Vettel has in Red Bull it would have been so. On the other hand had Alonso had a better car he may have also have won it. The point I make is that Vettel won because of the car whereas Alonso almost won in spite of the car. Beyond that because the cars are so aerodynamically dependant it is hardly apprpriate any more to call it a drivers championship because the outcome is decided by other factors than pure driving skill. I think it is a pity that the aero is not being limited in 2014 as that would put more emphasis on the driver rather than the designer.

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      I was just going to cmment on my own highlights but.. Oh please! 2010 should have been an easy season but was not primarily down to reliability issues, and also some rash mistakes from Vettel.
      2011 looked easy for him, although the car was not as dominant as the 2010 car, if at all, and boy was he on it in every race. Particularly towards the end of the season the Red Bull’s apparant speed came from Vettel’s ability to utilise the blown diffuser better than the rest, not down to massive car advantage.

      And 2012, easy? What? He had to ight for it in 2012, no question what so ever. His late season surge – suprise suprise – did not coincide with a massive upturn in performance from Webber, so clearly not only the car. Indeed towards the end of the season he was driving the thing like he did in 2011 which was probably the source of his speed.

      Entire Brazilian GP from onboard cameras:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlk_0DVYLes
      Watch that if you doubt Vettel’s talent (race start ~7:40 into video).
      I would download Real Player and then rip the video from youtube for future viewing before it gets removed, as the original of that video and several duplicates already have.

      _________________________

      My highlights are somewhat different. This season has given some incredible driving all around. I don’t just mean the top guys actually being capable of driving side by side (but seeing them all go at it at the starts and in the races was certainly brilliant), but overall quality of driving.
      Go to the FIA’s site
      http://www.formula1.com/video/onboard/
      And just watch some of the onboard videos. Australia (Hamilton) and India (Raikkonen) aside, they are all brilliant pieces of driving (Webber’s Monaco lap stands out in particular to me).

      I spend hours on Youtube and whatnot watching onboard clips and, for what my opinion is worth, this season has probably seen the best driving in the last 12 years or so in my opinion.

      That is my main highlight of the season.

      1. Richard says:

        Well I was going to say read what I say not what you think I’ve said, so I re-iterate that Vettel is in a small group of top drivers that all have their highs and lows, but Vettel’s sudden improvement was due entirely to improvement in the car. What Vettel has at Red Bull is a very good aerodynamicist/engineer in Adrian Newey and very good support from the team coupled with his own driving produces a formidable challenge and other teams will have to raise their game to match or improve on it.
        2010 fortunate that Ferrari messed up!
        2011 almost totally dominant!
        2012 Fortunate that McLaren messed up big time, Ferrari could not improve their car sufficiently, and that Red Bull improved their car just at the right time. Of course this is motor racing to a large extent, but tyres and aero favour the leading car, and it’s high time aero was significantly limited to reduce the dirty air effect. The idea of running high deg. tyres and with current aero levels is absurd so I would prefer the more durable tyres in the Pirelli range to be used so that drivers can race properly.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Webber didn’t follow suit with the upturn in performance, not to the same extent. Even though the car got better, Vettel made greater use of it.
        I don’t think switching the top drivers around would have changed much. Mclaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus all had great cars, just with differing strengths.
        Vettel may have won driving the F2012, Alonso may not have won driving the RB8. Maybe not. Who knows. But I strongly disagree with the point that Vettel won due to the car. Webber came 6th overall. 6th. Yeah ok, pretty eratic season, but Webber is a very quick driver.
        This year was more down to driver performance because the teams were so close.

      3. Richard says:

        Of course Vettel improved because of the car otherwise he would have done better earlier in the season. Webber improved but not to the same extent because the car was more suited to Vettel’s driving style, and because of that was more able to take advantage. Vettel’s fast and consistent, but not unbeatable. While McLaren may have been faster in some of the races, I believe fundamentally the Red Bull car was the better because of HOW it performed with greater agility because it achieved better balance with the tyres, McLaren quite often struggled with the tyres, but were just able to counter it in other areas at some of the races. In 2013 it seems that Mercedes are seeking to emulate the way the Red Bull car works by maximising downforce, and that combined with the Mercedes engine could potentially produce a very good car if they can make it efficient enough. – I certainly hope so!

    2. **Paul** says:

      Nothing like the easiest on Record. If anything Vettels championships have come in a time when F1 is more competitive than I can remember in my 30 years of watching the Sport. We had the possibility of drivers from 5 different teams to win races last year. Roll back 10 or 20 years and it’s completely dominated by 2 teams.

      The Red Bull wasn’t as fast as the McLaren this season, but more reliable, but the Red Bull was less reliable than the Ferrari which allowed Alonso to pick up big points by not having KERS, gearbox, alternator or engine issues that plauged McLaren and Red Bull. You only have to look at the number of overtakes Alonso made on the top drivers to see it was the reliability of his slower car that enabled him to be anywhere near the Championship battle. That’s not to say Alonso wasn’t fantastic.

      1. Richard says:

        Well that’s too much of a broad statement, and it’s more complicated than that, but for the larger proportion of the year the McLaren car was faster. – It’s a pity they were not able to take advantage of it with all the operational errors and poor reliability. The Ferrari was reliable, but was also better in the race than in qualifying. It was also a quick starting car and Alonso made up most of his ground at the start. If anyone deserved to win he did as what he did was magnificent.
        Yes the field is extremely competitive, but if your team supports you well, you have the fastest car over one lap you put it on pole, and you clear the field at the start it’s most likely that you’ll win the race as the combination of high deg.tyres, and highly developed aero virtually guarantees it unless something goes wrong. I’m afraid it’s not really proper racing. Limit the aero and bring back durable tyres to reduce the articial aspect of the current formula.

  25. goferet says:

    The highlights I will take from the 2012 season include:

    7 different winners from the first 7 races (which is a record within itself)

    The teams not having a clue what was going on with the Pirelli tyres in the first half of the season

    Schumi’s pole lap in Monaco proving that the street circuit is really a driver’s track

    Alonso crying after winning the Valencia Grand Prix in addition to the fact he joined a very select group of drivers to have a perfect season

    V3ttel once again tossing his trophy in the air at the Japanese Grand Prix podium (this always amuses me)

    The light comedy moment provided by Kimi when he got lost at the high tension Brazilian Grand Prix

    The cowboy hats at Austin after a storming race and the pleasure of getting to see the top 3 drivers all on the podium together after so many seasons.

    The pleasant surprises provided by Valencia and Abu-Dhabi historically, the races to miss on a calendar.

    Alonso achieving more podiums than Senna did and only one victory shy of Mansell’s total tally

    The mighty first lap scrap between Alonso, Jenson and Lewis at the Indian Grand Prix plus the four car drag race between Kimi, Lewis, Alonso and Webber at the Korean Grand Prix

    The Japanese fans chanting Kobayashi’s name and then Kobayashi speaking Japanese (brought a tear or two)

    Maldonado’s win at Barcelona and the very unusual podium of Maldonado sitting on the shoulders of Kimi & Alonso (for once I was glad Lewis was no where near the the podium)

    Lewis proving at Barcelona that really he isn’t the tyre shredder most people think he is

    Rosberg giving the Mercedes works team their first win

    And last but not least, Lewis’ performance to score Mclaren’s hardest fought out point in it’s entire history (Whitmarsh’s words) when he came home 10th at the Korean Grand Prix.

    All in all, was a great season, only disappointment being the rain interrupted race weekends were happening on the wrong days i.e. Fridays

    1. Brad says:

      I’m really going to pay more attention to your stats and predictions… keep posting them, they usually become true

      1. goferet says:

        @ Brad

        Cheers mate!

        As they say, history repeats itself.

  26. Steven says:

    As a Hamilton fan I love your first choice. But I think that Lewis’s drive from 24th(not his fault) to 7th and ahead of his teammate in Catalunya needs to be on this list.

  27. Nick says:

    There’s been some great wheel to wheel overtakes through multiple corners this year. A number of them have involved Kimi, Jensen, Alonso.

    I don’t remember so many cases where drivers were so fair whilst racing at such high speeds within an inch or two of each other’s wheels in previous years, someone would force the other off the track or touch and crash.

    Seeing that skill and respect between the drivers has been a highlight for me.

    1. Vivek says:

      Absolutely agree with this. Jenson and Kimi both are especially good at close racing.

  28. Elie says:

    Kimis drive in Bahrain shocked the world by how quickly he closed down a Red Bull – I had the biggest smile cause I knew he could fight for victory but not so quickly.

    Pastors win was a fantastic surprise for F1 and for all – those whole liked him and even those that thought he was a loose canon.

    Sergios drives for podium were a welcome relief. I was geniunly angered by his engineer telling him to be “careful we need this position” – on his second to Fernando in Spain!- this also highlights the need for Kimis radio messages in Abu Dhabi and why drivers need to stop being babied as he could surely have won that race!.

    But above all things I shall never forget Kimis driving this year – his epic battles with Mercedes, Force India , Mclaren are the stuff of legends . His Hungary drive setting purples times every minute, to fighting a loose car at his favoured Spa- passing then having to repass, to his unrivalled reflex avoidance sills at the start of most races. For anyone wanting to fill in some time just google Kimi for some fantastic YouTube onboards- fantastic.

  29. AussieWoZ says:

    Roll on 2013! Only 35 days until testing :-)

  30. Craig Baker says:

    No 1. F1 Forums around the world are shutting down as James Allen’s website is the place to be.

    No 2. Kimi’s return to F1 was wonderful to watch.

    No 3. Midfield the Hulk stood out for me.

    Negative. The desperate young drivers doing stupid things. There is even a name for it now, ‘doing a Grosjean’.

    1. Horno says:

      I do race at online competitions and it’s true…
      If somebody crashes in the first or second corner, than he is doing a Grosjean.. XD

      Ontopic, i agree with your list James, but Schumachers Monaco pole should have been up there as well..
      It doesn’t change how you look at it, that too was a remarkable achievment… Also the Rosberg/China win.. He dominated that weekend at an unseen level that we havn’t previously seen before from him.

      All the best for 2013.. Cheers!

  31. Onyx says:

    For all his incidents just remember that Grosjean had started just 7 GP’s prior to this season and was 3rd on the grid for the first race in Australia..this guy is quick and thats what really matters.He will win in 2013.

    1. Truth or Lies says:

      Fair comment, I think he can become a very great driver, once he gets more experience and settles down. Very impressed with Romain so far, that’s for sure.

    2. Craig Baker says:

      How did he do in that first race? Accident.
      Will he win in 2013? Maybe.
      Will he crash out? Well no one likes to prempt accidents but he is better than even money given his track record. Being quick is not enough.
      To finish first, first you have to finish.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        A crash… with Maldondao of all people!

        The guy seems quick, quicker than Kimi many times through the season, he is just a little rash in certain situations. Having said that, it is not as if Vettel and Hamilton for example have been angels their entire career, and Massa can still be a bit erratic even now.

        The media have been to harsh on him imo. His first penalty for a crash was his ban at Spa, and the majority of the incidents were simply incidents if not someone elses fault entirely.

        He does need to calm down though, the speed is clearly there.

      2. maximaz says:

        many times? he is lucky kimi had to cope with an incompatible steering wheel in first half of the season. Even so, kimi blew Romain away on Race pace alone. Since summer break, kimi generally trash him both sat and sun.

  32. Sandyf1 says:

    Two things stood out for me
    1) Alonso’s starts and his first lap racing in general were brilliant. He knew exactly were to attack and gained a lot of places.
    2)Hungary – During mid race , vettel comes on the radio and tells his team to ” do something “.Meanwhile , kimi paces himself and then just lets rip fastest lap after fastest lap. Rare to see a driver gain 3 positions in the pits in the “undercutting” era of pirelli.Vettel and for that matter hamilton still lacks the shrewd racecraft of alonso & kimi.

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Hamilton is way ahead of Alonso and Kimi, Hamilton does not need No1 status and teammate to be penaltilised so he can benefit from. Alonso is simply overrated

  33. Soviex Tunion says:

    1)Vettel’s penalty in Hockenheim. Unfortunately, it was a rare occasion, but for once the rules were respected by the stewards.

    2)Raikkonen’s radio messages in Abu Dhabi.
    A driver rejects babysitting attempts and talks no rubbish on the podium. Such guy getting airtime can only be good for F1.
    “I am here to race. All the other bullshit I can do without..” Great.

    3)Nothing really. Perhaps forming the grid for the Brazilian GP could be a worthy candidate. All teams that started the season, were still present.

    1. Pat M says:

      I have to say that I just loved Kimi’s reply when asked if he would get over missing Pele’s presentaion in Brazil
      ‘Yeah, I was having a sh*t”

  34. richardc says:

    Has to be the Canadian GP.This was LH at his best! The whole thing was a measured win for the Mcl team and LH, got to throw in that he lapped his team mate!!!

  35. Darren says:

    Have been reading your excellent year book James. For things like this, “best moments” etc your book is second to none. It is easy to look back at a season and pick the good bits but what your book gives is the feeling in the F1 world at the time. Something I would add to the best moments is Alonso’s win in Malaysia, not the greatest grand prix and win in the world but if you dig deeper and remember just how awful the Ferrari was in Melbourne and how down the team was it was an amazing result, that is the kind of reflection your book gives. Please keep up the good work with the year books!

    I would also add Schumacher’s pole at Monaco, proved the old man still had it. It will be interesting to see how is comeback is viewed 5 – 10 years down the line, I think a big part of it will be how well Hamilton gets on next year. If Hamilton drags it onto the top step a few times and trounces Rosberg then it will not look so good on the old man.

    Whilst not a success I don’t think Schumachers return was a complete failure, his 2011 season was pretty poor but this year he was generally pretty competitive relative to Rosberg and suffered some horrendous luck. I think his symbolic passing of the batton to Vettel at Brasil was a nice bit of closure on his career that he did not get the first time. His second shot did not do his reputation as a driver much favours but it definitely made him much more likeable.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks, glad you like the book!

      1. Baart says:

        Hi James, what about books for top 10 winners in Your competition ? You`ll send this book ?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes it was sent out in December.

      3. Baart1980 says:

        James, thank You very much. I have got it today:
        http://bit.ly/VYHxCF

  36. Matt says:

    Maldonado returning Williams to the top step in Spain, having come from behind and beating Alonso in a genuine head-to-head battle was magic! The feel-good moment of the year for me.

  37. JB says:

    The Abu Dhabi race and Brazil are two of the best races of the year.

    To see the three champions and best drivers on the Abu Dhabi podium is the most memorable moment. And yes, I loved the true colours (including the swearings) on the podium interview.

  38. Lee says:

    7 winners for the first 7 races set the scene for a terrific season, capped off by an enthralling Brazilian GP.

    Loved Kimi telling his engineer to bugger off too!

  39. VV says:

    1. Maldonado winning in Spain.
    2. Valencia GP. Best race of the year. It was nice to see some emotion in Alonso’s post-race celebrations as well.
    3. Brazil GP. Second best race of the year.
    4. Hamilton in Austin. Superb.
    5. Kimi’s radio messages in Abu Dhabi.

  40. Colombia Concalvez says:

    It got to be Lewis in Barcelona from P24 to P8, he obliterated Button who started 14 places infront of him and the double overtake on both the Toro Rosso’s show’s that Lewis is the best on the grid. He does not need his team mate to be penaltilised so he can benefit from or No1 status like the other dude

    And Canada Lewis, look how Lewis lapped Button and the won the race in style, absolute stunning

  41. messrine says:

    For me the best moments of the year was to see Alonso drive his heart out and produce his best performances despite not having the best car. I also liked the way he has matured in his attitude in comparison to previous seasons. If Schumacher had not moved aside and allowed Vettel to pass so easily in Brasil (and therefore influenced the outcome of the championship), Vettel would have not caught up and passed kobayashi and the greatest driver would have one.

  42. messrine says:

    Sorry I should have said ‘won’ not ‘one’.

  43. tom says:

    Felipe Massa’s recovery in the second half of the season was excellent, he definitely would have been shown the door if he hadn’t picked it up, and he managed to get it together and show us why he nearly won the championship back in 2008. On form Massa and Alonso in a competitive car is a very formidable line-up, if they can get the car together.

    Pirelli’s board meeting when they decided how to make the tyres.

    Hamilton’s pass on Vettel in Austin.

    Can we get a full feed from Kimi’s team radio next season?

  44. Scott D says:

    An interesting article as usual but is it possible to “under perform badly”. There is a double negative in there surely!

  45. Richard says:

    Vettel beat Alonso because he had a better car, he beat Hamilton because he was better supported and his car was more reliable. Nothing about this year suggests that Vettel won because of driving skill.

  46. Monza01 says:

    My favourite moment was that other Kimi quote :

    “Yes, yes, yes, yes. I’m doing it all the time. You don’t have to remind me every second.”

    Priceless !

  47. Jorge Gaviria says:

    Kimi over take Schumacher in Spa
    Vettel third champion.

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