Intermittent rain showers created a thrilling title decider which had everything at Brazil’s Interlagos track.
Sebastian Vettel had the worst possible start, spinning to the back of the field before fighting back to win the title. Fernando Alonso fought bravely to keep his title hopes alive before missing out, while Jenson Button mastered the conditions at the front to take victory.
Nico Hulkenberg drove one of the races of his life, barring one misjudgment while Felipe Massa drove strongly in front of his home fans – but who was your Driver of the Day?
Set himself up for the race nicely after a strong qualifying which saw him finish just 0.055 seconds behind McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to start second. Made a decent start, but lost a place to a fast-starting Felipe Massa. Regained second later in the lap and then overtook Hamilton down the back straight for the lead. Lost the lead to Hamilton on the same lap, but regained it the next time around. Passed by Nico Hulkenberg, but was comfortably second as he decided not to pit for inters in the slippery conditions. Saw that cushion disappear as the safety car came out. Lost second to Hamilton, but took the lead when Hulkenberg collidesdwith Hamilton at Turn One. Controlled the race from there to take his third win of the season.
Fought bravely but just missed out on the title. Inherited seventh on the grid when Pastor Maldonado got a 10-place grid penalty for picking up his third reprimand and capitalised by making up two places at the start. Passed both Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and Red Bull’s Mark Webber on lap two down the inside at Turn one. Lost a place to Hulkenberg and Massa when he went off track. Repassed Massa and then gained a place as a result of Hamilton’s retirement before he moved in second when Hulkenberg took his drive-through penalty. Couldn’t make up the deficit of 20 seconds to leader Button and settled for second – his 13th podium of the finish – but missed out on the championship.
Played the ideal support role to team-mate Alonso. Made an electric start from fifth on the grid to run second early on, before he lost a place to Button and then Alonso. Did a great job of riding shotgun for Alonso who struggled in the opening portion of the race. Dropped down the field when he pitted for slicks and then realised it was a mistake as the conditions didn’t improve and pitted again for inters. Clawed his way back up the field to run fifth and then inherited fourth when Hamilton retired and third when Hulkenberg took his penalty. Held on to score his second podium of the season.
It’s not everyday a Force India passes a McLaren to lead a race. Showed good pace all weekend and started sixth. Made a good getaway to run fifth before putting a brave move on Mark Webber for fourth. Inherited third when Alonso went off the track and the set off in pursuit of the McLarens. Decided not to pit when the rain started to fall to climb up to second and then put a brilliant move on Button to take the lead. Looked super comfortable at the front and led the field away impressively after the restart following a safety car. But a mistake at Turn six saw him almost spin and that let Hamilton past. Tried an ambitious move on Hamilton later in the race, but misjudged his braking and hit Hamilton, taking the McLaren out and incurring a drive-through penalty for his sins. Rejoined in fifth where he finished the race.
Held his nerve after a horror start to win fight back and win the championship. Hit by Bruno Senna on the first lap after a poor start, damaging the rear of his car and spinning him to the back of the field. Kept his head to fight back through the field, rising as high as eighth before his charge is halted by Kamui Kobayashi. Didn’t take any risks and eventually got past. Pitted for slicks, but then came back in for inters. Benefitted from the safety car which closed the field up, but was the fastest car on the track for most of the latter part of the race, rose up to sixth, behind Hulkenberg where he stayed comfortably, finishing the race there under the safety car to become the youngest ever triple world champion and first to win his first three championships in a row.
The 248 page large format paperback book tells all the inside stories of the 2012 season. It is a limited-edition collectable and is priced at £10-99. Signed copies are available to pre-order from this site by clicking on this link JA on F1 2012 Book.