Vettel Becomes Triple World Champion As Button Takes Brazilian Victory
Scuderia Ferrari
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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

My point is: If there were people at present, when the BIG BANG occure, they would never thought that something that beautiful can come out of it, like oure world and we all in it.

Something that looks bad, can be the best thing, that can happen to you, and all you have to do, is to be openminded.


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

I recommend you, James, give us a selection of answers, and we just can pic among them. You are happy, and we are happy.


No, that’s not the point at all


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Thanks to all F1 Teams members!

Congratulations Sebastian Vettel (3 WDC)

Congratulations Red Bull Racing (3 WDC)

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

Greatest f1 report site!!!

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

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


Let me first say that I am a Sebastian Vettel fan and I am overjoyed at the result of yesterday’s race.

I do have to commiserate a little though for Fernando; twice now pipped by Vettel in the last race. In keeping with that, let me close with this little ditty.

With hearfelt hope, I set my course

With what I thought a prancing horse.

But now I feel I’ve been a fool.

I’ve saddled up a plodding mule.

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


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

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

Tornillo Amarillo


Vettel : Champion, but boring

Alonso : Driver of the Year

Hamilton: Best driver, but for half of the race

Hulk : Best young driver

Red Bull : Best Team

McLaren : Worst Team

Ferrari : Best than McLaren


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

Tornillo Amarillo

Macca losing Hamilton and hiring Perez now… very silly.


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


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


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


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

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


It was Marussia’s nightmare scenario


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

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

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

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


Totally agree.

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

Farewell Michael, thanks for being around until now!


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

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

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


Ditto. Check out Gary Anderson’s write-up on BBC site. Most balanced I’ve read so far.


An insight into Lotus’ radio transmissions throughout the race:

– Opening lap –

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

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

– Later in the race –

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

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

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


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

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


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


Start @ post3


Those where solid yellows, not flashing yellows

Solid yello means slippery surface, overtaking is legal, not only for Vettel but for everyone else

Please don’t cast doubt over a Champions win before having all the answers


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


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

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


Congrats to Vettel!

The battle between Kimi & Schumy was EPIC!

Some drivers could learn from this battle between the two masters.


Vettel a worthy champion, Alonso the driver of the year.

– Just my take on the year, by the way!



Looking forward to next year, do you think anyone can beat Vettel and redbull?

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


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

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

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


One finger now becomes 3 fingers


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

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

‘Red Bull has the best car’ – ah no, in the early season the Red Bull struggled and there were a number of fine drives from Vettel, when he qualified down the grid but came through to score important points. Furthermore, if the Red Bull did have a clear advantage why hasn’t Webber finished 2nd in the standings (pretty sure Vettel & Webber have had the same amount of retirements this year?). Vettel has made the most of his car as has Alonso. As a matter of fact the Mclaren has been the car of the field this year, they’ve just been very inconsistent. Really it was their season to lose which they did, some through bad luck and some through bad judgement.

‘Alonso has driven the Ferrari beyond its limits’ – interesting one this. Really has he? He has driven superbly this year, he really has, especially at the start of the season, but the Ferrari’s problem has been its qualifying form. It has always, bar maybe the first few races been quick in ‘race trim’. In fact the Ferrai had some ‘luck’ in the first few races to the extent that Alsono led the standings after the first handful of races, when the car wasn’t quick. Since then the Ferrari has been a very quick race car, but not a quick quali car. In the last few races Massa has actually outperformed Alonso also.

Now I’m not trying to sit here and dismiss Alonso’s achievements this year, but I think the constant questioning of Vettel’s ability is unfair. Nobody wins 3 titles in a row by being average. The best car argument is nonsense, if that’s the case then Button and Hamilton didn’t deserve their World titles and that’s simply not true.

Well done to both Alonso and Vettel for a tremedous year, and for getting everything out of their cars.

Finally, congratulations to Kimi on a great return to F1. 3rd place in the drivers standings, a win and points scored in all races bar one is a fantastic return.

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


+++ perfect post


Excellent post.



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

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

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


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

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



Vettel clearly overtook a HRT under yellow after he spon and another time during lap 57 while ovtaking koba again. There was no investigation whatsoever and I feel this is not right and fair.

Driving into Senna can happen but all in all he deserved at least one penalty.

I never want to hear again that the FIA is pro Ferrari – definitely not true after yesterday’s race.


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


Look at this video.

The FIA are so keen to give penalties but no, not in this case.


It was not flashing.


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

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