Hamilton snatches victory from Vettel in Austin

2012 United States Grand Prix review

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Lewis Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix for the second time in his career after passing Sebastian Vettel to take victory.

The driver who won the last United States Grand Prix in 2007 overtook both Red Bull drivers during the course of the race to repeat his victory.

Vettel finished a close second, almost 40 seconds ahead of his third-placed championship rival Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari tactics pay off at start

Much discussion before the race concerned the tactics of Ferrari, who sacrificed Felipe Massa’s qualifying position of sixth to aid Alonso. By breaking the seal on his gearbox, which did not need changing, they automatically incurred a five-place penalty.

That dropped Massa to eleventh on the grid and moved Alonso up to seventh but, more significantly, switched him onto the cleaner side of the track.

When the race got started the worst predictions of how gripless the left-hand side of the track would be proved wide of the mark. But even so those in the even-numbered spots had a hard time accelerating away.

Second-placed Hamilton suffered from it, dropping behind Mark Webber. From fourth Kimi Raikkonen fell back into the pack while Alonso sprinted through to take his place from seventh.

But Alonso had to watch Hamilton pull away in the opening laps. The McLaren was soon replaced in his vision by the Red Bull of Webber. Hamilton got past on lap three initially but ran wide, then came back on the next lap to make the move stick.

Schumacher slips back

The battle in the midfield was frantic on the slippery surface at the recently-completed Circuit of the Americas. Having qualified fifth, Schumacher reversed quickly out of the points, his situation not helped by his team being unable to accurately detect the temperature of his front tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg was first to pass the Mercedes, followed shortly by Romain Grosjean. The Lotus driver had strong pace and was soon on Hulkenberg’s tail, only to spin off at turn 19. His tyres now coated in dust, Grosjean lost more places when he returned to the track and eventually opted to make an early pit stop to make up places.

Schumacher’s descent continued as he was picked off by Raikkonen and Paul di Resta. Massa was next to pass him, followed by Jenson Button.

Button had slipped back further from his starting position of 12th and took several laps to come out on top of a spirited battle with Pastor Maldonado. He caught Schumacher on the run to turn one and dived to the inside as the Mercedes driver squeezed him hard.

Webber drops out

Grosjean’s climb back through the field eventually prompted Force India to bring Hulkenberg in. He had already been passed by Raikkonen and his pit stop elevated Massa as well. At this point Alonso was losing time to his team mate and the Lotus, who were cutting up to a second per lap out of his advantage.

The situation turned to Alonso’s advantage when Webber’s car came to a stop on lap 17. It was the dreaded alternator once again – and that gave cause for concern for Vettel’s car as well.

That moved Alonso up to third but only briefly as he was soon into the pits. A slow right-rear tyre change put him at risk of falling behind Raikkonen, who continued to produce rapid times as Alonso struggled to get his tyres up to temperature after his stop.

But Lotus’s tyre change for Raikkonen wasn’t quick either, and he left the pits close behind Alonso. Ferrari took advantage of that, with a clean stop for Massa bringing him out in front of the Lotus.

This battle was now tangled up with otherdrivers who were yet to stop. Daniel Ricciardo passed Raikkonen and Massa, and then Raikkonen took the Ferrari as well. After Ricciardo pitted Massa closed on Raikkonen again and took fourth of the Lotus driver, who was not as quick in his second stint.

Button stayed out on his hard tyres until lap 36 before yielding third to Alonso. He recovered quickly after his pit stop, springing an opportunitistic move on Grosjean and then tackling Raikkonen for fifth on the outside of turn 12. But his hopes of going after the Ferraris were scuppered by a KERS problem.

Hamilton versus Vettel

At the front of the field there was only one car left for the other McLaren to pass. Hamilton closed on Vettel during the front stint and was poised to strike in the DRS zone, but dropped back as his tyres faded.

He came on strong again in the second stint but struggled to stay close enough to Vettel in the flowing turns three to ten to make a move stick.

That changed on lap 42 when Vettel caught the lapped HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. Hamilton came out of turn nine right on Vettel’s tail and the change of position in the DRS zone looked inevitable before they got there.

Vettel made him work for it, moving left then ducking right at the last minute, giving Hamilton little margin for error even with the championship on the line. A furious Vettel came on the radio to complain about Karthikeyan as Hamilton edged away.

By the chequered flag Alonso was 38 seconds behind the leading pair. The other Ferrari of Massa was well clear of Button, followed by the Lotuses and Hulkenberg.

The Williams drivers completed the points, Maldonado passing Bruno Senna in the dying stages. Sergio Perez came in 11th followed by Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.

The other Mercedes of Michael Schumacher slumped to 16th behind Kamui Kobayashi and Di Resta.

Having started behind the Marussias the Caterham drivers came home ahead, Vitaly Petrov followed by Heikki Kovalainen, with Timo Glock and Charles Pic behind them. The stewards investigated an incident between Kovalainen and Glock but ruled that neither driver had transgressed. Despite their trials in practice both HRT drivers finished in 21st and 22nd.

Drivers’ title goes down to the final round

Red Bull’s fears that Vettel’s alternator would also fail proved unfounded and nor did Hamilton suffer a repeat of his Abu Dhabi retirement. He delivered a victory for McLaren in his penultimate race for them which moves him back up to fourth in the championship.

Vettel was plainly disappointed at only adding three points to his lead over Alonso. “Good job boys. Great stop, great race. We did everything we could. The only mistake we made was not in our hands.” Told the team had won the constructors’ championship, Vettel added his congratulations and urged them to “be happy” despite an otherwise disappointing race.

But there remains one championship to be decided and that will come down to the final race. Vettel heads Alonso by 13 points heading into the final round and both of them believe they can win it.

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Keith Collantine
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143 comments on “Hamilton snatches victory from Vettel in Austin”

  1. this was one of those drives by Hamilton where I thought, Button couldn’t do that.

    1. I think there have been many of these signature drives which you could only imagine Lewis doing. Unfortunately some of these have been overshadowed by his misadventures (some of which is his own doing). This season, however, he has married his aggressiveness with a pinch of circumspection and the only things which have let him down are his machinery and his pit crew.

      1. Well said!

    2. Yeah, I know what you mean, it’s not like he did this kind of thing in Canada 2011, or Sukuza 2011 at all -_-

      1. And it’s not like Button started from the dirty side of the grid on the hard tyre, fell to sixteenth place at the end of the first lap and then raced his way up to fifth by the end of the race …

        1. Exactly! Glad to see someone else can appreciate his races. I know that he’s not always the quickest, but he is a fantastic driver and I’m really looking forward to what he can do next year, providing McLaren can sort their reliability issues out.

          1. It’s a decent drive alright but let’s not make it like he stormed from 24th to 1st. He finished 56 seconds behind Lewis in the same car. As it is, how many of the last few races have Button come anywhere close to challenging Lewis.

            Jenson’s inferior qualifying speed will always undermine him. As for the MP4/28 next year, without Lewis around, we will never know how fast it really is. That’s a fact. Unless it is the class of the field, McLaren will struggle to challenge at the front if Button does not buck up his qualifying speed.

            I am quite surprised that Button has gotten an easy ride from the British media over his poor 2012 season when last year, all were waiting in line to crown him as the new McLaren no 1 and a serious contender for the world title. In comparison, Lewis got so much flak last year i thought he had run over and killed someone.

          2. “Jenson’s inferior qualifying speed will always undermine him. As for the MP4/28 next year, without Lewis around, we will never know how fast it really is.”


        2. I didn’t say button didn’t do well. I just feel like when superior strategy or machinery aren’t an avenue he doesn’t come out on top as often as Hamilton. I probably shouldn’t have generalised so much.

          1. @kennyboy –

            But you are correct!

        3. I also think Button did exceptionally well as did Raikkonen, Vettel (up to the crying point-lap 42) and Massa. All of the top guns performed high in the race although Alonso did not impress me much except at the start.

        4. Yes, thumbs up for JB. A solid drive from him as well.

          1. Great drive from both the McLarens. Seems like their new front wing is rewarding them well.

        5. @ginola14
          Interesting points! It scary we may never be sure how quick the Mac really is from year onwards.
          Same as Red Bull (as fast as it is), I always get the feeling there’s so much more to be extracted from that car. It’s a bit of shame we may never know.

          1. Perez was the wrong replacement. The man to go for should have been Kimi Raikkonen. He was available. A Raikkonen-Button combo would replicate the dream Lewis-Jenson ticket. Button to keep Raikkonen on his toes and pick up a few wins here and there as well as give us some memorable moments (for Button’s Canada 2011 and Australia 2010 read DC’s Monaco 2002 and France 2000). But he wont challenge for the title. A bit like Raikkonen-Coulthard or Haikkenen-Coulthard really. You know of the pair who is gonna be there alive in the championship fight at the end of the season.

            And with Raikkonen, you know that he will reflect the true pace of the car.

        6. Just what I had wanted to add there @prisoner-monkeys. Both McLaren drives had a great race here.

    3. Canada always springs to mind.

      Button tends to be a tad conservative, and for those that note the gap between Button and Lewis at the end of the race obviously know little about racing. Button had to overtake in the region of 10 cars, some of them such as Maldonado Senna Kimi and Schumacher were all challenging and each overtake (except maybe on Senna) were very class overtaking manouvres.

      A lot of the time your top speed is compromised by the driver in front, it’s not as if you can drive your maximum speed while following a slower car that you are racing, you have bide your time and wait for your over taking opportunities.

      It always annoys me when Lewis has a good race, and he did, that people are straight into ripping into Button.

      Button’s pace was often equal to or better than Lewis’s and Button posted several fastest laps and according to some reports had a compromised KERS.

      So why not look to the positive and enjoy Lewis’s win and remember that Button qualified poorly due to no fault of his own.

      1. So which part of his car malfunctioned then? I didn’t read anything that indicated as such
        If anything, he has always been a poor qualifier. Nothing surprising to see him qualify so poorly this race too.

        These people are ripping into Button for a good reason. Start of season in Australia where he won the race; he was bigging up himself as a serious contender blah blah the car MP4/27 suits me fine etc. Come end of 2012 and he is telling us he does not understand the car at all. Of the last few races so far, Lewis has completely outpaced Jenson except for races like Japan and Belgium where he was beset by problems. Jenson has only been taken out in Korea but other than that, has been sub-par pace-wise compared to Lewis.

        I reckon Martin Whitmarsh was so rocked by Lewis leaving that he went for the wrong guy to replace him. Should have gone for Kimi Raikkonen when he still hasnt signed the 2013 contract extension with Lotus.

        1. Button had a failing throttle pedal sensor in Qualifying and indeed suffered a KERS failure in the later stages of the race @ginola14, as is mentioned in the article above.

      2. Button’s pace was often equal to or better than Lewis’s

        This part of your post is an outright lie, as the word “often” suggest that more times than not, he has been better, or equalled Lewis on race pace. A simple trawl through the races they have both finished will show this statement to be quite incorrect.

        On race pace, Lewis has been better than Jenson, more often than not. So on average, his race pace it better than Button’s. Don’t let the facts get in the way.

        1. I said often, not more often.

    4. Actualy the way Hamilton was catching Vettel in the closing stages reminded me of Button in Canada. I think that drive was even better given he had to do 4 pitstops and was last at one point.

      I wouldn’t say i cant imagine Button doing what Hamilton did yesterday. On his day Button can match anyone, and produce truly great drives in the wet and in the dry. The shame is h”his days” are few and far between these days.

  2. The Renault engineers responsible for the alternator will be putting in some hours this week. Mind you, with only a week to Brazil, it’s hard to see what they can do in terms of design changes now.

    1. Perhaps they tried the newest batch on Webber’s car and seeing it failed will probably just make sure that whatever they have left of the very old batch of alternators, goes to Vettel.

      1. I don’t think they could do that.

        When the alternator problems first came up, Renault had to get permission to a) develop a new part, and b) use the 2011 parts in the interim. I can’t imagine that the FIA agreed to let the team run one set of alternators in one car and a second set of alternators in the other, because then the engines would be different and probably in violation of the development freeze rules.

        1. Actually the problem is rather that Red Bull have been running the old batch of alternators all since Monza and by now these units will have succeeded their durability limits. That means they have no other option than to run the new ones (which have been used by Lotus and Caterham for a few races now.)

    2. Probably nothing. Renault gave their teams a new specification of alternator for this race, having used 2011 components since Vettel’s alternator failure at Monza. But Webber’s retirement in Austin was the exact same problem that struck Vettel down at Monza and in Valencia. Since none of the other Renault customer teams seem to be having any alternator problems, one can only conclude that the Red Bull RB8 is something of an engine-breaker.

      1. Grosjean had an alternator problem too, but yeah Red Bull seem to be disproportionately affected.

        1. And d’Ambrosio’s alternator was also replaced on Saturday, giving him a grid penalty, wasn’t it @mole, @prisoner-monkeys? So there is an issue even when not Red Bull, but it feels like they suffer more to me too.

  3. I didn’t understand why Vettel was complaining of the overtaking move that Hamilton did

    1. @tifoso1989 He was complaining about Karthikeyan. FOM played a shorter version of the radio message on the main feed compared to what was broadcast on the pit lane channel.

      Vettel was complaining about being held up by Karthikeyan in turns three to nine which gave Hamilton the opportunity to overtake him (as explained in the article).

      See: https://twitter.com/f1fanaticlive/status/270259521727913984

    2. I dont think he did? He must have been talking about the traffic. Remember he moaned about it after Lewis got past him (on the radio)? The traffic is what was out of their hands.

      1. Vettel wasn’t happy with Karthikeyan who held him up in sector 1

    3. as others have said, it was Karthikeyan. If you watch it from the onboard footage (Ant Davidson went over it in detail on Sky), you’d see how much Vettel lost out. Hamilton got right up behind him out of turns 9/10.

  4. People were critical of Jacques Villeneuve last week when he said that Sebastian Vettel is immature. But I think this race demonstrated exactly that. I don’t know exaclty what he said over the radio, but he clearly wasn’t impressed with Hamilton’s move on lap 42. I myself didn’t see much wrong with it; there was a bit of blocking and weaving going on, but it was a clean pass, and I felt his complaints were unjustified.

    More to the point, we’ve seen countless occasions this year where drivers like Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Webber, Vettel and Raikkonen have all been applauded for good, hard, and abover all else, smart racing, keeping their noses clean and the repair bills down, particularly in light of some of the foolhardy shenanigans the junior drivers have pulled. They can do it because they trust the other driver to know what he is doing and to not make a mistake. But then Vettel jumps on the radio to complain about Hamilton’s pass almost as soon as Hamilton establishes a hold on the lead. Maybe that’s just the stress of a championship battle weighing on him, and the knowledge that the Renault alternators aren’t the magic bullet to the team’s reliability problems that they were supposed to be, but I think Vettel’s reaction really does prove Villeneuve’s point: he’s not as mature as the other drivers.

    I think that’s what’s really holding Vettel back. Winning three World Championships (not to mention winning three of them in 101 races) brings with it automatic, unofficial recognition of being one of the sport’s greats, but outbursts like this one mean that people aren’t going to look at Vettell the other way they have three-time winners. For everything he has achieved, I think there is still the perception that he is something of a spoiled brat raised in a corporate culture that has dulled or obscured his racer’s instincts.

    1. Vettel didn’t complained about Hamilton, he complained about Karthikeyan

      1. Nevertheless, he still complained, and teams anticipated that backmarkers would be a problem in the first sector long before the race began. You have to wonder what Vettel would have done if he did not lose the position to Hamilton.

        1. The point is that through no fault of his own Vettel’s gap that he had built and maintained against Hamilton was destroyed by a slower car that was unable to get out of the way, right before the DRS zone. I’d be fuming as well.

          I saw the replay on Sky, and Anthony Davidson likened being behind the HRT at that part of the track to being behind the safety car.

          1. Call me crazy, but I always throught that the ability to lap a slower-moving car was a skill.

            There were plenty of warnings that slower traffic could wreak havoc in the first sector. Vettel had to be aware of that.

          2. “Call me crazy, but I always throught that the ability to lap a slower-moving car was a skill.”

            So, you’re saying that nobody in the grid has this skill, because almost all of them have blamed a back car for slowing his lap.

          3. From what I saw on the replay, there was nowhere Vettel could muscle his way past, and I doubt he’d be that daring considering what could go wrong and what’s on the line.

            Like I said, it wasn’t Vettel’s fault he was held up which led to Hamilton passing him. It seems unfair to criticise him for comments made against the backmarker in those circumstances.

          4. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            19th November 2012, 0:40

            Fact is, there are back markers, they exist and its about time drivers stopped moaning like babies about it. If a back marker ruins your race, tough! Deal with it.

            If the positions were reversed and Vettel had benefited from an inconvenient , I doubt he’d complain about it.

          5. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            19th November 2012, 0:47

            *benefited from an inconvenient back marker

            At least this time Vettel didn’t personally (verbally) attack Karthakeyan like a play ground bully.

          6. Karthikeyan said that they asked Charlie Whiting to tell them how to behave between turn 3 & 7 where it is impossible to give space Charlie told them to hold the line & give space between turn 7 & 8 and that was exactly what he did if he was ignoring blue flags & slowing Vettel deliberately like many intend to explain he would have been given a penalty
            BTW the traffic also helped Vettel to defend from Hamilton by letting him using his DRS

          7. I have to agree with @prisoner-monkeys that it was a bit immature of Vettel, though heat of the moment and all. Thanks for that comment @tifoso1989, very useful information – and it shows that Vettel should have expected to take a different approach to getting past the HRT – HAM saw it, why couldn’t he?

            I can’t help saying by the way that I was saddened (but not unexpectedly so) to see Vettel, and of course Horner mention the HRT several times after the race. In the end I think HAM was just slightly faster and won out.

          8. Karthikeyan shouldn’t be in F1 – it was at least the 6th or 7th time were he interfered. Not to mention the accident with Rosberg, which shows his bad judgement in a race.

        2. So, if a driver complains he is immature? Well, by your standards nobody is mature in Formula 1.

          1. Exactly!

          2. No, I think when Alonso does it (and that’s frequently, btw), he’s being…um, a samurai or something?

      2. @tmcs88: Yes, he did benefit from a back marker and never complained. Remember 2008 Interlagos, when Kubica was a back marker and he benefited by passing Lewis?

    2. @prisoner-monkeys

      I don’t know exaclty what he said over the radio, but he clearly wasn’t impressed with Hamilton’s move on lap 42

      He was complaining about Karthikeyan, not Hamilton.

    3. A furious Vettel came on the radio to complain about Karthikeyan as Hamilton edged away.

      I’m not Vettel’s biggest fan, but he was complaining on the radio about being stuck behind an HRT, which allowed Hamilton the opportunity to pass.

      Furthermore, I don’t think it’s a sign of immaturity to vent on the radio after something like that. Having seen a replay, I’m sure I’d be pretty annoyed at what happened too in the heat of the moment. There are also plenty of instances where “mature” drivers – such as Alonso, Button etc – moan/whine/complain/vent on the radio, not to mention waving fingers/fists in the air.

      He does come across as a bit of a brat sometimes, but so do quite a few drivers from time to time. I don’t think he’s immature; he’s just a racer who always wants to win, which is what makes him one of the best (similar to Alonso & Hamilton, I’d say).

      1. Complaining about backmarkers…what about the russian keeping ALO behingd him making him loose the championship in 2010 for 1 point…that was bad.

        1. Drop Valencia!
          19th November 2012, 8:52

          The Russian wasn’t a backmarker then!

          1. And Alonso was pretty angry at him waving his hands and all that at the end of the race so bringing that up is shooting yourself in the foot big time.

    4. Drivers complaining about backmarkers: EVERY driver, EVERY race.
      Drivers finishing second and applauding the winner while crossing the line: Vettel and…. who?

      But yes, keep telling yourself Vettel is immature.

      1. @mnmracer Agree, though I think the other drivers do applaud the winner in previous races as well :P

      2. @mnmracer I too think people use way too much the word “immature” to describe Seb. He’s not an angel but he’s not as mean as some around here try to portrait.

        However, I don’t think he was applauding Lewis crossing the line, I think that one was for his crew.

    5. artificial racer
      19th November 2012, 2:26

      Lol! You wrote that huge long screed on a completely wrong premise.

      Anyway, how about that Hamilton? Only wins when the mclaren is fast. The mclaren pretty much drove itself today, no skill at all from Hamilton.

      1. Well, I do think that it took some skill to keep so close to Vettel consistently, and pass him when the first real opportunity presented itself, even as his opponent was moving a bit on track, then keep him at bay. Sure, bit faster car, but still, close racing for that long was good racing by both of them.

    6. getting angry or venting is NOT a sign of immaturity. We all get angry, and there are those who never get angry and we call them passive aggressive.

      What is a sign of immaturity is doing something stupid as a result of whatever the circumstance was. Did Vettel duck and weave to prevent Hamilton to get by? Did he make any silly moves to regain the position? Vettel just doesn’t do these things. And example of immaturity is Perez zooming from off the track onto the apex of the corner right in front of another car (Abu Dhabi).

      So it’s not getting stressed or angry or demonstrative, it’s doing something stupid as a result. As I recall, when the “mature” Alonso was Vettel’s age, he threw a fit during qualifying in Hungary and wouldn’t let Hamilton box. That was immature–not that Alonso was angry with Hamilton and the team for what had happened, which he had every right to, but what he did.

      Other signs of immaturity? Some of Maldonado’s moves, especially last year in practice (Spa? Monaco?). And Schumacher has done a few of those as well.

      In terms of maturity, Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton have all done very well this year.

      1. “did vettel duck and weave to prevent hamilton get by?”

        Emmm… Yes.. Moved left to defend then jinked to right just as hamiltons front wheels level with his rears- nearly caused a 300kph accident!

        1. You know I watched that a couple of times, thinking the same thing, that Vettel made a “second move” but actually the track has a kink to the right. If you watch it from the rear camera on Vettel’s car you don’ts see any movement whatsoever (jinking to the right). It was more the timing of when Hamiton caught Vettel and started the overtake, and that Hamilton wasn’t focused on the curve in the track at that point.

    7. @prisoner-monkeys : So you are basing all of this on the heat-of-the-moment team radio from Vettel?

      What do you think of Alonso after Valencia 2010 where he couldn’t let go of Hamilton on his team radio at all. “Keep talking to Charlie, that is the only thing you have to do all race”. Or what he said on radio after Monza this year?

      What do you think of Hamilton who said in Australia 2010 “Fricking terrible idea to put on a 2-stop.” Not to mention the infamous Ali G reference even after the Monaco 2011 race or the “no wonder stewards gave me a penalty. They love me” on team radio.

      What do you think of Button’s team radio at Japan 2011 where he was immediately on the radio after the start saying “that should be a penalty” or his comments about Kobayashi “what an idiot” after Korea this year?

      You cannot dissect a driver’s personality by his comments over team radio. No driver is not childish in that case. The real maturity is seen outside the cockpit and Vettel demonstrated that when he took blame for the Ricciardo incident of Abu Dhabi on the podium and he clarified his outburst today in the press conference.

      1. What do you think of Alonso after Valencia 2010 where he couldn’t let go of Hamilton on his team radio at all. “Keep talking to Charlie, that is the only thing you have to do all race”.

        You can’t compare the two. Here, Vettel was griping about a backmarker holding him up. In Valencia, Alonso was complaining about Hamilton passing the safety car after the white line, and getting such an advantage from it that the penalty given was effectively no penalty at all.

        1. So here are two incidents –
          1) Hamilton gets an advantage due to the slow stewards that day and Alonso moans about it all race on the radio. Conclusion – Alonso is mature.

          2) Hamilton gets an advantage due to a slow backmarker and Vettel moans about it once on the radio. Conclusion – Vettel is immature.

          This is why I insist that team radio is not conclusive proof of a driver’s maturity. Because it is the heat of the moment reaction.
          If you really want to prove that Vettel is immature, you should be raising 2010 Turkey as an example, not the team radio.

          1. I think it’s the way in which Vettel complains, he’s quite a tantrum thrower when things don’t go his way.

    8. Alonso THE Great
      19th November 2012, 14:08

      Perfect prisoner monkeys. You make complete sense

      Vettel sulked completely when ham overtook him. Vettel is simply not good enough

      On other note where a backmarker can go in S1 when the track has no racing line or width

      Vettel should have anticipated back marker and coul have been clever rather than just shouting at karthikeyan. Moreover it has become a practice now for vettel to complain about other drivers when he is not smart enough (In ABu dhabi on Ricciardo)

    9. @prisoner-monkeys Think you might be looking a little too far into it there to be honest. Remember Alonso giving Petrov grief at Abu Dhabi in 2010? Same thing. He’s just venting. I don’t think complaining every now and then, even when you have no reason to, is a sign of immaturity.

  5. Fabulous drive. Considering he lost a place at the start too. If anything this race makes me do the ‘what if’ thing regarding his mechanical failures…but it’s best not to go down that road :P

    1. Well three wins in Catalunya, Singapore and Abu Dhabi and that’s just for starters.

      1. This is why it’s best not to go down that road, as electrolite said. If Hamilton is awarded a win in Spain, then shouldn’t Vettel be awarded a win in Abu Dhabi? I know he didn’t take pole there, but he was the quickest car in the race by quite some margin.

        1. I agree with your post in general – going that way isn’t really useful, but have to protest: it seems that Vettel wasn’t out and out fastest in Abu Dhabi (intelligentf1) – that was Hamilton, then Raikkonen!

        2. sorry, forgot to mention you in my reply above @estesark

  6. Nice to see the best 3 drivers on the grid on the podium together for the first time.

    Also nice to see two equally matched cars battling it out at the front – VET’s car clearly had slightly better one lap pace (the qualifying lap from HAM was incredible, right on the limit), but in race trim there was nothing to choose between them. They were so evenly matched, that in the end it came down to a single opportunity for the chasing driver (albeit aided by a back-marker) to take the victory.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      19th November 2012, 0:05

      Nice to see the best 3 drivers on the grid on the podium together for the first time.

      I’m still amazed that it took this long, especially when you consider how close and competitive the 2010 season was.

  7. Same scenario as Brazil 2008, if Alonso wins the last race, Vettel has to finish 5th. It can’t happen again, can it?

    1. (Except then, of course, it was Massa and Hamilton)

    2. Vettel would have to finish 4th I believe

      1. Right you are. They’d be tied on points that way and Vettel would have the tiebreaker. (So much for Speed’s graphics).

        1. Wow, just when I thought it couldn’t get any more exciting. Surely a repeat of Brazil 2008 is too much to ask, but a similar race would be the perfect way to cap off such a historic and exciting season.

    3. Vettel alternator will fail around lap 25, rain arrives around lap 35 and Alonso will be taken out by an optimistic move from Maldonado around lap 48. Michael Schumacher surprisingly wins the race from Webber and Hamilton completes the podium…

      Vettel shows the world his fave three fingers after being crowned WDC.

      1. . . . you forgot the Plague of Locusts and Sounding of The Last Trumpet.

  8. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    19th November 2012, 0:01

    “The decision has been taken [to break the seal on Massa’s car] to maximise the position for Fernando,” said Ferrari’s head of press Luca Colajanni.

    Seeing as Ferrari are willing to do whatever it takes to help Alonso in is quest for the WDC. Why don’t they just go the whole hog and tell Massa to run Vettel of the track at next weekends GP. If Senna and Schumi got away with it, why can’t Teflonso…why not?

    In fact, if Ferrari want to cover their back, they could get Kobayashi to do it, and as a “reward”, Ferrari could guarantee Sauber sign him for next year.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      19th November 2012, 0:07

      Off the track

      1. I’d expect a lot from Ferrari, but nothing like this. Stefano Domenicali is not Flavio Briatore.

        1. And in addition, that would a) clearly be illegal, and b) I can’t see Massa agreeing to anything like that ever.

  9. Bernie, one for you. Remember the artificial rain idea? no one liked it, ey? You know what’s better? Dust… make all the tracks really really dirty and it’ll work.


  10. I’m amazed Ferrari says team comes first and yet they ruined massa race to get Alonso a couple more points, I hope mclaren passes Ferrari for second in the championship, it will be a good show of karma. Today Ferrari could have scored more points than mclaren.

    1. Ferrari are in a position to possibly win the WDC, I doubt coming second in the WCC means a great deal to such a well funded team. So looking at it that way it was definitely in the best interests of the team to get Alonso the grid position they did.

    2. its no wonder why alonso keeps repeating that they have the Better Team , i’t say the better Alonso-Team.
      Anyway, i think every other team would have done the same supporting his driver fighting for the championship. If thats ok with the rules , then its ok.
      Massa looked very sad when they’d asked him about that before the race and said Ferrari wouldn’t find another driver like him – meaning so condescending.

      1. of course , the only way this wouldn’t be ok is if it was done by RedBull :)

        1. why do people say that @cosmas, did you see how much flak Red Bull usually gets if they do anything even remotely like this (since they claim not to do team orders if it can be helped, rightly, IMO) – see Abu Dhabi for a recent example.

    3. the amazing benefit of getting 2 in the WCC for Ferrari is 0…in fact it will change only the numbers of the cars and the position in the pit lane
      Even without this the best result for Ferrari today was 4 and 5 it would have been Massa 4 and Alonso 5) the retirement of Webber make it 3 and 4…so in the end they got what they deserve…

      1. the amazing benefit of getting 2 in the WCC for Ferrari is 0

        It’s rather more than that. For starters, the higher they finish in the championship the more money they win.

        Though of course we are talking about Ferrari, who get a special bonus payment worth millions merely for showing up (more on that here), and I can’t help but wonder if this is partly why they don’t value the constructors’ championship as highly as their rivals.

      2. Ferrari does not value the constructor championship and what happened today is a prove. I know this not only because im fan of them but also because i know people working there and i can guarantee you that they are not interested on that.
        They don’t have a money or sponsorship problem as they have an unlimited budget. If you compare the millions that ferrari spend for their cars and the price of getting 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the WCC you will make a laugh.
        The WDC gives more and a lot more money than the WCC from their partner, from their sponsor and from publicity. That’s why they are sacrificing everything that Alonso wins the WDC…because this means more money for them

  11. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    19th November 2012, 0:31

    it was definitely in the best interests of the team to get Alonso the grid position they did.

    Surely it’s in the best interests of the team for both drivers to finish as high up the grid as possible.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      19th November 2012, 0:33

      This is supposed to be a reply to @colossal-squid

    2. @tmcs88 Well as a general rule you’re right. But Alonso is in a Championship battle, Massa is not and regardless of how well Massa was driving if he was directly ahead of Alonso on track he would have to move over for him anyway.
      It’s in the best interests of the team in the same way it was in the best interests of Alonso. Giving a Ferrari driver in the hunt for a World Driver’s Championship every little advantage, even to the detriment of his team mate will be in the best interests of Ferrari if it helps the driver and the team win the Championship.

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        19th November 2012, 1:12

        if he was directly ahead of Alonso on track he would have to move over for him anyway.

        Team orders are one thing, but for Ferrari to sabotage Massa’s race before the race even started to help Alonso is ridiculous. Alonso probably would’ve finished third anyway without Ferrari’s distasteful manoeuvre and (from a fans point of view) watching him (Alonso) battle through the field, would’ve made for a much better spectacle.

        The last thing I want to see is teams nullifying one driver to aid another. Imagine if next week both Webber and Massa qualify ahead of their team mates, would it be good for F1 if Red Bull and Ferrari pull a stunt like this and sabotage said drivers to help Vet and Alonso?

        1. @tmcs88 Well your point was that having both drivers further up the grid was better, not the morality or fairness of Ferrari’s actions.
          And their ‘sabotaging’ of Massa’s car was indeed in the best interests of the team. Ferrari exploited a loophole in the regulations to their (and Alonso’s) advantage.
          Ferrari did what they felt was necessary to ensure the best situation in those circumstances for their #1 driver. It’s hard not to see their logic, even if it is plain to see how this was unfair to Massa, or unsporting (itself a nebulous concept).

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            19th November 2012, 2:22

            I would have less of an issue with the situation if they had said up front ”We have taken this action to benefit our No.1 driver”. But they didn’t, they banged on about it being to the benefit of the “TEAM”. Now, the last time I checked, Massa was a part of their team, so how exactly is modifying his car in a manner that results in him receiving a penalty in the interest of the team? It’s in the interest of Alonso, not the team. If Ferrari are going to make F1 look like some kind of silly joke, at least have the guts to be honest and tell it like it is, and not treat us (the fans) like idiots.

            In fact, why don’t they just change their name to “Alonso F1” and be done with it. At least they wouldn’t have to keep reaffirming the false pretence that they actually give a damn about Massa.

          2. @tmcs88 I think I’ve already quite clearly outlined how Ferrari are acting in the best interests of the team as a whole, even if it means sacrificing Massa. Massa is one employee, and the team is focused on winning the World Drivers Championship. I find nothing objectionable about referring to the interests of the team as also being Alonso’s interests. As stated above they are one in the same.
            It seems you have not really understood fully the points I have made.

          3. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            19th November 2012, 3:03

            I understand your point John. I guess we differ on what is acceptable when acting in the interest of the team. I would hate it if other teams started pulling the same stunt, as it would ruin what is a great sport.

            BTW, John is Solid Snakes real name :P

          4. having a driver win the WDC IS in the best interest of the team. Up and down the grid. Not sacrificing one driver’s position to the detriment of the one driver who has a very realistic shot at winning the WDC is NOT in the team’s interest (in that sense, it would be in Massa’s interest, but not the team).

            As it is, with the anticipation that the both drivers would gain a couple positions at the start by being on the clean side of the track, it actually improved their chances (ask Button who went from 12 to 16 on the grid).

          5. @tmcs88 Fair enough, and you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion! I wouldn’t worry about it being used often, come next season I’d be very surprised if the rules hadn’t been severely amended to remove this kind of technical exploitation.
            Hopefully it’s a one off situation!

  12. Early guesses for driver of the weekend:

    Hamilton first, undoubtedly. He did what many had thought impossible: catching and passing (expedited by Karthikeyan) a pole-sitting Vettel.

    Second is Massa. He was the quicker of the two Ferraris all weekend, but his sacrifice for Fernando was a crucial factor in the race. His late-season form once again gives his fans hope for next year.

    Third is far trickier, but I think it will go to Button. Things didn’t work out for him in qualifying, nor did the start, but he steadily worked his way back up with pass after aggressive but clean pass (some even in non-DRS zones, which at least Kimi (and others?) also managed). Vettel and Alonso are close, but Alonso was outshone by his teammate, and Vettel gave ammunition to those who said he’s immature (even though his comments were not what they appeared, it may be hard for people to realize).

    1. hamilton gets DOTW? yes he did drive very well… but he started 3rd and a fast car. I remember Vettel not getting DOTW for getting to the podium from the pitlane…

    2. DOTW – Vettel or Massa.

      Hamilton had a quick car this weekend. Button’s pace and Hamilton’s easy overtake on Webber proved it beyond doubt that Mclaren was the car to be this weekend. I didn’t often vote for Vettel when he had the fastest car. So logically, I can’t vote for Hamilton as he had the fastest car.

      I will give it to Massa just because of the sentiments associated with his sacrifice.

  13. People here lately tend to say that Alonso is the most deserving champion because he is a fighter, but i think different.
    In this race Vettel after he get passed by Hamilton(and before) kept the fight trying to find an opportunity to pass him back pushing as hard as he could not hesitating-thinking that he too could also have an alternator failure as hes teammate had before. He wanted the victory and that extra 7 points coming from that and he took huge risks , mostly for reliability reasons.
    2 weeks ago he started last and manage to finish in the podium just behind his rival for the championship minimizing the loss to 3 points also taking many risks trying to overtake as many as he could.
    Alonso was in that race for the biggest part second behind Raikkonen with a car that was a lot quicker in the straights meaning he should easily overtake him if he could catch him.
    He didn’t catch him because he didn’t want to take any risk loosing the 18 points for second.
    He compromised contrary to what Vettel did tonight and in Abu dhabi.
    Is this the worthy way winning championships ? Staying behind, avoiding the action, hoping your opponent would fail by his own?
    Hamilton did tonight what Alonso should have done. No wonder that Alonso in every opportunity characterizes Hamilton as he’s best opponent, flattering him. From worst enemies that they where back in 2007 looks like they are becoming allies trying to prevent Vettel from dominating.

    1. @cosmas
      Sorry but you are wrong.
      In Abu Dhabi Lotus was faster then Ferrari. Alonso was lucky that in the end the gap was closed because of the safety car. Alonso conserv the tires while battling with button to make the most of them in the end of the race. The safty car erase a 12-13 sec advantage that Rai had over Alo. Ferrari was the 4th car in that race. Being fast in the straight doesn’t mean you have a faster car, it means you have a good engine (the ferrari engine is) but the overall pace of the Ferrari was the 4th best.

      If Alonso had a Red Bull today he would had won the race.

      1. Yes, if Massa let him pass , cause he would also drive a RB. right?
        with “ifs” and “whens” you don’t win anything.
        About the 12-13sec adv….. so Vettel was not the only one benefited from SC?
        The difference is he utilized this benefit in contrast to Alonso.
        If this is the case about top speed , then why both williams(renault engines) toped the speed trap with a weaker engine ?
        How to you now that ferrari didn’t choose to run with less wing=less drag=less downforce for having better chance in overtaking knowing before quallify that they probably would start bellow 6th place ?

        1. I totally agree with you mate . I want vettel 2 win the wdc largely because he & rbr deserves it. Red bull cud have sacrifised webber 2 put alonso back on the dirty side but they didnt. What ferrari did was may b smart for some people but then you could justify flavio briatore for askin som1 to crash to bring in safty car to help alonso.

          1. You are making it sound like.. Alonso’s great performances are due to Massa letting him pass all the time… come on mate….

            Vettel might win the chmapionship …but for me Alonso is the standout driver this season closely followed by hamilton …. People tend to forget that Vettel started to drive well this year only when he had a very good car in his hands… He is a great driver when he has a very good car… but when he does have an average car in his hands… he is nt very impressive….that’s exactly why I feel he is yet to reach the level of Alonso or hamilton…

  14. Great drives by Vettel and especially Hamilton. They simply destroyed the rest of the field.
    It’s really a shame that Hamilton isn’t fighting for the champioship (Mclaren’s fault).
    Excelent race.

  15. Everyone feeling sorry for massa and saying Ferrari are not very sporting

    Nobody seems to mind that red bull been doing it to webber for years even when he was leading the championship in 2010

    Then again massa was given the same treatment when he had to surrender his home grand prix so Raikkonen could win 2007

    He would’ve known what he signed up for after Ferrari already showed this mentality through Schuie and barrichello years where as webber learnt his place whilst leading championship and being shafted by his own team in 2010

    Nothing new there you all know this already

    1. Webber wrecked himself in Korea leading the WDC. RBR didn’t wreck his chances, Webber did!

  16. With or without Karthikeyan, Lewis would have overtaken Vettel if you have followed live timing, it was so obvious. And Hamilton drove a very good race. Alonso gave Lewis a tap on his arm before the podium ceremony like, “Hey thanks for that mate, I appreciate it”.

    1. Numbers show the opposite. If you see the history chart of the race you will notice that when they crossed the line completing the 40th lap the gap was smaller yet Lewis couldn’t make the move , in the next lap although the gap grow but due to karthikeyan he managed the move. So according to this, i don’t thing that this pass was inevitability or to be taken for granted.
      Another indication showing this was not an easy task is looking at the sector times . Vettel’s middle sector (where the drs zone is) was 0.3 s faster , that’s a huge gap.
      As for the tap….. is nice to have somebody else doing the job for you, isn’t it?

    2. Karthikeyan was responsible for Lewis closing the gap in the first place :D

  17. At the end of the day, we really cannot blame Vettel at venting out his anger at the back marker. When you are in the midst of a tight battle, a back marker can really ruin your day although no fault of the back marker as well, after all the back marker is driving his own race.

    Even the best “mature” driver have done that. How many times have we seen Alonso gesticulating at back markers and saying on the radio. Even the great Senna puched Irvine. It’s natural and we must not cook a story out of it to make a meal of Vettel.

    1. Agree, but I think Karthikeyan should use this as constructive criticism too – he interfered at least 6 times this year and his accident with Rosberg shows that he hasn’t the overview during a race.
      The other guys obviously handled it much better and even DiResta sacrificed 5 seconds just to let Lewis and Seb pass.

  18. How was Hamilton’s pit stop? 2.4 sec. The slickest thing I’ve ever seen. Blink and you miss it.

    If they ever award a POTY (Pitstop Of The Year), that’s my nomination.

    1. Yes, that was incredible. If i remember correctly, they did a 2.3 sec earlier this season, i think it was Button that time but i can’t remember where…
      ALO’s pitstop was extremely poor by comparison.

    2. The pitstop – was it in India? – where they also switched HAM’s steering wheel over was pretty amazing too. McLaren definitely win the “most improved pitstops of the year” award, for whatever that’s worth (I guess it validates Sam Michael joining, his detractors not withstanding).

  19. Anyone know who arranged the filming for this race? I thought the shot selection was really brilliant (refreshing to see a good one, as we seem to have average or poor ones really). They focussed on pretty much every car, and seemed like the was an overtake in every shot for the first half of the race at least – I know that’s down to the bad warm up on the tyres, but still credit to the Director for catching them all.

    Canada ’10 was the inspiration for the wearing Pirellis, Austin ’12 could be the inspiration for slow-warming tyres a few years down the line?

    1. I agree, the helicopter shots were amazing. Probably the best shot together with that of Silverstone that follows the cars on the back straight I think. I think the show was diminished due to Pirelli’s bad choice of tyres, but this track has promise. I hope it stays in the calendar for a while.

  20. Bernie Ecclestone presents.
    Austin GP pictures production.
    Sebastian Vettel
    Narain Karthikeyen
    Lewis Hamilton
    guest starring Fernando Alonso
    “Revenge of the Cucumber”
    directed by Charlie Whiting

    1. ΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑΗΑ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I think everyone feels that this race was a success. I certainly got that impression when watching. The track’s not perfect, but I can’t think of a better addition to the calendar in recent years.

    Here is one statistic that I thought was important when trying to consider the success (or otherwise) of the race objectively. Sunday’s race drew a crowd of over 117,000 people. At almost the same time, the NASCAR final in Miami was attended by just 76,000. I know that the track in Austin is a lot bigger and can therefore fit in more people, but still, I think that shows just how fertile American soil is for F1.

  22. William Brierty
    19th November 2012, 11:19

    I am sensing a mood. I think people are saying without Karthikeyan in sector 1, Lewis wouldn’t have won, which is true due to the relatively equal performance of the cars and Lewis’ short 7th gear. However, you can’t detract anything from Hamilton’s performance, and the win was not luck, as the 3rd for Vettel in Abu Dhabi. Hamilton was presented with one opportunity that race, and he decisively took it. That’s not luck, that’s skill.

    1. You are absolutely right, well deserved victory for the reasons you wright… and the same applies for Vettel success in Abu shabi.
      Vettel, in his credit, was the first to acknowledge that, applauding him at the finish line despite his bitterness loosing 7 extra points to Alonso.
      Speculating if this or that had happened don’t prove anything and don’t lead to any conclusion.

    2. Karthikeyan had nothing to do with Lewis closing the 2.6s gap.

      1. the same gap closed earlier too but then it opened again…so the first time the outcome was different.

        1. @cosmas
          If Seb purposefully allowed Lewis to close in on him (a risky strategy to say the least), knowing there’ll be traffic ahead, then we can hardly blame Karthikeyan.

          1. @jason12
            I didn’t say he deliberately did that.Its another thing closing a gap and another thing being able to overtake. Previous laps and timing support this view. Maybe he would did it anyway , maybe if Karthikeyan weren’t there Vettel outbraked a few laps later and loose the lead because of a mistake . A lot of maybe’s.
            The only fact is the timing data , and that data show’s that Vettel was 3/10 faster in Sector 2 , meaning that it was difficult for Hamilton to make the pass in normal conditions even with his >6km top speed advantage. Contrary Ham was faster in S1 , that’s why neither of them could open a safe gap over the other. Each was faster in different sectors but altogether evenly matched over a lap.

  23. Great win for the Hamster! Helped by Narain no doubt but if you watched the interview sky did with him after, he said he could see Karthikeyan was up front and he’d have a chance that lap so he turned the engine up and made sure he was close through sector 1 ready for the DRS. Plus through most of the race in the first sector Lewis was gaining chunks of time through the Esses on Vettel.

    I thought it was brilliant win, all weekend Vettel looked to ahve it in the abg but Hamilton got past Webber and Vettel to win. Great stuff. And I will reiterate what someone said earlier on this article, that’s the kind of win I don’t think Button can produce. I bet Ross Brawn enjoyed it!

    Interesting interview with Ron Dennis from sky too, he said he wasn’t bitter about Lewis leaving…looked like he’d just bitten into a lemon if you ask me though!

    Let’s all prey for rain in Brazil, what a showdown that would be!

    1. Passing two Red Bulls on track to victory.
      That was just phenomenal. Lewis has made a believer out of me (Newey is not unstoppable).

  24. Awesome race. Hamilton and Vettel went 54 quali laps chasing each other. Alonso made the most of Massa’s sacrifice. Massa, Button came flying from the back and the rest pulled some great moves. too bad for Webber though.

    Anyway, that was pure racing and didn’t need crashes, saftey cars or many pit stops to make it interesting.

    1. Agreed…well said!

  25. Alonso THE Great
    19th November 2012, 13:40

    Classic drive lewis. Fantastic effort

    Vettel showed his sulky face again, karthikeyan did nothing wrong

  26. i think we saw the battle of the season between Seb and Lewis, and IMO they are the two fastest drivers in F1, with nothing to choose between them. Seb kept Lewis at bay when he was ahead, and Lewis did the same afterwards. and to see 2 drivers put in a race length of qualifying laps in equally matched cars was amazing. true World Champions and true Greats.
    and please everyone stop judging drivers by radio messages, in the heat of battle you need to vent, and no one can blame you, so move on…
    Seb deserves this WDC as he fought season long for it and earned it.

  27. Great race, I absolutely loved it. Great to see a true battle between Hamilton and Vettel, both are amazing drivers. A bit unfortunate to have Karthikeyan as a factor in Hamilton`s overtake, would have been better if the two had settled the matter without Karthikeyan. But that`s motor racing for you, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don`t.

    That McLaren really is fastnd has been so for most of the season), it almost looked like it was on rails for much of the lap. The Red Bull had to use a lot more track than the McLaren but seemed to have a little bit more grip out of turns. There was really not much between the two cars or drivers. Absolute World Class..

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