Vettel clinches drivers’ championship hat-trick

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has won the Formula One world drivers’ championship for the third year in a row.

Sixth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix was enough for him to secure the title as Fernando Alonso finished second.

Vettel’s success means he takes over from Ayrton Senna as the youngest driver ever to win three world championships, at the age of 25 years and 145 days. He is also the only driver to win his first three championships in consecutive seasons.

Team principal Christian Horner paid tribute to his driver and team: “Sebastian has driven better than ever this season and has fought his way back into this championship; he’s never given up and you saw that in today’s race.

“After being knocked out of position and going to the back of the field with a load of damage, he fought his way back into the race, he never gave up and it was a race of maximum stress today with rain and no rain, then incidents, spins, you name it, it happened – safety cars, radios that didn’t work – but you have to reflect on the season as a whole.

“Over 20 races the team has done an unbelievable job and Sebastian truly deserves this world championship. Having gone up against an incredible opponent in Fernando Alonso, and we have to pay tribute to him and the way he’s driven this year, it has made this championship even more appreciated because of the level of competition we’ve had to compete against.

“So, all I can do is thank every single member of the team for everything that they’ve put in.”

List of Formula One drivers’ champions

1Michael Schumacher7
2Juan Manuel Fangio5
3Alain Prost4
=4Jack Brabham3
=4Jackie Stewart3
=4Niki Lauda3
=4Nelson Piquet3
=4Ayrton Senna3
=4Sebastian Vettel3
=10Alberto Ascari2
=10Jim Clark2
=10Graham Hill2
=10Emerson Fittipaldi2
=10Mika Hakkinen2
=10Fernando Alonso2
=16Giuseppe Farina1
=16Mike Hawthorn1
=16Phil Hill1
=16John Surtees1
=16Denny Hulme1
=16Jochen Rindt1
=16James Hunt1
=16Mario Andretti1
=16Jody Scheckter1
=16Alan Jones1
=16Keke Rosberg1
=16Nigel Mansell1
=16Damon Hill1
=16Jacques Villeneuve1
=16Kimi Raikkonen1
=16Lewis Hamilton1
=16Jenson Button1

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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237 comments on “Vettel clinches drivers’ championship hat-trick”

  1. Boy, that was some race. Both title contenders did a good job, but you can’t say that Vettel wasn’t worthy of the championship today.

    1. @jerseyf1 When I saw him pointing backwards 30 seconds into the race I thought, “well, Alonso’s won the title, then”. No way did I think he’d come back from that.

      1. @keith Same here. I actually posted on facebook that Alonso will win the title. What a charge through the field by Alonso. Vettel made a great come back. I didn’t expect that at all.

      2. @keithcollantine Really? I remember I thinked at Abu Dhabi, where he started last on the grid: “He will finish at least at P8”.
        BTW, if anyone still thinks that he doesn’t deserve the title after last 3 races, there’s nothing Vettel can do to change people’s mind…

        1. @andrei

          I think that sums it up quite nicely.
          Some of these messages on here appear to be coming from a parallel universe.

        2. Pretty much, while I still feel sad that Alonso couldn’t get it, he didn’t have the car to back up his performances and Vettel did.

          Red Bull are the best team bar non and Vettel one of the best drivers out there.

          1. The (3) yellow flag incidents leave a sour taste. not on seb but on the FIA and there inability to act cos its the final round.

            BUT thats not sebs fault. he is a fantastic driver and a legend. Todays result wasnt right. even with the pen at the time he would probably got the position he needed anyway cos he is that good. either way not right.

            congratulations to seb and the team tho, they are a great combo. thumbs down to the FIA

          2. In response to Q85, and @steco, @sparkus88, @alfie, @dantheman, @mads, @david-a and @cyclops_pl below.

            I’ve taken a look at the alleged ‘yellow flag incident’ between Vettel and Kobayashi and it doesn’t seem to me that it was something the stewards should have acted on. I’ve put an explanation in the race report:

            2012 Brazilian GP review: Button wins intense race in Brazil as Vettel recovers to seal third championship

          3. on this occasion you quite incorrect. the least it should of been done was investigated. it was a yellow flag after all. esp as it happened more than once to the same driver in a race.

          4. Vettel overtaking Vergne’s STR under yellow flags…


            now what about that?

        3. yeah. with a car whose steering is no where compared to Red bull’s and Mclaren’s , to produce such a consistent result (Always in top 10) throughout the season is just gr8 driving. hats off alonso.

        4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          26th November 2012, 17:16


      3. I knew he would come back from that. But that he did so in just 7 -8 laps in slippery conditions was mind-boggling. I am sure the race history will show us his pace compared to Alonso’s. Those 8 laps were probably at par with Alonso’s first few laps of Hungary 2006.

      4. Same here… but today Vettel was both lucky, to survive that incident, and good, to get back through the field so fast. As much as I wanted Alonso to win the championship, this was a fitting end to an absolutely fantastic season.

        1. I was amazed he not only survived but still had pace – that damage looked fairly major and given how unreliable those cars can be when they haven’t taken a huge whack I was expecting to see him pull up for several laps afterwords. The accident was followed very quickly by Alonso’s ascension to third place too at which point I thought it was Alonso’s destiny, little did we know there was sooooo much racing still to come!

        2. Yes, i think most people are overlooking the fact that after hitting Senna’s car like that, Vettel gets away with it! Not even damaging his front wing!

          Not so say that Vettel’s drive today was bad, he was phenomenal. But he is incredibly lucky… just look at what happened to Lewis !

          1. completely agree, I feel like this race very well summarised some of the luck that vettel has had along the way to his 3 world championships and also the lack of luck that hamilton has sufferred from… of course I wouldn’t put vettel success entirely down to luck, he has been exceptional, but has been helped along by good fortune…

          2. Why Hulkenberg got penalty for causing accident and Vettel for wrecking Senna didn’t?
            Why Vettel overtook Kobayashi under yellow flags and got no penalty?
            Its all so unfair that some rules doesnt apply to Vettel but they do to others… Results were forged. Alonso should get WDC Vettel just cheated.

          3. @steco – The others above you are only saying Vettel had luck. That is different from your bs claims that Vettel “cheated”, and shows how bitter you are. Chill out dude.

          4. @steco no offense you should take a deep breath and get a good night sleep.

            These false accusations are just ridiculous.

          5. Well I sure did get some nice sleep, got up watched again. I’m not blind Vettel overtook Kobayashi under yellows. Shown so many times on Sky that even blind would see that. And yet, hash hash nobody said anything, no penalty, nothing. Bernie’s favourite won so let just leave it as it is… and that is ridiculous!

          6. I`ve said for the last couple of years that Vettel is the real deal. I had my doubts about him in 2010, but when he was able to come back after Turkey that year I had no other choice than to face the fact he was very very capable. He proved that yet again in 2011, and now in 2012.

            What most people haven`t understood about Vettel is the fact that he is a very determined race driver with the ability and mental strenght to boot. He`s been in contention for 4 WDC`s and won 3 of them. He`s been given a car capable of fighting for the champiobship for 3,5 seasons. That says it all, you can`t do better than what he`s done.
            Furthermore he`s won 2 of his championships in the last race of the season going up against much more experienced drivers, another testimony to his mental ability.

            Vettel is the kind of driver that always comes back at you, he never gives up and can pull something extraordinary out of the hat when he needs to. We saw that yesterday, in Abu Dhabi, SPA , Australia and Monaco this year. Combine this with great work ethic and attention to detail and you have a fearsome competitor. Whereas other drivers might get a bit down when things are tough Vettel just keeps on working through it.

            His team love him, he never blames the team when things go wrong. Alonso on the other hand has behaved quite strange the last couple of months. Listening to him I get the feeling Ferrari is doing everything wrong whereas Alonso (the saviour) can do no wrong. I do not think this approach combined with deMontezemolos way of handling the problem has helped the confidence of the Ferrari designers in the latter part of the season. I would rather think that the atmosphere in the Ferrari team has been one of fear with many team members feeling caught between a rock and a hard place (Alonso and deMontezemolo). That`s not a great recipe for creativity. It might of course have been a part of an attempt to unsettle Vettel and Red Bull, but still I think it might do some damage to the team as an entity.

            I`ve got a feeling there`s even more to come from Vettel in the future. When he has to he`s able to find the speed he needs to get himself back into contention. The other competitors better up their game, otherwise Vettel will continue to dominate for years to come.

            He`s only 25 years old, by far the youngest three-time champion in F1-history, he`s also the youngest of the top drivers of this era. A fightening prospect for his opposition indeed..

          7. I seem to recall hearing that Vettel did not have an agent in his early years of F1. Dont know if thats still the case, but I feel it is another testament to his prowess.

            Just think, He negociates his own contracts, deals with the heat from the team, the sponsors, the media and the public, doesn’t have a paid lacky to blow sunshine up his azz when things go bad, and still has the wherewithal to drive as he does.
            Nothing short of impressive.

          8. Yes, I would also like to know why they at least didn’t investigate the crash with Senna, because he definitely slammed him. McNish offered nice analysis of that incident.

          9. @steco
            What you saw was the slippery track light.
            A yellow blinks rapidly.
            A yellow/red (slippery track) does not. And those on the main straight, where Vettel overtook Kobayashi did NOT blink, therefore it was at NO point a yellow.
            If it had been a yellow then Vettel would have been punished. No doubt about that.

          10. @steco All I have to say that I feel sorry for you. There is a saying that “One can wake up a person who is sleeping but a person who is pretending to be sleeping can never be woken up”

            Do you think Ferrari and Montzemello would keep quite if it was really a yellow flag? @keithcollantine have also clarified so many times this fact about yellow.

  2. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    25th November 2012, 17:50

    Don’t stop believing… :-)

  3. Well, I must say I’m disappointed. They were the best driver-team combination, but don’t tell me he was the best driver this season, that he is ” the best driver” of the world. Every time he had to work for it, when he didn’t have a clear situation, he managed to mess it up, and even then he was granted a second chance because car was so dominant.
    It’s a team sport and Red Bull – Vettel were definitely better then combination then Ferrari – Alonso, but there’s no doubt Alonso was much better driver, followed closely by Lewis. Those two really did some magic this year, Vettel definitely not.

    1. I am very saddened too.
      But the only thing one can and should say is: F1 is a team sports, so congratulations to red bull and vettel.

      Sometimes the best driver doesn’t win, that’s motorsport.

      1. They were the best driver-team combination, but don’t tell me he was the best driver this season, that he is ” the best driver” of the world.

        Same feeling for me. ;(
        Red Bull – Vettel were the best combination, but IMO Alonso was the best driver overall.

        1. Agreed that Alonso was the slightly better driver.
          But I thought Vettel was flawless today, besides his bad start. He was unlucky quite a few times and drove a very brave race.
          Alonso was lucky, and has been lucky to have Massa back in form. But in the last half dozen races, I would say that Massa was slightly better than Alonso.

          1. Haha, how was he flawless when he managed to botch his start and then cause collision with Senna?

          2. @brace – “Flawless” was the wrong word maybe from @magon4 (a word more appropriate for his 4 race streak of wins in a season where no-one else even won 2 races in a row), but that collision with Senna wasn’t caused entirely by Vettel. Senna also made an ill-judged lunge up the inside. Vettel needed an amazing recovery drive again, under massive pressure, to clinch the title.

          3. I can’t agree with the last half-dozen races. Massa was quicker only at a specific stage in Korea, and maybe faster on the last two races. That’s a quarter of a dozen. You cannot count Suzuka where Alonso retired at Turn 1. In both Abu Dhabi and India Alonso was the better driver. You might argue that he had the major upgrades, but I think it is clear as day that Ferrari’s upgrades since the Magny-Cours Young Drivers’ Test haven’t worked.

          4. vettel UNlucky? he was the luckiest driver out there!

          5. but that collision with Senna wasn’t caused entirely by Vettel.

            Senna got inside line, you cant just cut accross like vettel did. To any other driver thats a drive throu penalty, but not for Vettel…

          6. @steco – To any other driver it’s a racing incident. Senna was trying to outbrake 3 people just to get inside of Vettel. How was that ever going to work?

        2. Alonso did a great job, no doubt about that, but @brace ‘s idea that Alonso and Hamilton did “magic”, but Vettel definitely didn’t, is total rubbish.

          Vettel has had to fight hard for a lot of results this year, including today (with a broken floor, thanks to Senna, and a malfunctioning radio), as well as Abu Dhabi, Australia and Belgium. No car was dominant in terms of speed and reliability this season, as Brace is trying to insinuate. The likes of Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton all stood out from the rest, and Vettel has proven himself many times over to be a worthy 3x champion.

          1. I don’t know what were you watching between Singapore and Abu Dhabi if you think noone had a dominant car. And that’s where Vettel won the title. (and also in Spa where Alonso was punted out by Grosjean).

          2. @brace – By that poor logic, we could look at Hungary-Singapore and say Mclaren had a dominant car throughout 2012. Red Bull were not dominant throughout the season. The likes of Ferrari, Lotus and Mclaren had competitive cars this season as well.

          3. Vettel has had to fight hard for a lot of results this year, including today (with a broken floor, thanks to Senna

            Er that was sebs fault not senna’s. He drove well he deserves the title but still think alonso has been driver of the season.

          4. @3dom – Well, Senna did dive into a bit of a closing wedge there, so I shall disagree.

          5. @david-a we could see in replays that vettel went wide in the corner then came back onto the racing line, a racing line that was occupied by senna. Brundle, Herbert and mcnish feel that vettel was at fault as would many others. If you go wide at a corner then come back onto the racing line at the start of a race when there are so many drivers you have to use mirrors and leave space. This is one area where, apart from Suzuka, alonso has been superior. But i only disagree with you on this one point, that doesn’t change my opinion that seb has driven well this season and with Lewis, fernando and Kimi has really stood out

          6. it was seb who damaged his car and got away with it nicely while bruno’s race ended.

        3. +1.
          Clearly the “Team” side of the equation let Alonso’s challenge down. Let’s see if Ferrari pull the finger out and shake some things. As Alonso himself said, they were “out of ideas” over the last few races. I struggle to understand how this is possible, considering the resources Ferrari have. Post Monza, Ferrari have shown no ability to be competitive – quali & race.

    2. I agree. Slamming into Senna both in Abu Dhabi and today… He was very lucky – indeed, today, unbelieveably lucky – that his car remained largely intact.

      I mean Abu Dhabi maybe not, but missing Senna in his mirrors today, was a childish error. It was not punished.

      Also, Raikkonen juust pulled out of track to avoid him a second before.

      Make no mistake, I don’t want to take anything away from his championship winning season, he did a great great job – I just simply think that someone else, only as a driver, did a better job, but still fell short by 3 points as a car-driver package.

      That’s my opinion.

      1. From a race report

        Bruno Senna was more contrite about his first lap accident in the BBC forum than he was during the race. Coming down the straight to Lake Descent he was behind Raikkonen, and Di Resta with Vettel two places in front. He made a move on Raikkonen, tried to get DiResta and thumped into Vettel. It wasn’t an overtaking move it was a total misjudgement. As Bruno confessed afterwards: “When I saw it was Sebastian I thought – uhoh, that’s a bad one.”

      2. @atticus-2
        I don’t think you can call it a mistake to miss someone in the mirrors.
        The mirrors gives you a view of what is behind, not what is besides you. And by the time Vettel was in front of Senna in the braking zone there was a Force India right in the way which would have obscured Senna’s car almost completely.
        By the time he turns in Senna’s car is along side him and he would likely have no way of seeing him there, no matter how long he would stare in the mirrors, as they might not even have shown, even a glimpse of the Williams.
        The mistake, that he really made, was to assume that there was no one there.
        Its the start, he is on the outside, so to try to drive all the way to the apex was obviously a little too optimistic considering what was at stake.
        But that doesn’t mean that its all his fault. Senna’s lunge up the inside was also very optimistic considering how far back he came from, and the fact that he would have known that they would be three side by side going into that corner.
        In my opinion, it was simply a racing incident. Vettel could have been more cautious, but Senna could equally have been so. Two slight misjudgements, by two drivers in close proximity to each other will go wrong. And it did. In my opinion it was simply just a racing incident.

        1. @mads I’m inclined to agree with this, you assessed it well, I think.

    3. It is “F1 World Drivers’ Champion” title, not “F1 Best Driver” title. Actually I think that Lewis was the best driver this season, followed closely by Alonso and then Vettel. But Vettel is the champion and he earned it. He didn’t do “magic”, but he was definitely working hard for this trophy.

        1. Winners are grinners & losers cry foul. Congratulations Sebastian, #1 driver 2012.

  4. Great driving by Vettel a worthy champion, glad Michael let him through and yippee, he scored in his last race too. None of this takes away the fact that Jenson drove a great race, as did Alonso and Massa ended the season completely rehabilitated. I hope they drop the interview on the podium rubbish next year.

  5. grumble grumble yellow flags grumble

    *leaves armchair*

    1. @alfie If you’re referring to Vettel’s pass on Kobayashi, apparently the marshals were showing red-and-yellow ‘slippery track’ flags, not yellow flags, so Vettel’s move on Kobayashi was legitimate.

      1. Oh okay. I was also going to say, It looked like Kobayashi might have been let through.

      2. they were showing red and yellow flags to start with but when he made the pass it was a yellow flag. Also some else got a drive thru for an causing an accident later in the race, so why didn’t vettel for taking senna out of the race?

      3. Yellow zone (yelllow light flasing) started when he was slightly behind koba. SKY have incar pictures from Vettels car.

        1. @dantheman
          Nope. You see, that was a yellow/red light.
          If you look at the video you can see that they go through a Yellow zone, then in the last corner there is a green light. That means go. Then up the straight they meet constant yellow/red lights. What McNish misunderstood was that a yellow light flashes. The yellow/red (slippery surface) does not, and is a fair bit more orange then the ones that were shown in the last part of sector 2.
          Those lights simply means, be cautious. Overtaking is still allowed. Its under yellows that its not. And those flashes bright yellow.

      4. Stephen Northcott
        25th November 2012, 19:30

        In actual fact there were yellow flags.
        The Oil flag is full circuit and relates to anything slippy.
        Vettel started his move in a green area after yellow flags, and then completed it as he entered yellow again.
        Then Kamui pitted, meaning he could not give the place back – should he or the team have decided that was the wise thing to do.
        In the end the whole thing became moot.
        But Vettel was passing at at least some point under yellow flags.

        1. But button a couple a years ago overtook massa off track in australia then massa pitted and because button couldn’t give the place back he got a drive through. So why not the same for vettel?

          1. Australia 2011? Button illegally passed Massa (no question), and Alonso passed Massa as well. Ferrari pitted Alonso first, leaving Button ahead of Massa for a lap or two, but Button still refused to conceded the position. Then Massa pitted.

            Looking at it on Sky, in this scenario, it’s not even clear what happened. Oil flags were shown, then a green flag, (where Vettel got alongside Kobayashi) followed by another yellow, for whatever reason. More a stewarding fail than anything else.

        2. No he was not. Those lights were NOT blinking. That means that they are yellow/red. Which means overtaking is still legal. Yellow lights blinks, yellow/red does not.

          1. Stephen Northcott
            25th November 2012, 20:53

            The one he completed the pass under certainly was blinking.

          2. The one he completed the pass under certainly was blinking.

            The above link will show you that Vettel passed an HRT under flashing yellows, not static red-and-yellows.

          3. @chicanef1 You must have posted the wrong link, the one above shows Vettel passing an HRT some time before a flashing yellow – there is no evidence in that video to suggest he was in a yellow flag zone at the time.

          4. @chicanef1
            That was certainly a yellow, but that doesn’t mean that the Yellow zone would extend backwards into the S curves.
            Secondly, the HRT jumps out of the way and simply opens the door and slows right down. Vettel didn’t overtake him, he was obviously let through. That isn’t illegal under yellows as far as I know.

          5. @jerseyf1 Oho, so you need to be passing a guy only when the middle of the car is in the same line as the axis of the pole on which the flashing lights are being displayed, for the pass to be illegal.

          6. @chicanef1 I don’t know how they define it exactly, but clearly a line can’t be defined as a point at which you can see a flag/light as that is far too subjective. But certainly it would make no sense for the yellow flag zone to start before the flag/light as there are often short yellow flag zones on straights where you can see both the yellow and green flag at the same time up ahead. You will also see that the drivers have a dashboard light which corresponds with the yellow flag zone and it lights up as they pass the first flag/light.

          7. I have to bow to Keith’s superior knowledge – the forum article explains where the ‘line’ is:

      5. @keithcollantine

        Regarding the VET-KOB overtake under the yellow/orange (?) flag, and show, that indeed Seb overtook under the yellow. Indicators on the TV screen also showed yellow. Since Ferrari is not making a fuss (noted what Pat Fry said) and stewards did not investigate I wonder whether I’m missing something from the rules or my eyes deceive me.

        1. ferrari should of complained during race as it was clear cut. They wont after to save their dignity. they will happily sacrifice massa dignity for the title. but not their own.

          fia will say its red yellow to protect the show. it would of made the end look a joke(that it was)

        2. @cyclops_pl

          I’m missing something from the rules or my eyes deceive me

          Quite funny from Cyclops …

          To respond to you, what mislead most of us is the difference between yellow flag and red/yellow flag, they are different while shown by a marshall but when light up they both are shown yellow except that the one corresponding to yellow flag is actually blinking while the one for red/yellow is just a yellow light (not blinking).
          Now with the rain, maybe some people saw what they wanted to see a slightly blinking light but apparently it was not …

      6. clearly yellow. Just look at it. and the fact their was a green before it proves it. if it was rain flag then it would be all over.

        its yellow. not sebs fault. its FIA fault.

        1. The mess with all those diffrent lights and flags following each other in those couple of corners shows mistakes where made by either the system or the marshals but that is not the main issue here. Sebastian has to obay the rules for the matter of safety. A yellow is a yellow, that means no overtaking and that is what he did here. He is a worthy champion but the inconsistency with the stewards is a disgrace for the sport. They should learn from this and clarify these rules further more to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again

          1. COTD there. no one can say what force said is wrong in anyway.

            its not a pop at seb great driver and champion, but the whole race was soured for people that believe in the rules.

          2. A yellow is a yellow, that means no overtaking and that is what he did here

            It would appear that what force said here is wrong

      7. I just looked at the video closely and the light was not blinking, distortion caused by a water drop on the camera lens mad it seem to change position which seemed a little like a blink.

      8. Also not getting a driver-through for a first lap pile-up left me a bit miffed. Hulk got a penalty for losing control of a car and hitting one other car, while Vettel came away with no punishment for taking out two cars because he simply didn’t pay attention.
        It just sucks.

        And yes, I’m ****** off! :) But I’m ****** off because of Spa. That’s where Alonso lost the title. I just knew that it’s gonna start to unravel when I saw that.

        But that’s what also shows why Alonso is the best driver of the year. The fact that being on the absolute edge every lap, whole season, with one faithful non-score meant a difference of winning the title or not. The only way he was gonna win the title was if he was on it, 100% every lap of every race.

        And yet he did.
        He did it with so much soulful force, that it made him a legend in my eyes.

        Vettel was able to afford bunch of screw-ups and still win it, while the fact that Alonso was in it till the last race, means that he drove on the absolute edge, flawlessly, the whole year, since that was the only way for him to have a chance at a title at all.

        This year made Vettel a triple champion, but it also made Alonso into a legend.

        1. This year made Vettel a triple champion, but it also made Alonso into a legend.

          I will(sniff..) remember this line for years to come.

        2. @brace
          What was Vettel’s fault at valencia when his alternator failed?
          Similarly at Spa, Alonso wasnt at fault. So dont think alonso lost his title at Spa :)

          Vettel lost 25 points at Valencia which was bagged by Alonso. But in Spa Alonso could have been 2nd at the very best and as a result vettel 3rd. SO vettel lost more points than alonso did.

          1. Alternator failure is team’s problem. DNF caused by a technical problem. Alo’s DNF was caused by a 3rd driver. Quite a difference there

          2. And Vettel bagged 25 points when Hamilton’s gearbox failed, forgot about that didn’t you?

          3. @ssvracing – If we’re talking about Vettel vs Alonso, Vettel bagged 7 points from Hamilton’s failure, with Alonso gaining 3 as well. Vettel gained 4 points over Alonso.

            In Valencia, Vettel lost 25, with Alonso gaining 7. Alonso gained 32 points over Vettel.

          4. @david-a – Ok so Vettel gained 18 in Spa when both Lewis and Fernando crashed out. Lewis might’ve been off the pace that weekend, but Felipe’s pace showed Fernando had the car to finish 2nd, and he started well ahead of Vettel as well. Vettel won Japan, a race where Massa finished second, which no doubt would’ve become Alonso’s even if he’d been outpaced and running third. So 18 points lost there as well.

          5. @ssvracing – Vettel did still beat Kimi at Spa, who started 3rd. We will never know what could have happened. Massa had good pace then, but finished only 5th.

            I do not see how Alonso lost more points at Spa and Japan, than Vettel lost through Malaysia, Valencia, Italy, and Abu Dhabi (had he started 3rd), or how he lsot more points than Hamilton either.

          6. @ssvracing

            You talking about LH’s gearbox failture at singapore and how SV bagged those 25 points from him. Are you not forgetting about the points which FA bagged due to misfortunes of others through out the season? Quite short memory you have got.

          7. @mjf1fan

            And are you suggesting Vettel didn’t? If so you’re the one with the short memory. I agree Fernando probably gained more points than Seb from the misfortunes of others, but he also had a consistently slower car than Seb throughout the year. Just as the alternator failure wasn’t Seb’s fault, similarly, having a slower car wasn’t Alonso’s fault too. A slower car loses the driver just as many points as an unreliable one.

        3. You an’t say Grosjean lost Alonso the title; for all you know, Alonso could have finished P11 or crashed out anyway.

          1. So true, especially as Alonso finished on the podium in Italy and Vettel retired. I believe when they went to Singapore Alonso had a 39 pt lead (where he only had a 24 point lead after Spa).

            You could say Alonso cost himself the championship by trying to push Kimi off the track (or force him to back out) in Suzuka. Kimi had the line and every right to be there and wasn’t going to be intimidated by Alonso. (Alonso basically did to Kimi what Grojean did to Hamilton, and fortunately they were on the outside going into the corner rather than the inside)

      9. @keithcollantine

        the simplest verification of that fact that Vettel didn’t pass Kobayashi under yellow flag condition comes from the onboard shot from Vettel’s car. Just look at his dashboard. All the drivers have little lights that come up yellow when in a yellow flag zone. They then go off when they are out of it. From T10 the yellow lights came on and are clearly seen on his dash. Going around T11 they are were back under green lights and the lights on his dash goes off. And stays off as he passes Kobayashi.

        I have to say, I love Sky’s coverage, but all during the race and the post race show and even Alan McNish in the Sky pad were all so focused on this “blunder” that they didn’t even bother to check Vettel’s dash–and we’re talking some very very good drivers. Sky Fail LOL.

        1. I have to say it was an awkward situation caused by the complexity of the signalling rules, I wouldn’t have known that when the yellow light was unblinking it meant a yellow/red flag and I tend to have a good grasp of the rules.

          I suppose you could argue that McNish ought to have known the subtle difference but is it the same in all motorsport categories and since his time in F1?

        2. I’d agree part of it was the heat of the moment, but it was the tenacity at which they stuck to it. Ted Kravitz asked Pat Fry specifically about it and Fry said it was yellow and red. Even then Herbert and Hill continued on, even knowing what to look for. Surprised also by McNish. (I bet Anthony Davidson would have gotten it correct :)

          The one thing McNish should know is that all these cars, and I imagine LeMan prototypes as well, have in board dash yellow lights that our clearly visible. They also flash, for waved yellows I think – look at in car footage when they pass DiResta’s car. That’s how I picked up on them in the first place, under that last safety car and on Alonso’s in-car shot (I think it was Alonso’s). They flashed passing DiResta then went solid again. Those lights are pretty obvious once you know what to look for (and the weather makes them much easier to see).

          It finally took Brundle to come down and save face by saying that the FIA had clarified it, and passing off the gaffe to the water spots on the camera lol. I still really like the Sky team and I think they did a fantastic job the entire year.

  6. Feel bad for Alonso, like Massa in ’08 everything outside of his control went against him. Perhaps he was the better driver this year, perhaps. But then he has less points, and they say that the table doesnt lie.

    That said, Vettel must have more luck then an Irishman in a bath full of horse-shoes. Any other day that 1st lap incident would have totalled the car (and it was Vettels fault) but you make your own luck and today was Sebs day.

    1. Luck? Alonso HAD all the luck he needed in this race, and yet he could not win. What luck for Vettel are you talking about? Being in an accident at start? Pitted 4 times? Rain?

      1. Lucky that 9 times out of 10 you’d retire in an incident like that. Both alonso and vettel have proven they take maximum advantage of any luck that comes their way and that’s what makes them both great and why we had such a great final race showdown. I hope we’re lucky enough to see more of the same again in the future

    2. Alonso was lucky lucky lucky. He had a pretty bad weekend, overall… to finish 2nd was a long shot given what he actually did.

      1. This. People forget good things fast.

    3. Vettel was lucky to survive the accident, Alonso wasn’t short of luck today:

      His team and all of their supporters had prayed for rain, and they got exactly that.
      His championship rival being involved in a first lap collision, suffering damage and having to make his way through the field.
      The front two runners collided giving him the podium place he needed to have any title aspirations and then finding his team-mate running ahead of him in second allowing him to gain another position.
      His title rival then screwed up on strategy by pitting for new slicks just before the rain started coming down heavily (not sure about this one, perhaps Vettel’s tyres were wrecked in which case they may have had no choice?).

      I’m sure there were other elements of luck in Vettel’s favour too but the point is that Alonso can’t claim bad luck, the odds were heavily stacked against him today and even with luck on his side it just wasn’t enough.

    4. everything outside his control went against him? Except for Hulkenberg and Hamilton collision. That doesn’t happen and Alonso finishes 4th and still no WDC.

  7. Congratulations to him. This race probably was a great highlight of what he’s really capable of. To end up 22nd, with a title in hand, and recover to 7th place in 7 laps was impressive.

    But I still feel very sad about Alonso. His first 2 laps today were something out of this world, and he’s been doing this all season long in a car that was never an straight dominant force. He drove his soul out of this car, and is my personal number one of the season, with ease.

    1. Not actually that impressive when he is “on a race horse” and the others back in the pack are “on donkeys” (and lazy ones)… specially in such wacky conditions.

      Indeed, Ferrari lost this championship themselves big time. Alonso made miracles with that car in most of the races and during all year he expected key technical improvements that never arrived. Plus, when Massa should just make it a lot harder for others to pass him and help Ferrari perspectives/results ahead, he just rolled the red carpet all the time. Sure, he gave some race places to his fellow when was needed, and made a great race today, but still, when you compare his performance along the year with other “second drivers” from other teams, he his certainly the weakest.
      But not that would help much anyway, Ferrari has 100% focus on F1 and a gigantic budget/resources, how come they can’t even slightly improve the car during the year to give them a little edge to at least keep up with the rest?
      It’s beyond comprehension. They even had a lot of luck (including this race), due others having problems and crashes, and still wasn’t enough.

      Hope Luca Montezemolo at this time will be demanding explanations and taking measures. He should be grateful for having Alonso, the man always showed unity around the team for the outside/media and never gave up until the end. Luca owes him a championship.

      1. I think you are being too overtly hard on Massa. He defended from the Red Bulls, even passed Webber and gingerly tiptoed to lap 71 on slicks.

        1. Yes, like I said, he really made a good job in this race (and not only for the team). But not much along the year when it was certain that Alonso was the only one in a position for the championship and he could use some stalling by Massa, to compensate for the lack of car’s performance. When you have a fast second driver like Webber that is at the top with you, then it’s a bit different. But when you have a slower one, at least you can expect him to defend a lot better against your main rivals when they’re chasing him.
          Still, the main problem was Ferrari’s performance and lack of evolution. Alonso is one of the top fastest guys on F1, he shouldn’t be fighting for a championship relying on a considerable amount of second driver’s charity.

      2. Not actually that impressive when he is “on a race horse” and the others back in the pack are “on donkeys” (and lazy ones)… specially in such wacky conditions.

        It was impressive. The others are in the pack because they are “donkeys”, in comparison to the “horses”, “lions”, “bulls” or other tough animals that are Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen, and back in the day, Michael Schumacher.

      3. @MAXLD – you’re way to harsh on Massa – in the second half of the season he recovered and generated sometimes better results than Alonso and in any other team he’d been given the chance to compete but he was only allowed to when Alonso dropped out of the race.

        In the first half he suffered from the same problem as Vettel did in the first few races – the Ferrari had/has a design flaw on the rear (possibly due to weight distribution); forcing them to run stiffer suspensions. Massa usually hits the appex in a flatter angle and is therefore faster on the throttle. But this year’s car produced too much oversteer and less traction and he couldn’t run a softer rear to compensate and Ferrari gave him little support as everything was focused on Alonso.

  8. Why has this all been confirmed before scrutineering? Surely VET’s car could still fail?

    1. @alexf1man
      So could Alonso’s, or Button’s, or any other driver for that matter.
      The damage isn’t going to make any difference in that respect, as the stewards does accept illegalities in the dimensions and so on, if its caused by damage.

  9. Adrian Newey is truly amazing. How many championships for him now?

    1. @patrickl 9 drivers championships and 9 constructors championships. I’ll ignore the fact that that was probably a mild hate comment towards Vettel.

  10. Congratulations to Vettel.

    I’m feeling absolutely gutted for Alonso as I feel him and Raikkonen were undisputably the best drivers out there this season with Vettel bagging a close third on that list. But once again, in Formula 1 being the best driver in the field is not nearly enough when you simply don’t have enough car to support you. Newey and the team provided more than Vettel needed to seal the deal and that’s that.

    Without taking anything from Vettel (his most deserved title so far, after all) I have to say, Alonso still proved himself as the greater driver of them all, this season. And there’s no statistic that can change my opinion.

  11. Congratulations to seb. Disappointed for alonso. Ferrari seem to have stuck with parts from their wind tunnel a little too long, they started to gain some performance when using the Toyota wind tunnel. I still feel that due to alonso’s performance he deserved to be triple world champ before seb more from his age and experience, only because we’ve not seen seb have to go back to a team that’s really struggling (that’s not to disregard the struggles he had at the start if the season, but it was the best by the end). And although I feel seb is one extremely lucky guy in terms on things going his way, I can’t disregard how much of a class driver he is. Fernando has been incredible in a car that’s not been outright fastest. Both seb and fernando would be worthy 3 time world champs but someone’s gotta win and rb-vettel were were better then Ferrari-alonso. Well done both

  12. Fantastic season. Champion’s drives from Vettel and Alonso. Hard luck for Hamilton.

    Hulkenberg put in a good drive, but 2 errors cost him a first win.

    Massa looks to be back.

    Kimi gave us some comic relief in the midst of all the tension.

    But most of all, congratulations to the newest triple world champion, Sebastian Vettel!

  13. What an unbelievable race! Congratulations to Vettel, congratulations to Petrov, commiserations to Alonso, dissapointed for Hulkenberg and farewell Schumacher!

  14. great result and a great end to the championship… the best driver won the championship today. Sad to see Michael go. Did anyone figure out where was the iceman decided to go half way through the race :-P

    1. @icemargins – It looked like he got lost! I found it quite hilarious!

    2. He ran wide at turn 12 and tried to get back onto the circuit quickly by going behind the barriers, where there was a road that led onto the circuit again. Shame for Kimi, it was blocked by a fence. So the Finn had to turn around. Great moment, very funny

  15. Congratulations to Vettel! I just wish him a Ferrari for next year :P

  16. Just a thought, good on Michael Schumacher – 7 times world champion and he’s never driven an Adrian Newey designed car! Was a little sad for Alonso, drove a great race, but Vettel was terrific and so, despite the Beeb wittering on, was the race winner, the new rain master, Jenson Button!

    1. yes …… much hype around adrian newey…….as if there are no other good engineers around!!!

    2. Just a thought, good on Michael Schumacher – 7 times world champion and he’s never driven an Adrian Newey designed car!

      The 7 cars in which he won the world championship were designed by the ANTI_Adrian Newey=>Rory Byrne

    3. Schumacher drove a Rory Byrne-designed car. That’s not noticeably different to a Newey one, especially in the unlimited testing unlimited budget era which minimises the impact a single designer can have.

      1. In those days a designer like Rory Byrne with his method of constant refinements instead of revolutions probably had an advantage though.

        Ferrari also had the extra millions coming from the FIA between 1997 and 2007 and the veto on the regulation changes.

  17. Alberto Ascari is missing from this list. But many thanks for your otherwise superb coverage of F1. Your articles have long become part of my daily diet. Thank you.

  18. Well, from the bottom of my heart, all I can say is congratulations. It was a terrific race. Had me at the edge of my seat. SV drove a great race… I have to give him that. Alonso once again demonstrated that he is without a doubt the best in my book. I could not have asked for anything more BUT, there is one thing that I am truly annoyed at… take a look! Anyways… congratulations RBR, Adrian Newey, Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel! Job well done. FORZA FERRARI, next year is going to be a whole new ballgame!

  19. lucky, lucky, lucky boy… alonso and lewis drove better this year, I really thought there was going to be some poetic justice for nando today, but no.

    1. @SW280 Vettel was so lucky today. I’ll bet he was just praying for rain, dreaming of a first lap crash and hoping that Alonso would be gifted three places to put him on the podium. And how much more lucky can you get than to pit for slicks just before heavy rain starts falling – it’s like they had a crystal ball.

      Vettel only had one break today and that was that his collision wasn’t race ending, that aside it was almost as bad luck as could possibly be imagined.

      1. yellow flags, twice on koby and then on a HRT.

        You cant claim he was unlucky.

      2. @jerseyf1 ,You said it all. I totaly agree with you.
        Alonso had all the luck that someone could have today and people moaning because Vettel didn’t abandon the race after the accident. They even think he should have a penalty for passing kobayashi…. come on people Vettel drove today and in Abu dhabi the best races of the year and people still arguing that Alonso is unlucky…. WHO? Alonso ? His is the luckiest driver ever..who did Alonso overtook except his team mate today?

        1. you clearly missed him passing webber then didnt u!! as well as others. seb drove great. was painfully lucky with the yellow flags.

          i wouldnt say lap one was luck. they built a strong car. so thats not luck and it was quick thinking from him to not panic. great driving.

          but you cant have a pop at alonso today. he did well.

          as did massa. staying on track with slicks in wet conditions was awesome!

          1. Felipe Massa looked like was reborn in the last few races! It’s great to see him getting back to his best (long overdue).

  20. Does anyone else feel Vettel caused that first lap collision with Senna? He just closed the door on Senna and ended his race, possibly career. Feel that should have been investigated. Thanks Schumacher for showing us your disgusting streak by letting a German aside without any defense then using your usual guile to the non-Germans that followed

    1. On the flipside, Senna made an opportunistic move on Vettel, causing the contact.

      1. Umm,how do i put this…no. SV did have a brilliant comeback drive,but to suggest that his driving didnt precipitate the 1st lap incident is plainly ridiculous. He’s been lucky,but did manage to make the most out of his luck. All champions do so…

        1. @chicanef1 – To believe it was 100% Vettel’s fault is also ridiculous. Okay, Vettel wasn’t blameless. It was a 2-into-1 scenario, and contact was made. But not worth a penalty as the poster above may have been insinuating.

          I agree on the comeback drive, and on maximising luck, being an asset of most champions.

        2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
          26th November 2012, 2:02

          Haven’t been able to get any decent footage of the crash, but from what I remember (I may be wrong):
          – Senna tries down the inside of Vettel through Reta Oposta
          – Vettel’s car is still slightly ahead of Senna’s car as both drivers turn into Turn 4
          – Senna sticks to the inside line, believing that there is sufficient room to pass Vettel.
          – Vettel simultaneously closes the inside line, leaving some space, but not enough for Senna to pass through.
          – They make contact.

          In my opinion, it’s a simple racing incident. 60% Vettel’s fault for not leaving sufficient room on the inside for Senna, and to a certain extent, turning into the Williams driver. 40% Senna’s fault for trying an overly optimistic move, especially having seen that Vettel was going to try for the apex.

    2. That was unnecessary from Shumacher, Vettel was faster than him anyway he was going to have him on the straight but instead he let him pass and then when Kobayashi was trying to overtake him he blocked him very aggressively

    3. Schumacher was some +1 seconds a lap slower then Vettel at that point, surely he could have defended the position a lot harder, but what was he actually going to gain from it? That position was lost by the time Vettel caught him. Blocking Vettel would simply slow them both down and risk an accident, but Schumacher was still always going to loose that position. Defending would have gained him exactly nothing. Giving up the position at least minimized the risk of loosing it all on the floor.

      1. Note that kobayashi wasn’t far off Vettel pace and Schumacher blocked him strongly. The rb didn’t have great straight line speed and Vettel in the title battle would be cautious? I just think it was a bit classless. Webber would have dropped down anyway to give Vettel the place… so why even do it?

    4. Senna was 3 places behind Vettel till the 4th corner. He tried to overtake 3 cars in one corner , how realistic could that move be? Even his great uncle wouldn’t manage that.
      He should at least be more careful not to ruin someones chances for the title… you think it would be fair for Vettel taking a penalty at that stage of the race? It would be like handing the title to Alonso. Even IF it was Vettels fault he was dead last after the incident , wasn’t that enough punishment ?

    5. His career? First lap incident, nothing else to say.

  21. Bruno Senna please go watch the images of the onboard cam…

  22. First of all Congratulations to the new Triple world Champion Sebastian Vettel who deserves 100% his third title after all the WDC is won by the driver who has more points,Congratulations to Fernando Alonso on his absolute fantastic spirit of a racer that made us wait until the final round to know who will become world champion ,due to the gap of 3 points many will accuse Grosjean of preventing Alonso the best driver on the grid from being a WDC which is true but it’s not the main reason of losing the championship
    This championship was lost in the last winter where the engineers in Maranello created an F2012 which was aerodynamically deficient a complex equation that they started to resolve only in the test of Mugello, and now they are assuming their aero choices+the misfunctioning of their wind tunnel
    It is very frustrating for all the tifosi to see Fernando losing the WDC in what i consider his best ever season in F1 in which he fought for every single point and delivered some phenomenal performances that will be remembered in the history of the sport but it is also a motive for Ferrari to give him a decent car next year just a decent one and he will do the job
    In the end thanks to keith Collantine and all the F1FANATICS for sharing with you this incredible season of Formula1

    1. +1 and i also think that you deserve the COTD,tifoso!!!

    2. Alonso did a great job to keep his title hopes alive until well into the last race of the season. However, I can’t help thinking that the efforts by Ferrari may have detracted from their 2013 car and with a poor baseline of a 2012 car that effort could be sorely missed. Will we see a similar story in 2013 with Ferrari playing catch-up after the first few races. With Massa showing an upturn in form that could also make his life more difficult next year too. With things really up in the air for 2014 too there is a risk that Alonso may one day look back on 2010 and 2012 as his missed opportunities to add a third WDC.

    3. @tifoso – and I say back commiserations to Alonso. He’s has driven superbly this season and it’s a real shame that he lost the world chmapionship. Both drivers have been superb this year and it bodes very well for the sport to have such a great competition between two of the sports all-time greats.

    4. First of all Congratulations to the new Triple world Champion Sebastian Vettel who deserves 100% his third title

      @tifoso-I know those must be very hard words for you to write and big respect for you to write them! Alonso was mega this year. Hopefully next year both Redbull and Ferrari will be on equal footing from the start and throughout the year so we can see great champions fighting it out.

      1. I know those must be very hard words for you to write and big respect for you to write them! Alonso was mega this year. Hopefully next year both Redbull and Ferrari will be on equal footing from the start and throughout the year so we can see great champions fighting it out.

        @uan @tifoso1989 Agreed. Alonso has been excellent, and kudos for the comments.

    5. Spot on mate.

    6. I agree with every word mate. McLaren and Ferrari have let down their drivers big time.

  23. Congrats to Vettel. Whether he was the best driver or not doesn’t matter.. he got the WDC anyway.

    Fernando will be back next year.. an lets hope his team can match what he brings to the table.

  24. Yet again I have to congratulate Adrian Newey. That car is not only fast it is undestructible. Fix the bloody wind tunnel Ferrari! Alonso deserves another tittle after his increadible seasson. 13 podiums, more than anyone, mostly starting from the back (P5-P8). Well deserved as most of drivers, managers, mechanics, professionals and journalist have agreed, from differents countries including Germany. Vamos Fer, you are the number one for many

  25. Wow, incredibile. I think it’s quite clear that I am a Vettel supporter since 2008, and seeing him winning so much makes me very very happy. Three championships in a row, that’s a lot, I would have never expected something like it. Only three drivers, sorry, legends have done better than him

    People may not like Seb, maybe they say he is lucky that he has a fast car, but I believe that in these three years he has proven to be a true champion, worthy of his number of championship.

    1. Only three drivers, sorry, legends have done better than him

      5 other drivers have won 3 world championships, one of which did so in a car he made himself, another of whom came back from the brink of death to almost win 4 and won one by half a point, and yet another of whom is more or less the greatest driver the sport has seen who gave his life to it.

      Vettel is a somewhat skilled right-time right-place lucky minnow in very rarefied air.

      1. Looking at his drives over the last 5 years, from the dominant ones, to the hard fought ones, it’s fair to say he’s much more than “somewhat skilled”. He has a long career ahead of him, but he is currently worthy of being amongst those you’ve mentioned.

  26. Congrats to Vettel, hard luck to Alonso. Both of them have driven great this year. However I still feel that Lewis Hamilton has been the best driver this season, this year is up there with 2007 as his best season and I hope this is reflected in future generations recollection of this season. They shouldn’t go by stats alone, after being brought down a peg or two by Button’s perfomance last year Hamilton really raised his game this year. The record books will show he beat Jenson by only 2 points, but add in those 4 extra races Hamilton should have won but didn’t through no fault of his own in Catalunya, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and today and it would be a completely different story. Apart from being slow off the line in Australia I can’t really think of any mistakes he has made, and it is a shame Mclaren’s performance didn’t match his high level. Vettel was scrappy early on in the year and even in these final few races when the pressure has been on he has been making mistakes, such as in Abu Dhabi and today that he was lucky to get away with. And in the last 7 or 8 races I would say that Felipe Massa has been the better Ferrari driver, despite the incredible results Alonso got at the start of the season.

    1. Hamilton really raised his game this year. The record books will show he beat Jenson by only 2 points, but add in those 4 extra races Hamilton should have won but didn’t through no fault of his own in Catalunya, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and today and it would be a completely different story

      got to agree @debaser91 he was far superior to jenson this year and the points really don’t tell the full story

      1. I agree as well, @3dom and @debaser91 . Button has outperformed my expectations (I thought he would be totally destroyed by Hamilton), but Hamilton has usually been better, especially this year. Button also had that bad patch between Bahrain and Britain.

  27. what should Vettel do to be appreciated by some people??
    Alonso was the luckiest driver this season and simply the better driver won it at then end…

    1. For me, at this stage I’m afraid there’s nothing Vettel can do. For the past three years the Newey-Red Bull-Vettel combination has made a mockery of the sport and I don’t appreciate the field looking like a bunch of morons while someone else plays on easy.

      Congratulations to Vettel on three championships. It will most likely be four in a years time.

  28. Alonso did a magnificent race start. The Hulk dissapointed me and Vettel got really lucky being able to continue after his accident. The kid is good, but it was out of Alonso’s hands after his misfortune with Grosjean and so on. I am not happy with Vettel’s title to be honest. But it is what it is. Congrats to Seb.

  29. @keithcollantine I just noticed this article is posted as “2012 United States Grand Prix” ;)

  30. Second time in 3 race that Vettel has come from the back and still people are saying he is lucky because of safety cars, suspension not breaking etc. Before this they were saying something along the lines of “he can only win from pole and we have yet to see what happens when he is at the back” I think we all have seen how he fares. Seriously, what does he need to do to be on par with Alonso and Hamilton? In fact, I think that the McLaren simply cannot withstand as much damage as the Red Bulls or Ferraris. Not just today, but Italy/Singapore 2010 vs Spa 2010 (where Barrichello crashed into Alonso) as well. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Vettel and give him credit where its due instead of constantly picking out every minor fault he makes.

    1. Well that’s exactly why I don’t respect Seb as much as I do Alonso and Hamilton.

      Each time he had to come from the back he made complete mess of it, and the fact that even with those mistakes he made, he was able to get a good result, just shows you how much pace that car has.

      When Alonso came from the back in Valencia, he was sublime, his overtaking moves on the absolute edge, but never crossing it. Vettel on the other hand, made a complete mess of his races each time he had to race hard in the middle of the pack.

      1. @brace – Just because Vettel made a couple of mistakes, doesn’t mean Vettel made a “complete mess” of his recovery drives. Today, he didn’t actually make any mistakes after lap 1. He had to make up a series of positions in a short space of time, both here and in Belgium (where he didn’t make any mistakes either), and he did so.

        Perhaps the fact that Vettel kept coming back and wouldn’t accept a poor result in Abu Dhabi, plus the other recovery drives, shows how determined he is, and that is why he has those podiums and the championship to show for it. His drives should have thoroughly earned at least as much respect as his peers.

      2. @brace

        What mistakes has Vettel made this race? Collision with Senna? Sure, maybe he was at fault there. Slow at the restart? Yes, but that’s hardly a mistake. At least it wasn’t when Alonso had those in Abu Dhabi, was it? But of course those rules don’t apply to Alonso when judging a drive.
        So that leaves what? Vettel’s storm through the field in about 10 laps time? Not really Vettel ‘making a complete mess of it’ there…
        His radio failing perhaps? Not really his fault is it.
        One unnecesary pitstop? The result of no radio communciation.
        Getting back to 6th from 12th after the double pitstop? No, that’s not Vettel ‘making a complete mess of it’ either.

        When Alonso came from the back in Valencia, he was sublime, his overtaking moves on the absolute edge, but never crossing it.

        Going from 11th and 7th after the start to 2nd is now coming from the back, huh? O.K.

        And Alonso this race? One superb start but other than that he showed nothing impressive all race. Massa was faster again for most of the race and helped Alonso quite a bit. He was only ‘slower’ when Alonso got directly behind him or when drivers capable of threatening Alonso got behind Massa. Then Alonso went off twice in the same corner and ‘forgot’ to pit and almost spun off the track.

        So on the one hand we have Vettel ‘making a complete mess of it’ by coming through the field in no time at all and on the other hand we have Alonso making mistakes left and right even though “he’s on a wet setup” and “would benefit greatly from rain”…

        These past few races have shown me Alonso has been hyped up to be something he’s not. He’s consistent and lucky, he’s not the best driver in F1. He struggled to outpace Massa these last few races. That’s not impressive at all. I’ve seen plenty of impressive races from Alonso. This wasn’t one of them.

        1. +++@F1fanNL,
          Yeap, Alonso twice outbraked in 1st corner with no pressure at all and one time at the end he almost spun it to the barriers ( i think it was where Di resta spun).
          How flawless someone is , is not the only criterion for making a judgment if he is a good driver or not. Hamilton does a lot of mistakes does this makes him a bad driver? Karthikeyan when he drives ALONE in the back doesn’t make usually any mistakes , does this make him a good driver?
          What i am trying to say is that even the best drivers are HUMANS and make mistakes when they drive on the limit because exactly they drive on the limit and sometime over the limit. What makes a great driver is minimizing the risks of a potential mistake not taking the risk where it isn’t reversible and trying to correct it, try to gain what you have lost due to this mistake.
          Vettel maybe was lucky that he could continue after the collision (which i am not so sure it was his mistake) but his luck ended there. Everything he managed afterwards was only due to his skill and not luck. He managed for the second time this year to overtake almost the whole grid TWICE , and this time without the SC favoriting him but instead Alonso.

      3. @brace – Alonso made a mess of Valencia before the race had even started: by qualifying 11th. Through no partiuclar fault of his own Vettel was demoted to last (on both occasions at least 10 places further back than 11th) and came through to gain 20 places in Abu Dhabi (ignoring the stalled HRT which started behind him) and gained 18 places in Brazil (even with a damaged car with all but no straight line speed and two pit stops in quick succession, one of which lasted 12 secs).

        If you are citing Alonso’s sublime overtaking manoeuvres then tell me this: how many actual overtakes for position did Alonso actually perform? It wasn’t 10 for sure. He gained three places at the start which in my mind doesn’t constitute a racing overtake, and also Vettel’s failure gifted him a crucial position so it’s already down to 6. Then we factor in positions gained in the safety pit-stop phase and the number continues to decrease.

        Sure, he made some good overtakes but Vettel made some pretty tasty ones too: such as his wheel-to-wheel combat with Button for podium positions in Abu Dhabi or his late braking on KK in tricky conditions.

        I think the best comparison between the two is probably Valencia vs Belgium. Both started in a similar grid position after a disappointing qualifying and both were in a roughly similar position by the end of the first lap (actually with Alonso having gained more places at the start). Both fought very well wheel-to-wheel in cars which were of about equal race pace relative to the opposition and both came through the field to take a podium place.

        Basically, I testify Alonso was brilliant in Valencia – but if you are then also trying to put down Vettel’s races from the back then you are one of the people that will remain in denial for as long as Vettel races, no matter how many titles and races he excels in.

    2. Seriously, what does he need to do to be on par with Alonso and Hamilton?

      I have actually changed my perception of Vettel after this season @benchuiii , I feel he is in the same league as Alonso and Hamilton. I think it was Spa where I started to change my mind (even though a few of the drivers that may have been harder to pass were taken out on lap 1). I also changed my opinion on Alonso, what he did with that Ferrari this season was remarkable, that’s why I wanted him to win the WDC over Vettel. But overall I’m not too disappointed because they’re both great drivers. I believe Vettel is lucky, and that Alonso is as well but when they have a lucky moment boy do they take advantage of it, and that’s part of what makes them both great

  31. Completely deserved for Vettel. So, at the start of next season it will have been six seasons since Alonso last won a world title – a long time in F1 terms.

    1. And only one driver had a similar gap before winning another title – Niki Lauda. And that was after coming back from retirement!

  32. Shame Alonso didn’t ask ‘How’s Nelsinho?’ on the podium…

    But really, in the end, I am ok with the outcome of today. Both had luck and misfortune, both outperformed the circumstances more than once and in the end, Vettel won this time.

    Goodbye Schumacher and goodbye Olav Mol – thanks for all the good times.

    1. @verstappen

      Shame Alonso didn’t ask ‘How’s Nelsinho?’ on the podium…

      hahaha that was funny…..
      or maybe Piquet saying to Alonso : Nelsinho sends you his regards and feels sorry you lost the title?

  33. Congratulations to Vettel/Redbull, now its time for Redbull to relegate Vettel to No. 2 position and let Webber win championship in 2013 (prolly his last year in F1) :P

    Alonso needed a lot of luck today and to be honest he got his fare share of luck but it wasn’t just enough! And I really liked the way he replied to Nelson Piquet on podium. But it would be so frustrating for Alonso to not able to win championship yet again by such a small margin:
    Year 2007 1. Kimi Räikkönen – 110 2. Fernando Alonso – 109 | 1 point
    Year 2010 1. Sebastian Vettel – 256 2. Fernando Alonso – 252 | 4 points
    Year 2012 1. Sebastian Vettel – 281 2. Fernando Alonso – 278 | 3 points

    1. 2005 and 2008.

      It all balances out in the end.

  34. Congratulations to Vettel’s fans (and to Vettel himself, though I doubt he will be booting up his laptop tonight to check the comments on F1F), who have had a tough time occasionally defending from his detractors (e.g., “he’s just lucky to be driving an Adrian Newey car”), in particular @david-a, who I think takes up the gauntlet at every Vettel-dismissive comment. I think Vettel thoroughly deserves his third title, and drives like Spa, Abu Dhabi and the first part of today’s race shows that he can make things happen for himself on the racetrack.

    Today, people might point to Vettel’s luck in surviving the first-lap incident (which was lucky, of course), but Alonso has been lucky all season. In how many races has Fernando benefited from people retiring or running into trouble in front of him? Even today he wouldn’t have been on the required podium if it hadn’t been for the leaders colliding. Alonso has driven a terrific season, but I do not see why he would be a ‘more deserving’ champion than Vettel.

  35. Danke Schön Vettel! Thoroughly deserved!
    But in 2013, it’ll be Kimi’s turn…

  36. Well done Newey! Once again you did it!
    I’m not saying Vettel is not good, but come on, he may very well start in lap 2 and still win the race. What does this mean? Well, either RBR is not an F1 car, or the rest of the field is poor. Since the second posibility is obviously not true (Alonso, Hamilton, Button and their teams are not poor competitors), the 1st supposition must be true. That’s my opinion. RBR was playing almost all season long in a different league.
    Vettel won this championship by a very thin margin; however it was a consistent difference between RBR and Ferrari. It means Alonso was better that Vettel this season.
    I guess Sir Jackie Stewart (“Vettel not a great yet”), Alonso (“we’re fighting with Newey”) and Jacques Villeneuve were all right.

    1. @daniel – you can’t say he had a car advantage: he had significant damage to his floor which would surely cost him at least 3 tenths, if not more, per lap. I think it was due to the changeable conditions and Vettel’s wet driving skill that allowed him to finish where he did after the first lap.

      One could also argue (and I am going to) that in actual fact McLaren had the best car this season. I think that was respective from the fact they’ve locked out the front row 3 times – as many as Red Bull – even with Jenson’s mid-season slump and traditionally weak qualifying. No-one had the clearly the fastest car this year and also Ferrari didn’t have as bad a car for a large part of the season as Alonso has liked to believe.

    2. @daniel
      Soo..tell me. Who had the fastest car this weekend? Who had the fastest car in Spain (not Valencia), Australia, Hungary, Belgium, China etc. (I don’t list all the races, I’m sure Keith will write an article about that).
      Red Bull was far from being in a league of his own. You could have said that in 2010 and even in 2011, but absolutely not this year.

    3. The title decided in ONE race the last one. In a race in mixed conditions which ferrari was prepared for and wished for. The car factor in this race was less significant than usually and the driver factor more significant then usually. This is proved from Hulkenbergs and Massas performance. Webber was stuck behind Massa and Vettel behind Kobayashi , red bull was the superior car today? Wasn’t that the mclaren of Button who managed to open in half race distance 60sec gap?
      Alonso was lucky to get rid of grosjean and maldonado in quallify and hulkenberg and Hamilton in the race, even his gap to the leader was zeroed due to the safety car . He had only one pass to make to take the championship and he didn’t make it , he was even slower then Massa. The only noteworthy Alonso did was his good start as it was in Austin , nothing more.

    4. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      26th November 2012, 2:14

      RBR was playing almost all season long in a different league.

      As has been said, the McLaren was probably the fastest car this year – fastest in Australia, Malaysia, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Austin, Brazil. The RB8 only came into its own in the later stages of the season

  37. Today was a fantastic race. Brazil never fails to disappoint with its title deciders and this race reminded me so much of the race in 2008. I don’t doubt that Vettel drove very well today, but I still feel for Alonso. He drove so incredibly well this year, in a car that shouldn’t have been fighting at the front, but was in his hands. Not only that, but both Alonso and Ferrari did everything they could today to win the title, just as they did with Massa in 2008, but both times just fell short.

    That shot of Alonso after the race, with his helmet on told it all. I believe there was no better driver this year, and even though Vettel had claims to the title, Alonso still deserved it.

    I think a lot has been learned this year as well:

    – A fast car doesn’t ensure the Championship. For next year, they need to be ruthless and perfect, even if just for half of the season. For me, the logical solution would be to develop the car around Jenson and see how they go from there. It will be their best chance.

    – They may have Alonso, but they need to sort out their problems. To squander another year in the development shadow of both McLaren and Red Bull would be really sad to see, considering how much Alonso has pushed them forwards this year.

    Red Bull:
    – I don’t think they’ve learned anything this year. I imagine it will be tough to beat them next year, unless McLaren and Ferrari can be just as seamless as they were from Singapore onwards.

    I already can’t wait for the 2013 season. As long as Red Bull don’t find another developmental route that gives them a pace advantage (aka 2010/2011) then we could be in for another great year.

    1. I think McLaren hired Perez just for that reason. If the car was fast then Button couldn’t handle it and if the car was stable then Hamilton couldn’t go fast. Button and Perez seem like more similar drivers. Both seem content trying to make their tyres last as long as possible.

      Although I wonder if that still is the best way to go (like it was early to mid 2010)

      1. Both seem content trying to make their tyres last as long as possible.
        by getting knocked out in Q2…

    2. I don’t believe Red Bull haven’t learned anything this year – I suspect they will have worked hard to put what they have learned about the new exhaust layouts into the initial design of their 2013 challenger and no doubt it will push the boundaries of what’s possible and what’s allowable once again.

  38. Gutted for Alonso but congratulations to Vettel and Red Bull.

  39. Congratulations to Sebastian. It was a fantastic drive in testing conditions, and a thoroughly deserved championship win. Yet, you can’t escape the feeling that Alonso has done more with less. The Ferrari has been off the pace almost all year, yet Alonso’s consistency has kept him in the hunt until this point. I’m sure he’ll be thereabouts next season, however the field shakes up.

    As for the race itself, I feel gutted for Hamilton. I don’t feel that the accident was anyone’s fault (in those conditions, these things happen), but I so wanted him to finish his McLaren career on a high. Great for Jenson, though, and for Hulkenburg — I feel Sauber have a major talent on their hands there.

    1. That accident wasn’t anyones fault? Hamilton braked later than late and locked up his wheels. Yet Hulkenberg braked even later and predictably spun off.

      I’m a great fan of the guy, but that was a completely boneheaded move from Hulkenberg. He pretty much had the spot already and still messed it up. Let alone that he needn’t have taken such a big risk when a second place would have meant so much for the team already.

      Just look how Raikkonen and Schumacher did it. That was just pure magic. Millimeters away from each other. Goosebumps.

      Still, Hulkenberg should get a better car. I rate him a lot higher than people like Perez, Webber or Massa.

      1. @patrickl, probably it was more Hulkenbergs fault but still a racing incident in my view. Hulkenbergs move was very clumsy for his experience but if Hamilton had kept a more open trajectory maybe this had been avoided since he couldn’t go nowhere anyway because he had the caterham right in front of him. This was very superficial from both of them as it was also before between Button and Hamilton.
        Mclaren fought not only for the win but also for the second position in the constructors and they had the perfect position for the team , the maximum potential result and they let there drivers gamble’it. That collision was avoided but thinks didn’t go there way with Hulk. Sad for Hamilton, who even with a second place could had given a nice end to his mclaren partnership.

        1. @cosmas that’s what I love about McLaren, Button and Hamilton – they’ve fought really hard over the years but with the exception of Canada 11 never crashed. Some great racing.

  40. A thrilling finale to a classic season. The eyes of Alonso when looking at the cheering Vettel – painful and unforgettable. The fastest driver won the title, there is no place for a debate here. Congratz to Vettel.

    1. Alonso was facing in the direction of the pit box while Vettel was running onto the track. Looked more like he was thinking “what could have been” rather than that he was actually looking at something.

  41. There’s always going to be a lot of talk about whether Vettel “deserved” the title or not, and personally I think Alonso was, without a doubt, the best driver this year and I’m disapointed to see him lose it. But in the end of the day, it matters little who’s the most “deserving” champion, to become champion you need to score the most points over the season. And that’s what Vettel did, so congratulations to him.

  42. The one who deserved most took the championship. Vettel showed today that he is the worthy champion.
    Everything was against him except that he was lucky to manage to continue after his collision with Senna .
    In the other hand everything in front folded in favor of Alonso.
    Webber didn’t make it so easy for him in the start and if that wasn’t enough he was hit right after by Senna.
    Senna was 3 places behind him before turn 4 . He wanted to overtake 3 cars in one corner and one of them was a title contender . This is not a move from someone how wants to stay in F1 next year, this was stupid. And the worst is he still believes that Vettel hit him …
    Vettel managed to climb from dead last right behind Alonso in 5 laps with a damaged car in a damp track. If that isn’t impressive i don’t now what else is…. he lost radio communication and did because of that one extra pit stop that was the worst of this year for redbull yet he managed once again to climb in 6th place. He did the job alone with little to no help from his team mate.
    On the other side Alonso inherited the 4th place from his team mate and drove a preservative race in the start , even his double overtake on Massa and Webber was clearly due to Massa isolating Webber to the outside of the corner. In front of him Button and Hamilton fought dangerously close making Alonsos chances for a win greater.
    Even the safety car came right after he complained about the debris on the track… He was almost a lap behind Hulkenberg and Button at that time. I never quite understood why was this safety car so necessary , there were worst moments before involving a lot of incidents with no SC.
    After that we saw Hulkenberg doing with Hamilton what was before avoided with Button meaning colliding and giving Alonso another place . Hulkenberg who managed to continue took a penalty due to this collision and gifted Alonso another place. I don’t know if he had to take a penalty BUT in a similar incident earlier Kobayashi took Webber out of the track yet he didn’t penalized. As a consequence of that ,Vettel had to deal with him also right after. Who would want to fight with kobayashi when he fights for the championship and even worst with A furious kobayashi who tries to prove that he deserves a seat next year.
    With all this impossible things happening Alonso was now with not a great effort in 2nd place. Now he wanted one last Bad luck to another opponent – Button . Unfortunately that didn’t happen for him.
    Emerson Fittipaldi told before the race that:
    if Alonso wants to win this championship he had to grab the knife with his teeth and fight and Vettel needs only to administrate the Race…….
    Well… what i saw today was quite the opposite. Vettel was the one with the knife in his teeth driving his best ever race ’till today and Alonso trying to administrate and take advantage of the misfortunes of the people in front of him.
    If there is still someone who don’t recon Vettel as a top driver and a worthy champion then either he is blind or hιs fanaticism for his favorite driver or team don’t let him see the reality.
    Well done V3TTEL

    1. i can clearly see your fanaticism for vettel in your comment. :D
      i hoped you really saw the race and admit both were lucky and that senna did not do anything wrong with the contact

      but congrats to vettel. he deserved his championship.

      1. well you looks more a fanatic than him..

      2. Maybe you are right, but with all the comments i read here about how unfair it was for Alonso and how lucky it was for Vettel when OBVIOUS it was the opposite … ..come on
        If Alonso have done today exactly the same race with Vettel i am 100% sure that the most people here that criticize Vettel would talk how amazing driver he is …and that his drive would probably be one of the best of the last 4 years at least.
        The poll for this race will prove once more how unpopular Vettel is among people here. At least i hope Button takes it this time because he was the only flawless driver today ( yes it wasn’t Alonso who lost the breaks two times and went off in the first corner and once again he nearly spun it to the barriers) and proved that he is the MASTER of mixed conditions and not again Hamilton because he deserved …or he had pole … or whatever people are going to find to justify their vote to him.

    2. Best opinion about Vettel /Alonso history in this race.

  43. What a race, what a season! To be completely fair, my interest in F1 in recent years never really compared to what it was during my childhood. But this season has made me a proud F1 fan again and I honestly don’t think my bloodpressure has been this high since Suzuka 1998 or 2000.

    I’m still heartbroken about Fernando. I feared it was lost during Qualifying, but the race went alright, but that Vettel is some guy as well. While Fernando is still champion in my heart, Vettel deserved this title fair and square. Ifs and buts aside, as a Ferrari fan I cannot help but think that Ferrari need to up their game in 2013. Red Bull will not take as long to refind their form, McLaren will probably not have a midseason struggle again and who knows what Lotus and Mercedes have up their sleeves? Boy, I’m already excited for 2013!

    Again, what a race, what a season. A shame Schumacher’s comeback was such a letdown, but with this race in my head, it hasn’t even registered that he has retired again. I’ll miss him.

  44. I think Vettel deserved to win the WDC this year. I’ve added up the numbers and I’m 99% sure he scored more World Championship points than anyone else.

    If there was also a ‘Driver of the Year’ award, I guess it would go to Alonso or Raikkonen.

  45. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    25th November 2012, 22:29

    If vettel keeps that path, he will surpass Prost soon…. Congratulations YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Bored of Vettel. Bored of Red Bull. The rest the front runners seriously need to step it up next year.

    An overshadowed but brilliant drive from Button. Alonso was the same class act we’ve seen all season. Well done!

  47. We saw some great driving this year from what I think is the most competitive field of drivers since the 80s and early 90s. Awesome season with a great final race – can’t wait for next year.

  48. Sad for Alonso as he was the best driver this year followed by Hamilton and Vettel

    Vettel didn’t win any old or driver circuits this year i.e. European circuits and only the new Asian circuits

    Although he has lots of luck he did drive great over the last couple of races but he still makes childish mistakes

    He does deserve some credit for some of his drives but still only deserved 2011 as he was lucky in 2010 due to Ferrari mistake in Abu Dhabi and Red Bull not supporting Webber when he was in front of the championship with races to go

    This year Alonso and Hamilton were better drivers in lesser cars but as soon as Euro season finished and last third of season started Red Bull started dominating

    Just think how vettel was struggling to make top 10 in monaco when it’s about driver and not car and his team mate on pole

    That’s why he doesn’t deserve this year and alonso losing 3 years by less than 5 points understates what if for alonso

    1. Ridiculous post. Vettel won Suzuka with a grand-chelem- a track considered one of the most demanding driver circuits in the world.

      In 2010, Ferrari made a mistake at Abu Dhabi. But Vettel did all he could to win the title- beat everyone to pole and victory. If anything, Vettel was unlucky that year, losing by far the most points to car failures (which you could use to argue for Hamilton this year).

      Yes, Vettel struggled in Monaco qualifying (where his teammate qualified 2nd, but was later promoted to pole), before putting a much better showing in the race. But he excelled throughout the season, in a car that wasn’t dominant over the course of this season to win this championship. He more than deserved his 3 titles.

    2. Mclaren had a lesser car this year? Probably the most unreliable among the top teams but clearly not lesser.
      They where the team to beat at the start of the season and the same competitive for the rest of the season with red bull as the last three races have proved. Hamilton had the most pole position of the year, how did he do that with a lesser car?
      Ferrari maybe didn’t had the most competitive car but for sure they had the most reliable car as the constant point finishes of Alonso proves. Alonso had 3wins, the same as Button yet he managed to score 90 more points than he did.
      Red bull at the start of the season where nowhere but they evolved over the year with the best period the 4 asian races where they indeed had the fastest car and Vettel managed to utilized this advantage. But they didn’t were much better than mclaren either in speed nor in reliability , Vettel had a lot o misfortunes due to mechanical problems and to racing incidents that he had to pay with severe penalties (malaysia: karthikeyan puncture, germany : 5 grid loss for overtaking Button outside the track, monza: drive trought for forcing Alonso of track…..that’s only what i remember know).
      Every team had his strengths and his weakness this year and every driver had his misfortunes ( Hamilton clearly the mosts) but no team was dominant as the constructors table also indicates.

  49. Three fingers for Vettel (boooooooooooooooooooooo), two fingers and two championships lost for Alonso in the last race. His starting to remind me of Carlos Sainz. & Red Bull’s dominance is getting tiresome…there was hope of a different winner this year but sadly Adrian Newey once again tightened the screws. At least it was close this time

    1. @me262
      Red Bull’s dominance was gone in after 2011.
      They won this year, but that doesn’t mean they were dominant.

      1. @mads so what does it make them if they win a 4th title in a row?

        1. @me262
          It depends. If they do a 2010 (without the reliability gremlins) or a 2011, then god yes. If its another 2012, then I don’t think so. They might have won this year, but it certainly wasn’t a dominant performance.

  50. Congratulations to Vettel on winning a third drivers championship.

    That being said he is by far the least of the names he sits next to on that list and is placed higher than many other names of better skill and character. If he did indeed say this:

    “I think that one of the nicest part of our sport is you can compare not necessarily only yourself but your time to the guys racing ten, twenty, fifteen, thirty forty years ago.”

    He needs to reassess as there is no comparison whatsoever.

    1. That being said he is by far the least of the names he sits next to on that list and is placed higher than many other names of better skill and character.

      Disagreed. For his short career, he has been phenomenal. He has many years ahead of him to further cement his place, but with an array of great drives already, he is well up there.

  51. Extraordinary race and a great champion, probably the inheritor of Michael Schumacher!
    Great race for Button, Hamilton, Hulkelberg (he did a big mistake, but he is young and will learn), Schumacher, Massa, Vergne, Kamui, Petrov, Pic.
    I can not mention Alonso because I always did remember he make (together with Briattore and other people) his teammate Piquet hitting on purpose the guardrail in Singapore to win a race. To my way of view the sport, is an undignified and inexcusable maneuver that totally disqualifies him as sportsman.

  52. My god how bad and hideous was the podium interview.
    Ugghhh!!!! Cringe.

    1. @howard The one with Nelson Piquet? What was so bad about it (I’m wondering, since I didn’t really pay much attention to it)?

      1. @david-a Possibly Piquet giving his ‘friend'(NP’s quote, not mine) Massa a free shoulder massage. But podiums like these will always be damp squibs, as were the 2003 Japanese GP, the 2008 and 2009 Brazilian Grands Prix because the championship winner is not there, and he is obviously the toast of the town.

  53. So….there’s no penalty now for overtaking under yellow flags? Vettel passed de la rosa there I think.

    1. Overtaking under yellow flags under race condition will be penalized if it is explicitly endangering, it is different with qualifying when drivers must abort their flying laps. Remember France 2002, Schumacher overtook Raikkonen and he got away with it.

      1. As far as I remember that Raikkonen slipped off the line due to oil left by McNish’s Toyota, and unlike in the SC period you don’t need the front driver to go off-track to gain a position. And local yellows mean that you can pass on the circuit anywhere but where the flashing yellows are in place.

  54. I really don’t know what’s worse at the moment, being a Ferrari fan or a McLaren fan. The former have had two consecutive poor winters and it clearly reflects on the car. Not just that this is the third time in five years that Ferrari have lost the WDC at the last round, but also the fifth straight time they’ve lost out on a close battle(losing 3rd in WCC fifth in WDC in 2009 and losing 3rd in WDC last year). It seems that an eternal curse has been struck on Ferrari ever since Oct.21, 2007.
    This must, though, be even worse for McLaren. A bad winter in 2009(although relentless development saw them leapfrog Ferrari), which makes it four consecutive seasons that they’ve failed to fight for either championships. Even this year, where they had arguably the fastest car overall, and undisputedly the fastest car over a single lap, they slid down behind the aforementioned team who started 2012 as a midfield runner at best. With Hamilton going out, it also seems that they’ve jumped the gun with Perez, who having taken three podiums and having led his teammate by 31 points before McLaren signed him up, failed to get even a point in the final third of the season and ultimately finished just six points ahead.

  55. If there was a star at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, it was Nico Hulkenberg. Returning to the scene of his stunning pole position in 2010, Hulkenberg made monkeys of the rest of the field in damp conditions. He toyed with the McLarens and when the track grip was rapidly going away was easily the best driver today. His first error was a small one and he was looking set to atone for it when he made his second error, and was given a penalty which I personally believe was not fair, because he simply made a ‘driver error’ and I think that is something which goes unpunished by the FIA. Amazingly, he never even switched to treaded tyres and reminded me of Schumacher in every way. If he can iron out his small flaws and gel quickly in a new team, he could well be one to watch out for in 2013, where he could pt some Perez-esque giant killing performances. And if this is one step closer to Ferrari then rival teams better be warned. We could see a third German champion in two decades.

  56. The people on the podium were the same as the final race before Schumacher retired for the first time.

  57. Keep debating guys! Next year this article would say 3rd. Vettel = 4 championships, and the year after that 2nd. Vettel = 5 championship and so on. He is only 25, his body will grow stronger towards 28 and you compare him with declining 31 years old Alonso. Forget Alonso, watch Hulkenberg or Perez.

  58. This will not mean much to fans outside the US, but I want to say a heartfelt goodbye to Speed Channel and Bob Varsha. For as long as I have been watching F1, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Sam Posey have been MY voice of F1. The later additions of Will Buxton was a great add, and the departure of Peter Winsor is still felt.

    Bob Varsha, the Silvery tounge of F1. David Hobbs, the kindly gentleman, Sam Posey with incredible insights artistry, Steve Matchett, eagle eyes and F1 insider, Peter Winsor bringing a dogged persuite of trackside action and Will Buxton who deftly filled his shoes.

    For over a decade, these men have been my window into the world of F1. While imperfect, it was that very factor that made F1 approachable, their keen understanding of F1, melded with keener understanding of their audience presented a media product that was more than the sum of its parts.

    Yesterday, we reached the end of our time together, and while some will go on, the team will not. I will adue to them, wishing them the best for the future whatever it brings, and will mark the end of this era in my mind for years to come. So long guys…

  59. Of the top 3, McLaren had the fastest car this year. Ferrari had the most reliable car this year. But it was Red Bull who found the best balance between the speed and reliability over the season. There’s no question Red Bull deserved the Constructor’s championship more than Ferrari and McLaren, they were brilliant in basic design, development through the year, pitstops, strategy, you name it. But among the drivers, I reckon anyone among Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen deserved to win, for their relentless efforts. And that what makes me sad, it’s clear that McLaren and Ferrari especially have let down their drivers badly. No doubt Vettel is a deserving world champion, but Alonso is the Driver of the Year, he did more with less.

    1. @ssvracing – thank you for being reasonable and indeed absolutely spot on. A lot of this reasoning seems to be lacking in many on this post sadly. Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton or Räikkönen would all have been worthy champions and I completely agree with your summary of the constructors’ championship.

  60. There were a lot of messages above about which driver truly deserves the title, who was more lucky, who had the fastest car etc. This is all doesn’t really matter. In the end there was only one result Vettel WON and Alonso LOST the WDC, no matter how you turn it. And this is what history books will say, they are soulless things that mention just facts and figures.
    BUT while Seb won more titles, I think Alonso won more hearts. Fernando’s campaign was truly inspiring and he taught us all a valuable lesson that with perseverence you can achieve everything. Records were broken and will be crushed again, doubt I’ll remember the youngest EVER…, but Alonso’s example I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

  61. @steco All I have to say that I feel sorry for you. There is a saying that “One can wake up a person who is sleeping but a person who is pretending to be sleeping can never be woken up”

    Do you think Ferrari and Montzemello would keep quite if it was really a yellow flag? @keithcollantine have also clarified so many times this fact about yellow.

  62. Oh please stop this rubbish about yellow flags and so on, the subject has been closed once and for all. I`ve been a Ferrari fan for many years, but during the last years (from 2010 onwards) I have grown increasingly tired of all the opportunism shown by Ferrari.
    It has reached a point where I was just waiting for Alonso to start screaming for the safety car in the race (knowing the Ferrari-lobbyist were allready pleading their case) in order to give Alonso another chance at getting close to Hulkenberg, Button and Hamilton and the title. Mind you, the safety car was fine with me, but did we really need Ferrari to plead the case. Race control was always going to bring out the safety car if they felt it was neccessary.
    In addition to this we hear Alonso on the radio almost every single race screaming “what is this or that one doing?”. The answer is always the same from his pit-crew, “we have allready brought the matter to Charlie Whiting”. It seems like Ferrari`s got employees especially dedicated to report the slightest little thing that can give the team an advantage to race control. F1 has always been political, but it`s never been as bad as it is now, and I feel sad that Ferrari is the team that is leading the way in this development. That`s no way to win a championship, marginal technicalities in a sport that is marginal in itself.

    As such I didn`t know what to feel after the race. I felt sad Ferrari lost out yet again, but on the other hand I felt a bit relieved they didn`t win it with all the crying to race control during the season. It`s better to consentrate on what the team can do better themselves than to consentrate on the slightest mistake made by every other team on the grid. I`m sorry to say, but that`s a bit unsportsmanlike.

    Some other teams seem to act differently in these situations and come across as more fair. It`s racing for godness sake, not a court of law.

  63. His best yet by far. He’s had such a mixture of scenarios in the past few years but this was the first time he actually had something to lose. He delivered in style and with a champion drive. Incredible.

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