As so often the case with final round title deciders, the last race of the 2012 F1 season in Brazil was a mixture of tension and high drama. And at the end of it all, Sebastian Vettel was crowned champion for the third year in a row.
Many had predicted rain come race day and the race started in light drizzle. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button led away from the front row, but Vettel had a disastrous first lap. A poor getaway left him vulnerable and he was hit by Bruno Senna after the fourth corner sending the German into a spin and causing damage to his car. But luck held strong for the young German as the damage was not serious enough for him to retire and he continued.
By lap 2, Alonso had moved up to third and with Vettel fighting at the back of the field the Spaniard was in the position he needed to win the championship. Alonso drove superbly to come second at the finish, but Vettel worked his way up to finish in 6th place confirming his championship victory.
…Each led the race at some stage…
The fight for race victory was between Button, Hamilton and Niko Hulkenberg. Each led the race at some stage but as the rain increased in intensity, Hulkenberg and Hamilton collided at the first corner as they lapped a backmarker. Hamilton retired almost on the spot in his last race for McLaren, but Hulkenberg recovered to finish fifth.
In changeable weather conditions, Jenson Button usually excels and he kept his head and kept his car on the track to come home as the winner after Hulkenberg and Hamilton’s tangle. The drama continued as Paul di Resta crashed heavily on the penultimate lap bringing out the safety car which remained out until the chequered flag fell.
…favourite to win…
With his third Formula One title under his belt, Sebastian Vettel now must be considered as one of the greats of the sport along with fellow German Michael Schumacher who brought his second career to a close this weekend. Though not as dominant as in 2011, the four wins in a row towards the end of this season confirmed Vettel as favourite to win the title. In the end Red Bull had a better package than the Ferrari despite the brilliance of Alonso, and with Vettel behind the wheel they have a driver who could win many more titles.