Sebastian Vettel, Bernie Ecclestone, Interlagos, 2012

Vettel clinches drivers’ championship hat-trick

2012 Brazilian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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 ?ǣ safety cars, radios that didn?t work ?ǣ 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

Rank Driver Championships
1 Michael Schumacher 7
2 Juan Manuel Fangio 5
3 Alain Prost 4
=4 Jack Brabham 3
=4 Jackie Stewart 3
=4 Niki Lauda 3
=4 Nelson Piquet 3
=4 Ayrton Senna 3
=4 Sebastian Vettel 3
=10 Alberto Ascari 2
=10 Jim Clark 2
=10 Graham Hill 2
=10 Emerson Fittipaldi 2
=10 Mika Hakkinen 2
=10 Fernando Alonso 2
=16 Giuseppe Farina 1
=16 Mike Hawthorn 1
=16 Phil Hill 1
=16 John Surtees 1
=16 Denny Hulme 1
=16 Jochen Rindt 1
=16 James Hunt 1
=16 Mario Andretti 1
=16 Jody Scheckter 1
=16 Alan Jones 1
=16 Keke Rosberg 1
=16 Nigel Mansell 1
=16 Damon Hill 1
=16 Jacques Villeneuve 1
=16 Kimi Raikkonen 1
=16 Lewis Hamilton 1
=16 Jenson Button 1

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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

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  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. +10000000000000000000000000000

      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.

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