Vettel clinches drivers’ championship hat-trick

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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

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237 comments on Vettel clinches drivers’ championship hat-trick

  1. asingh1 (@asingh1) said on 25th November 2012, 19:54

    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.

  2. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 25th November 2012, 20:10

    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.

  3. Knightmare (@knightmare) said on 25th November 2012, 20:18

    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

  4. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th November 2012, 20:18

    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.

  5. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 25th November 2012, 20:18

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

  6. Daniel (@daniel) said on 25th November 2012, 20:21

    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.

    • @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.

    • @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.

    • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 25th November 2012, 23:37

      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.

    • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 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

  7. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 25th November 2012, 20:26

    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.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 25th November 2012, 21:11

      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)

      • Drop Valencia! said on 25th November 2012, 23:45

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

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 25th November 2012, 22:23

      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.

  8. beneboy (@beneboy) said on 25th November 2012, 20:26

    Gutted for Alonso but congratulations to Vettel and Red Bull.

  9. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 25th November 2012, 20:38

    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.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 25th November 2012, 21:02

      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.

      • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 26th November 2012, 0:04

        @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.

  10. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 25th November 2012, 20:53

    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.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 25th November 2012, 21:04

      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.

  11. OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 25th November 2012, 21:03

    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.

  12. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 25th November 2012, 21:14

    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

    • avegaille (@avegaille) said on 25th November 2012, 21:28

      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.

      • well you looks more a fanatic than him..

      • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 25th November 2012, 22:11

        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.

    • Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone) said on 26th November 2012, 1:13

      Best opinion about Vettel /Alonso history in this race.

  13. 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.

  14. Jonathan189 (@jonathan189) said on 25th November 2012, 21:44

    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.

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

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