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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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