New faces on the podium – after 17 consecutive races of only 5 drivers sharing the podium, it was good to see someone new there this year. Perez’, Grosjean’s and Kobayashi’s first podiums were great to see, and of course Rosberg’s and Maldonado’s maiden victories.
Alonso and Ferrari getting the most out of everything – when I saw an onboard lap in a Melbourne practice session, where Alonso was struggling to keep the car going in the right direction, I was convinced he wouldn’t fight for the title. But thanks to Ferrari improving the car, the reliability of the car, Ferrari’s great strategy and consistent pitstops, and of course Alonso’s fantastic driving on the very limit allowed them to fight for it. It’s been a privilege watching Alonso’s brilliance, especially in Sepang, Valencia, Silverstone and Hockenheim. In this century, I haven’t seen anyone drive a better season than that.
The closeness of the field – after Vettel’s and Red Bull’s dominance of 2011, it was a breath of fresh air to see teams being so close on performance. Races were wildly unpredictable with as many as 7 teams challenging for race victories in the first five races, which was fantastic.
Schumacher’s last podium – Schumacher’s return has been far from a success, so it was nice to see him at least get a podium out of it. Though one wonders what could have happened in Monaco without the grid penalty and the car failure…
Alonso’s victory in Malaysia – Alonso’s brilliant season featured some great races, but Malaysia has to be the best. After qualifying 9th, where the car belonged, Alonso took advantage of every situation and ended up with a shock win. Obviously the car worked much better in those conditions, but still. You could really see how much it meant to the team in the tough times. “If ever a team needed a victory, it was Ferrari today,” as Martin Brundle said. I can’t see a better way to motivate hundreds of team members than taking the lead of the championship despite having the 5th or 6th fastest car.