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F1 Reports 53

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

If you simply looked at the results of the Brazilian Grand Prix it would be easy to think that it was a simple run for Vettel to sixth position and an amazing third world title.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

It certainly wasn’t, though, as not only did Alonso drive a typically strong race leaving him second, behind race winner Button, but Vettel was tapped and spun by Bruno Senna on the opening lap. Vettel was left facing the wrong way with the entire field passing on either side of him. He was lucky to escape with only minor damage to the rear of his left sidepod, but the title must have felt very far away after that first lap.

As well as Vettel becoming the youngest triple world champion ever, Button drove a superb race, judging, as he always does, the dry/wet conditions perfectly. He crossed the line first after one of the busiest F1 races of the year.

The forecasted rain on Sunday was Alonso’s big chance to close the point advantage held by Vettel going into the weekend and so he opted for a wet setup on his off-the-pace Ferrari. It didn’t help him in qualifying as although part of the track was damp at the beginning of Q1 it dried out. The McLarens made the most of their superior dry pace and locked out the front row with Hamilton just edging team-mate Button. It was the 62nd front row lock out for the team – a fact that surely didn’t escape Hamilton as he lined up for his last race for the team. The fastest Mercedes of Rosberg lined up ninth after Maldonado was given a 10-place grid penalty for his third reprimand of the year.

Behind the McLarens were Webber, Vettel, Massa, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Räikkönen, Rosberg and then di Resta in 10th.  Before the race McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh expressed his wish for a “boring pedestrian race”. No doubt Vettel was hoping for the same as Alonso’s only hope of winning the title meant a podium finish and Vettel nearly out of the points.

As the cars made their way round the track to the grid drizzle started to fall, but it wasn’t enough to warrant intermediate tyres, and certainly not enough for Alonso to get excited about his wet setup.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

When the lights went out Vettel bogged down and Massa managed to get past both the Red Bulls and Button’s McLaren. Alonso also made a typically good start and slotted in behind Webber in fifth. It was then that disaster struck for Red Bull. Vettel, having made a slow getaway, was deep in the midfield pack and more at risk of contact. Senna tried to head down the inside of the Red Bull, but Vettel turned in – quite rightly – and his left rear clipped Senna’s Williams, sending him into a 180 degree spin. It was a minor miracle that he didn’t sustain more damage as both Senna and Perez were out of the race on the spot.

The race was still raging at the front of the field, though, and at the start of the second lap Alonso managed to dive past both Webber and Massa into Turn 1. There was certainly some help from Massa – something the Brazilian would do brilliantly throughout the Grand Prix, but it was a great manoeuvre nonetheless.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

As Alonso set his sights on the leading McLarens, Vettel was told by his team to stay out. They needed to find out the extent of the damage and there was no way they could fix it in a pit stop. The best they could do was to cross their fingers and hope the slightly fragile Red Bull would not only make it to the end of the race, but do it without too much of a speed deficit to normal.

Within in a lap it became clear that the sixth-place grid position of Hulkenberg wasn’t just down to qualifying speed. He made it past Webber for fourth and then started closing quickly on the Ferraris. There was good news for Red Bull as well – Vettel, having dropped to last, was climbing through the field. On lap four he was 17th and come lap eight he was as high as seventh.

The conditions were getting more and more treacherous, though, and a small mistake from Alonso let Hulkenberg past. The Spaniard was struggling for grip and only some great defensive driving from Massa – who was behind him – kept Webber where he was. In doing so he left the Australian in reach of Kobayashi who tapped him and sent him spinning off – he rejoined, but the immediate danger to the Ferraris was over.

Up at the front and Hamilton wasn’t having an easy last race for McLaren. Button had closed what gap there was and got past him. Hamilton wasn’t going to make it that easy for Button and then dived back down the inside at the first turn on lap 7. A lap later and Button was through again.

By lap 9 it was certainly wet enough for intermediates, but the information that the teams had was saying that the weather wouldn’t last for long – it would slowly dry. It was Webber that was the first front runner to jump and pitted for intermediates on lap 10. Räikkönen had done the same a couple of laps earlier, but he was still lapping slower than the race leaders. Even if that was the case Hamilton pitted for inters a lap later, as did Alonso and Vettel, who had by now made it up to sixth.

Intermediates certainly seemed to be the popular tyres to be on, but out front were Button and Hulkenberg. “It’s stopped raining!” came the call from the McLaren driver and neither of them looked like they wanted to change from slicks.

As the track slowly dried Hulkenberg, far from being happy to follow Button and pick up a podium on his last appearance with Force India, managed to overtake the race leader. With the pair nearly 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field Hamilton pitted again for slicks, as did Alonso. Vettel, however, stayed out hoping that the rain would become heavier once again. To the dismay of the Red Bull strategists it didn’t and a lap later he was heading for the pits as well.

With all the contact on the first lap and plenty of drivers exploring the less well known parts of the track the debris had by now become a serious problem and the call was made to send the safety car out on lap 23. A 47-second lead for Hulkenberg and Button was decimated on the spot.

Even behind the safety car the relentless run of action continued and come the fifth lap of following the Mercedes, drivers started to complain that they couldn’t keep heat in their tyres. The rain was gently coming down again and all the cars were on hard slicks. A lap later, once the lapped cars had caught up with the pack, the cars were released, though. Hulkenberg made a great restart, as did Kobayashi who passed Vettel into turn 1.

The safety car had also reignited Hamilton’s chances of a victory and on lap 31 he got past Button for second. He then started setting fastest lap, every lap, but crucially for Force India it wasn’t hugely faster than Hulkenberg. Even though the German was complaining about a very aggressive downshift on his car he was showing us all why he’s so well regarded as a driver. However, we had spoken too soon – a tyre on a white line was all it took for Hulkenberg to have a huge moment. He just caught the car and prevented a full spin, but Hamilton didn’t need asking twice. He was through and into the lead.

It was big news for Hamilton, but it was also great news for McLaren as this one place change had put them back into second place in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Ferrari.

It wasn’t ever going to be that easy, though, as with 20 laps to go the mist had become heavier. Rain was on its way again! Rosberg flinched too early, pitting for inters on lap 52 – it wasn’t yet wet enough and Vettel, who was in the lap after, changed to another set of slicks. As the track got damper, however, Hulkenberg got faster and managed to get alongside race leader Hamilton on the pit straight. If he could get the Force India stopped he’d be through.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

It was wetter than he thought, though, and as he tried to steer his car round turn 1 he lost the back end which clattered into Hamilton’s front right wheel. The McLaren driver was out of the race on the spot and Hulkenberg soon received a drive-through penalty. A sad end to what was shaping out to be the race of his career.

The rain was getting worse and Vettel – whose radio had stopped working a few laps earlier ­– pitted for inters. Red Bull wasn’t ready and a mad scramble ensued to get the tyres out and onto the car. It could have been worse, though, as Alonso decided to stay out. By this time it was a fully wet track and a lap 13 seconds slower than most other runners meant he would be well out of touch with the leaders when he finally changed his slicks.

He fed back in behind Massa on lap 58 and within a few laps he was let past into second. Vettel now had to finish seventh to seal the title and, despite the slow pit stop, that’s where he was. He wasn’t finished yet, however, as despite various calls from his team suggesting that he was just fine where he was, he went after Schumacher. By the time he made it onto the back of his Mercedes, Schumacher had actually moved over. A fitting end to his career perhaps, considering his relationship with Barrichello at Ferrari?

It mattered not as with a lap to go di Resta lost it on the run up to the pit straight and ploughed into the wall. He was fine, but the safety car was called out again and the Red Bull team had a very tense final lap, slowly counting down before Vettel crossed the line in sixth to seal the World Championship.

He duly did and a choked-up Christian Horner was quickly on the radio to tell him he was a triple world champion. “Oh my God guys,” was all Vettel could manage.

The title decider was always going to be an anxious affair, but with a wet/dry race and enough action to fill a season of racing the championship will feel even sweeter for the Red Bull driver.

As for Alonso – he’ll be gutted, he did everything he had to, but it just wasn’t enough. If Ferrari doesn’t come out fighting next year it’s going to be a very hard pill to swallow.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

A huge congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for sealing, once again, the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles.

reports  2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

Add your comments

53 comments on 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix report

  1. Pat Kenny, 25 November 2012 20:32

    It was an amazingly tense race. After 20 seconds it looked like Alonso’s title. Vettel’s fight back was amazing over the next dozen or so laps. Must say that again Massa could have beaten Alonso but he knows his place. You could not say that about Webber who pinched Vettel at the start and almost had him taken out at another point. I know many people will say that Alonso did not have the best car but the Red Bull was not anything like an obvious title contender for over half the year. Back at the summer break I would have had Vettel as the least likely of the front runners to take the title. On that basis, I think he is a well deserved world champion, again. His 4 wins in a row in the Asian rounds might be prophetic. What chances 4 titles in a row now that Red Bull seem to have produced the best car for the current regulations?

  2. Bill, 25 November 2012 20:42

    Congrats Vettel!!

    Charlie Whiting is The Beast. 666. There is no question about it. WIthout that sc car, Hulkenberg wouldv won about a minute ahead of Hamilton. As it is, the latter got a 2nd chance, had a great fight, and a very unfortunate but in no means on purpose move from Hulkeneberg put Hamilton out, and a RIDICULOUS BIASED penalty came onto hulkenbergs shoulders.

    Cleary there is one rulebook for Hamilton (he crashed into Massa at Silverstone 2011, deliberatly carrying way too much speed into the corner, continued, won the race, without ANY penalty) yet this much lighter contact ins lipperyr conditiuons robbed the race of its rightful winner.


    Thank God karma made no mistake on Vettel, and he rightfully won a third consecutive title. He can no retire for two years and Hamilton still wont rob his limelight. Good.

    Well done Red BUul!

  3. Ray FK, 25 November 2012 21:03

    This GP showed why I hate the qualifying with a race set-up as it makes getting pole a farce.They should go back like I said to flat-out qualifying and then re-introduce the Sunday morning warm-up and let the drivers start on any tyres they wish.I want to see the best drivers at their best all weekend.I also think Hulkenberg’s drive through penalty was very harsh.Drivers should only be punished for deliberate crashes , reckless driving and severe weaving/blocking not for any racing incident.Lastly the crash barrier that Di Resta hit was according to BBC pundit David Coulthard the same type that they use on american ovals and which I believe should be used more often on mordern circuits than the awful ‘tarmac blight’ which seems to infect most circuits,including now great tracks like Spa and Interlagos

  4. Robert V, 25 November 2012 21:17

    Great race – a fine finale to a topsy-turvy season, aided and abetted by the contrived rules of the time. I’m a Ferrari fan and have been since Niki in the 1970s, but come on Ed, lets not get sucked in too deeply to FA’s never ending line, “I did the maximum with what I had.” Let’s face it, he has been put in the shade by his teammate in the last 2 races and never looked to be a winner. And he has shown us all in recent years that he is not a person of honour. I feel that it was fate – he simply didn’t deserve to win – not a true champion. Congrats to Sebastien – he did what he had to do in difficult circumstances. Tough race, makes me think that in this time of contrived rules that it is time to do what my bro suggested some years ago; put a sprinkler system in all tracks and turn it on randomly from time to time – that will spice up the show for sure! Are you listening Bernie? No, of course not…
    One last thought – hasn’t it been great to see all the top cars circulating during the final qualifying session in the last two races? Qualifying used to be one of the highlights of a race weekend, but the silly tire rules have pretty much put an end to that. Let’s hope this tire conservatism carries on into 2013 and race fans will be given something to savour – who can fly faster in one lap – rather than looking at a vacant track with the fastest cars in the world sitting in the garage in order to conserve tires for the race. Makes me wonder – do race fans matter at all these days…?

  5. PeteH, 25 November 2012 23:26

    Once it was clear that a McLaren driver couldn’t win the WDC it was IMMENSELY satisfying that ferrari failed once again.

    Looking forward to3013, and more McLaren victories, more ferrari FAILURES.

  6. john miller, 25 November 2012 23:29

    Do you know there are slot-car tracks where you can change from one lane to another?

    And here, I feel, is the real vocation for F1 stewards, something they can really get their teeth into.

    OK, a draughty shed in Chelmsford, watching kids racing their toy cars might be a million miles away from Sao Paolo, but a least it would divert their attention from real motor racing.

    Anyroadup, congratulations to Button, Alonso, Massa, Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Vettel, great racing drivers all.

    Oh and Ron, if you really wanted to ger close to Carlos, remember that marriage is still an option. Never thought I’d see Mclaren use a rentadriver.

  7. Mario Pizzi, 26 November 2012 00:24

    In response to PeteH’s comments about being satisfied with Ferrari’s not winning the title, I hope you enjoyed today’s result. Without Hamilton and with that flake Perez in the lineup it will be a while before another McLaren championship.

    Yes I look forward to 2013.

  8. Tony Geran, 26 November 2012 01:44

    McLaren must be kicking themselves. This was a championship they could have won. Ferrari’s lack of pace and Red Bull’s reliability issues should have given them an edge but somehow they lost the plot with reliability or set up issues. Perhaps they spent too much energy on trying to keep Hamilton. Somehow I think both parties will rue his decision to move to Mercedes.

  9. @bonedwarf, 26 November 2012 02:29

    A fitting finale to a mad season. Edge of the seat stuff until the final ten laps. The safety car finish was a damp squib sadly but oh well.

    Dearly wanted Alonso to win as he was the best driver this year IMO, driving that frankly second tier quality Ferrari. Still he gave it a heck of a shot. When he stayed out on slicks and nearly lost it coming out of turn 3 I swear I wanted to capture it and dub “GODLIKE” onto it, the sound heard in many videogames. Just immense reactions.

    Really fun race. Disappointed Poison Drink Racing won (seriously, would anyone drink that if they really knew what was in it?) but them’s the breaks.

    Is it March yet?

  10. Michael Spitale, 26 November 2012 03:25

    Brilliant title for Vettel.

    I am curious if Massa is allowed to race fair and square next year or more of this #1 and #2

    Also a great year for Kimi coming back to the sport

  11. Mario Pizzi, 26 November 2012 03:59


    Massa racing fair and square? He did nothing for 16 grands Prix and he moves over for his teammate in the hopes that they bring a title to Ferrari all the while earning millions.
    Surely you must be kidding?

  12. John Read, 26 November 2012 05:04

    Does anyone think the expensive weather radar systems are better than someone out in the open telling them whether it’s raining or not?

  13. Steve W, 26 November 2012 07:33

    Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

    However, for me the Driver of The Year has to be Fernando Alonso for the way he kept that dog of a Ferrari in the hunt all year…

  14. tom, 26 November 2012 10:21

    everyone keep saying about alonso is the best driver this year… please correct me if im wrong…
    1. he need everyone to be penalized, including massa so he could get his podium… (even maldonado penalty in this round is by alonso complained)
    2. he made the huge turnback point mistake in brazil, by squeezing kimi in “leave a room every time” rule he complained in bahrain againts rosberg… karma bitch…
    3. he need every of his rival DNF by mechanical failure or un-reliable car to be on top… vettel, button, hamilton, every top driver suffered those…

    this guy is such an arrogant to blame kimi on his fault at suzuka this year, claiming that kimi should ease the throttle…
    and instead feel sorry and reflecting his mistake he says “today we dont finish, next race maybe vettel…” what vettel replied? “with this up and down season, anything could happened, al we need to do is to focus to ourself”

    he has been arrogant before in the last press interview in 2011 season… when asked about youngest double wdc vettel achievement “today vettel win the championship, but next season we will see who is the 3times youngest wdc” what vettel replied againts it? “maybe you forgot, schumacher is the youngest 7th times WDC”…

    congrats seb… keep humble… dont let alonso provoke you…

  15. kowalsky, 26 November 2012 10:44

    what a race.
    Hard to understand than what took ayrton 10 years to achieve, the german has made it look easy , in just five.
    As i said, Hard to understand..

  16. C C, 26 November 2012 12:37

    Superb Race, absolutely full of incident and littered with Drivers ‘going for it’ as the season got to a ‘its now or never’ stage.

    Vettel really earnt this title and has hopefully proved the ‘how is he in traffic’ brigade wrong. Great fighting drive. There is no doubt he is in the same league as Hamilton and Alonso.

    Great to see Hulkenburg having a go too. The move which led to him and Hamilton crashing had to be made. He realised that it was hero or zero time and that this was a rare chance to give Force India a win, so good on him for having the bottle to push for a pass and get stuck in.

    Great to see the historic Interlagos circuit produce yet another classic. Tilke must be scratching his head as to how something can be so entertaining without a ‘switch-back’ hairpin in sight.

  17. C C, 26 November 2012 12:41

    Forgot to mention, great to see Massa back on form. Though he’s an Interlagos specialist, its good that he’s has the measure of Alonso over the last few races. Lets hope next year its Massa pushing for the title – although he’s not one of the Fastest 3 Drivers, he can certainly be in the mix.

  18. Carlos Sanchez, 26 November 2012 12:50

    Kowalski, that says nothing… SV is a very good driver, on a great car bear in mind! And thus your assessment involving the great Ayrton is pretty invalid, it’s like comparing it also with the likes of say Stirling Moss, surely even better yet he never got to be World Champion whereas much lesser driver have done so, but that’s also part of life.

  19. Listerine, 26 November 2012 13:03

    You should have got Mr Nigel Roebuck to write up the title decider. For such an eventful race, this is a very pedestrian and uninspiring report.

  20. john, 26 November 2012 13:33

    It was shame to see the talents of Button and Hulkenberg in manageing the tricky early conditions on slicks count for nowt when the saftey car came out. Perhaps the points scoring positions at least could be released progressively from the saftey car period to re sestablish the gaps hard won. Its not beyond the realms for the technology available to achieve and it would be a less contrived race.

  21. Frank, 26 November 2012 14:06

    Seb Vettel is a true and rightful champion, but Alonso would have been a true and rightful champion too if Seb had had a DNF yesterday. Becoming world champion is not just down to a pilot’s skills and the performance and reliability of his ride, but also down to a certain amount of luck on the track (good or bad). And in the 2012 luck department Seb was, overall, slightly luckier than Fernando. It really does not hurt for the champion –any champion– to admit that. Seb easily could have –and perhaps should have– been run into by someone else, when he had his first lap spin at Interlagos. That would not have been cruel or unjust, considering what befell Fernando in Belgium. IMO the ease with which Seb cut through the entire field during two races is ridiculous. For me this shows that there’s a lot of nono’s occupying F1 cockpit seats nowadays. When they see the #1 RBR nose in their mirrors, they ease off the throttle and move aside without putting up a fight. And safety cars more than made their mark too. Seb is good, even great, but he has been darn lucky on more than one occasion too. Considering Fernando’s results this year, Fernando would have been champion if he had not been eliminated in Belgium and Japan. It’s simple mathematics. Whether Fernando is to blame for these eliminations (or not) is irrelevant. He may be arrogant and unsympathetic to some, but I was heartbroken yesterday, because Ferrari narrowly missed out on the title for the third time in five years (Massa 2008, Alonso 2010 and 2012). All titles were, in the end, decided by other drivers actions.

  22. Ray T, 26 November 2012 14:51

    Vettel deserved 2012, RBR deserved 2012.

    Alonso will have to mope again all next year if he continues to insist on having a weak #2 driver that cannot take points away from his rivals. This is Alonso’s downfall, he is an immensely talented driver who is delusional enough to think he can win a WDC without the team, and a team mate. Domenicali has to show some leadership and not let the drivers make the decisions on the #2 seat. Does anyone really think anyone in Italy, aside from Alonso, wanted to re-sign Massa for 2013?

    Vettel won because of his talent, and Mark Webber’s consistent results and help developing the car from the middle of the pack in the beginning of the season.

    Brazil…awesome track…fantastic non-DRS opening laps (yes, F1 drivers can actually draft and out-brake!), one wonders why Bernie hasn’t wiped it from the schedule. Brazil proves again that F1 can be great again on classic tracks and with low grip.

  23. Ray T, 26 November 2012 14:54

    Frank , was Vettel’s punt from Senna lucky? Was Alonso’s missing the pit entrance in the rain Vettel’s luck?
    Lucks wins a few GPs, luck does not win a WDC.

  24. Doug Meis, 26 November 2012 15:33

    Both Alonso and Seb had their lucky/unlucky races during the year. I tend to agree that Seb was a bit luckier. I was astonished that he was not out on the spot Sunday after that hit. That was lucky – all the other cars involved were done for the day.

    Alonso and Vettel are both great drivers. I think the real difference this year came down to the RB8 over the F2012. Vettel showed his brilliance by consistently making the most of that advantage. Alonso showed his brilliance by consistently hauling the F2012 onto the podium and winning races against drivers in faster cars.

    I hope to see the shoe on the other foot at some point as it will be fantastic to watch Vettel with his back against the wall in a non-dominant car much as he did during his Toro Rosso days.

  25. A.S. Gilbert, 26 November 2012 15:52

    Brazil was an entertainment in a 3 rings sort of way.
    Vettel’s trio does not imbue me with the feeling I had about Stewart’s, or the resonance of Fangio’s.
    Seb is a very polished pilot, but an aspect of “silver spoon” career wise, I find hard to warm to. These runs upward through the field are not really racing in the car’s he had. The out of corner traction is other worldly.
    I do thinks he’s a decent chap, considering so much, so young.
    Lewis has had a similar path, albeit in mystifyingly less stellar gear too often.
    Lament his forced exit, but don’t want to trash Hulkenberg too harshly. Impetuous, not evil.
    When damp, it’s slippery Nico ! Remember next time, call Lewis to patch.
    Make Martin W. sorry, NEXT year !
    The drive trough penalty for Nico was malodorous. Geez Charlie, recently work in Indy Car ?
    My true champion is Alonso, so much more, with enough less some are humiliated to say.
    Co-contributor Frank’s comment mirrors much of my sentiment.
    MSC retires with a solid, but over yielding drive, the gimme to Vettel shores up future sentiment, over past.
    Kudos to Button, usual fine drive in the topsy turvey . Massa again really the best Ferrari, although not much in it.
    Rumour’s that several seat changes are coming, I’ll rue losing Kamui and Hekki at very least.
    As a proponent of 26 car grids, worried HRT, maybe Marussia, have lean prospects.
    Satellite one car team’s using factory supported cars might be an answer , numbers and quality.
    The early season promoted high expectation for a down to the wire fight, albeit with more contenders.

  26. John Saviano, 26 November 2012 15:52

    I thought FA deserved the title this year, and it looked like it might happen partway thru the race. However, SV’s “never give up” attitude served him well once again, and for that he is worthy. True that Newey gave him a VERY good car, and McLaren simply can’t fully get it together. Too bad Ferrari can’t give FA a good car. A very tense finish to the title chase. Disappointing to me, but that’s the way it goes. Good for Button to take the win. It seems Hamilton is starting to see the downside of his decision.

    I must say that the contributors to these threads shouldn’t get so worked up. It is a “sport” after all. Nobody is a particular villain, nor an angel.

  27. Ray in Toronto Canada, 26 November 2012 16:00

    What a cracking Grand Prix!

    Shame that the FIA did everything to aid Alonso:

    First, the Maldonado grid penalty to move Alonso up to 7th on the Grid; Then, a Safety Car to wipe out massive, hard-fought leads built up by McLarens and Hulkenberg so Alonso could close right up on P3; And, then, Hulkenberg’s drive-through penalty, leaving only Button ahead.

    And what about Massa?

    Massa was again the faster Ferrari driver. His blocking/backing up of Webber into an inevitable tangle with the avalance of cars that were falling all over themselves, however, was painful to watch.


    Vettel, to me, is the greatest of his generation.

    Vettel’s 3-In-A-Row is greater than the achievements of Fangio and Schumacher. Here’s why:

    1. The FIA has leveled the field in this era of “show” and it’s much harder to win now than 2000-02. Ask Hamilton and Alonso!;

    2. The depth of driving talent is greater vs 10 years ago;

    3. Webber (twice a Monaco victor) was allowed to take wins/points from Vettel. The Aussie even squeezed Vettel into T1 yesterday!

    The Ferrari Number 2s – then, as now – were NOT allowed to do so.

    4. Renault cost him Valencia win, Monza 4th and 22 Grid spots in Abu Dhabi.

    History will see Vettel as an All Time Great who’s led RBR against the might of McLaren and Ferrari.

    [Webber, in comparison, finished 6th in the Title!]

    Anyone think Alonso could stomach a Straight-Up fight with Vettel taking over Massa’s seat in 2014?

  28. JCR, 26 November 2012 17:21

    A good afternoons racing with lots to enthral and many congratulations to Sebastian on a well won third championship. Lets also be a bit more gracious in praising Jensen Button on another superb drive in very challenging conditions.

    It takes real talent and skill to drive in conditions like that and he certainly put Lewis in his place when the rain started falling, as did the brilliant young Hulkenberg. A great shame for the pair of them that their skill and understanding of the conditions was destroyed by the deployment of the safety car.

    I have to have a little chuckle at all those who say McLaren are now on the downward path with Lewis leaving, we will see will we not at the end of next year. The only ball dropped by Whitmarsh and co in my opinion is the signing of Perez; how the hell they didn’t sign up Hulkenberg amazes me.

    In a moment of reflection I see many comparisons with the current RBR set up with that of Ferrari in the mid 70′s. A young, fast and very focused lead driver backed up by a vastly experienced hard racer. The latter when having one of his special days quite capable of blowing the doors of the young star.

    Not forgetting of course that both were helped by having arguably the best car. Once again many congratulations to Sebastian my preferred winner of the two in contention, as there appears to be something to dark and sinister about Fernando for my taste.

  29. Piero Dessimone, 26 November 2012 17:39

    One of the nicest races of the last few years. Herebelow my evaluation for each driver who scored points during 2012.
    Vettel 10 : you do not win 3 championship in a row unless you are one of the all time greatest
    Alonso 10: for figthing till the end with a car that was far from being the best.
    Raikkonen 8: splendid come back. For me 10 for using an helmet with Hunt colours in Monaco
    Hamilton 9: a good year spoiled by car reliability
    Button 8: his driving finesse is always shining in difficult track conditions
    and car reliabilty has been an issue also for him
    Webber 7: Monaco and Silverstone are the only highlights of the season
    Massa 6: improved in the second half of the season
    Grosjean 6: an interesting driver but too many mistakes
    Rosberg 7: China was the highlight of his season but the car gave him to many problem for the rest of the season
    Perez 7: he could be a star but in a top team we will see if is world championship material
    Kobayashi 6: I like him but sometimes he is not properly reading the races
    Hulkenberg 6: because he did not win yesterday otherwise 7
    Di Resta 6: interesting driver
    Maldonado 7: for winning the Spanish GP otherwise 5 for the amount of mistakes he made loosing a lot of points in a good car
    Schumacher 6: for the Monaco practice
    Senna 6: for scoring some points
    Vergne 6 : see above
    Ricciardo 6: see above

  30. Donald N. Mei, 26 November 2012 17:51

    Congratulations to Vettel. Clearly, one of the best. I’m also pleased to see Button win another. Next year he will be team leader so we will see if he can rise to the occasion.

    Oh, and Charlie Whiting demonstrated complete stupidity in penalizing Hulkenberg. Having served as race director over the years for a number of club events I must say I am not at all impressed by his judgement.

  31. Bill, 26 November 2012 18:55

    Indeed, that penalty still has me all riled up. Nico lost the back end because of a slightly tighter radius, because of that Lotus. It was very unfortunate and by no means a reckless move. Lets hope we see Hulkenberg do more of these great races. He looked very mature leading the McLarens.

    As for Vettel, well im sure Jacky Stewart is already busy thinking of ways not to count Vettel as an all time great. Seb himself was very down to earth in an interview:

    “I’m not holy, I make mistakes like everyone else but I think the way I was brought up was to be honest and admit if you do something wrong. Yesterday in qualifying three, on the first run, I made a mistake. I was pushing hard but I overstepped the mark and maybe in that regard qualifying wasn’t perfect but then I have no problem to admit it. As I said, I was brought up that way to be honest and I also believe that’s a reason why we succeeded in the end.”

    I think one of his most formidable weapons is that he is so clever and mature for his age. He might have a few tantrums on he radio during the race, but overall this is a thinking man. When Alonso was his age he wasnt always so cool. Hamilton shows on a weekly basis hell never learn. That is the difference I think.

    Alonso and Vettel are the top two guys in F1 right now. They grind out the results when their car isnt up to it. ALonsos car is more than a second per lap slower than the McLarens and the RedBulls, yet he still made it to the podum, again. So while I think Vettel finally made himself a legend, I think driver of the season is Alonso.

  32. Mikey, 26 November 2012 19:38

    I’m glad the race went to JB. A shame too that Hulkenberg was penalised. Fortune didn’t favour the brave. LH (& the rest) were only in contention because of the safety car. Reminded me of Rosberg’s (Keke) Monaco lesson in ’83.
    Looking forward to 2013. Will Ferrari ever hit the ground running again? Who will win a race first – LH or McLaren? Can Kimi build on 2012? Will the “New Teams” convince us they should be there? – Still waiting.
    How the Winter drags by!

  33. JCR, 26 November 2012 20:15


    Some top observations there. How anyone in their right mind could penalise Niko Hulkenberg for that overtaking move defeats me. What are those idiots that run F1 trying to do,prevent all reasonable and legitimate overtaking manoeuvres by handing out a penalty when it goes wrong.

    I could say a lot more but it was downright wrong to penalise the lad.

    The reference to Keke’s Monaco drive in ’83 is enough to make anyone go dewy eyed. The guy was a legend and deserves far more accolades for his ability. For me the last racer that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

    I also really hope that Enstone give Kimi a car to warrant his ability next year, the man’s comback has been exceptional made even more impressive by the testing restrictions that are imposed these days. So much for the clowns who said he would be back in the bar eating ice-cream by mid season!

  34. Ray in Toronto Canada, 26 November 2012 20:26

    I’d like to make some observations and debunks some myths about the cars, if I may.

    This idea that the Red Bull was “dominant” and the Ferrari was a “dog” is a Joke!

    Firstly, Webber – a double Monaco winner – finished only 6th in the Championship. If the RB8 was so “dominant”, why didn’t Mark finish 2nd or 3rd in the title?

    That Ferrari was good enough to take 2nd in the WCC. This inspite Massa being nowhere until August.

    Secondly, Ferrari had the BEST reliability of all cars. It was at a 100% rate for Alonso.

    Renault alternators, meanwhile, cost Vettel a win at Valencia (which went to Alonso) and 4th at Monza. Vettel, thus, only had control over 18 GPs, not the 20 Alonso was allowed mechanically.

    Thirdly, although 1 lap speed was it’s Achilles Heel, the Ferrari was very good in RACE TRIM. Massa was the faster Ferrari driver at 3 of the final 5 meetings and, had he been allowed to truly race, there’s no telling where he would have ended up at, especially, Austin and Interlagos.

    The RBR too was off the pace on 1 lap qually pace in the first part of the year and it, by no means, was any faster than McLarens through 2012.

    Hamilton had more Poles and McLarens won 7 Grands Prix…but should have won 10 (Spain, Singapore, Abu Dhabi). The McLaren was FASTER than the RBR in 2012.

    To me, however, Vettel made a difference. The RBR was vulnerable in a straight line/under DRS and it was down to him to pull out Jimmy Clark-Like opening laps.

    Vettel is, simply, an awesome driver.

  35. Michael Spitale, 27 November 2012 03:00

    Ray.. I could not say it better myself.

  36. John, 27 November 2012 03:19

    I’d have liked to see Alonso get it, myself. But I can’t say Vettel is an undeserving champion. It was nice to see him having to fight for it on Sunday though, and all credit to him for fighting back from the first lap incident and a poor pit stop. I can’t understand why everyone seems to feel the need to “prove” who is best by means of carefully chosen statistics and tit-for-tat arguments: to my mind, I don’t especially care who wins, as long as the racing is good. And sadly – with the exception of the last three or four races – it’s been a bit dismal this year. Still, it seems that Pirelli may be getting tired of having their comedy tyres disintegrate in five minutes on the telly every race weekend, so all we need now is for DRS to go the same way. Then perhaps we can have some proper racing again.

  37. Frank Butcher, 27 November 2012 03:40

    Yes, John: DRS must go. If I wanted to see magic mushroom video games passing, I’d, uh, play video games! The entire DRS era should have an asterisk next to it in the record books.

  38. Piero Dessimone, 27 November 2012 12:06

    My previous post was referring to the Brazil race as a good entertainement for a couple of hours and an overall evalution of the drivers. I do however share the opinion of a lot of people that DRS is a gimmick that shoul be banned,Nico Hulkenberg penalty was totally unfair and I am fed up with all the artificial pit stop to change tyres.

  39. Bill, 27 November 2012 15:23

    The first thing that needs to go for proper racing, is Charlie Whiting removed. Im amazed not more journalists are asking for his removal, for he is the anti-racing-christ.

    With Whiting, there will never be iconic racing again, and smart drivers like Nico Hulkenberg or Jenson Button will never be able to cash in on breathtaking choices like the one last saturday. Indeed, Vettel will remain an unproven, youngest ever 3 times world champion (see what I did there? ;) as long as guys like Whiting keep on ruining the show with their safety car extravaganza.

    As a side note to mr Alonso: im a big fan of yours, but could you please stop talking about past or future races, and just say what went wrong in the current one?

    And, in that line, could we also get an honest review of the new car in the first week of testing, and not the vague line”well need to see the first 3 or 4 races where we are”? Its obvious that you knew the very first week this F2012 was not good.

    Oh, and a 2nd question, directed to Ferrari management: could you give the 2013 car a little more adventurous name than “F2013″?

  40. Peter Grinnell, 27 November 2012 16:11

    Amazing finale to a fantastic championship in 2012

  41. Ray in Toronto Canada, 27 November 2012 16:18

    I see MANY aren’t happy about 2 Race Control decisions:

    1. Safety Car wiping-out very hard-fought, huge leads by Button/Hulkenberg and, to some extent, Hamilton.

    2. Hulkenberg drive-through penalty robbing him of a Top 2 finish.

    I think it was done to benefit Alonso.

    Alonso needed a Podium to win the title. Further, he needed P2 or a win once Vettel started to get up into the points again following a RBR strategy error which put the charging German on Slicks at the wrong time.

    Enter the FIA: 2 atrocious calls!!!

    Alonso, in fact, blew a 42 point lead in the title.

    It started in Japan when we saw him move over on Kimi at Suzuka. So it’s not as if his Japanese DNF was someone else’s fault.

    Then, Massa out-qualified him at Austin and Interlagos but was purposely held to boost Alonso’s points.

    No help from the FIA-Massa was enough to prevent Alonso’s collapse.

    The collapse was of alarming magnitude, coinciding with Massa’s upturn who then was ordered to slow down (Korea), drop grid spots (US) and become Tail Gunner (Brazil).

    In comparison, Webber squeezed Vettel into T1 at Sao Paulo, nearly killing his young team-mates title hopes!

    Gary Anderson (BBC) provides insight:

    “Red Bull allow their drivers to race early in the season, whereas Ferrari have a defined number one. If you take Red Bull and give Vettel their big points from every race, Vettel thrashes Alonso comprehensively.”

    Vettel is the worthy 2012 champion.

  42. John, 27 November 2012 17:18

    Interesting how you don’t see fit to mention Schumacher (and indeed Webber, at a different point of the race) leaping out of Vettel’s way, all but saluting as he swept past. As I said above, I’m not a particular fan of any driver, but neither am I daft enough to believe in absurd conspiracy theories about the FIA favouring one particular driver. Vettel (well, and Newey) won it and is obviously a deserving champion. Why you seem to feel the need to take anything away from this achievement by rubbishing his main opponent, I don’t know.

  43. Simon Park, 27 November 2012 17:19

    Congrats to SV — a worthy winner, if surprisingly difficult to warm to considering his sunny personality. Starting to look worryingly like another Schu…

    Congrats too to JB. Of course Macca will miss Lulu — Perez will look definitely second best there — but in Jenson they have another WDC in waiting. He may have lagged a tenth or two behind Lulu in sheer one lap pace, but he simply out-drove him at Interlagos and was a whole pit stop ahead when Charlie (who should be considering his position…) hit the s/c button.

    As ever, it will all depend on the car, and whether the boffins in Woking and Maranello can come up with something Newey hasn’t thought of…Roll on March.

  44. DH, 27 November 2012 18:06

    Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley: “I think the safety car was a joke. I thought we were playing NASCAR. We could’ve done that debris under double yellow flags.”

    Count another in the anti-Charlie Whiting camp. Await the day he and the stewards are willing to submit to public questioning just like the drivers and team managers do. Otherwise too much room for inconsistencies and machinations.

  45. Ray in Toronto Canada, 27 November 2012 18:20


    Webber not only didn’t help Vettel at any point upto the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix but he then, basically, squeezed him after getting off poorly again!

    You don’t see that? Others do.

    Others are also looking at why the initial SC was deployed. Force India, for instance, are calling it a “Joke”:

    There is only ONE reason why they brought out the SC. And anyone with any knowledge of F1 circa 2012 will tell you it was for “the show”. In this case it was to get Alonso within a few car lenghts of a Podium. A Podium that was absolutely the MINIMUM requirement for his title chances.

    In no way has Webber been to Vettel what Massa’s been to Alonso. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. To deny it makes no sense.

    I provided a link and a quote from Gary Anderson (BBC) in my prior post to illustrate the point. I suspect Webber probably got an earful for nearly killing Vettel’s title chances at T1.

    Red Bull can make it easier for themselves in future. They could replace Webber with a compliant Massa-like Number 2 for Vettel.

    If Red Bull did that, Vettel would destroy Alonso in the tables.

    I have never seen a driver drive the type of mind-blowing laps that Vettel uncorked between L2 and L11, from the tail of the field, in tricky conditions and with damage.

    If you look at his lap times, they were mind-numbing given the conditions.

    Only Senna at Donnington in 1993 comes to mind.

  46. Frank Butcher, 28 November 2012 01:26

    Bill, journalists today don’t know enough about racing to take a stand on anything. Almost to a one, it’s straight PR you get from them: all changes are good, passing is exciting, fans love it! That Whitmarsh from McLaren is the same; he said didn’t like DRS at first. But now he spouts the company line: Hey, Passing is good, fans love it! The crazy aero designs sent F1 down the wrong path, the constant safety car appearances deeply wounded it, and DRS has killed it off. Now GP racing is a soap opera about driver personalities….

  47. DH, 28 November 2012 02:24

    Ditto Ray. Got to say Mark as a person is one of my favorites but I was surprised and disappointed he squeezed Seb at the start thereby giving more space to Felipe and Fernando. He went down in my estimation with that, as I’ve been wondering if he’d rather anyone but his teammate won the title. His post race Seb accolades sound like the work of the Red Bull PR dept.

  48. John, 28 November 2012 02:27

    Well, I’m not abouty to get into a ridiculous my-opinion’s-better-than-your-opinion type debate, but all I will say is that I certainly saw (and was impressed by) Webber squeezing Seb into turn 1; I also saw him move over for him and heard him being thanked for that over the radio by Red Bull. Schumacher leaping out of the way I notice you haven’t addressed, so I won’t mention that since it clearly doesn’t fit in with your theory. ;-) As for the safety car, well I agree entirely that it was ridiculous. However, I’ve seen enough F1 in recent years featuring safety cars because it’s raining or because someone’s farted in the pit lane or whatever that I’m really not prepared to believe that this particular one was laid on for Ferrari’s benefit. You of course are free to come to a different conclusion, but I’m afraid I see such a theory as the work of a conspiracist.

  49. Ray In Toronto Canada, 28 November 2012 04:25

    DH and John:

    Greetings from the North!

    Gentlemen, I love Mark too. An Aussie with Grit in the mould of Jonesy who said what he thought. Gotta LOVE that!

    Having said that, Mark was no help to Vettel whatsoever in the 19 races leading to Interlagos…or at Interlagos when it mattered.

    I suspect it was a cynical “Thank You”. Further, FOM only let you hear the soundbites they want you to hear – and it’s never in real time. Neither you or I have a clue what was said to Webber during the Grand Prix.

    And, yes, I will address the Schumacher issue you bring up:

    Vettel was catching Schumacher at almost 2 seconds a lap and Schumacher realized it would be foolish to compromise his own over-all race time fighting a silly battle with someone who he respected as a World Champion.

    It’s one thing when the driver behind you is 2- or 3-tenths quicker…but its entirely another when they’re zeroing in on you hard at a full 2 seconds a lap.

    I suggest you look at the lap times. It’ll confirm the rate of attack MSC from VET.

    My point – and Gary Anderson’s too – is that had Vettel been afforded a Massa-like teammate at RBR, he’d have wrapped up the title before getting to Interlagos.

    Comparing Alonso’s situation at Ferrari V Massa to Vettel’s situation at RBR V Webber is like Night and Day.

    It isn’t a level playing field as Alonso never has to worry about the other car being allowed to challenge him even if he’s out-qualified like he was at Monza, Austin and Interlagos.

  50. Bill, 28 November 2012 10:56

    @Frank maybe it could be nastier than that, and Press-acreditations refused by FIA if journos start slamming their officials for being clumsy, no good idiots, ruining a proper race indeed, whenever someone farts the wrong way.

  51. Phil M, 28 November 2012 13:18

    I recall that the FIA announced a while ago that the stewards were going to explain the reasons for their decisions. What happened to that? The explanation for Hulk’s drive through on the FIA website is “Causing a collision”. If that’s the only criteria there should surely have been dozens of drive throughs during this season.

  52. John, 29 November 2012 03:17

    Interesting …

    It certainly appears that he overtook under yellows. Is potentially losing a WDC proportionate, do you think?

  53. rhuairi macleod, 11 December 2012 12:38

    The Brazilian F1 GP 2012 was a very exciting race. Clearly Felipe Massa should have, at worst, finished second not third – again clearly quicker than his teammate Alonso. I only hope that 2013 brings out the best in Ferrari with Massa showing what he can really do – and by that I don’t mean being ordered to stay behind his teammate.

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