Constructors’ Championship: 1st
Points: 460

Drivers:

Sebastian Vettel
Points: 281
Best qualifying: 1st
Best race result: 1st

Mark Webber
Points: 179
Best qualifying: 1st
Best race result: 1st

Highlights

  • Two more world championships for the Red Bull super team.
  • Fourteen more podium trophies to add to the already bulging cabinet in Milton Keynes.

It’s interesting how much Vettel splits opinion. Some say he’s one the best drivers that has ever graced the Formula 1 grid while others put his three World Championships down to being in the best car. The latter has no doubt helped him, but the best drivers in F1 usually end up in the fastest cars. Once they’re there it’s up to them to deliver and this Vettel has done time and time again.

He likes putting the car on pole and leading from the front, but he’s also equally as devastating in midfield. The safety cars helped in Abu Dhabi, but to drive from the pitlane, and last, to third, was a testament to his tenacity and ability to scythe through the field – something he did equally well at Spa and in the Brazilian Grand Prix. It’s no easy task when you drive a car that has a very poor top speed.

Vettel, whatever you may think of his sunny disposition when things are going well, is an incredibly driven character, but he’s one of the best there is on the grid. Only outbursts aimed at Karthikeyan have blotted his copybook this year. But did he deserve the championship? Put simply, yes. He may well have had a faster car than Alonso during 2012, but it wasn’t that quick at the beginning of the year. Also if you add on the 25-point loss in the European Grand Prix there would have been less pressure at the end of the season. There’s no point in dwelling on ‘what ifs’, but the Red Bull was one of the more fragile cars on the grid.

season review 2012  Season review: Red Bull

Strangely, at the start of the season, when the car wasn’t as balanced as it was in pre-season testing, it was Webber that was getting the best out of it. That was until new updates meant that Vettel could put it on pole in Bahrain and then disappear in the race. It wasn’t all over for Webber, though, and the two victories in Monaco and Britain were perfectly executed. The Australian left the UK 16 points ahead of his team-mate, with every reason to be hopeful for another shot at the title. However, from then on his season started to unravel with the only highlights being two podiums in Korea and India, and a fourth-place finish in Brazil. By then, though, all eyes were on his team-mate. Webber struggled with poor reliability – the Red Bull alternator proving to be the Achilles Heel once again in the United States Grand Prix, but his performances also dropped away compared to Vettel’s.

Red Bull has shown many how an F1 team should be run over the past three years. Of course, it hasn’t been perfect (wing swop, Silverstone) and it does have one of the less modest budgets on the grid. However, Christian Horner signing Adrian Newey and allowing him the freedom to operate how he liked has been one of the decisions of the decade. As long as the current team stays in place you would be mad to discount them from the 2013 title fight. The regulations are stable and Newey’s design team isn’t known for going backwards. And as for those ‘Vettel to Ferrari’ rumours – would you leave Adrian Newey on his current form?