Button wins and Vettel champion after epic Brazilian Grand Prix

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, Tim Goss (GBR) McLaren Chief Engineer, race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari celebrate on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (second) Ferrari, Tim Goss McLaren Chief Engineer, race winner Jenson Button and Felipe Massa (third)

Nov.25 (Reuters & Apex) Brazilian Formula One legend Nelson Piquet, charged with MC duties on the Interlagos podium, told Brazilian GP winner Jenson Button that he had just “witnessed the best F1 of his life” – and so it was as the 2012 season finale delivered one of the most dramatic races in memory, packed with incidents. The day saw Sebastian Vettel wrap up his third successive world title.

Jenson Button celebrates on the podium, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.Button told the BBC, “I’m feeling great. But congratulations need to go to everyone who took part in that race, it was crazy. It wasn’t just about driving the car around – it just felt wrong out there – but I had a lot of fun. It’s a pity Lewis wasn’t there at the end though. It started to clear up and the pace lifted and then the rain came down and it was just about nursing the car until the end. I’m glad in a way the safety car came out.”

But really the day was all about the showdown between Red Bull‘s Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

In the end, cutting through an afternoon charged with tension and unbelievable drama, Vettel became Formula One’s youngest triple world champion, at the age of 25, after a wet and wild Brazilian Grand Prix rollercoaster.

The German, who needed only a fourth place to be sure of becoming the first driver to win his first three titles consecutively, finished sixth after battling back from last spot on the opening lap.

Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31 collide at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.

It was enough, however, as his sole remaining drivers’s championship rival Fernando Alonso crossed the line in his Ferrari in second place with Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa third.

“You’re a triple world champion. You’re the man. You are a triple world champion,” shouted team principal Christian Horner over the team radio as Vettel crossed the finish line after what must have been one of the most nerve-racking races of his career.

Vettel ended the season with 281 points to 278 for Alonso, who would have been the youngest triple champion (at 31) had results gone his way on a day when the fickle Brazilian weather produced a thriller.

The chaos started right from the off, when Vettel fell back into the pack and was caught in a collision with Brazilian Bruno Senna’s Williams that left him facing the wrong way with a damaged car.

World Champion Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.

“There is visible damage, it is not the front wing, we cannot fix it,” he was told as he rejoined the chase with the whole race ahead of him.

Four laps later Vettel was assured that the data looked good and Red Bull technical head Adrian Newey had a massive, high-res photograph of the damage, taken at the driver’s pitstop to get a closer look from the pit wall.

Alonso, Vettel’s only real title rival, who had 13 points to make up, looked like he could steal it as the championship pendulum swung both ways over the 71 laps at the Interlagos circuit.

Alonso, who has not won a race since round 10 in Germany, reflected, “First of all I’m very proud of the team. We lost the championship before today, not in Brazil, this is a sport after all. When you do something with your heart and do it 100% you have to be proud of yourself and your team and we’ll try again next year.”

The Spaniard added, “I feel satisfied with the job and I feel proud of myself and the team. I think we gained so much respect from everybody this season. It was a good season. It was 20 races close to perfection, but we missed a little bit of performance through lack of ideas but we enjoyed it and fought until the end. We have to feel proud. We finished second today but it just wasn’t enough.”

(L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.

Massa, who was very emotional on the podium, said, “The second part of the year was preparation for next year. It was so emotional to race here and I think the race was fantastic. For sure, it could have been a better position than I finished but I don’t know what to say or feel. I just started crying, it is so amazing.”

The Safety Car was deployed twice, there were crashes, collisions, botched pitstops and constant uncertainty about the weather with black clouds overhead, occasional rain but not the torrential downpour that many had worried about, just as some had hoped for it.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had led from pole position but could not shake off team mate Button, who made a wise decision to do a long first stint, along with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Hamilton’s last race for McLaren before he joins Mercedes ended when he and Hulkenberg collided on the 54th lap as they came up to lap back markers into turn one.

Lewis Hamilton leads the start of the Brazilian GP

Hamilton said after his final race with McLaren, “A big congratulations to Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. They did a fantastic job. I feel OK. I am happy for the team that we got a win and feeling good for the future. I feel numb, a little bit like I did in 2007, it is mixed emotions at the moment. Sad that we were leading and I didn’t get to see through the race and also that I am leaving. But I am excited for the future and hopefully I will have a little bit of luck at some stage.”

As for the incident with Hulkenberg, Hamilton said, “The dude did not even come and say sorry. That is what happens when you are racing with the less experienced.”

Hulkenberg, who had led for much of the race, was able to rejoin but was given a drive through penalty that ended his hopes of a podium finish.

Australian Mark Webber finished fourth, ahead of Hulkenberg, in fifth in his last race for Force India before moving to Sauber.

World Champion Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme with Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 25 November 2012.Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher took a surprising seventh place for Mercedes in his last race in Formula One.

Schumacher was the first to congratulate Vettel when the newly crowned triple world champion climbed out of the cockpit of his Red Bull, and said afterwards, “I think it’s a nice ending I’m finishing off and he [Sebastian Vettel] is clinching his third title. I’m very proud of him and he’s a good friend of mine and lets see what happens in his future.”

As for life beyond F1, he added, “My emotions are under control at the moment, maybe later having a drink and hugging the mechanics it’ll become more sentimental but I’m looking forward to life after F1 now.”

Out of the points, Caterham celebrated 11th place for Russian Vitaly Petrov that lifted them back ahead of Marussia into 10th place overall in the championship – a finish worth millions of dollars to the team.

Subbed by AJN.

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos – 25 November 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 71 Winner 2 25
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 71 +2.7 secs 7 18
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 71 +3.6 secs 5 15
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 +4.9 secs 3 12
5 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 71 +5.7 secs 6 10
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 +9.4 secs 4 8
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 71 +11.9 secs 13 6
8 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 71 +28.6 secs 17 4
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 71 +31.2 secs 14 2
10 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 70 +1 Lap 8 1
11 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 70 +1 Lap 19
12 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 70 +1 Lap 22
13 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 15
14 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 70 +1 Lap 20
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 70 +1 Lap 9
16 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 70 +1 Lap 21
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 24
18 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 23
19 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 68 +3 Laps 10
Ret 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 54 Accident 1
Ret 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 5 Accident 18
Ret 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1 +70 Laps 16
Ret 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 0 Accident 11
Ret 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 0 Accident 12


  • fawxx

    So close, yet so far. Congrats to ferrari for taking it to the very end, to Alonso for a fantastic season, to Massa for recovering so well, and last not least to Vettel and RBR for being just this tiny bit better. Of course one could point to other incidents, but the Grosjean brainfade does hurt.

  • hillside

    like i said, it should been an easy win for Massa. he could easily challenged For P1 but then he finishes in 3rd??

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Given this race and the previous one Massa should be Ferrari Nr 1 next year, not Alonso.

  • rey

    why button was not allow alonso pass him? AAARGH!! 0A0*

  • Butterfly


    Your boy just won his 3rd title in a row at the age of 25 and you’re here bashing Alonso?

    You don’t care about Vettel, do you, you just want to bash Alonso.

    That’s what’s called mentally disturbed.

  • Abood

    VETTEL … U R THE MAN !!!
    What an A$$H@UL !!

  • Butterfly


    Yeah, it was the usual mix within a season.

    Star of the Year(TM) goes to Fernando Alonso, no doubt about it.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    if Massa regulary qualifies better than Alonso and he is faster in the races as well – as we have seen recently – then it is logical that he should be Nr.1 and Alonso just a defender for him.

    And, oh yeah, salaries will need to be adjusted as well.

    Me entiendes?

  • Butterfly


    Sallaries are good, but remember your mother demands quite a big pay every time she …

    Damn it, it’s censored.

  • Speedo

    Congratulations to Vettel on his 3rd WDC. If he had been knocked out of the race a DNF, it would not have been a fitting finale to the championship in a fantastic season.. Lady Luck was with him and thankfully he was able to continue and a great drive it was . He was definitely drained and a loss for words at his interview where he paid tribute to his team. Winning the WDC had not sunk in as he was still thinking he was close to losing it all. Good to see Jenson and McLaren ending on a high although Lewis being taken out by Hulkenburg – the third time this season. Of all the drivers, Lewis had the worst luck this season maybe it will change for the better at Mercedes. Massa should have been 2nd but then he is a great team player. Alonso – so near and yet so far. It was not to be although he drove fantastically throughout this season in a car that was not in contention with the Red Bulls and McLarens. Can’t wait for March 15th 2013.

  • Butterfly


    Fernando drove well, no doubt. His best-ever season.

    He got 13 podiums – more than Vettel – more points than last year, and Ferrari are 2nd in the WCC & WDC.

    Overall, an improvement over last year, and here’s hoping him & Ferrari go one better next year. After all, Red Bull finished 2nd in both championships in 2009 before pounding the next year.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    No doubt his best ever season. Just not enough to match the better.

  • Venezia

    Perfect ending for the Schumeister! That will do! You are the best! Baby schumeister will now carry on… I admire seb paying tribute to the schumeister till the very end. In winning what makes it difficult is to win some more! Schumi gave him 6th place gladly to assure him the crown and as for massa he should have kept 2nd place. Didn’t make a difference anyway. That is why he’s crying. 7th place for the 7 times wdc. Not bad despite the crappy merc. Forza Schumeister! Regenmeister!
    Michael’s comeback saw the human side of him and has his contrubution to the team which should pay off for lulu’s send off from mclaren. Winning didn’t matter to him anymore just pure enjoyment and the thrill of being the best racer overtaker! That’ll do Schumi! Bowed out gracefully. Head held up high f1 is grateful to you forever and it is now in good hands thanks to the baby Schumeister! bravo! Triple worldmeister!

  • Venezia

    As said, Ferrari failed Alonso yet again!

  • jl

    Look at the face on the right podium!!

  • fawxx

    we moved 1 better this year. lets hope we can do it again next year, i fear only the wind tunnel.