It’s been a furious fingernail biting season, full of crashes, drama and record-breaking historical moments, but finally after 20 races, 2012 Formula 1 World Championship closes, crowning Redbull and Vettel its ultimate winners.
It was a season of parallels; as one German retires, another takes the 2012 driver’s title and the youngest driver in history to win three consecutive world titles. Button opened the season winning in Australia back in March and added his third win after Belgium by taking the podium to close and winning in Brazil, taking his 15th win. The wet weather played into the Brits hands beautifully, while other drivers were troubled by tyre choice.
Vettel is only the third driver to have this record, alongside Michael Schumacher who won five in a row between 2000 and 20004 and Juan Manuel Fangio who won four from 1954 to ’57. Together Vettel, despite damage to the rear of the car, and Redbull took the year by storm taking all the winnings; Redbull succeeding in winning Constructors title for the third year in a row.
Schumacher retires a second time, 308 races later, after returning to Mercedes in 2010, leaving Brazil in 7th place and leaving the season standing at 13th. Claiming Brazil was the ‘fun’ race, he dominated F1 throughout his career with results unmatched by any other driver. With 91 wins, 68 pole positions, 77 fastest laps and 155 podium finished Formula 1 says goodbye to the German.
“It’s a strange sort of coincidence that I’ve ended my Formula One career now in P7, which was my first ever qualifying result at Spa-Francorchamps 308 races ago,” Schumacher said. “It also occurs to me that I was driving with the No. 7 on my car today and that I have seven world championship trophies in my cabinet.”
It’s duly noted that this season will be remembered in history to be the only to have seven different drivers win over the first seven races. From then on the challenge began and there was no clear winner until the final laps of the Brazilian GP.
In a race of twists and turns and reverse driving from Vettel, the season’s last race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was definitely not one to be missed. After McLaren’s back to back win in the last two races, the team took to the podium with Button after front runner Hamilton was knocked out by a tap from Hulkenburg on his 54th lap. Conveniently Hulkenberg finished 5th after falling from first, where he held the lead for more laps than his competitors.
Button said: “I want to congratulate the whole team. This is the perfect way to end the season. We have had ups and downs and to end on a high bodes well for 2013.”
Unfortunately finishing 2nd meant Alonso wasn’t the champion but put up a good fight to overtake Massa on lap 67, and Ferrari claimed 2nd in the Constructors championship, warding off McLaren.
2013’s calendar begins in Australia on March 16th.