Vettel World Champion as Button wins in Brazil
25 November 2012 – Sebastian Vettel has become a triple Formula 1 World Champion as a remarkable Brazilian Grand Prix ended under the Safety Car. Jenson Button took victory following a collision between Nico Hülkenberg and Lewis Hamilton, as Vettel fought back to sixth place after being hit and spun down to last on the opening lap.
It was a clean start, but a cautious one for Vettel as he lost positions. At the front, Felipe Massa sized up Button for second as Alonso took to the outside line and found himself fourth. Intense drama followed immediately, at Turn 4. Kimi Räikkönen ran off circuit as Vettel was tipped into a spin by Bruno Senna. Both Senna and Sergio Pérez were out on the spot, as Vettel rejoined with heavy damage and at the very back of the pack. At this point, it looked highly likely that Alonso could become the 2012 World Champion.
As Adrian Newey assessed Vettel’s damage courtesy of a paper print-out, his driver stormed through the field and was already up to sixth on the ninth tour. Hamilton had decided to pit but proceeded to catch the two leaders, whereas Alonso had suffered a pair of scary off-track excursions at Turn 1. In the opening stages, Massa played shotgun for his team-mate as a charging pack – headed up by Mark Webber, who later spun on two occasions – threatened to pass both Ferraris. With debris littering the circuit on Lap 23, the Safety Car was called for to allow for a collective pause for breath.
Intensely heavy rain came in the final third of the race; Daniel Ricciardo gambled for full Wets as leader Button and the rest of the field survived with Intermediates. Alonso had risen to third after Red Bull made a tactical error by bringing Vettel into the pits too soon; the Spaniard then took second place as he was allowed through by Massa. Vettel, after another stop, sat seventh but was still comfortable for the title – and became even more so when compatriot Michael Schumacher, in his last ever F1 race, jettisoned sixth position.
Formula 1 now heads into a period of hibernation before pre-season testing begins at Jerez in February.
GPUpdate.net would like to thank every one of its readers for continued support across a fantastic 2012 season. Daily updates will continue throughout the break!