Yesterday was the final race of a crazy and unpredictable 2012 Formula One season. We saw 8 different winners in 8 races at the begining of the season as well as tremendous ups and downs at the front and back of the grid. There was controversy, triumph, elation, and anger. When it was all said and done it would come down to one final race in the home country of Ayrton Senna. Sebastian Vettel came into the weekend holding onto the points lead but thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s win at the USGP and Fernando Alonso’s strong finish, the Spaniard was still very much alive for the championship.
The weekend started off with Lewis Hamilton capturing the pole and his teammate Jenson Button coming in P2, locking out the front row. Right behind the two McLarens were the Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber respectively. In order for Fernando to win the title he needed to finish the race or finish at least 5 positions ahead of Vettel. When the race started the clouds opened up and provided a wet track for the start. As the pack bunched up at turn 1 Vettel spun which opened up a massive ray of light for Fernando.
For a long time it looked like Fernando might just pull through and get the points he needed to get his third world championship. However, staying ahead meant staying out on dry tires on a track that was becoming increasingly damp. Eventually Fernando had to switch to intermediate tires and just when he did the track dried up again. In fact the entire field made several tire changes to try and cope with very indecisive weather. Despite the shoe swapping Fernando managed to make it to second place while Jenson Button was leading the race. Although, Sebastian Vettel was in 7th place, exactly where he needed to be to finish 3 points ahead of Fernando and win the championship.
Just when it looked like Fernando might start pushing for the race win Vettel moved up to 6th place. Then on the final lap an accident brought out the safety car, locking in the positions thus giving Sebastian Vettel his third straight world championship title. Vettel is only the third driver in Formula 1 history to win three titles in a row. The other two are the great Fangio and none other than Michael Schumacher. To achieve such a task at only 25 years old will definitely put Vettel in the history books.
The finish of this race also meant the end of Michael Schumacher’s F1 career as a driver, Lewis Hamilton’s final race with McLaren, and the end of SPEED’s broadcast coverage of F1 in the United States. Times certainly are “a changin'” Let us hope they are changing for the better.
For now, you can watch SPEED’s final post race wrap up. Do me a favor and tell them thank you for 16 years of awesome coverage!
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]