Vettel F1 world championposted in F125 | 11 | 2012

    RED BULL'S Sebastian Vettel (pictured) stormed through from last place at the end of the opening lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix to clinch his third Formula One World Championship.

    The 25-year-old German is now the youngest-ever three-time world champ. He also joins legendary drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to win three successive world titles.

    In what was an astounding race, influenced significantly by changing weather conditions — which varied from dry, to damp, to torrential rain — McLaren's Jenson Button took the victory.

    But Button only inherited the lead after longtime leader and polesitter Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire when he was clattered by the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg as they battled for the lead.

    While the incident caused Hamilton's retirement, the German received a drive-through penalty and recovered to finish fifth.

    Vettel, meanwhile, was hit by the Williams of Bruno Senna at Turn 4 on the opening lap and, despite his car suffering damage, miraculously was able to rejoin at the back of the field.

    Within a few laps he was back in the top 10 and he managed his car's performance to ensure he finished sixth.

    That was enough for him to pip the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who finished second in the race behind Button, to the title by just three points.

    And Alonso, despite missing out on his third title, declared the 2012 season as his best ever.


    Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull:

    "It was an incredible race. They tried everything to make it difficult for us today," Vettel said.

    "Inside the car when you get turned around in Turn 4 for no reason, it's not the most comfortable feeling. I was quite lucky that nobody hit me from that point onwards.

    "I think it was the toughest race we had, but we kept believing and remained ourselves.

    "A lot of people tried to use dirty tricks, certain things that from our point of view that were beyond the limit and we never got irritated or distracted by that. We gave a big push to the end.

    "This weekend, people tried to push us in a certain direction by saying when it rains it will be difficult for us.

    "I think we have proven today that we like wet conditions as much as dry conditions, in that case today it even helped us a little. After 10 or 20 laps I was back in fourth or fifth, right behind Fernando.

    "Fortunately after the impact on the opening lap the front wing was intact, but in the dry conditions there was no pace.

    "It was really difficult. How do you try and keep calm? You just push and push and make a comeback."

    Fernando Alonso, Ferrari:

    "The championship was not lost here," he said. "The championship was lost when (Romain) Grosjean flew over my head at Spa, or when Vettel surprisingly only got a reprimand after qualifying in Japan.

    "There's been situations during the season that make you think of these three points, but that's the sport. Even though I finished second in the points I have never had such respect and the affection from everybody in the paddock.

    "This is the first time that I have got drivers, ex-drivers, teams, fans to say that we have done the best championship.

    "We'll be back as strong in 2013, because it would be harder to be stronger. I have a great feeling after 2012, by far the best year of my career.

    "We tried to do the best as usual. We were starting seventh and we finished on the podium again, like we have been doing all season. I think we didn't have the quickest car, as it has been obvious in all races, and it was a miracle that we were fighting for the championship here.

    "And it was a miracle until the final lap, because thanks to the team's perfect work we have found ourselves in this position. And even though we lost the championship today, we have to be proud to have finished second.

    "We are Formula 1 championship runners-up and not everybody can say that. And when you fight with all your heart and all your strength for so many months, without making a single mistake, neither the team or me, we have to be very proud."

    Jenson Button, McLaren:

    "That was one of the toughest races I have ever had," Button admitted. "The conditions were very tricky and at that point many times where you think inters are the right tyre.

    "You are locking up the tyres here and there. You just have to push to the limit and wait for the team to give you the info. It is not just about driving the car, you need all the info out there.

    "It was a really good race, and things were made difficult with the first safety car. The race was between me and Nico (Hulkenberg) then, so it was made a lot more difficult and when I came in I struggled.

    "It's sad that Lewis isn't here to enjoy his last race with the team but that is racing and these things happen.

    "I would like to bid him farewell. We had a good time together that last three years and we proved it in the first 10 laps when we had a good fight.

    "I don't think we expected to see a Force India fighting at the front today. F1 is closer in terms of regulations. Not having many regulation changes brings the field very close and we will see that next year.

    F1 Brazilian Grand Prix — Result:

    1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h45:22.656

    2. Alonso Ferrari +2.754

    3. Massa Ferrari +3.615

    4. Webber Red Bull-Renault +4.936

    5. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +5.708

    6. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +9.453

    7. Schumacher Mercedes +11.900

    8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +28.600

    9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +31.200

    10. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +1 lap

    11. Petrov Caterham-Renault +1 lap

    12. Pic Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap

    13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap

    14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault +1 lap

    15. Rosberg Mercedes +1 lap

    16. Glock Marussia-Cosworth +2 laps

    17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth +2 laps

    18. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth +2 laps

    19. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3 laps

    Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:18.069

    Not classified/retirements:

    Di Resta Sahara Force India-Mercedes 70 laps

    Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55

    Grosjean Lotus-Renault 6

    Maldonado Williams-Renault 2

    Senna Williams-Renault 1

    Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1

    World Championship standings (After 20 of 20 races):


    1. Vettel 281

    2. Alonso 278

    3. Raikkonen 207

    4. Hamilton 190

    5. Button 188

    6. Webber 179

    7. Massa 122

    8. Grosjean 96

    9. Rosberg 93

    10. Perez 66

    11. Hulkenberg 63

    12. Kobayashi 60

    13. Schumacher 49

    14. Di Resta 46

    15. Maldonado 45

    16. Senna 31

    17. Vergne 16

    18. Ricciardo 10


    1. Red Bull-Renault 460

    2. Ferrari 400

    3. McLaren-Mercedes 378

    4. Lotus-Renault 303

    5. Mercedes 142

    6. Sauber-Ferrari 126

    7. Force India-Mercedes 109

    8. Williams-Renault 76

    9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 26

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    Jim McGill

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