Button Wins In Brazil, Vettel Takes Title

Jenson Button took victory in an utterly hectic grand prix where everyone faltered but him. It could have been a McLaren 1-2 but for Nico Hulkenberg colliding with Lewis Hamilton. The conditions ranged from damp, to dry to torrential but it was a similar scenario in which Button thrives. Fernando Alonso did everything he could, coming to the finish in second but it was not enough as Sebastian Vettel finished in sixth, the Red Bull driver taking the Driver’s Championship by three points. Felipe Massa sealed an impressive return to form in third position.

The race began in light drizzle and Vettel’s afternoon got off to a bad start as he slipped from fourth to seven as his title rival Alonso moved from seventh to fifth. Vettel clashed with Bruno Senna while the two men tried to go through turn 3 together, Vettel’s car spun around and was hit in an accident which forced Sergio Perez to retire early from his final race for Sauber. Now at the back of the pack, Vettel needed to drive one of the races of his live and did so, overcoming three pit stops, two Safety Cars and a broken pit radio to claim the points he needed to win the Formula One World Championship for a third time.

Jenson Button declared his race victory was claimed in one of the toughest races he has ever participated in. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise name at the top of the field and Button agreed as he did not expect the Force Indias to be in a challenging position for the win. Expressing disappointment at his team-mate Hamilton retiring in his last race for the team, Button wished Hamilton well for the future.

“One of the toughest races I have ever had,” said Button. “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.

“I don’t think we expected to see a Force India today,” he said. “F1 is closer in terms of regulations. Not having many regulation changes brings the field very close and we will see that next year.”

“It was a really good race, and things were made difficult with the first safety car. The race was between me and Nico 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.”

Alonso was praised by his team for his valiant efforts

As he has done on many occasions this season, Fernando Alonso put in a storming drive but this time it was not enough to win the championship despite coming home in second. Alonso was proud of his team for coming so close in a car which had been so far off the leaders at the start of what he called the best season of his career and said that his championship challenge had been severely dented by the two races which he failed to score in.

“The championship was not lost here,” said Alonso. “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.”

Massa was emotional on his home podium

Felipe Massa finished third, ending a season which started with speculation of the Brazilian being dropped by Ferrari. From Monaco onwards, his form picked up but it was in the final few races where he truly looked like his old self as he out-qualified Alonso in the final two weekends and was close to the Spaniard on pace, only having to let him pass in the final race for the Spanird’s championship challenge.

“I don’t know what to say or feel,” he said. “It was such an emotion to race here and I think the race was really fantastic.

“The second part of the year was preparation for next year. What happened during the year, everything came together.

“The first part of the season was a disaster but after that it was completely different, doing what I know, performance I know.”

“So many things happened from the last time I came through that [podium] door,” he said.

“It was actually not a great time of my career but I think I learned a lot. It was a life experience.

“The most important thing is to understand and go back to a good direction, which I always believed I could do.

“Coming back was a great feeling. I was competitive all weekend here, even in the race with the problems I had.

“I was always competitive and I think that is really what makes me proud to be here.”

Hlukenberg and Button were the leading duo by over 40 seconds before the second Safety Car

Nico Hulkenberg had one of the drives of his career with the German leading the race for a period before his clash with Lewis Hamilton following the second Safety Car ended the races of both men. He said he was still pleased with fifth as he ends his time with Force India and moves to Sauber.

“I’m not too disappointed,” he said. “Fifth place is still a good result.

“I think I’ve learned a lot in this race. My first kilometres leading a race, and fighting with the top guys, so it was pretty eventful and a hell of a race.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done and my drive. It’s not perfect but I’m still happy.”

“I think Lewis ran out of space with Heikki and was a bit irritated there. I obviously decided to make a move into Turn 1 and was on the damp side of the track and lost the rear a little bit. Unfortunately we collided.

“Looking at the incident I think it’s just one of those things in racing. I think he could’ve turned away a bit. But the way it worked wasn’t good for either of us.”

25 year-old Sebastian Vettel is the youngest triple world champion in F1 history

Sebastian Vettel was over-joyed to win the championship after finishing the race in sixth, and said that it proved how the Red Bull team can fight against adversity while not falling to “dirty tricks”. The now three-time world champion said he had showed his strength by coming back from some way behind and that the team had showed they can fight in wet conditions.

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

“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.”

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Schumacher was happy to see a fellow German be crowned champion

Michael Schumacher fell to the back of the pack in the opening laps before fighting a puncture to eventually finish in seventh. At the end of his 306th and final F1 race, Schumacher remarked that his afternoon reminded him of his race at the same venue in 2006 when he climbed up into the points following an early puncture.

It’s been a pretty big challenge because obviously I had the puncture and was at the back again,” said Schumacher.

“It took some memories back to 2006 when the same thing happened to me.

“Luckily I have the nature of not giving up and always trying to find a solution, and it worked out.”

Perez’ Sunday drive did not last long

Sergio Perez was disappointed to end his final race for Sauber, the Mexican getting caught up in the Senna-Vettel incident on lap 1. He said he was cautious in trying to avoid the incident but it could not be avoided.

A very sad way to end my career at Sauber,” Perez said.

“I was gaining some positions going into the first corner and then suddenly I was on the inside to try and avoid some contact and then everybody came into me – I think Bruno and Sebastian.

“So I had very big damage to the car. A very sad way to end my season.”

Marussia were very disappointed to lose tenth spot

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel were elated following the race but it was more a case of delation down the other end of the paddock as Marussia missed out on climing 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship to Caterham. The tenth place gives Caterham somewhere in the region of £10M in prize money which the 11th and 12th placed teams go on without. Marussia had been in 10th after Timo Glock’s 12th-placed finished in September’s Singapore Grand Prix and only missed out following Vitaly Petrov’s Caterham finishing the race in 11th, one place outside of the points. Team principal John Booth said it was tough to take after coming so near.

“Today is an emotional day for everyone involved with the Marussia team. Tenth place has eluded us after such a long fight and, naturally, ‘disappointed’ doesn’t even come close,” said Booth.

“We made all the right calls and our strategy worked out perfectly, but in the end we lost out due to factors beyond our control. Here’s to 2013, the advantage of KERS and some very encouraging signs that things can only get better for us.”

Brazilian GP Result

Pos Driver Team Time
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

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 6
Maldonado Williams-Renault 2
Senna Williams-Renault 1
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1

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