November, 27 2012
Sebastian Vettel was crowned Formula One World Champion on Sunday, after finishing sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paolo.
The German driver overcame an early collision which put him in last place after the first lap, in an incident-packed, weather-affected race that was won by Jenson Button. Vettel rode his luck as he spun 180 degrees after being hit by Bruno Senna’s Williams in the Turn Four incident, which also took out Sergio Perez’s Sauber.
“It was an incredible race, everything that could have happened to make it more difficult for us today happened,” said Vettel. “! I got turned around in Turn Four for no reason and was heading the wrong way; so I had to get straight and was lucky no one hit me.”
With nearest title rival Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso crossing the line in second, Vettel’s sixth-place finish was enough to secure his third consecutive world championship, making him only the third driver to win three back-to-back titles after Juan Manuel Fangio and fellow countryman Michael Schumacher.
Vettel could hardly contain his emotions: “It’s unreal what has happened. To win a third title, especially here where one of my heroes Ayrton Senna was from, it’s difficult to put into words. I was crying in the car but my radio wasn’t working, so I’m happy for that!”
At just 25 years old, Vettel is now the youngest driver in history to have won three world championships. While 2012 was not the kind of dominant, record-breaking season of last year (where he recorded most poles in a season, most laps led by a driver and wrapped up the title with four rounds to spare), Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner praised the German’s determined driving.
“Sebastian has driven better than ever this season and has fought his way back into this championship; he’s never given up and you saw that in today’s race,” he said.
“After being knocked out of position and going to the back of the field with a load of damage, he fought his way back into the race, he never gave up and it was a race of maximum stress today with rain and no rain, then incidents, spins, you name it, it happened – safety cars, radios that didn’t work – but you have to reflect on the season as a whole.”
Horner added: “Over 20 races the team has done an unbelievable job and Sebastian truly deserves this World Championship.”
Vettel finishes the 2012 season on 281 points, with five GP wins plus five podiums finishes, six fastest laps and six pole positions in total. Three points behind Vettel in the championship was Alonso, with Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen placing third. McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished fourth and fifth with 190 and 188 points respectively, while Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber was sixth.
Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez completed the championship top ten line-up. Nico Hulkenberg, who leaves Sahara Force India to drive for Sauber next season, placed 11th in the title race while team-mate Paul di Resta finished a very respectable 14th.