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Jenson Button drove a supreme race to take an excellent victory for the McLaren team at the season ending race at the Interlagos circuit in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Button as a result of his 15th career victory stakes his claim to step into a team-leaders role within the McLaren team with Lewis Hamilton departing to the Mercedes team next season. Fernando Alonso's best efforts could not clinch the drivers' title that the Spaniard has been longing for, as despite finishing in a magnificent 2nd place, the F2012 did not match the class of the Red Bulls or the McLarens for most of the season. Alonso finished the season with 278 points, 3 points shy of Vettel who claimed a historic third Drivers' Championship. Felipe Massa finished in an excellent 3rd place in his home GP, in what was a Ferrari 2-3, which was enough for the team from Maranello to finish runners-up to the Red Bull team in the Constructors' Championship.
Mark Webber finished in 4th place in an incident packed encounter whilst Nico Hulkenberg came in a slightly disappointing 5th place having led the race for a considerable number of laps on a day on which he might have well won had it not been for a small error. The drive of the day belonged to Sebastian Vettel who after a spin on the very first lap clawed his way back to finish in 6th place. At 25 years, the Heppenheim born Sebastian Vettel rewrote the record books to be crowned the youngest ever Triple World Champion in Formula One history stealing Ayrton Senna's longstanding record, in a career which threatens to scale new heights. It is a fitting tribute that the German ace would wrap up a third consecutive title on the bounce, to beat Senna's record on the legend's home turf in Sao Paulo.
Michael Schumacher made the most of conditions to finish in 7th place in his swansong race as the German bids farewell to the sport after three struggling campaigns with the Mercedes team.
Jean-Eric Vergne, Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen completed the final points scoring positions. Lewis Hamilton could not bid farewell to his McLaren team in style as he was bundled off the track by Hulkenberg, who attempted a tough move past the British ace who was leading the race till that point in a near faultless performance.
Start of the Race:
As the five red lights went out for the final time this season, the title protagonists - Sebastian Vettel starting from 4th place on the starting grid and Fernando Alonso lining up in 7th place on the grid were the cynosure of all eyes at the Interlagos circuit. With a historic third world title up for grabs come the end of the race, it was a scintillating start to proceedings with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso off to storming starts with disaster striking the Red Bull team as Vettel spun heavily to drop back to 20th place after a collision with Ayrton's nephew Bruno Senna. It was a McLaren 1-2 as Hamilton led Button safely into the Senna Esses at turn 1.
On lap 2, Fernando Alonso performed a daring move to breeze past both Felipe Massa and Mark Webber who locked horns heading into turn 1, whilst Alonso drove on the inside of the duo up into 3rd place. Vettel was not done though by any stretch of the imagination as the German set the fastest lap of the race enroute to starting his climb back up the order with the Red Bull ace running in 12th place.
On lap 6, there was drama everywhere, as Alonso ran wide into Turn 1, with the mistake allowing Nico Hulkenberg to drive past the Spaniard into 3rd place in an excellent drive for the Force India team. At the head of the order there was no love lost between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as they traded the race lead with every passing lap with Button nosing ahead of his teammate. Webber meanwhile suffered the same fate as Alonso as the Aussie spun his RB8 into turn 1, dropping him down the order into 16th place.
It was swiftly turning into a Sao Paulo classic as Vettel's recovery was nearly complete as the German ace was swiftly up into 6th place chasing the Ferrari duo of Alonso and Massa who were running in 4th and 5th places respectively. Down the order, Romain Grosjean suffered a huge shunt after locking his tyres up which brought a premature end to the Frenchman's race.
On lap 11, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel lead a train of cars into the pit-lane as all drivers swapped to the intermediate tyres as it was a game of high speed pitlane poker at its very best.
Alonso recovered positions with consummate ease after his pitstop as the Spaniard was running in 4th place behind Hamilton, whilst Hulkenberg was all over the back of Button for the race lead. Vettel meanwhile was running just 3 seconds behind Alonso.
On lap 18, Hulkenberg aided by massive slipstream breezed past Button for the race lead heading into turn 1, whilst Alonso pitted again to swap to the medium tyres, as Vettel and Webber also pitted to swap to the hard tyres. Raikkonen after an incident packed start to the race dived into the pits to swap to the medium tyres. Rosberg suffered a right-rear puncture on his Mercedes with the Mercedes team taking evasive action to bring the German into the pits.
On lap 24, the safety car was deployed after debris was scattered all over the track with Hulkenberg and Button deciding to take advantage to dive into the pits as both the drivers swapped to the hard tyres, although they lost their whooping 47 second advantage over 3rd placed Hamilton. Alonso was 4th ahead of his chief title rival Vettel who clawed his way back into 5th place.
As racing got underway again, Hulkenberg had a textbook start as he opened up a gap to the McLaren duo behind him, while Vettel was caught napping at the restart as Kobayashi got the jump on him for 5th place, with Webber taking evasive action to avoid colliding with his teammate heading into turn 1.
There were cars slipping and sliding around with Hulkenberg safely away from all the DRS enabled drama behind him. Massa pulled off a sparkling pass on Vettel for 6th place in a DRS enabled move, with Vettel dropping back at a worrying rate. Schumacher meanwhile was at his defensive best as the wily German was under immense pressure from the lone surviving Lotus of Raikkonen for 11th place.
Massa was a man on the move as he performed a stunning move past Kobayashi to blast ahead into 5th place, right behind his teammate Alonso who was running a second behind Button in 3rd place. Webber hit a damp patch on the track setting the Aussie into a slide although no damage was done with the Red Bull ace maintaining 8th place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
It was a bitter blow for the Force India team as Hulkenberg got a wheel on the white line, spinning his car which allowed Hamilton to assume the race lead. Hamilton set the track on fire to open up a 2 second lead over Hulkenberg who dropped into 2nd place following his spin.
On lap 53, the Red Bull team performed a run of the mill pit-stop on Vettel who swapped to the medium tyres. It proved to be a poor decision by Red Bull, as they forced to call Vettel in on the very next lap as the rain began falling heavily again, with the driver now swapping to the intermediate tyres.
On lap 55, Hulkenberg was extremely aggressive in his attack of Hamilton for the race lead, but unfortunately the duo collided into Turn 1, with Hamilton suffering severe damage bringing an unfortunate end to his last race with the McLaren team. Hulkenberg was handed a drive through penalty for causing an accident, with Alonso promoted into 3rd place behind his teammate Massa. Vettel was running in 7th place, but had the Sauber of Kobayashi closing in right on him.
Schumacher in his swansong race was suddenly running in 6th place, while the Ferrari duo of Alonso and Massa swapped positions allowing Alonso to move into 2nd place behind race-leader Button. Vettel though became the odds-on favorite to clinch a 3rd consecutive title when he eased past Schumacher for 6th place.
Button took a sensational victory in Brazil ahead of Fernando Alonso who finishes runner-up to Vettel in the drivers' championship with teammate Massa finishing in 3rd place. Vettel finished in 6th place to wrap up the world title by 3 points, as a result being crowned the Youngest ever triple world Champion in Formula One history!
Top 10: Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen.
Photograph Courtesy: Red Bull Racing
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