The Top 5 from Interlagos
Published 28th November 2012 - Written by Craig Norman
And there we have it – 2012 is over, and what a firecracker of a finale we were treated to. The final race Badgerometer of the season tries to find just 5 from the chaos in Brazil, so buckle up Badger fans!
The main story was great, but the sub-plots were absorbing.
We all tuned in to see who would be crowned 2012 champion, right? What we were treated to though was one of the best Grand Prix in recent years, thanks to the stories that we were treated to up and down the grid.
We had Hulkenberg’s star turn, and Hamilton’s quest for the fairytale ending – both colliding in more ways than one. Kamui Kobayashi’s potentially last drive in Formula One yielded a scrap with Vettel (which involved fuel to conspiracy theorists thanks to yellow-and-red flags), one of the title contenders. Michael Schumacher’s last ever F1 drive went from a lap down to finishing a strong 7th.
The battle between Caterham and Marussia was also a joy to behold. At one point, Glock and Kovalainen had worked their way into the top 10 throughout all the chaos – a rarity in itself – but the best was yet to come. Petrov managed to squeeze his car ahead of Charles Pic to get 11th at the finish. That’s the best result any of the new teams have ever got, but the irony was there to behold; the money gained from finishing 10th in the Constructor’s race may mean that the Russian loses the drive so Heikki can stay on for 2013.
It was classic F1 thrills and intrigue from start to finish. Incredible.
Another race, another Kimi classic
Oh Kimi. Never change, please.
So, after trying to escape back onto the racetrack and getting lost, he was naturally questioned about it;
“Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pitlane, but you have to go through a gate.”
“I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again…”
He’s just brilliant, isn’t he?
Felipe Massa – Master Wingman
It was all about the supporting cast to the main players in the first part of the race, and no-one played their role to perfection quite like Felipe Massa. The home hero had a job to do – protect Fernando and help whenever possible – and he pulled it off, and then some.
Take the end of the first lap. Mark Webber hassled Felipe coming over the start/finish straight and moved to the outside to pass the Ferrari. Felipe defended his position, and the resulting battle created a gap that Fernando Alonso pounced on. Was it fluke that the Spaniard got through? Maybe, but you can’t help but think it was orchestrated.
When Webber retaliated, Massa was there harassing the Red Bull as he tried to make the move. He provided the distraction, and Fernando was safe for a while longer.
The obligatory yielding of placement happened later – let’s face it, it was a dead cert to happen – but the way he backed up his teammate from lights to flag was impressive, especially considering the fact that he had to yield on home turf.
Fernando did everything asked of him…
Only one driver can be World Champion each and every year, but through the course of the season opinions will be made. It’s through virtue of what Fernando Alonso achieves each and every race this season that he managed to get that Ferrari car into a near-championship winning position by Brazil. His season has been characterised by maximising all opportunities and only missing out when others missed their braking points.
After it was all said and done, you just knew that Fernando had given it his all in Sao Paulo. The fact that he’d managed to do what was asked of him – getting on to the podium from 7th on the grid – and still missed out just showed how tight the battle had become. Even with Vettel’s first lap antics.
One thing can be said about Fernando in 2012 – he couldn’t have given any more than he did.
…but Seb did more to make history.
But then you have to give credit to our new champion (or current champion?). There’a a little saying in life that you make your own luck, and it felt on Sunday afternoon that Sebastian was going through a trail and error process.
For the second time in two races the German wunderkid had to fight his way back from being last. And just like Abu Dhabi his quest was aided by a pair of safety cars, but this race felt like Seb was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat for 2 straight hours.
There was the collision with Senna – again, another Abu Dhabi comparison – then the fight back through the field from 24th to 6th over just 9 laps. Then the fight with Kobayashi, a broken radio, a ill-advised switch to slicks then another stop for inters that put him in 10th and ultimately out of it. Yet he still fought back, and got that position he needed so badly.
Ultimately, the arguments will rage well into winter about who deserved to win the title this year. No one will be right, as both did. Sebastian just scored the most points.