After 19 races, it all came down to the last one to decide the winner of the 2012 season and boy o boy Brazil gave us one perfect yet crazy race. It had all ingredients to easily be a fitting season finale race. Button won the race with Alonso at P2 & Massa at P3. But it was Vettel having the last laugh with the 2012 World Driver Championship title. Hulkenberg almost had a fairytale race but he had to be content with only point finish while Di Rest spun on 2nd last lap. Karthikeyan may have raced his last F1 race but glad that he finished the race.
Detailed review in here:
Practice Sessions, FP1:
The forecast was rain on Saturday and Sunday with Friday remaining dry. It was quite sunny during the first session. All the team went through their normal program as many teams tried the 2013 development tyres given to them from Prielli. Hamilton stamped his authority with P1 as Vettel ended P2 and Webber at P3. SFI started on well as Di Resta ended P8 & Hulkenberg at P10. The top 11 drivers were separated within 1 second. Karthikeyan ended at P24 having ran only 13 laps while others did some 30 laps.
The second session too started under bright sunshine as teams took to the hard tyres allotted for the weekend. The mediums runs came right towards the end of the session. Once again it was dominated by RBR & McLaren as Hamilton made it two in two for P1. Vettel ended P2 with Webber at P3 as all the teams run about 30-40 laps. Di Resta ended at P10 while Hulkenberg finished off at P11 doing the long runs which was quite promising. Karthikeyan ran less once again as he ended at P24.
The start to Saturday was a bit cloudy and misty as rain clouds hovered around the circuit. The teams went on with their long runs at the start of the session ending with qualifying specification run at the end of the session. This time Button ended up at P1 continuing McLaren’s good form. Vettel was once again P2 with Webber at P3. SFI had a brilliant run in the session as Di Resta ended P6 & Hulkenberg at P7. Karthikeyan ended at P23 doing just 18 laps.
Clear battle on hands as McLaren continued their Austin form and Red Bull right behind them. Alonso & Ferrari were losing a lot here and the title hopes seemed like fading away. SFI looked pretty strong on Saturday with qualifying spec while on Friday they looked good on long runs pace. Karthikeyan had a better time after a troubled Austin weekend last weekend. The team had a clear strategy to run less, only they know the reason for that.
The session began under tricky situation as it had rained a bit post the FP3 session and qualifying. Most of the big teams opted to stay inside the garages letting the lower teams and some midfield teams to put rubber on track. Hamilton ended P1, Senna P2 & Button P3. Both the SFI safely made it through as Grosjean bowed out along with Caterham, Marussia & HRT. Karthikeyan qualified at P24 just 0.123s off Pedro’s time.
The track had dried out considerably by the second session as lot of rubber went on the track. It was all mediums tyres for teams running as they went for used set and the brand new one’s. Vettel took the fight ending at P1, Hamilton P2 & Button P3. Hulkenberg made it to Q3 with ease but Di Resta was bumped out after a late improvement from Massa. The Scot couldn’t improve on his last run.
The final battle was on but it wasn’t between the two title contenders here as it was a fight among the McLaren’s and RBR for pole. Hamilton, Webber, Button, Vettel were trading fastest times but it was Hamilton in the to snatch pole, his last with McLaren as Button made it 1-2 for the team. Webber ended P3 beating his teammate Vettel. Alonso was down to P8 behind Hulkenberg who had a great run in the SFI.
Qualifying went as expected but not with regard to Vettel who was only P4. Even Alonso was beaten by his teammate. With Maldonado’s penalty Hulkenberg moved one place to P6 while Di Resta moved to P10. With the car suiting the track very well, the team for in for a good haul of points in the last race. Karthikeyan’s main aim was to finish the race in the HRT.
Here we were for the final race of the 2012 season, at one point I was all excited for the race but on the other hand it was all sadness with the season getting over. The weather made it a lot interesting start to the race as light drizzle made it difficult for drivers to drive. Hamilton led the field after the start as the RBR duo had a terrible start. More so for Vettel as he spun at the first corner and ended up to be last on lap 1 whereas Alonso went up to P3 behind the McLaren’s. Hulkenberg had a great start as he was right behind Alonso while Di Resta was up to P7. Karthikeyan also went upwards as he was running around the P15 position.
As the rain picked up a bit, many teams went for the intermediates with only Button & Hulkenberg remaining on slick tyres. Before Hamilton’s pitstop Button had taken the lead after passing him. With Hulkenberg & Button still to pit, the gap between them and rest shot upto 70 seconds at one point but the SC period due to debris on track brought the field together again. Vettel was having a crazy race going up and down always, he also had a exhaust damage but the car seemed to be stable. Alonso meanwhile steadied his run in top 5. Towards the end of the field it was a tense battle between Marussia & Caterham for the 10 position in CC.
On lap 18 something special happened which one had never expected at least after yesterday. Yes, Hulkenberg was leading the race, Sahara Force India was leading the race. He passed Button with a great move on the start/finish line. He was lapping faster than the McLaren. Though his and Button’s advantage was cut down by the SC. Meanwhile, Di Resta went for the normal strategy but was still running well in points battling out with everyone around. Karthikeyan also managed to come in points but had to move down after pitstops.
Hulkenberg was leading the race well post the SC but a small mistake gave way to Hamilton as he became the new race leader. Few laps later Hulkenberg & Hamilton collided where Hamilton suffered a DNF while Hulkenberg managed to continue but was handed a drive through penalty diminishing his & the team’s chances of a possible win and podium finish. Button took the lead as Alonso moved to P2 and Massa right behind him at P3. Vettel was fighting hard at the back end of top 10 as he moved up places to P6, safe enough to give him his 3rd title. Pic & Petrov were in the battle of their own as the coveted P10 in CC became a title battle for them.
In the end it was Button who took the win, ironic that he started the season with a win and ended in the same way. Alonso ended at P2 with yet another faultless race and Massa at P3, adding 2nd podium of his season. Vettel ended at P6 which gave him his 3rd Driver’s title, making him the youngest triple world champion. Schumacher ended his career with a P7 points, scoring after 6 pointless races. Hulkenberg in his last race for SFI was on a fairytale run but in the end it was not to be as he ended P5. Di Resta summed up team’s unlucky season with a penultimate lap shunt suffering a DNF. The Di Resta’s shunt and Ricciardo’s late pitstop moved Petrov to P11 which secured Caterham’s P10 position in CC as Pic ended at P11. Have to say it was gutsy fight between the two teams. Karthikeyan ended at P18 and it was nice to see that both the HRT finished the race.
That was it form 2012 season, it was amazing to see that such a dramatic season got such a dramatic finish. I think both BR & Vettel deserved the titles and big congratulations to them. Force India ended with 109 points and at P7, it’s nice to see the team broke into the 3 figures club and also that they scored in every race in the second half something which only top teams managed to do. Karthikeyan finished in 12 races out of the 19 he raced and ahead of his teammate Pedro, we are yet to know about his future or the future of the team. This completes my weekend review blogs for this season, reviews and previews in the winter break. Until then have a safe time!!