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Christopher Bruce2012-11-25 15:27:30

Button Wins But Vettel Is Champion at Interlagos

A Rainy, Exciting Race Sees Ferrari at the Front but Red Bull as Champions

Hamilton leaves the team next year.

The last race of the 2012 Formula 1 season is here, and no matter what happened there was going to be a new, three-time World Drivers' Champion. 

It was an amazing race right from the start with the rain coming and going. Sebastian Vettel nearly lost it all in the first complex of corners and had mathematically lost the championship several times during the race. But he took the championship after all despite finishing in sixth. 

Red Bull took the constructors' and drivers' championships this year. 

Alonso raced as hard as he could though. He finished second both in the race and in the championship, and he put in an amazing job today. 

If there is a star of the race, though, it might be Nico Hulkenberg who led for about half the race and finished fifth.

Race Summary

Prior to the race, Pastor Maldonado was hit with a 10 grid spot penalty for ignoring an order by the FIA stewards to have the car weighed during qualifying. It dropped him from sixth to 16 on the grid and moved Fernando Alonso up one spot to seventh place. That put him three spots behind Sebastian Vettel. 

Pedro de la Rosa also received a five-spot penalty for changing his transmission, but he was last on the grid already, so it had no effect on the starting order.

Felipe Massa had an amazing start moving up to second, but the action came fast and hard. Into the first complex of corners there was contact between Senna and Perez. That spun Vettel and put him at the end of the grid with damage to the car's floor, which engineers said could not be repaired. Senna and Perez were knocked out of the race. Pastor Maldonado was also involved in the melee and was out. 

Already on the second lap, Massa had fallen to third. Webber was pushing him hard and at the start/finish line Alonso came around them both to slot into third. 

The rain was getting stronger and Alonso went off track to drop down to fourth on lap 5. The rain kept getting worse, and Grosjean lost grip on lap 7 to crash into the wall. Webber spun on the same lap dropping him down the grid. There had been three local yellows in the race in the first seven laps. 

Up front, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button traded the lead back and forth, but McLaren was still first and second. 

Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Alonso all came in for wet tires on lap 11. However, two laps later the rain was already starting to slow down. 

At the front of the pack on lap 17 were Button and Nico Hulkenberg. Neither of them pitted during the rain, and it played into their hands. The track was drying. Hulkenberg was pushing Button hard but struggled to pass because off of the racing line the track was still wet. On lap 18, there was just 0.3 seconds separating them. A lap later, Hulkenberg made the pass to take the lead. 

With the track drying, the Hamilton and Alonso came in for dry weather tires that took them down to fourth and eighth respectively. Vettel got the dry tires on the next lap and re-entered the race in ninth place. 

The safety car came out on lap 23 because of all of the debris on the track from all of the early race action. Hulkenberg and Button had 43-second lead over Hamilton in third place and nearly a minute over Alonso. Behind the safety car the order ran: Hulkenberg, Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel.

The safety car came in on lap 30. At the start, Vettel, Webber and Kamui Kobayashi went three wide into the first corner. Webber lost grip and went off track to lose several spots. Otherwise things stayed roughly the same immediately after the safety car.

The rain came back on lap 47. Hulkenberg lost the rear end of the car on the following lap to allow Hamilton into first. Hulkenberg rejoined in second. 

Hulkenberg went to pass Hamilton on the first corner of lap 55. Heikki Kovalainen was in front of Hamilton. Hamilton had to brake because of Kovalainen, and Hulkenberg lost the rear end and slid into Hamilton. That spun Hulkenberg and broke Hamilton's front suspension. Hulkenberg received a drive-through penalty for the incident. 

The safety car came out on lap 70 of 71 to end the season under the yellow flag. Paul di Resta slid into the wall on the way up to the start/finish line. 


2012 Formula 1 Brazilian States Grand Prix Results
Position Driver Team
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2 Fernando Alonso  Ferrari
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
7 Michael Schumaher Mercedes
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
11 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
12 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari
14 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
15 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
16 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
17 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
18 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
19 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
20 (DNF) Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
21 (DNF) Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
22 (DNF) Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
23 (DNF) Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
24 (DNF) Sergio Perez Sauber-Mercedes

2012 Formula 1 Drivers' Points Standings
Position Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 281
2 Fernando Alonso 278
3 Kimi Raikkonen 207
4 Lewis Hamilton 190
5 Jenson Button 188
6 Mark Webber 179
7 Felipe Massa 122
8 Romain Grosjean 96
9 Nico Rosberg 93
10 Sergio Perez 66
11 Nico Hulkenberg 63
12 Kamui Kobayashi 60
13 Michael Schumacher 49
14 Paul di Resta 46
15 Pastor Maldonado 45
16  Bruno Senna 31
17 Jean-Eric Vergne 16
18 Daniel Ricciardo 10

2012 Formula 1 Constructors' Points Standings
Position Constructor Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 460
2 Ferrari 400
3 McLaren-Mercedes 378
4 Lotus-Renault 303
5 Mercedes 142
6 Sauber-Ferrari 126
7 Force India-Mercedes 109
8 Williams-Renault 76
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 22


V 8 (90º vee)
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