Phuket Sports: F1 -The 2012 season’s “Buttoned’ up

PHUKET: Interlagos was a stunning event with weather changes that kept us guessing to the end. It was thrills and spills all the way, to end one of the great F1 seasons in splendid form.

Sebastian Vettel had a chance to lose the Drivers’ Championship, and it seemed he had done so at the beginning of the race.

Fernando Alonso had a chance to give it to Vettel the way he did in Abu Dhabi in 2010. Neither driver did that. Vettel battled back, and Alonso battled on.

Lewis Hamilton had a chance to leave McLaren on a win; it might be his last chance for a long time.

Then Nico Hulkenberg looked like he would finally make Force India a winner. In the end The Hulk took Lewis out of the race, and we did not get what we wanted to see.

Jenson Button drove excellently to show he can be a No 1 driver, and Felipe Massa also drove brilliantly.

It was bitter-sweet to see Michael Schumacher in his last race, and it was disappointing to see him allow Vettel to pass him so easily. But Schumie never played a correct game.
Button won the first and last races of the season, and one in the middle. He will be humming.

Hamilton left on a low, headed for the outer darkness that is Mercedes. McLaren is looking so strong. Red Bull has a great car, but it was not as strong as McLaren at the end of the year.

Force India has had a technology agreement with McLaren, which has helped them a lot, but that ends this season. So, for next year, Force India has announced a further 50 million pounds sterling investment.That is interesting, given the apparently shaky state of its promoter’s businesses.

Alonso came second but his body language looked as if he had come last. I understand he could hear the Red Bull pits blasting ‘We are the Champions’ above the podium ceremony, which will have hurt. He will be thinking how it might have been if he had not failed to finish in Belgium and Japan.

There will be hard questions at Maranello after being behind Red Bull, McLaren and, in the last couple of grand prix, behind Williams and Force India.

Alonso said: “We were clearly slower than them in pace so this is something we must improve next,” he added, “We can be a little bit slower but not that much and this year it was something strange, combinations that allowed us to fight until the end. But, I’m not sure we’ll be this lucky in the future.”

Next week I shall give a round-up of the season, which was a year of two distinct halves.

But for now it’s a long wait to the next race.

— The Digby

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