Monthly Archives: December 2012

Second Guessing

2012 was a truly fantastic season. Seven different winners in the first seven races, more twists and turns that the Monaco Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel clawing his way to just winning the World Championship. After the insipidity of the 2011 season, 2012 came as a shock to the system and as such, only a fool would be stupid enough to try to second guess the 2013 season, but that’s exactly what I am, so I’m going to try.

It would take me hours to take you through the entire grid, so I’m going to go through the top five teams and decide which team holds the chance of winning the 2013 World Championship (if someone from outside the top five wins, it will certainly be embarrassing!).

Starting off with Mercedes, we can see how awful their year was. Ross Brawn has one amazing head sitting on his shoulders but he failed to realise when he needed to stop developing the RFA on the Mercedes, and try to recover. Comparing him to a gambler, the situation was bad and yet he kept digging himself deeper and deeper and deeper, assuring himself that once they hit the gold, all would be good again. But Brawn was wrong and their never-ending pursuit of the perfect double DRS absolutely killed the team. The one win and three podiums was only a shadow of what seemed to be capable at the hands of a MGP W03.

Talking to Gary Hartstein recently, he told me “Every physician in the paddock agrees, you just can’t do Formula One when your forty, not in 2012”. But yet, Michael Schumacher did seem to have good pace at the start of the season before being absolutely blighted with mechanical failures in what has to be the least reliable car since Mark Webber’s 2006 Williams.

Looking at all the problems Mercedes faced in 2012, one would question why someone such as Lewis Hamilton would make such a silly error as to leave a World Championship contending team for such an unreliable future. He’s paid to drive, not to think, but his management made a big no-no in allowing him to make the move, even if a little monetary incentive was involved. Realistically will we see Mercedes fighting for the Championship? I couldn’t imagine so. They really need to pick themselves up and be able to know when to stop digging into a bad idea, and change to something worthwhile.

(c) Sky Sports

As for McLaren, how will they fare without Lewis? Lewis is one of the most popular drivers on the grid and he was holding McLaren up in both popularity and the amazing talent of pulling the best from a situation. McLaren had a whole host of drivers willing to jump into the hot seat when Lewis jumped ship, and I believe that they’re choice is something they are probably already regretting.

Sergio Perez has put in a fantastic performance in a couple of races but when he’s not on the podium, he’s always usually well down the field. A couple of good performances, although impressive, do not in my opinion, warrant him a seat at McLaren already. He has some problems that need to yet be ironed out. Look at his crazy dart up the inside of Charles Pic in Austin, or causing the pile up in Abu Dhabi. Since signing with McLaren before Japan, his skill has jumped straight out the window and combining this with the inevitable time needed to get to grips with the McLaren, I don’t expect the Mexican to shine.

Having said that, Jenson Button should not be understated. While not the best driver on the grid, he is very talented in both the wet and the dry, but he will be of no use to McLaren. You can’t win a championship with just one good driver. Ask Ferrari.

Speaking of whom, it took me a long time to decide if they will be ready to fight. Alonso did something unbelievable, pulling the dog of a Ferrari he was forced to work with, and turning it into a championship contending car, a car which came within three points of a World Championship. Yet, look at Fernando’s pattern. In 2010, in Silverstone, he told BBC “I will win the championship”. Despite the massive deficit to the leader, he put in a fantastic run and again came painstakingly close, to finish 4 points behind Vettel. The following year, he won just one Grand Prix, the British round. If 2012 has taken as much out of him as it would seem from the post-Brazil picture, then we’re in for a slow year for Ferrari. Felipe Massa has seemingly recovered and is starting to impress, but Fernando still shoulders the brunt of Ferrari’s hopes so if he is off form, the prancing horse will be forced to chase the bulls.

(c) LooseWheelNut.co.uk

Even I’m not silly enough to count Red Bull out of the Championship and I wouldn’t need to. Fernando Alonso was bang on when he said he was racing Adrian Newey. It seems that the design guru can’t be beaten. Red Bull’s prodigy, Sebastian Vettel, is going down as one of the best, like it or not. Mark Webber, his outspoken Aussie team-mate is talented, but not to the level of the German, although it is hard to tell as the RB8 seems to have been geared towards a German World Champion, not an Australian one.

So this means that Red Bull are going to grab the bull by the horns (that was awful, I’m sorry) and run away with it? No, I don’t think so.

Lotus F1 Team have slowly but surely been making their way up. Having lost Robert Kubica in the tragic Rally accident in 2011, the team were forced to look for a suitable replacement, calling Nick Heidfeld, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna in to try to make a difference, with two podiums in the first two races all there was to show for it. But in 2012, Lotus successfully coaxed 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen back into the world of Formula One, pairing him with Romain Grosjean who was also making his return to Formula One. Kimi Raikkonen showed his huge talent, finishing every single racing lap, but one, and finishing third in the Championship despite only taking one win, which no doubt will be vastly improved in 2013.

Romain Grosjean is hugely talented even though his reputation as a “first lap nutcase” does out shine this. Seemingly over his far too ambitious racing style, he can start afresh in 2013 and have what could be one of the best partnerships ever seen in the sport.

(c) PlanetF1.com

I know the idea of the article was to establish the most likely team to win the Championship, but it will be a very close call. One thing for certain is; 2013 looks likely to see a fight between Raikkonen and Newey, and it will certainly be a fun one.

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Bribe could lead to Ecclestone era end

Bernie Ecclestone has come out to admit that his reign as Formula One’s ringmaster could end if he is charged in a bribery case in Germany, revolving around the $1.6 billion sale of F1 to CVC in 2006.

The case involved relates to a $44 million bribe that Ecclestone allegedly paid to Gerhard Gribkowsky, a German banker, to allow the sale to CVC.

On the subject, Bernie said  CVC “will probably be forced to get rid of me if the Germans come after me. It’s pretty obvious, if I’m locked up”.

Gribkowsky was arrested in January 2011 and speculation has since arisen that suggests the Ecclestone could face corruption charges. However, even after almost two years of investigation, he has not yet been charged, admitting to paying Gribkowsky, but denying that it was a bribe.

On the contrary, Ecclestone says he had been told by Gribkowsky that if he was not paid, he would hand alleged details of Ecclestone’s  tax affairs to HM Revenue and Customs.

Last week, Ferrari chief, Luca di Montezemolo was quoted as saying “If Bernie is accused under process, I think he will be the first to give a step back in the interests of Formula One” adding, “The era of the one-man show cannot continue. We are slowly approaching the end of a period characterised by the style of one man who has done significant things”.

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Gary Hartstein Interview preview

Here is a short preview of my interview with Dr. Gary Hartstein, the former F1 doctor. The full interview will be available online soon, in both Audio and Text.

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December 26, 2012 · 5:54 pm

Not bad for a No. 2 driver

Mark Webber struggles in the shadow of his dominant team-mate, the young German taking the record books and throwing them out the window. His talent is often questioned but I’m always at the frontline of a debate to defend the Aussie, whom I believe to be extremely talented and one of F1’s best. 

Starting with the start, He began racing motorbikes when he was a kid, not moving to four wheels until he was 14. Yep, You have Lewis Hamilton, earmarked as one of the best, beginning karting when he was 8. The Aussie didn’t start until almost double that, yet he has still fought his way tooth and nail up through the teams into the best team on the grid.

As I mentioned, he has had to fight his way up. Unlike Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel, he didn’t have a team nurturing him and pushing him along with an almost 100% chance of a seat. No, Mark had to start at the bottom. The very bottom. He joined F1 in 2002  and straight away stormed the grid, bringing his Minardi home in 5th place, despite driving by far the slowest car on the grid. This trait of wringing the neck off his car and extracting every sinew of performance from it have come to be recognised as a Webber trait, much like close friend and fellow competitor Fernando Alonso.

He battled with the Minardi for the rest of the season but despite no more points finishes, he was awarded both Autosport and F1 Racing’s Rookie of the Year award, aswell as being compared by Peter Windsor to Nigel Mansell, as Mark expressed similar raw talent.

His career with Williams from 2005-2006 is often used as a point against him, but his lack of success with the team really can’t be blamed on him. Look at 2006 for example when he suffered a whopping EIGHT mechanical failures, including an engine failure in Monaco while fighting for a podium, starting from the front row. This kind of mechanical failure over and over and over would break a person, except for the aptly named Aussie Grit.

Signing with the laughing-stock of Formula One in 2007 was questioned, as even though he’d been blighted by bad luck, his talent, courage and charisma surpassed the retirements and he was highly regarded in the paddock. He proved his critics wrong, showing undying determination when he fell ill with food poisoning in Japan. Vomiting in his helmet during a ridiculously wet race, which would be no walk in a park, he denied his engineers prompts to come in, instead racing around with vomit swirling around his helmet. How many drivers would do that these days? Then again, Mark’s efforts were for 2nd place and they were later ended when Sebastian Vettel in a Toro Rosso got caught out and smacked into the back of him, forcing a retirement.

When Mark won his first race in 2009, he was recovering from a drive through penalty at the start of the race, and even with the twenty-second or so addition to his race time, he still cruised to a fantastic win. Followed up by another win in Brazil, he was left with a taste for winning and a burning desire, quenched with wins in Catalunya, Monaco, Silverstone and Hungary in 2010.

He was close to winning the championship in 2010, indeed he was backed by most people, Murray Walker for example, but he threw this chance away in Korea with a spin into the wall in the wet. He eventually lost the championship by 15 points.

Obviously, the man has faults. One such example is his 2011 campaign. Loosing the championship in 2010 combined with not being able to get to grips (excuse the pun) with the new Pirelli’s cost him dearly, being gifted his sole win of 2011 when his team-mate, who had won the Championship in spectacular fashion, thanked him for his loyalty to the team and moved over. Without this, Mark would have gone a full season within out a win.

Yet, one only has to look at Mark’s overtake on Alonso on Eau Rouge in 2011, or his overtake on Fernando Alonso around the outside in Luffield in 2012 to see that there’s life in the old dog yet. Or look at his hiding of his broken shoulder in 2010 or his two fractured ribs in 2005, so that he could race; this guy is committed.

I thoroughly admire his unending commitment, determination and his unwillingness to back down to team-orders and I think he’ll be a worthy opponent in 2013, the Year of the Oz?

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Grosjean staying put at Lotus

Lotus became one of the last teams to finalize their 2013 pairing when they announced that Romain Grosjean had beaten the likes of Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen and Bruno Senna to the much coveted seat.

The confirmation coincidentally came not 24 hours after the Frenchman won the prestigious ‘Race of Champions’ in Bangkok. The 2011 GP2 World Champion this year made his return to the pinnacle of Motorsport, having had a hugely unsuccessful debut in 2009. He proved himself in Bahrain and Hungary, grabbing 3rd aswell as Canada when he finished 2nd. He looked set to win in Valencia before an alternator failure on his usually reliable Renault engine struck him from the race.

“It’s fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2013,” he said today, “It’s superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. I’m really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia. I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula One and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year,” he added.

“There are a lot of exciting developments occurring behind the scenes at Enstone and I am very excited with the prospect of the E21. I’ve already had my seat fitting and spoken with all the personnel involved with the build of the new car; I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

Lotus team principal, Eric Boullier added: “Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season. With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead. Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.”

This announcement leaves just three seats open; Marussia , Caterham and Force India; Expected to be filled by Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi, respectively.

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Team 12: Red Bull

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Ben Sweeney gave to me… Red Bull

(c) AutoMobilSport

Red Bull have had the same driver pairing for longer than anyone else on the grid, having kept Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber as their driver’s since 2009. They had a mixed 2009 season, good 2010 season and an absolutely fantastic 2011 season in terms of dominance. For example, between the two drivers, they grabbed 18 of the 19 pole positions in the season, loosing Korea to Hamilton. It was a fantastic run of form and it came as a huge shock when McLaren waltzed into Australia to really out do the Red Bull’s, placing their cars on the front row while Red Bull could only manage 5th for Webber and 6th for Vettel. They pulled some good race pace out of the car though, Vettel finishing 2nd while Webber finished 4th; his best ever race result in Australia, particularly good as he had been involved in a first corner shunt.

Vettel had a dismal race in Malaysia, tangling with Narain Karthikeyan who he later branded a ‘cucumber’. He had a strange incident near the end of the race when his engineer, ‘Rocky’, came on the radio to tell him to pit as they had to retire the car. He then immediately came back on to tell Vettel to stay out, seconds later telling him to pull over immediately as they had a KERS problem. However, Vettel kept going for the remaining few laps, finishing in 11th, while Mark Webber raced on to finished 4th, as he had in Australia. China brought a strong enough race for the team Webber outscoring Vettel when he finished 4th for the third consecutive time, while Vettel came home in 5th.

In Bahrain, Red Bull finally claimed their first win, following on from Vettel’s pole position on the Saturday. He managed to fend off a very feisty Kimi Raikkonen to grab the win for Red Bull ahead of both Lotus’. Webber finished (Guess where?) Yes, in 4th, for the fourth time in a row. Vettel in 6th and Webber in 11th in Spain was just a break from form before Mark Webber won in Monaco. He started from pole (qualifying 2nd but winning pole after Schumacher’s 5 place penalty was enacted) and the Aussie could not be touched, leading to the flag as Vettel finished in 4th, just off the podium.

In Montreal, Vettel was trying to win the race on a one stop strategy while Hamilton took a two stop strategy. But when the Brit started catching Vettel at a whopping 1.5 seconds per lap, Vettel conceded and pitted, finishing the race in 4th while Webber finished further down the field in 7th. Valencia came next, and with it, a sure Vettel win. He was leading by such a massive margin, despite a Safety Car, and no one could touch him, until the gremlins in his engine made his alternator fail, robbing him of a second win. Webber, starting from 19th, had a fantastic race to finish in 4th place, right behind Schumacher on the podium.

He carried this great form onto Silverstone where he qualified in 2nd place. On race day, he pulled off a spectacular pass on Fernando Alonso around the outside of Luffield, demonstrating his skill and the enormous trust between him and the Spaniard. He won the race while Vettel finished behind Alonso, in 3rd place.

Vettel headed to Germany, hoping for to finally bag a home win. He couldn’t pull it off against a dominant Fernando Alonso and when he was deemed to have made an overtake on Button off the track, he was demoted from 2nd to 5th post race. Webber had a poor enough race, finishing 8th. In Hungary, Vettel finished 4th, setting a fastest lap in the process. Webber finished 8th after being bizarrely and seemingly unnecessarily called into the pits in the closing stages of the race, and then getting stuck behind Bruno Senna.

(c) Fox Sports

Both Red Bull’s managed to avoid the first lap pile up in Belgium, which let Sebastian Vettel close the gap to Alonso when he climbed from 10th to 2nd while Webber finished 6th, loosing 2nd in the championship to the German. Monza was a dismal race for the team as both cars failed to finish in the points, both retiring in the last couple of laps, still being classified for having completed 90% race distance. Vettel was the victim of yet another alternator failure while Webber spun hard at the Ascari chicane, ruining his tires and damaging part of the underside of the car.

Singapore was much better for Red Bull, taking full advantage of race leader Lewis Hamilton retiring, to give Sebastian Vettel a win at the night race while Webber finished outside of the points when he was penalised for overtaking Kobayashi off the track. In Japan, Romain Grosjean bizarrely accelerated right into the back of Mark Webber into turn 1, spinning the Aussie who was dropped to the back of the grid, eventually finishing 9th, Webber later branding Grosjean a ‘first lap nutcase’ while suggesting that he ‘may need another holiday’, following on from his numerous first lap crashes, including a pile up in Belgium which saw the Frenchman awarded a one-race ban. Vettel went on to win the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position, setting a fastest lap in the process, gaining him a ‘grand-chelem’. Alonso crashing at the start saw Vettel close the gap in the Championship by 25 points.

In Korea, Vettel led a Red Bull 1-2 ahead of 3rd placed Fernando Alonso, while he led from start to flag in India, Webber finishing on the podium, in 3rd, loosing 2nd place to Alonso when he lost his KERS unit. In Abu Dhabi, a very controversial penalty was handed down when Vettel ran out of fuel on his qualifying in-lap, just after grabbing pole position. He dropped to 24th on the grid and chose to start from the pitlane. This was Alonso’s chance to finally retake control of the championship but after a fantastic storm through the grid, including nearly being taken out of the race by a Toro Rosso (behind the Safety Car!), he finished 3rd, behind Alonso in 2nd. Webber was forced to retire when stupid driving by Sergio Perez caused a Grosjean/Webber crash, leaving both drivers out of the race.

Webber’s luck was no better in Austin when he retired following a mechanical failure. Vettel started the race from pole position, eventually losing the lead to Lewis Hamilton, but still finishing 2nd which was ahead of Alonso in 3rd. While Red Bull celebrated winning the constructor’s championship for the 3rd year in a row, Vettel would have to see his Championship battle go to the final Grand Prix in Brazil.

Vettel would need to finish 4th or higher if Alonso was to win the race, but it looked like there would be no worries for the German when he and Webber qualified ahead of the Ferrari’s. Surprisingly, both Red Bull’s were slow off the line while both Ferrari’s jumped them. Vettel was under pressure, nearly getting rear-ended by Kimi Raikkonen before getting spun by Bruno Senna. It was the worst possible situation for Vettel who was left with a damaged car, while Alonso was 2nd. It was an awful challenge for the German but he made short work of the grid to soon be back in the points. Sometimes, you have to wonder if he was only playing with Alonso! He made it to 6th in the race while Webber finished 4th. Alonso finished 2nd but this was not good enough to win the Championship and Vettel was crowned the 2012 World Champion.

Season in a Paragraph: 
Everyone was caught out when the Red Bull’s weren’t on the pace in Australia but they soon made it up, winning in Bahrain, Monaco and Silverstone. When Webber started to decline in performance, Vettel picked up and got lucky with Alonso being wiped out in Spa and Suzuka which allowed him to get back the big lead that had amounted in the first half of the season. No doubt though, Vettel really deserved a championship, as he showed when he absolutely stormed the grid in Abu Dhabi and Brazil. Love him or hate him, this guy is going down as one of our sport’s greatest.

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Team 11: Ferrari

On the elevneth day of Christmas, Ben Sweeney gave to me… Ferrari

(c) Formula1onlive.com

Ferrari, like McLaren, kept their line up the same that it had been since 2010. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa took the 5 and 6 cars to the grid. They had an absolutely dismal qualifying to begin their season, Alonso spun out of Q2 in a really uncharacteristic error which left him stranded in the gravel, but still started 12th. Massa didn’t have a great qualifying session either, qualifying well down in 16th. Fernando outstandingly clawed his way up to 5th with a very uncompetitive Ferrari while his team-mate retired when Bruno Senna ran him off the track during a botched overtake.

Malaysia brought a surprising turn around for the team, or Fernando Alonso at least. Starting from as far back as ninth, the Spaniard brought the car to the lead of the race in the mixed conditions. He seemed likely to be passed by Sergio Perez who was in the form of his life, until the Mexican went wide and dropped back with just several laps remaining. Alonso won the race in a Ferrari which he described as “walking on a tight rope”. Felipe Massa was loosing his balance on the tight rope, running down with the backmarkers, finishing 15th.

Alonso finished well back in China when he crossed the line in 9th ahead of his team-mate who was in 13th. He finished 7th in Bahrain while his Massa scored the first points of his season when he brought his F2012 home in 9th place. In Spain, Alonso fought hard to pass Maldonado for the lead of the race but was robbed of the coveted home Grand Prix when Pastor held him off. Massa was again out of the points, finishing 15th.

In Monaco, Grosjean pushed Alonso towards a barrier at the start, which sparked the pile up involving Grosjean, Kobayashi, de la Rosa and Maldonado. Massa avoided the carnage to finish a respectable 6th while Alonso joined Webber and Rosberg on the podium, finishing 3rd.

In Montreal, Alonso was trying to out do Lewis Hamilton who was on a two stop strategy, by pitting once. He suffered massively in the latter stages, loosing 1.5 seconds per lap to Hamilton who wasn’t long before he shot past Alonso and Vettel who then conceded and pitted for new tires. Alonso finished 5th while Massa was double that in 10th.

Alonso headed to his other home Grand Prix, Valencia, with high hopes which were immediately shattered when he qualified down in 11th. It would be nearly as hard to win the race as winning from 11th in Monaco, but if anyone could, Alonso could. Between Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean suffering alternator failures, aswell as Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton dancing into the barriers, the Spaniard grabbed a fantastic win at Valencia, followed by Raikkonen and Schumacher while Massa finished down in a lonely 16th.

Silverstone was a big turn around for the team. Alonso qualified on pole position while Massa qualified 5th. At the start of the race, Alonso swooped over to block Mark Webber in 2nd place, leading the race until, with just 5 laps to go, Mark Webber pulled off a spectacular pass around the outside of the Ferrari into Luffield, demonstrating the enormous trust between the two. Massa went on to finish just off the podium, in 4th place while Alonso grabbed 2nd.

Two weeks later in Germany, Massa finished a disappointing 12th after his 4th in Silverstone, while Alonso kept control of the race to win the race with a small gap from second placed Vettel who was later demoted to 5th for overtaking off the track. . Alonso finished 5th in Hungary while Massa finished 9th. It seemed that Alonso could not be stopped as he extended his lead even further over Vettel. Boy, were we wrong!

(c) Big Story

Belgium marked the start of the end for Alonso. He came mightily close to loosing his head when Grosjean’s Lotus was flung like a toy straight over his nose. There was a worrying minute when Alonso remained motionless as Gary Hartstein raced towards him. Thankfully, he was ok, and he eventually clambered out of the car. Shaken, but ok. Felipe Massa finished the race, beating his team-mate for the first time in god knows how long, and finishing 5th.

In Italy, Alonso was looking good to grab pole position in front of the tifosi until a problem with his anti-roll bar cost him, and he qualified 10th. Yet again, he clawed his way up, finishing 3rd behind Perez and Hamilton. Massa was again on form, finishing in 4th behind the Spaniard.

Alonso repeated his Italian 3rd place when he finished 3rd in Singapore, while Felipe Massa had a fight on his hands following on from a puncture at the first corner. The Brazilian was miles behind the grid but stormed through it in the final laps, including a very ballsy pass on Bruno Senna who tried to stick him in the wall. He eventually finished 8th.

Alonso was very unlucky in Suzuka when he made contact with Raikkonen in the first corner which gave the Spaniard a puncture, sending him into the gravel  and out of the race. Massa took full advantage of the situation to grab his first podium since 2010, when he finished 2nd behind Vettel.

Alonso finished 3rd in Korea when his team-mate was told to back off from the championship contender, Massa finishing 4th. Fernando pulled off a fantastic double overtake on the McLaren’s at the start of the race and later went on to pass a KERSless Mark Webber, which promoted him to 2nd place. This was his finishing position and he lost another 7 points to Vettel. Massa managed to fend off Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen to finish in 6th place.

Alonso’s dreams came true in Abu Dhabi when Vettel was disqualified from Qualifying for a fuel shortage in the car, not leaving enough for the FIA to take a sample. Yet, his hopes of a tight championship was dismissed when Vettel stormed the grid, to finish the race in 3rd, right behind Alonso in 2nd while Massa finished 7th.

Ferrari deliberately broke the seal on Felipe Massa’s gearbox to give him a 5 place penalty in Austin. They did this because Alonso was starting on the ‘dirty’ side of the new track, which would lose one, it was estimated, two positions off the line. The penalty put both Massa and Alonso on the clean side of the grid, and although Alonso couldn’t catch Vettel, he came close as possible when he finished 3rd, right behind Vettel in 2nd, with Massa 4th.

And so Alonso and Massa headed to the all important final race. Alonso would need to finish in 1st with Vettel 5th or lower, to win the championship. Remarkably, both Ferrari’s had great starts, vaulting both Red Bull’s off the line, bettered for Alonso when Vettel spun at the back of the grid. Yet, Vettel made short work of the grid, soon back in the back and fighting. Alonso made it up to 2nd behind Button while Massa finished 3rd at home, but this wasn’t good enough to stop Vettel, who finished 6th, winning the championship by three points.

Season in a Paragraph: 
The Ferrari’s had a dismal first day back, Alonso spinning out of Qualifying, Massa qualifying 16th. Alonso soon recovered and outstandingly won in Malaysia while Massa in the other Ferrari crossed the line in 15th. He came heart breakingly close to a home win in Catalunya, which he then secured a month later when he won a great race in Valencia. Silverstone was the turning point for Massa when he finished 4th and Alonso 2nd. Germany was to be Ferrari’s last win in 2012 and marked the start of the end for Alonso’s championship, his lead being chiseled away at for the rest of the season. Spa and Suzuka were costly races for the Spaniard who lost so many all important points while Massa scored a podium in Suzuka to shut critics up and secure himself a contract for 2013. Alonso didn’t expect Vettel to recover from a dismal qualifying in Abu Dhabi and he just couldn’t do anything; Vettel was always there. He finally crossed the line in Brazil, just 3 points short of a World Championship.

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