Thank goodness, I can breathe again! This race must have aged me considerably. I have never been so on edge and never enjoyed an F1 race less than I did with the Brazillian GP 2012. And yet, when it was over – sweet release and pure joy to see a deserving champion prevail. Lets gets into the good stuff, shall we.
Kimis weekend was compromised from the get go. FP1 was hampered by an ignition coil, meaning he got about half the running time as the rest of the field. FP2 was good, but the final practice session was halted pretty much right away when his engine blew to smithereens. So hardly any time to work on qualifying setups, and that showed. At least it happened in practice and Lotus are able to swap to one of his other used engines without penalty.
The quali session had mixed conditions and proved very tricky. Especially for Grosjean in the other Lotus. Well, that was not down to conditions really. More to general stupidity. Q1 and the frenchman comes up on Pedro de la Rosa in the HRT on the main straight. And for some bizarre reason he thinks he can overtake on the inside of the long left bender. Everyone and his boss knows that is used as an apex to minimize turning. But Romain goes for it – and contact. Parts fly and qualifying is effectively over for the other Lotus.
Kimi gets to Q3, whereas the Ferrari drivers just scrapes through in 9th and 10th. He opts for one run in the final session and that was only good enough for 9th. Later bumped up to 8th because of Maldonados penalty. Maldonado now being the lucky owner of a dubious record. The most penalized driver in a season. Ever. Congrats Maldonadon’t!
Up ahead, things are mixing up for the championship. Hamilton bags another pole position. With 7, he has the most of the season. Could have been 8 if not for the penalty in Spain. Vettel on 2nd then? Not so. Button goes well around Interlagos and slots in behind his teammate. Webber also gets the better of his teammate in 3rd. Vettel makes a mistake on his first run in Q3 and probably plays it a little safe in his final run, not to ruin that
as well. Still, better than his mainrival Alonso back in 7th.
So the stage is set for a real thriller! In 2010, the difference was 15 points between the two. Now its 13. Another smaller drama for Kimi fans would be if Kimi could keep his 3rd place in the WDC (even if he himself says it doesnt matter) and if he can possibly finish every single lap of a race season. He has already broken the record for most completed laps in a season. Well, enough chit chat. The cars are lined up and it has just started to
drizzle. Oh boy..
Lights out and what is that I see? Is Webber actually pushing Vettel a little? He most certainly is.. There is a time and a place, Webber. And that was more than half a season ago, before you were completely obliterated by your teammate. Again. Because of this, Vettel has to lift for Webber before turn 1 and go cautious in the Senna S and thus slips down to 7th while Alonso has another rocket start and takes 5th. Applause for Vettels
teammate. The biggest douche in the entire lineup.
Down in turn 4 all hell breaks loose. Kimi is having the mother of all lockups behind Vettel and is merely centimeters from plowing into the back of him and taking him out of the race. That would have put me in a peculiar situation, wouldnt it? Luckily, we are talking about Kimi Raikkonen here. The man that seems to be made of reflexes. Here is what pretty much every other driver would have done: Held their foot down on the brakes and rammed the car in front. What Kimi does is release his brakes a fraction of a second before impact so the wheels get rolling again – and thus are able to jerk the car away from impact. Just miliseconds before disaster. No superlative is big enough for that acheivement. That was downright masterful.
There is no time to marvel at that because the sum of all fears has happened before my eyes. Vettel backwards in the middle of the pack with debris and cars all around. I could have broken down and cried at that moment. However, I am not Felipe Massa, so instead I let out a roar of “NOOOOO!!!” which makes my wife jump about 2 feet in the air from the sofa. By some miracle, Vettel gets going again. Watching the replays makes me wonder how that car was able to roll, let alone race. I send my thank yous and proceed watching with my heart beating out of my chest. That was lap 1. How will I survive 70 more laps of this?
It doesnt help seeing Webber racing like a numbscull and letting Alonso slip up into 3rd position. By the way, this was enabled by some great driving from Massa. Behaving exactly like a teammate should under these circumstances. I realize that with these positions, Alonso is world champion and I get horrid visions of an off season filled with “mm yes, best driver won. mm yes. quite.”
Vettel is not one to give up without a fight. The team informs him of his stricken car and turns his engine down to prevent overheating. Not the best of odds from the very back of the grid. Nothing to do but grit your teeth and get on with it.
And he does. While Webber keeps displaying abysmal racing, losing positions, Vettel is charging up through the grid. Up ahead, Alonso starts making some mistakes. By going wide in turn 1, Nico Hulkenberg slips into 3rd position and all of a sudden Vettel is world champion again as it stands.
As I am paying attention to the championship battle, my heart nearly stops as I see a Lotus heading for the wall with tremendous speed. Oh, its just Grosjean. Nevermind.
Au revoir big pants.
Webber spins and now he is the Red Bull at the backend of the grid as Vettel is up to 8th position on lap 8. With a stricken car. Brilliant! The team is nervous and pleads with Vettel to consider that it is a long race. The rain increases and it prompts most of the front running cars to pit for intermediates. Button and Hulkenberg in front opted not to. Hulkenberg has excelled before in these conditions and on this track. Remember his pole
position in 2010. And he is gaining on Button at this point. Sensationally he makes a pass on Button for the lead and does it beautifully. Great stuff!
After the pitstops, Vettel has caught up with Webber and after a couple of laps, Webber finally gives the position to his teammate. This to applause from the Red Bull garage. However, the shift to intermediates has not worked out. The track is too dry and they are overheating so they have to pit once again. Kimi was sadly one of the people that opted for rain tires. As a result, he is in 12th position after his second stop. Quickly advancing
Because of this, Alonso is a full minute behind Hulkenberg and Button. And we hear him complaining on the radio that there is a lot of debris on the track. And suddenly the Safety Car comes out. Hmm… Granted, there was debris on the track. But still. Nice way to eradicate that huge lead. When the restart gets underway, I have another jaw drop. Webber is trying to overtake his teammate after the restart into turn 1. Of course he
botches it and runs wide. But why Webber, why? That is not what you need to do now? Race your teammate who is trying to win a championship. Are you kidding me?? The inferiority complex is strong with this one.
What he should have been doing was mixing it up at the front – and crucially staying ahead of Alonso. But that is something he has failed to do pretty much all season long. So why start now I guess. Well, you get no respect from me. Thats for sure. Here is a good article by Mark Hughes. He is too kind on Webber, but saying pretty much what I have underlined several times this season. That he is a pretty crappy teammate:
The race settles in a bit after that. Alonso is 4th, Vettel is 6th behind Kobayashi – eventually slipping to 7th behind Massa. And yet obviously champion if it stays like this. But what is this? Kimi gets a run on di Resta but the Force India is mighty quick on the main straight. And Kimi has to try and outbrake him instead. Not easy on a slippery track and he unfortunately runs wide and concedes 2 positions down to 12th. He gets by him
later though as di Resta spins on lap 38.
The good thing about this happening is that it lead to a fantastic scrap between two champions. Kimi is hot on the heels of Schumacher and gets a tow down the straight and it is the closest wheel to wheel action I can recall having ever seen! Literally centimeters apart they dice it out through the Senna S. I jump to my feet in excitement and yell in pure ecstacy! Now that is how you race! Woo-hoo! Poetry. Fair and precise by Schumacher. Ballsy, hard and fair by Kimi. I take everything back about you being too nice in wheel to wheel in Korea. All of it. All hail the Iceman in his awesome comeback season! Yes, its only for 10th position, but that is some damn good racing! BOO-YAH! Michael, you will be missed for moments like these.
Overtake of the race? Check for Kimi. Comical relief moment of the race? Chalk that one up for Raikkonen as well, as he goes on a lovely excursion off track after he ran wide at Juncao. The first thing I thought when I saw that was: “Thats it. Kimi has had enough of this shit. He is gonna park it right there and find a lawn chair.” Seriously. I did. But then he nimbly spins around and goes back. And then I got what he was trying to do. Its a part of the old track that has been closed off. But you could use the escape route and reenter the track up ahead. Kimis luck would have it that there was a gate there – and it was closed. That incident lost him so much time that it led to him being lapped and thus finishing every single race lap this season. But one. Oh well.
Vettel is still playing it safe behind Kobayashi. Up ahead, Hulkenberg is doing a stellar job keeping the McLarens behind him. However, Hamilton now in 2nd is closing in. After a drying period, the rain is picking up again. And people are starting to spin here and there. Not helped by pretty worn tires all over. Sadly, Hulkenberg is one of them and Hamilton pounces and retakes the lead that he held earlier in the race. Was that the end of a potential fairy tale story?
Just as I had calmed my nerves a bit, Hulkenberg gets feisty and tries a move on Hamilton in turn 1. The slippery track catches him out and smacks him into the front wheel of the McLaren. Hamiltons car is done and Alonso moves into 3rd position and the championship lead as Vettel has to make an extra stop for intermediates! At this point I am ready to leave the room. But Alonso also has to pit and Vettel moves up through the field as others pit and suddenly he is the championship leader again. My poor nerves. Hulkenberg gets a drive-through for his clash with Hamilton. Very harsh in my opinion.
Less than 10 laps to go and Massa gives way for Alonso to take 2nd place. Massa has driven a fantastic race. A lot more pace than Alonso. He practically has to ease off to let Alonso catch up. Ferrari does the only thing they can and hopes for fate to step in and take care of the rest. Vettels stricken car could potentially fail at any moment. Not to mention that it is starting to get very wet. Worse than before. Vettel is 7th and that is good enough to win it all. With 1 point. If something happens to Button though, Alonso is back in the lead of the championship. The nailbiting is intense. At least for me.
Good guy Schumacher doesnt make it hard for Vettel and he slips into 6th position. The race laps dwindle down. Button is a lonely figure up ahead – 21 seconds ahead of Alonso. Kimi is in 11th and out of the points for the first time since China. But that changes on the second to last lap as Di Resta crashes heavily from 9th and Kimi moves into 10th. But more importantly at this stage, the race will finish under the safety car and I slowly realize that Vettel and Red Bull has done it again and snatched the title from Fernandos hands! Huge and well-deserved congratulations to him.
What is there to say. It was a wild race. And it has truly been an epic season. Kimis comeback has been a shattering success. I wont go too much into that now as I may do a season recap during the off-season. Just to pass the time a little 😉
I really think McLaren and Hamilton could have won this championship. But reliability issues mostly put a stop to that. I cannot remember the last time I saw such a fast and yet unreliable McLaren car. Oh wait. I can. 2005. Through the course of the season the silver car has been the fastest and yet flawed. Kimi knows all too well how that feels. And I cant help sympathize with Hamilton as he now goes to Mercedes. I highly doubt their car will evolve into a regular race winner next year. You never know of course. But 2014 could be another story.
But getting back to the race. I didnt mention it at first but Vettel made a mistake with Senna. He cut across in a sharper angle than normal and it could just as well have cost him the championship. Lady luck shined upon the Red Bull team as it did in 2010. And I suspect that in 2013, the RB9 will be another race winning car from the Milton Keynes based team. Anyway – Vettel did it. He became the youngest 3-time champion ever. And that is now forever out of reach for Alonso. 4th youngest too is out of reach. And 5th. And so on. But not for Vettel. Who can stop him? I like him. Personally, the only driver I would want to stop Vettel is Kimi. So Im obviously hoping for that next year.
Alonso has not been faster than Massa in the last two races. Is Massa really coming back into form? We know he can be seriously quick. The question is, will he be allowed to? If he is, then he has to from the very first race next season. I suspect that if Alonso gets ahead of him with just a single point, then its back to the waterboy role again. I am really starting to root for Massa. It would be a sunshine story if he could upset the inter-team balance of Ferrari by sheer performance. I fear it wont happen. Or rather – it wont be allowed to happen. But one can dream.
So – who was the last Ferrari champion? Oh right. That freakishly fast Finnish guy that was put to pasture for money and team politics. Well, at least it paid off for them. Or wait a second.. It didnt. Sure, they had some great wins and drives. But their trophy closet is still filled with those trophys from 07 and 08. The following years are filled with air. Luckily they have the legendary, best car developer in their stall. Going on 3-4 years now. But – shouldnt that have come into effect a long time ago? Especially considering that Massa is being used as a test mule for parts for Alonsos car? Hmm, thats odd? Well, best of luck to you. It may all change next year. As Alonso once said: “As long as the car is not red, I wish you the best!” No wait, that was.. Yea: “As long as the car is not red, I wish you the best!”
Kimi and Lotus. He got them 4th place in the championship. He has brought them more publicity than they could ever dream of. He helped them land sponsors. Coca-Cola the latest huge name in the pot. That and the added money for the good WCC position will come in handy for developing the 2013 car. We can only hope that they will put them to good use. And hopefully be able to challenge for wins regularly. That would be great. Because if that is possible, then Kimi will challenge for the championship as well. And a unique natural talent like Kimi deserves an opportunity like that. Plus, he is a good guy.
Now, I will take a well-deserved break from blogging. Except for perhaps the odd post as I mentioned. I hope you have enjoyed my unabated bias through the 2012 season. Take care my dear readers and friends. Peace!
Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Andrew Ferraro, Red Bull/Paul Gilham, Getty Images/XPB Images, @PHOTO4, motorionline.com
Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any of these photos taken down for any reason.
I thought you would have mentioned how Schumi gave Seb a position, You could have written a book on this race. Just a thought. Great job on the blog by the way, I look forward to reading it after every race. Cheers !!!
Thanks Krista. I did write that good guy Schumacher doesnt make it hard for Vettel and he goes into 6th position 😉 But yea. It was really hard compacting the race into a review with so much happening. But it was a great finish to a great season.
Nice review Soren!
As usual a very nice read. Thank you for all the effort you put in writing your blog. It is highly appreciated.
Boy, oh, boy! I’m with you on the nail biting, Soren, but can read your review in complete comfort knowing I got the result I wanted! Congrats, Seb…awesome stuff! As for Kimi, well, there’ll be another influx of mugs and t-shirts after he increased his street cred by going for a little drive down the back streets of Interlagos…lol! I guess his rallying days paid off…he tore up the grass like he was in his Citroen and off he went into the sunset with not a look back 😀 Stupid man who closed the gate!! Yup, that dice with Schumi was epic! Only two respectful drivers could’ve pulled that off without it ending in tears! What was Webber all about??? Hmmm!!! Fabulous review, Soren and I love the pics…they tell a story on their own.
Your descriptions of “Clobberface” Webber always make me laugh till the ribs hurt. Yes, he did his best to fight his teammate. Unbelievable. But I hear Dr Helmut, who was once his champion, has criticised Webber’s conduct recently. I wonder if logic can prevail, and Webber’s cotract be bought out to make way for Kimi at RB ??
That may test his friendship with Seb… but we deserve to see Kimi drive the best car and bag another title or two before he moves on.
Oh, and: regards to your long-suffering wife..
Haha, thanks for your comments Hames. I will pass your regards on as well 🙂
Webbers behaviour both baffles and annoys the heck out of me. But I think he will stay for 2013 and after that he will probably retire.
Just as Button and Hamilton stayed pretty friendly, I dont think teammates would be a problem for Vettel and Kimi.
But I am far from sure that Kimi will ever join Red Bull. Only time will tell.
I kept checking into your site for a review after Brazil. Finally rewarded with the things i really want to read, unlike those politically correct journos. Great review Soren, I’m already looking forward for the season review:-)
Cheers Fahama. Really glad to hear that. Truly. Its fun being able to say what you mean without the shackles of political correctness clinging around your leg 😉
As for checking for my posts, I will suggest that you click on the “Follow” button on the top of the page.
Hi Soren, thanks for all your reviews, i also love that you can write exactly what you think and I find that it’s pretty much he same as me. Webber? Speechless and I’m an Aussie, no way I can support him when he drives around that track like a chook with it’s head cut off, frustrating and embarrassing really. Definately not a team player more like a petulant child. Which brings me to the man I have always supported… KIMI, I did backflips when I heard he was returning to F1 and he hasn’t let me down, i really hope Lotus give him a faster car next season. I look forward to 2013 and once again thankyou for the effort you put into your blog.
another wonderful and fair review. saying it like it is. want to add that champions always have to make way for future champions (or the sponsor’s boy toys). that’s always been the way. schu had to make way for kimi, kimi had to make way for alonso, hamilton having to make way for perez. ps: why were you not wearing a lotus shirt while you were nail-biting?
Hi Lynn, and thank you! About our shirts – we had to show our support for Vettel to take the title in the last race 😉 I did have my Kimi rally cap on though 😀
Thank you for the wonderful race reviews, Soren! You really got a way with words and the boldness needed to make them yours. I hope you’ll be covering the next season as well. All the best for you and your cutie wife, you seem to click nicely! It takes a Kimi fan to know one…
Wow, Soren, from the start and the low of seeing Vettel make a mistake that almost cost him the WDC, all the way to the high at the end when our dream came true; seeing Alonso robbed of a WDC that he didn’t deserve to win. You must have been SO happy!… Reading your blog, have really made my day. The only thing that could’ve made it better is if, in the post-race celebration, I got to blow Seb while Kimi fucked me in the ass.
#kimifiredformoney #neweywdc #everyoneknowsalonsoisanass
Wow indeed. I don’t think I can share your enthusiasm in how you would like the post-race celebrations to unfold. But each to his own I guess…
That freakishly fast finnish guy is sometimes faster, and other times not as fast as the french guy who Alonso totally demolished. I got this review emailed to me by a friend who is a Kimi-fan. I must say, never read a more oneeyed and crappy review. Lotus, formerly known as Renault will have to wait many years for their next world title. Who was the last? Aaahh.. that´s right, Alonso!
Haha. So much sour grapes. Your frustration is delicious!
And you seem to be quite lacking in knowledge of F1. The present Lotus team does not have anywhere near the budget of when it was Renault, the factory team. So no, they will probably have to wait many years. And Alonso demolishing a rookie while having a clear number 1 status. Yea, thats real impressive stuff..
Remind me again who the last Ferrari champion is? Aaahh.. that’s right, Kimi! 😀
Well, this is your website and you are honest when you say you are a Kimifan and biased so… there you have it. 🙂
I really think though that Alonso is going to grab the title 2013. Hopefully well deserved and finally we can see the best driver on the grid crowned as a champion, weather you like him or not.
And Soren, I must say that you have an amazing website. Too bad we don´t root for the same driver.
Cheers man. Thats nice of you to say. At least we are both passionate. And you won’t hear me say that Alonso isn’t a great driver. Because he really is. If it only came down to skills on the track, I would be a big fan. However, I just can’t overlook his other less than admirable traits. He has a disgusting personality and sense of entitlement that is sickening. And his involvement in the biggest scandals the last 10 years in F1 cannot be ignored either.
Anyway. I think you could very well be right that Alonso will win this year. But it will probably not be without controversy.