Bastian delivers third consecutive knock-out in Brasil
The season ending Samba is over, and when the music stopped Sebastian Vettel had the Champion’s chair. The 25-year-old German has now joined fellow countryman, Michael Schumacher, and the Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio, to have taken three successive titles.
Schumacher scored five in a row with Ferrari, one better than the “Maestro.”
Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos started with Lewis Hamilton on pole with McLaren teammate Jenson Button alongside. Vettel started fourth and the race and championship looked almost over on the fourth corner of the opening lap.
Local driver Bruno Senna tried to play Pastor Maldonado and crashed into Vettel; spinning the RedBull but amazingly Vettel kept the engine running and was able to continue, albeit with some bodywork and exhaust damage.
The changing wet/dry conditions made the track slippery. Star of the race could have been another German, Nico Hulkenberg. “The Hulk” passed Button on lap 19 to grab the lead and looked very strong to give Force India their first F1 victory in his last outing for the Indian owned Silverstone based team.
A slight mistake by Hulkenberg allowed Hamilton to slip by and take the lead on lap 49. Five laps later it all went wrong for the German driver but Hamilton paid the price. Trying to pass Hamilton, Hulkenberg lost traction and made contact with his Mclaren, forcing it into retirement. The Force India driver was able to continue.
Button ended the season the same way he started; on top of the podium after a drama-free and smooth driving in changing conditions.
Fernando Alonso did what he has been doing all season long, racing and placing his Ferrari above its potential. Despite some scary moments in slippery conditions he climbed as high as second. The dnf he and Scuderia Ferrari were hoping in the closing laps from race leader Button and Vettel was denied.
Vettel, despite a wrong call for tires and damage to his exhaust, was able to soldier on to a sixth place finish, giving him a three-point advantage in the final championship standings over Alonso.
In a post-race interview with Andrew Benson of the BBC, the new triple world champion said, “It is difficult to imagine what goes through my head now even for myself. I am full of adrenaline and if you poke me now I wouldn’t feel it.”
In an emotionally charged and chaotic race Felipe Massa made it to the podium for only the second time this season in front of his home crowd.
Mark Webber survived a spin but came in fourth.
Hulkenberg, after serving a drive-thru penalty, came back to finish fifth.
Vettel was sixth. Behind him in seventh was the past dominator of grand prix racing, Michael Schumacher. The seven time world champion made his second and final retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the race.
Rookie Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was eighth for Toro Rosso. Kamui Kobayashi was ninth in his final drive for Sauber. The Swiss team will replace him with Mexican Esteban Gutierrez next season.
The final point was collected by Kimi Raikkonen.
The race ended behind safety car after Paul di Resta crashed his Force India.
In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari finished second behind Red Bull after both their drivers finished in the top three and helped by Hamilton’s retirement.
– – Nasir Hameed