Sebastian Vettel is the 2012 world champion! His sixth place in the season finale at Interlagos was enough to give him a three-point lead over Fernando Alonso, who finished the race in second place.
Both drivers have had great seasons, but it was Seb who came through at the last race. This, despite dropping to the back of the field on lap one after he was hit by Bruno Senna at Turn 4. His recovery drive was impressive, worthy of a multiple world champion.
After the race everyone at Red Bull Racing donned “V3TTEL: Three-time world champion” t-shirts and the champagne flowed in their hospitality area. Team principal Christian Horner walked around the pit garage giving team members one of his giant bear hugs and even F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone joined in the celebrations.
Vettel’s championship t-shirt wasn’t the only party shirt doing the rounds. McLaren’s employees were wearing their rocket red t-shirts in deference to Jenson Button’s superb race victory and the Mercedes mechanics were wearing t-shirts with the words “Thank You Michael” written on the front and the stats of his superb 21-year career on the back. With the F1 fraternity planning on a few celebratory drinks later in the evening, no doubt the clothes got more outrageous as the night progressed!
Elsewhere in the F1 paddock there were lots of celebrities milling about after the race. ‘Wedding Crashers’ star Owen Wilson was a guest of Ferrari and legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldo was at Williams F1, and there were more world champions than you could shake a stick at. Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Seb Vettel, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton is as impressive a list as you’re likely to find. Between them that lot have won 24 world titles!
So one of the most unpredictable seasons in F1 history comes to an end. There were eight different winners and the youngest triple world champion in the history of the sport was crowned at the end of the year. Seb clinched his most recent title at the still tender age of 25 years and 145 days, and it also made him one of only three drivers to have clinched three consecutive world titles (along with Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher).
Thank you for joining us on Paddock Cat’s yarns this year; it’s been a blast. See you in Melbourne!