So, my prediction for an end of season thriller came true in rather spectacular fashion with a Brazilian GP that was, quite simply, exhausting.
To set out my stall straight away, I didn’t get the result I wanted. I was rooting for Fernando Alonso. He’s had one of the most incredible seasons this sport (possibly any sport) has seen; driving fantastically in every race with feel, skill and an ability to read the ‘game’ that would make Zinedine Zidane feel a bit sh*t. He deserves to be a triple world champion*, and he should have reached that milestone long before Sebastian Vettel. And he would have done had it not been for his 2007 meltdown and subsequent two years in the wilderness in a dreadful Renault.
But that’s all academic now, because the young German took the title following a bit of old-school political controversy of which Formula One has been mercifully free for the last few years. For those that missed that part of the ‘race’, in motor racing you are not allowed to overtake under yellow ‘caution’ flags in case there are marshals on the track. Flags are supplemented by lights at the side of the track and Sebastian overtook one of the Toro Rossos before he’d passed the last yellow light, but flags > lights and he’d passed a marshal waving a green flag earlier on the track. So that’s that cleared up then.
So, the race itself. Blimey.
I’d said in my preview piece the week before that ‘if Red Bull give Fernando an inch, he’ll take a championship’ and… well, I was wrong wasn’t I? If Seb got all the luck in Abu Dhabi, Fernando got it in Sao Paulo. Rain minimised Red Bull’s speed advantage, a poor start from Seb dropped him in to the upper-midfield danger zone and he got caught up in a first lap meeting of the carbon fibre confetti club. Then as the race unfolded the unfortunate tangle between Hamilton and Hulkenberg gifted the Spanish maestro two spots, while a rare pitstop cock-up from Red Bull caused a long delay and Massa drove brilliantly, nicking positions off the Bull’s twice – once for himself on Vettel and once by helping Fernando past Webber in to the Senna S. But there was nothing, it seemed, that would stop Sebastian taking ‘his’ World Championship.
Sebastian had a relatively easy run at his two preceding titles (especially last year), but you simply can’t argue with a drive like the one he had on Sunday. He battled his way through a field full of ‘out-of-position’ cars brilliantly in difficult conditions and his journey to the title on Brazil was the drive of a true champion. The headline being that it took him just 10 laps to make his way from dead last to being right on the gearbox of Fernando’s Ferrari. Unglaublich. Alonso may have got the absolute best from his car in race trim, but despite being magnificent to watch all year it was Seb that did the job right: luck can only get you in the right place at the right time for so long.
This article could go on forever, it was a race packed with drama and the most fitting end to what has probably been the most exciting Formula One season in the history of the sport. This is one that will be looked back on for a very long time as the true pinnacle of motorsport and if you missed it, don’t make the same mistake next year.
102 days and counting…