Formula One 2012 season review

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

This season of Formula One racing has been sensational. Six world champions on the grid, with eight drivers winning races – making history as the first seven Grand Prix were won by different people – and not forgetting the six teams who took the honour of winning such prestige events.

And yet in the end, it was the familiar result of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing taking the Drivers’ and Constructors’ world titles, for the third consecutive year. An impressive achievement despite a demanding 20-race schedule.

The Drag Reduction System (DRS) and KERS remained for this season but the new rules as outlined by the sport’s governing body was the banning of the exhaust-blown diffusers as a way of reducing significant rear downforce. Despite the ban, it took several teams quite a while to re-optimise their cars with Red Bull Racing suffering the most. Mercedes developed a clever ‘double’ DRS and yet it made the car difficult to drive…

As the season went on, various engineers from the different teams came up with a solution to recover lost downforce thanks to the ‘Coanda’ effect. The aerodynamic term in which the exhaust gases is down-flowed into a ‘gutter’ in the rear bodywork, which was positioned as far outboard as the new regulations would allow. By re-directing the exhaust gases at the gap between the diffuser and rear tyre, the car was able to gain considerable rear downforce making it go faster around the track.

Tyre performance was still the main key in terms of overall lap time and for Pirelli, the Italian manufacturer deliberately made their rubber to wear out quicker in an aid to provide better racing. Pirelli pushed themselves to the limit by running softer compounds than in 2011 meaning that once the tyre lost its efficiency, the driver would find his lap times dropping off like a cliff… So keeping the tyres ‘alive’ was a major part of the driver’s art and in the case of Jenson Button, who is renowned for being a smooth driver, even he struggled to ‘switch them on’ to the desirable effect come qualifying.


The season began in Melbourne, Australia with both McLarens starting on the front row. Jenson Button took an early lead from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bulls while the rest of the field was bottlenecked by contact in the first corner. Button remained unchallenged throughout, even after a mid-race safety car to retrieve the stricken Caterham of Vitaly Petrov. Button went on to take his third victory at the Albert Park circuit, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who gained track position thanks to the safety car to pass Hamilton.

Sepang F1 2012

McLaren locked out the front row of the grid for the second race in succession at Sepang, with Lewis Hamilton once again on pole. Both HRT cars qualified but the gap was almost two seconds behind Marussia’s Charles Pic… In the race, Hamilton made a better start than Jenson Button, but his lead was short-lived as heavy rain interrupted the race, forcing the suspension of the Malaysian Grand Prix. When the race re-started an hour later, Button was involved in contact with Narain Karthikeyan that forced him to make an unscheduled stop for a new front wing, while Hamilton had a slow pit stop and was held in the pit lane while other cars passed.

Fernando Alonso inherited the lead, with Sauber’s Sergio Pérez a surprise second, having made an early stop for extreme wet weather tyres and then taking advantage of a rush to the pit lane to position himself in third at the restart.

As the race wore on, Pérez began to quickly catch Alonso on a drying track. Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to pit for dry-weather tyres on lap 38, triggering another round of stops. Sauber and Pérez initially looked as if they had left their stop too late when Pérez emerged from the pits five seconds behind Alonso, but the Mexican began catching the double world champion at the same rate as he had before. Pérez closed to within half a second with seven laps to go, but ran wide at Turn 14 and lost the opportunity to take the lead. Perez would later admit he made the mistake.

Alonso went on to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, giving him a five-point lead in the championship. Despite running wide, Pérez finished in an excellent second position earning Sauber’s best result. Hamilton finished third ahead of Mark Webber and Kimi Räikkönen while Bruno Senna took sixth for Williams, scoring more points in a single race than his team scored in 2011. As for Sebastian Vettel, the defending world champion finished outside the points after making contact with ‘cucumber’ Karthikeyan that resulted in a puncture.

China Rosberg 2012

Nico Rosberg finally achieved his dream result in Formula One by first taking pole position at Shanghai for Mercedes and then dominating from the front scoring the team’s best result since making their return to the sport in 2010. As for his team-mate Michael Schumacher, this was a missed opportunity as Schumacher was forced to retire after the first round of pit stops when one of his wheels had not been attached properly…

As for Kimi Räikkonen, the Iceman discovered the reality of Pirelli’s ‘falling off a cliff’ scenario by trying to run a two-stop strategy. He fell from second to eleventh in a space of one single lap!

Rosberg’s victory was significant as he became the 103rd driver to win a Grand Prix and the result was also Mercedes’ first win as a constructor since Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix - Race

Despite days of political unrest in Bahrain and the constant public pressure to cancel the race from the media, the sport’s governing body said in a press statement that it was safe to race. It was a shame to hear that a group of Force India mechanics were involved in a petrol bombing incident at an impromptu roadblock and were briefly exposed to tear gas fired by security forces…

As for the Bahrain Grand Prix itself, the on-track action passed without any serious problems with Sebastian Vettel securing his first pole of the season followed by race victory for Red Bull Racing. It should have been Kimi Räikkönen’s moment of glory but he backed out on the chance to take the lead whilst racing Vettel. Despite that, both the Iceman and team-mate Romain Grosjean scored a two-three finish for Lotus.


The Spanish Grand Prix provided an unlikely winner in the shape of Pastor Maldonado. After inheriting pole position from Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to the back of the grid after his McLaren did not have enough fuel to return to the pits for scrutineering, the Williams driver withstood tremendous pressure from home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso to win at the Circuit de Catalunya.

It was an impressive drive from Maldonado – who has received his fair share of criticism due to crashing into rivals and making mistakes – and yet in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Venezuelan drove an error-free race and recorded Williams‘ first win in one hundred and thirty Grand Prix starts. The last time Williams was victorious was back in Brazil 2004 with Juan Pablo Montoya taking the honour.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix - Race

For the second consecutive race, the fastest driver in qualifying did not start the race from pole. This time Michael Schumacher was forced to take a five-place grid penalty following his collision with Bruno Senna in Spain. It was a real shame as Schumacher’s lap around Monte Carlo was spectacular and it would have been a special moment to see the seven-time world champion back at the sharp end of the grid.

Instead it was Mark Webber who started the Monaco Grand Prix on pole position and the Australian went on to score his second around the streets of the Principality with a brilliant drive despite the tricky dry/wet conditions. Rosberg took an excellent second position while Alonso finished in third, giving the Spaniard a three-point lead in the championship. As for Pastor Maldonado, this was a shocking weekend. From hero to zero with a ten-place grid penalty for an incident that saw him clip Sergio Pérez. Combined with a five-place penalty for changing his gearbox, the Venezuelan started from the back row of the grid where he was eliminated in the first-corner accident.

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of Canada

Sebastian Vettel earned his second pole of the season in Montreal by a margin of three-tenths over his rivals and during the initial stages of the Canadian Grand Prix; the defending champion had this race under control. But he was caught and passed by Lewis Hamilton before the first round of stops, while Fernando Alonso slipped through shortly afterwards.

All three drivers were using a two-stop strategy at the time, but as Hamilton made his second stop, both Alonso and Vettel shifted to a one-stop strategy, with Alonso’s team resorting to discussing strategy options in his native Spanish to prevent their rivals from overhearing their plans.

Lewis Hamilton had twenty laps to make up a twelve-second deficit, and he easily reeled Vettel in; in response, Red Bull pitted the reigning world champion and he fell to fifth. Hamilton’s next target was Alonso, whose tyres lost all grip and he fell victim to Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Pérez and Vettel in quick succession.

Hamilton won the race, becoming the seventh winner in seven races and taking a two-point lead in the championship. Grosjean’s second place saw Lotus take third place in the Constructors’ championship from Ferrari. Both Grosjean and Pérez expressed surprise at finishing on the podium, while last year’s winner Jenson Button finished sixteenth in what he described as his “worst race in years”.

Valencia Alonso 2012

The European Grand Prix at Valencia tend to be the most dull thanks to the uninspiring street circuit around the former home of the American Cup yacht race, and yet this season’s race provided the most action with Fernando Alonso becoming the first driver to win two races in 2012.

Starting eleventh, Alonso was forced to navigate his way through traffic, narrowly avoiding early contact between Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi as Sebastian Vettel broke free of the field to establish a twenty-second lead by the first round of stops.

Vettel’s lead was quashed when Heikki Kovalainen and Jean-Éric Vergne made contact, triggering the deployment of the safety car to clear debris from the circuit. Alonso found himself third at the restart and made a spectacular around-the-outside move on Romain Grosjean to lead the chase against Vettel.

Vettel pulled away once more, but his lead was short-lived following an alternator failure on lap 33. Grosjean attempted to challenge Alonso, but was forced out of the race with the same problem as Vettel seven laps later, leaving Alonso in the lead, four seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen.

As the race entered the final laps, Räikkönen forced his way past Hamilton to secure second place, but Pastor Maldonado’s attempts to take third position ended with Hamilton in the barrier and a broken nose for the Williams driver. Maldonado finished tenth, but was given a post-race drive-through penalty and was classified twelfth.

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber had started to carve their way through the field by virtue of a late pit stop and easily picked off the minor points positions and taking advantage of the Maldonado — Hamilton collision to finish third and fourth behind Alonso and Räikkönen.

It was Schumacher’s first podium since the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix. Alonso’s win meant he had a twenty-point lead in the championship, whilst Vettel’s retirement relegated him to fourth overall, twenty-six points behind the Ferrari driver.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race

The difficult wet conditions greeted the teams upon their arrival at the Silverstone Circuit, as parts of the Midlands received a month’s rainfall in the space of two days. The torrential rain lasted throughout the British Grand Prix weekend, forcing qualifying to be suspended for ninety minutes.

In that session, Fernando Alonso caught a massive save as he slid out of control exiting the Maggots and Becketts complex that he managed not to damage the car. It was even more remarkable as he went on to take pole position for Ferrari…

Thankfully the race was ran in dry condition much to the relief to the drivers and fans camping out for the British Grand Prix weekend. Alonso streaked away from the start while Paul di Resta crashed at Aintree on the first lap after making contact with Romain Grosjean. As the leaders settled into a rhythm, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Pérez collided at Brooklands, prompting an angry response from the Mexican driver. Perez’s Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also ran into trouble, locking his tyres as he entered his pit box and hitting three members of his pit crew, though none were seriously injured.

The race was ultimately decided by the choice of tyre in the first stint as Alonso moved onto the softer option and Webber onto the harder prime for the final phase of the race. Webber caught Alonso with five laps to go, passing him on the Wellington Straight. Webber held on for his second win of the season, with Vettel third and Felipe Massa in fourth, his best result since achieving a podium in South Korea in 2010.

The result meant Webber closed to within thirteen points of Alonso’s championship lead, with both drivers breaking away from third-placed Vettel. After showing early promise in the wet conditions, McLaren went backwards in the dry, losing second place in the Constructors’ championship to Ferrari and third to Lotus.


Limited running in practice and a wet qualifying session meant that teams had to improvise their strategies at the Hockenheimring. Once again, Fernando Alonso did a fantastic job in the difficult to drive F2012 by taking pole position, controlling much of the race from the front and taking his third victory of the season.

As for Lewis Hamilton, taking part in his one hundredth Grand Prix, this was a disaster weekend for the McLaren driver. First he picked up a puncture on the third lap and spent most of the race at the tail end of the field before retiring on lap 56 with a suspension problem.

And yet Sebastian Vettel suffered the most when he was given a post-race penalty by the stewards following his ‘pass’ on Jenson Button despite being off the circuit…

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of Hungary

The championship moved into the second half of the season. Fernando Alonso maintained a thirty-four point lead over his nearest rival, Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel a further ten points behind.

McLaren were back on form and for Lewis Hamilton, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix was important, as he was still a contender for the championship. The race had to be restarted twice when Michael Schumacher lining up in the wrong grid position and then shutting his engine off in the confusion…

Hamilton led from pole position and resisted the pressure from the Lotus pair of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean to record his nineteenth Grand Prix victory.

A late decision by Red Bull to move Mark Webber onto a three-stop strategy saw the Australian slip further behind Fernando Alonso, as the Spaniard extended his championship lead to forty points.


Following the summer break, the Formula One season resumed at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit and yet the driving standard was in the spotlight following a shocking pile-up at the start of the race.

It seems Romain Grosjean has a lack of spacious awareness and as he clipped the back of Lewis Hamilton, the pair slammed into Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez, eliminating all four on the spot and triggering the safety car.

The onboard camera view from Fernando Alonso was the most terrifying, as he was so close of getting seriously hurt by an out-of-control Lotus crashing over his Ferrari. Luckily all four drivers were unhurt thanks to the safety standards in modern Formula One.

Grosjean was later given a one-race ban for causing the collision, becoming the first driver in eighteen years to be banned from racing. Pastor Maldonado also felt the wrath of the stewards, picking up two penalties for the next race after jumping the start and crashing into Timo Glock.

Jenson Button controlled the race from the front and was unchallenged throughout, while Sebastian Vettel clawed his way up to second from tenth on the grid.

Kimi Räikkönen started and finished third, let down by a conservative pit strategy that forced him to make a second stop late in the race in order to use both compounds of tyre as per the rules — even when it became apparent that Button and Vettel were racing on a one-stop strategy — and Nico Hülkenberg finished in a career-best fourth place for Force India.

Button’s win allowed him to regain precious ground on the championship fight, while Alonso’s retirement from the Belgian Grand Prix and Vettel’s second position moved the reigning world champion to within twenty-four points of the championship lead.


The final race in Europe took place at the legendary Monza circuit. Ferrari’s bid to place Fernando Alonso on pole position by way of using Felipe Massa to offer him a slipstream ended in disaster when Alonso’s rear anti-roll bar failed in Q3, leaving the championship leader marooned in tenth while Lewis Hamilton took pole.

Hamilton started at the sharp end of the grid and won again but the same couldn’t be said to team-mate Jenson Button. The McLaren driver was forced to retire with a fuel pressure problem while running in second.

Sergio Pérez claimed that position having passed both Ferraris, Kimi Räikkönen and others in a superb performance in the Sauber. This was the Mexican’s third podium of the season.

Fernando Alonso went on to finish third, benefiting from Button’s retirement and a drive-through penalty for Sebastian Vettel when the Red Bull driver forced him so wide through the Curva Grande that Alonso was forced off the circuit.

Meanwhile, with Romain Grosjean serving his race suspension, Lotus enlisted Jérôme d’Ambrosio as their second driver for the Italian Grand Prix weekend. He qualified sixteenth, and went on to finish thirteenth overall.

Red Bull Racing suffered a double retirement, with Vettel falling victim to another alternator failure, while his team-mate Mark Webber was forced to retire after spinning wildly exiting Ascari chicane and damaging the tyres.

This allowed Hamilton to leapfrog both drivers and Kimi Räikkönen — who finished the race fifth — to take second position in the Drivers’ championship, with the result enabling McLaren to close the gap to Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

As the teams returned to Asia, the focus shifted to the championship race. Lewis Hamilton put himself in the ideal position to take the fight to Fernando Alonso, qualifying on pole in Singapore whilst Alonso could only manage fifth place.

Hamilton had this race under control and yet he was robbed of victory when the McLaren’s gearbox failed. Sebastian Vettel took over and after two hours of intense action around Marina Bay – which featured two safety car periods caused by Narain Karthikeyan initially (who understeered into the barriers under the grandstands on lap 30) which was then followed by Michael Schumacher misjudging his braking point at the end of the Esplanade Bridge, careening into the back of Jean-Éric Vergne – the Red Bull driver earned his second win of the season.

Jenson Button finished in second position despite coming ever-so close into crashing into the back of race leader Vettel during the safety car period. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso retained his championship lead by taking third and defending his track position from Paul di Resta’s Force India.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Japanese Grand Prix - Race Day - Suzuka, Japan

Fernando Alonso’s luck finally ran out in Japan– having spent most of the season gaining the advantage from poor results from his rivals when he needed them the most. The Ferrari driver was the victim of a dramatic first corner clash, spinning out when he made contact with Kimi Räikkönen and paving the way for his championship rivals to make considerable inroads into his twenty-nine point championship lead.

Mark Webber was also caught up in the opening lap melee when he was hit by Romain Grosjean; Webber was forced to pit straight away, while Grosjean was given a ten-second stop-go penalty for causing yet another first lap incident…

Bruno Senna also ran afoul of the stewards, hitting Nico Rosberg whilst trying to avoid Grosjean and Webber and earning a drive-through penalty for his troubles while Rosberg retired on the spot.

Sergio Pérez added his name to the growing list of early retirements when he slid off at the hairpin under braking whilst trying to force his way past a struggling Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel won the race from pole position; having led every lap of the race and setting the fastest lap time in the process to complete his second Grand Chelem.

Felipe Massa finished in an excellent second, his first podium result since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix, whilst Kamui Kobayashi claimed the first podium of his career — and the first podium for a Japanese driver at the Suzuka International Circuit since Aguri Suzuki finished third in 1990 — after withstanding late pressure from Jenson Button.

With Alonso retiring and Vettel taking a full twenty-five points for victory, the championship fight became as close as it had been all season long.

F1 Grand Prix of Korea

Sebastian Vettel’s winning form continued in Korea, taking his third consecutive race and the championship lead over Alonso by six points. The Ferrari driver was unable to match the pace of the Red Bulls and had to settle with third.

As for Hamilton, another unreliability issue hampered his McLaren – this time when an anti-roll bar failed – which worsened when he collected a clump of Astroturf.

This was a shocking race for McLaren – with Jenson Button forced to retire after being hit from behind by Kamui Kobayashi that also resulted in Nico Rosberg to call it a day, plus Hamilton’s single point – the team slipped down to third in Constructors’ championship with rival Ferrari now ahead.

GP INDIA F1/2012

Ferrari’s strategy for staying in the championship battle saw them introduce upgrades to the F2012 at every remaining race in the season, starting with an extensive revision for the Indian Grand Prix.

But whatever advantage they offered was still not enough for Fernando Alonso to catch Sebastian Vettel. Vettel dominated the weekend, setting the fastest time in every practice session before qualifying on pole and leading every lap. He was denied his third Grand Chelem when Jenson Button set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap however…

Despite passing both McLarens and Mark Webber’s loss of KERS late in the race, Fernando Alonso had to concede another seven championship points to his rival Vettel.

Abu Dhabi Raikkonen 2012

Sebastian Vettel’s dominant run was derailed in Abu Dhabi when his RB8 was found to have insufficient fuel after qualifying and he was subsequently moved to the back of the grid. Just like what happened to Hamilton in Spain…

As Lewis Hamilton led the race away from the start, Vettel started from pit lane and took advantage of a chaotic opening corner that saw Nico Hülkenberg, Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna tangle.

Vettel began to round up the HRTs, Marussias and Caterhams, but his early progress came at the expense of his front wing endplate when he made contact with Bruno Senna at Turn 8 switchback. He chose not to pit for the time being, as the race was interrupted by the intervention of the safety car.

Nico Rosberg, who had been forced to pit with damage to his front wing, was in the process of overtaking Narain Karthikeyan but the Indian’s car began to fail. Rosberg, caught unawares by Karthikeyan’s troubles, was launched over the back of the HRT and into the barrier. Both drivers escaped unharmed.

During the safety car period, Vettel was forced to pit when he swerved to avoid Daniel Ricciardo and crashed into the polystyrene bollard marking the start of the DRS zone, further damaging his front wing. Red Bull Racing took the opportunity to pit him early, with the downside being that Vettel would have to do 42 laps on the soft tyre when supplier Pirelli predicted they could only do 36…

Meanwhile, Hamilton suffered another mechanical failure while leading the race, and was once again forced out, handing the lead to Kimi Räikkönen while Fernando Alonso inherited second.

Vettel began to work his way through the field again, but was forced to make a second stop when his tyres started losing grip. He was saved by the second appearance of the safety car moments later, brought about when di Resta forced Sergio Perez wide; as Perez rejoined the circuit, he cut back across the front of Grosjean and the two made contact, which in turn forced Grosjean into the path of Mark Webber. Grosjean and Webber retired, whilst Pérez was given a stop-go penalty.

When racing resumed, Räikkönen began to rebuild his lead over Alonso, who was being harried by Jenson Button; Button himself was being harried by Vettel in fourth. Button and Vettel’s duel allowed Alonso to break free, and he started chasing down Räikkönen in the last five laps. Räikkönen held on to secure his — and Lotus F1’s — first victory of the season and becoming the eighth different driver to win a race.

Alonso took second, while Vettel caught and passed Button to complete the podium, keeping a ten-point championship lead in the process. With both Alonso and Vettel finishing on the podium with him, Räikkönen’s win was not enough to keep him in contention for the Drivers’ championship, leaving the title to be fought out between the Spaniard and the German over the final two races of the season.

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of United States

The impressive new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas was warmly received by the drivers and media alike. The brand new surface that yielded little grip and helped produce a remarkable race.

Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole position of the season, whilst Alonso struggled throughout qualifying to start the race in ninth, however this became seventh following Romain Grosjean’s grid penalty and Ferrari deliberately breaking the seal on Felipe Massa’s gearbox to aid their number one driver a clean side on the grid.

In the race, Lewis Hamilton chased and passed Sebastian Vettel thanks to the lapped HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. The Red Bull driver was not pleased by Karthikeyan holding him up in the first sector…

Alonso took a solid third position, keeping his title hopes alive by taking it down to the wire in Brazil. And yet the most impressive drive in the US Grand Prix was from Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. Both started from sixth row of the grid and at the flag, the pair finished in fourth and fifth respectively.

Despite losing Mark Webber to an alternator failure and Vettel taking second position, Red Bull Racing collected enough points to secure their third consecutive Constructors’ championship title. Team boss Christian Horner later admitting it was a mixed day of emotions.

Brazil F1 2012 champions

The championship finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil proves to be most tense and dramatic race of an epic season.

While Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton fought over the race lead, Sebastian Vettel was involved in a first-lap clash with Bruno Senna that damaged his exhaust and spun him around, relegating him to last place. Senna retired on the spot, as did Sergio Pérez, who was caught in the crossfire.

The race was one of attrition, with Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean also crashing out early. Button seized the lead from Hamilton, but soon found himself under pressure from Hülkenberg and lost the lead to the Force India driver on lap 18, and second place to Hamilton shortly thereafter.

The field stabilised themselves after the first round of stops, with Vettel in the lower points and Fernando Alonso running fourth when he needed a podium to stand any chance of being world champion.

Hülkenberg spun on lap 48 and lost the lead to Hamilton, but caught the McLaren on lap 54 as they encountered lapped traffic. The two made contact in the first corner, forcing Hamilton out of the race and earning Hülkenberg a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable accident.

In the wake of their collision, Button re-took the lead and held on to the end of the race. Meanwhile the rain intensified, prompting teams to scramble for tyres. Hülkenberg’s penalty and Hamilton’s retirement promoted Alonso to the podium, which became second place when team-mate Felipe Massa yielded for him.

A slow stop for Vettel relegated him to twelfth and swinging the balance of power in Alonso’s favour. In the last ten laps, Vettel began to make his way back up the order until he was seventh, just enough to secure the title, but leaving him vulnerable if the damage he received on the first lap — which by now had left a long crack running along the floor of his car — got worse.

Vettel’s seventh became sixth when Michael Schumacher (taking part in his final race in Formula One) moved aside to let his young pretender through. Two laps from the end of the race, Paul di Resta crashed heavily as he came onto the main straight, forcing the deployment of the safety car.

Button won the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Alonso second and Massa third, but Vettel’s sixth place was enough to secure his third consecutive Drivers’ championship.

Kimi Räikkönen finished the season third overall, having benefited from Hamilton’s retirement to hold onto the position following a bizarre incident in which he left the circuit and attempted to rejoin by taking to the support paddock pit lane, only to find the way blocked and forcing him to double back and find another way onto the circuit.

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of Brazil

In his final race in Formula One, Michael Schumacher’s seventh position saw him finish the season in thirteenth place overall; his worst performance over a season since he contested just six rounds during the 1991 campaign.

In the Constructors’ championship, Ferrari secured second place from McLaren with two cars on the podium, while Kamui Kobayashi’s ninth place was not enough for Sauber to take sixth from Mercedes, and Marussia lost tenth position to Caterham when Vitaly Petrov secured the team’s best result of the season with eleventh place.

So congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Their achievements have been nothing short of remarkable. To overcame a difficult start to the season over the banning on the double diffusers, Christian Horner and the design genius that is Adrian Newey, were able to face the challenges of 2012 with full of commitment and desire to come out on top as triple champions.

And yet I am more impressive by the sheer determination from Fernando Alonso throughout 2012. Despite not having the quickest car available, the Spaniard never criticised his team or the F2012. His wet weather qualifying performance at both Silverstone and Hockenheim was supreme and thanks to his exceptional talent behind the wheel, Alonso was able to string together a consistent result in which he was able to take the championship down to the wire.

As for the television coverage this season, Sky Sports F1 HD has done a fantastic job in covering this season’s high drama in Formula One. A dedicated channel in High Definition was a pure joy and the ability to select different views/channels on the Sky Race Control was great. Not forgetting the excellent analysis provided by Anthony Davidson on the SkyPad.

Despite covering just half the races live, the Beeb has done a great job in keeping armchair Formula One fans entertained. The signing of Ben Edwards as the lead commentator was inspired and the highlight shows were well edited without missing out on the main action.

The new season maybe just over three months away and I am already looking forward it. Not only to witness Sebastian Vettel defending his title honour with car number one on his Red Bull but also to the drivers at new teams like Sergio Pérez racing for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton representing Mercedes, Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber plus Max Chilton making his debut at Marussia. Roll on March 2013 for yet more action and drama!

5 thoughts to “Formula One 2012 season review”

  1. Yet again Walking Leaf, you’ve done an exemplary job of reviewing Formula One in 2012.

    It has been quite a strange year for F1. Starting with so many champions was a true sight to see, and given this year’s outcome, a sight we may never see again.

    But the same time, we knew very few of those champions would be challenging for the title this time round. Or so we thought.

    Round after round we saw a new name on the top place of the podium, and even more bizarrely, a Red Bull driver was only on the podium FOUR TIMES in 9 RACES!!! With no repeat winner until race eight, everyone was scratching their heads as to how this was happening.

    It was certainly the teams doing the most thinking as to how to make their cars go faster more constantly. If ever there was a rule to level the playing field, it was clear the exhaust diffusers ban was it. Most of all, it seemed Red Bull were the biggest losers (not entirely unintended pun). With such a poor podium-less start, everyone wondered if 2011 really had hurt the development of this year’s car and if the Red Bulls reign was over. Sadly not, as the team went on the prove you don’t need to win every race to win the championship – both even!

    So the first few races were a big surprise and something that was gladly enjoyed by all the fans. But I think the second biggest surprise was just how good some of the traditionally poor races gave up some great viewing. Malaysia, China and even Abu Dhabi all brought up some great races.

    Again, DRS and poor tyre wear was a major talking point of “fake” overtakes etc. Again, I couldn’t give a shit what the drivers or teams have to say. It’s a Catch 22 situation where by F1 needs fans, fans give F1 money, sponsors want to be seen, money then goes to the teams. No overtaking means no track movement, that means boring races, boring races means no-one watches or goes to races and then there’s NO MONEY!

    I know teams want to plan and have safe races, but that’s only possible because the technology and that means without the variables, making a strategy is a piece of piss and even now, everyone thinks there is way too much readouts, computers and such like. Formula One MUST have variables that no-one can predict, at least for a good part of the beginning season.

    I don’t care about the cheap overtakes (Vettle moaning in USA anyone!?), because it means points for everyone and that in turn means a proper championship. Surely the chaotic 2012 season proved was a breath of fresh air and was what we all wanted? If a season starts of dominated by the same old teams, then so many “part-time” fans will just turn off.

    Anyway, this year of course including the afore mentioned USA race set in Texas. I’m wetting my pants for the New Jersey, but for now it was the Texans to show that they can to proper track racing. After the debacle of the Indianapolis races, one could be forgiven that F1 was dead in the USA given their love for oval races and hatred of no-overtaking anything more than a five-second lead.

    News was it looked pretty decent and the heat would surely throw the tyres into a spin. But we were still to be convinced. Then the incredible happened. First we saw the track and it was really good! We saw the up-hill start and the hairpin corner at the end and we thought, hmm this might just work… It did and then some! The esses after the hairpin gave us an epic drive from Kimi Raikkonen too.

    Yes, you can again argue about the easiness of some overtaking at the hairpin, but as well as not caring, neither did America and whatever your thoughts on it, that’s what mattered. This had to work and we had to have a good race, and damn did we get one. Not only was the championship on a knife edge, Lewis Hamilton finally got another win after announcing his move to Mercedes. Talking of which…

    Lewis Hamilton has left the bosom of McLaren. Hurrah! About bloody time as well. Many say it’s a mistake including everyone at McLaren. But I think it’s a good move. I mean sure they can build a great car, but McLaren have cost Hamilton at least one chance at championship glory maybe even two. The first of course was Lewis’ debut for Christ sake. They just don’t have what it takes. 1998 was the last time they won the constructors’ title and I think Hamilton’s driver title is the first time in nine years! I don’t get the big disaster in leaving. He’s leaving what exactly? A top team? Yes, of course. A winning team? Fuck no.

    Let’s not forget he’s moving to the team that supported McLaren until two years ago. Yes, their car kinda sucked this year, but they only had one decent driver in the shape of… Micheal, no only joking! Niko Rosberg.

    Ross Brawn is a damn fine boss, and with Lewis in their pocket, things will get better. Maybe not this year, but 2014 bringing massive changes it doesn’t matter what team your driving for. Let’s not forget the last big car change was 2009 and looked what they did then! Sure Mr Adrian Newey can design a fine car and can bend the rules like no-one else, but he was with Red Bull in 2009 not Brawn GP. With a reported budget of €200m, that’s €44m more than last year, team principle Ross Brawn and Mercedes chief Norbert Haug, are sure to be doing their best to compete.

    So no, I just don’t get the sniggers Lewis Hamilton is getting. But like so many, Formula One fans, at least internet fanatics are a fickle bunch who if not complaining about Hamilton leaving are complaining about how he got into the sport in the first place. Good luck to Lewis Hamilton and the team I will say.

    This year of course there was the changing of the guard for the worst driver of the year. 2011 Pastor ‘Maldildo’ was awarded the Mr Crashy trophy. But 2013 gave rise to a new low of judgement in the hands of Romain Grosjean.

    Not only is he driving for the wrong country, he can’t even drive his fucking car! Despite driving for the French having lived all his life in Switzerland, he has made some of the most stupid, ill-judged manoeuvres just about ever in Formula One.

    His contact with Hamilton in Spa caused a huge and dangerous crash in which I’d be thoroughly ashamed. This bloke was a driving disaster and cost Lotus countless points. If I was Eric Boullier, he’d be out and someone with actual eye sight given his seat… What a muppet!

    Of course I still think Pastor is a complete dick, with only one win and not much else to his credit this year. Sadly after his win, Williams had the quite awful disaster in the pit-lane garage. The massive joy of winning in Spain gave way to the destruction of the massive fire that broke out. A sad time for Formula One and a sign that danger can happen anywhere, not just on the track during a race. But for everyone sad that happened that day, the next race showed that it’s not all a competition with teams giving all kinds of equipment to Williams to help them just even turn up at Monaco. Not to mention the efforts of many teams to fight the raging fire of which some were injured.

    So we continued with a mix bag of results until Japan and the dominance of Red Bull began. We went from no-one winning two races in a row, to the German superior winning four of the damn things on the trot! Thanks to a few mechanical retirements and Ferrari basically handed the titles to their rivals.

    Now to be fair, you don’t win both drivers’ and constructors’ championships for three years without being a bit good. I really don’t like Red Bull Racing, and if Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel drove for Marussia I’d be behind them 100%. But there’s something about the team I don’t like. Apart from being quite unsporting even to their “Number two driver” Mark Webber. It’s just, well alright, I think Christian Horner is a massive cock. Put Stefano Domenicali in charge and I’d be behind Red Bull 100%!

    But here we are with Vettel achieving a quite stunning record of three on the trot titles and that you can’t deny, is a massive achievement and I can only bow down to his cool thinking and driving.

    Just look at the final race in Brazil. Seb gets spun round, unrepairable damage to his car and found himself in last place. With a calm head he just rolled his car backwards with cars whizzing past either side, spun round and carried on. On the very next lap or so the team asked him to drive close to pit wall lane so they could take photos of the damage. At 180mph the pictures were better than what I could take the the car standing still for Gods sake! With a bit of rain, some great overtaking (of which we didn’t see much), a slow pit stop and yes okay a few retirements and a rather easy overtake on fellow German Schumacher he got the points he needed to be three times champion.

    Ah yes, the second retirement of Michael Schumacher. I won’t pretend to like him first time round, but his comeback brought with him a new personality and likability. Gone was the arrogance and fuck you attitude. He was talkative, nice and any accidents he caused were admitted to.

    Michael also realised he wasn’t going to take the Formula One world by storm as before. Sadly, there was barely a strong breeze… A few amazing manoeuvres we did get though and a simply sublime qualifying in Monaco saw him in pole position. But sadly thanks to a dangerous move in the previous race meant he had to take a grid penalty.

    It really was a shame as it showed the world, the old bloke has still got something. I can’t believe I was cheering him like I was. So I think he will be missed in some form but I think it was proven that his comeback was a bit of a waste and sadly a bit of a tarnish on his unbeaten tally of championships.

    So here we are already at testing nearly for the 2013 season. It’s very strange sport Formula One. During the season it all goes too quickly, at the end you think how long ago the start was and how long it seems till we start it all again. Then before you know it, we’re at testing again!

    I’m not sure how this year will pan out due to the driver changes, and the prospect of 2014 with the biggest engine chance for decades. I’m not sure how much of a fight the team will give if it’s a close one. If ever a car needed early development, it’s 2014’s.

    So if it come to three quarters of the season done, I’m not sure battling teams will really use their money to fight for this year when such a massive amount of time and money will be needed for 2014’s turbo cars. But then there is a massive pot of cash for an place in the top three at the end of the year, which is obviously a massive help. But we will see and I still look forward to this year’s racing and how Mercedes GP’s new driver does.

    Again, great write up Elton and I hope I’ve made a least a bit of sense!

  2. Thanks for the comment invisiblekid, I really appreciate your views on an epic Formula One season and yes it did make sense!

    I just got the new Blu-ray version of the season review and can relive all the fantastic moments in 1080p High Definition.

    F1 Fanatic has posted a review on this and can be read here:

    So glad I got the HD version as it’s more comprehensive than the DVD.

    I’m looking forward to the 2013 season already especially with the new driver pairing at McLaren and the Mercedes team.

    Jenson Button is now McLaren’s new lead driver and it will be fascinating to see him take command with his young rookie Sergio Perez close behind.

    Perez is now in the spotlight and is expected to earn podiums and wins. The Mexican needs to really up his game this season driving for one of the most successful outfits in the sport.

    As for Mercedes GP, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg sounds great as both are gifted and highly motivated to lead the Silver Arrows back to winning ways.

    For Hamilton, the challenge of driving a non-McLaren is going to be really interesting and I do wonder if the team can provide him a winning package come the start of the season. Can Lewis win races? Of course he can, but it will be down to the efforts from the engineers and designers in giving him a car that can score big points.

    What about Rosberg? After winning his maiden race in China last year, the young German has the skills and desire to take another victory. And yet it will be down to Mercedes in providing a race-winning package in order for Nico to taste champagne again.

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