It was one of those races where Fate seemed to play a hand. On two occasions he was set to lose the title, but he fought back with typical resilience to finish in sixth place. Just enough.
Mark Webber | 4th | 8/10
Yes, Webber was fourth. No, we’re not sure how that happened either. It was a messy race, which included a spin and several moments battling with other cars. But somehow he took fourth.
Jenson Button | 1st | 9/10
It was a good performance by Button, who was involved in an early scrap for the win with Hamilton. But his win was fortuitous, considering the drivers ahead of him crashed. Still, a cool head in difficult conditions and all that.
Lewis Hamilton | Ret | 10/10
It shouldn’t have ended like this, but sadly it did. Hamilton was superb all weekend, even if he backed off a little when the rain fell. Was again an innocent party in a retirement and he now moves on to pastures new at Mercedes.
He needed twenty miracles in 2012 and he almost got them all. He made a couple of mistakes early on, yet claimed another podium in a season in which he has been magnificent. But how much will he kick himself for Japan…
Felipe Massa | 3rd | 10/10
Massa has been fantastic in the second half of 2012 and his drive in Brazil capped a fine weekend in which he was a contender throughout. Qualifying lap was superb while his battle back through the field in the race was exemplary.
Michael Schumacher | 7th | 8/10
It was a good fight back after an early puncture condemned him to the back of the field. Schumacher was lapped early on but ended a run of six races without points to end on a relative high. Danke Michael.
Nico Rosberg | 15th | 4/10
An awful weekend, or rather, an awful final part of the season. Rosberg picked up a puncture from the debris littered around the circuit, but was anonymous on his way to a lowly fifteenth place.
Kimi Raikkonen | 10th | 7/10
It was a scrappy affair for Raikkonen, who managed to finish every race of 2012, even if he was lapped in Brazil. Highlight had to be when he tried to rejoin using the old track, only to find the gate was closed.
Romain Grosjean | Ret | 3/10
Qualifying shunt was silly but he was making good progress when he shunted on Lap 5. It was a hefty crash and he was fortunate not to suffer from more than a little shock.
Paul di Resta | 19th | 4/10
It was a pretty dire race for the British driver, as he was one of many battling in the midfield. He spun at Juncao before dropping it big time at the final corner and ending the racing prematurely.
Nico Hulkenberg | 5th | 9/10
Why did no top team sign Nico Hulkenberg? His performance was outstanding, although he blotted his copybook when he half-spun and handed the lead to Hamilton. Collision was unfortunate and subsequent penalty was harsh.
Kobayashi’s final Sauber race turned out to be typically eventful. The Japanese driver made his way up to fourth early on, while sixth looked likely until he spun and dropped to ninth.
Sergio Perez | Ret | 4/10
After so much promise, Perez’s Sauber career ends with a run of six pointless races, although retirement in Brazil was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Daniel Ricciardo | 13th | 7/10
Too many stops hurt Ricciardo, who was running in eighth place when he had to make another pit stop. Gambled on wet tyres at the end but points were out of reach.
Jean-Eric Vergne | 8th | 7/10
Eighth place for the fourth time in 2012 was a good way to end the season, although he ran into Glock towards the end of the race, blotting his copybook.
How many points has Maldonado cost his team in 2012? For the second successive season, Maldonado crashed out in Brazil, although the TV director is so used to seeing him in the wall, they didn’t bother with a replay.
Bruno Senna | Ret | 3/10
Ditto the above, although this time we at least saw what happened. Will Senna be in the sport next season? Eddie Jordan seems to think he’ll be at Caterham (Bruno, not Eddie).
Heikki Kovalainen | 14th | 5/10
It was an okay race for Heikki, although it may be his last ever start. If it was, then he leaves the sport as a Grand Prix winner. A competent F1 driver.
Vitaly Petrov | 11th | 9/10
For most of the season, Petrov has been underrated. When it mattered, he spun. Disaster. But he fought back to claim the vital eleventh place needed for Caterham. A good financial boost and it may well secure his future.
Pedro de la Rosa | 17th | 7/10
“The work that all mechanics and engineers did in the garage was also very good and both cars got to the checkered flag, which is the best way to finish this long, tough but rewarding season”, said team Principal Luis Perez-Sala.
Narain Karthikeyan | 18th | 6/10
“I am really proud of every single team member, without whom this season wouldn’t have been possible. But also thank our sponsors, partners and fans alike for their continuous support”, continued Perez-Sala. Amen to that, and goodbye HRT, most likely.
Timo Glock | 16th | 7/10
Glock was understandably angry at being hit by Vergne at the restart as it damaged his car and required an extra pit stop. Nevertheless, the German driver remains optimistic about 2013; let’s hope those points are near.
Charles Pic | 12th | 8/10
Did he let Petrov through? No. Pic was battling with an inferior car and one without KERS at a circuit where the system is of great assistance. He moves on to Caterham next season.
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