F1 2012 Season Recap

By on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recapping the twenty races of F1 2012

Australia

For the third time in four seasons it was Jenson Button who ran out as the winner in Australia. The British racer took the lead from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and was never headed. Sebastian Vettel qualified a lowly sixth but recovered to finish in second place, ahead of Hamilton. Fernando Alonso spun off in qualifying but raced to fifth place, holding off Pastor Maldonado until the Williams driver dropped his car on the exit of Turn 7 on the final lap. Michael Schumacher ran third early on until retiring with a gearbox failure, while the two Brazilian drivers in the field, Felipe Massa and Bruno Senna, crashed into each other.

What we said: “Behind Red Bull and McLaren, six or seven teams could lay claim to being the third best team. It’s an incredibly close battle that will ebb and flow all season”

Malaysia

The race started in slippery conditions and the rain intensified on Lap 8, causing a red flag period. Sergio Perez rose to third position after making an early stop for wet tyres, which became second at the restart when Lewis Hamilton suffered a slow pit stop. Perez challenged Alonso for the lead but ran wide towards the end of the race and settled for second. Button collided with Narain Karthikeyan and dropped out of the points, while the Indian driver also made contact with Vettel late on in the race, resulting in the German finishing in eleventh place. Senna and Vergne recorded the best finish of their careers.

What we said: “Fernando Alonso’s drive was a master class in how to win a Formula One race”

China

Mercedes locked out the front row, with Nico Rosberg claiming his first pole position. Rosberg led Schumacher comfortably, although the elder German retired when a wheel was fitted incorrectly in his first pit stop. Button looked set to challenge Rosberg for the win until a slow pit stop limited his progress. Hamilton finished third after battling back from a gearbox penalty in qualifying. Vettel’s two stop strategy left him in fifth place, with Romain Grosjean scoring his first F1 points courtesy of sixth.

What we said: “Now Rosberg has to take that next step and mount a title challenge in a car that is good, if not the best in the field”.

Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel scored his first pole position and win of 2012, ahead of the Lotus of Raikkonen. The Finn attempted to pass Vettel for the win but settled for second, securing his first podium since 2009. Grosjean finished third while Mark Webber finished in fourth for the fourth successive event. Paul di Resta was the only driver to pull off a two stop strategy successful and ended up sixth, while Hamilton was serious delayed in the pits and could finish only eighth. Rosberg’s defence against Hamilton and Alonso caused controversy but went unpunished.

What we said: “With sixteen races to go, the picture is still looking unusually distorted”.

Spain

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position but was excluded after failing to provide a sufficient fuel sample. This promoted Maldonado to pole position, ahead of Alonso. The Spaniard took the lead at the start but Williams pitted Maldonado earlier than his rival and secured the lead. A slow stop gave Alonso hope, but the Marussia of Charles Pic cost Alonso time and he remained second. Raikkonen was third, while Red Bull struggled all weekend and could manage only sixth and eleventh. Maldonado’s victory celebrations were marred when a fire broke out in the Williams garage, leading to the hospitalisation of several team members.

What we said: “Maldonado drove with a confidence and precision that belied his erratic reputation and his relative inexperience in the sport. It was sixty-six laps of near-perfection”.

Monaco

Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap in qualifying but started sixth after his penalty for eliminating Senna in Spain was applied. Webber inherited pole position and won in Monaco for a second time, with drizzle slowing the drivers at the end of the race. Rosberg took second, ahead of Alonso and Vettel, the latter starting on the prime tyres and running a long stint. A first corner accident eliminated Grosjean, Maldonado and de la Rosa, while Button also retired from the race after contact with Heikki Kovalainen.

What we said: “Now that Alonso has survived the damage limitation mode of the early flyaway events, he has to be seen as a contender for the championship”.

Canada

Vettel took pole position but was passed by Hamilton, who was on a two stop strategy. Both Vettel and Alonso were trying to stop only once, but Hamilton passed both easily towards the end of the race. Vettel made a late stop and claimed fourth, just ahead of Alonso. Grosjean and Perez finished on the podium, behind Hamilton, who became the seventh different winner in seven races. Button was only sixteenth, while Schumacher retired from the race when his DRS became jammed open.

What we said: “Schumacher’s season has gone from being a calamity of errors to simply a comedy roadshow”.

Europe

An ultra-close qualifying left Alonso down in eleventh with Vettel on pole. The reigning champion was out of sight, while Grosjean overtook Hamilton for second. Alonso made his way up to the top three, while a Safety Car was subsequently deployed to clear up debris following a collision between Vergne and Kobayashi. Vettel retired with an alternator failure, handing the lead to Alonso. Grosjean also suffered from an alternator failure, leaving Hamilton in second. Raikkonen overtook Hamilton late on, but Maldonado collided with Hamilton. Schumacher inherited third place with Webber fourth.

What we said: “The Valencia Street Circuit hosted an utterly bonkers event that will be penned as an all-time classic”.

Britain

Wet weather plagued the weekend, forcing the suspension of qualifying. When it resumed, Alonso took pole position ahead of Webber and Schumacher. The race was held in dry conditions, with Alonso and Webber running close together for much of the duration. Webber passed Alonso with five laps remaining and the podium was completed by Vettel. Maldonado and Perez collided which left the Mexican on the sidelines while Kobayashi was fined after crashing into several members of his pit crew.

What we said: “Whatever plans put in place to deal with the severe inclement conditions have completely failed”.

Germany

Another wet qualifying session left Alonso on pole, but this time it was home favourite Vettel who lined up alongside him. Alonso controlled the race, but a battle for second place was resolved in favour of Button when Vettel was penalised after the race for overtaking outside of the track limits. Hamilton suffered a puncture in his 100th race that ultimately caused his retirement, while Raikkonen inherited third place after Vettel’s penalty.

What we said: “Vettel’s move on Button skews the line between what is legal and illegal yet again”.

Hungary

The start was aborted when Michael Schumacher lined up in the wrong grid slot. He then switched off his engine, had to start from the pit lane and then picked up a puncture. Hamilton won for the second time in 2012, fending off the charging Raikkonen, who in turn overtook team-mate Grosjean after the second round of stops. Vettel was fourth after complaining to Red Bull over the radio that he couldn’t find a way past Button.

What we said: “Lotus knew the win was there, but circumstances meant that both drivers missed out”.

Belgium

The race was marred by a first lap collision caused by Grosjean that left Alonso, Hamilton and Perez out of the race. Kobayashi was also involved but raced on with a severely damaged car. Maldonado jumped the start, was clipped in the crash and hit Glock at the restart. Raikkonen passes Schumacher on the entry to Eau Rouge, while Vettel bounced back from a Q2 elimination to finish on the podium. Button controlled the race from pole position, his first since 2009. Hamilton caused controversy when he tweeted a picture of his telemetry, amidst speculation over his future.

What we said: “Grosjean’s ban was warranted, but the FIA’s reasoning of him eliminating championship contenders will raise eyebrows”.

Italy

Grosjean was banned for his actions in Belgium and he was replaced for the event by Jerome d’Ambrosio. Hamilton took pole while Alonso was only tenth after an anti-roll bar failure in qualifying. Alonso raced through the top ten, including a close battle with Vettel. Alonso ended up on the grass and Vettel was handed a drive through penalty. Vettel later retired with an alternator failure. Perez started on the hard tyres and took advantage of the soft compound later in the race to move up to second place. Webber spun out of the race after suffering from worn tyres.

What we said: “Was it payback for 2011? Who knows, but Fernando was not amused at being sent off the circuit”.

Singapore

Hamilton led from pole position but a gearbox failure forced him out on Lap 20. Karthikeyan crashed out and at the restart Schumacher hit the back of Vergne. Vettel controlled the race after Hamilton’s retirement, beating Button to the chequered flag. Alonso took third, with di Resta a career best fourth. Glock finished in twelfth place, despite hitting the wall hard, to give Marussia the valuable tenth place in the championship.

What we said: “Vettel is now in prime position to become only the third man to secure three successive world championships”.

Japan

Alonso crashed out on the first lap after moving across Raikkonen, while Webber was spun by Grosjean. Rosberg and Senna collided in a separate incident. Grosjean was given a stop and go penalty for his actions and was later branded a ‘first lap nutcase’ by Webber. Vettel dominated the race, ahead of Massa and Kobayashi. It was Massa’s first podium since 2010 and the first for Kobayashi. Perez crashed out when trying to overtake Hamilton, while Button was fourth.

What we said: “As if his day couldn’t get any better, Vettel realised mid-distance that his main title rival, Fernando Alonso, was no longer in the race”.

Korea

Webber claimed pole but was usurped at the first turn by Vettel. Kobayashi hit Button and Rosberg, causing both drivers to retire from the race. Hamilton suffered an anti-roll bar failure early on and had to make an extra stop for tyres to compensate. He also picked up a loose piece of astroturf which lodged in his car for the final few laps. Red Bull claimed the only 1-2 of the season which left Vettel in the lead of the championship. Vergne and Ricciardo both finished in the points.

What we said: “The most exciting part of the race for the fans assembled in the main grandstand was probably the chance to see PSY”.

India

In a one stop race, Vettel emerged victorious for the fourth successive event, ahead of Alonso and the KERS-less Webber. Alonso overtook both McLaren drivers on the first lap and later eased passed the Australian. Massa fended off Raikkonen thanks to a superior straight line speed, while further back, Perez hit Ricciardo, while Kobayashi and Maldonado made contact. Schumacher was the third driver to pick up a puncture after contact with Vergne.

What we said: “Vettel’s 26th career victory was another example of the art of race management”.

Abu Dhabi

Vettel qualified in third place but was sent to the back of the grid after failing to provide a fuel sample. Red Bull elected to change the set-up of his RB8 and started him from the pit lane. Hamilton led from pole but retired on Lap 20. Raikkonen assumed the lead and held off a charging Alonso to claim his first win since 2009. Vettel hit Senna and a DRS board but finished on the podium. Perez, Grosjean and Webber collided, while Rosberg and Karthikeyan made contact at speed when the hydraulics failed on the HRT.

What we said: “Vettel was lucky with the timings of the safety car, but it was a superb drive and one that will go down in the history books”.

United States

On a slippery track, Vettel and Hamilton eased away from Webber and Alonso. Webber retired with an alternator failure while Alonso maintained third. Ferrari elected to break the seal on Massa’s gearbox, allowing Alonso to start on the clean side of the grid. Hamilton used DRS to pass Vettel after the German was held up by Karthikeyan through the first sector. Massa fought back to finish fourth, while Button used an alternative strategy to finish fifth.

What we said: “When you look at the amount of points Hamilton has lost through team errors, there’s no doubt he should be heading to Brazil with a chance of winning the title”.

Brazil

The race started in drizzly conditions that soon deteriorated. Most of the field pitted for Inters but Button and Hulkenberg stayed out to lead by forty-five seconds. Vettel was spun on the opening lap but recovered to fifth when the safety car was deployed to clear up debris. Hamilton and Hulkenberg made contact, eliminating the Brit and handing the lead to Button. Raikkonen ran wide and unsuccessfully attempted to re-join using the old circuit, while di Resta crashed heavily and ended the race prematurely. Petrov pipped Pic to eleventh, giving Caterham tenth in the championship. Massa takes another podium finish, but it’s Vettel who wins his third title. Schumacher bows out of the sport in seventh.

What we said: “The 71 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix were some of the most dramatic in F1 history, bringing down the curtain on a seemingly impossibly fantastic season of racing”.

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