Here’s how Sebastian Vettel won his third world title.
Vettel qualifies only sixth Down Under but profits firstly from Romain Grosjean’s poor start and then Michael Schumacher’s gearbox failure to move up to 3rd. He then takes advantage of a safety car period to claim the runner-up spot behind Jenson Button.
Points: 18 (2nd, +7 points behind the championship leader)
After another indifferent qualifying, Vettel was running in fourth place when a collision with the lapped Narain Karthikeyan left him outside of the points. He ignored a late race message from his team to stop the car on his way to eleventh.
Points: 18 (6th, +17 points)
He qualifies only eleventh, a result which condemns him to a race battling in the midfield. He valiantly tried to make a two stop strategy work but could manage just fifth place, thirty seconds behind winner Nico Rosberg
Points: 28 (5th, +17 points)
Vettel takes pole position, closely followed by Lewis Hamilton. But in the race it’s the Lotus cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean who pose the biggest threat. Raikkonen attempts a move but Vettel defends, claiming his first win of the season.
Points: 53 (1st, 4 point lead)
It wasn’t a happy hunting ground in Spain as Vettel manages only sixth, an entire minute down on winner Pastor Maldonado. Vettel is handed a drive through penalty for ignoring yellow flags and changes his front wing on a weekend where Red Bull lack pace.
Points: 61 (1st, equal)
Vettel felt he didn’t have the pace on soft tyres so elected not to set a lap in Q2. He ran a long opening stint and came out of the pits in fourth place, where he eventually finished, in one of the closest finishes in F1 history.
Points: 73 (2nd, +3 points)
Vettel took pole position and tried to manage a one stop strategy against the two stopping Lewis Hamilton. It didn’t work as he lost out not only to Hamilton but to Grosjean and Sergio Perez as well. A late stop for option tyres crucially allowed him to overtake Alonso.
Points: 85 (3rd, +3 points)
At a circuit where Vettel has dominated, he was on course for his second win of the season when his alternator failed shortly after the safety car came in. He angrily threw his gloves against the fence after parking his car at Turn 17.
Points: 85 (4th, +26 points)
In a weekend where the rain seemed endless, dry conditions prevailed for the race. It was a fairly uneventful proceeding for Vettel, who took third place behind team mate Webber and Alonso.
Points: 100 (3rd, +29 points)
Vettel was running in third place when he overtook Jenson Button outside of the track limits. The stewards imposed a twenty second penalty which dropped him to fifth, after a race in which he was angry after Lewis Hamilton unlapped himself.
Points: 110 (3rd, +44 points)
Vettel lost out to Button at the start and pleaded with his team to assist his progress. He eventually jumped Button through the pit stop phase, by which time all hopes of a podium had disappeared.
Points: 122 (3rd, +42 points)
Vettel qualifies only eleventh and loses out at the start, dropping to twelfth. However, Vettel fights back, passing several rivals into the Bus Stop chicane and staying out longer than many other drivers, finishing in second place.
Points: 140 (2nd, +24 points)
Red Bull was always going to struggle with the long straights at Monza, but Vettel causes controversy when he defends harshly against Alonso at the Curva Grande. He is handed a drive through penalty, but ultimately retires with another alternator failure.
Points: 140 (4th, +39 points)
Vettel returns to form but cannot match Hamilton’s pace at the front. However, Hamilton suffers from a mechanical failure, paving the way clear for Vettel to win for only the second time in 2012.
Points: 165 (2nd, +29 points)
At a circuit where Vettel thrives, he was utterly dominant. He pipped Webber to pole by a couple of tenths and simply eased away from the rest of the field, winning by twenty seconds. More importantly, Alonso crashes out.
Points: 190 (2nd, +4 points)
Vettel doesn’t take pole position but manages to lead down into Turn One. Webber tries to repass his team-mate on the run down to Turn 4 but eventually settles for second place. For the first time since April, Vettel leads the championship.
Points: 215 (1st, -6 points)
It was a return to 2011 form for Vettel at the Buddh International Circuit. After taking a Grand Chelem the previous year, Vettel repeated the feat in 2012, despite late race fears when sparks appeared from beneath his car.
Points: 240 (1st, -13 points)
Saturday ends in disaster when Vettel is made to start from the pit lane after a qualifying infringement. Twenty four hours later, he takes him a trophy after fighting through the field, albeit with a small slice of luck.
Points: 255 (1st, -10 points)
Vettel claims pole position but loses out to Lewis Hamilton after he comes across Narain Karthikeyan in the first sector.
Points: 273 (1st, -13 points)
In a chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel is spun at the first corner and drops down to last place. He fights back to sixth place, securing the points he needs to claim a third world title.
Points: 281 (1st, -3 points)