If there was any regret haunting Fernando Alonso after that extraordinary race, you get the feeling it was wrestled with in that long stare into the distance in parc ferme, and despatched with that slow blink of the eyes. As the man said: ”When you do something with your heart you have to be proud. I will try again next year.”
‘Nando, second has seldom been such unworthy consolation, but Sebastian Vettel did all, more, than was required of him yesterday to make it three world titles on the trot. You must decide if his name deserves to be written alongside that of Fangio and that of Schumacher, but yesterday he was special, as special as he was in Abu Dhabi.
Before lap one was completed, it looked like it was over for Vettel. Tipped in to a spin, and then clouted heavily by Bruno Senna, he was dead last and driving a damaged car. But Vettel’s like a Weeble in those circumstances, he just bounces back up and is back in contention before you’ve even noticed he wasn’t. But still, at the start of the race, the title was heading Alonso’s way, the Ferrari safely in third behind the McLarens.
The ‘Live Driver’s Championship’ caption would then ebb and flow away from ‘Nando, then back again, and finally back to Seb as an extraordinary race played out in front of them as the rain came, and went, and came again.
Lewis Hamilton looked set to close out his McLaren career with what was going to be an emotional win. But Jenson Button had other ideas as did, more remarkably, Nico Hulkenberg. The German clearly likes Interlagos. Last time he was here driving a Williams, he put it on pole and led. He led again today, two years on from his last visit, and clearly thought he could win again. He hasn’t led a single lap in the time in between. It was a shame an over-ambitious move on Lewis Hamilton effectively eliminated both of them, Lewis taking a ride back to the pits, Hulkenberg taking a detour to the pits for a drive-by. Jenson Button, the Harry Potter of changing surface conditions, was therefore handed an easy win. He won the first race of this extraordinary season too, but only one in between. But there could be no better way for JB to start his career as McLaren number one.
There’s really so much to comment on, not least the last race for the HRT team, for Kamui Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen, and of course Michael Schumacher. Right now we’re planning to sit down, draw breath, watch the BBC forum, and plan something for tomorrow. But just one last thought before we go. There was something appropriate about Michael Schumacher being first to congratulate Sebastian Vettel. Out on the track, Schumacher had earlier conceded a place to Vettel, which eased his champion’s margin up from a single point to three.
Yes, Michael Schumacher conceded a place. That’s never happened before. One era ended with this race and a new one started.
Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel: the fastest F1 driver on the TopGear track, and now the youngest triple champion in history.