18 Nov 2012
On 18th November 2012, Fernando Alonso came third in the USA Grand Prix, the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Qualifying was a tortured affair for the Scuderia, as Alonso and Massa churned out the kilometres in the hope of getting the tyres up to temperature. However, the outcome was the same as in Abu Dhabi, although the places were inverted with Felipe finishing ahead of Fernando for the first time that year, with the situation made worse by the fact that a penalty for Maldonado moved both of them to the dirty side of the track. The Texan Sunday proved to be a very long one. It all started in the morning, when the team decided to break a seal on the gearbox of car number 6, taking the consequent penalty, which thus moved both drivers back to the clean side of the track. Once again, Felipe proved what an amazing team player he is, understanding the need for what was a difficult decision to make, but an effective one. At the start, Fernando actually lined up fourth, which then saw him go third when Webber retired, while Felipe stayed within range of the central pack. The Brazilian ran a strong race and soon closed up to his team-mate to finish fourth. The podium finish meant Alonso could still aspire to take the title right to the final race: in Brazil, eight days later it would go right down to the wire on the final lap.
“Given the situation we were in yesterday afternoon after qualifying, this has to be seen as a positive result,” said Domenicali after the race. “Of course, we have dropped some points with Fernando to the championship leader, but the important thing was to limit the damage so that we could get to the final race still in with a chance and that’s what we’ve done. First and foremost, I want to congratulate Felipe, not just for driving a great race, but especially for the way he shared with us the decision to voluntarily take on a penalty in order to maximise our chances at the start, especially those of his team-mate. It was definitely a difficult thing to do but done in the spirit that we have always displayed, putting the interests of the team above those of the individual and for that, I want to thank him publicly. Fernando did the most he could with what he had to work with today, which was a car that was unable to fight for the win: once again he drove an epic first lap which put in a position to end up on the podium.”