25 Nov 2012
On 25th November, the Brazilian Grand Prix took place as the final race of the season. Interlagos has always produced very dramatic moments, especially ever since the race featured as the championship finale. For Ferrari there have always been very strong and contrasting emotions and the 2012 race was no exception. In qualifying, it didn’t seem that much had changed since Austin a week earlier: McLaren was back to being the best of the pack, with Red Bull always very strong, Lotus apparently competitive with outsiders Hulkenberg and Maldonada there to mix things up. Felipe’s performance also matched that in Texas, as for the second time in a row, he was ahead of his team-mate. Fernando would have to hope for a miracle to take the title: 13 points would be a lot to make up, but all the pressure was on the back of the championship leader. On Sunday, after a long absence, the rain returned to play an important role but, as local tradition demands, it proved to be a crazy variable right from the start. A collision between Vettel and Senna seemed to have put the German Red Bull man out of contention, but despite spinning, incredibly, he managed to get going again with little damage. The thoughts of all Ferrari enthusiasts, those at the track and in front of television screens around the world, immediately turned back to Spa and Suzuka: what a difference compared to the two start incidents that had robbed Fernando of two podium finishes that were well within his grasp! The continual changes in track condition shook things up and a couple of times it seemed as though Fernando was in with a chance, but in the end, it was not to be. Felipe was very competitive, especially in the second half of the race and finished on the podium after once again proving to be a team player, letting his team-mate take second place behind the winner, Button. Vettel finished seventh: it was enough to make him world champion for a third consecutive time.
“That’s sport and that’s how it goes,” said Domenicali in the team press release. “To have lost the Drivers’ title twice in the last three years by the tiniest of margins hurts, it hurts a lot, I can assure you of that. I am particularly disappointed for Fernando, who like never before, really deserved to win this time. He has been extraordinary, not just in the way he has driven, nor because he simply never gave up in the first very difficult part of the season, but mainly for the human qualities he demonstrated within the team. Where did we lose those three points? Hard to say, but I just want to point out that Fernando ended where he did, having effectively only taken part in 18 of the 20 races: the few hundred metres he covered in Spa and then Suzuka lays heavy like a rock on today’s outcome. Sure, we cannot ignore the fact we were unable to give him and Felipe a quicker car, especially at the start of the season: this also cost us dear and our main aim for 2013 should be precisely that of giving our drivers the equipment with which they can win immediately. We owe our drivers and we want to wipe out that debt as soon as possible. I also want to thank Felipe for not letting go after a very difficult opening part to the year: he worked very hard and if today we have finished second in the Constructors’ championship, we also owe it to him. We always stuck by him, even when the outside world was calling for us to sack him and we have given him confidence for 2013. I think his results in this final part of the season have been the right response to those who doubted him. At this moment, I also want to thank everyone who has worked day and night, at the track and at Maranello to try and help us realise our dream and I am proud of all of them. Finally, I want to congratulate Sebastian, who is a great adversary. I think I can say we are leaving Brazil our heads held not just high, but very high!”