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GP Week : Issue 177a
Driver of the year – Fernando Alonso You can’t take anything away from Sebastian Vettel – the second half of his season was stunning, and he becomes only the third man to win three titles on the trot. However, once Red Bull had got on top of their car it was hard to beat. Alonso, in contrast, never had the best car. His consistency was incredible. Thirteen podiums, and three victories the F2012 itsvelf didn’t merit. He and Ferrari were blameless for his two DNFs. He might have missed out on the crown again, but it was arguably the most impressive season yet from the greatest driver of his generation. Team of the year – Red Bull Racing Red Bull have become only the fourth team to win three constructors’ titles on the bounce, the others being Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. The fact RBR is only eight seasons old makes this achievement all the more impressive. The RB8 was often behind its McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes rivals at the start of the year but the team worked their nuts of to slash the gap and emerge ahead, sealing the title with a race to spare. Hero award – Kimi Raikkonen Returning from a two-year sabbatical in the forests of rallying, few expected the Kimster to be able to summon the magic he used to win the ’07 championship. Just look at Michael Schumacher, who floundered upon his comeback. Kimi was as quick as ever, though, and just as monosyllabic (when prompted to deliver a lengthy address in his native Finnish in the post Spanish GP press conference he said, simply, “Happy Mother’s Day”). He’ll be disappointed he only won one race and came third in the champs. I just love him for tearing his engineers off a strip: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!” He certainly does. Best race – Canada The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve never fails to deliver drama, thanks to its narrow walls and high- degradation tarmac. This year, Lewis Hamilton started P2 and took a gamble on a two-stop strategy. His rivals, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel were on a one-stopper when Hamilton pulled into the pits on Lap 50 of 70 to reboot. That pushed him down the field, but his subsequent pace on fresh rubber butchered Alonso’s lead. Red Bull reacted too slowly, pitting Vettel to finish fourth. Alonso was passed by Hamilton on Lap 64 for the win, before the Ferrari’s tyres fell off the metaphorical cliff and pushed him down to fifth. Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez joined Lewis on a very happy podium. 25 GPWEEK.com // 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> FEATURE