Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2012:
1: Fernando Alonso
July 29, 1981
Crash.net F1 Driver of 2011 position:
That Fernando Alonso even found himself in with a shot of taking the 2012 F1 world championship title at the final round of the season was something of a miracle, but helped confirm the Spaniard's status as one of the best on the grid.
Ferrari's F2012 was difficult from the start of testing and, save for a couple of races mid-season, always appeared to be trailing McLaren and Red Bull. An unexpected triumph in the wet at Sepang, however, established Alonso's 'samurai' persona as he refused to be cowed either by a poor qualifying position, the conditions or a terrier-like Sergio Perez, who dogged his wheeltracks to the very end.
That victory was joined by others in Valencia, when he again came from deep in the field to head fellow champions Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumcher on the podium, and Germany, but it was Alonso's remarkable knack for grabbing podiums and scoring points that kept him out front of the title race until Suzuka.
A start-line error there, however, allowed Sebastian Vettel to shave 25 points off his 29-point advantage – the gap having been as much as 40 during the summer break - and the writing was on the wall as Red Bull proved the team to beat as F1 traversed Asia for the second time.
Featuring in the top three in seven races around his Japanese DNF underlined Alonso's fighting qualities and it was only the smallest of margins that eventually denied him a third title. Ferrari tactics, roundly condemned by rivals at the time, saw the Spaniard handed a more beneficial grid slot, at the expense of team-mate Felipe Massa, for the USGP in Austin, and a subsequent podium finish ensured the double world champion headed to the Brazilian finale in with a shot of crown number three.
Again, Alonso did all he could, eventually finishing as runner-up to Jenson Button in changeable conditions, but Vettel did what he needed to ensure that the crown remained in his possession by just three points. Given his determination to bring glory back to Maranello, Alonso cannot be discounted next year, but is already urging Ferrari to do all it can, on track and off, to make his job a little easier….
The complete top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2012 results:
2. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Sebastian Vettel
5. Jenson Button
6. Nico Hulkenberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Sergio Perez
9. Felipe Massa
10. Kamui Kobayashi