Fastest Laps: 1
After the nightmare of 2011, it remained to be seen which Lewis Hamilton would turn out for 2012 but, with his personal life more settled, the Briton was back to his irrepressible best on track. Even when pit-stop problems appeared to cost him better results in the first half of the season, Hamilton was something close to a PR dream as he accepted that ‘that’s racing’ on more than one occasion. Despite being the king of qualifying with eight fastest times on a Saturday (one of which was lost to the fuel regs in Barcelona), it was astounding that he had to wait until Montreal for his first win, but Hamilton kept himself in distant touch with the title fight with further victories in Hungary and Italy as the European season ended. He was denied the top step of the podium by gremlins in both Singapore and Abu Dhabi but, by then, both his championship aspirations and 2013 plans were settled. Twitter traffic – particularly posting set-up data from Spa – hinted at the battle of wits over a new McLaren contract, but many felt that he would stay at Woking before news of a three-year deal at Mercedes broke prior to Suzuka. With the weight of his shoulders, Hamilton was sublime in the USGP and could have won in Brazil. Next year probably won’t be so successful.