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How Vettel beat Alonso to the 2012 title – Pt.2

27 November 2012

The Brazilian Grand Prix brought the curtain down on an astonishing F1 season as Sebastian Vettel beat Fernando Alonso to the crown – becoming the youngest triple champion in the history of the sport in the process.

Here, Crash.net takes a race-by-race look at how Red Bull's German racer overturned a 44 point deficit at the half-way stage of the season to take the title away from Alonso and Ferrari…

To read part one, covering the first ten races of the season, CLICK HERE.

Hungary:
Lewis Hamilton wins the final race before the summer break, with Vettel and Alonso unable to challenge the McLaren man for victory. Vettel qualifies in third place and has the stronger race of the pair, although time lost behind Button early on proves to be vital. A late switch to a three-stop strategy almost comes good as he closes on Romain Grosjean late on but he can't pass the Frenchman and crosses the line just off the podium in fourth.

Alonso starts sixth but doesn't have high hopes for race day and admits surprise at being able to cross the line in fifth having extended his run of points finishes to an impressive 23.

Standings:
1. Alonso 164
3. Vettel 122 (-42)

Belgium:
Jenson Button takes a dominant win in a race that turns into a disaster for Alonso; with his run of points finishes being brought to a dramatic end. The Spaniard qualifies in sixth place but it wiped out at turn one after being caught up in an accident involving Hamilton and Grosjean and fails to score.

Vettel meanwhile fails to make it through to Q3 but starts tenth thanks to a gearbox penalty for team-mate Mark Webber. Although delayed by the first lap incident ahead, the German soon starts to make up places and a one-stop strategy plays a major part in him coming through to second place.

Standings:
1. Alonso 164
2. Vettel 140 (-24)

Italy:
Hamilton wins at Monza as Vettel discovers it is his turn to run into trouble. The German starts sixth and looks set to finish in the same position despite losing time when handed a drive-through penalty for forcing Alonso onto the grass through the Curva Grande. However, an alternator issue means he parks up with five laps to go.

Alonso meanwhile endures a frustrating qualifying session as a roll-bar problem leaves him well off the pace in tenth but he recovers well on race day to bring his car home in third place; securing a podium in front of the Tifosi.

Standings:
1. Alonso 179
4. Vettel 140 (-39)

Singapore:
Vettel takes his second victory of the season after benefitting from a gearbox failure for poleman Hamilton while he was leading the way. The McLaren driver's retirement leaves Vettel out front and despite two Safety Car periods, he is able to stay out front – surviving a scare when he is called before the stewards to explain an incident behind the Safety Car was he was almost struck by Button.

Alonso meanwhile qualifies in fifth place and is able to salvage a podium finish with third, but admits afterwards that Ferrari isn't quick enough and needs to find more speed.

Standings:
1. Alonso 194
2. Vettel 165 (-29)

Japan:
Vettel makes it two wins in a row with a dominant victory at Suzuka – leading from start-to-finish after qualifying on pole position as the title race takes a huge twist.

For Alonso, Suzuka proves to be another race to forget as he qualifies seventh and is then involved in a clash with Kimi Raikkonen on the run to turn one. The end result is a retirement for the championship leader who sees his advantage slashed in the title race.

Standings:
1. Alonso 194
2. Vettel 190 (-4)

Korea:
Vettel makes it three wins in a row with another comfortable win, despite missing out on pole position to team-mate Webber on Saturday in Korea. Beating the Australian off the line, Vettel stays out front to the finish for a victory that puts him ahead of Alonso in the points for the first time since Bahrain.

Alonso manages to qualify in fourth but come race day, he has no answer to the pace of Red Bull. Although he gets up to third on the first lap, he is unable to challenge he pair ahead and finishes on the bottom step of the podium.

Standings:
1. Vettel 215
2. Alonso 209 (-6)

India:
Vettel's domination of the latter part of the season continues as he again takes pole position and the follows it up with a fourth successive victory that enables him to extend his advantage in the standings. No-one can get close to the German despite the appearance of sparks coming from underneath his car late on; something Red Bull says afterwards was no cause for concern.

Alonso qualifies in fifth spot and battles ahead of the McLarens of Hamilton and Button early on before hunting down Webber when he suffers a KERS failure – enabling the Spaniard to mimimise his losses to Vettel in the title race.

Standings:
1. Vettel 240
2. Alonso 227 (-13)

Abu Dhabi:
Raikkonen wins for the first time since his comeback as Vettel's winning run comes to an end. The German qualifies third but is then demoted to the back of the grid after stopping on his in-lap, with the FIA unable to take a fuel sample from the Red Bull after the session. However, an astonishing comeback driver sees the defending champion recover to finish on the podium in third place.

Alonso starts from sixth place but is soon making forward progress and works his way up to second place. A late Safety Car period allows him to close up on Raikkonen but the Spaniard can't make a move for victory and has to settle for a finish just one place ahead of his title rival.

Standings:
1. Vettel 255
2. Alonso 245 (-10)

United States:
Hamilton wins as F1 returns to the USA while Vettel is able to extend his lead with just one race left to run – helping Red Bull wrap up the constructors' title in the process. Vettel qualifies on pole and leads from Hamilton until the 42nd lap, when the McLaren driver finally finds a way through as the pair deal with the lapped HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. Vettel keeps him honest to the finish but can't find a way back into the lead.

Alonso struggles to ninth on the grid with a lack of grip, which then becomes eighth thanks to a gearbox penalty for Raikkonen. With that meaning a start on the dirty side of the grid, Ferrari break the seal on Felipe Massa's gearbox to hand him a penalty that promotes Alonso to seventh and a good start sees him jump to fourth by turn one. Webber's retirement with alternator issues then see the Spaniard move into third, which is where he finishes to head to Brazil 13 points behind Vettel in the standings.

Standings:
1. Vettel 273
2. Alonso 260 (-13)

Brazil:
The most dramatic of season finales sees Button win for McLaren but Vettel crowned champion after he finishes sixth. The German qualifies fourth but loses places off the line and is then hit at turn four by Bruno Senna, damaging his car and dropping him to the back of the field. In challenging wet conditions, Vettel works his way forwards and picks up the points required to become the youngest triple champion F1 has ever seen.

Alonso qualifies eighth but gets ahead of Vettel at the start and suddenly finds himself in with a real chance of the title after his rival's first lap accident. Keeping out of trouble, Alonso is able to get up to second place behind Button but it isn't enough, as Vettel's performance ensures that the Spaniard falls just three points shy of becoming a triple champion himself.

Standings
1. Vettel 281
2. Alonso 278 (-3)


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