Date:Monday November 19 2012
From the moment Sebastian Vettel drove out of the pitlane and on to the Austin track, the Red Bull was quick.
In Free Practice One, Sebastian Vettel's advantage over second placed Lewis Hamilton was 1.418seconds. In Free Practice Two, the lead over second placed Mark Webber was 0.757seconds.
On Saturday, the lead shrank but the advantage was still clear, 0.258seconds on Hamilton in FP3 and 0.109seconds in qualifying and crucially the clean side of the track.
ďItís good to start from pole and be on the clean side of the grid. It was important to feel the car from the first session onwards, in order to get more out of it as the weekend developed - we can be happy with the result and look forward to tomorrow. The car feels great. In terms of the Championship, we need to focus on ourselves and try to get the best result that we can. If youíre thinking about where the others are, then you donít get the optimum from yourself, and thatís what we need to focus on. Our job is done today, but so far no one has scored any points.Ē Vettel told formula1.com after securing pole position.
Vettel's focus was obvious, winning his third consecutive Formula One drivers title.
To that aim Friday and Saturday was all about setting the car up to take the victory and maximum points come Sunday.
If Vettel was to do that and Alonso couldn't finish fifth or higher than Vettel would take the championship with one race to spare.
Vettel lead away from the grid from the start of the race and experienced no dramas heading into the first turn. The advantage from behind on the clean side of the track was obvious and Vettel used this to to start to build a lead.
Once Hamilton had got passed Webber, the McLaren started to cut the lead down on Vettel and on lap 42 Vettel got caught behind some backmakers, which handed the advantage to Hamilton who took the race lead in the DRS zone.
Vettel couldn't afford to defend too aggressively with the title picture in mind and in the end he had to settle for second place, despite visibly being angry with events complaining on the radio.
With Alonso joining Vettel and Hamilton on the podium it wasn't the best of days for Vettel, only extending his lead in the championship by three points.
The result means that as expected Red Bull have wrapped up the Formula One constructors title for a third successive season and the drivers title goes into the final race of the season next weekend in Brazil.
ďIím very, very happy for the team to win a third constructorsí. Itís been a tough year so far and they have been pushing incredibly hard; they deserve to win, as we have been the best team. Obviously Mark and I were pushing throughout the year. It was a shame for Mark not to finish today. It was a very good race and we did everything we could, but unfortunately we ran into traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis. He used his chance well, I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed down the straight. I respect the positions; Lewis beat us fair and square. We showed we had the pace today and now itís full steam ahead to the next race.Ē
F1 Drivers World Championship
1. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull- 273
. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 260 (-13)
If Alonso wins the race in Brazil, for Vettel to take still take the championship, he needs to finish fourth or higher.
If Alonso finishes second, Vettel will only need to finish seventh or higher.
Another third place finish for Alonso and Vettel will need to finish no lower than ninth.
If Alonso fails to make the podium, Sebastian Vettel is crowned 2012 World Champion.
Date:Monday November 19 2012
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