Button wins in Sao Paulo

25 Nov, 2012 5:57pm

Jenson Button has won the Brazilian Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel finished sixth to clinch his third consecutive drivers' championship

Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012 drivers' championship, with a sixth-place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. He becomes the youngest Formula One triple world champion - a record that was previously held by Ayrton Senna.

Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton was first into turn one, ahead of Felipe Massa who made a great start from fourth on the grid in front of his home crowd.

It was a different story for Vettel, though, after he was passed by Fernando Alonso at the start before a nudge from Bruno Senna left him facing backwards at the back of the pack. Senna then collected Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado, forcing all three to retire from the race, while Vettel managed to continue despite damage to the side of his car.

A series of near misses followed as the rainfall became heavier. Alonso locked up and ran wide on lap five, allowing Nico Hulkenberg to take third. But the most serious incident involved Romain Grosjean, who spun into the barrier on lap six of 71, bringing his race to an end.

Jenson Button managed to pass Hamilton for the lead on lap seven, only to lose the lead and retake it within a lap. Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel all pitted for a set of intermediates, while Button continued on his slick tyres.

On lap 19, Hulkenerg made it past Button to take the lead in his final race for Force India before he joins Sauber next year. The German driver - who took pole position at this track in 2010 for Williams - promptly set the fastest lap of the race.

Nico Rosberg picked up a puncture on lap 21, which prompted the safety car to be deployed while the debris was cleared. This allowed Hulkenberg and Button to make their first stops for a set of hard tyres each, without disrupting the running order of Hulkenberg, Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel.

The safety car came in on lap 30, which gave Kobayashi the opportunity to squeeze past Vettel at turn one for fifth place, before Hamilton got past Button to go second. Kobayashi capitalised on a mistake by Alonso to go fourth on lap 32, only for the Ferrari driver to regain the position a lap later. Massa then used his DRS to make it past Vettel, before getting past Kobayashi to go fifth on lap 36.

Hulkenberg's lead was now up to 2.6 seconds but, as the conditions became more slippery, Hamilton started closing in. Hulkenberg got a wheel on the white line, which caused him to half spin and allowed Hamilton through to go first.

The Force India driver tried to regain the position on lap 55, but the two cars touched on the way into turn one and both went off. Hulkenberg was able to continue, but the damage to Hamilton's car was too severe - he tried to get back to the pits but was forced to pull off at the side of the track. The stewards handed Hulkenberg a drive-through penalty for causing the incident and he came back out in fifth.

This meant that Button was in the lead, with a gap of 19.2 seconds over second-place Massa, who looked to be slowing when Alonso slipped past him with less than 10 laps to go. Schumacher then allowed Vettel through to take sixth - leaving the reigning world champion three points ahead in the drivers' championship.

With just a lap to go, Paul di Resta clouted the wall, prompting the safety car to come out again.

Button crossed the line 2.7 seconds ahead of Alonso. Massa finished third, ahead of Webber, Hulkenberg and Vettel in sixth.

Schumacher finished his final Formula One race in seventh place, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne and Kobayashi, who spun after making contact with Schumacher on the penultimate lap. Kimi Raikkonen took the final point with a 10th-place finish, despite flying off the track down an escape route on lap 54, which forced him to do an U-turn and a little off-roading to get back onto the track.

Vitaly Petrov finished 11th, having got past Charles Pic to clinch 10h place in the constructors' championship for Caterham.

Check out our Brazilian Grand Prix gallery, as we look forward to another exciting season in 2013.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix results

Position Driver Team
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes
8 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
9 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
11 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
12 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth
13 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari
14 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
15 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
16 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
17 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
18 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
19 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
Not classified Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
Not classified Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
Not classified Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
Not classified Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
Not classified Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari