Formula 1 2012 review

Formula 1 this season has been an absolute joy to watch. It ended with Red Bull winning the Constructors championship and Vettel winning the drivers championship. Given the pace of the red bull car and their consistency, it might seem obvious that Vettel had to win the championship. But a look at the final table would tell how close the fight between Vettel and Alonso was.

For me this season of Formula 1 has been about 3 drivers, Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. There is a lot one can learn from the way these drivers have performed this season. Vettel lead the 3 in terms of race wins with 5 while Hamilton had 4 and Alonso had 3. Yet Vettel and Alonso were separated by 3 points and Hamilton gathered 91 points fewer than Vettel. How did this happen? What do we learn?

Vettel:

This guy is one of the most talented drivers in the sport and had undoubtedly the fastest car in the season. But that didn’t guarantee his victory. With 6 races to go, he sat 29 points behind Alonso. He had to dig deep and string out 4 successive victories to overtake Alonso. He finished with a 3 point lead and could have lost the title in the final race. What can we learn from this? Talent and money can’t get you to the pinnacle. You have to work hard for it.

But will hard work alone get you there? No. You need a certain amount of luck too and Vettel had his share. The entire season of Vettel and Red Bull can be pictured in the Abu Dhabi grand prix. He had to start from the back of the grid due to a problem in qualifying. But that didn’t  deter Vettel or Red Bull. They changed the gear ratio’s in his car to make it go faster and adopted a 2 stop strategy while everyone else was on a 1 stop strategy. He gave everything he had in the race and drove superbly. He also had luck in his favor when 2 crashes brought on safety cars and he closed down the gap in the field after having taken his pit stops. He finished 3rd in the race. The result was borne from a mixture of skill, hard work and luck.That’s how it was the entire season. Hat’s off to Vettel for winning the title. My respect for this guy grown to a new high.

Alonso:

I have always been a fan of Alonso. Even before he joined Ferrari when he was battling with Schumacker for the title, I liked him. There was something about his calm persona and consistency in driving that won me over. I was very happy when he joined Ferrari. He may not have won the title this season but 5 years down the line, I will remember this season as having belonged to Alonso.

All through the season he struggled in qualifying. For most of the season, he qualified 4th of 5th and had to battle to get to podium. The consistency with which he did this was astounding. I’m no expert at Formula 1 but I believe 60 percent of Vettel’s performance was down to his RB7’s performance and the rest was his own effort. In case of Alonso however, 60 percent of his performance was down to his own efforts in a below par car. Even though the F2012 let him down in qualifying, he battled hard in the race and secured maximum points for himself and his team.

There is a lot one can learn from Alonso this season. Even if things are not going your way, you can still give yourself a chance to get to the top through hard work and sheer force of will. Even if you are not talented enough or have enough money, you can be the best. Alonso was undoubtedly frustrated by the lack of pace in his car compared to his rivals but he never let his frustration show and never criticized his team in public. Credit to Ferrari that although their car wasn’t the fastest, it was consistent and suffered very few mechanical problems. With a little more luck, he could have won this season. He single handedly brought Ferrari the runners up position and deserves a lot of credit for that.

I think Massa deserves a mention too. His form in the first half of this season was a continuation of last season and he struggled to secure points in the races. But he believed in himself and turned around his season in the latter half to finish at a respectable 7th position. I hope he has a better 2013 season for Ferrari.

Hamilton:

If Vettel and Alonso season was about positives, Hamilton’s season was about negatives. He had one more win than Alonso and clearly a faster car but he still finished 88 points behind Alonso. He was inconsistent and his car suffered multiple mechanical failures. Consistency is the key to get to the top and that is what Hamilton’s season teaches us. I don’t really like this guy but I admit he has fantastic driving skills. He could do better next season if he is consistent.

It’s a 4 month wait for me now before the start of next season but with a lot of Premier League and Cricket action due in this period, I won’t miss Fomula 1 very much. Just a little maybe.

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