Image Courtesy: xpb
The 2012 F1 season went down the wire in Brazil and was full of drama and action. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel slipped down the field on lap 1 after collision with Bruno Senna. He then put on an amazing charge to finish in 6th place as he took the drivers title for the 3rd time. The rain and two Safety Car period also spiced up the things at Interlagos.
This one was one of the many amazing title deciders we've had in Brazil and we'll review the best ones since the Schumacher era.
Image Courtesy: Renault
2005 - Alonso ends 5 years of Schumacher dominance
Schumacher and Ferrari's 5 year dominance ended in 2005 thanks to the new rule changes including prohibhition of tyre change during the race and the need for engines to last for two Grand Prixs. And it was McLarens and the Renaults on the Michelin tyres fighting it out for the championship.
At Brazil, the fight for the title was between the unreliable but quicker McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen and slower but consistent Renault of Fernando Alonso. Alonso qualified his car on pole while Raikkonen could only qualify his car in 5th place. Alonso maintained the lead at the start but lost a place to Montoya after Safety Car came out for an accident involving Williams of Antonia Pizzonia and Red Bulls of Coulthard and Webber. Alonso further lost a place to Raikkonen in the first round of stops but 3rd place was enough for him to wrap the title. At the age of 24 years and 58 days he became F1's youngest World Champion, a record now held by Sebastian Vettel.
Image Courtesy: F1 Fanatic
2006 - Alonso and Schumacher fight all the way till the end
Defending world champion Fernando Alonso started the season well taking lead in the drivers standings. Ferrari's pace improved significantly over the season and Schumacher was level in points with the Spaniard with two races to go. However, at the second last race in Japan, Schumacher retired due to an engine failure while Alonso went on to win the race and take a 10 point lead in the standings.
Ferrari had the fastest car at Brazil and Schumacher topped first two parts of qualifying session but suffered from fuel pressure problems in the final part which relegated him to 10th place on the starting grid. Meanwhile, Alonso qualified in 4th place. Schumacher had a great start and continued to gain places after the Safety Car period but during a battle with Fisichella, he suffered from a puncture which dropped him to back of the field. He came out just in front of race leader Massa(almost lapped) and then put on an amazing charge in what was one of his best races of his career to finish in 4th place. However, that wasn't enough as Alonso went on to finish in second place and rapped the second title of his career.
Image Courtesy: Reuters
2007 - Raikkonen edges battling McLarens of Hamilton and Alonso
2007 saw Raikkonen moving from McLaren to Ferrari and defending world champion Fernando Alonso moving to McLaren alongside rookie Lewis Hamilton. Renault felled backwards this year and it turned out to be a straight fight between McLarens and the Ferraris. There was an intense rivalry as well as tension between Alonso and Hamilton and that helped Raikkonen knock the back door. Coming into the second last race in China, Hamilton was 12 points clear of Alonso and 17 clear of Raikkonen. He locked up pole position but during the race, his tyres were severely worn and he went into the gravel trap and into retirement at the pit entry. Raikkonen went on to win the race and reduce the gap to just two points.
During the qualifying session, Massa locked up pole will title challengers Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso qualified in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively. In the initial laps, both Raikkonen and Alonso managed to overtake Hamilton who then slipped to 8th place after running wide on one of the corners. But it was on lap , when Hamilton suffered from a gearbox problem. He managed to change settings on his car but damage had already been done and he felled down in 18th place. Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen went on to overtake teammate Massa in the pits and went on to win the race and the title. The Finn overcome a 17 point deficit in 2 races with a maximum of 20 points available. Hamilton, meanwhile recovered to 7th place to finish a single point behind Raikkonen but on equal points with Alonso who took the final spot on the podium.
Image Courtesy: McLaren
2008 - Hamilton takes the title on the final corner of the season
The 2008 season was another straight fight between McLaren and Ferrari that went down the wire in Brazil. With Alonso returning to Renault, Hamilton was sole title contender for McLaren while at Ferrari, Massa took the charge. Coming into the final race, Hamilton again led the championship by 7 points from Massa.
During qualifying, Massa qualified on pole while Hamilton got his McLaren to start from 4th place. Had they finished in the same place, Hamilton would have won the title. At the start, Massa retained the lead and went on to win the race but Hamilton's road wasn't as easy. He slipped to 5th in the course of the race and with just two laps to go he ran wide and Vettel managed to overtake him and push him down in 6th place. This would have meant that Lewis Hamilton would lose the title by a single point. Again! Meanwhile, at Ferrari's garage, everyone prematurely started to celebrate Massa's championship as when he crossed the chequered flag, Hamilton was down in 6th place. That joy soon turned into despair when someone pointed them towards the TV screen. Because on the very last corner of the last lap of the last race of the 2008 F1 season, Hamilton managed to overtake Glock who stayed out on dry tyres on a wet track and take the championship by a single point!
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2009 - Buttons takes the title with Brawn GP
2009 was a strange season is the history of Formula 1 when Ferrari and McLaren the usual top runners felled to the midfield(at least in the first half of the season) and Red Bull and Brawn GP(made from remains of Honda team) rose to the top. The reason was massive change in regulations which were made to improve the spectacle of the sport. The championship went down to the second last race in Brazil where Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello from Brawn and Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull were competing for the title.
Coming into the race, Button led the championship with 85 points ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello(72) and Sebastian Vettel(69). In a wet and dramatic qualifying session, Rubens Barrichello took pole position while Button and Vettel could qualify only in 14th and 15th place respectively. At the start, Barrichello retained the lead while Button and Vettel moved into the top 10 after many accidents at the front. Barrichello had much less fuel in his car than his rivals and after the first round of pit stops, he was down in 3rd place behind Webber and Kubica. He eventually finished in 8th place. Meanwhile, Jenson Button finished in 5th place and took the prestigious drivers title.
Grand Prix hosted - 41
Drivers title deciders - 6
Driver title deciders since 2005