That would have involved beating Force India who placed their two drivers in sixth and eighth places today. But seventh had looked viable after Korea and India, but then our challenge faded. Here we needed to get two more points than Sauber, but with Kobayashi bringing the Swiss team two more points by finishing ninth, we have had to settle for eighth in the end of year classification. “At least we will still be neighbours in the pit lane,” said Sauber’s team-manager Beat Zender when he sportingly shook hands with some of our crew after the final race of the season.
Eleventh and twelfth are always the cruellest finishing positions, given that the points go down to tenth but that was the result that awaited Alguersuari and Buemi at the end of 71 laps of Interlagos. Jaime finished the year in fourteenth place in the Drivers’ classification on 26 points, one place ahead of Sébastien who has 15, in a year when most of the bad luck and trouble hit the Swiss driver’s car.
At the start, Séb got away well, moving up a couple of places, but Jaime got caught in the traditional midfield melee and that dropped him four spots and by then Kobayashi had got ahead of Séb. Both our drivers were on two-stop strategies, Séb pitting on laps 19 and 42 and Jaime on laps 21 and 48. Jaime found life tough on the Soft tyres he ran in the first stint and was definitely happier on the Mediums, but it was not enough for him to challenge Kobayashi two places ahead of him. With the forecast being for rain today, the team opted to bias Séb’s car set-up to running in the wet, but he ended up disappointed by the weather gods, even if rain did come within a kilometre of the circuit at a couple of moments in the race.
He waited long enough, but finally Mark Webber got the better of Sebastian Vettel, as they delivered another one-two finish for Red Bull Racing, with the Australian taking his only victory of the season. Jenson Button was best of the rest, third for McLaren, which was enough for him to take the silver medal spot in the Drivers’ end of year classification. Fernando Alonso had held off the Englishman for much of the race, but could not fend off the McLaren in the closing stages, so he ended up fourth, in the race and the championship. Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa had been hoping for a podium at his home race, but it was not to be and he ended up one place behind his team-mate. The rest of the points went to Sutil, sixth for Force India, Rosberg, seventh in the Mercedes, Di Resta, eighth in the second Force India, while Kobayashi in the Sauber and Petrov in the Renault completed the top ten.
For those of you who can’t live without Formula 1, the fact this season ended so late means there are only two months to go until the sound of F1 engines can be heard again as February testing gets underway in Spain.