Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel stamped his class by becoming the youngest triple Formula One champion at 25 after a gripping battle with Fernando Alonso, which was followed by the great Michael Schumacher bidding adieu to the sport for one final time in a dramatic 2012.
It took the German fourth race of the season to record his first victory and he was trailing Ferrari's champion driver Alonso in the first half. But a dramatic turnaround in the post-break season -- when he won four races on the trot – catapulted him back to the title contention.
Vettel is not only the youngest to have won three F1 drivers' titles, he is also only the third in history to have won three in a row after Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher.
Alonso was amazingly consistent throughout the season and the Spaniard had even built up a 40-point lead by the mid-season summer break. He had also outscored Vettel in the final three races by 10 points.
But Vettel was a notch above with his sheer class and the indomitable spirit, with which he even defeated not only his rivals but also certain situations that had almost spelled doom for him.
The Abu Dhabi result, where he began from the back of the grid to finish third, was a perfect example of that spirit. He did not give up and luck too smiled on him.
Even till the last race in Sao Paulo, title could have gone to either Vettel or Alonso but the young Red Bull driver defended his title when McLaren's Jenson Button won and Alonso finished second.
Vettel edged past Alonso by just three points with a grand total of 281 at the end of an exciting season, which threw seven different winners in the first seven races. Alonso almost pulled off a sensational championship win despite an inferior car compared to Red Bull and McLaren as he performed extraordinary in races, defying poor qualifying all through the year.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen was also consistency personified as he finished third in the drivers' championship despite winning just a single race and that too towards the end at Abu Dhabi.
The 'iceman' walked up to the podium seven times.
Lewis Hamilton, too, had a good season but misfortune struck him too many times and that threw him out of the calculations. Thrice he had to retire from pole positions and twice he finished third from pole positions. That made