Vettel snubs F1's 'dirty tricks'
HARD-FOUGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel wrapped up the 2012 F1 season with a hard-fought battle at the 2012 Brazilian GP. Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Just when it all seemed to be going wrong, Sebastian Vettel triumphed at the 2012 Brazilian GP where the Red Bull ace was crowned Formula 1's youngest triple World champion.
In the aftermath of his title triumph, Vettel alluded to "dirty tricks" against him and his team earlier in the 2012 season but he had far more immediate concerns at Interlagos.
The Brazililan GP saw him start fourth, go to the back of the field after a Turn 4 collision that left him facing the wrong direction, but finish sixth.
'EVERYTHING WENT WRONG'
"I think everything that could go wrong, went wrong," he said. As the champion turned around and fought back, Ferrari title rival Fernando Alonso moved into a position that would have handed him a third title if the race had ended that way.
The floor of the Red Bull was damaged and Vettel was unable to communicate through the car-to-team radio, a problem that led to others on a wet and chaotic afternoon.
Vettel said: "We did the pit stop probably at the wrong time - I went on another set of drys and a lap later it started to rain - I came in for inters and the inters weren't ready because we had no radio communication, they couldn't hear me."
"It was a very tough race but we were present all the time, we remained ourselves throughout the whole year even though people did some things that we would never consider to do.
"A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end," he added.
What he was referring to was not immediately clear. Some saw it as a reference to destabilising rumours earlier in 2012 that Vettel had an agreement to move to Ferrari, others to Ferrari tactics favouring Alonso or questions about the legality of the Red Bull cars.
Vettel said: "People tried everything, inside the lines and outside the lines, to beat us and the amount of questions we had to deal with, stuff we had to deal with throughout the season, didn't make our life easier."
Only two other champions have won three titles in a row - the late Juan Manuel Fangio and seven-times champion Michael Schumacher - who did Vettel one last favour in the closing laps when he did not attempt to prevent the champion taking sixth place from him.
Vettel said: "I said thanks for not defending too hard. He said 'What's the point? You were much quicker, you were going to pass me anyway'."
Vettel, who admitted to pre-race nerves, also became only the ninth triple champion and he was keenly aware of what he had achieved. "To get told was unbelievable. Unfortunately, the guys couldn't hear my answer because the radio was broken," he grinned. "We are in Sao Paulo, the place where (triple champion) Ayrton Senna was born and came from and where he is buried. To come here and win the championship for the third time... I don't know what to say."
Vettel said team principal Christian Horner had come on the radio after the finish to list all the triple champions who had gone before him.
Vettel said: "He started with Michael, the obvious choice and easy to remember, Senna, (Niki) Lauda, (Nelson) Piquet... I think he mentioned all of them except (Alain) Prost. So I told him 'You forgot Prost'."
The words went unheard, the radio faulty and filled with the sound of shouting from the pits wall.