Formula One

 
         === Vettel beats Alonso by three points for third F1 title ===
 
 Sao  Paulo, Brazil  (Sports Network) - Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull captured
 his  third consecutive  Formula One world championship with a come-from-behind
 sixth-place finish in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
 
 In  a  wet and  wild affair  from start to  finish in  the 71-lap race, Vettel
 managed  to  bounce back from an  opening-lap crash. Vettel started fourth but
 got  turned around when Williams' Bruno Senna went into the side of him before
 making  contact  with Sergio Perez from  Sauber. Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen ran off
 course and then bumped into Senna in the corner, which triggered the melee.
 
 Vettel  sustained damage to the left-rear of his car and fell back to the tail
 end of the field, while Senna and Perez were both knocked out of the race.
 
 After  making four  pit stops during the event, including two for intermediate
 tires,  Vettel  ran in the  sixth position before  Force India's Paul di Resta
 crashed  with  less than  two laps to  go, resulting in  the deployment of the
 safety car. The race ended with the field behind the safety car, as heavy rain
 fell  on  the 2.677-mile  Interlagos circuit. McLaren's  Jenson Button won the
 Brazilian  GP, while Vettel's championship rival, Fernando Alonso, crossed the
 finish line second in his Ferrari.
 
 "It's  very difficult  to  find the  right words,  especially  after the  race
 today,"  said  Vettel. "Everything that  could go  wrong went wrong. We always
 kept believing instead of getting angry or getting frustrated."
 
 Vettel  defeated  Alonso for  the title  by just three  points. He entered the
 season-finale  with a  13-point advantage over Alonso. Vettel needed to finish
 fourth or better to be guaranteed of clinching the championship, regardless of
 where Alonso placed.
 
 "It was an incredible race," Vettel noted. "It was harder for us, not just the
 others."
 
 At  age 25, Vettel became the youngest driver to win three world championships
 in  the sport's 63-year history. The German also joined Juan Manuel Fangio and
 fellow compatriot Michael Schumacher as the only competitors to claim three or
 more  consecutive titles.  Fangio won four titles in a row from 1954-57, while
 Schumacher captured five straight from 2000-04.
 
 "I  have  to say a big  thanks to everyone on  the team," Vettel said. "I feel
 like one of the guys on the team. I don't feel more or less important. I drive
 the  car.  What we achieved  today was  what we have  been working for since I
 joined  the team. It  was a massive amount of work getting it done through the
 whole year."
 
 Last  weekend, Red Bull clinched its third straight constructors' championship
 in  the United  States Grand Prix, which  was held at the brand new Circuit of
 the Americas in Austin, Texas.
 
 Button picked up his third win of the season and the 15th of his F1 career. He
 began  the season with a victory in the March 18 Australian Grand Prix. Button
 also won the Sept. 2 Belgian Grand Prix.
 
 "First  of all, I  want to congratulate the whole team," Button said. "This is
 the  perfect way  for us to end the  season. We started on a high and then had
 our  ups and downs,  but to end on a high is fantastic. It bodes very well for
 2013."
 
 In his last race with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton started on the pole and held the
 lead  before he crashed  on lap 55. Nico Hulkenberg was attempting to pass him
 for the top spot, but the Force India driver made contact with Hamilton, which
 damaged  the  left-front side of his  car and therefore led to his retirement.
 Button was running third prior to the incident but took over the lead and held
 it  from there.  Race stewards later penalized Hulkenberg with a drive-through
 on pit lane for causing the wreck.
 
 "Now  that  the 2012 season is  done and dusted,  I feel a bit numb," Hamilton
 said.  "It's  been a day of  mixed emotions. I'm  sad that I didn't finish the
 race,  but  I'm excited  about the  future. I'll miss  my friends and Vodafone
 McLaren Mercedes, but I'm optimistic about what lies ahead for me."
 
 Hamilton,  who won the United States GP, is moving over to Mercedes to replace
 Schumacher   for  the  2013  season.  Schumacher,  the  record  seven-time  F1
 titleholder and winner of 91 races, finished seventh in the last grand prix of
 his illustrious career.
 
 "My  final Formula One race was tremendous fun, and I would once again like to
 thank  the team  and all  my  fans for  their  support over  the past  years,"
 Schumacher  said.  "I've enjoyed  the  time  we've  spent together  very  much
 indeed."
 
 Alonso,  31, was  attempting to  win his  third F1  championship as  well. The
 Spaniard  charged from seventh to third just prior to Vettel's incident on the
 first lap.
 
 "I'm  very proud of my team and very proud of the season we had," Alonso said.
 "When  you do something  with your heart and you give it 100 percent, you have
 to  be  proud of yourself  and the team.  I'm happy for  them, and we will try
 again next year."
 
 Alonso's  teammate and  Sao Paulo-native  Felipe Massa  finished third  to the
 delight  of  his home  crowd. It  was Massa's second  podium appearance of the
 season.
 
 "The  second part of  the year was preparation for next year," Massa said. "It
 was  so emotional  to race here, and  I thought the race was really fantastic.
 For sure, it could have been a better position than where I finished."
 
 Mark  Webber  from Red  Bull took  the fourth spot,  while Hulkenberg ended up
 finishing  fifth. Hulkenberg led  in a grand prix for the first time in his F1
 career.
 
 Toro  Rosso's Jean-Eric  Vergne,  Kamui Kobayashi  from  Sauber and  Raikkonen
 completed the top-10.
 
 The Brazilian GP ended a F1 record 20-race schedule this season.
 
 11/25 16:48:52 ET

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