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Friday November 23, 2012
Lap distance: 4.309km (total distance 71 laps, 306km)
Start time: 1600 GMT (1400 local)
2011 pole: Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1:11.918
2011 winner: Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull
Race lap record: Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) Williams 1:11.473 (2004).
Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso are the only drivers who can win the title. Both are double champions already and one of them will be the sport’s youngest triple winner.
Vettel is 13 points ahead of Alonso and need finish only fourth or higher to be sure of the title. Vettel has been on the podium in the last six races.
If Vettel wins the title, he will be only the third driver to achieve three in a row. The others are Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) and Germany’s Michael Schumacher (2000-04). Vettel or Alonso will be the ninth triple champion since 1950.
Vettel, who celebrated his 100th GP start last weekend, will be the first to win his first three titles in consecutive years.
All time list of champions: Seven - Schumacher. Five - Fangio, Four - Alain Prost (France), Three - Jack Brabham (Australia), Jackie Stewart (Britain), Niki Lauda (Austria), Nelson Piquet (Brazil), Ayrton Senna (Brazil).
Red Bull clinched their third constructors’ championship in a row at last Sunday’s US Grand Prix in Austin. They are only the fourth team to perform the feat after Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.
Red Bull are also the first team to win their first three championships consecutively.
Vettel wins the title if:
- He finishes in the top four
- He finishes fifth, sixth or seventh and Alonso doesn’t win
- He finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso is third or lower
- He finishes 10th or worse and Alonso above third.
Alonso wins the title if:
- He wins and Vettel is fifth or lower
- He is second and Vettel eighth or lower
- He is third and Vettel is 10th or lower
Vettel has won five races this season. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has won four while Alonso has three. Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Jenson Button have won twice each.
There have been eight different winners this season. The championship started with an unprecedented run of seven different winners in the first seven races (Button/Alonso/Nico Rosberg/Vettel/Pastor Maldonado/Webber/Hamilton). Kimi Raikkonen’s Abu Dhabi win made the Finn the eighth.
Ferrari have won 219 races since the championship started in 1950, McLaren 181, Williams 114 and Red Bull 34.
One more win for Red Bull would put them level with Brabham and Renault in the all-time lists.
Schumacher holds the record for driver victories with 91. Alonso has 30, Vettel 26, Hamilton 21, Kimi Raikkonen 19.
One more win would lift Alonso level with Britain’s 1992 champion Nigel Mansell as fourth equal in the all-time list. One more win for Vettel would put him level with Stewart, who retired after 99 races.
Vettel took 15 pole positions in 2011, the most anyone has achieved in a single season, but has been on pole only six times this year. Red Bull took a record 18 poles last year.
Vettel has 36 poles to his credit. Only Schumacher (68) and the late Ayrton Senna (65) managed more. Hamilton has 25 and Alonso 22.
Ten of 19 races this year have been won from pole.
Caterham (formerly Team Lotus and Lotus Racing), Marussia (Previously Virgin Racing) and HRT have yet to score a point in nearly three seasons of competing.
McLaren have gone a record 57 consecutive races with at least one car in the points.
Raikkonen has finished his last 16 races in the points, the best scoring run of his career.
Eleven different drivers have set the fastest race laps in 19 grands prix so far.
There are two Brazilian drivers in Formula One - Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Williams’ Bruno Senna.
Massa has won his home race twice, in 2006 and 2008. Five Brazilians have won their home race over the years.
Alonso, Hamilton and Button all won their titles in Brazil but have yet to win the race. Schumacher, Massa, Raikkonen, Webber and Vettel are the current drivers who have won in Brazil.
The driver starting on pole at Interlagos has not won for the past three years. Only twice in the past 11 years has the driver on pole won and both those times it was Massa.
Sunday will be the final Formula One race for Michael Schumacher, the sport’s most successful driver, and his second retirement. The 43-year-old German started in F1 in 1991.
It will also be Hamilton’s farewell to McLaren, before moving to Mercedes, after six seasons and 21 race wins with the British-based team.
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