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Yearender motor racing: Vettel takes triple in year of surprises

Updated: 2012-12-24 17:56
( Agencies)

Legal problems

That race, that saw the sport's ethics and values questioned on front pages around the world, ultimately troubled Ecclestone far less than a court case in Germany, increasing legal actions elsewhere and the shelving of advanced plans to float the sport in Singapore.

At 82, the British billionaire still had a spring in his step after marrying Brazilian Fabiana Flosi, his 35-year-old third wife.

Barcelona, the most predictable race on the calendar, produced a 500-1 winner in Maldonado while Valencia and Abu Dhabi, both yawn-fests in the past, turned out to be thrillers. The latter race even delivered one of the quotes of the championship from winner Kimi Raikkonen.

"Leave me alone. I know what I'm doing," the Finn told his Lotus team over the radio as they offered advice he felt he could do without.

The sport welcomed its first woman team principal when Monisha Kaltenborn took over the reins from Peter Sauber and shuddered at the freak testing accident that cost Marussia's female Spanish tester Maria De Villota the use of an eye as well as inflicting horrific injuries.

If at the start of the season, the smart money would have been on Vettel and Hamilton fighting for the title with Red Bull's design genius Adrian Newey likely to come out on top, next year promises to be different.

Even if Vettel again looks the man to beat in a season where the cars will be very similar - if more attractive due to 'modesty panels' allowed to cover up the broken, stepped noses - Hamilton may have to wait until 2014 before he gets a truly competitive car again.

That will give Button a real chance as McLaren's most experienced driver, while Alonso can be counted on to fight all the way and Raikkonen will be doing what he knows how to do after an impressive comeback season.

Unless, of course, the unexpected happens.


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