The way Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won a third consecutive world drivers’ title by a mere three points in the Brazilian grand prix was a fitting finale to a sensational season.
In an incident-packed rain-affected race, Vettel fought back to finish sixth after dropping to last on lap one following a collision. Red Bull fans’ hearts must have been in their mouths. They certainly were at Fidel Murphy’s where the Fans of Formula 1 in the Cayman Islands had congregated again.
Vettel’s rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished second, which meant the Spaniard needed the Red Bull ace to be lower than seventh.
McLaren’s Jenson Button won after leading team-mate Lewis Hamilton was hit by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Vettel was trying to pass Hamilton for the lead with 27 laps to go but lost control on the slippery track and slid into the side of Hamilton’s car.
Hulkenberg, driving the race of his career up to that point, was given a drive-through penalty and finished fifth, behind Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa in third and Red Bull’s Mark Webber in fourth.
Vettel became the youngest driver in history at 25 to win three world titles – which is six years younger than Ayrton Senna was.
Andreas ‘Zulu’ Kettner is the Red Bull distributor in the Cayman Islands. No need to highlight his pleasure then. He wore his plastic Red Bull hat along with wife Gina and their supporters with pride.
“The beginning was really frightening because Vettel crashed in the first round and had to come back,” Zulu said. “It was absolutely amazing with the rain and the tyre changes and everything else. Button was in the lead and luckily somebody crashed on the last lap, the safety car came out and Vettel came in three points ahead of Alonso.
“It was a fantastic season. It came down to the last race and the last lap.”
Danny Roach is the chief organiser of the Fans of F1 club in the Cayman Islands and a staunch Ferrari supporter. “Rain and Red Bull’s strategy unfortunately exceeded Ferrari’s strategy,” he said.
“Even with Alonso being the best driver in history he was unable to secure the title. It was still a great season that went down to the last few laps of the last race. It was fabulous. We couldn’t have asked for me from Formula 1 or our group in Cayman.
“This season has been the most unpredictable. Even what were considered the fourth row starters like Force India and Sauber came back and were challengers and next year with new sponsorship they’ll be bigger contenders.
“I think Hamilton with Mercedes may be contenders but the next real contenders I see are Lotus. They have the big backing of Coca Cola and their new energy drink Burn.”
The F1 Fans club has grown rapidly this year. The fact that free prizes are given out to all there helps swell the attendance.
“The F1 Fans of the Cayman Islands have been great in supporting the sport and the establishments we’ve been meeting at,” added Roach. “All of our local marketing partners, including Mike’s Esso, Kirk Freeport, Cayman Airways… have been great and we hope to see them all back next year.
“I think we’ll be back stronger next year. Our numbers have well exceeded 100 this year and from March we hope to exceed 150, maybe 200. Fidel’s have been tremendous for us, especially if you consider all the events that precluded it. As we agreed to come here, the owner, Patrick Tibbetts unfortunately passed away.
“Through cooperation between us and them it’s been a fantastic venue and we look forward to doing it all again next season.”