Christian Horner, Team Principal: "An unbelievable end to what has been a really incredible season. We always knew this Championship was going to go right down to the wire and I don't think anybody could have expected the kind of race we got today. But, to have achieved a triple double World Championship is quite phenomenal. Sebastian has driven better than ever this season and has fought his way back into this Championship; he's never given up and you saw that in today's race. After being knocked out of position and going to the back of the field with a load of damage, he fought his way back into the race, he never gave up and it was a race of maximum stress today with rain and no rain, then incidents, spins, you name it, it happened - safety cars, radios that didn't work - but you have to reflect on the season as a whole. Over 20 races the team has done an unbelievable job and Sebastian truly deserves this World Championship. Having gone up against an incredible opponent in Fernando Alonso, and we have to pay tribute to him and the way he's driven this year, it has made this Championship even more appreciated because of the level of competition we've had to compete against. So, all I can do is thank every single member of the team for everything that they've put in. I'd like to thank Dietrich Mateschitz for his commitment, backing and support, and the encouragement that he's given all of us. To all the members of Red Bull who have been with us all the way through this, and of course to all of our partners that have grown and been on this journey with us over the last three years, A big thank you on behalf of the whole team to all of them. It's going to take a little while for the success to sink in."
Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer: "The whole season has been an amazing ride, but today, to finish it like that down to the wire with so many obstacles - the first lap incident, the concern about the damage to both the bodywork and the exhaust, the fact that the car was then hard on its tyres, the radio failing - was just great; you know, we had so many things thrown against us. I think to come through all that and still get enough points to win the Championship was a real testament to team and driver. For Seb to get three championships, I don't know how you'd be able to describe that, but I think the hallmark of the year really has been the tenacity shown by the team. We struggled with the car at the start of the year, trying to understand how it worked with the loss of the side exhaust, and to turn around a slightly difficult sub car at the start of the year, to get it to the point where we were able to seal the Constructors' a week ago and then again here with the Drivers' - it's just been a great tribute to everybody."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "It was a tough race. Seb was in the last position after he spun and after that we lost radio contact. It was pretty difficult - we changed to slick tyres and then had to stop again to change to intermediates, but we weren't ready due to the radio issue. It's been difficult on our side with the alternator issue at the previous race, so it seems running the new specification here was the right decision to take. All in all it's been a difficult season, but we reached the goal we wanted. I'd like to thank all of my team at the track, back at Viry and everyone who's part of the Renault Group and the people working for Mechachrome. A big thank you to everyone, it's been a pleasure to work with you over the last six years."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Jenson drove a millimetre-perfect race today, brilliantly managing the changeable and challenging weather conditions that always bring out the very best in him, and notched up his 15th grand prix victory as a result.
"Lewis was driving equally well when a coming-together with Nico cruelly ended his race. The points we thereby lost were what prevented us from overhauling Ferrari's constructors' world championship points total today.
"It would have been fantastic if we could have scored the one-two finish that was clearly within our reach but for that collision, not least for Lewis, whose superb record for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes warrants setting out here: 110 grands prix, 21 wins, 49 podium places, 26 pole positions, 12 fastest laps and 913 world championship points. On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, we wish him well.
"As for Jenson, the superb winner of today's race, I speak on behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes when I say how delighted we are that he was able to win here today, thereby book-ending his 2012 season with a magnificent victory to go with his season-opening win in Melbourne. He also won in fine style at Spa, of course.
"And here's one for the train-spotters: Jenson has now scored more podium places in the three seasons he's driven for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes  than he'd scored in the 10 seasons he'd driven for his previous teams .
"So there are many reasons for us to be cheerful today. We've won the season's last two grands prix, both wins the result of our car's sheer pace, and that achievement gives us an extremely solid platform from which to develop our 2013 car over the next few months in readiness for the new season.
"Finally, congratulations to Sebastian and commiserations to Fernando [Alonso]. Either of them would have been a worthy world champion. But, after a grand prix as thrilling and as suspenseful as the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, it's fair to say that the ultimate winner today was Formula 1."
Two drivers on the podium and 33 points - the biggest haul of the season - was not enough for Scuderia Ferrari to help Fernando Alonso win the Drivers' title. The Spaniard finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in second place, to record his thirteenth podium finish of his extraordinary season. Alongside him in third place for the second time this season and for a fourth time in his home race was Felipe Massa. At the end of the twenty races making up this the longest season in the history of Formula 1, only three points separated Fernando from the winner, while Felipe, who produced a brilliant drive today, finished seventh. The Scuderia is second in the Constructors' classification on 400 points.
Luca di Montezemolo: I am proud of my team. We fought all the way to the bitter end, getting both our drivers onto the podium for the final race of the season. When you miss out on the title by the smallest of margins, naturally there is some regret. I want to congratulate Fernando on what he has done this year: his season has been simply fantastic. Felipe drove very well in the second half of the season and demonstrated once again that he is a real team player. I also want to thank Stefano Domenicali and all his colleagues for the work they have done, day after day, to produce a car that, in terms of reliability, was perfect and for what they achieved on track in terms of strategy and the work in the garage. Now we must immediately concentrate on next season, because, right from the start, we must have a car that is competitive at the highest level.
Stefano Domenicali: That's sport and that's how it goes. To have lost the Drivers' title twice in the last three years by the tiniest of margins hurts, it hurts a lot, I can assure you of that. I am particularly disappointed for Fernando, who like never before, really deserved to win this time. He has been
extraordinary, not just in the way he has driven, nor because he simply never gave up in the first very difficult part of the season, but mainly for the human qualities he demonstrated within the team. Where did we lose those three points? Hard to say, but I just want to point out that Fernando ended where he did, having effectively only taken part in 18 of the 20 races: the few hundred metres he covered in Spa and then Suzuka lays heavy like a rock on today's outcome. Sure, we cannot ignore the fact we were unable to give him and Felipe a quicker car, especially at the start of the season: this also cost us dear and our main aim for 2013 should be precisely that of giving our drivers the equipment with which they can win immediately. We owe our drivers and we want to wipe out that debt as soon as possible. I also want to thank Felipe for not letting go after a very difficult opening part to the year: he worked very hard and if today we have finished second in the Constructors' championship, we also owe it to him. We always stuck by him, even when the outside world was calling for us to sack him and we have given him confidence for 2013. I think his results in this final part of the season have been the right response to those who doubted him. At this moment, I also want to thank everyone who has worked day and night, at the track and at Maranello to try and help us realise our dream and I am proud of all of them. Finally, I want to congratulate Sebastian, who is a great adversary. I think I can say we are leaving Brazil our heads held not just high, but very high!
Pat Fry: I said it in Austin a week ago: we would fight to achieve our objectives right down to the last lap and so we did. We came within a whisker of achieving our goal with Fernando, who along with Felipe managed to get to the podium after an eventful race affected by changing weather conditions. When track conditions change so much it's very difficult to pinpoint the right choice at the right moment: we think we reacted in the best possible way, trying to make the most of what we had to work with. When it began to rain, we decided to split the choices, bringing in Fernando while leaving Felipe out on track, but then his lap times were getting too slow and we switched him to the Intermediates. At that time, the leaders were able to lap very quickly even on the dry tyres, which just wasn't possible for us. After that, I think we picked the right moment to switch back to the dry tyres and then the wets. Right to the last we hoped something might happen to allow Fernando to take the Drivers' title which he definitely deserved. We didn't manage it and obviously we regret not having been able to give him the fastest car of the field. We will try again next year, trying to learn from the mistakes we made this year and to strengthen our good points even more, those being reliability, pit stops and strategy.
A thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos this afternoon saw Michael Schumacher end his Formula One career with a battling seventh place finish, whilst Nico Rosberg came home in 15th position after a dramatic and rain-affected race.
Both drivers suffered a puncture from debris in the early stages of the race which compromised their afternoons. Michael stopped four times on laps 5, 8, 17 and 54, with a prime/prime/inter/prime/inter tyre usage. Nico also came into the pits four times on laps 9, 18, 20 and 50, using option/inter/prime/prime/inter tyres.
Ross Brawn: We saw a very dramatic race today and a fitting finale to a great season for Formula One. From our perspective, the two punctures early on put us in a difficult position with both cars. Nico's car suffered a lot of damage and that made his race very difficult. Michael's puncture wasn't as severe and the team did a good job to recover, with some help from the safety car. Michael showed all of the skills that we know he has today to salvage his race; considered overtaking, good decisions on tyre strategy, and he kept the car on the road to bring us home some points. It was a nice way to finish the season and his career with us. In terms of results, his second spell in Formula One hasn't been as special but it has been so for all of us who have had the privilege of working with him. It has been a real honour for all of the boys and girls at our team, and working alongside Michael gives you a real understanding of why he is so special and has achieved seven world championships. He will be missed and we all wish him the very best for the future. Congratulations to Sebastian on achieving his third world title today, a very impressive achievement.
Norbert Haug: What an incredibly dramatic way to round off a long championship season! Michael and Nico had to make unplanned stops for punctures caused by debris on the track, losing a lot of time in the process. Both cars sustained damage to their underbody as a result, which affected downforce and pushed up lap times, with Nico's car suffering more than Michael's. In his final race, Michael mastered the difficult, damp conditions on the track in impressive style, battling his way through to seventh place. It was great to see Michael overcoming all these problems to finish among the points in his last ever Formula One race. We thank Michael not only for his tremendous dedication and his racing achievements for our team, but also for those great personal qualities that he manifested at all times. The three seasons he spent with us will always serve as a model of team play at its best. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing on wrapping up the world championship hat-trick. To become world champion three years in succession is a remarkable feat that has been achieved by only two previous drivers - Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
Lotus F1 Team secured fourth position in the 2012 FIA Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship with over twice the points tally of nearest rival Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen taking third in the Drivers' Championship after an eventful end to the twenty-race season in Brazil. Kimi finished in tenth place after an incident-filled mixed weather event, whilst Romain Grosjean exited the race in a 9.5g impact accident after leaving the track on lap 6.
Kimi started on scrubbed medium compound tyres, pitting on lap 5 for intermediates, lap 19 for fresh mediums and finally lap 53 for a second set of intermediates. Romain started on hard compound tyres. Kimi has scored points in all but one race this season, and is the only driver to finish every Grand Prix.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "That was obviously a very dramatic race to end the season; not the one we would have expected and not really the one we would have wanted on track. The conclusion of the championship is good; fourth was our target and we've achieved that by a considerable margin. On top of that we've been fighting with the leading teams right to the end of the year. For Kimi to take third in the Drivers' Championship is a really great achievement after being away for two years and a testament not only to the car we gave him, but to the team for their support. We scored our first win with the Lotus name and achieved a good number of podiums over the year, so overall it's been a very good season. I can only thank everyone at Enstone and everyone at Renault; I'm very proud to be a part of this effort. Our progress is very promising for next year. With the continuity and stability we have I'm sure we'll be fighting for podiums again in 2013.
In terms of the bigger picture, we must of course send our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel who joins the sport's greats as a triple World Champion. A mention also for the fine efforts of another former Enstone champion - Fernando Alonso - who drove superbly all season. Finally, we say a very fond farewell to another of the finest drivers around in Michael Schumacher. It's always a big thing when a multiple champion leaves the sport, and Michael has achieved great things over many years, including two Drivers' Championships for Enstone. We wish him all the very best for the future"
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "It was an incident-packed race which ended early for Romain who spun off very early in the damp conditions. Kimi had a very tricky race including a couple of spins and problems with his visor, so not the ideal day and a tough weekend overall. Looking at the season, we're happy with P3 in the Drivers' Championship for Kimi and P4 in the Constructors' Championship for the team. Our target was fourth and we've easily achieved that, but perhaps even more encouraging is that at one stage it looked as if we could challenge for third or maybe even higher. I'm sure Kimi would have rather won the championship but it was certainly a very respectable comeback."
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: "What a hard race today, in every sense of the word. Kimi's points give him third in the championship, plus make him the only driver to finish every race this season. It also shows the ongoing durability and performance of the Viry-Enstone partnership. It's a very positive way to end what has been a very successful season, with one win and 303 points to our credit."
Sahara Force India led 30 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix as Nico Hulkenberg competed for the victory at Interlagos, eventually finishing fifth. Paul Di Resta looked set for points, but crashed on the penultimate lap of the race.
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "What a race! Certainly one of the most exciting races I've seen with drama on every lap. For a while it looked like we were heading for a fairly-tale result with Nico leading for so much of the race and showing his skill in the tricky conditions. We had a great car today and had the pace to win, but it was not meant to be. I would question the deployment of the first safety car, which we believe could have been covered under waved yellows. Equally, we were surprised by the drive-through for Nico, and feel it could have been investigated after the race because there were three cars involved. With Paul we played a slightly different strategy with an early switch to the intermediate tyres, as most teams did, but when the rain eased off he went back to slicks. He was looking set for points until the crash towards the end, but it's a relief to see him get out of the car OK. So we end the season on a positive note and head into the winter optimistic that we can start next year just as well. On behalf of the team I'd like to say goodbye to Nico and thank him for his contribution to our campaign this season. It has been a pleasure to have him drive our cars."
The season finale of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship in Brazil was a thriller in which the Sauber F1 Team played various roles. The part of the victim was up to Sergio Perez who retired on lap one after an accident which wasn't his fault. Kamui Kobayashi showed one more time what a great fighter he is. The Japanese driver started 14th and finished ninth. In changing weather conditions with light rain falling twice and, despite pit stop difficulties, he scored two points in Interlagos.
The Sauber F1 Team has finished what has been its 20th season in Formula One sixth in the Constructors' World Championship. After 20 races in 2012 the team has 126 points to its tally, while in the previous year the score was 44 points from 19 Grands Prix. In 2012 the team achieved four of its total of 27 podium finishes. Sergio Perez was second in Malaysia and Italy and third in Canada. Kamui Kobayashi contributed with his third place in Japan. In Malaysia even a second win for the fourth oldest F1 team seemed within reach. With a haul of 20 points at each race, the Grands Prix in Germany and Italy turned out to be the most beneficial weekends for the squad. In Spa both drivers achieved their best grid positions with Kamui starting from second and Sergio from fourth. Nevertheless the Belgian Grand Prix became one of eight races in 2012 that the Sauber F1 Team left empty handed.
Sergio Perez finished his second Formula One season tenth in the drivers' championship (66 points). Kamui Kobayashi is 12th at the end of his third full F1 season (60 points).
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: It was a thrilling final race of the season which didn't exactly deliver the result we hoped for. Sergio was pushed out of the race on lap one through no fault of his own, and Kamui showed once again what a great fighter he is. Unfortunately we couldn't convert that into a better result.
For our team the Brazilian Grand Prix marks the end of a thrilling and spectacular season. Obviously at this moment we are disappointed we didn't manage to clinch fifth place in the constructors' championship. However, when we stand back we can be proud of what we've achieved this year. We got four podiums and a total of 126 championship points. This is 82 more than last season, which is an impressive improvement. Of course we know that with a little more consistency we could have scored even more points. That's something we will be working on for next season. The race in Interlagos was also the last one with our two drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez, to whom I would like to express my sincere thanks for their great contribution. Sergio will have the chance to show his great talent at the McLaren-Mercedes team, and to Kamui we wish him all the best and that he will have a successful future in motor racing. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for winning the world championship three times in a row.
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: It was a good start for both drivers, but then Sergio was pushed out in corner four. Kamui started on the hard tyres and was able to climb up the field. Then it started raining and it was a good call from the driver's side to change to intermediate tyres. He was able to make up positions, and also later changing back to dry tyres was well timed. He was able to match the lap times of Ferrari and Red Bull which was good. When it started raining again, everything went wrong. Kamui made a call for intermediate tyres, but before we could change onto them he went off. We lost a lot of time there, and also the pit stop went wrong. Then towards the end he had an additional spin when Kamui attacked Michael. So we finally ended up in ninth.
Franz Tost: "First of all, on behalf of everyone at Scuderia Toro Rosso I want to congratulate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Three consecutive Drivers' titles is a remarkable achievement. This Brazilian Grand Prix demonstrated what a great show Formula 1 can be, at the end of a season that was closely contested and produced many memorable moments. We too had a good day to end this long and very exciting year, as Jean-Eric Vergne finished eighth for the fourth time, bringing home four more points. The conditions were difficult to deal with as the rain came and went, making it tricky for the drivers and those on the pitwall. Both our drivers did well to stay on track under these circumstances. Jean-Eric's race was going very well until he made contact with Glock after the re-start, which cost us time but he was able to fight back, performing strongly to the chequered flag. In Daniel's case, we got a bit out of synch on the tyre front, as it began to rain almost immediately after we had pitted him for fresh slicks. This dropped him out of the points zone, which is why we went for the ambitious gamble of putting him on extreme tyres to try and get him back to the top ten, but the rain was not heavy enough to achieve that. Our late season improvement in form was not enough to change our ninth place in the Constructors' championship, but it is a good way to end, especially as next year's regulations are not very different to the ones we have now. Therefore lessons learned will help for 2013, when we hope to perform well throughout the season."
It was a disappointing final race of the season for the Williams F1 Team with both cars retiring in the first few laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix. After making a good start, Bruno Senna got caught in an unavoidable incident with Sebastian Vettel which resulted in him stopping out on track with damage before the end of lap one. Pastor also made a good start from 16th, making up several places on the first lap, but unfortunately lost the back end of his car at Turn 3 bringing the team's 2012 season to an early conclusion.
After a competitive season including victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, the team end the season in eighth position in the Constructors' Championship and now head back to Grove to begin preparations for 2013. Congratulations to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel for winning both Championships.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Both cars had excellent starts getting up into the top 10. Unfortunately Bruno got hit by Vettel who cut across him on the apex of Turn 4 on the first lap and this stopped the car. Pastor was running in eighth position at the start of the second lap having gained eight positions on the first lap, but hit the wet kerb on the exit of Turn 3 which pushed him off the track and into the tyre barrier prematurely ending his race.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader: It was a very short and disappointing race for us. All the same one win and 76 points in our first year of working with Williams is a great start. The relationship has blossomed and the performance shown at the end of the year gives a lot of encouragement for next season. We will go back to Viry and Grove and continue in this vein, expecting to better this in 2013.
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team: "On behalf of the whole team I want to say how proud we are of the job we've done today. It's been a tough year, one where we have not performed at the level we want to, but today we have very good reason to celebrate. Every driver who finished the race in such treacherous conditions deserves praise and both our drivers did exactly that, so they can be very proud of the job they have done. They kept their cars on track when an awful lot of incidents were going on around them and they took full advantage of incidents that cost a number of other drivers the chance to finish the season in style.
"On balance, we deserved to regain tenth place. Our results over the whole season were better than our nearest rivals and when it mattered we were able to seize the opportunity that came our way. That is the mark of a good team and it means we head into the winter break and next year in a positive frame of mind.
"Our shareholders, Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, and our team partners have given us the backing we need to progress up the field, and today we paid that support back in a small way by getting it right when it mattered. We can enjoy the feeling we have today, but tomorrow we will be back to work, ready to come back in 2013 and make the sort of progress a team in our position should."
The 2012 Formula 1 World Championship drew to a close today at Interlagos' circuit with one of the most thrilling races of the year that also saw both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan get across the finish line, for the ninth time this season in 17th and 18th positions respectively. Rain finally made an appearance minutes before the race start and that was only the beginning of a crazy race that saw rain coming and going, loads of pit stops, all sorts of tyres and safety cars over the 71 laps. It has also been one of the best races of the HRT Formula 1 Team and their drivers, who managed to put in an extraordinary performance despite the difficult track conditions.
Today's race has put an end to a tough and challenging but also rewarding season for the young Spanish outfit that wants to congratulate Sebastian Vettel on his third World Championship title. HRT Formula 1 Team also wants to thank our sponsors, partners and fans alike for their continuous support all year long.
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "What an amazing and difficult race! The changing conditions made it quite challenging out there and both drivers stayed fully focused from the beginning to the end and put in a fantastic performance. The work that all mechanics and engineers did in the garage was also very good and both cars got to the checkered flag, which is the best way to finish this long, tough but rewarding season. I am really proud of every single team member, without whom this season wouldn't have been possible. But also thank our sponsors, partners and fans alike for their continuous support."
The Marussia F1 Team delivered another outstanding performance in São Paulo today to finish in 12th and 16th positions, but with the many twists and turns of a generally fascinating season finale conspiring against them, they lost 10th place in the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Constructors' Championship at the eleventh hour.
The Team were in excited but apprehensive mood as race day got underway at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos. In drying conditions after an early morning shower, they performed one final pitstop practice to maximise their focus on what was likely to be a challenging race ahead and the engineering team continued to work through a variety of possible strategic scenarios.
Heading into the race, the heavens opened, as was forecast, and every second of the careful preparation was brought to bear. Timo Glock got an excellent start and was running as high as 7th at one point, but he was hit from behind by Vergne and his advantage was lost. All hopes were riding on Charles Pic, who fought hard from the front of that pack, but he lost position with just seven laps remaining.
John Booth, Team Principal: "Today is an emotional day for everyone involved with the Marussia F1 Team. 10th place has eluded us after such a long fight and, naturally, 'disappointed' doesn't even come close. We made all the right calls and our strategy worked out perfectly, but in the end we lost out due to factors beyond our control.
"As everyone knows, we had a tough start to the year and we were unable to complete very much at all in the way of pre-season testing. Notwithstanding a difficult debut for the MR01, we were able to hold on to 10th place in the Constructors' Championship for the first five races, before it slipped from our grasp in Monaco. By the mid-point of the season, we had caught up with ourselves in terms of our development strategy and the upgrades we introduced at Silverstone were the first iteration of wind tunnel-tested components with the MR01. We never really looked back from that point and with each new race we were making steps forward - large and small.
"Much has been made of closing the gap to Caterham, but at the same time we have reduced the delta to the mid-field and the front of the field. For example, in Australia the gap between our own fastest lap and the winner's fastest lap was 4.5%, whilst in the closing stages of the season we have reduced that to 2.5% - again, without KERS. So if we reflect on our big picture, it is even more encouraging than may have been apparent.
"I would like to thank the whole team back at base and trackside, including our engine supplier Cosworth, for a huge push. The same must be said of our drivers Timo and Charles; Charles of course we say goodbye to today. Our sincere appreciation also to our Partners, Investors and Suppliers for sharing the journey this season. Here's to 2013, the advantage of KERS and some very encouraging signs that things can only get better for us."
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has claimed his third consecutive world title - making him the youngest-ever triple world champion - after a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix, while McLaren's Jenson Button took his third win of the season. Vettel stopped four times en route to a sixth place finish, having lost time with a spin and sustained damage following contact with another competitor on the opening lap. The P Zero Silver hard tyres and P Zero White medium were nominated for the race, while the Cinturato Green intermediates and Cinturato Blue full wets were also used.
All the drivers started on the medium tyre apart from Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus), who began on the hard tyre. The race started in ambient temperatures of 19 degrees with light drizzle, but the rain intensified during the first 10 laps. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen was the first to pit for Cinturato Green intermediates, on lap five, followed progressively by many other drivers all the way down the field.
Button, who claimed an early lead from second on the grid, stayed out on the medium tyres while the rain fell. The different strategies shook up the established order: the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen running as high as sixth overall, ahead of the Marussia of Timo Glock in seventh - who also both remained on the slicks until laps 15 and 14 respectively.
When the safety car came out for 10 laps, Button pitted on lap 23 for hard tyres while the track still remained damp as the rain eased off. In the closing stages of the race, the rain returned with a vengeance, meaning that it was no longer possible to stay out on the slicks.
On lap 50 Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg went onto the intermediates, while Vettel stopped for medium tyres on lap 52 and then two laps later for intermediates as the rain fell harder. On lap 57 Button made his second and final stop onto intermediate tyres without losing the lead. Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo and Kovalainen ended the race on the Cinturato Blue full wet tyre.
Vettel's tyre strategy consisted of starting on the medium tyre, switching to the intermediate, then to the hard, then to the medium, and finally to the intermediate again. His title rival Fernando Alonso, who needed to finish at least third with Vettel 10th or lower to claim the championship, made one less stop: starting on the medium, then to the intermediate, then to the medium, then to the intermediate again.
The regulations state that drivers have to use both slick compounds during the race unless they have used either the intermediate or wet tyre. Button was the only finisher to stop just twice: all the others made at least one more stop.
Paul Hembery: "On this day 11 years ago we won the World Rally Championship with Richard Burns, so it is quite fitting that today we have seen another truly dramatic title-decider, here in Interlagos. The weather played a huge part in proceedings, forcing the teams to alter their strategy and react to the changing conditions. The teams faced a particularly hard task because conditions in free practice and qualifying were a lot warmer and much drier, so today was a step into the unknown. With the weather so unpredictable, some teams used strategy by putting one driver on slicks and the other on intermediates, in order to have real-time data about the relative performance of the tyres. A further variable affecting the tyre strategy was also the lengthy safety car period in the first half of the race, which reduced the amount of wear with the cars still on heavy fuel. Even when the rain was falling hard in the first half of the race, the medium tyres still generated enough heat and grip to enable Jenson Button to maintain control without going onto the intermediate. Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who adapted their strategy calls brilliantly to changing circumstances, as well as to Fernando Alonso and Ferrari, who pushed them every inch of the way. We'd also like to congratulate Jenson Button, who got the very best out of both the slick and the intermediate tyres, and take this opportunity to pay tribute to Michael Schumacher: a great champion and fantastic ambassador for the sport, who ended his final grand prix in the points."