Just like that, it’s all over. After 19 races and an incredibly long season, which no doubt will have felt very long for some of Sebastian Vettel’s rivals, the 2013 season is in the history books.
2012 was always going to be a difficult act to follow, and while we haven’t had the same championship intensity this year, there have still been some memorable moments. Today’s Grand Prix was a fitting end to the year – mercifully more action packed than the last few races.
Today’s driver of the day award is shared between two drivers from the same team. McLaren has had a dreadful 2013 – but today they enjoyed the best result of the season. While the Woking based squad will be disappointed to go a year without collecting any silverware, they should still be satisfied with today’s result.
Jenson Button drove superbly today to take fourth place after starting fourteenth. A strong start and opening stint were the building blocks for the result. When Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton ran into difficulty, he was in position to capitalise and end the season on a high.
It seems strange to be talking in such glowing terms about a fourth place. After all, McLaren is a team that (before this year at least) is used to winning regularly, and being in championship contention. But it is an illustration of just how difficult it has been for them.
Jenson Button’s team mate Sergio Perez also deserves credit for his result today. The Mexican has come in for a lot of criticism at times this year, and after a challenging campaign, this weekend was his last for McLaren. He blotted his copybook in qualifying yesterday when he crashed, but gave McLaren a reminder of what he is possible of today.
A penalty for a gearbox change, due to his crash, meant he started from a lowly nineteenth position on the grid. However, like Button, he too had a brilliant first stint and carved his way past slower cars. A sixth place finish was a fine result, and it could so nearly have been fifth. Ultimately, he lacked pace to pass the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Wherever he may end up for 2014, at Lotus, Force India, or Sauber, today’s race showed that Perez remains a strong asset to a team and is worthy of a place on the grid.