Scuderia Toro Rosso finished ninth in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship. We’ve known for a while that would be the case, as those ahead of us were out of reach, while those behind scored no points. Seven drivers finished behind Daniel Ricciardo, who scored 10 points and Jean-Eric Vergne scored 16, four of those coming in one hit today as he took his third eighth-place finish of the season.
These figures are not exactly brilliant, so why were there smiling faces in our garage at the end of the race – and no, it wasn’t because this was the last race of a tough and tiring season. Truth is, we know we have made significant progress in the second part of the year and along with changes in terms of our infrastructure and how the team is run, we can be optimistic about 2013. For us, like all F1 teams, next year started several months ago already and a large part of our next car, the STR8 is already well defined. Along with that, our two drivers have been impressive, not just in their aggression on track – today, they managed to knock into one another – but in how quickly they have progressed in understanding all aspects of the sport. That doesn’t just involve improving their driving skills and feedback to the engineers, but all the other tasks that make up a Grand Prix driver’s race weekend, like dealing with the press and going to talk to sponsor guests in the Paddock Club when all you want to do is focus on the race.
However, today’s Brazilian Grand Prix wasn’t really about us. It was about the Drivers’ World Championship, won for an amazing third consecutive year by Sebastian Vettel, who finished sixth today. It was by no means a walkover and he only took the crown by three points from Fernando Alonso who was on the second step of the podium. As usual, when a championship is at stake, the winner almost goes unnoticed and today it was Jenson Button in the McLaren. As for the local crowd, they were delighted that, even though he drove a race aimed entirely at helping his team-mate as much as possible, a tearful Felipe Massa waved to his fans from the third step of the podium, at the end of a race that truly showcased what a great sport this is.