• Jenson Button finishes third to secure second in championship
• Lewis Hamilton retires with gearbox trouble on lap 48
Mark Webber won his first race of the season on Sunday, as Red Bull achieved their third one-two of the season. It was a less happy race for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton retiring on lap 48 with gearbox trouble, but Jenson Button passed Fernando Alonso for third place 10 laps from the end, his eighth podium finish in nine races, as he nailed second place in the championship.
There were doubts about the exact nature of Sebastian Vettel’s gearbox problems, which were first reported as early as lap 13. Then, a few laps before the halfway stage of the race, the German let Webber through before – a few laps later on – setting the fastest lap of the race.
But there were no doubts about Hamilton’s trouble. His problems became known on the 37th lap but he was told there was nothing he could do about it. He retired just as he and his old adversary Felipe Massa were squaring up for another of their “magnetic” moments.
As he walked away, Hamilton was left to reflect on his most frustrating season in Formula One: “I think it’s been an interesting year,” he said. “Today, I gave it my all. I enjoyed the race and it’s a little bit unfortunate that we weren’t able to get extra points. I was challenging Felipe [Massa] at the end and was hoping I could get him but the gearbox didn’t last.
“It’s been a long, long year and I’m looking forward to a little bit of downtime with family and friends. There is a lot to improve on but I feel it’s all positive even though we didn’t have a great result today.”
Webber has been outclassed by his team-mate Vettel this season but his win – his first in 26 races since Hungary in August 2010 – will have reminded him of his victory at Interlagos in 2009, though that precious moment was overshadowed by Button winning the world title.