Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to battle for the 2012 crown in Sao Paulo instead, ed writes Amy Eustace Sebastian Vettel missed out on a chance to win his third consecutive World Championship Formula 1 title on Sunday. The German would have clinched the Drivers Championship had he opened a fifteen point gap over Fernando Alonso, but he was two points short by the end of the race, despite having led for the bulk of the afternoon. Lewis Hamilton clinched the win in Austin, Texas, with Vettel coming a very close second and Alonso keeping the title race alive after coming from seventh to secure the last podium spot. It was the first Grand Prix to be held on American soil in five years and was set to be an exciting affair with the Drivers and Constructors Championships both to be decided ahead of next week’s final race in Brazil. Vettel had secured pole position in Saturday’s qualifying – his sixth pole of the season – while his closest competitor, Fernando Alonso, only managed ninth. Unfortunately for the German however, Alonso was promoted to eighth after Romain Grosjean’s gearbox penalty and then seventh after a tactical decision by Ferrari saw them break his teammate Felipe Massa’s gearbox seal, costing the Brazilian five places on the grid and putting Alonso within touching distance of the leader. Red Bull had the champagne on ice for the Constructors Championship; they held an 82 point lead before Sunday’s race with only 86 points left to be won. Vettel and Alonso both made excellent starts, with the former making a clean getaway from pole and the latter sensationally climbing from seventh to fourth in the first lap. Lewis Hamilton, despite the discontent in the McLaren camp since his decision to move to Mercedes for the 2013 season, was making excellent ground on Vettel, coming close to overtaking him on numerous occasions. Further down the pack, Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button was struggling after a poor start, battling for eleventh place with Michael Schumacher. Hamilton and Alonso made pit stops on lap 20, but the Spaniard had an extremely slow stop and Kimi Raikkonen threatened to steal fourth. Vettel, meanwhile had a perfect pit stop on the following lap, and rejoined the race still in first. Fresh from his duel with Schumacher, fellow McLaren man Button leapt to seventh, passing Bruno Senna and Sergio Perez. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber retired from the race due to an issue with his car. After gradually chipping away at the German’s lead, Hamilton finally found a way past Vettel on the 42nd lap. Traffic ahead blocked the would-be champion, giving Hamilton a chance to get ahead of him with a neat move on the outside. Alonso, back in third, would have breathed a sigh of relief. He would have had to maintain his pace at third or fourth if Vettel had won to keep a fighting chance at the title, but Vettel falling to second gave him some breathing space, especially as he was unlikely to overtake his competitor, who was still 30 seconds ahead of him. Vettel wouldn’t give up, however, and he put in a few laps faster than the Englishman ahead. Hamilton held on though, capping an excellent drive with his fourth win of the year and the 21st of his career. A good note on which to end his penultimate race with McLaren, and evidence toward the notion that had his car behaved better this year, he may have had more success. Meanwhile Vettel must wait another week to become the youngest triple championship winner in Formula 1 history. Alonso, who finished third, still has some hope ahead of Brazil on Sunday. If he wins in Sao Paulo and Vettel fails to finish higher than fifth, Alonso steals the title from under the young German’s nose. If Vettel finishes fourth and Alonso wins, they will be equal on points but the title will go to Vettel because he has tasted victory more often than his competitor. Red Bull have the Constructors Championship all sewed up, but second place is still up for grabs between Ferrari and McLaren. Far from a damp squib, there is plenty to look forward to in the final race of what has been an enthralling season of driving.