The year started with great consistency; I finished fourth in each of the opening four races and as we entered the August break I was lying second in the drivers’ standings, two points ahead of my team-mate Sebastian Vettel. But two consecutive races outside the points, at Monza and Singapore, cost me vital momentum and that was enough to kill my championship chances.
There were seven different winners in the opening seven races and you can’t afford any dud races when the racing is that close. You need to score in every race and that’s got to be the goal for 2013.
Away from Formula One, my protégé Mitch Evans enjoyed a hugely successful season in GP3, winning the title at the final round. He did a great job and he’ll now progress to GP2 in 2013.
Usain Bolt did the business over the shorter distances and I enjoyed meeting him at a sponsor function after the Japanese Grand Prix later in the year. He’s a pretty laid back guy away from the track, but he seems able to turn it on when it matters.
I also went to the Isle of Man TT races this year, which was unbelievable. No matter how many times you see those races live, they are always awe-inspiring. The riders are just so brave. It was special to be there when my friend John McGuinness won.
The year ended with an operation to remove the 38cm rod from my right leg. It’s been there since I broke it at the end of 2008 and it’s a relief to have it out. It’s nice to know that there’s no metal down there anymore. While recouperating from the op I was forced to have a couple of weeks R&R, but I needed that anyway after a long season. I was back training by Christmas.