November 14, 2010
Weltmeister Vettel, Ferrari snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
Congratulation to Sebastian Vettel, the fastest driver in the fastest car and now the youngest ever F1 Champion. Nobody gave him much of a chance but the stars aligned and the 2010 F1 championship script could not have been better if it had been written in Hollywood, all that was missing was Vettel and Webber picking up quarters with their tires on the streets of Abu Dhabi.
Really, it should never have been so close: while Alonso made a remarkable comeback towards the end of the season he would be the first to admit luck helped, Red Bull's various problems with crashes and mechanicals handing points over to Ferrari. Today though it was Ferrari who returned the favor.
Interesting that this championship was in some ways decided because of a safety car. That SLS was a good investment for Mercedes, we saw a lot of it this past season and in the final race it set up the crucial decision point for Ferrari and Red Bull.
Ferrari fell right into Red Bull's trap when they chose to shadow Webber who stopped after only 12 laps. Maybe I'm giving Horner and Co. too much credit but whatever the case, the Ferrari pit wall made a colossal, incredible mistake giving up track position to cars that had already made their tire stop under the safety car and putting Alonso behind Petrov, who put in his best drive of the season, for 40 laps.
The Yas Marina track may be pretty to look at and very wide but nobody can pass. Kubica, one of the few who actually passed another car, stayed in front of Hamilton for laps on end with the Mclaren able to move up only when the Renault stopped for tires. Alonso was pretty frustrated with Petrov on the cool down lap but, as he had to admit after he himself cooled down, that's racing.
Great season from Red Bull, well deserved championship win for Vettel who never gave up, never gave an inch and showed why the team is built around him. Vettel has been driving since he was three years old and was put under contract by RedBull at age nine, a fourteen year investment by a company that fourteen years ago was not even in F1. Red Bull steered Sebastian through junior formulas including that great formula 1 petri dish that was Formula BMW. A massive investment that has paid out big in 2010, well done.
A shame for Webber, a bit like Massa two years ago, this year was likely his best shot.
In the short window between the hype for "the best season ever" and the beginning of the next, I would hope F1 thinks long and hard as to why we still have races won and lost in qualifying, you have mandatory tire stops but soft tires that can last almost a whole race and brand new tracks where two of the best passers in the game, Hamilton and Alonso, can't make a move on a car slowing them down. Food for thought.
A final jeer to the commentators at SpeedTV who trotted out that offensive accusation of FIA steward Emanuele Pirro being there ready to cheat for Ferrari. I think it's time for new blood there, as evidenced by the great job newcomer Will Buxton did all season long.
(BBC, RTL, SKY)
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