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.


end of post


  1. I did some calculations:

    If RB used “team-order” in Brazil and had Webber finished ahead of Vettel both of them would have had 249 points at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP; both would have lost to Alonso by 3 points! So credit to RB for letting their drivers race!

    Buton the other hand, you got Massa who finished 108 points behind Alonso this season, it would be very hard for Ferrari not to use team-order back in Germany.

    Great Season Though!

  2. I was just reading on James Allen that Petrov had 4km/h advantage in top speed on Alonso, doesn't seem like much but enough to make it impossible to get by. I wish it had been a good race today but, yeah, great season with a final twist too! :)

  3. And if we can't get Karun Chandhok into a driver's seat next year then someone needs to pick him up as a commentator, he's fantastic.

  4. After months of uncertainty my year-long "prediction" proved correct and Alonso and Ferrari will have to dig deeper to conquer a title again.

    Now that Alonso lost, people are ready to concede that the Ferrari car was not the strongest one throughout the season. Had he won it, fans would have thought the car as excellent and Massa wasn't a deserving driver.

    Massa by starting behind in the grid has often had to face the difficulties of having to pass folks. That is to say, despite all the effort he poured into the races, mistakes, incidents, prioritizing Alonso, and all of that stuff made him have to drive twice as hard just to finish behind anyways.

    Poetic justice is what it's about. Like you rightfully said, no one could've predicted Alonso losing it this way. Many predicted he could lose it by having to stop this car or some accident, not this way. Super Alonso was allowed to show his talent behind Petrov and could not. Guess what, many tracks are just as hard to pass folks. So long as Alonso is one of the top 3 it doesn't matter as much as he manages a podium.

    Alpha mega Alonso is still just a mere mortal! Now Vettel has joined the ranks of the best drivers ever because he got the title, and Alonso will have to share the spotlight with the young German as well.

    So is Ferrari going to win the Constructor's championship next year? It's worth a few bucks more to the team. Hopefully Alonso will win the title by a lot of extra points because Massa cannot help a lot with points by trailing the Spaniard all the time.

  5. Following on from waht julianz said, the whole BBC Radio 5 Crew, Crofty and Ant Davision, and Chandhok are great. On the ball, and a pleasure to listen to.

  6. Would agree with the comment about BBC radio 5, I watch the F1 with the 5live commentary.

    On Vettel, I think he is a deserved champion but I think he still needs to prove his overtaking capabilities. If he gets pole and is leading into the 1st corner he does brilliant leading the race. Im not sure how well he does when he gets stuck down the grid. Lets see what happens next year!

    On overtaking, the only way this is going to be improved is by reducing aero grip and increasing mechanical grip.

  7. Great video, as always.

    I'll be missing F1 in the next three months. It was a great season. Vettel fully deserves the title but i feel a little bit sorry for Webber, he would have been a great champion too.

    I'm ok with Zarniwoop about overtaking, i can't stop thinking about the turkish GP accident with Webber...

    Alonso might be a bad loser but i still think he's one the best drivers on the grid.

    Looking forward to next year!

  8. Forget the BS that RedBull didnt have team orders all year. It was not explicit as Vettel was never ahead in the standings until yesterday. If Vettel had a clear lead over Webber the situation and orders would have been very different.
    With Webber ahead, it was clear the implied team order was "We are doing nothing to protect your lead against our #1 driver Vettel"

    Nevertheless, although being strongly favored, Vettel proved he is the faster and better driver and RB, and a well deserving Champ.

  9. Even though Alonso didnt win the WDC, he is still the biggest winner from this year. He has consistently taken a car and qualified it 2 to 3 spots higher then it should have been, and was getting podiums when he should have been p5 or p6 with the car. For them to even challenge the WDC with Alonso from were they were in the middle of the season is a gigantic effort for the team and Alonso himself, and I would look for them to be even stronger next year.

    But if Vettel had any luck to begin with he should have wrapped up the WDC 2 races ago. If it wasn't for blown engines or mechanical failures he should have had 2 or 3 more wins. Not counting of course the ones he took himself out of of course :P

  10. The best car and driver won. While I'm a rabid tifosi I can acknowledge that the Ferrari was not good this year and that by luck and some skill Fernando was able to compete for aWDC. Additionally I was in Abu Dhabi with paddock access and I really felt that Ferrari was too relaxed all weekend. While the Ferrari crew was standing around drinking expresso and smoking, the Red Bull boys worked on the car all weekend.

  11. So, did any one notice the smoke coming out of the front right of Hamilton's car on the start? Anyone care to explain?

    Also, did Vettel do two warm down laps?


  12. Ferrari's resurgence had everything to do with hard, successful work, not luck. In the same way, their deterioration yesterday was of their own making.

  13. Sorry AC, but SpeedTV only showed how ridiculous that statement about Pirro was. You got it completely wrong. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Speed guys, it's you who has the problem.

  14. Hamilton one of the best passers in the game!? What season were you watching? "Vettel hit me; Vettel hit me..." in Spain, ramming Massa in Italy, and coming across on Webber in Singapore. Good at overtaking the safety car maybe.

  15. whats the name of the song in the GP summary?

  16. Was bored so I have put this table of stats together for the season. Hopefully the table format will come out OK.
    Pole 1 0 10 5 2
    Win 3 2 5 4 5
    Fault incidents 2 0 4 3 1
    Non-fault incidents 3 2 4 0 0
    DNF 3 2 3 2 1
    Maintained pos quali->race 4 4 4 3 3
    Improved pos quali->race 11 12 4 5 10
    Worse pos quali->race 4 3 11 11 6

    I'll leave you all to make the conclusions!

  17. The formatting didn't work well at all! Hopefully you can work it out.....

  18. I agree with the above commenter, you got the Speed thing wrong. The Speed trio is the best commenting team on US TV, in any form of racing. Their informed commentary is the only reason I bother to watch F1 practice and qualifying.

    As for Will Buxton, he's all right, I guess, but at times he borders on a Monty Python-esque parody of an announcer; if you removed the words "massive", "fantastic," and "mega" from his vocabulary he wouldn't have much to say.


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