Vettel wins in style

Written by  //  November 14, 2010  //  Sport  //  Comments Off on Vettel wins in style

A pulsating formula one season was brought to a fitting end at Abu Dhabi today. Sebastian Vettel, aged 23, clinched his first title, and became the youngest ever World Champion by winning at the Yas Marina Circuit with a drive of pace and purpose. Leading almost from start to finish, Vettel didn’t offer an ounce of a chance to the rest of the field, maintaining his concentration and tempo through the course of the race with aplomb.

Fernando Alonso, placed at the top of the championship going into the finale and starting from third on the grid, began the race as the favourite, to win his third title. At the end though, neither did Alonso possess the pace nor was his team’s tactics prudent. Slow off the blocks, Alonso slipped to fourth in the opening corner before pitting early and finding himself wedged in traffic, with Renault’s Vitaly Petrov keeping the Spaniard at bay for the best part of forty laps. It may be easy to say in hindsight, but had Alonso stayed on the track for longer, as Jenson Button did, he may well have secured the fourth place that he needed to lift the title.

Vettel, in tears on the slowing down lap after taking the chequered flag, has been undoubtedly the quickest racer this season, as evinced by his ten pole positions. A combination of ill-discipline and bad-luck may have seen him struggle to take grip of the championship – he never led the points tally prior to the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But his three victories in the final four races of the season saw him seize the moment with a champion’s touch.

With Michael Schumacher returning to the grid, the season promised much even before it began. But the seven time world champion had a disastrous year, finding himself easily eclipsed by his teammate Nico Rosberg. The season though did not fail to lure. Rather strangely for Formula One, it has been remarkable, more for its on-the-track racing as opposed to off-the-track politics. For the first time in its sixty-one year history, Formula One saw four drivers – Alonso, Mark Webber, Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton – with a mathematical chance of lifting the title going into the final race of the season. But had Alonso won, Ferrari’s team orders to allow the Spaniard to pass Felipe Massa to victory at Hockenheim may have left more than a sour taste. Therefore, Vettel’s victory is, perhaps, a vindication of a philosophy that championships can be secured devoid of favouritism. Red Bull remained insistent in shying away from imposing team orders – although some may argue that they clearly favoured Vettel over Webber.

Alonso was, no doubt, desperately close to securing the title. But Ferrari as Massa’s poor form demonstrated have been ruefully off the pace. It was a product more of Alonso’s class than Ferrari’s pace that saw the Spaniard stay in touch with the Red Bulls and the McLarens. In the end, it was quite appropriate that the quickest racer on the field emerged victorious. Vettel’s maturity has soared with the season’s progress. Denied a victory at South Korea after leading with a few laps left to go, due to an engine failure, Vettel said to his engineers: ‘Well, it can happen – let’s just go for it in the last couple of races.’ And didn’t he and Red Bull go for it? Two pole positions and two victories, at Brazil and Abu Dhabi, later, the German has secured, what I would imagine is the first of many driver’s titles to come.

Comments are closed.