Vettel grabs title as Alonso and Webber falter

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Sebastian Vettel is the 2010 Formula 1 world champion after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

He was aided by rivals Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber pitting early and getting stuck in traffic and finishing in seventh and eighth.

The two McLaren drivers joined Vettel on the podiums.

Vettel made a clean start from pole position, while Lewis Hamilton tried and failed to squeeze through at the first corner.

Behind them Jenson Button also got away smartly to take third from Alonso.

But the race only lasted a few cars before the safety car came out following an alarming collision between Michael Schumacher and Vitantonio Liuzzi, which ended with the Force India perched on top of the Mercedes.

Schumacher spun while trying to pass team mate Nico Rosberg at the exit of turn six – the pair did not make contact – leaving Liuzzi with nowhere to go.

It took several laps to clear the wreckage away, during which time Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov, Jaime Alguersuari, Christian Klien, Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi all pitted to discarad the super-soft tyres they had started on for mediums. This was to have a significant role in deciding the outcome of the race – and the championship.

Ferrari react to Webber

After the restart Vettel and Hamilton pulled away from Button, while Alonso dropped back with Webber and Massa behind him.

Webber was clearly struggling on the super-soft tyres and made an early pit stop on lap 12 to get on the mediums, falling behind several cars that didn’t have to make further pit stops.

At first Ferrari reacted by bringing Massa in. But even though Webber took two laps to pass Jaime Alguersuari, he was able to keep his position ahead of Massa.

The next time by Ferrari brought Alonso in. He came out ahead of Webber – but behind Petrov, who proved a tougher nut to crack than Ferrari expected.

The leading trio of Vettel, Hamilton and Button stayed out, trying to build enough of a gap over Kamui Kobayashi and Robert Kubica.

McLaren eventually gave up and brought Hamilton in, sending him out on track behind the Renault and Sauber. Unfortunately for Hamilton he was held up as Kubica chose this moment to muscle past Kobayashi around the outside.

Hamilton picked off Kobayashi but got stuck behind Kubica. That allowed Vettel to make his pit stop and stay in front of Kubica, building up a ten-second advantage over Hamilton.

Button stayed out until lap 39, before pitting and coming out behind Hamilton, who was still stuck behind Kubica.

Alonso stuck behind Petrov

He wasn’t the only driver struggling to pass a Renault – Alonso was still stuck behind Petrov. He made one attempt that ended with him going off at turn 11, though Webber wasn’t close enough to capitalise.

The time he lost behind Petrov meant that Kubica eventually had a large enough gap to make his pit stop and get out in front of Alonso. This he did on lap 46. Alonso was now in seventh, needing to pass Petrov, Rosberg and Kubica to keep Vettel from the title.

He was giving it his all – running off the track again at turn 17 when he made another attempt – but this was how the championship slipped out of Alonso’s grasp.

Vettel takes the title

Vettel, up front, was unaware that he’d been in a position to win the championship for much of the race – his team only told him about the points situation after he crossed the line.

After 55 laps of Yas Marina, Vettel crossed the line to win his fifth Grand Prix of 2010.

And a few seconds later, the team told him he had also won the 2010 world championship.

He was followed home by the two McLarens – Hamilton unable to reduce Vettel’s lead after Kubica pitted.

Kubica finished fifth behind Rosberg and one place ahead of his team mate. Alonso, seventh, saw a potential third world championship slip through his fingers by just four points. He shook his fist at Petrov on his way back to the pits.

Long-term championship leader Webber was eighth, falling to third in the world championship. Massa never managed to find a way past Alguersuari and ended the race in tenth behind the Toro Rosso.

Outside the points were Heidfeld, Barrichello, Sutil, Kobayashi, Buemi and H?ā??lkenberg, followed by top new team driver Kovalainen, ahead of di Grassi, Senna and Klien.

Jarno Trulli was classified last but retired four laps from the flag when his rear wing fell off.

For the second weekend in a row, Red Bull celebrate a championship victory – first the constructors’ championship, and now the drivers’ title.

Remarkably, it’s not their driver who had the most point going into this weekend who won the title – it was Sebastian Vettel, Germany’s new world champion.

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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186 comments on Vettel grabs title as Alonso and Webber falter

  1. Rahim.RG said on 14th November 2010, 17:30

    Man 2007 and 2010 Best Seasons for me….
    The good thing over here is that i can see people who were critical about vettel are congratulating and happy for him…..Thats good….In ur face Ferrari…..and srsly i hate Alonso for what he did after the race….to petrov….that gesture showed a Whining and cribbing Alonso….Well Done Vettel u totally Deserved it….
    To Alonso: “Vettel is faster than u!!!…Vettel is faster than u”

    • It helped that he toned down his usual bravado, and mostly spared us more annoying Vettelfinger. At the end of the day, he was the best driver who was in the best car. So good for him.

      Webber collapsed under the pressure. To be fair, he had a lot on his mind, with Berger and the rest dumping on him for two months, but he went out of this battle so meekly, it is truly sad for him.

  2. dave ross said on 14th November 2010, 17:34

    In the end the best driver won. Sorry for the ‘not bad for a no2′ driver but it proves there good will always triumph over mediocre

  3. Alexi (@) said on 14th November 2010, 17:37

    To think Alonso would be champion if Red Bull let Webber through in Brazil.

  4. John H said on 14th November 2010, 17:37

    Fernando’s reaction to Petrov at the end sums up why so many people including myself are pleased they haven’t won the championship. It really suits Ferrari’s arrogance and probably why he fits in so well with such a team.

    Well done Red Bull. You’ve won both titles without team orders, and avoided tainting F1 with a false title. Nice one.

    • David BR said on 14th November 2010, 18:43

      Manu, that’s daft. Try checking out the Brazilian sites and the celebration at Alonso and Ferrari losing! And believe me that takes some doing given Ferrari were on a high here with Massa until this year. Germany 2010 had a price – the reputation of Ferrari, Alonso and Massa. They just need to ask themselves if it was worth it. Personally I don’t think so. Alonso will have another chance at the title next year. And probably after and after. But like Singapore 2008, some of the stuff surrounding Alonso rightly sticks. As I’ve said before, he doesn’t need to press so hard, winning at any cost. He’s a supremely good driver. But he’s in Schumacher’s mould. I guess that’s just how the competitive psychology of some drivers works.

      • keracure (@keracure) said on 14th November 2010, 19:36

        it was first time I really supported Petrov as to hold Alonso till the end. Despite i liked the Spaniard till beginning of this season,.. .
        .. it would be great to have another NEW champion for the next year ,: Kubica or Rosberg maybe ??..

      • I can’t help reflecting back on the comment Alonso made in late 2006: “Formula 1 is no longer a sport”, when I see his win at all costs attitude on display today. It’s not only his profiting from team orders this year or from outright fraud in Singapore 08 (how he continues to be happily unrepentant over that one is beyond me). It’s also the fact that he tried to blackmail McLaren over the Stepney papers in 2007 and behaved in an all-round shabby manner (remember that he was one of very few people who were actually implicated as at least wanting to make use of that info, when the email evidence came out, but he tried instead to profit from the situation and became a protected informant for Max’s $100M witch hunt).

        So, rewind to Monza 2006. Alonso’s Renault had been ruled illegal during the summer, on the tenuous and highly convenient basis that a fully inboard passive damper, inside the carbon tub, is a movable aerodynamic device. This despite it having been legal for quite a long time and, more than once, ruled as such. After a corresponding slump in form, he then gets a completely grotesque penalty in Monza for supposedly blocking the #2 Ferrari in qualifying, even though he was actually on an absolute blinder of an outlap and the evidence that he compromised Massa at all was beyond thin.

        At this point, I have to say, I think Alonso’s conduct in F1 had been just fine and I think he was completely, 100% correct in his assessment of the unfairness of the situation. He knew full well what he was up against, of course, and went on to seal the title in style by virtue of being essentially flawless all season, throwing away no points that I could see, while his rival threw points away four times with driving errors.

        Did he, simply, see the world for what it was that year and act accordingly ever since? It seems to me like a case of the abused becoming the abuser.

        • SPA? …………….

        • Good post Sean but what changed Alonso was being matched by Ham in 07. He never recovered fully IMO. I did think he did recover eventually a few weeks ago but no he hasn’t and that will carry on costing him as he has very little resilience and strenght of character left as illustrated by his numerous enforced errors over the past 3 years.

          • LewisAint said on 14th November 2010, 21:24

            I think Alonso recovered well this year. Given he’s #2 in the standings and Lewis “the racer” is #4.

          • 5 points away of Alonso. (discounting 7 cheating points)

          • marmad said on 14th November 2010, 22:42

            Alonso was 0 points away of Hamilton in 2007 (no discounting points). I remember Ron Dennis words in 2007 “Alonso is our enemy” (really hard if your own team is your enemy). I repeat, maybe you dont hate Alonso, but it seems like that.

          • Younger Hamilton said on 14th November 2010, 23:08

            @LewisAint Since Lewis was ever called the racer i dont remember anyone mentioning this throughout the season.I think you’re trying to big up Alonso and treating Alonso like a rookie by making out like Lewis is the best driver on the grid and that Alonso beat him so thats an incredible achievement NO be realistic with your comments next time.Its good to favour and support your favourite driver but once again be Realistic

          • marmad said on 14th November 2010, 23:17

            Alonso beating Hamilton this year is not an incredible achievement, its a fact.

          • Sammy said on 15th November 2010, 1:45

            Lewis had the same amount of fastlaps in a lesser car than the Ferrari. In terms of speed, Alonso falls short in comparison. In equal machinery, well, look to ’07…when Lew was a ROOKIE, and Alonso, the supposed wily veteran who’d won 2 WDCs.

          • Alonso NOT beating a rookie in the same car in 07 IS an incredible achievement AND a fact.

          • Given that Lewis had to actually race his teammate for most of the year, and had a slower car for most of the year, I think the jury is still out, is the most one can say.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 14th November 2010, 20:19

      Bu tyou do like the arrogance of Red Bull that they assumed that they would win 3 races in a row?

      Well they did in the end, but still. That IS arrogance.

  5. catinthebag said on 14th November 2010, 17:39

    just what RB wanted. They have been favouring Vettel with the setup all year, even taking a wing off Webber because Vettel broke one. so forget team orders or no, and forget talking about fairness. Of course Webber was used as the decoy – they never wanted him to win it (old, not as marketable in the long term, may not stay, etc.)

    Anyhow, great strategy and Ferrari threw it all away by being so easily duped. They deserved to lose because they didn’t keep their heads on. (If team orders were anything, Massa should have slowed in 5th to extend the gap of midfield from Alonso in 4th!)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th November 2010, 17:42

      If team orders were anything, Massa should have slowed in 5th to extend the gap of midfield from Alonso in 4th!

      Would have been more valuable to get Massa ahead of Webber, which they were trying to do.

      • catinthebag said on 14th November 2010, 23:59

        yeah, and it looked like they might have done it too, though I forgot what the gap was between Massa and Webber when Massa went to the pits.

      • Keith, keen to see any update of your rather controversial piece endorsing team orderns in the wake of the Ferrari-Hockenheim ruling. Having lightening strike your house does not mean you should move, but these results cast the whole issue in a brighter light, no?

    • Their mistake in the pistop was about not getting Massa in front of Webber and the next strategic failure was pitting Alonso immediately after that as well.

    • I don’t think there is as much favoring as you suggest within Red Bull. The drivers are always very equal, and they are allowed to race.
      I don’t think that Webber was used as a decoy, his tires were gone, and it didn’t seem to get better. Splitting the drivers up on two different strategies were just the best way to secure the WDC. Because Ferrari only had one driver in championship he couldn’t cover both of them and they chose the wrong driver. Anyway had Webber jumped Alonso on the strategy it would hardly help. He would need to gain enough positions to get 9 points more then Alonso. That was just never going to happen. Webber threw his chances in the bin on Saturday, so it was hardly Red Bull’s fault.

  6. I just can say that im so happy, justices is what we saw today…..for team orders and the boicot of FelipeĀ“s car. I hope that my dear Ferrari understand how to race. Today Don Enzo can rest in peace. Forza Ferrari. alonso GO HOME!

  7. ILoveVettel said on 14th November 2010, 17:49

    Really happy for Seb…

    And one more thing, All season RB were complaining about Renault engine… Well, the Renault drivers more than made up for that deficiency today :P

  8. Unbelieveable how Ferrari basically fell apart systematically here. First Alonso lays down a carpet of rose petals for Button at turn 1. Then he pussy-foots his way backwards, saving his tires, or something. Then with the pit-deltas showing him set to fall behind Petrov, they bring him in. What, to cover Webber, while Vettel was running away with the race? Then the pleading, begging, over the radio for Fernando to pass Petrov from the pit wall almost brought a tear to my eye—the great Alonso kept bottled up by the lowly Petrov, as his title slipped away, like a man tied up in the basement while his house is robbed. It was too sad an ending for Alonso. Even for him. It is impossible to believe that in the end, the title was lost by Ferrari due to poor performance, of the car, the team, and the driver, after such a showing of perfection and strength for the past 2 months.

    I’m most annoyed with McLaren. Finally they get the car to give Lewis to take on Vettel toe to toe and they stuff him behind Kobayashi and Kubica. It was close, yes. If Koba didnt go off in turn 2, Vettel is possibly in the clutches of Kubica and Hamilton both for at least a lap.

    • Hamilton123 said on 14th November 2010, 18:03

      Excellent comment… Very interesting to see how Ferrari managed to screw up everything today. It was all in the bag, but stil they couldnt help themself…

    • David BR said on 14th November 2010, 18:32

      Yes but the way it turned out, Hamilton would have needed a mechanical problem from Vettel for him to win. And Alonso picked up points. At least Hamilton and Button spoiled the Ferrari party. I guess it shows that the test ban makes a huge difference: McLaren would have sorted their car out earlier and could well have taken the title.

      One good thing: Hamilton losing his younger ever champion status. He can now concentrate on picking up some more titles and becoming a F1 great. His driving mid-season was fantastic, hauling the car into contention. Hopefully next year McLaren will be back!

  9. What did alonso expect petrov to do? give him easy way to pass?
    Alonso don’t deserve to be in F1 if he don’t know how to overtake another car and always hope for easy overtaking when he was driving that Ferrari… I repeat he’s driving Ferrari not HRT so he should just stop whining

    Bravo Vettel..

    keep on crying alonso..

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 14th November 2010, 18:26

      It was a bit of a petulant gesture to Petrov, and I’m sure he regrets it. But it’s far too easy to sit and judge these sportsmen who have adrenaline pumping through their veins and faced the massive dissapointment of losing the WDC a the final race.

      Once he calmed himself down he produced a very magnanomous interview with the press then was the first man to go down to RBR and congratulate the team. I was very proud to be an Alonso fan today.

      • Feynman said on 14th November 2010, 19:07

        Yeah, but pressure amplifies and magnifies, it doesn’t actually distort.

        It only ever exposes carefullty hidden essential truths, pre-existing character flaws, in all of us. Adrenaline didn’t make him behave petulantly, it merely provided opportunity for that inherent petulance to be displayed.

        The contrast with his much put-upon team mate, in reaction to bitter championship disapointment is somewhat striking. Perhaps it could be argued that that very unreasonableness is the reason why one has 2 WDC and the other may never, that could well be true, but despite that, I still prefer to cling to an outmoded and archaic notion (fantasy?) of the gentleman racer, polite and dignified, rather than some of the spoiled, overgrown man-children we seem to have to endure.
        It’s only a game, winning and losing come and go, and when it’s all over, you will have a very long time to look back on how you behaved.

        • Good post Feynman. True champions transcend sport and become examples of how we should conduct ourselves in life. Alonso falls far short of this measure.

          • marmad said on 14th November 2010, 21:34

            great words…on paper. What about Michael Schumacher? And what about Alain Prost (do you remember Japan GP 1989?)? Arent them true champions? I repit, its a pity you cant be objective with Alonso. Just some words I’ve read about Alonso “His behaviour is the worst”, “he has no talent”, “he is not a true champion”, “he must be out of f1″…maybe you dont hate him, but it seems like that.

          • marmad said on 14th November 2010, 22:04

            I’m sorry for my bad english (much better years ago). I want to congratulate RBR team. Great car, great driver. I’m Alonso’s supporter and I recognize Vettel’s talent. I like Formula one, thats all.

  10. interesting declaration from webber : “Early in the race obviously we had to make a few calls to get out of that position we were in. It wasn’t too bad till then. Going for the harder tyre pretty early obviously hurt Fernando because he had to cover me off, so in a way it was a bit of a team effort I suppose, but obviously I didn’t get the result I wanted.”

    is he saying that the tactic was to force alonso down the field to help vettel?

    • He might be but that would of been foolish, I think he’s just indicating how it turned out. Who on earth would of thought that Ferrari would try and cover Webber when what they had to cover was 4th place, no way could RBR expected that or planned for it. Biggest mistake of Ferrari up year and they made soon big ones at the beginning of the season… oh well. :-)

    • That would have been the sensible thing to do at that stage. Webber being stuck behind Alonso in 4th place was not going to win them the championship for either driver.

  11. WOW, so much hate for Alonso here, just unbelievable. I wonder how many of you on here sipping the hateraide were loving it when he beat schumi and his aura of invincibility back in 05 + 06.

    Although I wanted Fernando to win, Seb was the best driver all season and had many race wins robbed from him due to reliability. The guy is a phenom.

    As for the boo hoos over Alonso’s gesture to Petrov, yes it was silly and unneccessary but when someone is close to something they want really bad, You can forgive them for their outbursts.

    People need to give Fernando credit, either Massa is utterly useless or Fernando was outperforming the car by miles. He was under alot of pressure towards the end of the season (see his expression after korea quali for example) yet delivered a sensational nstring of results to make the championship this year even more enticing.

    People dont like Fernando’s attitude that’s all good because they don’t hand out any prizes for being the nice guy, they hand them out to the guy who wins.

    • WOW, so much hate for Alonso here

      I’ve read every post and think you are wrong people have preferences yes but it’s not hate.

    • AlexNK said on 14th November 2010, 18:41

      No, people don’t like Alonso because he’s a poor sportsman, sore loser and cry baby. The main reason Massa is so far behind is he has clearly stopped trying after he was basically shelved in Hockenheim in favor of ‘Fernando and his enormous talent’. Well, we saw the extent of his talent today when he could not pass a slower car with a rookie driver that was not under team orders to move over for him.

      • marmad said on 14th November 2010, 19:41

        Its a pity. I cant believe it. Why you cant recognise Fernando’s talent. Massa is 10 times worse driver than Fernando. Vettel is a crybaby, and he is petulant(do you forget his finger? Alonso is one of the top drivers. Today was Ferrari’s fault, Alonso couldnt do any more.

        • Robert said on 15th November 2010, 3:03

          Vettel has always been the most upbeat of the leading drivers, even today happy to chat with Brundle right before the race.. a cool cat. I don’t know where you get ‘crybaby ‘ from at all.

          I don’t get the finger thing at all either. If a driver gets pole or a win he can celebrate how he damn well pleases.

  12. Thank you so much Keith and team for all your hard work. Its been a great F1 season and you’ve kept us all on the pulse. . . Much appreciated.

  13. @adamcooperf1

    “…And an FIA source tells me he (ALONSO) declined an invitation to congratulate Vettel in parc ferme…

    • jur jur said on 14th November 2010, 18:35

      and another source tells me that he (ALO ) was lookin for a machine gun to kill SEB and HAM… ridiculous inventions of racist antispanish haters

  14. kenneth said on 14th November 2010, 18:34

    Petrov?!, your faster than Aonso, confirm that you understand this message…….ehehehehehehehehe, ive never been so happy at a loss than today, the Renaults paid back RB, for being good clients, dint see this coming…even though am for Mclaren , i wouldnt pull a fist at kubica, ehehehehehe….Red bull throwing a redherring at Ferrari……

  15. For the Ferrari fans feeling gutted….Google Brasil 2007…. Oh why oh why wern`t Williams disqualified…but like the World Cup, you gotta let it go.

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