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?â??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. Red Cow said on 14th November 2010, 21:38

    Something fishy about this result

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th November 2010, 21:57

      What, specifically?

    • Rocky said on 15th November 2010, 1:04

      Did Webber get the same car as SV?
      Why was he so far of the mark?

      • Robert said on 15th November 2010, 3:13

        I despise the amateur psychology some deploy on forums so I’m trying to avoid it but Webber’s performances seemed to deteriorate towards the end of the season.

        After quali yesterday he looked defeated already: like he didnt have the speed and he knew it.

        I think that after 2 years he cannot avoid the inescapable fact that his team-mate has him beat, he’ll likely never be No1 at Red Bull.

        • Was it not curious that he was quick enough to stay 1-2 seconds behind Alonso, bottled up behind the relatively execreble Renault, but never close enough even to capitalize on Alonso’s desperate floundering trying to make the pass? I began to wonder if he was just sitting there thinking, this is over for me, let me just bring it home. If it were me, and I was thinking of my last act as an RBR or an F1 driver, passing or taking out Alonso, if he even thought of closing the door on me, would have been the only two options.

  2. In the end Herman Tinky and the inability of F1 cars to follow each other around his doodlings had the biggest impact on the result. Being stuck in traffic is onbe thing, being unable to pass slower cars in another. That track is a shocker, it’s really hard to even tell where the cars are on it apart from at a couple of places.

    It was a great season in terms of drama and close results and everyones favourite driver had a slice of the action. But I can’t help but feel the close results were manufactured in a way. For example, you’d have to rank both the Ferrari and Alonso as being in a different calibre to Petrov / Renault – and yet for 30 odd laps, with a title on the line Alonso couldn’t get past him and didn’t ever even really look like he could. This suggests to me that there’s still real problems with Tinkies designs (and having too many of them), races being held in dollars ahead of passion countries with good tracks and the cars themselves.
    But well done to Vettel, he was the teams number 1 driver and bought home the number 1 result. Webber had every opportunity and made a meal of Korea. Roll on next year.

    • Rocky said on 15th November 2010, 1:08

      I don’t think it is so much the tracks but the cars. Perhaps next year with movable rear wings no double defusser and no f-ducts will help.

  3. Perfect race!!

    Karma! Singapore 08, ferrari docs 07, Germany 10, mass dampers 05-06, engine fix 2010, 09 just crying, etc.

    Can´t Santander just buy the title for him. Im sure Vettel could seal the deal with 200M

  4. nivola4 said on 15th November 2010, 0:14

    This was a fitting finale to another season of Formula No Passing. As often, the first car to the first corner is never to be challenged. You could turn the TV off at that point an turned it back on to watch the trophy ceremony. The only passing which took place, as usual, took place during pit stops. This is not passing. And this is not racing. It is parading. For a racing series that likes to tout itself as the most technologically advanced form of racing,too many years have passed since there has been real racing. Pathetic.

    • Very true. But I’m still watching, out of habit.

    • John H said on 15th November 2010, 12:31

      “too many years have passed since there has been real racing. Pathetic.”

      This has actually been quite a good season of passing – probbably more than ever in F1 although I don’t have the stats to back this up.

      People look back to the 90s and think there was passing all the time – there really wasn’t. There were loads of bore races it’s just that in today’s culture of having everything all the time we want more more more all the time.

      It was actually a great season, getting rid of fuel was a success compared to 2009. The new tracks are slightly to blame along with the tyres if anything. Think about Canada this year and you’ll see the cars are the least of the problems.

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 15th November 2010, 1:48

    What a race of tension, the last 10 laps I was thinking about Vettel what if he had a failure in his car, well deserve win & WC.Ferrari made the worst decision of their life by bringing Alonso on lap 16th they will pay for that in the future.But he was trying in the race not sure what he wanted to tell Petrov after the race? Nice to see both Mclaren on the podium as both the driver brought their girlfriend Mclaren need to do that more in 2011.Good race from Petrov as he was my driver of the day & this driver may secure his seat with the team in 2011.

    Feel bad for Schumacher after lap 1,nice to see that he was enjoying the race after the crash from the pit wall.Hope he have a good car for 2011 under him.

    Last we still have 116 days for the race in Bahrain what will you do between now & then.

  6. wong chin kong said on 15th November 2010, 2:25

    Alonso lost the championship because Ferrari did not use their brains, very much focused on whom Alonso have to beat or stay ahead instead of trying to aim for a win. Their strategy was only to keep ahead of certain rivals and that made Ferrari lost track of what was happening in front of Alonso. Massa was no where in the front pack to help Alonso. They should now employ a master strategist in the calibre of Jean Todt if they want to challenge Red Bull or Mclaren next year because races will be tight and championship decided most probably in the final run.

  7. In the end it seems Ferrari has bad wkend overall. They struggled with graining on softs in FP2 and it was in their mind clearly when they made pitstops. More worryingly for them for first time since valencia they were slotted in to third fastest car. They always boast about their race pace & ability to look after tyres well in race. But it seems both deserted them in abu dhabi desert.
    In all in all i feel Ferrari made right decision (based on factors) in pitting. If soft tyres didn’t hold off as top 3 did (during alonso pit stop even top3 were showing down in lap times indicating softs are graining) alonso whould have fallen behind webber also. And more over they greatly underestimated in how difficult it is to overtake in abu dhabi. As alonso pointed out Renault has low downforce (more speed on straights ) and so they are always fast on straights and moreover petrov was setting fastest times through them in Friday & Saturday. The only way to overtake is at end of straights. Even if he overtook petrov it would have taken mighty effort from alsono to get rid of rosberg. As Domenicali said they haven’t lost title at just abudhabi but throughout 19 races. And collectively they failed to finish job despite great effort. Welldone and All the best for next year.

  8. Once again a close showdown in the finale, which I appreciate. I could also pretend my wish from yesterday was “heard” in that the outcome was decided without any of these teammate interplay / team orders kind of stuff.

    I think from a point of view purely interested in tension and interesting championship stuff going on, one could be glad Red Bull and their drivers did not always perform as dominantly as they could have – otherwise, a decider at Singapore or Suzuka could well have been in order.

    (Big media huzzah in Germany, obviously.)

  9. i’m happy alonso did not win, and very happy that Vettel won it!! Bad luck for Webber but had a good year too!!

    i’d really love it if Alonso never wins another championship at ferrari & would be fantastic if we here on the radio ‘alonso do you understand, massa is faster than you’ lol

    way to race petrov!!

  10. Kiwiboy said on 15th November 2010, 6:57

    Dont feel its just me, but the commentary for next year certainly needs some serious tweaking! Martin is great but the clown beside him needs personally be given the royal boot!Listening to the pair of them, Martin would be giving his expert opinion when out of the blue whatshisname would shout about some random event happening on the circuit, not connected with bugger all! AND then got it wrong..rant over… FA supporter, congrats to Seb, Lewis you have gone up huge in my expectations…thanks Keith for the year!

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 15th November 2010, 11:00

    Nothing to do with the argument or discussion so far on this thread, but that’s a fantastic pic at the head of the article.
    The new World Champ having a champagne shower from the last two World Champs is a great image.

  12. I was so pleased to see Alonso didn’t win the title. He is an arrogant driver. Just see the the way he was gesticulating at Petrov in the slow down lap. Both drivers were competiting. Why should Petrov move over for Alonso? What makes Alonso think he is right to suggest Petrov should rig the championship by moving out of the way for him? Its a sport. Its competition. If Alonso can’t take that he should look for another professional. Well done Vettel

  13. I was really surprised that Alonso couldn’t get past Petrov, he obviously would have been trying his hardest but it didn’t seem that he made that many attempts from the coverage, I thought he would make some all or nothing moves as the race neared the end but we didn’t see any.

    Although Hamilton couldn’t get past Kubica either he did seem to be more desperate to get past him.

    Also Webber didn’t seem as close to Alonso as Alonso was to Petrov and so wasn’t able to take advantage when Alonso ran wide. I thought at the time this might have been because Webber knew it wouldn’t make any difference to his championship if he finished just in front of Alonso.

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