Ever since I wrote on Wednesday that Vettel wouldn’t win this year’s Formula One world title, I’ve been made to regret it and today I was proved wrong once and for all as Sebastien Vettel became the sports youngest world champion.
And I should start of by congratulating the young German who has driven an impeccable season, only his third in the sport. In many ways Vettel should have won this championship many races ago, he had the fastest car, a strong team behind him and he was incredibly quick. But reliability and mistakes crept in, two big crashes costing him valuable points in the mid-section of the season.
But Vettel remained consistent, remained in contention and thats what gave him his big chance today. He converted his pole postion beautifully into a win. No-one could touch him today as he proved once again that he is the man to watch in formula one right now.
But lets not forget that this wasn’t entirely down to Vettel’s brilliance in the Abu Dhabi sunset, a lot of it was down to the failure of his rivals. It was the fact that Vettel had to beat both Alonso and Webber significantly to win the championship which made me doubt his chances.
His rivals had a disaster of a race finishing 7th and 8th respectively, not something anyone was expecting coming into this race. It was a tactical error that cost both drivers. Webber’s mechanics chose to pit him early to try and get an advantage on the fresh tyres (he was after all stuck behind Alonso and not going anywhere). But this was a mistake due to the sheer amount of traffic it placed Webber in. Instead of the clear air the Red Bull craved, it was placed behind several slower cars without much chance of getting past.
It was Ferrari who perhaps made the biggest mistake of the day, keeping their eye on Webber and ignoring Vettel. Almost as soon as Webber had pitted, Alonso came in to ‘cover him off’. But this of course only served to get Alonso stuck in the same traffic (who had already made their mandatory pit stop due to the safety car). This traffic, or rather Vitaly Petrov, would cost Alonso the world championship.
And from then on, that was the story of the race, Alonso and Webber were stuck, Vettel outshone everyone and Hamilton kept up a strong second followed by teammate Button.
I do think a point needs to be made about the fact that no more overtaking took place here. Alonso and Webber are both capable drivers, yet neither could get past anyone. Alonso had a go, but was mostly nowhere near. Similarly Hamilton had no answer for Kubica in the later stages. Now I’m not denouncing the skill of the Renault drivers, but I just think there should be more passing in such a crucial race. Was it just Alonso sleeping, of course not. It seems to come down to the ‘dirty air’ created by the downforce of the cars. That combined with circuits where it’s ‘hard to overtake’ are ruining F1. This season has been amazing, one of the best for while, but there’s still been little overtaking on track. So much is still on team strategy (as today’s race showed) and I really want that to change in the future (maybe next years re-introduction of KERS could solve that).
But enough of my moaning, all in all this has been a cracking season and a well deserving man has won it. You could hear how much it meant to him as he cried over the radio after the race. What a true star this 23 year old has become and what a future he surely has in the sport.
I don’t think this is the last championship which will be sealed by Sebastien Vettel!
I’ll be writing a full review of the 2010 F1 Season soon, look out for it early December!