Archive for November, 2010

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Vettel Steals Title in Abu Dhabi

November 14, 2010

Sebastian Vettel stole the 2010 Formula One World Championship from under Fernando Alonso and teammate Mark Webber’s noses this afternoon, after winning the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Vettel, who started from pole got a clean getaway, keeping second-place starter Lewis Hamilton behind him into turn one, while Jenson Button claimed third from championship leader Alonso.

Within just a few corners Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made contact, the latter finding himself in a spin, and while the rest of the field tried to tip-toe around him, Vitantonio Liuzzi found he had nowhere else to go and his front wing ended up on top of Schumacher’s car.

The safety car was deployed and the mid field peeled into the pits, including Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov. At the restart at the end of lap five, Vettel led Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Webber, and after unsuccessfully trying to pass Alonso, Webber pitted on lap 12 to switch to the harder of the two compound tyres. He rejoined the track in 16th, behind Jaime Alguersuari, and spent the next couple of laps trying to pass him.

Ferrari tried a new tactic on lap 14, pitting Felipe Massa from fifth to try and get him ahead of Webber and ruin his race, to increase Alonso’s chances of taking the championship, but Massa rejoined behind Webber, just before Webber passed Alguersuari for 14th.

On lap 15, seeing that Webber and Massa were a fair bit faster on the medium compound tyre, Ferrari pitted Alonso to cover off Webber, and while they got him out ahead of the Red Bull driver, it proved to be what decided the title, as Alonso found himself staring at the back on Petrov’s gearbox for the rest of the race, unable to pass on a circuit which has proved in its two years to not open up many overtaking opportunities, and therefore meaning he couldn’t score enough points.

As Alonso got stuck behind the Renault, Red Bull and McLaren then chose to keep Vettel, Hamilton and Button out instead of bringing them in for fresh tyres – the aim to ensure they stayed ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Robert Kubica in fourth and fifth respectively, and both of whom were running long into the first stint on the harder compound tyre.

McLaren eventually chose to pit Hamilton on lap 23, and he rejoined behind the squabbling pair. On lap 25 Kubica passed Kobayashi, with Hamilton following suit on lap 26, but after that Hamilton was unable to pass Kubica. On lap 25, Vettel pitted, but unlike Hamilton was able to stay ahead of Kubica.

Button took the lead of the race until lap 39, when McLaren pitted him, realising he wasn’t going to pull out anymore of a lead over Kubica. He rejoined behind Hamilton, and the pair continued their fight against the Renault driver.

On lap 46, Kubica finally pitted for his mandatory pit stop, and having built up a 23 second lead over the Petrov-Alonso-Webber chain, he was able to rejoin the track ahead of them all, causing yet another headache for Alonso. Hamilton and Button regained second and third, and from then Vettel had the race under control.

As he crossed the line he had no idea his win meant he had won the championship, until Alonso and Webber crossed the line in seventh and eighth behind Rosberg, Kubica and Petrov in fourth, fifth and sixth, and the team told him he was the new champion. Alguersuari and Massa rounded out the top ten.

Vettel’s win gave him a final total of 256 world championship points, four ahead of Alonso on 252, with Webber on 242 and Hamilton on 240.

Following his win and being told he had won the title, Vettel let out all his emotions, crying both over the radio and on the podium. Despite the mistakes that he has made this season, in the last few races he has proved he really deserves this title.

McLaren have secured second in the Constructors’ Championship on 454 points, with Ferrari on 396, 102 behind Constructors’ Champions Red Bull on 498.

So that’s it for the 2010 season. The 2011 season will begin in Bahrain next March.

 

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Vettel on Pole for Final Race of 2010

November 13, 2010

Sebastian Vettel will start the final race of the 2010 Formula One season from pole, his tenth of the season, after setting a lap time of 1:39.394 in qualifying for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton will start from second having missed out by less than a tenth of a second. Championship leader Fernando Alonso will start from third ahead of main rival Mark Webber who will start fifth, with Jenson Button splitting the pair in fourth.

Webber was disappointed with his lack of pace and subsequent grid position, and with Alonso ahead in third, the pressure will no doubt be getting to him if he is to take his first title. Hamilton, who sits 24 points adrift of Alonso will need a win, with Alonso failing to finish in the points, and Vettel finishing no higher than third, with Webber no higher than sixth to take the title. For Vettel, he needs a win or second position to get ahead of Alonso.

In the second half of the top ten, Felipe Massa set the sixth fastest time, with Rubens Barrichello seventh, Michael Schumacher eighth, Nico Rosberg ninth, and Vitaly Petrov tenth.

In Q1 the usual suspects found themselves in the dropout zone – Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi, Bruno Senna and Christian Klien in 18th to 24th respectively. Jaime Alguersuari just pipped his Toro Rosso teammate to get through to Q2, the two cars the only of the established teams without an F-duct.

In Q2 Robert Kubica, Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil, Nick Heidfeld, Nico Hulkenberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Alguersuari dropped out in 11th down to 17th respectively.

Vettel is in the best position for tomorrow’s race, and he’ll be hoping to stay there if he’s to get the best shot at the title. Hamilton will be on the attack straight away, unless the stewards penalise him for his incident with Massa in Q2. Webber has a fight on his hands if he’s going to take the title, and he’ll be hunting Alonso straight off the start to give him the best possible chance.

So with the grid a bit more shaken up than normal, anything could happen in tomorrow’s race. But who is going to walk away with the ultimate prize? Four men remain in the hunt, and while Alonso is in the best position, it could still be anyone’s for the taking.

The race starts at 1pm UK time tomorrow, and you wouldn’t want to miss it.

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Vettel Wins in Brazil, Red Bull Secure Constructors’ Championship

November 8, 2010

Sebastian Vettel won this afternoon’s Brazilian Grand Prix, leading home teammate Mark Webber for a Red Bull one-two to secure the team’s first constructors’ championship.

Vettel got a great start from second on the grid, immediately passing pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg to take the lead. Webber quickly followed his teammate past the German driver, while Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso battled it out for fourth, the latter finally winning the position after Hamilton outbraked himself into turn four. While the Red Bulls charged off into the lead, Alonso was left to try and pass Hulkenberg, who was a second-per-lap slower than the two Red Bulls. Alonso finally passed the German on lap seven, and it was then down to Hamilton to try and get through.

Hamilton struggled as Hulkenberg defended well, and it wasn’t until the German pitted on lap 15 that Hamilton finally made his escape.

In the meantime, Jenson Button pitted from tenth on lap 12 to try and avoid getting caught up in the traffic trailing Hulkenberg, and it paid off as by Hulkenberg’s stop, Button was able to leapfrog him.

Hamilton put in some faster laps in clear air, and by the time he pitted on lap 21, he was able to rejoin the track well ahead of Hulkenberg, and ahead of teammate Button, the two McLarens sixth and seventh.

Alonso pitted on lap 25 as it became apparent Hamilton’s pace was quicker on the harder compound tyre. Red Bull then pitted both Vettel and Webber on laps 26 and 27 respectively.

On lap 26, after Kamui Kobayashi locked his left-front brakes into turn one, Hamilton was able to snatch fifth, and a lap later he was back into fourth after Nico Rosberg pitted for his scheduled stop.

With 20 laps remaining, Vitantonio Liuzzi found himself in the wall at turn two, and the safety car was deployed. Hamilton, who had been complaining of lack of grip, pitted for fresh tyres, and Button followed him in a lap later. McLaren timed it just right as both drivers were able to maintain their positions, but on track, they were out of sync with the front-runners as the backmarkers were bunched up in between.

At the restart, Vettel was able to get a clear lead as Webber, Alonso and the McLarens had to lap the out of position cars – something that proved to be rather chaotic.

With no other dramas and the five title contenders remaining as the top five in the race, Vettel led Webber over the line for a Red Bull one-two, with Alonso in third and Hamilton and Button fourth and fifth. Red Bull were able to secure the Constructors’ Championship, while Vettel brings the gap down to 15 points from Alonso in the drivers’ championship, with Alonso just eight ahead of Webber heading into the final round in Abu Dhabi next weekend. Hamilton is 24 points behind Alonso, and while he is mathematically still in with a chance, it seems to all be over for him. For Button, his hopes of retaining his title are over as he slips back to 47 points adrift from Alonso.

So who will be crowned champion in Abu Dhabi? Qualifying is live next Saturday 13th, with the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 14th November.

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Hulkenberg Takes Surprise Pole in Brazil

November 6, 2010

Nico Hulkenberg set the fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo this afternoon, a second faster than Sebastian Vettel who starts second and Mark Webber who starts third.

As the track started to dry out in Q3, the drivers pitted for the soft tyres, and while the Red Bulls, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton looked quick, they weren’t quick enough to beat Hulkenberg.

Alonso, who leads the championship by 11 points, will start fifth, incidentally on his final recycled engine after engine failure earlier in the weekend. Hamilton will start ahead of him in fourth alongside Webber on the second row.

Hulkenberg’s Williams teammate, Rubens Barrichello, will start sixth, with Robert Kubica seventh, Michael Schumacher eighth, Felipe Massa ninth, and Vitaly Petrov tenth.

Jenson Button failed to get into the top ten shoot-out, and will start 11th, his championship hopes appearing to have diminished. Kamui Kobayashi starts 12th, Nico Rosberg 13th, Jaime Alguersuari 14th, Sebastien Buemi 15th, and Nick Heidfeld and Vitantonio Liuzzi 16th and 17th, also dropping out in Q2.

Adrian Sutil was the one joining the new teams in Q1, dropping out in 18th, but will start 23rd after receiving a five-place grid-drop penalty for his antics in Korea two weeks ago. That leaves Timo Glock 18th on the grid, Jarno Trulli 19th, Heikki Kovalainen 20th, Lucas di Grassi 21st, Christian Klien 22nd, and Bruno Senna 24th.

So will the title be decided tomorrow? If Alonso wins the race, or finishes second or third with his competitors behind him, he will secure the championship with one race left to go. But no doubt his title contenders won’t be giving up without a fight.

The race starts at 4pm UK time.