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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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One comment

  1. […] 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… More […]



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